The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil. -Criterion Collection
One of the most shocking films of all time, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho changed the thriller genre forever. After its original release in 1960, the film was censored for decades... until now. This version restores the film to is original version, as seen in theaters in 1960 and exactly as intended by Alfred Hitchcock. Join the Master of Suspense on a chilling journey as an unsuspecting victim (Janet Leigh) visits the Bates Motel and falls prey to one of cinema's most notorious psychopaths - Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Newly restored in stunning 4k with a 5.1 audio mix.
As the president of a trashy TV channel, Max Renn is desperate for new programming to attract viewers. When he happens upon “Videodrome,” a TV show dedicated to gratuitous torture and punishment, Max sees a potential hit and broadcasts the show on his channel. However, after his girlfriend auditions for the show and never returns, Max investigates the truth behind Videodrome and discovers that the graphic violence may not be as fake as he thought.
In June 2021, Seattle lost one of its most dedicated cinephiles, William Kennedy. One of Bill’s final wishes was that people gather to watch VIDEODROME in his memory and that’s what we’re gonna do! A portion of the proceeds from this screening will be donated to Evergreen Playhouse in Centralia, where Bill performed in several productions prior to moving to Seattle.
4K restoration by MOMA! After altering the landscape of trash-horror history with BASKET CASE and FRANKENHOOKER, the brilliant Frank Henenlotter unleashed BRAIN DAMAGE, his ultimate Grimm’s Fairy Tale for perverted adults. This is a slimy, grimy, gore-soaked slice-of-NYC-life that follows a poor schmo who is addicted to a drug called Aylmer. But unlike heroin or cocaine, Aylmer is a mutant penis monster who needs to eat human brains in order survive. Hooray! BRAIN DAMAGE is hilarious, unsettling, and jam-packed with bad taste gags that would probably cause John Waters to reassess his life’s work. Do not miss.
40th anniversary! U.S. Outpost #31, Antarctica, 1982—Twelve men are commissioned to gather physical and natural science data. It is the dead of winter. With six months of darkness ahead of them, they uncover the find of the century. Of a thousand centuries. If only they could put it back…
A dizzying horror-action hybrid from director Ryûhei Kitamura (Midnight Meat Train, Godzilla: Final Wars) that served as one of the landmark entries in the extreme Asian cinema boom of the early 2000’s, Versus tells the story of a bloody, centuries-long conflict between the forces of good and evil, as an escaped convict (Tak Sakaguchi) stranded in the aptly named “Forest of Resurrection” finds himself having to protect a mysterious young woman (Chieko Misaka) from not only the Yakuza, a pair of unhinged cops, and a mysterious, powerful figure known only as “The Man” (Hideo Sakaki)… but the living dead as well! Screening in its definitive “Ultimate” version, featuring technical and narrative improvements overseen by Kitamura himself, as well as nearly 10 extra minutes of action, Versus is a tightly-choreographed, gore-soaked spectacle!
35th Anniversary Screening! Author Ander Monson ("Other Electricities", "Vanishing Point") visits the Grand Illusion for this one night only screening of PREDATOR. His new memoir, "Predator", is a scene-by-scene exploration of the film and offers questions and critiques of masculinity, fandom, and their interrelation with acts of mass violence. After the film he will discuss the book and the film with local author and UW professor David Shields (who has never seen PREDATOR!).
“Written in loose-jointed yet elegant prose that guiltily savors PREDATOR's pleasures, Monson’s subtle, twisty appreciations and critiques… transform the movie into a penetrating commentary on the contradictions of manhood. Movie buffs will want to snap this up.” Publishers Weekly
30th Anniversary! 4k Restoration! One of the most faithful adaptations of the source, Francis Ford Coppola punctuates his pitch-dark love story about the vampire who travels from Eastern Europe to England in search of human love with baroque flourishes. With Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Waits.
“Indeed, it is a uniquely dreamlike, lushly romantic, highly erotic and prototypically Coppolaesque version of the story – a movie that does for the vampire genre what The Godfather did for the gangster saga, and what Apocalypse Now did for the war movie: raises it to the level of grand opera.” William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Coppola has eschewed state-of-the-art special effects in favor of a panoply of archaic film-school tricks—reversing the film, multiple exposures, playing with the shutter speed—that give his Dracula a stylized, almost hyper-real clarity and a wonderfully singular weirdness.” Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
CENTENNIAL SCREENING! An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, F.W. Murnau's NOSFERATU remains to many viewers the most unsettling vampire film ever made, and its bald, spidery vampire, personified by the diabolical Max Schreck, continues to spawn imitations in the realm of contemporary cinema. Resurrected for its centennial in an HD edition mastered from the acclaimed 35mm restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung. Backed by an orchestral performance of Hans Erdmann's 1922 score, this edition offers unprecedented visual clarity and historical faithfulness to the original release version.
A psycho janitor becomes increasingly demented and cynical towards the wealthy students that he has to clean up after. To get some sort of revenge, he laces a random carton of chocolate ice cream in the college store with rat poison and demands one million dollars from the dean in exchange for the location of where he's hidden it. His plan isn't very well thought out though, because before he can get the money, sexy college freshman Denise buys the ice cream and almost dies in the shower later that night. John then becomes obsessed with her, spying on her constantly, and spends the rest of the film playing deranged cat and mouse games trying to finish her off himself.
