Book review: ‘Fright Favorites’ is a classic horror film treat

It took only one flip through “Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond” to see we were going to be good friends.

While I love deep-dive books about film history, they often sit on the shelf after the initial reading waiting to be pulled out again for special occasions and projects. The informative “Fright Favorites,” however, is a book you’ll want to keep within easy reach.

It is the latest in the Turner Classic Movies Library series that has reimagined the coffee-table book in a compact size (roughly 7.5 by 8 inches) that’s easy to hold and read, or just flip through to look at the gorgeous photography.

Noted film historian and author David J. Skal grew up during the monster movie craze of the 1950s, becoming part of the first generation of “monster kids.”

So he dedicates “Fright Favorites” to “monster kids of all ages everywhere” as he takes us through horror movies not as a comprehensive history, but rather as a “diverse sampler of chilling, thrilling, and often laugh-provoking classic movies especially well suited to mark the thirty-one days of October.”

Horror movie historian – and fan – David J. Skal is the author of “Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween.” (Photo by Jonathan Eaton)

Skal succinctly explains how our celebration of Halloween has changed over the past century-plus from Hollywood’s early affection for cute and whimsical pinups of starlets posing with broomsticks, cats, pumpkins and witch hats, to what has become a growing cinematic season and part of a multibillion-dollar annual industry.

He credits John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” with contributing to “the explosive growth of Halloween as the second-biggest retail holiday in America after Christmas,” and helping fuel the urban mythology of Halloween.

“The ‘Halloween’ phenomenon reconnected the holiday to its primary, if forgotten, cultural purpose: a ceremonial acknowledgment of mortality and the never-ending cycles of life, death, and the mysteries that follow. Before John Carpenter reinvigorated the holiday with ritual human sacrifice, did anyone still make a conscious connection between a jack-o’-lantern and a grinning skull?” Skal writes.

Movie fans love trivia and Skal goes beyond familiar stories to offer anecdotes that will be fresh to most of us. I won’t be able to think of “Nosferatu” again without recalling the creepy fact that it was based on vampire legends that Albin Grau, the film’s producer and production designer, heard during World War I. As a fan of “Them!” I’m embarrassed to have not known it was originally planned in 3-D and color but nixed by budget cuts.

Among the anecdotes shared by David J. Skal in “Fright Favorites” is that “Them!” was originally going to be shot in color. I think black and white suits the film much better.

“I’ve done a lot of research I haven’t been able to use and there are anecdotes and insights I haven’t put into a book before and I’m happy to have them here,” Skal said during a recent telephone interview about the book.

[Read: More of my interview with David J. Skal]

The title touts 31 movies, but Skal doubles that with a short piece about a second film that pairs nicely with the main movie. For “The Mummy” (1932) he gives us the 1980 Charlton Heston film “The Awakening”; for “Cat People” (1942), he suggest the Persian-language vampire film “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014) that has been discussed in the “Women Make Film” documentary airing on TCM.

Skal gets us thinking about how the world influenced horror movies in new ways. Again, he takes it beyond the obvious – like the fact that giant bug movies grew out of American’s increasing fear of nuclear weapons – by explaining how  Lon Chaney’s trademark portrayals of disfigured and disabled characters endeared him to audiences who were seeing maimed World War I veterans in their neighborhoods.

Wartime audiences connected with Lon Chaney’s portrayals of disabled characters like the armless circus performer in “The Unknown.” He’s pictured with Joan Crawford.

The visuals are another highlight with candid and publicity photos on nearly every page.  Skal said he loves “digging for photos” and that he spent almost as much time finding the right pictures as he did on other aspects of the book. It shows.

The black and white photography is especially crisp and detailed. Take the famous publicity still from “House on Haunted Hill” with Vincent Price leaning over a table with cobwebs on lamps and statues. In “Fright Favorites,” that picture is so crisp that you can see the twist of his moustache coming off his mouth and a second cupid I never noticed.

While the book was written in conjunction with TCM, Skal includes a few modern films as well, but they recall the classics. “Young Frankenstein,” for example, was “simultaneously a loving homage and irreverent spoof” that follows the template of Universal films starring Boris Karloff in the 1930s.

