The legendary director Joe Dante—subject of our most recent Primer—is coming to Chicago for a weekend of special screenings, including a double feature at the Music Box on Friday, August 10th, co-presented by New Cult Canon. Here’s how the evening will break down:

9:30 p.m.: Dante will present the Midwest Premiere of The Hole, his still-undistributed 2009 horror film. The film marks Dante’s confident return to a genre he invested with great B-movie scares and wit in The Howling, Piranha, and Gremlins. Chris Massoglia and Nathan Gamble star as two brothers who discover a mysterious hole in the basement of their new home and, along with their next-door neighbor (Haley Bennett), start poking away at the void. Needless to say, they stir up a heap of supernatural trouble, and Dante ekes both laughs and shocks from this terrifying hell-pit. Though originally shot in 3-D, this screening will be presented in 2-D.

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Between screenings: A Q&A session with Dante.

Midnight: Dante will introduce his brilliant 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch, shown here in a pristine 35mm print from his own personal library. After he delivered Warner Brothers a hit in 1984’s Gremlins, Joe Dante got the keys to the kingdom for Gremlins 2 and delivered one of the most gloriously anarchic films in recent studio history, a $50 million exercise in barely controlled chaos that doubles as a Mon Oncle-esque comment on sterile, mechanized modernity. Most of the action takes place in an ultra-sleek, gadget-filled New York corporate office, where the cuddly Mogwai Gizmo is subject to genetic testing that leads, inevitably to an insane multiplicity of havoc-wreaking gremlins. Dante sides with the mischief-makers.

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Tickets are $15. (Individual tickets for Gremlins 2 will be sold at the door, pending availability.)

On Saturday the 11th at 8 p.m. at The Nightingale, Dante will show his fabled 1968 “supercut” The Movie Orgy, a 270-minute compilation of trailers, commercials, industrial films, and scenes from B-movies. It’s a film designed to be enjoyed casually—and was once seven hours long—but there’s a continuity to the story, too, such as it goes. That film will be shown via a new digital transfer from his own print. Admission is a $7 suggested donation.

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