When: Fri., Feb. 1 2013
This double-bill of 1930s horrors proves the originals still do it best. First up is 1933's King Kong, the tale of the giant ape from Skull Island whose trip to New York City goes rather poorly when he takes a trip with Fay Wray up the Empire State Building. Not even the high-tech monkey robot and the motion-capture work of Peter Jackson could make the remakes measure up to the original, whose combination of high adventure, horror and poignancy remains unmatched.
It's followed by 1932's Island of Lost Souls, with Charles Laughton as Dr. Moreau, the mad scientist who surgically alters animals into twisted humans—including Bela Lugosi as the "Sayer of the Law" ("Are we not men?"). The result inspired vomiting in its initial screenings and was censored for years for its gruesome vivisection scenes. Ignore the 1996 Island of Dr. Moreau with Marlon Brando and instead go for this chiller, which directly inspired songs by Devo, Oingo Boingo and even Van Halen (David Lee Roth would recap the plot on stage before going into "House of Pain"). It also originated the line "The natives are restless tonight," though the exact phrasing is a bit different in the film.
The 35mm prints of these two films are exceedingly rare and are not often released by the studios, so this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them in their original format on the big screen. Pay $8 at 7 p.m.; visit carolinatheatre.org. —Zack Smith