The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, October 27 (7:30 p.m.)
The Bad Seed (Warner Bros., 1956)
Young Patty McCormack was Oscar nominated for her portrayal of Rhoda, a seemingly perfect grade schooler until she turns vicious when things don’t go her way. Mervyn LeRoy directed this adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s Broadway play that questions whether evil can be inherited. Along with McCormack, Nancy Kelly as Rhoda’s mother, Henry Jones, and Eileen Heckart recreated their stage roles with Kelly and Heckart also receiving Oscar nominations for acting. The film also landed an Oscar nomination for Harold Rosson’s cinematography. Rhoda was a character with no precedent in film history. Her intensity along with the powerfully emotional playing of the film’s adult stars has made the The Bad Seed a cult favorite.
Friday, October 28 (7:30 p.m.)
Pumpkinhead (United Artists, 1988; R-rated*)
After a tragic accident that leaves his son dead, a man conjures up a towering, vengeful demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy a group of unsuspecting teenagers. Multi-Oscar winning special effects artist Stan Winston (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jurassic Park) made his directorial debut with this stylish horror movie. Released with the poster tagline “Cruel, devious, pure as venom. All hell’s broken loose,” the film has built up a cult following in the years since its release. Pumpkinhead was followed by a direct-to-video sequel, two TV film sequels, and a comic book series. Starring Lance Henriksen, John D’Aquino, and Kerry Remsen, it was also the film debut of The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik. * No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, October 29 (2 p.m.)
Curse of the Were-Rabbit (DreamWorks Animation/Ardman Animations, 2005)
Wallace, a good-natured, eccentric cheese loving inventor (voiced by veteran actor Peter Sallis), along with his companion Gromit, a silent yet loyal and intelligent anthropomorphic dog, run a business ridding gardens of pests. They stumble upon a mystery involving a voracious monster that threatens to ruin the annual veggie-growing contest. This stop-action Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year is based on the Wallace and Gromit short film series created by Nick Park who co-directed the film with Steve Box. The directors have often referred to Curse of the Were-Rabbit as the world’s “first vegetarian horror film.” Five years in the making, it features a voice cast including Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
Saturday, October 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Young Frankenstein (20th Century-Fox, 1974)
Mel Brooks followed up his success with Blazing Saddles by directing and co-scripting (with the film’s star Gene Wilder) this stylish comedy spoof of the Universal Studios horror franchise. In addition to Wilder, Madeline Kahn also reteamed with Brooks following her unforgettable performance as Lili Von Shtupp in Saddles. The director added Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr and Kenneth Mars to the cast creating a formidable comedic ensemble. Clever writing and performances aside, the true star of the picture may be its overall look which captured the feel of the 1930s films with its black-and-white cinematography by Gerald Hirschfeld, vintage costumes by Dorothy Jeakins, and gothic set design by Dale Hennesy, complete, down to the original creepy laboratory artifacts Brooks rented from former Universal prop master Ken Strickfaden who personally saved the equipment for decades. Young Frankenstein was added to the National Film Registry in 2003.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.