Fear On Film

Repertory Series
February 5–9, 2006

Inspired by the Brattle's premiere of the new film from the fascinating Japanese director Takashi Shimizu, MAREBITO, we present a series of films that focus on the subject of fear. Not all of these are horror films, some, like VERTIGO, M, or GASLIGHT deal with fear as an element in a more conventional thriller narrative. Both REPULSION and SOMETHING WILD (1961) highlight the traumatic effects of both real and imagined violence against women. But we can't overlook the straight-up shockers - and speaking of shockers, we feature an archival print of Vincent Price in THE TINGLER, a B-movie about a scientist studying the root of fear and, when it was originally released, the theater seats were wired to give the audience electric zaps at specific moments in the film! Also presented is the not-available-on-video Gothic horror of LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, Peter Jackson's funny and freaky THE FRIGHTENERS, and two different short versions of Edgar Allen Poe's classic tale of fright, THE TELL TALE HEART.

Dates & Showtimes

Friday 2/3
Exclusive Area Premiere!
MAREBITO at 8:00, 10:00 (Note time change)

Saturday 2/4
Exclusive Area Premiere!
MAREBITO at 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30

Sunday 2/5
Double Feature!
VERTIGO at 2:15, 7:00
FRITZ LANG'S "M" at 12:00, 4:45

MAREBITO at 10:00 (separate admission)

Monday 2/6
Double Feature!
SOMETHING WILD (1961) at 5:00, 9:45

Tuesday 2/7
LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30

Wednesday 2/8
Double Feature!
THE FRIGHTENERS at 5:15, 9:45

Thursday 2/9
GASLIGHT at 7:30, 9:45 (Note time change)

Film Descriptions

Exclusive Area Premiere!
(2004) dir Takashi Shimizu w/ Shinya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita, Kazuhiro Nakahara [92 min]

A fear-obsessed freelance cameraman (Shinya Tsukamoto) investigates an urban legend involving mysterious spirits that haunt the subways of Tokyo, leading him to a disturbing discovery - and a troubling new houseguest. Squeezed in before the start of production on the big-budget U.S. remake of his The Grudge, this disturbing new film by Japanese horror master Shimizu gets back to his low-budget roots - shot on video in just 8 days and with fellow filmmaker Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man) in the lead.

"Not only is it [Shimizu's] most interesting and accomplished work to date, it is also one of the finest horrors to come from Japan in a long time. Fear junkies certainly won't come away wanting... Taking his macabre vision one step further with this Lovecraftian voyage into the netherworld MAREBITO proves that you don't need big bucks to create big chills, and that a supernatural horror movie shot on video doesn't have to look like The Blair Witch Project." - Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye

(1958) dir Alfred Hitchcock w/Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes [129 min]

Stewart's portrayal of a man crippled by a fear of heights is, ironically, one of the pinnacles of his career. Stewart plays Scottie Ferguson, a detective hired by a friend to keep an eye on his apparently suicidal wife, but, as is almost always the case, things are not what they seem. What begins as a harmless tail-job ends up in a complicated web of murder, dual identities, and obsession. In a word... thrilling.

Double Feature w/FRITZ LANG'S "M"

(1931) dir Fritz Lang w/Peter Lorre, Theodor Loos, Gustaf GrŸndgens, Otto Wernicke [99 min]

Fritz Lang's M is perhaps cinema's greatest expression of uniquely urban fears: underground criminal networks, an hysterical populace, disappearances of children into the cityscape, and, modernity's most fearsome invention, the serial killer. M's oblique style emphasizes the mileu: charged objects and their surroundings - a balloon caught in electrical wires, a child's empty chair - mark the murders. Lang's innovative use of sound similarly suggests more than it plainly states. A musical motif ominously indicates the presence of Lorre's child killer, who speaks barely a dozen lines of dialogue. When he does find his voice, Lorre's terrified, child-like delivery invokes our sympathy, making reductions impossible.

Double Feature w/VERTIGO

(1965) dir Roman Polanski w/Catherine Deneuve [104 min]

The first installment in Polanski's apartment horror trilogy (followed by The Tenant and ROSEMARY'S BABY [plays on 2/11]) is certainly his least polished and most surreal - it may also be his best. Polanski takes Deneuve's aloof beauty as his starting point, subtly implying a psychosis under her placid surface. The twitchy signs of mental disturbance accumulate, and as she becomes increasingly isolated, Deneuve descends first into fear and then into madness. Polanski's subjective camera follows with youthful abandon.

