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January 22nd, 2009

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11:31 pm
You know how every year they announce the film lineup for the 24-Hour Science-Fiction Movie Marathon and I go HOLY CRAP THIS IS STELLAR and all that? Well, this year I mean it. A lot more so than previous years! I mean, let's take a look, in chronological order, with links leading to film trailers:

This here's Howard Hawks' adaptation of John Campbell's story with a screenplay by Charlie Lederer, an Algonquin Round Table favorite and Marion Davies' nephew. It's the precursor to John Carpenter's "THE THING" which is truly a classic and one film you don't want to watch in the dead of winter. The 1951 film is a classic in its own right, and since I have seen Carpenter's version several times since I've seen this one, I am eager to see it again.

IT CAME FROM (where?) OUTER SPACE (thank you) (1953)
Oh now this is is an oldie but a goodie -- and it's in 3D. (As the Marathon writeup promises us: "We'll provide the glasses, you do the ducking!") We haven't had an honest-to-gosh 3D film at the Marathon in ages, and it's gonna be a blast up in the balcony. I just hope I don't get even nearly as sick while watching it as I did CLOVERFIELD last year. (Oy!)

No, it's not a hack joke from a shecky Catskills comedian. I haven't ever seen it, but it looks to be another one of those body snatcher-type films from the 1950s, the kind that warned you that COMMUNISTS ALIENS could infiltrate THE GOOD OL U.S. of A OUR OWN BACKYARDS and take over OUR WAY OF LIFE HUMANITY! I absolutely love the title more than anything, which means the actual film is probably going to stink on ice.

LOGAN'S RUN (1976)
They got a print of LOGAN'S RUN?! Yes, they did. THEY GOT A PRINT OF LOGAN'S RUN. This film has never been shown at the Marathon. Not once in all its 34 years! But somehow they got a print. Finally. It's one of the few films I always listed on the "What would you most love to see at the Marathon?" sheet. Always. I don't care how cheesy it is; I don't care how thoroughly my friend Dani and I mocked it one evening back in 2002 when we'd had a few drinks. I still love the movie and Jenny Agutter and Peter Ustinov and Jenny Agutter and WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GONNA CALL THEM? THEY'RE CATS and Jenny Agutter and yeah.

However, the Marathon has been plagued with distributor troubles in the past: one year, we didn't get the print of a rare film (I think it was THE 27TH DAY) but instead we got the actual negative. Can't quite run a negative through a projector, so we watched something else. Another year, we were supposed to get Roger Corman's 1957 film NOT OF THIS EARTH, only the distributor messed up and gave us the 1988 remake starring Traci Lords. (Hey, it was a legitimate film for her.) It was a print and it could be threaded thru the projector, so we watched it.

Last year, director L.Q. Jones himself sent us his own print of A BOY AND HIS DOG and the geniuses at whichever shipping company used nearly didn't deliver the damn thing on time, instead stashing it in some holding facility in Framingham or wherever and simply telling us "hay guyz come by an pik it up sometiem after teh wekend lolz." After some heroic calling, hollering and driving on the part of Garen and his crew (mind you, the Marathon starts on a Sunday and ends on President's Day Monday, so getting anybody at FedEx or DHL or whatever is a hassle) the print finally arrived and was shown late in the schedule.

So that said, if there's any film this year that might could very well bring about Print Mishap Heartache, it'd definitely be LOGAN'S RUN. But I am hoping this is not the case! Fingers crossed, everybody!

This is the remake featuring Donald Sutherland and one of the greatest reaction shots in movie history. As such, it's always enjoyable to watch. I haven't seen it in a long time (they showed the original BODY SNATCHERS two or three Marathons ago) but I seem to recall it being a bit more disturbing than the original. The original, honestly, was at its most disturbing when it was at its most benign (the body-snatched townsfolk shown just going about their daily routine, just like you or me, going shopping, chatting with friends, loading alien pods onto pickup trucks for deployment in other towns WAIT OH MY GOD) I seem to recall the 1978 remake being more disturbing in an Actual Disturbing sense. Either way, it'll be fun.

I'm not sure if this was scheduled all along or if Garen and Tony worked it in in honor of Ricardo Montalban, but it's been a long time since we've had a Star Trek feature film in the Marathon or at least a long time since we had a good one. A damn fine film, and if you don't tear up when Spock valiantly walks into the radioactive engine room at the end, you are a goddamn unfeeling robot who is not programmed to comprehend this human emotion we call "love".

