The American Cinematheque pays tribute to Dario Argento and Brian De Palma — masters of the macabre born on the same month of the same year — with three consecutive evenings of double features co-presented by Cinematic Void.
Thursday, Jan. 24
The first night celebrating the terrifying twosome includes Argento's landmark Suspiria. Though the recent remake got mostly high marks from horror fans, the original is an unmatched masterpiece. Concerning witchery at a dance academy, and featuring strong performances by Jessica Harper, Joan Bennett and Udo Kier, the creepy classic was inspired by 19th-century essayist (and opium fan) Thomas De Quincey. The first of Argento's “Three Mothers” trilogy, it's an artful, eerie and expressionist visual feast enhanced by a synth-y and sinister soundtrack courtesy of Italian prog-rock group Goblin.
De Palma's take on Stephen King's Carrie follows, and if you haven't seen it on the big screen in a while, don't miss it. The tale of a tormented teen with telekinetic powers (gut-wrenchingly played by Sissy Spacek) remains one of the horror genre's most stunning and stirring films ever, with memorable supporting performances by Amy Irving, P.J. Soles, John Travolta and Nancy Allen (who will be appearing on Saturday after the Dressed to Kill screening). Discussion following Suspiria with actress Barbara Magnolfi. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Friday, Jan. 25
Nancy Allen also co-starred in Brian De Palma's Blow Out, which starred John Travolta as a sound-effects man who accidentally records a fatal car crash with political implications. It's not his best film, but it has moments of real tension and excitement. The second portion of Dario Argento’s trilogy, Inferno, also screens. The film delves deeper into the “Three Mothers” themes of Suspiria, with a woman who discovers an ancient book about three evil sisters who rule the world with “sorrow, tears and darkness.” She suspects she is living amidst them in her New York City apartment, but when she goes missing, it is up to her brother to investigate, which leads to sorcery, mayhem and a fiery, fittingly dramatic finale. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Saturday, Jan. 26
The last night of the series starts with Dressed to Kill, Brian De Palma’s extraordinarily violent, 1980 suspense exercise. Playing on the bottom half of the double feature is the international release of Dario Argento’s Tenebrae, hailed by many as his ultimate giallo (the name given to the style of Italian thriller he helped invent). Nancy Allen plays the call girl stalked by a serial murderer in Dressed, and she'll talk about that and very likely all of her iconic roles in the films above this evening. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.