And Jordan Peele’s masterful “Get Out” (2017) “reflects the legacy influence of a number of works, including ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1956, 1978, 1993, and 2007 adaptations), ‘The Thing’ and ‘The Stepford Wives.’ ”

“Fright Favorites” may be about horror films, but it’s a fun and entertaining read, too. It works double duty as a solid introduction to these films as well as a handy reference guide for monster kids everywhere.

Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond, by David J. Skal.

224 pages from Running Press; $25.

A handy guide to nearly 100 horror films airing on TCM in October

It’s our time, horror movie fans.

Once again, Turner Classic Movies has curated a made-to-order fright fest with a schedule of nearly 100 horror films throughout October.

Friday evenings are devoted exclusively to scary movies starting Oct. 2 when horror author David J. Skal, whose new book with TCM is “Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond,” introduces four films starting at 8 p.m.

Those four movies and many others in the book will be shown on TCM in October including “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “Mystery of the Wax Museum,” “Them!” and “The Wolf Man.”

TCM’s Star of the Month (#sotm) is horror great Peter Cushing, whose films will be featured in prime-time every Monday night in October. Though the first two weeks (Oct. 5 and 12) focus on Cushing’s early roles and non-horror work, Oct. 19 is devoted to his Hammer films  – including three Frankenstein movies – and Oct. 26 is all horror including two Dracula films.

Oct. 14 is Tod Browning Day with seven of his films programmed including three with Lon Chaney. The month culminates in around-the-clock horror films on Oct. 30 and 31.

Here is the list of films to help you plan your viewing and DVR schedule.

Friday, Oct. 2

Fright Favorites: David Skal Frightmare

8 p.m. “Dracula” (Universal, 1931). Bela Lugosi remains the face of Dracula nearly a century later.

9:30 p.m. “Cat People” (1942). Director Jacques Tourneur’s poetic horror story about a woman who fears she turns into a panther.

11 p.m. “House on Haunted Hill” (1959). Vincent Price invites strangers to spend the night in a haunted house for a big payday.

Is “The Haunting” one of the scariest movies ever? Yes.

Saturday, Oct. 3

 12:30 a.m. “The Haunting” (1963). A far more terrifying take on strangers who spend the night in a haunted mansion. Keep the lights on.

Friday, Oct. 9

Fright Favorites: Back From the Grave

8 p.m. “The Ghoul” (1933). Boris Karloff is an Egyptologist who returns from the dead for revenge against those who have betrayed him.

9:30 p.m. “Black Sleep” (1956). A scientist puts his victims into a black sleep as he experiments on their brains to save his wife. Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Basil Rathbone.

11 p.m. “Mark of the Vampire” (1935). Tod Browning remakes his film “London After Midnight.” A count (Bela Lugosi) and his daughter (Carroll Borland) are suspected of murder when a man is found dead with two pinpricks on his neck. With Lionel Atwill, Lionel Barrymore. Continue reading “A handy guide to nearly 100 horror films airing on TCM in October”

TCM and ‘Women Make Film’: an astonishing trip through movie history

It’s only 3 minutes into the documentary “Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema,” and I’m hooked from the first movie clip.

Though a word isn’t spoken in it, much is communicated. A small circular light pierces the dark screen as a young man in World War II Germany is looking for his love. Another light appears, and the circles meet, like “two moons.” The two young lovers, tears in their eyes, finally see each other, but then hastily shut off their lights in fear of approaching soldiers.

The scene is from “We Were Young,” a 1961 film by Bulgarian director Binka Zhelyazkova and it’s so captivating I wrote down the title and circled it multiple times as a reminder that I must see this film.

A screenshot of a striking scene from “We Were Young” in which a young woman and man  have just a moment to silently gaze at each other on a street in World War II Germany.

I’ve since watched the two-minute clip multiple times and remain entranced.

There are countless moments like that throughout the 14-part film by Mark Cousins, the filmmaker, author and former film critic who previously made the epic 2011 documentary “The Story of Film: An Odyssey.”

Like that extensive documentary, “Women Make Film” is well worth your time especially as it’s presented in a three-month immersive programming initiative by Turner Classic Movies focusing on female filmmakers.

