Summer cinema: Going local


Judith O'Dea stars in 'Night of the Living Dead,' playing at the Keystone Art Cinema June 3 and 4. Submitted photo.
  • Judith O'Dea stars in 'Night of the Living Dead,' playing at the Keystone Art Cinema June 3 and 4. Submitted photo.

Last week, NUVO's own Ed Johnson-Ott provided you with a guide to the summer's biggest films. Now it's time to focus on the smaller ones.

By "small," we don't just mean obscure indie art-house fare. We mean all the films playing exclusively on local screens. The first major local film event is a midnight screening of a movie everyone is familiar with - 1968's Night of the Living Dead. Screening on June 3 and 4, this horror classic is one of many cult films playing at the Keystone Art Cinema this summer.

Shot in gritty black and white, Night follows a zombie invasion in rural Pennsylvania and the people hiding from the deadly creatures. Like many Americans in the intolerant 1960s, the zombies seem hardwired to hunt those different than them. After its release, writer-director George A. Romero largely denied any overt social or political commentary in the film, but it's there nonetheless, beneath the blood-splattered surface.

Like all great cult films, Night of the Living Dead is defiant. It swims against the grain and holds a funhouse mirror up to reality. A true grindhouse experience, the midnight screening of the film includes trailers for classic and campy horror films as well as a Technicolor cartoon called The Cobweb Hotel.

The Keystone Art Cinema will screen midnight movies every Friday and Saturday through July 16. Upcoming cult classics include the so-bad-it's-good romance drama, The Room; the Japanese war epic, 13 Assassins; the adventure fantasy, The Goonies; and more.

Want something more extreme?

If the midnight show of Night of the Living Dead isn't enough for you, check out the Fangoria Film Festival at the Days of the Dead Convention (July 1-3 at the Wyndham West hotel). Among other things, Heather Langenkamp (the girl of Freddy Krueger's nightmares) will be there for the world premiere of her documentary I Am Nancy, in which she explores the Nightmare on Elm Street phenomenon.

If that still doesn't quench your thirst for quirky cinema, check out the Movie Buff Theatre - a new 14-screen complex located at 3535 W. 86th St. In addition to new releases, it shows first-run, independent, and foreign films (for a ticket price of $5 on weekdays and $7 on weekends). Hobo with a Shotgun is but one of the edgy, unconventional flicks playing there now (the title explains it all).

If you're looking for more populist, family-friendly fare, don't miss the IMA's Summer Nights film series. It boasts an eclectic range of films - from Poltergeist to The Sandlot. Better yet, they are all screening in the museum's outdoor amphitheater. Films begin every Friday at 9 p.m. This week's movie is 1981's Mommie Dearest, a warts-and-all look at actress and compulsive celebrity mom, Joan Crawford. Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for museum members. For picnicking before the films, gates open at 6 p.m. for members and 6:30 for the public.

In terms of the indoor film events at the IMA, there are two this season: the Indiana Black Expo Film Festival and the Indianapolis International Film Festival. The former runs July 9 and 10 and features a slew of compelling films that speak to the African American experience, including award-winning documentaries screened at the Heartland Film Festival, directed by established and emerging filmmakers.

Based on the films that have been featured in the past (such as Skateland and (500) Days of Summer), we can assure you that this year's international film festival (July 14-24) is also well worth checking out.

Both festivals are screening films in the IMA's Toby Theatre. Ticket prices vary.

Keep an eye on NUVO for further coverage of these events and more to come.


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