3rd annual Halloween special film screening & live score: 1962 “Carnival of Souls” with music by Light Upon Blight Ensemble Sat., Oct. 28

Avant-garde rock group Light Upon Blight Ensemble returns for their third annual Halloween special on Saturday, Oct. 28, this time improvising a live score to Herk Harvey’s 1962 horror classic “Carnival of Souls.” The show starts at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover. Costumes and other Halloween trick or treatery are encouraged and welcomed.

From the Criterion Collection Web site on a page that features video of director Herk Harvey discussing the film:

Fifty-four years ago, director Herk Harvey made his atmospheric horror film Carnival of Souls, and in the time since, it has become not only a beloved cult classic but a landmark of American independent cinema. Made independently from the Centron Corporation, a company in Lawrence, Kansas, where Harvey had made several industrial and educational films, this low-budget feature was shot primarily at an abandoned amusement park on the shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Initially released in drive-in theaters in 1962, Carnival opened to a limited audience as part of a double feature, but it left an indelible mark on those who did see it, like director George A. Romero. It wasn’t until 1989 that the film finally had a proper revival and was given a theatrical release in New York, establishing it as one of the most influential horror films of its time.

Much like volcanic eruptions, Light Upon Blight performances are uncompromising acts of spontaneous destruction and creation. Purging and destroying the old while simultaneously laying new, fertile ground. No two Light Upon Blight performances are ever the same, just as nature intended. Sounds like: Free Jazz with a noise aesthetic or an exorcism.

The Light Upon Blight Ensemble is the jazzier & groovier off-shoot of the Psych/Free Improv/Doom/Noise project Light Upon Blight. For this show, Light Upon Blight Ensemble features Jeff Cedrone (guitar, analog synth), Bob Gorry (guitar), Tom Hogan (drums), Pete Riccio (drums), Pete Brunelli (bass), and BVFCC’s own Richard Brown (alto sax).

UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):

• Wednesday, Oct. 25. NEW ORLEANS-STYLE FUNK: BAND OF DRUTHERS

• Thursday, Oct. 26. INDIE ROCK: SEAN HENRY, RYXNO

• Friday, Oct. 27. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: THE BOSSA NOVA PROJECT

• Saturday, Oct. 28. LIGHT UPON BLIGHT HALLOWEEN SHOW: “CARNIVAL OF SOULS” with LIVE IMPROVISED MUSICAL SCORE

• Wednesday, Nov. 1. OLD-TIMEY/BLUES: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 2. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: JOE MILLER

• Friday, Nov. 3. AMERICANA: FYFE AND STONE

• Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 PM. SOLO MODERN PRIMITIVE GUITAR: SHAWN PERSINGER

• Sunday, Nov. 5, 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE SUNDAY AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY BEST VIDEO OPEN MIC

• Thursday, Nov. 9. GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK: RICH MORAN

• Friday, Nov. 10. MODERN ROCK: NALANI & SARINA, CHASER EIGHT NAKED (PRESENTED BY AIM PRODUCTIONS)

• Saturday, Nov. 11, 7-10 PM (at ORDINARY tavern in New Haven): ART OPENING: “CREEPSHOW”—A BENEFIT FOR BEST VIDEO FILM & CULTURAL CENTER with art by AUDREY NEFORES & NICK HURWITZ-GOODMAN

• Sunday, Nov. 12, 7 PM. FOLK: MINK, SOCK & LUTIE

• Wednesday, Nov. 15, 7 PM. BLUEGRASS: TIM O’BRIEN

• Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 PM. BLUEGRASS: TIM O’BRIEN (SOLD OUT!)

• Friday, Nov. 17. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING

• Saturday, Nov. 18. BVFCC ANNIVERSARY GALA AT THE BALLROOM AT THE OUTER SPACE: 5 IN THE CHAMBER, OLIVE TIGER, NU HAVEN KAPELYE, THE TET OFFENSIVE

• Sunday, Nov. 19, 3 PM. JAZZ: TRIO 149

• Monday, Nov. 20, 7 PM. FILM SCREENING: “SON OF SAUL” (WITH TALK BY PROF. CHRISTOPHER SHARRETT)

• Thursday, Nov. 30. BLUEGRASS: EAST ROCK RAMBLERS

• Friday, Dec. 1. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & TONY PURRONE

• Sunday, Dec. 3, 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE SUNDAY AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Thursday, Dec. 7.ART SONG/SINGER-SONGWRITERS: OLIVE TIGER (SOLO), AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Dec. 8. BLUEGRASS: TWISTED PINE (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, Dec. 9. JAZZ/AVANT-GARDE: KLEPTOKRAT; WORLD MUSIC/FOLK: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY BEST VIDEO OPEN MIC

• Thursday, Dec. 14, 8 PM. JAZZ: PAUL SHANLEY

• Friday, Dec. 15. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: THE FURORS (CD RELEASE!)

