Chills, thrills at the Castro

  • by David Lamble
  • Wednesday September 26, 2018
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The late Burt Reynolds, as a pro quarterback in "The Longest Yard."
The late Burt Reynolds, as a pro quarterback in "The Longest Yard."

The accent is on horror and scary films at the Castro Theatre in October, with a treasure trove of spectacular films that have outlived their creators' original intentions. A highlight is a multi-film Burt Reynolds tribute.

"Rams" This bio-doc tribute to designer Dieter Rams features a soundtrack by Brian Eno. (10/2)

"Young Frankenstein" (1974) Mel Brooks returns with another absurdist poke at Hollywood's funhouse view of the modern world. Brooks regular Gene Wilder is a member of the Frankenstein clan who loathes his family's history. This can-you-top-this spoof of horror flicks includes Gene Hackman, hilarious as a blind beggar. (10/5)

"Smokey and the Bandit" (1977) Burt Reynolds is a hip trucker hired to transport contraband (Coors beer) from a place where it's available (Texarkana, TX) to a place it's not (Atlanta, GA). The film is fueled by great stunt driving, with an ensemble that includes Sally Field as Burt's girl, and Jackie Gleason as a redneck lawman. (10/10)

"Deliverance" (1972) A raging river raft-trip finds four buddies (Burt, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) tackling whitewater rapids, part of a wild Georgia river about to be destroyed by dam construction. They park their cars upriver, then get the scare of their lives as both the river and the residents along its banks pose threats to their lives and manhood. Director John Boorman's river scenes are thrilling on the Castro's big screen, and the film benefits from a cameo by author James Dickey. The harrowing male rape scene is a movie unto itself.

"The Longest Yard" (1974) Burt is a pro football quarterback sent to prison for swiping his girlfriend's car. Behind bars, Burt is ordered by a tough warden (Eddie Albert) to organize a football squad. (both 10/16)

"Alien" (1979) Ridley Scott directs a smashing ensemble: the crew of a space cargo ship has a very bad stowaway on board. Be in your seat for the film's signature stomach-churning moment. With Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, and Ian Holm.

"Heavy Metal" (1981) French thriller animation anthology with the music of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, and Cheap Trick. Voiced by John Candy, John Vernon, Harold Ramis and Joe Flaherty. (both 10/19)

"I Am Cuba" (1964) This rarely seen Cuban-Russian co-production, filmed shortly after the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, is a pure propaganda film (in which the US is the decadent enemy) that transcends its Cold War origins. Visual poetry from co-directors Mikhail Kalatoyov and Sergio Correri runs 141 minutes in Spanish, Russian and dubbed English, with English subtitles. (10/21)

"The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982) Dolly Parton teams up with Burt to deliver a sexy comedy version of the Broadway hit, from a Texas Monthly profile of Houston's outrageous, ego-driven TV investigative reporter "Marvin Zindler, Eyewitness News!" Co-stars Dom DeLuise and Charles Durning.

"Boogie Nights" (1997) Burt is superb as a porn industry "Big Daddy" insider in Paul Thomas Anderson's dark comedy-drama. John C. Reilly has a witty turn as a beat cop making a necessary but difficult house call. Anderson can infuse our darkest history with visual panache, allowing familiar actors to demonstrate new aspects of their skill sets. With Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Philip Baker Hall, Ricky Jay, Joanna Gleason and Thomas Jane. (both 10/24)

"Halloween" (1978) Horror master John Carpenter creates real chills as a creepy killer roams the streets of a small town. With Jamie Lee Curtis (screen debut), Donald Pleasance and Kyle Richards. First of a long line of sequels and rip-offs.

"The Fog" (1980) Carpenter's sequel to "Halloween" is set in a California coastal town where the climate is chilly in more ways than one. New 4K restoration. (both 10/26-27)

"The Mummy" (1932) Karl Freund helms this early sound-era classic with Boris Karloff as a mummy brought back to life after thousands of years of quiet time.

"The Wolf Man" (1941) George Wagner directs Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy and Bela Lugosi. Chaney is bitten by Lugosi's werewolf. A great example of what distinguishes scary from gross. (both 10/28)