An October To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.

Rosemary's Baby Still - Photofest - H 2016
Courtesy of Photofest

Rosemary's Baby Still - Photofest - H 2016

Angeleno cinephiles will be spoiled this month with a plethora of classic and rare horror films, French noir and a retrospective devoted to contemporary Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul.


One of the world’s greatest filmmakers, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul receives his first Los Angeles retrospective at a variety of local venues––including Cinefamily and the Aero Theatre––throughout October. The highlight of the festivities, however, is a two-night showcase of Apichatpong’s many short and medium-length films, presented at the Hammer Museum by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and Los Angeles Filmforum. While Apichatpong’s features––the latest of which, Cemetery of Splendour, was released theatrically in Los Angeles earlier this year––tend to receive relatively high-profile, albeit limited, Stateside distribution, his shorts generally don’t make it far off the festival circuit. Highlighting the first evening’s program, on Oct. 21, is the nearly hour-long Haunted Houses, from 2001, along with the more recent shorts Vapour and A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, a touching companion to the director's Palme d’Or winning feature Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. The second night, Oct. 22, is likewise anchored by a lengthier work, the seasonally-appropriate ghost story Mekong Hotel, but also makes room for a number of the director’s earliest films, including Third World and Like the Relentless Fury of the Pounding Waves. Apichatpong will be in attendance both evenings to discuss how these shorter works fit within and, in many ways, enrich his filmography.


Cinefamily’s October calendar features a typically wide-ranging selection of art house and genre offerings of both classic and contemporary vintage. Along with their ongoing Frederick Wiseman retrospective (outlined in last month’s column) and a pair of essential one-off screenings of R.W. Fassbinder’s In a Year of 13 Moons (Oct. 23) and Frank Simon’s The Queen (each part of the theater’s "Transnation" series), there’s a plethora of Halloween-themed delights, most of which are screening on 35mm and 16mm. Notable are two of the great contemporary Japanese horror films, Audition (Oct. 8), and Pulse (Oct. 15); a pair of classic Hollywood thrillers, The Haunting (Oct. 23) and I Walked with a Zombie (Oct. 25); the independent curiosity The Amazing World of Lost Ghosts (Oct. 13) and the equally strange ‘80s Disney production Something Wicked This Way Comes (Oct. 11); and, finally, a midnight screening of John Waters’ Female Trouble (Oct. 20), which, while not a horror film per se, is nonetheless one of the more enduringly grotesque offerings from the reigning king of trash cinema.


Nary a month goes by without one horror oddity or another popping up at the New Beverly Cinema. Halloween, then, finds them in their element, and the October calendar is 31 straight days of classic and obscure genre offerings, all presented on celluloid. Those inclined should make particular effort to catch double features of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Torso (Oct. 7), the Umberto Lenzi films Paranoia and A Quiet Place to Kill (Oct. 11), the grindhouse selections The Conqueror Worm and Jess Franco’s Jack the Ripper (Oct. 18), a pair of takes on the Jekyll and Hyde legend by Rouben Mamoulian and William Crain (Oct. 19 and 20), the Satan-themed bill of Rosemary’s Baby and The Mephisto Waltz (Oct. 21 and 22), the early Hollywood classics King Kong and Supernatural (Oct. 23 and 24), the wonderfully weird rock operas Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare and Son of Dracula (Oct. 25), and, last but not least, two very different takes Gaston Leroux most famous novel, the original The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney Sr, and Brian De Palma’s musical spin of the same material, Phantom of the Paradise (Oct. 26 and 27).


The French film noir series “The French Had a Name for It” returns for a second straight year to the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica from Oct. 6-9. Screening in a combination of 35mm and DCP, the films present a succinct look at some of the most impressive Gallic interpretations of what is generally considered a quintessentially American genre. Each screening on 35mm, a pair of films by director Henri-Georges Clouzot, the Hitchockian suspense thriller Diabolique (Oct. 7) and the female fall-from-grace parable Manon (Oct. 9), headline the weekend. But just as noteworthy are two René Clément films, Joy House (Oct. 8), featuring Alain Delon and Jane Fonda and screening on 35mm, and The Damned, a wartime thriller set at sea that’ll be presented as a remastered DCP.