Thanks to all the Film Scene readers who came out to Trustees Theater last Saturday night for the SCAD Cinema Circle’s special presentation of the 2004 British horror-comedy “Shaun of the Dead.” At close to 200 viewers, it was the most well-attended of that organization’s recent quartet of noteworthy zombie apocalypse features, and looked and sounded great.

Horror movie fans should take note of this exclusive announcement: on Sept. 29, around the corner from Trustees at the beautiful Lucas Theatre, the Psychotronic Film Society and Graveface Records are joining forces to present the first-ever Graveface/Psychotronic FrightFest — a 12-hour marathon of six cult classic horror films which are rarely seen uncensored and on the big screen. In addition to this great mix of fan-favorite films, there will also be raffles for valuable prizes, visiting guest filmmakers and a vendors’ area filled with all manner of horror movie merchandise and collectibles.

All-day passes are only $20 in advance (which is, like, crazy cheap) and will go on sale in the next couple of weeks at savannahboxoffice.com. Look for full details on the entire lineup of celluloid shockers in a future installment of this column, and help us kick off October just a couple of days early by joining the fun, won’t you?

Now, to the next seven days’ worth of alternative cinema happenings taking place around our area.

 

Four from Fathom

Fathom Events presents four different high-definition digital streaming events at the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall, starting with the July 12 premiere of the new behind-the-scenes pro-wrestling documentary “350 Days — Legends. Champions. Survivors.” It features never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with legendary figures of the “sport.” Showtime is 7 p.m., and admission prices for all our listings can be found in the accompanying sidebar.

That’s followed by a two-day engagement of the beloved, family-oriented fantasy rom-com “Big,” starring Tom Hanks as a 12-year-old kid who is unexpectedly transformed into the physical form of a 30-year-old man (however, with the mental and emotional faculties of his 12-year-old self intact). Before long, this “adult who mysteriously and uniquely understands how kids think” lands a high-profile job with a toy manufacturer and a steady, live-in girlfriend (played by the often underrated Elizabeth Perkins). Co-written by Steven Spielberg’s sister Anne and produced by his company, it was a massive box-office hit and has become a staple on cable and satellite schedules. As someone who saw this during its initial theatrical run, take it from me — this one works much better in a group setting than at home. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both July 15 and 18.

A 7 p.m. July 16, Fathom presents a high-def film of the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Sergei Prokofiev's adored 1938 interpretation of William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of young, star-crossed lovers “Romeo and Juliet.” Recorded live on stage at the famed Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, this encore presentation runs 2 ½ hours and is captured in stunning audio-visual clarity.

Similarly, July 18’s 7 p.m. presentation of the Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Giacomo Puccini’s 1938 three-act opera “Turandot” is filmed in high-def to capture every nuance of the world-class performance. Set in China, this acclaimed work hinges on a prince who desires to marry an aloof princess. To do so, he is forced to answer three riddles. However, once he succeeds in this task, she still refuses his hand. The popular opera remained unfinished when Puccini died in 1924, and was eventually completed by the lesser-known composer and pianist Franco Alfano. Please note that each of the aforementioned Fathom Events (except for the wrestling doc) will also be shown simultaneously at the Cinemark multiplex in nearby Bluffton, S.C.

 

At the Mars

Heading out to the tiny town of Springfield, their restored, historic Mars Theatre offers the well-received, female-driven comedic heist flick “Ocean’s 8” at 7 p.m. July 12-14. Sure, it’s playing at plenty of other corporate multiplexes in town, but if you’re willing to make the short drive to this unique nonprofit venue, you’re supporting a worthwhile cause, and admission is cheaper, too.

On July 17, their summertime series of Two for Tuesday family-oriented films continues with two early showings (at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) of the 2017 British live-action/CGI hybrid “Paddington 2,” which continues the filmic adventures of the titular, anthropomorphised bear who does his level best to fix situations he perceives to be unfair. It’s one of the very few movies to receive a full 100 percent Fresh (positive) rating from international critics on RottenTomatoes.com, and is entertaining to both the very young and the very old, and everyone in between. Tickets are only $2. As my moviegoing friend (and avowed Paddington enthusiast) John Harris would say, “What’s not to like?”

Disney and more

Speaking of family-friendly summertime movies, downtown’s Lucas Theatre plays host to the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia’s second annual QuestFest (a massive, experience-based “scavenger hunt” which draws young girls from around the world) with a special screening of Disney’s 1991 animated version of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” starring the voice talent of Robby Benson, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury and others. Based heavily on the stunningly phantasmagoric 1945 B&W film adaptation of the tale by French director Jean Cocteau, it has grossed almost half a billion dollars to date and spawned numerous related features and stage shows. It’s open to the public, but serves as a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts, so be aware this 8 p.m. show costs a few more bucks than standard screenings at this venue.

