Allow me to say thanks to all the Film Scene readers who attended this past week’s inaugural Graveface Psychotronic Fright Fest horror movie marathon at the Lucas Theatre. That collaboration between my organization, the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah, and local music and memorabilia store Graveface Records attracted a diverse crowd from teens to seniors, some of whom traveled from as far away as Maryland to get their classic horror film fix.

The historic, restored Lucas was a beautiful location for this retro-themed, 12-hour event, and with a little luck, this partnership will evolve into an even bigger and better Fright Fest in the fall of 2019.

Now, let’s take a look ahead to the next seven days' worth of specialty screenings in and around the city. As always, admission prices can be found in our accompanying sidebar listings.

From Trump to Doctor Who

On Oct. 4, the Regal Stadium 10 multiplex behind the Savannah Mall screens “The Trump Prophecy: A Voice of Hope — A Movement of Prayer.” This just-released film dramatizes the real-life story of Mark Taylor, a Florida fireman who claims God (yes, THE God) told him in 2011 that Donald Trump was destined to be the president of the United States, long before the paragon of virtue had formally announced his candidacy for the White House. He believes Trump’s win was the work of the Lord, who is using our current president to “steal back” money and prestige that Taylor believes has been taken from the USA by rival nations. So there you have it. 7 p.m. showtime.

 

Two nights later at the same venue, opera lovers can catch a live, high-def simulcast of a brand-new offering from New York City’s famed Metropolitan Opera Company. This time, it’s their production of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1871 work “Aida,” which has since become perhaps the single most popular opera of all time, and one that is a staple of virtually all serious opera companies in the world. Set in ancient Egypt, it’s a tale of love during wartime, and this new, four-hour production is conducted by Nicola Luisotti and stars Anna Netrebko (who’s never sung “Aida” at the Met before), as well as Anita Rachvelishvili and Aleksandrs Antonenko. It will be performed in Italian, with English subtitles, and for those who can’t make this 12:55 p.m. live simulcast, an encore will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10.

 

Then, on Oct. 7 and 9, the Regal (as well as the Cinemark in nearby Bluffton, S.C.) celebrates the 50th anniversary of British director Peter Yates’ iconic 1968 U.S.-made crime flick “Bullitt,” with four special screenings of the restored version of the film. It stars the late, great Steve McQueen as a Frisco-based police detective hellbent on catching the wiseguys behind the attempted assassination of a controversial mafia informant.

A relentlessly thrilling film noted for containing one of the single most impressive, white-knuckle car chase sequences in the history of cinema, it holds up very well today, and has not been shown here locally since a one-show-only 2015 screening at Trustees Theater courtesy of SCAD’s Cinema Circle. This special presentation includes additional bonus features from McQueen’s own family members, and runs two hours and 15 minutes. Showtimes at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day.

 

And then, on Oct. 10 and 11, the Regal hosts a unique event: a big-screen viewing of the brand-new season premiere of beloved British sci-fi TV series “Doctor Who.” This 90-minute presentation introduces the latest actor to play the titular, time-traveling extraterrestrial being, and this time, for the first time ever, the Doctor will be played by a woman. Actress Jodie Whittaker (perhaps best known for her work in the British crime series “Broadchurch”) plays the 13th Doctor, and in addition to her debut in this role, this cinematic presentation will also include supplemental, behind-the-scenes material featuring interviews with Whittaker and the episode’s director Jamie Childs. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. both nights.

 

At the Mars

Heading out to the nearby town of Springfield, the historic, restored Mars Theatre presents the just-released, inspirational Christian drama “God Bless the Broken Road” on Oct. 4. The extremely emotional tale of a young mother who loses her soldier husband in the Afghanistan War, and how her belief in God saves her from ruin, stars Jordin Sparks from the successful “Left Behind” film franchise. 7 p.m. showtime. The next day, the Mars kicks off an extended run of famed horror movie director Eli Roth’s new, family-oriented supernatural fantasy flick, “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” based on the early ‘70s kids’ novel of the same name. This adaptation has received mixed reviews, but is said to be very pleasing for pre-teens. It stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Kyle MacLachlan. Showtime is 7 p.m. Oct. 5, 6 and 11.