TCM will present a new 60-minute episode of the documentary at 8 p.m. each Tuesday starting Sept. 1, followed that evening by seven movies directed by women. It continues weekly to Dec. 1.

Continue reading “TCM and ‘Women Make Film’: an astonishing trip through movie history”

‘The Sin of Nora Moran’: a Pre-Code ahead of its time

If the film title “The Sin of Nora Moran” is familiar to you, chances are that you know it from the exquisite poster by Alberto Vargas, not necessarily from seeing the movie.

The 1933 Pre-Code film hasn’t been as easy to see as the famous poster that is often lauded as one the greatest in film history (it ranked No. 2 on a Premiere magazine list).

So when “The Sin of Nora Moran” premiered on Turner Classic Movies in May as part of an evening of Pre-Code films, it blew up the classic movie Twitterverse with praise, awe and bewilderment. (It was to be shown at the canceled 2020 TCM Film Festival and I can only imagine how extraordinary it would have looked on the big screen.)

The Film Detective has released “The Sin of Nora Moran” on DVD and Blu-ray with the exquisite poster image by Alberto Vergas on its cover.

Now we can watch this Poverty Row film in a new 4K restoration on DVD and limited-edition Blu-ray from The Film Detective. (Both have the Vargas artwork on the cover.) The restoration is by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and it looks and sounds great, unlike the generally fuzzy public domain copies and clips previously available online.

The Blu-ray comes with a mini booklet that includes a short written  appreciation by film historian and producer Samuel M. Sherman, who played a key role in getting this film in the public eye.

Sherman narrates a 17-minute featurette that includes rare photos and film clips as he tells how he was introduced to the film in the 1960s, “traded” for a rare 16mm print of it (he doesn’t remember what he traded, saying “It’s lost in antiquities”) and ultimately obtained a 35mm camera negative that helped with the restoration. He also secured a television deal for the film in the 1980s by renaming it “Voice from the Grave” (a fitting title) and packaging it with sci-fi and horror movies. “It played coast to coast on syndicated television in the 1980s, which was an amazing thing,” Sherman recalled.

Most remarkable: Sherman forged a lifelong friendship with star Zita Johann (who he first saw in Universal’s “The Mummy”) to the point that she made him a heir to her estate. In fact, Sherman was the one who showed Johann the final version of “Nora Moran”; until then, she had only seen a working print that didn’t have the “fancier” techniques added during editing. She told Sherman she preferred the earlier version. Information like that is gold to classic movie fans and I would love to hear more from him on what Johann said about making the film.

A familiar story told in an unfamiliar way

“The Sin of Nora Moran” is a lean, 65-minute movie from the Poverty Row studio Majestic Pictures. The plot is nothing out of the ordinary and, in fact, was quite familiar at the time: girl falls for the wrong guy and has to pay for it.

So why the fuss over “The Sin of Nora Moran”?

It was a film ahead of its time in both filmmaking and storytelling. It is not presented in a linear fashion, instead it jumps – often dramatically – between different times, characters, perspectives and even reality and dreams (or nightmares as it may be).

The look of despondency is clear on Nora’s face as she searches for a job as a dancer in this shot that superimposes images to show her state of mind.

The heavy use of montages, superimposed images and hallucinations –  unusual at the time – added to the storytelling. (My favorite technique  is a diagonal “wash,” usually used as a transition, but here it literally adds another layer of darkness over a  character.)

People seeing “The Sin of Nora Moran” for the first time speak about it with such adjectives as revolutionary, dizzying, bizarre and my favorite, kaleidoscopic used in a review on Pre-Code.com that I highly recommend reading. Continue reading “‘The Sin of Nora Moran’: a Pre-Code ahead of its time”

Celebrating Ray Harryhausen and lifelong journeys to ‘Mysterious Island’

It was that giant crab that started it.

The fact that it was followed by a prehistoric chicken-bird, a human-sized bee with a honeycomb so large it could trap two people in one of its cells, and a deadly giant cephalopod all in the same film was almost too good to be true.

Of course, none of what happened in the 1961 film “Mysterious Island” was true, but it was riveting to watch nonetheless. Those fantastic beasts didn’t even come from the Jules Verne novel that was the source material for the film.

Michael Callan and Beth Rogan are trapped in a honeycomb by a giant bee in “Mysterious Island.”

