“We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us,” reads a quote often misattributed to the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. The presenters at July 14’s "BAASICS.5: Monsters" event at ODC Theater capitalized on this concept, examining both modern monsters (though not “cars and corn syrup,” as one emcee mentioned at the beginning of the event) and monsters of yore.
In past years, the organization has explored provocative topics such as the future (more weighted toward a possible uprising of robots rather than the nagging question “What am I going to do with my life?”) and psychiatric and neurologic disorders by juxtaposing science and art. It’s easy to find the right balance between the two for these past themes, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this year’s event.
CULTURE Like a mad scientist who has decided to open up his secret laboratory and show off his work to select guests, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett hosts "Fear FestEvil," a convention bringing together the worlds of horror and heavy metal. Hammett has long been a horror film aficionado, and has amassed an extensive movie memorabilia collection of original props, costumes, posters, toys, and more over the years — an obsession that dates back to his childhood growing up in San Francisco.Read more »
Special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen had to invent unconventional techniques to bring his movie magic to the big screen when he revolutionized the world of fantasy film making in the 1950s and 1960s. His work on Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953), among many others, has influenced several generations of filmmakers that grew up watching his stop-motion creatures.
Harryhausen's life and incredible career are celebrated in a new documentary, Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan, an expansive look not only at the man and his work, but also the huge influence he continues to have in modern movie magic. Featuring interviews with Harryhausen (now 92), alongside Hollywood heavyweights like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, the film is having its United States premiere Sat/8 at San Leandro's Historic Bal Theatre thanks to Bay Area Film Events.