This year the Somerville Theatre has revived its horror marathon (some might recall I attended its last incarnation in 2009), and of course we took the day off to attend because of priorities. It was a lovely time, complete with cartoon shorts and lots of horror trailers, and I even won a raffle prize that included From Dusk Til Dawn on blu-ray! Wow! Also lots of fantastic posters were hanging all around, courtesy of long-time Thon-er Francisco Urbano. I loved that they programmed it in chronological order (and one offering per decade), too, since I haven’t been to a marathon that’s done that before and you could sort of see the progression of style and writing in genre films. They called it a “Terrorthon” but honestly there was not much terror to be had, and the majority of the films were straight sci-fi with maybe some horror elements.
When Anne (Mary Margaret O’Hara) finds herself stranded in snowy Vienna for an unknowable amount of time while visiting a comatose cousin, she drifts toward one of the city’s art museums, the Kunsthistorisches Museum. She befriends an aging guard, Johann (Bobby Sommer), who helps translate the hospital’s calls for her, and they quickly become friends out of mutual loneliness. He shows her around Vienna, and they share intimate stories about their experiences and relationships. They spend a lot of time at the museum, and Johann narrates his observations as a guard.
Last semester I took a seminar dedicated to Johannes Vermeer. For months I read hundreds of pages every week about Vermeer’s work, his scanty biography, his hypothetical intentions and methods, his hometown of Delft, and his artistic contemporaries. So now I’m kind of a Vermeer expert. Naturally my newfound expertise coupled with my long-held love of movies had me itching to revisit Girl with a Pearl Earring, a film I’d only seen in my nascent stages as an art historian.
In The Painting, groups of paintings come to life and their figures search for their painter so he can finish working on them. The whole story is animated in colorful, playful styles with references to great Modernist painters. The protagonist is a plucky young woman looking for adventure. So. Someone finally made a movie exactly for me, I thought. The story throws together three distinctive figures living within a single painting: a privileged “Alldun”, a completed figure; a “Halfie”, incomplete and relegated to living outside of the central castle; and a “Sketchie”, a line doodle who isn’t accepted anywhere.
Alright, back from dinner, everybody’s feeling ok, I’m still on a bit of a musical high from The Ghastly Love of Johnny X but I am definitely (always) ready to settle in for more science fiction goodness. One of the coolest things about this year’s Thon is that we were treated to an episode of The Twilight Zone, wholly appropriate since one of the films being shown was written by TZ stalwart Richard Matheson. It was the episode “Time Enough At Last”, which I have often seen referenced and parodied but had never actually watched, so it was great to see the original version. Poor Henry Bemis! He just wants to READ!