'Days of Heaven'

Moving downtown, on Oct. 4, the SCAD Cinema Circle presents the second in its series of highly influential feature films released in 1978, the same year as the founding of that celebrated private art college. It’s a rare public screening of controversial director Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven,” a rather bold and daring film that was generally praised by most critics upon initial release, but failed to appeal to the viewing public, resulting in it losing money and being thought of as a commercial flop. However, 40 years later, “Days of Heaven” is considered one of the very best motion pictures of its era. In fact, there are some critics and film historians who deem it one of the best motion pictures ever made.

 

This lush and visually stunning period piece stars Richard Gere, Brooke Adams and playwright Sam Shepard, and is set in the Texas Panhandle of 1916. It’s the tense tale of a poor, itinerant couple who set out to deceive a dying man of his estate. An extremely evocative film driven more by emotion than dialogue or traditional, linear storytelling, this Oscar-winner for Best Cinematography deserves to be seen in a theatrical setting to achieve its maximum impact on an audience. For this 8 p.m. screening, I am happy to say I will be on hand as guest presenter to both introduce the film and lead a post-show audience discussion on its production and enduring legacy. I hope you can make it.

Zombies on Tybee

Out on Tybee Island, the historic Tybee Post Theater has two different zombie-themed programs on tap for this upcoming week. First up on Oct. 7 is a way-cool event: the season premiere of the AMC network’s Georgia-set flagship series “The Walking Dead,” which for years now has been one of the most popular shows on cable. The tale of an ever-changing group of survivors making their way through the challenging aftermath of a worldwide “zombie apocalypse,” the hyper-violent, hour-long action-drama launches its ninth season that night at 9 p.m., and the Post will project it on their big screen for added emphasis. Immediately prior to the season premiere, at 8 p.m., they’ll show an hour-long recap of last season’s developments, just to bring everyone up to speed. Admission is free, but the venue is asking for voluntary donations in any amount, which will go toward operating expenses.

 

Four nights later, the Post celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of writer-director George A. Romero’s landmark zombie feature “Night of the Living Dead," with a rare theatrical screening of the low-budget classic. Its grim, matter-of-fact approach to ghoulish subject matter has made an almost incalculable impact on the entire horror and sci-fi entertainment industry (including, and perhaps especially so, “The Walking Dead”), and continues to influence all manner of popular culture. A half-century on, “NOLD” still packs an intense wallop, not only in regard to the monstrous horror that living dead creatures can inflict upon humans, but most particularly in regard to the type of hideous destruction that human beings can inflict on themselves when they allow superficial differences like skin color, gender identity or religious beliefs to divide rather than unite us all.

 

If you’ve never seen this film in the big screen, run, don’t walk to this rare opportunity to do so. And pray with all your might that the crowd that night is quiet and respectful rather than chatty and mocking (as can sometimes be the case with modern-day screenings of older, B&W films), for that will instantly destroy the mood and tone of this incredibly earnest and serious insurrectionist parable. 7 p.m. showtime, and admission includes your choice of beverage (wine, beer or soft drinks) and a piece of chocolate.

Mexican fright flick

And, last but not least, the Psychotronic Film Society’s intimate, ongoing Wednesday night series of underappreciated films from around the world continues Oct. 10 at The Sentient Bean coffeehouse with the forgotten 1969 Mexican fright flick “El libro de Piedra” aka “The Book of Stone.” An exceedingly creepy tale of a mysterious garden statue of a young boy that appears to exert a supernatural influence over the young daughter of a wealthy family, the less said about the specifics of the plot the better. It’s a minor gem of psychological horror that is virtually unknown outside of Mexico (it was never shown in theaters in the USA and has never been released here on home video), yet is well-known in its country of origin (where it was actually remade as a big-budget shocker a few years back). The PFS will screen a fully uncut Mexican print of the film in spoken Spanish with English subtitles. 8 p.m. showtime.

 

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: “The Trump Prophecy”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 4

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “God Bless the Broken Road”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 4

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Days of Heaven”

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 4

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $5-$8

Info: trusteestheater.com

 

What: “The House with the Clock in the Walls”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 11

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: The Met Live in HD "Aida”

When: 12:55 p.m. Oct. 6; 6:30 p.m.Oct. 10

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Bullitt”

When: 2 p.m., 7 p.m. Oct. 7, 9

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “The Walking Dead" season premiere

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: Free (donations suggested)

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Doctor Who" season premiere

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “The Book of Stone”

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 10

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Night of the Living Dead”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 11

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org