The event kicks off at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 28, with a special 35mm presentation of Halloween, the film that put the filmmaker and producing partner Debra Hill on the horror-movie map. “John Carpenter co-invented the slasher genre with Halloween, alongside films like Bob Clark's Black Christmas and Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre," says Mercado. "He gave the world one of the greatest maniacs in the slasher canon with Michael Myers, created one of the first horror franchises, and gave scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis her first feature-film role — and that was all accomplished with one film.
“Four years later," she continues, "he went on to create one of the greatest horror films in American history with The Thing, a film that transcends horror into mainstream cinema and is respected by genre and non-genre lovers alike. Along with directing, he scored his own films. His influence as a writer, director and musician have inspired me since the first time I saw Halloween. He is an extraordinary creative worthy of a great tribute.”
The series will run just ahead of Carpenter’s visit to the Mile High City; he'll bring his new original music to the Gothic Theatre on June 21. In honor of that facet of the filmmaker’s creative dimensions, some of the Scream Screen showings will have special music performances before the films roll. Here’s what’s on tap for the tribute.
10 p.m. Saturday, May 28
Presented on 35mm! The slasher that started it all! On Halloween night of 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death. After sitting in a mental hospital for fifteen years, Myers escaped and returned to Haddonfield to KILL in the film that marked scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis's legendary feature-film debut. Denver hardcore band Civilized (members of City Hunter, Cadaver Dog and Culture Shock) will rip your face off before the movie.
The Thing (1982)
10 p.m. Saturday, June 4
Presented on 35mm! It's the first week of winter 1982. An American research base is greeted by an alien force that can assimilate into any living thing it touches. It's up to the members of the research team to stay alive and determine who is human and who has become "the Thing." With iconic turns by stars Kurt Russell, Keith David and Wilford Brimley.
Andrew Novick - founding member of the Warlock Pinchers, Professor of FUN at CU Denver and master of weird food creations — will present his PowerPoint performance-art project Get Your Going before The Thing, so be sure to come early to secure a seat, as you never know what bizarre demonstration he has in store.
10 p.m. Saturday, June 11
Christine is a red 1958 Plymouth Fury whose unique standard equipment includes an evil, indestructible vengeance that will destroy anyone in her way. She seduces seventeen-year-old Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon), who becomes consumed with passion for her sleek, rounded, chrome-laden body. She demands his complete and unquestioned devotion, and when outsiders seek to interfere, they become the victims of Christine's terrifying wrath.
Prince of Darkness (1987)
10 p.m. Saturday, June 18
A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in the basement of a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world. Starring Donald Pleasence (of Halloween fame), Victor Wong and Alice Cooper.
Denver industrial-noise duo Echo Beds will premiere its latest music video for "Licking Wounds," then play a live set before the movie.
To show that she means business and deserves her Best of Denver awards, this past weekend, Mercado proved her devotion to Carpenter by adding a giant tattoo tribute that shows the filmmaker in one of his creepiest creatures (done by Jonathan Love at EOD Tattoo on Colfax). Pure devotion, indeed.
Tickets for Scream Screen: The Films of John Carpenter are on sale now at denverfilm.org. The series runs May 28 through June 18 at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets for each show are $11, or $7 for Denver Film Society members.