 

On July 14, the Lucas’ "Hitchcock or Hepburn" series continues with a 7 p.m. screening of director Blake Edwards’ massively popular — if wildly divergent — 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard (!) and featuring the debut of the now-standard song “Moon River,” composed by Savannah’s own Johnny Mercer. Perhaps Hepburn’s most iconic role (in a career filled with such things), this tale of a determined young woman who doggedly creates a new life for herself is adored by folks of all ages, despite the fact that it contains some very ugly racial stereotypes, which were certainly disturbing then but have only grown more nauseating with the passing of time. That said, if you can hold your nose (and your conscience) a bit, the totality of the film is quite captivating.

And then, on July 15, the Lucas offers a 3 p.m. matinee of Walt Disney’s 2002 animated sci-fi dramedy “Lilo & Stitch,” about a young orphaned Hawaiian girl who winds up adopting an aggressive alien creature as her “dog” and helping it to learn the importance of peaceful cohabitation and the value of family connections. Slightly edgier than most Disney fare of that time period, it seems to have aged better than most feature-length animated pictures of its vintage.

 

Tybee adventures

Looking out to the historic Tybee Post Theater on Tybee Island, they’ll screen the new fifth installment in the ongoing “Jurassic Park” franchise, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” at 7 p.m. July 12-14, and also at 3 p.m. July 12 and 14. Starring Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum and B.D. Wong, this high-energy, dinosaur-led sci-fi action roller coaster is one of the biggest financial successes of the year.

Young kids can enjoy catching a film at the Post on July 17, when they’ll show 2017’s Pixar-Disney co-production “Cars 3," the third CGI action comedy based around the world of NASCAR racing. Then, the next day, July 18, the Post will screen “Sherlock Gnomes,” the 2018 CGI sequel to 2011’s “Gnomeo & Juliet.” This modest theatrical hit about a detective who happens to be a garden gnome (no, seriously) stars the voice talents of Johnny Depp, Mary J. Blige and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Finally, on July 19, you can catch 2017’s live-action Marvel Studios superhero flick “Thor: Ragnarok” at this venue. The third feature to focus on the popular comic book character based on a Norse deity, it received high marks from fans and critics alike for its successful mix of over-the-top action and humor. All three of these aforementioned films will be shown twice, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

 

Flawed yet visionary

And, last but certainly not least, on July 18, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing Wednesday night series of overlooked or underappreciated motion pictures from across the globe continues at The Sentient Bean with a rare public showing of writer-actor-producer-director Christopher St. John’s oft-maligned yet misunderstood 1972 vanity project “Top of the Heap.” A bizarre and ambitious cross between an early, streetwise blaxploitation flick and a self-indulgent, avant-garde arthouse feature, it flopped at the box office but became legitimately legendary among fans and collectors of flawed-yet-visionary movies.

Unavailable for decades, it’s the dreamlike tale of a frustrated black policeman who feels undervalued and at times outright rejected not only by his fellow white police officers, but also by the black citizens he has sworn to serve and protect. This mental stress and anguish plays out in vivid sequences that offer a glimpse into the officer’s psyche, wherein he imagines himself a national hero as the first black astronaut to set foot on the surface of the moon. Provocative and compelling, it’s one of the strangest films of its era to be released through a major American studio. The PFS will show a complete, uncut widescreen version of this highly sought-after cult oddity. 8 p.m. showtime, with a full dinner menu and discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show.

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 the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah.

 

IF YOU GO

What: “350 Days — Legends. Champions. Survivors.”

When: 7 p.m. July 12

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Ocean's 8”

When: 7 p.m. July 12-14

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast”

When: 8 p.m. July 12

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $15

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

When: 7 p.m. July 14

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$8

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Lilo & Stitch”

When: 3 p.m. July 15

Where: Lucas Theatre

Cost: $5-$8

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Big" 30th Anniversary

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 15 and 18

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St. and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: Bolshoi Ballet Live "Romeo and Juliet”

When: 7 p.m. July 16

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St. and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: The Met Live "Turandot”

When: 7 p.m. July 18

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St. and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

When: 7 p.m. July 12-14 and 3 p.m. July 12 and 14

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Paddington 2”

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 17

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

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Cars 3”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 17

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Sherlock Gnomes”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 18

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Top of the Heap”

When: 8 p.m. July 18

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Thor: Ragnarok”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 19

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org