film-dracula21Ah, October–the month of ghouls and goblins and sexy this-and-that costumes from Savers. While you might enjoy horror movies all year, October is the month to celebrate cinematic Grand Guignol. Ask yourself: what better place to see a scary movie than in a cemetery?

Tonight, Take-Up Productions and All Star Video present the Spanish-language Drácula, director George Melford’s alternative take on the classic horror flick, at the Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. In the infant years of sound cinema, the studios often shot foreign language versions of the same movies in the evenings, with totally different actors, directors, etc. Before this, studios  had been used to making tons of money off silent movies in overseas markets, since you just changed the title cards to the language of the market.

Technically, this Drácula is considered the superior version, and some say that it’s better all the way around. The director and crew were able to watch dailies of the original version, and then made little improvements along the way, and it’s longer, which means the plot is better developed.

Trylon volunteer and Drácula programmer John Moret speaks about his inspiration to bring this movie to the cemetery here:

The proceeds go to benefit this wonderful, historic cemetery. What could be a better horror night than this? Nothing! And you know it…

Spanish-language Drácula (with subtitles) plays tonight at DUSK only at the Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, 2945 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. Tickets are $5-$20 (it’s a suggested donation for the Cemetery) and are available here.




Review by Trylon volunteer Michael Popham.

Count Dracula, Bram Stoker’s human vampire, who has chilled the spines of book readers and playgoers, is now to be seen at the Roxy in a talking film directed by Tod Browning, who delights in such bloodcurdling stories. It is a production that evidently had the desired effect upon many in the audience yesterday afternoon, for there was a general outburst of applause when Dr. Van Helsing produced a little cross that caused the dreaded Dracula to fling his cloak over his head and make himself scarce. –Mourdant Hall,  New York Times, February 13, 1931

Looking back, it’s difficult to imagine what audiences in 1931 made of Tod Browning’s Dracula.  While the snippet of Times review above gives us a glimpse, approaching the movie with fresh eyes is a challenge.  Even if you’ve never seen Dracula, you feel like you’ve seen it.  It’s been ripped off, built upon, remade, reimagined, parodied, sliced, diced and pureed for 82 years.

But there’s no question that this is still the definitive version of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel.  On its initial release it hit audiences like a piledriver, offering up a tale as ghastly as any that had been shown on a movie screen.

The wealthy Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) has arrived in England, charming the socks off his new neighbors, the Seward family. The Sewards don’t know – but we do – that the Count‘s urbane manner is only a façade.  He is in reality a vampire, a loathsome creature that sleeps in dirt, lives in darkness, and drinks the blood of the living.  Those unfortunates whom he does not kill become his slaves, and he has decided young Mina Seward (Helen Chandler) will be his next victim.  Mina’s only hope of salvation is the eccentric Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), a student of the occult. But Van Helsing discovers that it’s difficult to fight a vampire when everyone around you refuses to believe in them.

Browning’s directorial style isn’t particularly dynamic, and many of the vampire tropes he introduced to the movies might seem shopworn today.  But there are moments in this film that are still thrilling: the scenes in the Transylvanian village, where the superstitious folk beg Jonathan Harker (David Manners) not to journey to the castle; the ruins of Dracula’s great hall, looking frozen and otherworldly in the moonlight; Bela Lugosi’s peculiar mannerisms and his creepy over-pronunciation, which seems to mock the very language used by his victims.

We like to think of Dracula as tame stuff by today’s standards, and we regard the moviegoers of 1931 as innocent, almost child-like.  They screamed at scenes we’d yawn at.  But perhaps we’re not as sophisticated as we imagine.  Perhaps we’re just over stimulated, our senses dulled by a thousand pointless gore-fests and a million cheap shocks. And maybe it’s not such a bad thing, once in a while, to imagine what it would be like to be seeing Count Dracula on the movie screen for the first time.

Dracula (1931), directed by Tod Browning, at the Heights Theater, Thursday, September 26 at 7:30 pm.  Get tickets here.





