Film News: Sci-Fi Spectacular 6 to Invade Chicago’s Portage Theater on April 28, 2012

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CHICAGO – Sci-fi film buffs in the Windy City are invited to attend an April marathon bursting with cinematic gems. “Sci-Fi Spectacular 6” kicks off at noon Saturday, April 28, at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. It showcases over 14 hours of beloved features, shorts and rare trailers as they were originally intended to be experienced—on the big screen.

Two major highlights at this year’s event are key masterpieces in the career of Terry Gilliam. 1985’s “Brazil” creates an unforgettable portrait of a dystopian future both amusingly absurdist and unsettlingly provocative. Jonathan Pryce stars alongside Kim Greist, Ian Holm and Robert De Niro, while cinematographer Roger Pratt and production designer Norman Garwood provide unforgettable imagery. Equally mesmerizing is Gilliam’s 1995 thriller “12 Monkeys,” in which a grizzled convict (Bruce Willis) travels back in time to prevent a man-made virus from destroying the future. Brad Pitt’s Oscar-nominated turn as a crazed virus expert makes this fascinating mind-bender even more of a must-see. You’ll never look at Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” or Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” in the same way again.

Jonathan Pryce stars in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
Jonathan Pryce stars in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Fans of trailblazing producer Roger Corman will appreciate the festival’s ten-trailer tribute to the great man. “Blast of Doom,” “Henry’s Crazy Dream,” “Kusper on Ice,” “Children of the Invisible Man,” “The Beast From Under the Bridge,” “Mad Monster Mayhem,” “The Kaleidoscope Man,” “The Ghoul in the Greenhouse,” “Catastrophe at Catalina” and “Insane From Infinity!” will be sampled along with the trailer for Gary Schultz’s comedy, “Devil in My Ride.” Corman’s 1960 classic, “Little Shop of Horrors,” will be screened in its entirety at the beginning of the festival, followed by Nick Castle’s 1984 family-friendly fantasy, “The Last Starfighter.”

Kelli Maroney stars in Thom Eberhardt’s Night of the Comet.
Kelli Maroney stars in Thom Eberhardt’s Night of the Comet.
Photo credit: Atlantic Releasing Corporation

Late-night viewers will be rewarded with Joe Cornish’s well-reviewed sci-fi comedy, “Attack the Block,” and the Midwest premiere of “The Theatre Bizarre,” a horror anthology starring Udo Kier and featuring spooky vignettes from Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Tom Savini and Richard Stanley.

Appearing in-person at this year’s movie marathon is actress Kelli Maroney, star of Thom Eberthardt’s 1984 cult classic, “Night of the Comet.” Maroney got her start playing Kimberly Harris on the TV series, “Ryan’s Hope.” Her subsequent film credits include “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Chopping Mall” and “Not of This Earth.” She’s also appeared on “One Life to Live,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Pretender,” “Chicago Hope,” “True Blood” and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” The 6pm screening of “Comet” is the centerpiece of “Sci-Fi Spectacular 6,” and is guaranteed to win new fans with its vivid depiction of an impending apocalypse, accompanied by disarming comedy, romance and blood-thirsty zombies. Also included at the festival is a screening of Darren Callahan’s 2011 horror short, “Under the Table.”

Doors open at 11am at the Portage Theater and free parking is available at the Sears lot around the corner. Preceding the noon start time is a full half hour of vintage trailers and shorts. Pre-sale tickets are $20 and $24 at the door. Vendor tables, free posters and a live charity auction for the HIV/AIDS agency, Vital Bridges, will be included at the event.

For more information on Sci-Fi Spectacular 6, visit Pre-sale tickets may be purchased at

Staff Writer

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