Double Feature w/SOMETHING WILD (1961)

(1961) dir Jack Garfein w/Carroll Baker, Ralph Meeker, Jean Stapleton [112 min]

Definitely not to be confused with the '80s comedy, this SOMETHING WILD follows the strange story of Mary Ann (Baker) who is raped one night (a gripping scene played out with no pretense at poetry and no soundtrack) and, understandably left traumatized by the incident, tries to take her own life. She is stopped by good intentioned mechanic Mike (Kiss Me Deadly's Meeker) who takes her to his apartment, inadvertently locks her in, gets drunk and proceeds to try and rape the poor girl. She succeeds in fighting him off (kicking out one of his eyes in the process) but when he comes to in the morning (with no recollection of his behavior) he locks her in again. Confused and afraid himself, Mike keeps Mary Ann a prisoner. Eventually, she escapes, but Mary Ann finds it a little harder to leave this odd, new relationship than she expected. Shot in a neo-realist style that reflects the 1950's film noirs, SOMETHING WILD features some spectacular footage of early 60s New York City as well as some intense acting by many Actor's Studio graduates. Do not miss this rare opportunity to see this strange, moving film on screen. NOT AVAILABLE ON VIDEO.

Double Feature w/REPULSION

(1971) dir John D. Hancock w/Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Kevin O'Connor, Gretchen Corbett, Mariclaire Costello [89 min]

Fresh out of the mental hospital, Jessica moves into a New England farmhouse with her husband but things get creepy pretty quickly. First the nutty, hippie redhead squatter she finds in her house may or may not be a vampire, and the townspeople seem to be in her thrall, then this ghost of a little girl starts appearing all over the place. Things go from bad to worse for Jessica, but is it all just a figment of her imagination... or is she really crazy after all? This chilling and thrilling ghost story is an overlooked gem. NOT AVAILABLE ON VIDEO.

(1959) dir William Castle w/Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn [82 min]

"Scream! Scream for your lives!!" A scientist (Price) obsessed with understanding fear discovers the source of that spine-tingling sensation we experience when scared: The Tingler, a creature that grows in the spinal column and can only be gotten rid of by screaming. This superb B-movie, enjoyable as only shlock horror can be, is hardly diminished by poor production values, bad dialogue, and silly script. Like all great B-films, professional gloss is abandoned in favor of less refined pleasures: bizarre characters (a deaf-mute silent theater owner), outrageous set-pieces (cinema's first acid trip!), and a monster worthy of William S. Burroughs himself. It all adds up to a wild, campy good time. Screens with two short versions of Edgar Allen Poe's famous story, THE TELL-TALE HEART. One is a UPA cartoon from 1953 narrated by James Mason, the other is a 20-minute short directed by the great Jules Dassin.

Double Feature w/THE FRIGHTENERS

(1996) dir Peter Jackson w/Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, Jake Busy [111 min]

This underrated film by a little guy named Peter Jackson has a lot of fun with the ghost story while also serving up a neat little thriller. Fox plays Frank Bannister, a psychic investigator who has been seeing ghosts for years - since he was in a car accident that took the life of his beloved wife. Left bitter and cynical by her death, Bannister has used his new found power predominantly to scam people. When something seriously spooky starts happening around his hometown, Bannister must rise to the occasion and redeem himself. Amazing digital effects that were prototypes for many of the creatures in Jackson's Lord Of The Rings Trilogy highlight this engaging horror/comedy - and a chillingly perverse performance by the B-movie actor Jeffrey Combs doesn't hurt either!

Double Feature w/THE TINGLER

(1944) dir George Cukor w/Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton, Dame May Whitty, Angela Lansbury [114 min]

Ingrid Bergman stars in this charming mystery/melodrama as Paula Anton, a woman who is returning to her childhood home ten years after her aunt was murdered there. Haunted by her memories, she turns to her new husband who insists that she lock her aunt's belongings up in the attic. But Paula soon begins hearing strange noises coming from up there late at night. When no one else witnesses the noises she fears she is losing her sanity or worse, being haunted by her aunt. This gothic thriller gives everyone a chance to shine, especially Joseph Cotton who stars as an admirer of Paula's aunt who seems to be particularly interested in the happenings at the house.

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