Special Events

Escapism Film Festival

When: Sept. 9-15 2013

Life is always beautiful when the Escapism Film Festival comes to town. I'm not ashamed to admit I've wept tears of nostalgic joy reliving the '80s-era genre films screened each year; in at least one case, I may have hugged the Carolina Theatre's Jim Carl. This year's lineup reaches into the 1990s for some audience requests, including the TV franchise-launcher Stargate, two Joe Dante-John Goodman collaborations, the spidery dark comedy Arachnophobia and the underrated homage to gimmicky filmmaker William Castle, Matinee. There's also the oddball dark comedy Death Becomes Her, with an undead Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn battling it out over a nebbish Bruce Willis, and a personal favorite, 1997's Starship Troopers. Yes, it was recently mocked at a Rifftrax screening, but this take on Robert Heinlein's science fiction classic from the Robocop team is a sometimes-brilliant satire of both the novel's fascist subtext and Hollywood war epics. It includes fake propaganda films and a cast of twentysomething Aaron Spelling soap veterans as the "teenage" soldiers, led by the white-as-Matthew-Perry Casper Van Dien as the "Brazilian" Johnny Rico. And let's not forget Neil Patrick Harris as an S.S.-like psychic doing deadpan "interrogations" of giant bugs. Good times! —Zack Smith

Price: $7-9/film, $65 festival pass

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