Posts tagged ‘cinema’

Julia Marchese’s All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo!

 

 

Halloween is my favorite holiday – I love dressing up, getting candy, listening to ghostly tunes and watching scary movies. (I mean, I always like these things, but especially around Halloween!) 

Every year I try to do special things and really enjoy the holiday to its fullest – and this year is certainly going to be my best Halloween yet. 

 

The incredible Somerville Theatre in Massachusetts (who I have programmed film series for the last two summers – The Summer of Love series in 2017, and the female half of their Play it Cool series in 2018) asked me to program the week leading up to Halloween this year, and I am simply over the moon about it – a horror hounds dream! 

 

The best part about it is I will be attending the screenings as well! I’ve never been to the theatre so I am chuffed beyond belief to be able to watch all of these wonderful films with you! 

Ladies and gentlemen, won’t you join me for my All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo?! 

 

 

SCHEDULE:

 

*Thursday Oct.24: BATTLE ROYALE at 7:30 , JU-ON: THE GRUDGE at 9:45

 

*Friday Oct. 25:  FADE TO BLACK at 7:30 , CUTTING CLASS at 9:40 , PSYCHO at 11:45

 

*Saturday Oct. 26: FIRESTARTER at 7:30 , THE DEAD ZONE at 9:45 , CARRIE at MIDNIGHT

 

*Sunday Oct. 27: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST at 6:30 , WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE at 8:30

 

*Monday Oct. 28: FROZEN (2010) at 7:30

 

*Tuesday Oct. 29: FREAKS, with short subjects at 7:30

 

*Wednesday Oct. 30: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE at 7:30

 

 

 

 

Battle Royle & Ju-On – J-Horror Double Feature

 

 

The the early 2000’s, Japan was crushing the new horror wave with its violent, unique, terrifying visions. Battle Royale (2000) smashed its brutal way around the globe, shocking everyone with its barbaric premise and dark sense of humor,  influencing countless other movies.  If you’ve never seen this film on the big screen before, hope you’re ready for an intense ride! Ju-On (2002) is my absolute favorite of the J-Horror craze – with disturbing images that won’t leave your mind and a new spin on the old haunted house trope, this film is scrumptiously frightening.

 

 

 

 

Fade to Black, Cutting Class & Psycho – Killer Crushes

 

 

 

These three fantastic films are linked together by the fact that I have an intense crush on each of the killers in the film – I know, I know, kinda weird to admit – but when you see the actors portraying each one, you’ll understand. Dennis Christopher plays the shy cinephile loner Eric Binford in 1980’s Fade to Black, an under seen film that I show to everyone I meet, with a great concept and terrific lead performance. Another under seen gem, 1989’s Cutting Class, might be best known for being one of Brad Pitt’s very first lead roles, but I’m more interested in Donovan Leitch’s off kilter, bowling shoes wearing teenage psycho Brian Woods. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho, with that voyeuristic mama’s boy that gets my heart beating a little bit faster, that adorable psychotic Norman Bates, played by the incredible Anthony Perkins.

 

 

 

 

Firestarter, The Dead Zone and Carrie – Stephen King Pyro/Telekenesis

Triple Feature 

 

 

I am, to put it mildly, super obsessed with Stephen King (ask me about my Dark Tower quest!) and his stories of people with special powers they can’t quite control are some of my very favorites. We start off with 1984’s Firestarter, with Drew Barrymore giving a powerhouse performance as the pint sized pyrokenetic Charlie McGee – this movie is so good – and there would be no Stranger Things without it. Then we flip on over to Cronenberg’s 1983 film The Dead Zone, where Christopher Walken stars as harmless school teacher turned paranoid psychic John Smith – whose visions are terrifying, but not as terrifying as the fact that he can’t quite see if they’ll come true or not. We end with Brian de Palma’s 1976 classic Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek as the bullied, broken Carrie White. The film is meticulously crafted and directed, with star turning performances and is the movie that launched Stephen King’s name into the stratosphere, so we should all give it the mad respect it deserves.

