If you're looking to get your fix of cinematic terror but are facing a frightening shortage of cash, the current Fresh City Life film series at the Central Denver Public Library, "The Kids Are Not Alright," is a real treat. The Tuesday night films, all scary movies featuring evil children, are free -- and that's no trick.
Tonight's pick is Village of the Damned, the 1960 black-and-white masterpiece directed by Wolf Rilla and starring George Sanders. In the middle of an uneventful afternoon, an entire English village falls into a mysterious sleep lasting several hours - and when everyone wakes up, all of the adult women are pregnant. The unplanned offspring grow up very fast, all have blonde hair, glowing eyes, and telepathic powers that won't be used for the good of humanity.
"I love this package of films," says Fresh City Life programming director Chris Loffelmacher. "We usually like to do some package of scary movies around this time of year."
On November 1, the library will show the groundbreaking, 1968 Roman Polanski film Rosemary's Baby. Starring a young Mia Farrow, this tale of a satanic pregnancy garnered critical acclaim and influenced generations of horror film-makers. "It's just the perfect film," says Loffelmacher. Don't Look Now , starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a grieving couple who are startled to learn their recently deceased daughter is haunting them from beyond the grave, screens November 8.
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Saving the granddaddy of all evil children horror flicks for the end, the series concludes on November 15 with The Exorcist. Based on a true story, this 1971 tale of demonic possession of a young girl shook audiences to the point of fainting, vomiting and claiming that they themselves were possessed after viewing. Directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection) and starring Ellen Burstyn (Requiem For A Dream), The Exorcist has been hailed by both the AFI and Entertainment Weekly as one of the scariest films of all time.
The series recently lost its resident host, film critic Walter Chaw, who'd been introducing the library's Tuesday night movies for several years but is now going to focus on a book and his regular essays on filmfreakcentral.com. "We won't be having a host for this series, but we've gone host-free before," says Loffelmacher. "If a free-form, organic conversation comes up at the end, we'll play host to that."
Loffelmacher is already bursting with ideas for where the series can go next. "I really love the black-and-white divas of the '30s and '40s. So we're thinking of doing a series on costume in film, in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum's Yves Saint Laurent fashion show," he says. "We might have Mondo in one night, and then someone who does costume design at the DCPA another night."
But in the meantime, Tuesday night is fright night at the Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway. All of the films start at 6 p.m. in the lower level; find more information on the Fresh City Life website.