Reporting Eric Henderson
Thirty-one days of horror continue this week, with a couple irresistible Halloween-friendly titles screening in local repertory houses. But it’s not all ghost, goblins and electrically-charged prototypes for Marge Simpson’s hairstyle. Check out these great screening options for the next seven days. (Also, Blue Caprice is still playing at St. Anthony Main Theater for a few more days. Here is blogger Jonathon Sharp’s review of the film.)
Wednesday, Oct. 16 & Sunday, Oct. 20: Stalker (Walker Art Center)
Director Andrei Tarkovsky is often considered one of the greatest Russian auteurs this side of Sergei Eisenstein, and Stalker is undoubtedly pretty close to his masterpiece. A grim sci-fi morality play set against a desolate, rusted landscape, Stalker concerns three men who venture into The Zone, a cordoned-off area which promises the fulfillment of the dreams of those who enter it. The screenings are presented in conjunction with a lecture from Geoff Dyer on the film, which he says is “not just one of the greatest films of all time, but one of the greatest works of art.” He’ll discuss his thoughts on the film as clips are projected simultaneously.
Thursday, October 17: The House I Live In (St. Anthony Main Theater)
Eugene Jarecki, whose previous documentaries include The Trials of Henry Kissinger and Why We Fight, turns his gaze on U.S. prisons and the war on drugs that helped populate them to the rafters. The House I Live In puts under the microscope the set of values that led to 45 million arrests and the world’s largest imprisoned population. The screening is being presented free of charge, and will also include a panel discussion moderated by the Honorable Michael Davis, chief justice of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, and including among the panelists U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.
Thursday, October 17: The Bride of Frankenstein & The Raven (Heights Theater)
Without much doubt, the greatest of all Universal monster movies is The Bride of Frankenstein, a riotous mixture of horror and comedy that some argue just about wrote the book on the sensibility Susan Sontag would later identify (or at least expose) as “camp.” Jumping off from the well-laid foundation of the original Frankenstein, Hollywood outsider James Whale infused the sequel with a genuine sympathy for the hulking beast at the center of his most famous films, and an argument for alternative expressions of love hard-wired into his monstrous portrait of matrimony.
Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19: Big Ass Spider (Theatres at Mall of America)
There used to be a time when all up-and-coming filmmakers wanted to make the next Citizen Kane. Now they want to make the next Sharknado. Who knows? Perhaps 69 years from now, Big Ass Spider will appear at the top of Sight & Sound’s latest edition of the ten greatest films of all time. You don’t want to be caught snoozing on a future classic when it’s making its big break onto the scene, do you?
Saturday, October 19: Night of the Creeps (Uptown Theater)
The 1980s were the halcyon days for renegotiating the legacy of the 1950s. The blockbuster smash among this particular group was obviously Back to the Future. And then there’s Night of the Creeps (which used for its title font the logo design of the George A. Romero-Stephen King anthology film Creepshow, another ’50s case study). Lacking some of the polish of the 1988 remake of The Blob, and perhaps not as gleefully subversive as Gremlins‘ utter desecration of small town Americana, Night of the Creeps, in which an entire town is turned into lurching zombies after a vial crash lands on Earth unleashing an army of giant leech-like extraterrestrials, is nonetheless one of the crown jewels of VHS horror cult lore.