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Message started by L.A. Connection on Feb 1st, 2019 at 11:32pm

Title: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 1st, 2019 at 11:32pm
In honor of the 44th Annual Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival Marathon (this will be my 40th!), I will be doing 10 posts commemorating significant films that have shown over the years. I hope some of my 'thon FB friends will chime in with their own thoughts and memories.
Today: COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT (1970). It's a terrific early AI thriller Directed by Joseph Sargent and written by James Bridges with a suave lead performance by future Soap Opera hearthrob Eric Braeden. But, it's listed here because it was the very first film I saw at my very first Marathon (SF/4 in February 1979). It also played at SF/13 in 1988 and SF/35 in 2010.

Title: Dr.Shrinker: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Maratho
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 3rd, 2019 at 3:45pm
Part II of my 10 posts commemorating significant films that have shown over the years (My 40th).
Today, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. This one was part of the very first Marathon back in 1976 (see ad in photo*)! It also played at SF/4 (my 1st) and, recently, in 2013 (#38). It's terrific piece written by Richard Matheson and Directed by Jack Arnold.

SHRINKING also has a special place for me, because it was really the very first movie that I truly appreciated as a SCI-FI film. I still remember fondly watching at my Grandparent's home on their tiny 19" TV. I was just fascinated by the concepts, the SFX and the closing narration still gives me chills.

As to the Marathon showings I've been to. The 2013 showing was great after all those years to see it on the big screen anew. Nice 35mm film print, and the audience responded well - even those jaded by decades of CGI. But, that SF/4 showing in 1979 was special because it was great to see a childhood fave on the big screen with a packed house. Also, there was one particular young man who had...uh...indulged into some heavy duty illicit substances. By 4am when SHRINKING showed they had "hit". He was literally reduced to a puddle of tears from laughing so hard at the poor Shrinking man's plight. Every new level of shrinkage reduced the Marathoner into fits of hysteria: "Help me! I'm shriiiiinking!" (Note: I do not recommend copy that as a way to survive 24 hours of these movies. 😉)

Title: Benson, AZ: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 5th, 2019 at 10:59pm
Part III of my look back at my 40 years of the Boston SciFi: SF44 Marathon.
Today: DARK STAR. John Carpenter's 1974 funky uber low budget gem which began as a student film with future ALIEN screenwriter Dan O'Bannon.
When DARK STAR first hit the 'thon screen at 1979's SF/4, it was promoted as a lead in to that spring's upcoming release of Carpenter's HALLOWEEN*. I have to say it didn't impress me that much on first viewing, but, a campus screening of the movie later that year revealed it as the creative no budget oddity that it is (Boston's own Lenny Clarke did a hilarious take on the 'Alien' in the movie, complete with beach ball!).
DARK STAR returned to the 'thon at 1987's SF/12 - the very first event at our current home, Somerville Theatre. In 1999, the 'thon had booked the 50s flick THE 27TH DAY. The studio sent us the film's NEGATIVE! Oops! (not sure if Michael Schlesinger ever heard that story, not that he was involved). The even was then at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Across the street was a video store. Garen Daly jumped into action. Rented a VHS of DARK STAR and voila! another return of the Carpenter classic to the 'thon! (note: I don't recommend projecting a VHS tape on a screen as large as the Coolidge's!). Back at the Somerville, DARK STAR returned once more, on 35mm, at 2007's SF/32.
* Hard to believe, but, yes, a movie called "Halloween" didn't make it to Boston until the Spring of the following year, having already played much of the country. The distributor, Compass, was so small they had to bicycle the same prints from city to city.

Title: Silents, Please Looking back at 40 yrs of the Mara
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 6th, 2019 at 2:15pm
Part IV of my look back at 40 yrs of attending the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival Marathon. Today: THE LOST WORLD (1925) and AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS (1924) The Fest isn't just a string of watching film after film, back to back. We have had a long history of showing Silent Films with LIVE musical accompaniment. After showing the rock music version of METROPOLIS at SF/12 (1987), we 'smartened up' and brought in Chris Noyes for SF/20 (1995) and turned off the Morodor score to hear his LIVE synth scoring.
But, one of the great Marathon highlights, was a screening of AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS in 1993 (SF/18) with the original lineup of the Alloy Orchestra. The band truly rocked the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
But, since SF/36 (2011), our 'house' maestro is the great Jeff Rapsis (that's him taking a bow last year in photo 3). Rapsis has entertained the audience with his LIVE renditions to the silent 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, HIMMELSKIBET - A Trip To Mars, and THE LOST WORLD (last year). On Feb. 17th as part of SF/44 at the Somerville Theatre, Rapsis will accompany Fritz Lang's WOMAN IN THE MOON (1929) at this year's Marathon!
Kudos to not only Chris Noyes (who is apparently at Berklee these days), but, also to Yakov Gubanov who played the theremin at SF/27 to THE LOST WORLD.

