No doubt, there is a surplus of madness going on this weekend in Chicago, but I've picked the events most likely to seduce the moviegoer who is more inclined to fall prey to the wide world of weird. We've got several summer movie sessions starting this very weekend, rare screening opportunities, monster festivals and a serial killer play. Granted, there are a lot of theatricals opening this weekend as well, so if you go see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (I'll be checking that out tonight) or another round of Prometheus instead, no problem. Let's get started. Time's a wastin'.
Facets Night School - Sat
If you’ve never spent a hot summer night in the super cool cinema known as Facets Cinémathèque watching bizarre cinema well past the witching hour, you are truly missing out on one of life’s little treasures. Night School Session 11 is produced by The Underground Multiplex. “Sh!thouse CineCircus” kicks off this Saturday, and the lineup is weirder and wilder than ever. We're talking karate-choppin’ ladies, communist Godzilla ripoffs, loincloth-wearing futuristic warriors, frigid wives who happen to be hypnotized, strange anti-drug films, and more! You can’t beat this type of education. Shelling out a simple fiver will get you a lecture on the film you’re about to watch, the screening, a post-screening discussion, prize giveaways, and early arrival will grant your eyeballs the gift of crazy grindhouse and cult trailers. On top of all that, each attendee will receive an educational pack of essays, articles, and notes for further study of the film screened. Saturday, June 23, begins the spiral into Night School cult madness with a really rare 35mm print of WONDER WOMEN, a 1973 Filipino exploitation action flick! Lew Ojeda hosts the lecture “Wonder Women and One-Armed Executioners: Filipino Action Exploitation Films of the 1970’s.” Night School runs Saturdays at midnight June 23 - August 25; 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago is lucky enough to be one of the very few cities to get the chance to see the premiere of psychedelic sci-fi wonder Beyond The Black Rainbow, thanks to Chicago Cinema Society and the Logan Theatre. In 1983, a heavily sedated girl attempts to escape the Arboria Institute, a strange futuristic place. She’s under the spell of mind control by the institute, specifically a creepy scientist who is subjecting her to the tests. The groovy soundtrack is stellar as well, which clearly plays its own role in the film. I don’t think the social control plot even really matters. This feels like a dreamworld I’d gladly step into and float throughout, exploring everything. Seriously, just check out the trailer. It’s insanely awesome. I’m quite impressed with how director Panos Cosmatos (son of George Cosmatos, director of Leviathan, Tombstone, Of Unknown Origin) seems to effortlessly recreate the psychedelic feel of classic science fiction movies (still hurts to have to say the ’70s and ’80s are considered classic periods), while giving it a mesmerizing artistic look as well. Believe it or not, this is actually his first feature film! It’s a total dreamlike head trip, and people are going to LOVE it. Screens both Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23. “Let the new age of enlightenment begin!”
Jurassic Park - Fri/Sat
The Music Box Theatre never fails to entertain. It's one of the best places to go in the wee hours of the night, and it's always there for you when other plans don’t work out. Friday and Saturday, stop by for a midnight 35mm screening of Jurassic Park!
Earth Girls Are Easy - Sat
Doc Films has a crazy summer movie schedule, but the calendar was taken down, so until it's back up, we'll just have to trust The Reader that Earth Girls Are Easy is still screening as planned. Valley girls and extraterrestrial beings in 1989 on the big screen. Saturday, June 23.
The Elgin Monster Mash-Up - Fri/Sat
Elgin's Monster Mash-Up is a B-movie festival on Friday and Saturday that promises movies, shopping, a haunted house, a zombie wedding, and more! See my previous post with all the spooky details.
Hunger Games Convention - Sat/Sun
Personally, I have no idea how an entire convention can revolve around one movie (outside of maybe Harry Potter, Star Wars or LotR), but here you go. Creation Entertainment promises fans a weekend of stars from the film and numerous young adult authors at the Westin O’Hare hotel in Rosemont. Gala party on Saturday night, costume contest, DJ, cash bar. Unfortunately, guests will not be available both days, so be sure to check the site to see when your favorite stars from The Hunger Games will be present. Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24.
The Gacy Play - Sat/Sun
Sometimes, lazing around on weekend afternoons just doesn’t cut it. Maybe it requires attending a play based on a deranged serial killer clown. Maybe they take a lot of liberties with the story and you don’t even see any clowns. Maybe that’s okay. Sideshow Theatre Company presents The Gacy Play at Theater Wit on Belmont, through July 29. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. is a man of secrets in suburban Chicago, 1975. Questions begin to rise from his family and friends, which pushes him to withdraw further into his warped world, and that darn smell keeps getting worse. See it this weekend on Saturday, June 23 show at 8pm and Sunday, June 24 at 3pm.