We are ticketing holiday events galore this month and I've been trying to suggest events that offer something a little bit different than the usual fare. We know you've seen "It's A Wonderful Life" a thousand times, so how about mixing it up a little bit? Well, our friends at New Beverly Cinema and the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, The Castro Theatre in San Francisco, The Royale in Mesa, Arizona and the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York got you covered. We're talking serial killer Santas, Santa abducted by aliens, tormented sorority girls on Christmas break, vintage holiday curios from Johnny Legend, beer-pong with John McClane and the Griswolds and holiday-themed film noir.
Wednesday, December 14NOIR CITY XMAS 2011 at the Castro TheatreSan Francisco, California Get ready for the second annual NOIR CITY XMAS, as the Film Noir Foundation offers a double-feature of rare noir-stained yuletide classics to darken your spirits this holiday season. Lady on a Train (1945) Nikki Collins (Deanna Durbin) witnesses a murder while waiting for a train, but can't get the police to believe her when no body is discovered. While they dismiss her as daft, she enlists the help of a mystery writer to sleuth out the culprits on her own. Based on a story by veteran mystery writer Leslie Charteris (The Saint), this is a wildly entertaining mix of comedy, musical, and suspense, rendered in evocative noir style by cameraman Woody Bredell (Phantom Lady, Christmas Holiday, The Killers), and featuring a superb cast of sinister and suspicious supporting players swirling ominously around "America's Sweetheart." Christmas Holiday (1944) A young soldier gets more than he bargained for on a holiday stopover in New Orleans when he is introduced to a young "singer" (prostitute) and a local "nightclub" (brothel) and he learns the tale of her descent into degradation. Venerable scribe Herman Mankiewicz hews Somerset Maugham's novel into a brilliant script, directed with delirious intensity by Siodmak. Deanna Durbin is memorable in her first adult role, and Gene Kelly is unforgettable as the murderous cad with whom she tragically falls in love. Unquestionably the most romantically soul-crushing Christmas movie ever made.
Friday, December 16CHRISTMAS EVIL w/ SKYPE Q&A from Director Lewis Jackson at The RoyaleMesa, Arizona Widely recognized as the best of the Christmas horror efforts, "Christmas Evil" is the story of a boy who loves Christmas. He is scarred as a boy when he learns that Santa is not real. Throughout the rest of his life, the toy-maker tries to make the Christmas spirit a reality. He becomes obsessed with the behavior of children and the quality of the toys he makes. When he is met with hypocrisy and cynicism, the resulting snap causes him to go on a yuletide killing spree that completes this dark, comedic horror film.
Wednesday, December 21 SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS presented by I Can Smell Your Brains at The RoyaleMesa, Arizona Martians, upset that their children have become obsessed with TV shows from Earth which extol the virtues of Santa Claus, start an expedition to Earth to kidnap the one and only Santa. While on Earth, they kidnap two lively children that lead the group of Martians to the North Pole and Santa. The Martians then take Santa and the two children back to Mars with them. Voldar, a particularly grumpy Martian, attempts to do away with the children and Santa before they get to Mars, but their leader Lomas stops him. When they arrive on Mars, Santa, with the help of the two Earth children and a rather simple-minded Martian lackey, overcomes the Martians by bringing fun, happiness and Christmas cheer to the children of Mars.
Saturday, December 24 BLACK CHRISTMAS at The RoyaleMesa, Arizona It's time for Christmas break, and the sorority sisters make plans for the holiday, but the strange anonymous phone calls are beginning to put them on edge. When Clare disappears, they contact the police, who don't express much concern. Meanwhile Jess is planning to get an abortion, but boyfriend Peter is very much against it. The police finally begin to get concerned when a 13-year-old girl is found dead in the park. They set up a wiretap to the sorority house, but will they be in time to prevent a sorority girl attrition problem?
Saturday, December 24JOHNNY LEGENDS CHRISTMAS IN ACIDLAND PARTS I & II at The RoyaleMesa, Arizona Don't miss the wildest Christmas show ever! First, we get a fascinating look at Santa and his elves at the North Pole. Then the REAGANS (Ronald, Nancy & an infant Patty) wish us a Merry Christmas and manage to sneak in a plug for General Electric. Then a hilarious Yuletide routine from ABBOTT & COSTELLO's 1952 Christmas special. ROSEMARY CLOONEY delivers a holiday tune then makes a plea for Christmas Seals. From "Love That Bob," BOB CUMMINGS, DWAYNE HICKMAN & ROSEMARY DECAMP pose for crotchety-old GRANDPA, ERNIE KOVACS delivers a Holiday blast for Dutch Masters. In the bizarre "Santa Claus Story," Saint Nick weaves an eerie tale about "Monkey Mountain" and the "Monkey Christmas" demonstrated by real monkeys, which flirts with questions of evolution. In "Santa in Animal Land," the most inept puppets this side of Ed Wood try to deliver an "Animal Xmas." JACK BENNY pays a Christmas visit to EDGAR BERGEN only to discover that CHARLIE MCCARTHY & MORTIMER SNERD are actually alive! PAUL WINCHELL & JERRY MAHONEY hop aboard their rocket ship to see how they celebrate Christmas on the moon! LAWRENCE WELK introduces us to the unforgettable "Outer Space Santa." BOB HOPE takes jabs at everything from Elvis to the A-bomb on a late 50's USO special. From 1964, OZZIE & HARRIET reminisce about their "adventures" from 1956 RICKY NELSON sings "Baby I'm Sorry" and "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire," and Ozzie straps on the guitar too! LIBERACE performs "White Christmas," followed by LOU COSTELLO performing a stunningly serious version of the classic tune. Bud and Lou then proceed to destroy the entire orchestra in a climax of Christmas carnage! HOWDY DOODY jumps aboard his rocket ship with BUFFALO BOB and CLARABELL and heads for the North Pole to visit guess who?! Plus THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, THE CHIPMUNKS, more than 50 famous stars sing "Silent Night," LOUIS ARMSTRONG & DANNY KAYE steal the show with a stunning "Saints Come Marching In," a duet from DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY, unexpected holiday spurts from JOAN RIVERS and GEORGE CARLIN, LIBERACE introduces his entire family and seemingly everybody he's ever met for a gala Xmas gathering, and more than your mind can possibly imagine!