Your memories?

Title: Daisy: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 8th, 2019 at 3:21pm
Episode V of my look back @ 40yrs of attending the Boston SciFi: SF44 Marathon. Today: Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
Considering its vaunted place in the SF genre, it's a little odd that it took six yrs. for it to first show up at the Marathon (SF/6, 1981). Part of it may have been the cost as it was still a revival house perennial, and part of it was probably its length and deliberate pace. The programmers including Larry Jackson, JD Pollack and Mark Diamond scheduled it for the wee hours, which sent many into a slumber, but, it worked for me. Of course, in Gerald Peary's words, I am an "android" who doesn't sleep when it comes to the 'thon!
2001 returned for the 20th annual Marathon in 1995. It was right after the CGI revolution had truly taken over in cinema (w/Jurassic Park in '93), but, it was still remarkable how effective the special effects still were. As Steve DiSalvo's friend asked me afterwards, "WHAT YEAR was this made?!" He couldn't believe the film was over a quarter century old!
Kubrick's classic returned in 2008 at SF/33, and wowed the crowd again.
But, the crowning showing was at the event's 40th annual celebration on a VERY snowy day in February 2015. Not only were we presenting the film in 70mm for the very first time (thank you David K. for having the installation completed on time), but, Special Effects maven Douglas Trumbull was on hand to introduce the screening (that's him on the left with Festival head Garen Daly in the photo)! And, this just in, Douglas Trumbull will attend the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival this year for a screening of a Doc on Chesley Bonestell on Feb. 16th!

YOUR memories of 2001 and the Marathon?

Title: Re: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by Lile on Feb 8th, 2019 at 9:48pm
I’ld like to take a slight variation on what you’re doing and give a tip of the hat to some great films that I woulldn’t have seen. There was the Japanese version of Godzilla ( no Raymond Burr anywhere ), La Jette, Grabbers, Battle Royale and many others that I loved only saw at the ‘thon. This event has a rich history.

Title: Grabbers: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 8th, 2019 at 10:29pm

Lile wrote on Feb 8th, 2019 at 9:48pm:
I’ld like to take a slight variation on what you’re doing and give a tip of the hat to some great films that I woulldn’t have seen. There was the Japanese version of Godzilla ( no Raymond Burr anywhere ), La Jette, Grabbers, Battle Royale and many others that I loved only saw at the ‘thon. This event has a rich history.

A thousand times, Yes!

Not to mention, that in those early years, it was literally the ONLY way to see many of those films!

Title: Eps 6-8: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 10th, 2019 at 10:32pm
Marathon memories, #6:
While sci-fi themes are often heavy with the earth & mankind's very survival at stake regularly, we can have fun too at the event, witness, these two comedy highlights:
KILLER KLOWNS showed up at the Coolidge Corner back in 1989 (SF/14) pretty much unknown to anybody (I almost got to work on it! Long story*), as it had yet to morph into the kult klassic it is today due to home video. The unsuspecting krowd absolutely dug it! Garen Daly took his bows. 20 years later at the Somerville Theatre, KILLER KLOWNS had a welcome return (SF/34; 2009).
ROBOT MONSTER played only once, in 1991 (SF/16) at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. This UNintentional comedy hit had the crowd regaling in laughter. The Monster's shaking his fists and shouting "I cannot! Yet, I must!" while doodling on his Wham-O bubble machine still echoes in 'thon lore. It has become a rite of passage for my fellow marathoners like John Aliberti and Steve DiSalvo to head over to Bronson Cave to 're-enact' the Robo-Monster's rants!

* A couple of years later, I did get to meet and work with the Chiodo Brothers and stayed in touch for quite a while. True genre fans.

Marathon Memories #7. As the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival begins today, I look back at some films that sort of began the tradition of highlighting movies from the previous year that didn't get the attention they deserved upon release: MAD MAX, GATTACA and HAPPY ACCIDENTS.
The original MAD MAX was one of the biggest box office hits of 1979/1980 everywhere in the world....except the USA. When it hit the Marathon screen at the Orson Welles Cinema in February 1981 (SF/6), it hadn't been seen by more than a fraction of the crowd - they were blown away. MAD MAX has returned to the 'thon at SF/16 & SF/26 (the latter time in its original Aussie cut). ROAD WARRIOR and FURY ROAD have also wowed the 'thon crowds.
GATTACA got some decent reviews, but, flopped ($12M gross!). It has, of course, now become one of the most respected SF films of the 90s. It, too, had a nice impact when it showed up the next February after its initial release - 1998's SF/23. It returned to the 'thon two years ago.
HAPPY ACCIDENTS was championed by Daniel M. Kimmel (and, perhaps, Ed Symkus). It had barely been released in 2001, but, you guessed it, the next February at the Festival (SF/27), it enthused the crowd. A happy accident, indeed.

