I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day, whether you're spending it with family, at work, or watching Memorial Day themed horror movies! This is an interesting week in the bay area, and an exciting one, as Leigh Whannell's second directed film Upgrade gets a wide release. We were lucky enough to see this film during en early preview screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco and, even with our incredibly varied tastes, everyone in attendance loved it! They hosts of the Overlook Hour talked about it in episode 89 (find it on Stitcher / iTunes). This is one I strongly recommend everyone checking out, and it's one I can't wait to watch again.
Aside from th new sci-fi horror (my favorite!) release, the Stanford Theatre also kills it with their Wednesday and Thursday double feature this week, especially if you're into 60's horror movies. I don't particularly seek them out, but both The Haunting and The Innocents sound great.
Terror Tuesday this week may sound familiar to you too... Friday the 13th VII, anyone? It's late in the franchise, sure, but a character from this sequel was just added to the Friday the 13th game. Also it's just a damn good movie.
Lastly, this Thursday the SF Documentary Festival begins its programming. And in this first week, the film that stood out most to me was the Bill Murray centered film, which will be screening at the Roxie Theatre. Check out the full program calendar here!
Opening This Week
Early Screenings Thursday 31st (1hr 35min)
Opens Friday 1st
Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, PROMETHEUS) is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will "upgrade" his body. The cure - an Artificial Intelligence implant called STEM - gives Grey physical abilities beyond anything experienced and the ability to relentlessly claim vengeance against those who murdered his wife and left him for dead.
Friday the 13th XII: The New Blood (1988)
Tuesday 29th @ 10:15pm (1hr 28min)
Horror (Rotten Tomatoes)
Directed by makeup effects artist John Carl Buechler, the seventh in the long-running, grisly horror series was far from the last, although the climactic fate of its antagonist would seem to suggest a final send-off. Lar Park Lincoln stars as Tina Shepard, a teenager with uncontrolled telekinetic powers. As a girl vacationing at Camp Crystal Lake, Tina killed her abusive father with the use of her mental abilities. Years later, seeking intensive counseling from manipulative, greedy psychologist Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser), Tina agrees to participate in a radical therapy that takes her back to Camp Crystal Lake. Unfortunately, Tina's psychic skills rouse the slumbering Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) from his watery grave and, in typically bloody fashion, the vengeful spook begins dispatching the randy teenagers partying in a house nearby. As Tina attempts to stop Jason's slaughter with the use of her powers, the mass-murdering ghoul encounters his toughest opponent yet. Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood was often referred to by series fans as "Jason vs. Carrie," an apropos reference to Tina's strong similarity to the main character in the horror classic Carrie (1976). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Wednesday 30th @ 10:15pm (1hr 27min)
Drama/ Horror/ Thriller (IMDB)
Partly based on a true story and partly fiction, this humanly degrading drama does not concern monsters of the imagination, but a murderer who is paroled after 10 years in prison and then kills again in a particularly inhuman way. He breaks into a house and murders its three occupants when they return: an elderly mother, her mentally handicapped son who is confined to a wheelchair, and her pretty daughter. The killer drinks the blood of one of the victims while reciting all the abuse he experienced as a child that made him commit this act against three strangers. As the story continues to unfold, psychiatrists are brought in to discuss the man's mental condition. The gruesome scenes were filmed with the best cinematography possible, implying the director wanted to emphasize the gore. It is difficult to find any valid reason in this film for dwelling on the killings and the murderer, other than simple exploitation for a better box office take. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
Landmark Clay Theatre
Friday 1st @ 11:55pm (1hr 35min)
Comedy/ Crime/ Mystery (IMDB)
In this spoof of McCarthy-era paranoia and 1950s wholesomeness, the characters and plot are drawn from the popular Parker Brothers board game of the same name. On a dark and stormy night in 1954, six individuals with ties to Washington are assembled for a dinner party at the swanky mansion of one Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving). Boddy's butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry), assigns each guest a colorful name: Mr. Green (Michael McKean), Col. Mustard (Martin Mull), Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), and Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn). Two additional servants, the Cook (Kellye Nakahara) and Yvette, the maid (Colleen Camp), assist Wadsworth as he informs the guests that they have been gathered to meet the man who has been blackmailing them: Mr. Boddy. When Boddy turns up dead, however, the guests must try to figure out who killed him so they can protect their own reputations and keep the body count from growing.
Also Screening Saturday 2nd
Friday 25th @ 8:45pm (1hr 30min)
Drama/ Erotic (Google)
Shot on digital video, this no-holds-barred, semi-autobiographical film from Italian actress/model Asia Argento presents the bleak decent of a popular actress into a haze of drugs and overindulgence. Anna Battista (Argento) has seemingly everything anyone could ever want, yet sometimes everything is never enough. Fed up with going through the motions as an actor, Battista aspires to seek a career as a director so that she may truly explore her currently latent artistic talent. The queen of excess, Battista's attempts to realize her true talent are time and again shattered as the she is used and abused by everyone she comes into contact with. After a one-night fling with an emotionally distant and uncaring Australian rock star (Jean Sheperd) leaves the self-confessed whore a lovelorn mother-to-be, Battista's desperation to bring her story to the screen finds her dealing with a shady American producer (Joe Coleman), an agent reluctant to assist her in branching out, and a heroin-addicted former filmmaker who is as close to ending his life as Battista is to beginning hers. Her career in disarray and her uncertain future growing increasingly grim, Battista embarks on a numbing binge of sex and drugs that takes her from Europe to America and back again. Attempting to seek-out the father of her unborn child and find some sense of stability, Battista finds the truth about her one-time lover.
SF Doc Fest
Friday 1st @ 9:30pm (1hr 10min)
One man’s journey to find meaning in Bill Murray’s many unexpected adventures with everyday people, rare and never-before-seen footage of the comedic icon participating in stories previously presumed to be an urban legend. Whether it be singing karaoke late at night with strangers or crashing a kickball game in the middle of the afternoon, Bill Murray lives in the moment and by doing so, creates magic with real people.
The Haunting (1963)
Wednesday 30th & Thursday 31st @ 7:30pm (1hr 52min)
Anthropology professor Richard Johnson investigates reports of psychic phenomena at a "troubled" New England mansion known as Hill House. He is joined by Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, women of radically different temperaments who share a common gift for ESP. Cynical Russ Tamblyn, who stands to inherit Hill House, goes along with the paranormal investigators, hoping to get a few laughs. He doesn't -- nor does Harris, the person most adversely affected by the various ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night which reside throughout Hill House. Both Julie Harris and Claire Bloom insist to this day that they experienced genuine ghostly disturbances during the filming of The Haunting. Conversely, director Robert Wise noted that he wanted to undergo a paranormal experience, but never did.
The Innocents (1961)
Wednesday 30th & Thursday 31st @ 5:40pm & 9:35pm (1hr 40min)
In this lugubrious but brilliantly realized adaptation of Henry James' classic novella The Turn of the Screw, 19th century British governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) arrives at a bleak mansion to take care of Flora (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens), the wealthy household's two children. Outwardly the children are little darlings, but the governess begins to feel that there's something unwholesome behind those beatific smiles. After several disturbing examples of the children's evil impulses, Miss Giddens gets information from the housekeeper (Megs Jenkins) that suggests that the children may be possessed by malign spirits -- or are all these events just the products of Miss Giddens's own imagination? The best and most frightening vignette in The Innocents occurs when the governess casually kisses young Miles, then recoils in horror when she realizes that someone other than Miles has kissed her back. Unlike many CinemaScope productions, The Innocents plays better in the claustrophobic confines of the TV screen. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi