A prom-themed screening of carrie, a new festival, and more
Courtesy of the Jim Henson Company.
Ready to head outside for outdoor screenings? Well, you’ll have to wait a month or so. But that’s OK! There are plenty of noteworthy indoor screenings this month.
Thursday Night Terrors—Demon Knight, Carrie, and a “Terrors Prom”: Another stellar Thursday Night Terrors season ends with two wonderfully nasty selections. First, on May 17, is the Tales From the Crypt film Demon Knight. And the screening features a very special guest: John Kassir, a.k.a. the voice of the Cryptkeeper. Finally, Terrors presents Brian De Palma’s Carrie on May 31. The Stephen King adaptation starring Sissy Spacek is a horror classic, but what makes this screening even cooler is the evening’s theme: “Terrors Prom 2018.” Terrors organizer Peter Vullo says the Dipson Amherst Theatre will be decorated, a “king and queen” will be crowned, and attendees are asked to dress in tuxedos and gowns: “I've had the idea of putting together a prom-themed screening around Carrie for awhile, but it wasn't until this past October—when my girlfriend, Nicole June Wurstner, and I decorated the theater for Halloween and the double feature of Halloween III and Creepshow—that the idea really started to take shape. A huge part of creating that atmosphere was the music chosen by DJ Nelson Rivera, who is a professional jazz musician and a high school classmate of mine. Nelson will be back for Carrie and he'll be playing a bunch of cheesy songs you'd hear at a prom mixed with some surprises, of course.” (For more from Vullo on Terrors and the Carrie prom, see the end of this piece.) (Demon Knight: 7 p.m. on May 17; Carrie: 7:30 p.m. on May 31; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)
Three Toronto festivals: April and May are busy film festival months in Toronto, and this month alone offers three fascinating examples. The twenty-sixth Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs from May 3 to 13 (tjff.com), the twenty-eighth Toronto LGBT Film Festival is May 24 to June 3 (insideout.ca/initiatives/Toronto), and the Hot Docs documentary festival continues through May 6 (hotdocs.ca). It began on April 26. (Check websites for schedules and locations)
The Nitrate Picture Show: Dubbed “the world’s first festival of film conservation,” this three-day George Eastman Museum event returns for its fourth year. The fest once again features vintage nitrate prints from the Eastman’s world-renowned collection. Also being offered are two workshops on May 4, “How to Make Nitrate Film.” In addition, a “Pre-Nitrate Picture Show”screening of 1948’s Hamlet (1948) will be held at 7:30 p.m. on May 3. (May 4-6 at the George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave., Rochester; eastman.org/nps)
Buffalo Film Seminars: The latest installment of the BFS comes to a close with two very different films. On May 1, hosts Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian screen 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The controversial tale of a mother who wants justice following the murder of her daughter recently earned Oscars for Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell). The semester then draws to a close on May 8 with Jacques Demy’s breathtaking 1967 musical, The Young Girls of Rochefort, starring Gene Kelly and Catherine Deneuve. (7 p.m. on May 1 and 8 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)
Niagara at the Screening Room: In the pantheon of films shot or set in Western New York, 1953’s Niagara rates high. It’s a perennial selection at Amherst’s Screening Room, and on May 12, 15, 17, and 19 the venue screens the Marilyn Monroe vehicle that was shot entirely in Niagara Falls, Ontario. (7:30 p.m. on May 12, 15, 17, and 19 at the Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)
Cultivate Cinema Circle—La Ciènaga: Lucrecia Martel is one of the most exciting names in contemporary cinema, yet the Argentinian director of The Headless Woman and The Holy Girl is still unknown to many. La Ciènaga, this month’s entry in CCC’s year-long Women Direct series, is a fine introduction to her work. The 2001 film is the story of a bourgeois family in Argentina, set during a sweltering summer. It will be introduced by Riverrun Global Film Series curator Tanya Shilina-Conte. (7 p.m. on May 10 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)
courtesy of Cultivate Cinema
Noir Essentials—Scarlet Street: Edward G. Robinson has a face that screams “noir,” and Fritz Lang’s 1945 effort is one of the actor’s most fascinating noir films. He plays a bank cashier and painter who fall victim to a young woman and her boyfriend. My favorite detail from the description by our Noir Essentials friends: “Banned in three states upon its original release.” (7:30 p.m. on May 16 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville; dipsontheatres.com)
TCM Big Screen Classics—Sunset Boulevard: One of (many) great moments during the third season of Twin Peaks saw Dale Cooper doppelganger Dougie Jones happening upon Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard. He was mesmerized, for reasons that made sense to any Peaks junkie. The scene was a reminder of Boulevard’s influence on director David Lynch, and on virtually any filmmaker of note. The 1950 film still seems decades ahead of its time. Gloria Swanson stars as silent-film icon Norma Desmond, while William Holden plays a struggling young screenwriter. The TCM Big Screen Classics screenings will feature insight from Turner Classic Movies’ hosts. (2 and 7 p.m. on May 13 and 16 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)