Boston SciFi: SF44 Marathon memories #8. Mark!!
Mario Bava's 1965 Italian space opera is a decent, colorful film that combines horror and sci-fi elements with huge amounts of stylish photography and art direction on a budget. But, that's not why it has a special place in Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival lore. At 1978's SF/3, members of the audience noticed that the name "Mark" was being uttered an inordinate number of times. Barry Sullivan's Captain character was called "Mark Markary" (at least in the dubbed USA edition). So, between the "Mark"'s and "Captain MARKary"'s it became a running joke - "Mark!".
It would be 6 years before Joe Neff's partner in arms at The Ohio Science Fiction and Horror Marathons, Bruce Bartoo, booked PLANET again (SF/9, 1984). During the intervening years at the Orson Welles Cinema, the name "Mark" could sporadically be heard at the other Marathons (even at Horror and Schlock Around The Clock events (Garen Daly says he came up with that great moniker). By the end of SF/9 - "Mark" had become fixed as a signature Marathon meme (long before there was such a thing). PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES was booked again for the very next year: The Marathon's epic 36 Hour journey. I remember one Marathoner coming equipped with a "Mark!" stenciled cut-out card which he would hold up to the screen whenever the name was uttered! In 2002, Sony/MGM put out a restored 35mm print and it was booked for the next February's SF/28 (not sure if Michael Schlesinger was still there).
While it has been a good 16 years since, there is no question that if the name "Mark" is uttered in any of the movies at next week's Marathon, it will greeted with many a "Mark!!" in return - much to the consternation of Jason Seaver and others.

Your memories?

Title: #9, #9, #9: Looking back at 40 yrs of the Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 12th, 2019 at 7:26pm
Boston SF Marathon Memories #9.*
BLADE RUNNER. One of the 'thon's true signature films.
As most of my FB friends know, BLADE RUNNER was considered a major flop in the summer of 1982. Han Solo & Indiana Jones teaming up with the Director of ALIEN? How can it miss!? I was there. First show. First day. But, E.T. swallowed up the box office - and, the mediocre reviews finished it off.
Come next February, the Marathon (SF/8) came to the rescue. As Joe Neff compatriot Bruce Bartoo pitched it: "Yeah, we know you saw it, but, see it with the RIGHT crowd!" It rocked, including the many who hadn't seen it. BLADE RUNNER took another curtain call just two years later at the 36hr. epic SF/10 (1985).
BLADE RUNNER appeared again after the Orson Welles Cinema demise at our new Somerville Theatre home at SF/14 (1989). It would then be quite a while, 2007'S (SF/32) before it would show again. However, note, Ridley Scott's first "Director's Cut" was booked at some point over those years, but, the booking fell through.
More recently, 2016, BLADE RUNNER showed again, this time in Ridley's alleged 'Final Cut' form.
Outside the Marathon, my fave screening was in L.A.. I got to attend the 2nd screening of a 70mm print of the legendary Workprint Cut in 1990 (it remains my fave cut; available on DVD & Blu Ray).
Oh, and Deckard is human.

YOUR thoughts and B.R. memories?

Title: Duck gets Trooped: Looking back at 40 yrs Marathon
Post by L.A. Connection on Feb 13th, 2019 at 1:59pm
Boston Sci-Fi Fest Memories #10.
Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century.
This 7 minute short is now as integral a part of the Marathon experience as the crowd, the countdown, Mark!!!, the costumes and the long lines to the restroom. Simply put, the Marathon isn't the Marathon without its kick-start of energy at the crack of noon on that hallowed Sunday every February!
I know the short had played a couple of times at the Marathon over the years, but, sometime in the 90s, it became not only a staple, but, THE staple as the kickoff film. (Perhaps William Gowen, Francisco Urbano or Brian Yelverton have an exact year). Ever since the 90s, Duck Dodgers has been the first film shown at the 'thon save for once*.
For me, it's a truly transportative experience. Once Duck, Porky Pig and Marvin the Martian hit the screen, I feel like I've entered a time travel capsule. I'm back. Home. With my Marathon family. I hold it so special that I refuse to watch it any other day of the year, even though I own it on VHS and DVD.

This Sunday. Right around high noon EST, the blast-off of SF/44 begins with Duck Dodgers In The 24 1/2 Century! (and, yes, Porky, it IS a "Big Deal!"). 😉

* The one year was 1999's SF/24 at the Coolidge Corner. We began with the Cops TV show parody 'Troops' (as in Stormtroopers). Duck Dodgers did play later in the program, keeping it's streak alive.

Your Memories?

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