• Friday, Dec. 22. HOLIDAY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SHOW: DUST HAT, BRONSON ROCK

• Friday, Jan. 5. AFRO-FUNK/ELECTRONICS: ENERGY

• Friday, Jan. 12, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: BEPPE GAMBETTA (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Friday, Feb. 9. BLUEGRASS: JOE WALSH & SWEET LOAM

• Friday, Mar. 16. BLUEGRASS: ZOE & CLOYD (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

Music/Film/Halloween: Film screening of silent “Nosferatu” with live score by Light Upon Blight Fri., Oct. 28, at 8 PM

nosferatu_1922_poster_webAvant-garde rock group Light Upon Blight returns for their second annual Halloween special, this time improvising a live score to F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent film classic “Nosferatu.” The show starts at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover. Costumes and other Halloween tick or treatery are encouraged and welcomed.

“Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens ” (translates as “Nosferatu: A symphony of Horror”) is as masterpiece of German Expressionist filmmaking. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”—Stoker’s estate sued and won; fortunately, not all copies were destroyed as ordered by the court—”Nosferatu” was a sensation upon its release.

Roger Ebert enshrined “Nosferatu” as one of the “Great Movies,” writing, “To watch F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” (1922) is to seethe vampire movie before it had really seen itself. Here is the story of Dracula before it was buried alive in clichés, jokes, TV skits, cartoons and more than 30 other films. The film is in awe of its material. It seems to really believe in vampires.”

Much like volcanic eruptions, Light Upon Blight performances are uncompromising acts of spontaneous destruction and creation. Purging and destroying the old while simultaneously laying new, fertile ground. No two Light Upon Blight performances are ever the same, just as nature intended. Sounds like: Free Jazz with a noise aesthetic or an exorcism.

Light Upon Blight improvising a live score to "Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages" at Best Video Performance Space in 2015.

Light Upon Blight improvising a live score to “Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages” at Best Video Performance Space in 2015.

The group for this performance is Jeff Cedrone (guitar, synth, voice, electronics), Tom Hogan (drums, percussion), John C. Miller (synth, electronics), and Pete Riccio (drums, percussion).

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 26. SINGER-SONGWRITER: NAMOLI BRENNET

• Thursday, Oct. 27. CELTIC AMERICA: THE EBIN-ROSE TRIO; SINGER-SONGWRITER:  DOUGLAS ALAN

• Friday, Oct. 28. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT PLAYS TO “NOSFERATU”

• Saturday, Oct. 29. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “SPIRITED AWAY” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Sunday, Oct. 30. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—JOHN HUSTON’S “THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE”

• Wednesday, Nov. 2. RECEPTION TO HONOR FRANZ DOUSKEY AS HAMDEN’s FIRST POET LAUREATE

• Thursday, Nov. 3. ROCK: ROPE, THE TOMMYS

• Saturday, Nov. 5. AMERICANA: MATT WHEELER, GOODNIGHT BLUE MOON DUO, JON SCHLESINGER

• Sunday, Nov. 6. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—JOHN HUSTON’S “THE ASPHALT JUNGLE”

• Thursday, Nov. 10. BEST VIDEO FILM & CULTURAL CENTER GALA FIRST ANNIVERSARY BENEFIT (at The Ballroom at The Outer Space)

• Friday, Nov. 11. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FERNANDO PINTO PRESENTS JESSE TERRY & CALLAGHAN

• Sunday, Nov. 13. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—JOHN HUSTON’S “THE AFRICAN QUEEN” (1 PM)

• Sunday, Nov. 13. KLEZMER JAM (6 PM)

• Wednesday, Nov. 16. IMPROVISATION/AVANT-GARDE: TOM BLANCHART, CHRIS CRETELLA< ZACH ROWDEN

• Thursday, Nov. 17. LITERARY READING: ALICE MATTISON

• Saturday, Nov. 19. JAZZ JAM with ALLEN LOWE, JEFF FULLER & ED CERCONE

• Wednesday, Nov. 23. AMERICAN PRIMITIVE GUITAR: DANIEL BACHMAN, ALEXANDER

• Friday, Nov. 25. BLUEGRASS/TRADITIONAL COUNTRY: DAVE PETERSON (A GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Nov. 26. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Thursday, Dec. 1. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: GLENN ROTH