Instead, they were from the fertile imagination of Ray Harryhausen who magically brought them to life as a way to improve on the novel’s basic idea of “how to survive on an island” by “incorporating strange creatures” in the movie, as he explained in an interview on the movie’s DVD.

I can’t imagine the film without them.

In celebration of the centennial of his birth (June 29, 1920), it’s fitting to honor Ray Harryhausen, a filmmaker and artist who has inspired me, entertained me and given me giant reasons to return to “Mysterious Island.”

* * *

Although I didn’t know it at the time, “Mysterious Island” was my introduction to Harryhausen. Later, when I understood that Harryhausen was the connection between those creatures and others in films like “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” (1953) and “Mighty Joe Young” (1949), I sought out more of his films. (Didn’t we all?)

The giant octopus from “It Came From Beneath the Sea” was awesome.

“It Came from Beneath the Sea” (1955) and the very cool giant octopus; “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” (1958) and its Cyclops; “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963) with such wonders as the Hydra and the living skeletons; “20 Million Miles to Earth” (1957) and the Ymir; “Clash of the Titans” (1981) with the triple hit of Pegasus, Medusa and the Kraken; and the dinosaur films like “One Million Years B.C.” (1966) and “Valley of Gwangi” (1969).

Honestly, I love them all. But if there is only one Harryhausen film I can choose, it is and always will be “Mysterious Island” for a personal reason – it’s our family film.

Dad introduced me to “Mysterious Island” as a kid. We watched it over and over and enjoyed it with the same enthusiasm on each viewing. We always did that thing where one of us would look at the other before every key “entrance” (i.e., creature) in the film.

The castaways are attacked by a beast that looks like a giant chicken in “Mysterious Island.” Ray Harryhausen modeled it after the prehistoric flightless bird Phorusrhacos.

Later, when my twin nephews were about the same age as I was when I was introduced to the film (about 8 or so), we all watched it together. Repeatedly. (Clearly, “Mysterious Island” is a film that works best on repeat.)

Multiple generations of our family were swept away to the mysterious island of Harryhausen’s imagination. Dad loved it and so did I. I might have been young, but was still thrilled at turning kids on to a film that I loved, just as dad did for me. Time passed. Great nephews Tyler and Matthew came along. Guess what we watched together? Continue reading “Celebrating Ray Harryhausen and lifelong journeys to ‘Mysterious Island’”

File under animal films: Classic creature movies

It was embarrassing, there’s no other way to spin it. On a recent Friday night, I was hunkered over my tablet like a kid studying for a quiz seeking answers to this question: Is (fill in the blank) an animal?

And that leads to your questions.

1) Shouldn’t an adult already know the answer?

2) Why would anyone research that in the first place?

Blame it on social media. I wanted to take part in one of those fun Twitter questions/polls, but was hesitant to give a “wrong” answer. The topic: movies with an animal in the title – no proper nouns allowed. So  “Lassie” was out, but “Reservoir Dogs” was in.

As a fan of creature horror movies, I had to participate. It would be a chance to draw attention to these entertaining movies.

“Tarantula,” one of my favs, came to mind first but was quickly shot down by doubt. A tarantula is a spider which comes from the arachnid family so does being an arachnid negate it from being an animal?

Once I thought about it, my mental capacity dropped to that of a preschooler. Doubts were everywhere as I questioned each movie title in my head.

“The Fly.” “Deadly Mantis.” “Black Scorpion.” “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” “Giant Gila Monster.” “Attack of the Crab Monsters.”

Is “The Fly” an insect, an animal or both?

What was an animal and what wasn’t? Is an insect solely an insect or an animal, too? I grew more embarrassed with each search, but kept going.

Well there’s a good reason for the confusion – the kingdom Animali is massive and includes mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians and fish for starters. As it turns out, many of my favorite horror movies are animal films. Victory was mine – and I was off to watch “Tarantula.”

Continue reading “File under animal films: Classic creature movies”

Wrapped up in the snugly comfort of classic movies

Ask me why I enjoy watching classic movies and the answer is a variation on a theme: Because classic movies make me feel like I’m wrapping myself in warm blanket or snuggling in a cozy chair.

