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Palace Cinemas and Film Club (Darlinghurst’s much-loved boutique video rental store) are proud to present a series of 1980s films from, or combining, a variety of genres – horror, comedy, sci-fi, film-noir, fantasy – but each united in mood and tone by the brooding, pulsating, synthesiser-driven sound of pioneering German electronic group Tangerine Dream. The band’s music scores contributed immensely to the dreamlike (or nightmarish) spell of these seven films, and their influence can still be heard in film and TV soundtracks today.
Each screening will be preceded by a special introduction by David Michael Brown. David, a British ex-pat living in Sydney, works as a freelance writer and has contributed to Rolling Stone, Filmink, The Big Issue, SBS Movies and Empire Magazine, where he was Senior Editor for almost eight years. He is presently writing a book on the film music of German electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream which will be published next year. To follow the book’s progress check out facebook.com/wavelengthbook.
Tickets at the dreamy price of $10 for Movie Club members ($15 for General Admission).
Thief | July 5
In Michael Mann’s slow-burn existential crime thriller Thief, James Caan plays Frank, a professional jewel thief who wants to marry Jessie (Tuesday Weld) and settle down into a normal life. In order to achieve his dream of a family, Frank–who is used to working solo–has to align himself with a crime boss named Leo (Robert Prosky), who will help him gain the money he needs to start anew. Frank plans to retire after the heist, yet he finds himself indebted to Leo and he struggles to break free. Thief is the first feature film from director Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) and it seethes with his stylish, atmospheric direction, as well as the alternately dreamy and dread-laden synth score from Tangerine Dream – the influence of both the film and its music can be felt in recent crime films such as Drive (2011) and Good Time (2017).
Risky Business | July 19
In a star-making role, Tom Cruise plays a college-bound teen and aspiring entrepreneur left home alone for the weekend as his parents are on holiday. Encouraged by friends to enjoy his freedom, things quickly spiral out of control after he hires a call girl (Rebecca De Mornay). Despite its reputation as one of the key teen-wish-fulfilment comedies of the 80s, the sharply satirical Risky Business is moodier and more melancholic than suggested by its iconic scene of Cruise dancing in his undies to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll”. Featuring Tangerine Dream’s most famous piece of film music (the ethereal “Love On a Real Train”), Chicago Reader critic Dave Kehr called it “one of the finest film explorations of the end of innocence”, while Roger Ebert wrote “not only invites comparison with The Graduate, it earns it.”
Next of Kin | August 2
A favourite of Quentin Tarantino, this Australian/New Zealand supernatural horror film is about a woman (Jacki Kerin), who inherits a retirement home in which mysterious deaths start to occur, as foretold in her elderly mother’s diary entries… Co-starring Australian cinema legend John Jarratt (Dark Age, Wolf Creek) and featuring a haunting score by Tangerine Dream member Klaus Schulze, this stylish chiller brings to mind Argento’s Suspiria in its more baroque moments, all while remaining its own distinctive beast.
Near Dark | August 16
This cult classic – a hybrid of horror, western, noir and romantic drama – follows a young man (Adrian Pasdar) from small town America who becomes inducted into a nomadic vampire family (including Lance Hendriksen and the late Bill Paxton). The breakthrough second feature for writer-director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), Near Dark remains one of the most beloved of all vampire films, while establishing Bigelow as a major force in Hollywood genre filmmaking.
Miracle Mile | August 30
A young man (Anthony Edwards) meets and falls in love with a young woman (Mare Winningham) at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, otherwise known as Miracle Mile. They make a date which he misses, and while searching for her accidentally finds out that the US government are about to start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. A wholly original blend of young love and apocalyptic terror that fits nicely into the 80s subgenre of darkly comic films that take place over the course of one perilous night (After Hours, Into the Night, Adventures in Babysitting). Journalist and Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker awarded it with the honor of “Biggest Lurch of Tone” of any film he’d seen.
Dead Kids | September 13
Also known as Strange Behaviour (and very heavily echoed in 1998’s Disturbing Behaviour), this co-production between the US, Australia and New Zealand pays homage to 50s exploitation films in its tale of a mad scientist turning the local children of Galesburg, Illinois (played by Auckland, NZ) into raging homicidal maniacs. Featuring one of the most memorable party scenes from a decade packed with them, this is an overlooked slice of tongue-and-cheek 80s schlock sci-fi/horror.
Legend | September 27
Legend was one of the most hotly-anticipated films of the 80’s, teaming Ridley Scott (following up Blade Runner) with Tom Cruise (fresh from Risky Business & All The Right Moves), with makeup effects by Rob Bottin (The Thing, Robocop) and a score by, of course, Tangerine Dream. Nowhere near the fiasco that its critical drubbing suggests, this fantasy in which Cruise plays a forest dweller who must stop the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) from marrying the woman he loves and thus preventing an eternal ice age, is a visual (and aural) feast that equals 80s fantasies like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The Neverending Story in terms of spectacle alone.