In Bellingham, when Halloween rolls around, it seems everyone gets in on the action. Galleries hang ghoulish shows, musicians form for-one-night-only tribute bands (often of the horror-themed variety), businesses deck their halls with all manner of demonic decor and everyone generally is overflowing with scary spirit.
It makes sense, then, that the Pickford Film Center would sign up for a piece of this seasonal action, with cinematic offerings both original and classic, all guaranteed to at least try and scare the pants, socks or whatever other applicable items of clothing you may possess right off of you.
For cinematic scares of the homegrown variety, look no further than the locally grown Bleedingham film festival. Taking place at 9pm Sat., Oct. 27 at the Pickford Film Center on Bay Street, Bleedingham is the end result of what happens when local filmmakers see a void in the local moviemaking landscape and decide to try and fill that void, at least in part, with their own creepy offerings.
Toward that end, festival organizers and judges have accepted short, scary movies from the local filmmaking community and beyond, and culled them into a program that just bleeds to be on the big screen. As this is a proper film festival, awards will be given at the PFC showing, with prizes—called Bloodies—going for best effects, best story, best sound design, best cinematography, best editing and most unique film. If you’re a horror fan, and want to know what kind of spooky stuff the cinematically inclined citizens of Bellingham are scaring up, Bleedingham is where you’ll want to be Saturday night.
But that’s not the only thing the PFC has up its creepy collective sleeve. Michael Myers, that slow-walking, not-talking lurker with a lust for blood and an axe to grind, will slash his way across the screen at the PFC’s sister cinema the Limelight when the movie theater shows the 1978 horror classic Halloween at 8:30pm on various dates from Oct. 25-31. Made on a shoestring budget and starring Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis in her first feature-length role, the film—despite its lack of outright gore—went on to become the inspiration for countless creepy flicks that would follow in its villain’s lumbering footsteps. For a time, it was the top-grossing independent film ever—just one of the reasons it’s a perfect seasonal fit for the Limelight. And, since my dream of having the PFC show Children of the Corn on one of its screens is unlikely to ever come true (most likely because I encouraged the powers that be at the PFC to actually watch the film, which, looking back, may have been a mistake), I’ll have to be content with Halloween being my freaky film of choice—and I think I’m more than O.K. with that.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the theater, the PFC will feature a post-Halloween showing of Jaws—in high-definition, no less—at 6:30pm Thurs., Nov. 1 at the Pickford Film Center.
While maybe not technically considered a horror movie, Jaws is nonetheless one of the scarier stories ever committed to celluloid. Directed by Steven Spielberg, and the recipient of three Oscars (a rarity for films of its ilk), this is the movie that would set the then-fledgling director on the path to his current status as one of Hollywood’s most-influential filmmakers.
Aside from that, the story of the man-eating great white shark that seemingly could not be stopped likely scared an entire generation off late-night skinny dipping—at least for a little while. The movie’s lingering aftereffects are all the more amazing given the fact that, due to ongoing technical difficulties and mechanical issues with the animatronic shark used in the movie (named Bruce by the crew)—including an incident in which none other than George Lucas’ head became stuck in its mouth—the shark is barely seen in the film itself. It’s amazing what a little suspenseful music (specifically John Williams’ spine-chilling “Jaws Theme”) and the most terrifying opening scene in moviemaking history can do up the fear factor of an entire film.
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