Last week's special screening of director Tim Burton's 1988 sleeper "Beetlejuice" at the Lucas Theatre sets the stage for another special one-show-only engagement at the beautifully restored historic movie palace: Burton's benchmark 1990 horror-fantasy "Edward Scissorhands," which the Lucas presents Oct. 11.
A supremely influential piece of cinema which continues to charm and resonate with subsequent generations, it's the story of an artificially created man (the title character, played by Johnny Depp) whose inventor (played by the late, great horror and sci-fi icon Vincent Price in what would prove to be his final screen role) dies before finishing his improbable creation.
Left fatherless for decades in the forbidding, abandoned castle where he was conceived, and with long, razor-sharp blades in place of fingers (those human-like digits had yet to be completed before his creator's demise), Edward remains, unknown, unloved and unschooled in the ways of social interaction - until he is discovered and adopted by a family from the homogenous suburban community nearby.
Before long, this peculiar stranger is the talk of the town, drawing both interest and derision from those who are either attracted to his uniqueness or repelled by his oddity. Meanwhile, Edward finds himself falling in love with his new family's teenage daughter, played by Winona Ryder. Considered a classic, modern-day fairy tale, the movie was openly meant as an allegory for Burton's own difficult teenage years, during which the budding artist felt ostracized by the mainstream social cliques of his peers.
It has since become known as one of the most joyous and celebratory filmic paeans to eccentricity and awkwardness ever released, and in fact both Burton and soundtrack composer Danny Elfman (who's scored all but two of Burton's major studio releases) have declared "Edward Scissorhands" to be their most personal and favorite work.
The film's protagonist, now an iconic touchstone of goth culture, continues to inspire. That's no surprise, for, as the New York Times' critic Janet Maslin opined at the time of the movie's release, "(This) is a tale of misunderstood gentleness and stifled creativity, of civilization's power to corrupt innocence, of a heedless beauty and a kindhearted beast. The film, if scratched with something much less sharp than Edward's fingers, reveals proudly adolescent lessons for us all."
The Lucas' screening takes place at 7 p.m. and admission is $8.
Considering that we're in the spookiest month of the year, SCAD's Cinema Circle continues its series of "Dynamic Film Duos" on Oct. 12 at the Trustees Theater with what is sure to be a popular selection: director Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning 1991 thriller "The Silence of the Lambs."
Widely misbelieved to be the film debut of the intensely popular villain Dr. Hannibal Lecter (that distinction goes to "Miami Vice" creator Michael Mann's flawed-yet-unforgettably-stylish 1986 feature "Manhunter"), this chilling character study stars Anthony Hopkins (in what wound up a career-defining role) as Lecter and Jodie Foster as his foil, novice FBI Agent Clarice Starling.
Although Hopkins is onscreen for barely 16 of the film's 118 minutes, his performance is so disturbingly menacing that the American Film Institute named his portrayal of Lecter the No. 1 Film Villain of All Time. So, in hindsight, it was no surprise when he took home that year's Academy Award for Best Actor, along with Jodie Foster, who won Best Actress.
The film itself also won Best Picture, while Demme was named Best Director and Ted Tally awarded Best Writing (for an adapted screenplay) - making "The Silence of the Lambs" only the third movie to sweep all five of those top honors, and the first horror film to be named Best Picture.
Whether you're already familiar with the movie or not, Film Scene advises you to come prepared for plenty of white-knuckle moments. Showtime is 7 p.m. and admission is $8.
And finally, on Oct. 13, the Psychotronic Film Society continues its month-long selection of obscure and underappreciated horror movies with a rare public viewing of the 1981 thriller "Dead & Buried."
Believe it or not, in the early 1980s, this low-budget, old-fashioned shocker was banned on home video in Great Britain, but those with gentle constitutions need not worry: That was overkill of the highest order.
"Dead & Buried" is actually a much more thoughtful and cerebral film than most of the gory slasher flicks with which it competed for screen space during its initial theatrical run.
The movie takes place in the secluded, seaside New England town of Potter's Bluff, where tourists keep turning up murdered and the townspeople are simply not as they might seem.
Sound familiar? That's because it's essentially a well-made attempt to "pull a Stephen King" without having to pay the hefty licensing fees associated with purchasing the rights to one of that bestselling author's novels or short stories.
Turns out, "Dead & Buried" wound up being better than many official adaptations of King's work.
The movie was a surprise box-office hit, but for the past several decades, legal issues made it hard to find and essentially out of view.
The PFS will show the full, uncut version of this forgotten success at The Sentient Bean Coffeehouse. 8 p.m. showtime, $6 admission.
Just remember, there's nothing scarier than a person using their cellphone during a movie.
Jim Reed directs the award-winning Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah - presenting indie, foreign, classic and cult cinema year-round. Read more from Jim on Savannah's film scene at filmsavannah.com.
IF YOU GO
What: "Edward Scissorhands"
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.
What: "The Silence of the Lambs"
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 12
Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.
What: "Dead & Buried"
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 13
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.