REPO MAN (1984)
See when I said I meant "this is awesome" this year? This is one of the reasons why. I'm hoping this is in a late-night slot and I'm hoping I'll be able to catch a quick walk outside before watching it, cause I'll need it. Terrifically nihilistic and hilarious and disturbing all at the same time. Alex Cox, you're a genius, man.

RUNAWAY (1984)
Now this is fine 80s cheese at its peak. Tom Selleck tries his hand at a sci-fi action role and, once again, comes off as the Poor Man's Harrison Ford. Selleck, if you'll remember, had to pass up taking the lead in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK because he was cast in MAGNUM, PI. His later films QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER (and, to a lesser extent, LASSITER) tried to capture that roguish adventurer quality. Here, Selleck tries to capture Deckard in this more-mainstream-than-BLADE RUNNER film, where he's a FUTURE COP!!!1 going after Gene Simmons (without his KISS makeup) and a gang of crazy runaway household robots. Oh yeah, and Kirstie Alley goes from playing a Vulcan in KHAN to a hooker here. Go Kirstie! Scientology rules! Michael Crichton had a part in all of this, so obstensibly this film is going to be a tribute to him. All I know is that it was one of the first films we regularly rented when we got our very first VCR in the 80s, so I've seen it forwards and backwards. Literally. We did one time watch it while rewinding it. Crazy stuff, man.

I know so many people who are going to find Very Good Reasons to leave the theater when this one is playing. This is truly a disturbing film in a major way, but if you can get over the whole freak-ass clown thing (and if you can't, that's okay) you'll find a great piece of B movie schlock. And if you get too scared, just aim your laser gun at the clown's nose.

As long as the Marathon doesn't start with this (it usually begins with a high-energy film, a recent release, or both) I'll probably count this as my Dinner Hour show. It's fun, and it's loud, and stuff blows up real good, but if there was any film in this lineup that I could skip and not feel terrible doing so, it's this. Maybe KILLER KLOWNS as well, but eh, whadya gonna do.

These last two films are Marathon premieres, so they haven't been in wide (or widish) release in the US yet. We get films like these every now and then, and I can't write them off as Dinner Hour movies because while some of our premieres have been really bad (TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD from last year took the cake), others such as TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN are staggeringly awesome and you kick yourself if you come in halfway. So we'll see. Chrysalis is a Ray Bradbury story, so it could go either way, and ALIEN RAIDERS doesn't look like it's going to be nearly as tongue-in-cheek as FOREHEAD was. So it goes.

No short film series this year, I don't think, but we are getting, as always... DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24TH 1/2 CENTURY and that's fine by me.

Anyway. Somerville Theatre. Starts at noon Sunday, February 15th. Ends noon Monday, February 16th. Getcher tickets here if you haven't already done so. Meet me up in the balcony. You know who you are.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:January 23rd, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Logan's Run!!!! Love. Really.
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
Date:January 23rd, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Holy CRAP. *looks woefully at budget* *looks hopefully at travel costs*
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
I Married a Monster... is good stuff, the pure. Don't miss it.
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
Why? Why a Sunday to Monday? :( I have to work on Mondays.
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
President's Day weekend. That's how it works. I've always taken the day off in advance if I knew I wasn't officially getting it off.

(The Marathon first came into being during the long, cold, dark winter months as a way to help stave off cabin fever, so it's always occurred on or around P-Day weekend. When it goes from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, as it has done once or twice in the past, it catches fire from everybody who goes to Boskone. Frankly I have easily solved this problem by not attending Boskone.)
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, Logan's Run, Runaway and Killer Klowns?? Very nice. Ahhh Runaway so awful yet so delightful...
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Actually, I recall "I Married a Monster From Outer Space" as much less cheesy than its title, a surprisingly effective little paranoid suspense film.
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Tom Selleck also had an adventurer film called High Road to China, which was a really cheap rip-off of Raiders. It's been a long time since I've seen it. It was dreadfully dull. Came out in 1983, and faded into obscurity almost immediately.
Date:January 23rd, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
It Came From Outer Space (in 3D) is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. Ever. See it good for me!
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'll go this year. I don't have to work that Monday.
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Date:February 12th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Killer Klowns from Outer Space ... on the big screen.

This I gotta see.

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