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February 28, 2005

What makes a monster a monster? Kimball Theatre examines our favorite creatures in horror, comedic films

Colonial Williamsburg’s Kimball Theatre, in conjunction with the College of William and Mary, will host several horror and comedic movies centered around Frankenstein on four Fridays in March and April. The film presentation coincides with the traveling exhibition developed by the National Library of Medicine in collaboration with the American Library Association, “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature,” at the Earl Gregg Swem Library. The exhibition encourages audiences to examine Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, “Franken-stein,” and discuss personal and social responsibilities as they relate to scientific discovery. All seats are $2.

  • “Frankenstein (1931)” and “Bride of Frankenstein (1935),” 7 p.m. March 18. James Whale’s expressionistic “Frankenstein” (not rated) is viewed as the original and definitive horror film, responsible for creating the very genre and leading to numerous sequels and imitations. Hailed as one of the best horror films, “Bride of Frankenstein” (not rated) is a sequel. The monster rises again and wanders a forest as villainous Dr. Pretorius forces Henry Frankenstein to create a female monster. Tony Anemone, an associate professor of Russian and the chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of William and Mary, will introduce each film. A specialist in modern Russian literature and cinema, he also teaches courses on “Vampires and Popular Culture” and “Science Fiction, Utopia and Dystopia” for the Program in Literary and Cultural Studies.
  • “Young Frankenstein (1974),” 7 p.m. March 25. Written by director Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder, “Young Frankenstein” (Rated: PG) is a lovingly mocking parody of the original. The sets are those used in the original Whale films, and the black-and-white cinematography adds beauty to a film filled with lunatic abandon, double entendres and sight gags. Arthur Knight, director of the Film Studies Program at the College of William and Mary, will introduce this film. He teaches a variety of film classes.
  • “Gods and Monsters (1998),” 7 p.m. April 1. “Gods and Monsters” (Rated: R) recounts the last days of director James Whale, brilliantly played by Sir Ian McKellen. Long forgotten by the studios, Whale has retired to pursue painting and a life of leisure. When Whale meets his handsome gardener Clayton (Brendan Fraser), a platonic and offbeat friendship brings meaning to his final days. McKellen and Lynn Redgrave were nominated for Oscars and the film won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Writer Christopher Bram will introduce this Oscar-winning film adapted from his 1995 novel, “Father of Frankenstein.” Bram, a graduate of the College of William and Mary, is the author of seven additional novels: “Lives of the Circus Animals (2003),” “The Notorious Dr. August (2001),” “Gossip (1997),” “Almost History (1992),” “In Memory of Angel Clare (1989),” “Hold Tight (1988)” and “Surprising Myself (1987).” Although known primarily for his works of fiction, Bram’s critical writing also has appeared in many publications, including the Lambda Book Report, New York Native, Christopher Street and the New York Book Review.
  • “Frankenweenie (1984)” and “Edward Scissorhands (1990),” 7 p.m. Friday, April 8. Two meditations on the Frankenstein story from director Tim Burton (“Batman,” “Big Fish” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) explore suburbia’s reaction to the “monstrous.” “Frankenweenie” features Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern and Barrett Oliver as young Victor Frankenstein, who decides to bring his pet dog, Sparky, back to life after the dog is hit by a car. “Edward Scissorhands” (Rated: PG-13) recounts the story of the man/monster Edward created by a mad scientist (Vincent Price), who died before he could give Edward hands instead of shears. Filled with imaginative sets, this is the fable of a gentle and innocent outsider, a poetic and charmingly endearing tale with a dark edge. Also stars Winona Ryder and Dianne Wiest. Professor Colleen Kennedy, interim director of the Literary and Cultural Studies Program at the College of William and Mary, will introduce these films. She teaches courses in film adaptation and in contemporary literature.

    For more information, contact the Kimball Theatre box office at 565-8588 or visit Advance tickets for all performances are available by calling toll-free (800) HISTORY of by visiting any Colonial Williamsburg ticket office.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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