They are, in a word, comforting.

So I found it interesting over the past few months as social media filled with people seemingly just discovering that movies can bring comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I love that people have sought out movies to ease their worries. But classic movies have done this for me as far back as I can remember.

“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” starring the perfect combination of Gene Tierney, left, and Rex Harrison, is a soothing, old-fashioned love story.

Rainy days make me want to stay home, pull up a blanket and put on an old black and white movie. If I’m a bit down, a Technicolor film always lifts my spirits. If I’m tense, I watch something soothing like the ethereal “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” or the fantasy of “Brigadoon.” Looking for inspiration, I’ll put on a Frank Capra movie. When I get home from a tough day at work, I turn on Turner Classic Movies and I start to wind down.

Often, the comfort factor is obvious as with my favorite romances that have me nestling in all warm and cozy. “Laura” with its beautiful score and Dana Andrews as the hardboiled detective in love with a portrait; “Dark Angel,” a sweet love triangle (yes there are such stories) with Fredric March, Herbert Marshall and Merle Oberon as inseparable lifelong friends who truly love each other; and “An Affair to Remember” where I can watch Nickie (Cary Grant) and Terry (Deborah Kerr) fall in love. (Let’s not talk about Janou; I’ll start to sniffle.)

It may seem odd, but watching Rod Taylor’s adventures in “The Time Machine” makes me feel cozy and relaxed.

Others films I find comforting will seem odd because of their genres, but they have that quality by transporting me to another time (“The Time Machine”), leaving me on the edge of my seat (“House of Wax”), mesmerizing me (“Sunrise”), making me laugh (“You Can’t Take It With You”) and scaring the heck out of me (“The Haunting”).

I’m sure this can be traced to memories of being introduced to classics by my family. I watched old horror films with my dad and any time I see one of the original Universal monsters or a 1950s creature feature, I relax which is a weird reaction to a horror film. Mom liked family-based films with “I Remember Mama” being a favorite. At grandma’s, we watched Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies with the lights off.

[Read my ode to my father at Classic Movie Hub on How movies with dad spawned a classic horror fan]

Continue reading “Wrapped up in the snugly comfort of classic movies”

From architecture to comic books, Guillermo del Toro’s in love with Buffalo

For four days in February, Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro was in Buffalo to shoot scenes for his much-anticipated film noir “Nightmare Alley.”

The movie, a loose remake of a 1947 film noir starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell, stars Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara, who were both in Buffalo filming, along with a star-studded cast including Cate Blanchett, Richard Jenkins, Ron Pearlman, David Strathairn and Willem Dafoe.

Though his time here was limited, del Toro took part in a press conference at Buffalo’s City Hall, a 1932 art deco structure that was one of the locations that drew him to Buffalo. “It’s a jewel,” he said. “A perfectly preserved  beautiful art deco jewel.”

“I’ve always been fascinated by Buffalo. I was very interested in the architecture and historical significance of Buffalo,” said del Toro, who found Buffalo’s abundance of 1930s and ‘40s architecture perfect for his period noir that is set in the 1940s.

The press conference was held on the first day of shooting. The day before, crew members were in Niagara Square outside City Hall dumping trucks of snow and laying down “snow blankets” to create the illusion of snow for a winter scene. Yes – even Buffalo has days without snow.

But Buffalonians could have saved them time by telling the crew about our lake-effect snow that the very next day brought enough snow that it covered all of their hard work and created the winter scene the filmmakers wanted.

When asked if he was surprised he had to bring in fake snow, del Toro said “Yes, it was like bringing tacos to Mexico. I didn’t really expect that.”

That sense of humor was abundant throughout the press conference as del Toro talked about his love for Buffalo from its architecture to comic book stores. Before the press conference, del Toro had already visited one comic book store and left with a box of goodies. He said he is eager to visit more stores and praised Buffalo’s culture of “small cinema clubs, bookstores, independent movement in music and comics and film. I really think it’s a city that is revitalizing and rediscovering itself,” he said.

Finding the right location

As del Toro was scouting locations for “Nightmare Alley” across North America (Toronto was used as the primary location), he explained how Buffalo fulfilled the multiple challenges he faced.