• Friday, Dec. 9. BLUEGRASS: DALE ANN BRADLEY BAND (A GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTION)

• Friday, Dec. 16. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Saturday, Dec. 17. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “THE GOONIES” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Friday, Jan. 13. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Saturday, Jan. 28. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

 

Rob Harmon’s Picks 10/27/15

Rob_photo_031715_WebHalloween Testimonial for Best Video

“It’s a perfect night for mystery and horror. The air itself is filled with monsters.”

– Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Elsa Lanchester), Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Ah yes, Halloween is here and all that we associate with it: crisp, cold evenings; leaves changing and falling to the ground, crunching beneath our feet; and, of course, candy – sticky and cloyingly sweet on the tongue. Sunset comes a little earlier each day: like a theater’s lights dimming, we slip into another frame of mind, subconsciously giving ourselves over to a greater sense of fantasy and the desire for sensation… much like the experience, in fact, of watching movies!

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a movie or even a beloved TV special from Best Video? Of course, scary movies are the order of the day, but one need not feel hemmed in by shivers and shocks: there are plenty of delightful classics (I MARRIED A WITCH, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, BELL BOOK AND CANDLE), “camp” classics (PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, TROLL 2, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW), as well as family-friendly fare (GREMLINS, HOCUS POCUS, THE MONSTER SQUAD, FRANKENWEENIE, etc., etc.) which are perfectly appropriate for the season.

And yet, though I’ve seen a lot of scary movies in my life, I’ll tell you what would be really frightening: a world without Best Video.

I would be remiss if I did not mention here the upcoming handover of this beloved neighborhood institution from Hank Paper — who opened the business 30 years ago — to the Best Video Film and Cultural Center, a new non-profit board charged with running the video store, café, and performance space and guiding us towards the future. This is the culmination of well over a year’s worth of tireless work on the part of Mr. Paper, the board, and our staff. In essence, this is a critical moment in the life-story of this brick-and-mortar establishment and we need support and involvement from the community.

I have lost track of how many people have come up to me over time and told me that they grew up going to Best Video and now bring their own kids. Some of those grown-up “kids” are now even studying film and working in the film industry. This is no coincidence: Best Video U. is an education unparalleled… and cheaper, too, if you compare late fees to tuition!

Speaking of the future, in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II, Marty McFly travels from the year 1985 to the once-unfathomable year of 2015. Isn’t it ironic that Best Video has traversed that same time period?! Why, one could say that the store itself is a sort of DeLorean time machine… except, of course, without those cool flip-up doors and a flux capacitor! Best Video is a time machine, allowing one to travel freely backwards and forwards in time. We may not have kooky stuff like hoverboards and flying cars in our garages just yet, but, thank goodness, we still have Best Video down the street! Here’s to 30 years… and more!

Okay, enough talk. Here’s a review:

It_FollowsIt Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell, 2015)

People watch scary movies for all sorts of different reasons. There are simply innumerable options along the continuum: roller coaster thrill rides, calibrated to deliver maximum jolts to teenagers; atmospheric slow-burners; very mildly creepy kid-friendly stuff.

I’m not completely certain what IT FOLLOWS is. Like any horror film, though, there is a set-up: girl, Jay (THE GUEST’s Maika Monroe), meets boy, Hugh (Jake Weary). They have sex. Afterwards, Hugh drugs Jay and, once she awakens, informs her that he has passed “something” on to her (and it’s not what you think): “This thing, it’s gonna follow you. Somebody gave it to me and I passed it to you…. It can look like someone you know or it can be a stranger in the crowd, whatever helps it get close to you. It can look like anyone.” Jay, it turns out, is now irrevocably in the cross-hairs of some indefinable “it” and will be mercilessly stalked by this ponderously-moving-but-never-sleeping, shape-shifting, malevolent wraith until she, in turn, has sex with someone else, passing on the ghostly manifestation like an unwanted chain letter. Yikes.

Some may roll their eyes at this as merely so much millennial drama or nonsense. The plot, certainly, has obvious metaphoric possibilities, and the reader is free to fill in any that they choose (anything from sexually-transmitted diseases to cyberstalking, etc.), yet it would be a disservice to the film to simply end there.