 

 

 

 

Nightmare on Elm Street & Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – My Favorite Final Girl 

 

 

My podcast, Horror Movie Survival Guide, is all about how to survive horror films and become the final girl, and all of that final girl love stems from one character – Heather Langenkamp’s fiery Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Nancy in 1984’s Nightmare on Elm Street (my very favorite horror films of all time) is such a terrific role model – fearless, loyal, smart, and most importantly – self-reliant – Nancy is always fun to watch and admire, but watching Heather Langenkamp play herself in the superbly meta 1994 film Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is even juicier, and watching them back to back is absolute perfection.

 

 

 

 

Frozen

 

 

Adam Green’s 2010 film Frozen is super potent and packs a powerful punch – a hyper intense watch, this film brings out of control amazing performances, a tight, super inventive script and Green’s fun directing style to create a nonstop white knuckle ride from beginning to end. To me, the best horror films are those that focus on strong characters that I like and identify with, going through trying situations and pushed to their limit, with lots of deep dialogue – this film is all of that and more.

 

 

 

 

Freaks 

 

 

Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks is a classic for a reason. Yes, it’s scary, but not for the reasons you might think and it’s also charming, heartbreaking and life affirming. Browning himself performed in the circus as a youth and had great affection for his cast, which comes through in the finished film. A wonder to behold (especially on the big screen), this film is so well directed and a must see for every film fan. And because Freaks is only a little over an hour, we’re gonna throw in some short Halloween themed surprises before the movie!

 

 

 

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 

 

 

I’ve watched hundreds of horror films in my lifetime, and I can say with great confidence that Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the scariest horror film ever made. No other film matches the grainy, gritty, dirty, snuff film feeling of this movie, with its unknown actors, bare bones budget, lack of soundtrack and some of the most intense villians ever put to screen. If you’ve never seen this film on the big screen with an audience, get ready for a whole different experience than watching it at home. And if you’re looking for the perfect horror film to scare the hell out of you and get in the mood for Halloween, this is the film. 

 

What I love about cinema.

 

 

 

I recently moved to a new pad right in the heart of Hollywood, and yesterday I finally used my new location to its full advantage. I live within walking distance to several movie theaters – and yesterday I set out to go to one, and ending up going to three. 

 

 

 

 

It was my first time at the Arena Cinelounge on Sunset and although I was a little nervous at first about a cinema in a office building, it turned out to be a wonderful place. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the theater itself is spacious, with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room. I went to see an incredible documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being the cinephile and lover of film history that I am, this film was absolute magic to me. Bill Morrison has crafted a love letter to cinema and film itself, done with next to no dialogue and constructed in an experimental fashion.

 

Canada’s Dawson City was a mining town that experienced brief fame from a gold rush in the 1890’s, and became a place that launched not only several movie chain moguls, but also preserved much of film’s history itself. Being the end of the line for film prints making their way north, Dawson City ended up inadvertently collecting thousands of film prints, since the distributors & studios didn’t want to pay to ship all of the prints back. Although many of the prints were destroyed, some were preserved underneath an ice rink for decades, and discovered in the 1970’s. Many of these were the only living print in existence for hundreds of lost silent films.

 

 

 

You get to see hundreds of these films in Dawson City: Frozen Time, and they are the definition of cinematic magic. The distortion and damage done to many of these films from the years of neglect become part of the film and adds to the beauty of it. The music is stellar as well, incorporating the sound of the damaged film running through a projector as part of the score in places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And amongst these findings were several newsreels – documentary footage taken in the 1890’s of prospectors rushing to Dawson City to stake their claim. Watching these men walk through the streets of Dawson City in 1897, smiling and looking curiously at the camera, is the only kind of time travel I will ever know.

 

 

 

I get to see how the world looked through their eyes at that captured moment, and that feeling, more than anything, is what I love about watching old films. I am traveling back to see people who lived and breathed and hoped just like I do. They worked hard to get to a remote city in Canada to possibly find some gold. Many did. But not one of them knew that a few seconds of  their lives would be forever immortalized and would, over a hundred years later, be watched by a girl in Hollywood, California, wearing a Fight Club T Shirt. And yet, that happened. And for a few moments those men were alive again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This film gave me everything I want a film to give me – an opportunity to see the beauty of the world, the wonder of it, and hope for mankind. That through art, we can show our true selves to each other – even if only for a few hours. It’s the feeling I chase when I go to films, like a junkie craving my next fix. Often the film disappoints, and I’m then ravenous to find it again. Someone asked me recently to describe my perfect moment of joy, and I said the moment in a cinema right before the film begins. The moment when there is absolute quiet, when no one is talking or breathing, and the possibility of the film is infinite. It could be as great as you imagine it in your own version in your head, or lacking sadly. But the times when the film is better than you could begin to imagine it, when the audience is taken along and the feeling of enjoyment in the theater is palpable – this is what it all boils down to as why I adore film so much. 

