New Cult Canon returns to Music Box Theatre with The Hole and Gremlins 2, with special guest Joe Dante!  

New Cult Canon returns to Music Box Theatre with The Hole and Gremlins 2, with special guest Joe Dante!  

The legendary director Joe Dante—subject of our most recent Primer—is coming to Chicago for a weekend of special screenings, including a double feature at the Music Box on Friday, August 10th, co-presented by New Cult Canon. Here’s how the evening will break down:

9:30 p.m.: Dante will present the Midwest Premiere of The Hole, his still-undistributed 2009 horror film. The film marks Dante’s confident return to a genre he invested with great B-movie scares and wit in The Howling, Piranha, and Gremlins. Chris Massoglia and Nathan Gamble star as two brothers who discover a mysterious hole in the basement of their new home and, along with their next-door neighbor (Haley Bennett), start poking away at the void. Needless to say, they stir up a heap of supernatural trouble, and Dante ekes both laughs and shocks from this terrifying hell-pit. Though originally shot in 3-D, this screening will be presented in 2-D.

Between screenings: A Q&A session with Dante.

Midnight: Dante will introduce his brilliant 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch, shown here in a pristine 35mm print from his own personal library. After he delivered Warner Brothers a hit in 1984’s Gremlins, Joe Dante got the keys to the kingdom for Gremlins 2 and delivered one of the most gloriously anarchic films in recent studio history, a $50 million exercise in barely controlled chaos that doubles as a Mon Oncle-esque comment on sterile, mechanized modernity. Most of the action takes place in an ultra-sleek, gadget-filled New York corporate office, where the cuddly Mogwai Gizmo is subject to genetic testing that leads, inevitably to an insane multiplicity of havoc-wreaking gremlins. Dante sides with the mischief-makers.

Tickets are $15. (Individual tickets for Gremlins 2 will be sold at the door, pending availability.)

On Saturday the 11th at 8 p.m. at The Nightingale, Dante will show his fabled 1968 “supercut” The Movie Orgy, a 270-minute compilation of trailers, commercials, industrial films, and scenes from B-movies. It’s a film designed to be enjoyed casually—and was once seven hours long—but there’s a continuity to the story, too, such as it goes. That film will be shown via a new digital transfer from his own print. Admission is a $7 suggested donation.