Director David Robert Mitchell (responsible for the ethereal coming-of-age story THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER) injects the film with grit and moments of implacable beauty. Mitchell, aside from his obvious knowledge of horror films and their genre conventions, further infuses his film with a class-consciousness that is both savvy and surprising (at one point the protagonists trace the malignant threat to the slums… and, yet, is it really from there or a better part of town?), proving that genre films are oftentimes better suited (or at least more seamless) at exploring serious issues than so-called “message movies.”

Mike Gioulakis’s camera jitteringly probes the horizon — the modern urban ruins of Detroit and its faceless suburbs — seemingly searching out imminent threats, the protagonists magnetically drawn to open spaces as they attempt to combat and/or escape their nightmarish horror vacui. Yet, while Jay and her friends flee from various dangers, we are also treated to the dreamy interludes which form the meat of their existence. At these moments the camera seems to linger – quite unexpectedly – dwelling on innocuous details such as the shimmering surface of a backyard pool, dirty laundry littering the floor of a teenager’s room, or sunset as one flies down the interstate with a few friends in the backseat.

In this queasy environment adults barely register, often with their backs turned to the camera, their voices barely audible. This is undoubtedly the world of the young, their hopes and regrets, and Mitchell ably creates a frighteningly claustrophobic space for it: drab Americana, drained of its meaning… an empty landscape waiting to be filled with incipient horrors, making for a chilling parable about youth today.

Special mention should be made of the music by composer Rich Vreeland, known as Disasterpeace (he has principally worked in video games up to this point). The synth-y strains of his score perfectly suiting the velvety tones of the film’s images and rhythms. In this respect, IT FOLLOWS links with a classic horror film tradition, its progressive score matching that of the music of such milestones as PSYCHO, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, SUSPIRIA, and THE SHINING in their sheer ability to shock and disrupt the viewer. (A hint: turn up the volume on this one!)

The truth is, IT FOLLOWS is many things: cynical, artsy, dreamy, beautiful… as well as the most ambitious horror film to emerge from the U.S. in a long time. It’s also pretty frickin’ scary.

Halloween special Music & Film Screening: Light Upon Blight plays a live score to silent classic “Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages”

Light_Upon_Blight_cafe_nine_WebAs a special pre-Halloween event, the improvisational group Light Upon Blight will improvise a film score to the silent movie classic “Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages” on Friday, Oct. 30. The performance begins at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover. Narration will feature the pre-recorded voice of legendary Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs.

The band urges the public to “come on out to this one time event and help us summon up some ghouls, ghosts, and goblins on the eve before Halloween.” Costumes are absolutely encouraged.

Much like volcanic eruptions, Light Upon Blight performances are uncompromising acts of spontaneous destruction and creation. Purging and destroying the old while simultaneously laying new, fertile ground. No two Light Upon Blight performances are ever the same, just as nature intended. Sounds like: Free Jazz with a noise aesthetic or an exorcism.

For this show, Light Upon Blight will feature Jeff Cedrone (guitar, synth, electronics), Pete Brunelli (bass, electronics), John C. Miller (modular synth), Tom Hogan (drums) and Tony Pellino (synth, guitar).

A 1921 review in Variety said:

Swedish and Danish pictures easily hold the palm for morbid realism and in many cases for brilliant acting and production. Witchcraft made by [Danish director] Benjamin Christensen [funded by a Swedish production company], leaves all the others beaten. It is in reality a pictorial history of black magic, of witches, of the Inquisition, and the thousand and one inhumanities of the superstition-ridden Middle Ages. Many of its scenes are unadulterated horror.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 21. ROOTS ROCK: BRONSON ROCK

• Thursday, Oct. 22. GARAGE SOUL: ELISON JACKSON

• Friday, Oct. 23. ALT-COUNTRY: TANNERSVILLE Cancelled

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

 

Mike Wheatley’s Picks 10/28/14: Halloween movies for the younger set

Hocus_PocusLooking for some seasonally-appropriate entertainment but don’t want to traumatize your younger children for the rest of their lives? Best Video staffer Michael Wheatley has put together a list of 30 films that would make for fine family-friendly Halloween entertainment.

Boo! (Sorry—hope we didn’t scare you!)

01. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
02. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
03. Twitches (2005)
04. Ghostbusters (1984)
05. The Witches (1990)
06. Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
07. The Addams Family (1991)
08. The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
09. Hocus Pocus (1993)

10. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
11. Casper (1995)
12. Tower of Terror (1997)
13. The Monster Squad (1987)
14. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
15. Gremlins (1984)
16. Return to Oz (1985)
17. Monster House (2006)
18. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
19. ParaNorman (2012)
20. Frankenweenie (2012)
21. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
22. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
23. Coraline (2009)
24. Corpse Bride (2005)
25. Beetlejuice (1988)
26. Halloweentown (1998)
27. Young Frankenstein (1974)
28. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
29. Labyrinth (1986)
30. The Black Cauldron (1985)

Music: David, Sheldon and Gail to perform “Songs of Misery, Despair and The Supernatural” Thurs., Oct. 30, at 8 PM

David_Sheldon_Gail_WebDavid, Sheldon and Gail perform a program of “Songs of Misery, Despair and the Supernatural” on Thursday, Oct. 30. The seasonally shivery songcraft begins at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

David and Sheldon and Gail and have been singing together for about a decade now. They combine infectious enthusiasm, humor, and sweet three-part harmony singing of traditional and modern folk music.

In honor of Halloween we’ve brought out some of our most depressing, awful, and frightening material, and funny songs about hell and misery.  Come on out for a depressing and scary evening, and miserable attempts at entertainment. Winter’s coming, so you might as well get a start on feeling bad, while joining choruses in harmony.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 22. INDIE POP: PLAYFIGHT

• Thursday, Oct. 23. CABARET/SPOKEN WORD: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Sunday, Oct. 26. CHILDREN’S FILM SCREENING: “SHORT CIRCUIT”

• Wednesday, Oct. 29. ECLECTIC POP: MISSION ZERO

• Thursday, Oct. 30. “SONGS OF MISERY, DESPAIR & THE SUPERNATURAL”: DAVID, SHELDON AND GAIL

• Sunday, Nov. 2. CHILDREN’S FILM SCREENING: “ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN”

• Monday, Nov. 3. FILM SCREENING: “THE JEWISH CARDINAL”

• Thursday, Nov. 6. NEO-URBAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC: THE STACY PHILLIPS-PAUL HOWARD DUET

• Friday, Nov. 7. INSTRUMENTAL ROCK: THE SIX PACK DUTCHMEN

• Monday, Nov. 10. FILM SCREENING: “A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES”

• Tuesday, Nov. 11. TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA: FRANZ DOUSKEY & RICH MORAN, JR.

• Wednesday, Nov. 12. JAZZ: DAVID CHEVAN & WARREN BYRD

• Thursday, Nov. 13. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, JASON PRINCE

• Friday, Nov. 14. INDIE FOLK: OLIVE TIGER

• Monday, Nov. 17. FILM SCREENING: “I CONFESS”

• Thursday, Nov. 20. FILM SCREENING: “SEVEN DAYS IN MAY”

• Friday, Nov. 21. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: BECKY KESSLER (Violent Mae), SAM PERDUTA (Elison Jackson)

• Monday, Nov. 24. FILM SCREENING: “BABETTE’S FEAST”

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. BLUEGRASS: PHANTOMS OF THE OPRY

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

 

Rob Harmon’s recommendations 10/29/13

ROB HARMON’S RECOMMENDATIONS 10/29/13

Rob_Harmon_image_for_picksThe Horror! The Horror!

Personally, I enjoy watching horror movies any time of the year—occasionally binging on them like a kid on candy corn—but I understand that, around Halloween, they do go with the season. After all, what better way to celebrate the autumn and longer, chillier nights than to pop in a really scary movie and watch it with friends, family, or, gulp, do you dare it alone? Of course, there are many different kinds of horror films—serious, silly, scary, satirical, campy, slasher, haunted house, giallo, vampire, zombie, werewolf, witchcraft, American, British, Japanese, Italian, etc.—but, undaunted, I have attempted to gather together my 100 Favorite Horror Films into one list for your perusal and viewing enjoyment. Happy Halloween!