 

And that’s why I saw IT twice this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read It when I was in junior high – I was the girl on the bus listening to mix tapes on her walkman and reading Stephen King novels. As such, I have read a lot of his books, and I honestly think It is his best novel. His writing is at its absolute peak, the characters are vivid and full, and the depiction of horror is raw, evil and at its most terrifying. I forced the book onto several friends in junior high and high school, and one friend and I called each other Eddie (me) and Bevvie (her) after our favorite characters in the book, for the entirety of high school. I’ve read It dozens of times.

 

 

 

 

I was very dubious of this film, as I am of all remakes  – especially horror ones. The stupendous performances Tim Curry and Dennis Christopher in the 1990 version make it wonderful,  but I did find that version a bit…lacking. So I was willing to give this one a go. And I loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

The film is warm and fun, scary and horrifying, with terrific performances from all of the kids. Its hard to construct a large central cast in which all of the acting is on an equal level, but they’ve done it here. I felt each one really captured the character from the pages of the book, and although a great amount of trimming and a fair amount of changes were done to the novel, I didn’t mind the choices they made. The film is obviously made with a lot of love.

 

 

No one can EVER top a Tim Curry performance, natch, but I really really enjoyed Bill Skarsgard’s  performance as Pennywise. Although gruesome and intense, I found the character so captivating that there was something almost slightly appealing about him at times, which made him even more creepy. I only wish there was more of him in the film! The special effects were spooky and fun, and a good time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so few modern horror movies that I want to see that I am now rarely in an excited opening night audience, but circumstances made it so that I was a the 9:30pm opening night show, Friday night. I’m such a horror hound that I don’t scare easily anymore, but I love seeing horror movies with an audience so much because it heightens your experience a hundred times.

 

 

 

The audience fucking loved It. They were squirming, gasping, giggling nervously from fear after every big scare. The girl next to me hid her face every time Pennywise came on screen for the entire film. She was fucking petrified.

 

And being part of the to audience go through all of that – that indescribable feeling of a room full of strangers as one is the most joyful thing I know. But it is indescribable. How do I, a human with only five supposed senses, feel a room full of people? How can the air seem thicker in the moments when the monster is on screen? How can it feel suddenly lighter when the danger has passed and everyone breathes normally and giggles at how frightened they were just moments ago? I don’t believe in god. I don’t believe in magic – but these moments are ones that make me think there may be something that really does connect people on some level. It gives me hope.

 

 

 

So I went to go see It again on Saturday at the Dome in Hollywood – because I wanted to experience it again – with even more people this time. The Dome seats over 800, and while not to capacity, the theater was quite full. And it was the same as the night before – the screams and gasps, the nervous laughter, with people hiding behind their eyes and squeezing onto their neighbor. Amazing.

 

 

When people tell me they don’t like being scared, when they can’t watch a horror movie in the theater because it freaks them out so much, I understand.  But I secretly think they are missing out on a wonderful human experience. To be with hundreds of strangers and feel the fear in the room, then the explosive release when the villain has been bested, when everyone feels safe because they are all together, watching these things as one, and don’t we know in the end everyone will be all right? That the credits will roll, and the rush you have felt for the last 2 hours will be buzzing in your system while your heart beat slows, and the terror is over. You can walk back out into the bright sunlight, and think – wasn’t that a fun ride? It’s the experience that It gave me twice this weekend, and I think Stephen King would be very proud because somehow I think he knows all about that feeling too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, walking home, I stumbled upon a screening just beginning at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard – The Witch Who Came From the Sea. It is an exploitation movie from 1976 by director Matt Cimber, starring Millie Perkins – both of whom were there for a Q & A session afterward. The film (on glorious, crackling 35mm) was quirky and odd, with a dreamlike quality unlike most of its grindhouse ilk. Here I got to experience the audience in a difference way. There was a back story of the heroine where she was sexually abused by her father – with some uncomfortable flashback scenes. And such a different feeling when the entire audience is ill at ease, shifting in their seats and averting their eyes to avoid the images on the screen – not out of fear, but out of shame and embarrassment. That feeling, amplified by dozens of people is such an infrequent, uncomfortable feeling that I can see a certain beauty in it.

