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Film Scene: Week features ‘Slayer’ on Tybee, family affairs and Adam West tribute

 

Film Scene: Week features ‘Slayer’ on Tybee, family affairs and Adam West tribute

28 Jun 2017

Tired of the same-old, same-old that tends to clogs up our corporate multiplexes? Well, while the temperatures and humidity levels continue to soar, the next seven days provide plenty of alternative cinema-related events in the greater Savannah area — all of which are perfect excuses for getting inside and out of the heat.

Variety on the island

This week’s look at notable big-screen programming options begins with the historic Tybee Post Theater, which will offer three very different features this week — starting with the recent, live-action-meets-CGI remake of Walt Disney’s 1967 animated feature “The Jungle Book.” Based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s tome and directed by “swinger” Jon Favreau, this 2016 box-office hit is narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley and stars the voice talents of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Gus Fring himself, Giancarlo Esposito. It’s the story of a young, orphaned boy named Mowgli who sets out on an ambitious and treacherous journey, aided by a host of helpful animals. But you knew that already, right? “The Jungle Book” shows twice, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 29, with admission ranging from $5-$7.

‘The Slayer’

Then, the very next night (June 30), the Post shifts gears tremendously for a special, one-show-only screening of the ultra-obscure, low-budget 1982 horror flick “The Slayer.” Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “That doesn’t sound like something the Tybee Post Theater would show,” you’d be correct.

However, there are two good reasons why this creepy tale of a young girl’s terrifying nightmares come to life is being presented at this restored, 200-seat venue: 1. The entire film was shot on Tybee Island (including inside the decrepit, unrestored theater), and 2. The filmmakers are currently back in this area to shoot new footage for supplemental features on a forthcoming home video reissue of the film (which was also released under the alternate title “Nightmare Island” in some parts of the world).

Odds are that some of the locals in attendance at this screening will have helped (in some capacity) with the production of this film 35 years ago. That, and the fact that the filmmakers will be on hand to discuss the picture with the audience after the show make this a can’t-miss event for horror movie fanatics as well as aficionados of Tybee Island history. Be advised, this is a gory motion picture that many feel made a significant, unacknowledged impression on esteemed writer-director Wes Craven and his later “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. Which is to say, it’s rated R, and only suitable for mature viewers. 8 p.m. showtime, with $10 admission.

Shark attack

And finally, July 2, the Post once again offers up a perennially popular thriller: Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster “Jaws,” starring Roy Scheider (“Blue Thunder”), Richard Dreyfuss (“The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz”) and Robert Shaw (“Figures in a Landscape”) as three dedicated shark hunters in search of a vicious, man-eating great white that’s really making things difficult for a tourist-dependent beachside community. Odds are you’ve seen “Jaws” at some point in your life, but if you have never experienced it uncut and on the big screen as its creators intended, then you haven’t really seen it, have you? Two shows only, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., with $7 admission ($5 for kids 12 and younger).

Broadway in Savannah

Shifting into downtown Savannah, on June 30 the Lucas Theatre (another historic single-screen venue) offers a one-show-only screening of Broadway HD’s presentation of the stage play “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring Kevin Kline (“A Fish Called Wanda”) as the titular big-nosed soldier/poet and Jennifer Garner (“Butter”) as his secret love interest Roxanne. As with other Broadway HD productions, this event will be shown in amazing audio-visual fidelity through the advent of state-of-the-art digital streaming technology, and allows folks in smaller markets such as Savannah to enjoy major, acclaimed stage productions in tremendous clarity at a fraction of the price of attending the actual plays in person. Showtime is 7 p.m., with admission ranging from $5-$15 (or free with valid SCAD ID).

Disney matinee

Then, just a couple days later on July 2, the Lucas’ Sunday matinee series of classic Disney animated films continues with a rare public showing of the original 1967 version of “The Jungle Book” (not to be confused with the recent remake described earlier as being shown at the Tybee Post).

This musical comedy adventure is a triumph of hand-drawn cel animation that has the distinction of being the final Disney Pictures film actually produced by Walt Disney himself (he passed away during production). A stone-to-the-bone classic of the genre, it features the vocal talents of the late, great British thespians George Sanders (Shadwell the butler in “Psychomania”) and Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French the butler in TV’s “Family Affair”), and spawned a hit soundtrack album. This is a truly enjoyable flick that has aged surprisingly well, and earned a worldwide box-office total of over $200 million. 3 p.m. showtime with $8 admission ($5 for seniors/military/children 15 and younger) or free with valid SCAD ID.

‘Angry Birds’

Speaking of family-oriented films, on July 4 — if you’re not busy grilling hot dogs or shooting bottle rockets into your neighbors’ bathroom windows — the Mars Theatre in the tiny town of Springfield offers another “Two For Tuesday” special. This time it’s the 2016 3D CGI comedy “Angry Birds,” based, as one might imagine, on the smartphone videogame of the same name. It stars the voices of Peter Dinklage (“The Station Agent”), Danny McBride (“Eastbound and Down”), Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids”), Kate McKinnon (TV’s “SNL”), Sean Penn (“Hurlyburly”), Tony Hale (“Arrested Development”), Keegan-Michael Key (TV’s “Fargo”) and Bill Hader (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”). The plot is unimportant. It’s based on a smartphone videogame. Can you dig it? 10 a.m and 2 p.m. showtimes, with $2 admission.

