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As part of the Flashback Weekend nostalgia convention, the west parking lot of the Holiday Inn O’Hare International, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont, will be converted into an open-air theater, with patrons invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs (the “drive-in” part is purely sentimental). Shorts, trailers, and remarks from drive-in aficionado Joe Bob Briggs will precede the early screenings on Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31. Tickets are $10, $5 for children 12 and under; for more information call 847-478-0119 or visit www.flashbackweekend.com.
FRIDAY, JULY 30
The Hills Have Eyes
A representative American middle-class family is stranded in a remote section of the southwest desert, where they’re cornered and attacked by their primitive counterparts–a cave-dwelling family of apparent mongoloids. This grisly 1977 thriller by Wes Craven attracted some attention for its thematic opposition of civilization and savagery, but the thesis doesn’t translate into a particularly effective movie, and Craven’s technique itself is too primitive to wring more than elementary chills out of the material. 89 min. (DK) Actress Dee Wallace-Stone, who appeared in the film, will introduce the screening. (8:45)
The Card Player
A policewoman tracks a serial killer in this Italian horror flick by Dario Argento. 96 min. (11:15)
SATURDAY, JULY 31
Day of the Dead
Part three of George Romero’s zombie cycle takes an unexpected turn away from satire and spectacle and into an intimate, discursive tone. The action is largely confined to a huge cavern (shades of Edgar G. Ulmer) that serves as a research base for a team of scientists working to discover what makes the zombies tick. But the months of underground imprisonment have eaten away at both the researchers and their military aides: the chief scientist has embarked on a series of increasingly grotesque and pointless experiments on his zombie specimens; the chain of military command has passed to a brutal psychopath. As always in Romero’s films, marginalized characters–a woman, a black, an alcoholic intellectual–provide the only positive contrast to the raging American nightmare of power lust and compulsive consumption, yet this time Romero’s focus is less political than philosophical. Beginning from a position of absolute misanthropy, he asks what it means to be human, and the answers he finds are funny, horrifying, and ultimately hopeful. 102 min. (DK) Romero will introduce the screening. (8:50)
Tobe Hooper, still best known for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, directed this 2003 remake of the 70s splatter classic. With Angela Bettis (May), Juliet Landau, Brent Roam, and Chris Doyle. R, 90 min. (JJ) Bettis will introduce the screening. (11:45)
SUNDAY, AUGUST 1
Shorts and trailers
A 75-minute program of short films and B-movie trailers. (8:45)
Invasion of the Blood Farmers
Modern-day druids menace a small town in upstate New York in this 1972 horror film by Ed Adlum. PG, 84 min. (10:00)