Fathom Events presents Labyrinth and Porco Rosso: Older children and teenagers are in for a treat this month thanks to Fathom Events, and so are nostalgia-mad 80s kids. First is a “three-day celebration” of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, the iconic fantasy adventure starring David Bowie. (The first screening is actually set for April 29.) Plus, Fathom’s Studio Ghibli continues in May with one of Hayao Miyazaki’s less-heralded efforts, Porco Rosso. The Spirited Away director’s 1992 film is about flying ace pig battling sky pirates. (Labyrinth: 2 and 7 p.m. on April 29, 7 p.m. on May 1 and 2; Porco Rosso: Dubbed version: 12:55 p.m. on May 20 and 7 p.m. on March 23; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on May 21; at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)
Old Chestnut Film Series—But Not For Me: The Old Chestnut series presents a 1959 comedy starring Clark Gable and Carroll Baker. (7:30 p.m. on May 11 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)
The Royal Ballet presents Bernstein Centenary and the Royal Opera House presents Macbeth: The Dipson Amherst Theatre presents a celebration of Leonard Bernstein and Verdi’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. (Bernstein Centenary: 11 a.m. on May 13; Macbeth: 11 a.m. on May 20; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)
Nickel City Con Event Screenings at the North Park: The Nickel City Con comic book convention is set for May 18 to 20, and as part of the fun, the North Park Theatre is presenting three very special screenings with three very special guests. First is the iconic Napoleon Dynamite on May 17, featuring an appearance from Napoleon himself, Jon Heder. Next is the 1995 cult classic Tank Girl, with an appearance from star Lori Petty. She’ll host a Q-and-A before the May 18 screening of this underrated comic book adaptation. And lastly is Kevin Smith’s classic Clerks, with special guest Jason Mewes, a.k.a. Jay of “Jay and Silent Bob” fame. (Napoleon Dynamite: 9:30 p.m. on May 17; Tank Girl: 9:30 p.m. on May 18; Clerks: 9:30 p.m. on May 19; at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)
Director’s Cut and Alien at the Screening Room: In addition to Niagara, which is mentioned above, in May the Screening Room presents the wild Director’s Cut, starring Penn Jillette as a film-obsessed stalker, and Ridley Scott’s all-time classic Alien. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is one of cinema’s most enduring heroines, and there are moments here—you know the one I mean—that rank among the most terrifying in movie history. (Director’s Cut: 7:30 p.m. on May 10 and 9:30 p.m. on May 11; Alien: 7:30 p.m. on May 25 and 7 p.m. on May 26 and June 1; at the Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)
Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor and Tip of My Tongue at Hallwalls: Experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs will appear in person to present two recent films. (7 p.m. on May 1 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; hallwalls.org)
May library screenings: The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Central Branch will host a month of World War I films this May, starting on May 10 and continuing on May 17, 24, and 31. Another noteworthy screening is set for May 18 at the Elma Public Library. Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck was one of 2017’s finest and most sadly ignored family films. Based on the young adult novel, Wonderstruck sees the story of young boy in the 1970s told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago. It’s an enchanting tale of mystery and surprising connections. For more May film screenings at local libraries, visit buffalolib.org. (Thursday Film Series: World War I: 5 p.m. on May 10, 17, 24, and 31 at the Central Library, 1 Lafayette Sq.; Wonderstruck: 6:30 p.m. on May 18 at the Elma Public Library,1860 Bowen Rd., Elma; buffalolib.org)
More on Thursday Night Terrors from organizer Peter Vullo:
On the Carrie prom: “The thing I've been most surprised by from this screening is people telling me they've never been to a prom before and that they're looking forward to this—maybe asking someone to be their date, finding something to wear. To me, it means a lot. It just goes to show the bonds and friendships that have formed through a mutual love of horror movies.”
On the response to season four: “I've been continuously surprised by each screening and each season of Thursday Night Terrors. For season four, I was really shocked by the turnout for Night of the Comet. Most of the crowd had never seen the movie before. I appreciated people coming out and giving that movie a chance.”
On what’s next: “I'd like to continue to work our way through the filmographies of genre directors. We've done multiple John Carpenter and George Romero movies at this point, so I'd like to continue to explore that route. Perhaps we’ll screen more films from the likes of Lucio Fulci, David Cronenberg, and Tobe Hooper. I'd love to throw more oddball, out-of-left-field movies in there, too; the weirder, the goofier, the bloodier, the better. And the idea of putting together a Terrors Book Club has even been tossed around!”
Christopher Schobert is a film critic whose worked has appeared in the Buffalo News and numerous other outlets.