Sci-fi classic

A few nights earlier, on July 1, back downtown at Trustees Theater on Broughton Street, SCAD’s Cinema Circle hosts one of the most interesting (and, I must say, unexpected) films they have ever chosen as part of their ongoing series of noteworthy examples of world cinema: acclaimed British director Michael Anderson’s wonderfully peculiar 1976 sci-fi allegory “Logan’s Run.” This expensive and brainy tale of forbidden love and anti-authoritarianism in a tightly controlled futuristic society where the vast majority of adults are systematically killed off on their 30th birthday was critically praised at the time of its release and not only won a Special Academy Award for its groundbreaking visual effects, but also took home six Saturn Awards (including Best Science Fiction Film).

However, in the intervening years, it has become something of an overlooked gem that is rarely seen in cinemas or on TV. Despite this somewhat perplexingly low profile, for the past two decades, a big-budget remake has been an almost constant rumor (often with Ryan Gosling mentioned in the lead role of “Logan,” initially played by the sensitive and graceful Brit Michael York). Look for pitch-perfect turns by esteemed supporting actors including Richard Jordan (“The Friends of Eddie Coyle”), Jenny Augutter (“An American Werewolf in London”) and even Farrah Fawcett-Majors (“The Apostle”) in this taut and thought-provoking slice of ‘70s dystopia. SCAD Professor David Stone and I will introduce the film and moderate a post-show discussion with the audience. We hope to see you there! Showtime is 7 p.m., with $8 admission ($5 for seniors/military or free with SCAD ID).

Adam West remembered

And finally, on July 5 at The Sentient Bean, the Psychotronic Film Society’s weekly series of underappreciated and/or rare motion pictures and TV programs continues with a special memorial tribute to the recently deceased actor Adam West. Best known for his iconic portrayal of Batman in the campy, 1960s pop-art TV series of the same name, West also appeared in more than 50 feature films and handfuls of TV shows and series — from Westerns to crime shows to sci-fi and horror flicks.

He died just a few weeks ago at the age of 88 after a brief battle with leukemia. West was a truly beloved figure throughout the entertainment industry who made a career of juggling deadly serious roles alongside forays into masterfully delivered deadpan comedy, and for this salute, the PFS digs deep into its fabled archives to unearth two unrelated and unreleased TV pilots — neither of which was ultimately picked up and turned into a weekly series.

The exact titles of the two rare pilots in this double-feature (which runs about 90 minutes in total) will not be revealed in advance, but it can be said that one showcases West’s serious, dramatic side while the other is perhaps one of the funniest roles he ever had the opportunity to play. It’s a crying shame that neither of these trial episodes were ever given the greenlight, nor truly saw the light of day, as they are both cult classics in their own way. Showtime is 8 p.m., with $8 admission, and discounts on organic wine and craft beer during the event.

That’s it for this week’s Film Scene. Until next issue, see you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don’t forget to turn off that cell phone.

Jim Reed directs Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Email psychotronicfilms@hotmail.com.

JIM’S NOTES

“Jaws” essentially created the phenomenon now known as the summer blockbuster. It made its entire production budget back in two weeks, and quickly became the first film to ever earn $100 million in U.S. theatrical rentals. For a couple of years it stood as a the highest-grossing film of all time before director Steven Spielberg’s pal George Lucas’ own “Star Wars” blew past it and grabbed that title in 1977.

A great part of what makes “Logan’s Run” such a success is its heavily stylized production design and set construction, which present a legitimately fantastic yet somehow believable vision of the far future of Earth’s societal constructs. Nine complete massive soundstages in Culver City, Calif., by MGM Studios were used to construct an entire fake city, inside of which the majority of the film was shot. This is said to be one of the largest such “movie cities” ever built.

By the time the 1990s rolled around, Adam West had become comfortable lampooning himself as a pop-culture celebrity and icon. He began to make ironic appearances as “himself” in films such as “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and TV series including “Murphy Brown,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “NewsRadio” and “The Ben Stiller Show.”

IF YOU GO

What: “The Jungle Book”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 29

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults, $5 kids 12 and younger

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: Broadway HD presents “Cyrano de Bergerac”

When: 7 p.m. June 30

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $15 adults; $10 military/seniors; $5 kids 15 and younger; free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “The Slayer” aka “Nightmare Island”

When: 8 p.m. June 30

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10; mature viewers only

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “Logan’s Run”

When: 7 p.m. July 1

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $8 adults; $5 seniors/military; free with SCAD ID

Info: trusteestheater.com

What: Walt Disney’s original “The Jungle Book”

When: 3 p.m. July 2

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $8 adults; $5 seniors/military/kids 15 and younger; free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “Jaws”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 2

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults, $5 kids 12 and younger

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “Angry Birds”

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 4

Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

What: Adam West Memorial Tribute

When: 8 p.m. July 5

Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

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