Last week we brought you what might be Cassavettes’ masterpiece, A Woman on Under the Influence, and this weekend we give you the master’s earliest work: Shadows and Faces, two of the very first great independent American features, from 1959 and 1968, respectively.

In the nine years between these two pictures, Cassavetes labored in Hollywood, directing two movies he himself didn’t regard all that highly (Too Late Blues and A Child is Waiting, the first of which was also written by Cassavetes and hurt by the unfortunate casting of Bobby Darin in the lead), and starring or supporting in a number of TV shows (Johnny Staccato among tons of others) and movies (The Killers remake, The Dirty Dozen, and, in the same year as Faces, Rosemary’s Baby.) This work, which he supposedly loathed, was both the result of disappointment (that Shadows didn’t get him the work he really wanted to do), and ambition (that at least he was able to land roles that brought him the money to finance his own work.)

The searing intensity of Cassavetes’ work deserves to be seen on the big screen. To a degree, they defy summary: Shadows is a supposedly improvised movie about interracial relationships in New York City during the height of the Beat Generation movement. (Many critics, most notably David Thomson, argue that Shadows is hardly improvised, but worked on over time, rehearsed, etc. Detractors to this point also argue that not being improvised doesn’t take anything away from it.) Faces, which propelled Cassavetes at the very least into the upper echelons of art house directors, and which landed a number of Oscar nominations, is the story of a couple whose lives begin collapsing when the husband demands a divorce.

But then, you don’t go to a Cassavetes movie to get caught up in an intricate plot, but to feel, to have your emotions wrung out like so much wet laundry, to marvel at the power of incredible performances and direction that supports the same.

Shadows plays this weekend at 7:00 on Friday, 9:30 on Saturday, and 7:30 on Sunday. Buy tickets here.
Faces screens Friday at 9:00, Saturday at 7:00, and Sunday at 5:00. Buy tickets here.

Giant Monster Rat Pack Attacks the Trylon!


We’ve absorbed a lot of Japanese pop culture over the last 60 years–everything from Pokemon to Tamagachi to Sailor Moon–but nothing has burrowed deeper into the American psyche than Godzilla. Most folks can recognize the big guy on sight, even if the other contestants in his rubber-suited wrestling matches get a little fuzzy.

But even cineastes who don’t know their Megalon from their Mechagodzilla will have a good time at Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.  No knowledge of previous entries in the franchise is necessary, and the title alone clues you in to the breathless, gee-whiz spirit of the proceedings.

Godzilla has endured more cinematic reboots than Batman, and he’s been variously depicted as a villain, a hero, and an impassive force of nature.  This time around, he plays a new role: bringer of divine retribution.  It turns out that Japan’s subjugation of its neighbors during the “Pacific War”  (what we call World War II) has earned a king-sized punishment for the Japanese people, and Godzilla has arrived to deliver it.

Don’t worry about sitting through a somber lecture on Southeast Asian history, though. We’ve got rompin’ stompin’ monster action and plenty of it, featuring Big G and two of his best-known adversaries: the electricity-breathing, three headed dragon King Ghidorah and larger-than-life Lepidoptera Mothra.  The hapless Baragon shows up too, mostly to get the stuffing kicked out of him, and to provide a little comic relief.  Unlike the other three, Baragon never headlined a movie of his own; he’s kind of the Joey Bishop of this particular rat pack.
post by Michael Popham, Trylon volunteer

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Showtimes:  Monday and Tuesday, 7:00 & 9:00.
Get tickets here

Godzilla vs. the Rose at the Trylon!


Here’s a tip for you kids: if you’re ever a grieving scientist who’s thinking of mixing DNA from your late daughter with cells from Godzilla and a rose bush, don’t do it. Before you can say “giant carnivorous plant” you’ll have an unholy mess on your hands: namely, a 200-foot, acid-spewing monster called Biolante that’s lumbering toward Tokyo.