Newly restored from the original 35mm camera negative! Joel grew up in the church but has recently started questioning his beliefs. After sensing a supernatural presence from his deceased father, Joel becomes compelled to visit his cousin in New York. But shortly after arriving, they become embroiled in a series of mysterious homicides of local men, all of whom were last seen in the company of a mysterious and beautiful woman. Beautifully photographed by Ernest Dickerson (DO THE RIGHT THING) and starring Kadeem Hardison (I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA) and Samuel L. Jackson (PULP FICTION), this sole directorial effort from child actor James Bond III is a macabre, neon-tinged portrait of late 1980s Brooklyn. The movie blends supernatural horror and religious mysticism, punctuated by an electrifying hip hop and R&B soundtrack.
A special 90th anniversary double feature with two of the most infamously shocking pre-Code horror films of all. Both movies – seething with body horror, deviant sexuality, gruesome violence and revenge – remain disturbing and controversial to this day. Plus spooky shorts and cartoons. All on 16mm film!
Few films have the scandalous pedigree of FREAKS (1932). With a cast including 20 actual sideshow performers, many with severe deformities, its unflinching yet sympathetic portrayal first invites and then subverts exploitational voyeurism, while plunging us into a pitch-black tale of betrayal, murder, and horrific revenge. Pulled from release and banned for decades, the film destroyed the career of veteran director Tod Browning. Flawed, marred further still by censorship, beset with its loathsome reputation, FREAKS nonetheless surmounts its baggage to stand as a thought provoking and truly unforgettable singularity.
PLUS: A SECRET SECOND PRE-CODE SHOCKER (also 1932) – too horrifying to reveal! Similarly reviled upon release for its sadistic brutality and perverse sexuality, future remakes have failed to capture the dark magic of amoral ferocity at its heart. Decried as “repulsive,” “unnatural” and “putrid,” it was banned outright in 14 states, numerous countries, and no less than three times in Britain! But with masterful expressionistic cinematography, standout performances and grimly enduring themes, it has evolved from feral orphan to an acknowledged classic.
“Full of iconic moments of pure cinema, pulp horror, carny noir, perverse melodrama – FREAKS is still unclassifiable after many decades. Still sick, twisted, perverse and profoundly human. Pickled in a jar of bile, it contains Browning’s view of the world at its purest.” Guillermo Del Toro, Sight and Sound
“No excuse for making a production of this kind.” Outraged exhibitor, 1932
Not even COVID can stop Satan! Presented by Bat City Cinema and the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA), with additional support from the Sprocket Society.
AGFA's Head Archivist (and former GI programmer) brings his Bat City Cinema show to the Grand Illusion for an explosion of evil on 16mm like no other! Two ultra-rare slices of Satanic Panic-era madness, plus trailers, cartoons and shorts that we're 99.9% sure you've never seen before. Be there or be forever square!
SATAN WAR (1979) – Invisible groping hands, hard-to-clean evil goo, and a crucifix that just won’t stay upright await you in this stoned mix of THE ENTITY and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. One of only two prints in existence!
SPECTRE (1977) – One of the weirdest TV movies ever made! This Gene Roddenberry penned mash-up of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Strange will leave you bewildered with its mystifying G-rated Satanic orgies and rubber-suit monsters!
4K Restoration with a 5.1 audio mix! In Italy, it was considered the 'unofficial sequel' to DAWN OF THE DEAD. In England, it was known as ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and banned as obscene. In America, it was called ZOMBIE and advertised with the depraved tag line "WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU!" Tisa Farrow (THE GRIM REAPER), Ian McCulloch (CONTAMINATION), Al Cliver (CANNIBALS), and Richard Johnson (THE HAUNTING) star in this worldwide splatter sensation directed by 'Maestro Of Gore' Lucio Fulci (THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, THE NEW YORK RIPPER) that remains one of the most eye-skewering, skin-ripping, gore-gushingly graphic horror hits of all time!
“Beneath the video nasty hysteria lies a horror of substantial craft and skill. Its iconic synth theme is on a par with the work of Goblin, whilst its rich cinematography makes the very most of the film’s luscious locales.” Daniel Green, Cinevue
4K Restoration with a 5.1 audio mix! The seven dreaded gateways to hell are concealed in seven cursed places... And on the day the gates of hell are opened, the dead will walk the earth! From legendary Italian horror master Lucio Fulci comes the ultimate classic of supernatural terror. A cursed hotel, built over one of the seven gateways to hell, becomes a malevolent abyss that begins devouring both the bodies and the souls of all who enter in a graphic frenzy of gory crucifixions, brutal chain-whippings, eyeball impalements, sulphuric acid meltdowns, flesh-eating tarantulas, throat-shredding demon dogs and ravenous bloodthirsty zombies. THE BEYOND: THE COMPOSER’S CUT features Fabio Frizzi’s expanded score for THE BEYOND in a brand-new 4K presentation scanned from the original camera negatives.