“I wanted to find a city that was really interesting to visit for an audience and that was a city that they weren’t overtly familiar with. When you look at period films, it’s always New York or Los Angeles – two or three cities in the entirety of America revisited for their significant historical or architectural terms,” del Toro said.

Guillermo del Toro appreciated the fact that he could turn his camera at various angles on a Buffalo street and still not break the film illusion. That’s evident in this WGRZ-TV video showing the period architecture from the steps of City Hall.

In his search, he often found the right type of period architecture, but it would be surrounded by newer buildings, leaving “big gaps of beauty and architectural integrity.”

“Most of the cities in America you cannot turn your camera 45 degrees because you’ll have something ruining the illusion that we need to create and the integrity of the architectural preservation of the city. It is both thematically and visually very important to me to set it here (Buffalo).”

Two of his previous films have had a Buffalo connection. The Gothic ghost story “Crimson Peak” was “set” in Buffalo (though filmed in Canada) in the late 1800s before moving on to England. Del Toro’s Oscar winning film “The Shape of Water” used vintage pieces supplied by local collector Michael Meriso and his CooCooU27 including the dining room set used in the apartment of Elisa (played by Sally Hawkins), the movie’s female lead.

This screen shot from “Crimson Peak” depicts Buffalo, N.Y. as the film’s setting around the time of the Pan-American Exposition that was held here in 1901.

In his reading and research on Buffalo since “Crimson Peak,” he said has has been “taken by how many times American history is made in this city and how thriving it was in many ways in different periods and how it is now for me a city that is resurging and rediscovering itself, and an absolutely amazing architectural point of view.”

[Read: The del Toro exhibit: Monsters, outsiders and death … oh my]

When asked if he would return to make more projects in Buffalo, del Toro said “definitely.”

“The great thing about it is, unprompted, I’ve always been fascinated by the city,” del Toro said about Buffalo. “And the thing that you must enjoy because it is true, is the reputation of the city as a place where you can shoot and there is a depth of talent and a depth of crew and a quality. Filmmakers – we talk to each other like high school but much heavier people – we know each other, we talk about it and this city has a pristine reputation.”

“It is true that every day that I’m here, I fall more and more in love with it.”

* * * * *

This is the plot description released by the studio, Searchlight (formerly Fox Searchlight).

“In ‘Nightmare Alley,’ an ambitious young carny (Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is. The carnival cast includes carnival worker Molly (Mara), head barker Clem (Dafoe), and Ron Perlman as Bruno the Strongman. Richard Jenkins is part of the high society crowd as wealthy industrialist Ezra Grindle.”

 

 

 

Found! A treasure of classic British films from a ‘Renown’ source

When classic movie fans discover a new source of old movies, it’s like we hit the lottery.

So I feel like I’ve won the big one after finding a treasure of movies from Renown Pictures, a distribution company that specializes in British cinema and television, predominately from the 1930s to ‘60s.

More than 100 of Renown’s titles – mysteries, dramas, horror, sci-fi, detective stories, romance and documentaries– are streaming for free on Amazon Prime.

This artwork – a blue cover and four photos – makes films from Renown easy to spot.

I almost made the mistake of bypassing these films when they first popped up as suggested viewing on my Prime account. They were packaged with the same blue artwork with four black and white photos. The titles, actors and directors were not familiar, so I didn’t pay attention. (Felix Aylmer? Wolf Rilla? Jane Hylton?)

Shame on me and obvious lessons learned: Don’t judge a movie by its cover – or unfamiliarity – because you’ll miss out.

Continue reading “Found! A treasure of classic British films from a ‘Renown’ source”

Screening Room hosts a classic Valentine’s Day movie events

It’s February and you know what that means – lots of hearts and flowers. But if you’re a classic movie fan – or your sweetie is – there’s only one way to celebrate on Feb. 14: watching classic romances at The Screening Room Cinema Café at the Boulevard Mall, Amherst.

The boutique cinema, that has a special fondness for classic movies, has a Valentine’s Day package for two offered for either “Casablanca” or “The Princess Bride.” For $40, you get two tickets, two drinks, popcorn and two chocolate sundaes. It doesn’t get better than that.

Continue reading “Screening Room hosts a classic Valentine’s Day movie events”