 

I know of several directors whose trademark seems to be exploiting this feeling – making the audience feel shame or humiliation or embarrassment. I don’t dig it. It doesn’t float my boat (down into the drain with Pennywise). The Witch Who Came From the Sea (great title) was a bizarre film that I had never heard of, but that I am glad that I saw.

 

I often wonder what it is like for other people to go to the movies. I know everyone doesn’t have the nearly holy experience it can be for me. I think back to going with friends to see movies completely indiscriminately in junior high, often seeing terrible films just because that’s what the local multiplex is playing, and I can’t really remember any of the experiences at all.

 

I certainly didn’t watch the film that way I do now – after years of studying film at university, which completely changed the way I saw movies, and after the thousands of films I have seen since then. I maybe knew who the actors were (and the boys name, definitely, if he was cute) but that was about it. Didn’t know many directors, didn’t think about all of the craft and artistry and sweat and blood it takes to get every single film on that screen. How many people work behind the scenes on all of these films, in pre and post production, on the set, distributing it, booking it, projecting it, all the way to your screen.

 

I do wish sometimes I could time travel back to that junior high me time frame and see films the way she would have. And sometimes I think to myself  I haven’t learned much from my time living in Hollywood. Then I look at the way I see movies now and that the cinema going experience delights me in a way no other media can.  That it is in my bone marrow.  I fucking love cinema.

 

Three different cinemas, three completely different film experiences, all within doorsteps to my house. It may be cramped, and without air conditioning, but I suppose this new place might have some perks after all.

 

 

 

Summer of Love

 

 

So very excited to announce that I have been asked to program a summer series at the amazing Somerville Theater in Massachusetts – entirely on 35mm! 

 

You can read about what I chose to program and why below:

 

“2017 heralds the 50th anniversary of 1967’s famed “Summer of Love”, where every hippie in America hightailed it to dear old San Fran to turn on, tune in and drop out. To stand up to the generation before them and say: “No. We don’t like your way. We are going to try something different.” 

 

This counterculture lived in incredible, bold new ways in 1967 – communally, out front and with love for free, and with sincere hope for true equality.

 

They listened to incredible music – Sgt, Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Their Satanic Majesty’s Request were two of the dozens of mind blowing releases of that year.

 

They ingested incredible drugs – like Acapulco Gold and Owlsey’s outta site LSD.

 

But most importantly, the hippies were genuinely trying to do a truly incredible thing – to get the world to simply stop fighting and love one another.

 

Let’s say that again. Simply stop fighting and love one another.

 

In 1967 it was a radical idea to strive for, and sadly, now, in 2017 – 50 years later – it still is.

 

When Ian Judge very kindly asked me to curate some films this summer, he generously gave me absolute carte blanche on what I could program.

 

And I chose to program four films that will let you time travel back to 1967, and take a snapshot of the world of film that year.

 

We start with Roman Polanski in a carefree mood, having fun and slaying undead in THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS.

 

Next is one of my very favorite films, with all of the sex and drugs and heartlessness of show business on glorious, lurid display – VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

 

Los Angeles counterculture gets exploited, and the grown ups get put in their place in RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP

 

And lastly, Godard puts his crazy, out of control stamp on the era in the under seen WEEKEND

 

I hope when you come to these films, you’ll put away your cell phone and mentally transport yourself back 50 years.

 

The 35mm projector will spin to life just as it did then, and when the images start dancing on the screen, pretend it really is 1967.

 

Let the films show you the people, the colors, the sound and the psychedelic sights of 1967. Let yourself be carried away by the counter culture, and let them whisper their battle cry in your ear:

 

Simply stop fighting and love one another.

 

Peace and love, Julia Marchese”

 

 

If you live in the Somerville area and would like to attend, you can buy tickets at the links below:

 

Fearless Vampire Killers

 

Valley of the Dolls

 

Riot on Sunset Strip

 

Weekend 

 

Thanks again to Ian Judge and all of the other cool cats at the Somerville for giving me this bitchin’ opportunity! Long live 35mm!