Why do people like horror movies?
“I like seeing how crazy things can get,” said David Day, who is hosting a monthly Cult of Horror series at the Kiggins Theatre with his friend Bryce Hanson. The two have a weekly podcast, Horror Movie Talk.
On the fourth Fridays in April, May and June, the Cult of Horror will bring spooky music and decor, games and raffles, a little introduction and discussion about the upcoming film, as well as a mandatory tongue-in-cheek “cult ritual” inducting newbies into Day and Hanson’s legions of darkness.
Silly costumes are encouraged.
“We’ll play some audience-participation games. This is not a dangerous cult,” Hanson said.
“It’s a lot of laughs,” Day said. “We wanted to make this an event and make it fun.”
Watching scary movies on TV simply cannot compete with experiencing all their gory glory at the cinema, he said.
Horror Movie Talk has surprised its creators by shooting up the ranks of movie-review podcasts during four years of weekly episodes, Day said. When The Columbian checked last week, it was Apple’s No. 52 movie-review podcast in the U.S.
The next Cult of Horror film, screening on April 22, features a suspicious Tom Hanks spying on his weird new neighbors in a 1989 horror-comedy called “The ’Burbs.”
“It’s an obscure and underappreciated gem,” Hanson said.
To help downtown passersby discover the evil buried in “The ’Burbs,” he added, the Cult of Horror will station a slightly monstrous “town crier” outside the Kiggins’ lobby to proclaim the news. (The town crier is a large-framed friend of Hanson’s, he said.)
“We want to welcome everyone into the cult,” Day said.
The Cult of Horror continues May 27 with David Cronenberg’s 1986 sci-fi nightmare “The Fly,” and finishes up on June 24 with the psychological and demonic “Hereditary,” a 2018 film featuring Toni Collette and an impressive array of headless costars.
Is she dead?
A similar but subtler sort of horror pervades “Laura,” the April installment in Kiggins’ monthly Noir Nights series of anxious classics from the golden age of black-and-white filmmaking.
“Laura,” released in 1944, features Dana Andrews as a tough New York City detective digging into the mysterious identity of a glamorous murder victim — and falling in love even as the dead woman’s status morphs to “It’s complicated.”
Directed by Otto Preminger, “Laura” also stars Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb and Vincent Price, playing against his creepy type as Laura’s milquetoast fiance. The outrageous twists and turns are so skillfully handled, they keep pulling viewers closer to the mystery, just like Andrews’ haunted detective.
If you prefer thrills and chills that stay reliably non-murderous and even musical, try the latest installment in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s series of silent film comedies accompanied by a live chamber orchestra.
A double-feature of short films is set for tonight. “Pass the Gravy,” from 1928, stars Max Davidson and tells the tale of warring neighbors, their children’s engagement and a prizewinning chicken. Pianist Rodney Sauer will provide live, improvised accompaniment.
Then comes the 1924 Buster Keaton classic “Sherlock Jr.,” featuring the silent film genius as a woeful film projectionist-turned-detective. “Sherlock Jr.” features many of the jaw-dropping stunts that established Keaton as the stone-faced king of Hollywood’s gag men.
A small group featuring Sauer and members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will provide live musical accompaniment.
Here’s a different way of celebrating the Easter holiday: by viewing some of the world’s greatest artistic depictions of the final days, death and resurrection of Jesus.
“Easter in Art,” a sumptuous documentary subtitled “The Greatest Story Ever Painted,” screens April 13 and 17 at the Liberty Theatre in Camas. It’s part of the ongoing “Exhibitions on Screen” series that takes deep dives into art history and great museums around the world.
Directed by Phil Grabsky and filmed in Jerusalem, as well as all over Europe and the U.S., “Easter in Art” surveys two millennia of art history and reveals the changing ways artists have depicted the Easter story.