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
2. Psycho (1960)
3. Halloween (1978)
4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
5. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) (the 1978 remake is surprisingly good, as well)
7. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
8. The Birds (1963)
9. Videodrome (1983)
10. The Seventh Victim (1943)
11. The Thing from Another World (1951) (+ the 1982 remake!!!)
12. Sisters (1973)
13. Alien (1979)
14. Black Christmas (1974)
15. Dressed to Kill (1980)
16. Suspiria (1977)
17. The Evil Dead (1981)
18. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
19. The Exorcist (1973)
20. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
21. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
22. The Shining (1980)
23. Island of Lost Souls (1932)
24. Martin (1976)
25. Zombie (1979)
26. Evil Dead II (1987)
27. Daughters of Darkness (1971)
28. Deathdream (1972)
29. Don’t Look Now (1973)
30. God Told Me To (1976)
31. Dead of Night (1945)
32. The Wicker Man (1973)
33. Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)
34. Blood Feast (1963)
35. The Black Cat (1934)
36. Friday the 13th (1980)
37. Carnival of Souls (1962)
38. The Uninvited (1944)
39. Black Sabbath (1963)
40. Onibaba (1964)
41. The Haunting (1963)
42. Curse of the Demon (1957)
43. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
44. The Omen (1976)
45. The Innocents (1961)
46. They Live (1988)
47. Frankenstein (1931)
48. The Brood (1979)
49. The Last House on the Left (1972)
50. Re-Animator (1985)
51. It’s Alive (1974)
52. Invaders from Mars (1953)
53. Near Dark (1987)
54. Nosferatu (1922)
55. House (1977)
56. The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
57. Dead Alive (1992)
58. The Mummy (1932)
59. Ringu (1998)
60. The Wolf Man (1941)
61. Carrie (1976)
62. Audition (1999)
63. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
64. Black Sunday (1960)
65. Jigoku (1960)
66. Poltergeist (1982)
67. The Devil Rides Out (1968)
68. Dracula (1931)
69. Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
70. Basket Case (1982)
71. Phantasm (1979)
72. The Crazies (1973)
73. Scream of Fear (1961)
74. Pulse (2001)
75. Deep Red (1975)
76. Burn, Witch, Burn (1962)
77. The Stuff (1985)
78. Gremlins (1984)
79. Cat People (1942)
80. Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973)
81. Possession (1981)
82. Planet of the Vampires (1965)
83. The Invisible Man (1933)
84. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
85. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
86. Strait-Jacket (1964)
87. The Eye (2002)
88. The Horror of Dracula (1958)
89. The Blob (1958)
90. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
91. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964)
92. Ju-on (2002)
93. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
94. Shock (1977)
95. Raw Meat (1973)
96. The Howling (1981)
97. Night of the Creeps (1986)
98. The Fog (1980)
99. Homicidal (1961)
100. Them! (1954)

New: Halloween film screenings at Best Video Sat., Oct. 26, and Halloween night

Plan_9_DVDBest Video Performance Space presents a special pre-Halloween double feature of campy classic horror on Saturday, Oct. 26. The first movie is at 7 PM and the second at 8:30 PM. Free popcorn and $1.50 Pabst Blue Ribbons from the Best Video/Coffee Wine Bar. The $5 admission gets you into both movies.

Experience these cult classics on Best Video’s big 120″ projection screen.

7 PM: “PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE” (dir. Edward D. Wood, Jr., 1959) Grave-robbers from outer space! See the film widely hailed as the “Worst Movie Ever Made!” Starring: Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson, Vampira, The Amazing Criswell and Bela Lugosi!

8:30 PM: “TROLL 2” (dir. Claudio Fragasso, 1990) Trolls are loose… no, wait, make that goblins are loose in the sleepy little town of Nilbog! Unfortunately for young Joshua Waits his family has just arrived there for a vacation: will they survive? Luckily, however, the ghost of dear, old grand-dad swings by to help… A perennial frontrunner in the “Worst Movie Ever Made” sweepstakes! Must be seen to be believed! Starring: Michael Stephenson, Margo Prey

Night_of_the_Living_Dead_DVDCan’t get enough Halloween movie madness? Best Video Performance Space presents a special Halloween double feature of classic horror on Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31. Free popcorn and $1.50 Pabst Blue Ribbons from the Best Video/Coffee Wine Bar. the $5 admission gets you into both movies.

7 PM: “CARNIVAL OF SOULS” (dir. Herk Harvey, 1962). Mary Henry miraculously survives a horrific car-wreck but when she takes a job as church organist in another town she keeps seeing strange visions… or could they be actual manifestations of the living dead?! A creepy, low-budget chiller! Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger

8:30 PM: “NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” (dir. George A. Romero, 1968) A number of strangers hole up one evening in an abandoned farmhouse as the countryside is overrun by wave after wave of flesh-eating zombies! The original experience in white-knuckled terror! Starring: Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea

Hank’s Recommendations 10/30/12

Depending on where you live, this week’s “storm of the century” (borrowing from a highly appropriate Stephen King title on my list) may have swept away any chance for door-to-door trick or treating in your neighborhood. Which may leave you and your kids at home with your TV on this all-too-mischievous Halloween night.