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Love is the Drug for Etaix

le-grand-amour-pierre-etaixPierre Etaix is on the prowl after his sexy new secretary, which is unfortunate since, you know, he’s married and all that. Not since Keaton’s Seven Chances has the sacred institution of marriage been skewered so hilariously and beautifully as it is in Le Grand Amour, the next installment of the Trylon’s Pierre Etaix series. Don’t miss this strange little masterpiece, showing with the short “Happy Anniversary”, now playing tonight through Sunday at the Trylon, 7 & 9 Friday and Saturday, Sunday at 5 & 7. Tickets available here!


The Original (and best) Scarface tonight at the Heights



As part of our Howard Hawks: America’s Greatest Director? series continuing at the gorgeous Heights Theatre, we bring you 1932’s Scarface, aka Shame of the Nation! Paul Muni is outstanding as the vicious (and vile) gangster, and sexy Ann Dvorak is on hand to play his sister, Cesca, who is perhaps just a little too close to her brother.

This is a fairly rare screening, on beautiful 35mm, with the Heights’ famous organ music welcoming you as you take your seat. You’ve seen Al Pacino overact his way through almost three hours of Scarface, check out the brutal, and swift, original!

One screening tonight at 7:30. Tickets available here and at the Heights box office.

Two Sound Unseen Films Screen Tonight at the Trylon!

The_History_of_Future_Folk_Yes, friends, our partners at Sound Unseen are bringing you not one but two screenings tonight! At 7:00, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, which “documents the relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. With arresting insight, vulnerability, and a delightful sense of humor, utilizing a tapestry of live action and multiple styles of animation, the film blurs the line between narrative, documentary, and experimental film.” With music by Flying Lotus, this is one not to miss! Tickets available here and at the Trylon box office.

And at the 9:00 hour, The History of Future Folk touches down, a sort-of Flight of the Conchords meets low-budget sci-fi adventure. Tickets are available here and at the Trylon box office.


Revenge Isn’t So Sweet, Girl: Gamera 3: Awakening of Iris


Something called Gyaos are attacking Earth… again. Only now they’re Hyper Gyaos. The turtle-like creature Gamera is the only one who can kill them, and does, with the collateral damage being over 20,000 people dead, most of whom were crushed in a subway. So the Japanese government orders the destruction of Gamera. But what about those Hyper Gyaos?

A girl whose parents were killed in the subway mashing becomes a close personal friend of a giant egg in her village, which hatches into a tentacled creature that she names Iris. The young girl wants this Iris to grow up and murder Gamera. Well, this creature instead gets big, swallows the girl, and, using the young lady’s anger and hatred, begins to destroy the world , and does so with relish.

Well, the government gets involved, there’s a conspiracy involving these Hyper Gyaos, and you get some of the most awesome and potentially inspiring monster battles ever committed to virtual celluloid. Do not miss this epic Kaiju flick, the very last from the Toho Studios! Shows Monday and Tuesday at the Trylon, 7:00 & 9:00 in the PM. Buy your tickets here!

“There are many words that describe Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. The words ‘magnificent’ and ‘amazing’ just barely scratch the surface. Yes, these are strong words, but do they really suit this film? The answer is a resounding yes! Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is pure cinematic gold.” –“The Godzilla”,

Experience Pierre Etaix’s Masterpiece Yoyo This Weekend

comic genius of pierre etaix - yoyo jpg 1

Opening as an homage to silent films that puts The Artist to shame,  moving through generations, and a celebration of the circus life that he so adored, Yoyo is Pierre Etaix’s masterpiece. Do not miss this heartwarming and hilarious movie, in which the auteur plays both father and son. The father, a bored millionaire, yearns for a life under the big top. When the stock market wipes out his income, he is blissfully free to pursue his dream. And so he does, raising a son who becomes the famous clown Yoyo. Yoyo eventually becomes a hero in war, a star of the silver screen, and then buys back his late father’s crumbling estate. A film of joy and beauty.

Yoyo screens this weekend at the Trylon, Friday and Saturday night at 7:00 and 9:00, and Sunday at 5:00 and 7:00. Tickets are available here.