Monday, March 8, 2010

Harryhausen Film Fest Has Begun!

The Ray Harryhausen film series at the Trylon Microcinema here in the Twin Cities kicked off this weekend. I'd blogged earlier that I've seen most of the fantasy films he's done, but none of the sci-fi ones. I corrected that oversight this afternoon with a viewing of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers! It's definitely one of the all-time great B-movies, from the height of the cold war and UFO craze of the 50s. The film shares a lot of plot devices similar to War of the Worlds (Earth is invaded by a technologically superior race, etc.) but instead of conquering them through micro-organisms, lead scientist/hero Dr. Russell A. Marvin played by closet-werewolf and crackerjack actor Hugh Marlowe (if you've seen the last scene of the film you'll get that joke) devises a weapon to fight off the aliens. Of course, conventional artillery and firearms are useless because the aliens are using SCIENCE! So we have to use our own to even the odds. Let's just say it's definitely overdue for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 skewering. :)

The Trylon lives up to it's "Microcinema" name with just 50 seats and provides an intimate, cinema-going experience. It's nestled in the back of the XY and Z gallery at 3258 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis.
The proprietors let me snap a few shots of the lobby and box office/concession area:
As you can tell by the photos, the theater is quite small and really gives the impression of a private theater. Now, I'm all about the multi-plex (usually). As my wife often endures us getting to the theater early--like an HOUR before the doors open just so we can get prime seating. I'm at home hanging out at the cinema, so this isn't really a problem (for me). But when you're angling for your favorite spot, stupid mistakes will get you bad seats (waaaay up front, or waaaay in back). And then there's the rules of theater-going with Jay:
  1. Buy tickets online
  2. Get there EARLY
  3. Seats before treats (find prime seats before visiting the concession stand)
I'm really not this much of a freak with anything else, but I hate sitting in bad seats at the theater. We've been known to swap our tickets if we get to the theater too late--just to avoid neck strain, motion sickness, and a crappy experience. (And believe me, it's worth it.)

At the Trylon, there isn't a bad seat in the theater--there really can't be in a space this size. In fact, after watching the movie in such a cozy set-up I promptly told the box office manager that this was my new favorite theater. I'm seriously looking forward to the rest of the series--next weekend is It Came From Beneath the Sea.  I can hardly wait!


  1. The very first fantasy movie I ever saw was The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. More than Gygax, more than Lucas, more than Tolkien, it was Ray Harryhausen that instilled in me, my love of fantasy and sci-fi.

  2. That's cool Rog. As someone seated squarely in the era of Star Wars I grew to love Harryhausen films when I got older and gained exposure to them on video or cable. There's something really electric about seeing strange creatures you've only ever seen in illustrations flail about on screen!