Here’s a list you can draw from to assure the appropriate (albeit virtual) frights. Keep in mind that Halloween is once a year; horror lives forever.

HANK’S HOUSE OF HORROR
(All recommended titles)

SHARE A SCARE: FOR KIDS AND ADULTS

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Changeling, The
Day of the Triffids
Fly, The (orig.)
Incredible Shrinking Man, The
Invaders From Mars (orig.)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (orig.)
It Came From Outer Space
Lady in White
Silver Bullet
So I Married An Axe Murderer
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Thing, The (orig.)
Village of the Damned
War of the Worlds
Watcher in the Woods

JACQUES TOURNEUR/VAL LEWTON

Cat People
Curse of the Demon
I Walked With A Zombie
Leopard Man, The
Seventh Victim, The

HANK’S OTHER FAVORITE HORROR FILMS

Alligator
American Werewolf in London
Army of Darkness
Asphyx, The
Asylum
Bad Seed, The
Birds, The
Blob, The
Blob, The (remake)
Body Snatchers
Bug
Carnival of Souls
Carrie
Cat’s Eye
Cherry Falls
Close Your Eyes
Cloverfield
Crazies, The
Dawn of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Dead of Night (Brit.)
Dead of Winter
Devil Doll
Devil’s Advocate
Devil’s Rain
Don’t Look Now
Dracula (orig.-Lugosi)
Dracula (Langella)
Dreamscape
Duel (Spielberg)
Entity, The
Evil Dead
Exorcist, The
Final Destination
Fly, The (remake)
Freeway
Forbidden Planet
Frankenstein (Patrick Bergin)
Frighteners, The
God Told Me To
Halloween
Hidden, The
Hills Have Eyes
Horror Express
House
House of Wax
Hunger, The
I Bury the Living
Incubus, The (John Cassavetes)
Innocents, The
In the Mouth of Madness
Jacob’s Ladder
Jeepers Creepers
King Kong (orig.)
Lasst Exorcism, The
Last Wave, The
Legacy, The
Let Me In (American version)
Let the Right One In (original Swedish)
Lifeforce
Lost Souls
Maze, The
Mephisto Waltz
Mr. Frost
Mute Witness
Near Dark
Night of the Living Dead
Nightmare On Elm Street
Ninth Configuration
Ninth Gate
Nomads
Omega Man, The
Omen, The
Patrick
Phantasm
Poltergeist
Prophecy
Psycho (orig.)
Q: the Winged Serpent
Quatermass and the Pit
Repulsion
Ring, The
Ringu
Ritual
Rosemary’s Baby
Salem’s Lot
Scream
Sentinel, The
Serpent and the Rainbow
Seventh Sign
Shout, The
Signs
Sisters
Sixth Sense
Splinter
Stand, The
Stepford Wives (orig.)
Stigmata
Stir of Echoes
Storm of the Century
Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Thing, The (remake)
Tingler, The
Tremors
Unbreakable
Vanishing, The
Vanishing, The (American version)
Walking Dead, The (TV series)
When A Stranger Calls
When A Stranger Calls Back
Wicker Man, The
Wolfen

THRILLERS WITH HORRIFIC ELEMENTS

Boys From Brazil
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Day the Earth Caught Fire
Deep Impact
Diabolique (orig.)
Hitcher, The
Jaws
Manchurian Candidate
Manhunter
Misery
Night of the Hunter
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Rear Window
Rebecca
Silence of the Lambs
Soylent Green
Spiral Staircase
Terminator
Videodrome
Wait Until Dark
Wizard of Oz

RECOMMENDED HORROR FILMS ADAPTED FROM STEPHEN KING

Cat’s Eye
Dead Zone, The
Dolores Claiborne
Green Mile, The
Mist, The
Silver Bullet
Stand, The
Storm of the Century, The

Hank’s Recommendations 10/23/12

TWO NEW TV SERIES & HALLOWEEN

MAD MEN SEASON FIVE — The mystery of Don Draper returns in still yet unexpected ways. This most acclaimed and, at Best Video, awaited series—a multi-Globe and Emmy winner of the last four years—came out last week. Nonpareill art direction and period detail along with compellingly ambitious characters recreate the Madison Avenue world of the 60s, limning issues of misogyny, sexism, anti-semitism, homophobia, the glass ceiling and consumer materialism that resonate today. The first two linked episodes serve as both a reprise of what went before and a pilot of what’s to come. It’s a model of sophisticated writing and structured story telling: a fulfillment of everything promised.

