A Night of Silent Horror Films in HMB


By on Tue, October 20, 2015

On Friday, Oct 23rd, the Coastside Film Society will be hosting another one of our Silent Film Nights. Given that this screening comes the week between Pumpkin Fest and Halloween we decided to book two silent horror classics. Our Feature is a swashbuckling melodramatic retelling of a dark Victor Hugo novel first screened in 1929. The opening act is a classic NEW silent short with a similar vibe created by a talented young local film maker.

Come in costume and save a few bucks.
To encourage you to all come all decked out and make this a festive affair, we have decided to offer a $2 discount for each person who attends the screening in costume. (Our feature is set in the royal English court of 1690 and features a protagonist who acted as the model for Batman’s Joker. So powdered wigs, Phantom of the Opera costumes or Joker masks would fit right in—but you get to decide what costume is right for you.)

Live Music by Montara’s own Shauna Pickett-Gordon.
This is the seventh time that the Film Society has hired Shauna Pickett-Gordon to write a score for one of our Silent Film Nights & to play that score live on her piano during the screening. If you don’t know Shauna’s work check out excerpts from one of her earlier Film Night performances at the top of my Youtube.com/Podtactics channel.

Fri. Oct 23, 7:30 pm
Coastside Senior Housing/Senior Coastsiders
925 Main Street, Half Moon Bay
$7.00 adults, $4.00 children (Show up in costume for a $2.00 discount)

Short: The Count’s Daughter (2013 -3 mins)
This silent short is from Johnny Villar, a 22-year-old Bay Area film maker/wunderkind. Created in homage to the 1920 silent films Johnny loves, it features a unique visual style and frightfully funny over-the-top performances. Winner of the “Best Acting” award at the 2013 International Youth Silent Film Festival. Johnny will attend the screening and introduce both films and take questions about silent films after the screening.

Feature: The Man Who Laughs (1928 – 110 mins)
“One of the most exhilarating films of the late silent cinema era” Time out London

Three years in the making, with a cast of thousands “The Man Who Laughs” was one of the most ambitions and unconventional silent films of all time. Universal Pictures hired the great German Expressionist film maker Paul Leni.to direct. The story is pulled from one of Victor Hugo’s best romantic novels.The result is a swashbuckling melodrama awash with deep shadows and harsh angles. A film unlike anything American audiences had ever seen before. It remains of the great romantic melodramas and a monument to the expressive power of the silent screen.

German superstar, Conrad Veidt, plays Gwynplaine, who as a child has his face carved into a perpetual grin when his noble father slights the King of England. He lives as a travelling sideshow freak along with his adopted father and the beautiful, but blind, Dea. They fall in love, but Gwynplaine refuses to marry Dea because his hideous face makes him feel unworthy. When the current Queen discovers that a Lord of the realm is living as a freak she brings him into her court as part of one of her elaborate court intrigues.

Watching the film I fell into a reverie, sometimes moved, sometimes amused, sometimes involved in a strange dreamlike way. By not alerting us with the logic of language, silent films can more easily slip us off into the shadows of fantasy. Remarkable, how a silent film like “The Man Who Laughs” can freely move from pathos to pity, from melodrama to true excitement, from cheerful horror elements to the dark stirrings of desire, from easy laughter, to something very moving. The film is more disturbing than it might have been because of Leni’s mastery of visual style.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

For more info and directions see: www.HMBFilm.org

Add a comment using Coastsider Forum

Click the blue Discussion link below to comment on this story. Your comments on this story's Coastsider Forum topic will appear below.