If you’re a regular listener to the show or reader of this blog, you’ll know that my love of cinema was catalysed at the impressionable age of 4, when my dad took my brother and I to see the darkest film ever released by Disney, ‘The Black Hole’. I was utterly captivated by the scope of the images – the spaceship might just be the biggest spaceship in the movies; for some reason the old character actors already seemed familiar, even though it was the first time I ever saw them; and I knew there was something dramatic going on, even if I couldn’t quite understand the metaphysical proposals that result in [SPOILER AHOY] the mad evil scientist played by Maximillian Schell becoming possessed by the spirit (and the body) of his hench-robot, the imaginatively named ‘Maximillian’. The script’s not up to much, but the whole thing looks magnificent; thirty years after I first saw ‘The Black Hole’, it has an irreplaceably special place in my heart, along with the adventures of Marty McFly, Clark Kent, the pirate-treasure seekers of Astoria, Oregon, and the other cinematic fantasy figures whom I connected with first by seeing them on screen, and spent much of the years 1983-1989 trying to recapture by listening to the soundtrack albums.
So thank God that the Carolina Theatre in Durham is screening these and other pictures of memory next weekend, in its glorious old and cavernous in all the best ways large screen, along with so many of the films that shaped me as a child that I can assume the programmers at the theatre were reading my diary. Jett and I will be covering the Escapism Film Festivalin person – and if you’re anywhere nearby, please join us for the opportunity to see Superman, Back to the Future, Dr Strangelove, The Goonies, Return to Oz, and the camp classic with Topol’s second greatest screen performance ‘Flash Gordon’. Please join us if you can.