 

THE WALKING DEAD — This edge-of-the seat horror drama is my choice for this year’s Halloween fare. The flight-and-pursuit story of a sheriff and a small group of people trying navigate zombie apocalypse—staying ahead of the dead that relentlessly stalk them while seeking solace in the hope of a refuge that may (or may not) lie ahead—focuses equally on the survivalist conflicts and rivalries within the group. Full of surprises and suspense and, above all, characters you can relate to, this is a show that has single-handedly reanimated the over-populated zombie genre. I’m trying to get my wife to watch it by comparing it to Friday Night Lights. Good luck to that.

Halloween is once a year but horror lives forever: a good horror film survives the designated Day of the Dead, remaining eternal in reminding ourselves of our dark side and how titillating it is to temporarily burrow in. With that in mind, we’ve created a BEST HORROR FILMS SECTION near cult and horror—in tall shelving that will tower over you like Frankenstein’s monster. Here is a sampling of our recommended horror films (two to watch with your kids; the other just for you) that will be good for any time of the year.

THE CHANGELING — Here, along with the following title (both rated PG), is the answer to a parent’s perennial plea: for a film that is “scary but not gory.”  Both are ghost stories that are among the best of their kind.

George C. Scott, putting in the inevitable strong performance, plays a music composer who witnesses the death of his wife and young son in a freak truck accident. Months later, he has taken refuge in an old, isolated Victorian house: all he wants is to be alone where he can immerse himself in his work. Instead, what he comes up against (or perhaps it’s the other way around) is the ghost of a murdered boy who seeks to use Scott as the instrument of his own vengeance. Scott’s at first reluctant and then dogged determination to carry out the boy’s mission puts him through some scarifying paces and winds up enabling him to exorcise his own demons along the way.

Octogenarian Melvyn Douglas, as a devious old man whose money and social prominence hides the answer to an ancient puzzle, adds a gem of a performance to a long distinguished career. If your idea of a horror thriller is to be moved as well as scared, then allow this ghost-thriller, complete with supernatural manifestations, séances and nocturnal grave diggings, to manifest itself on your TV screen.

 

LADY IN WHITE — Here’s a superb New England ghost story that’s also a Hitchcockian mystery thriller, great for both older kids and adults.

Twelve-year old Frankie, still in costume from a class Halloween party, is lured back into school by two mischievous friends and locked in the cloakroom overnight. Being alone, however, is not going to be his biggest fright. A man in a black face mask breaks into the cloakroom looking for something, encounters Frankie, and tries to strangle him. In the twilight between life and death, Frankie sees the apparition of a little girl, who, he realizes, is a former victim of his own assailant. Following his survival, he uses that vision as a clue to try to uncover the identity of the murderer, who, it turns out, has left nine other victims in the town.

This film is cleverly suspenseful and scary, but not gory. There is one possibly shocking moment when someone is shot in a car, and a suggested molestation motif, but the story is as sensitively told as it is beautifully photographed. If you’ve survived the rigors of that well-crafted, hoary chestnut, A CHRISTMAS STORY, but are in the mood for something spooky and horrific instead of hilarious, then allow this spirited film about one boy’s singularly determined quest into your own family den.

THE HUNGER — Vampire films (THE TWILIGHT SAGA, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, TRUE BLOOD) have been all the rage lately, targeted to the unrequited hormonal yearnings of teen girls. Here is a highly stylized cult film with an A cast whose leanings are decidedly more toward sexual fulfillment and whose target audience is clearly adult.

Catherine Deneuve is an ageless, wealthy vampire whose successive lovers all too quickly age and die. Current lover David Bowie (an intriguing actor, as in THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH and the Criterion edition of MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE) is on the way out (the scenes of this boy-man’s rapid aging are fascinating) and Susan Sarandon, the head of a rejuvenation clinic to which Bowie has sought help, is on the way in. How she gets the “hunger” from Deneuve and how she fights it is what the story’s about. Directed by Tony Scott (TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3, DOMINO, MAN ON FIRE, CRIMSON TIDE, TRUE ROMANCE, DAYS OF THUNDER), the film plays like a slick fashion spread where the blood is real. The story offers a dream of a cast in a film that itself is like a dream, yet goes straight for the jugular.