News Column

Sci-fi fans to stay up all night at Drexel for their annual fix

May 2, 2013

YellowBrix

May 02--So many mad scientists and space aliens, so little time.

At the 30th (more or less, the count gets a bit sketchy) Ohio Science Fiction Marathon, at least 10 movies will be crammed into a 24-hour period at the Drexel Theatre.

Add in shorts, trailers and a "surprise movie," and the projectionist will stay pretty busy.

"I think we're going to fill up the schedule pretty well with what we've got," said marathon organizer Bruce Bartoo.

Four shows will make their central Ohio premiere:

--Danger 5 isn't really a movie but rather a TV series from Australia. Let's see if we can explain this: Set during World War II but with a cheesy 1960s vibe, the show follows the adventures of a hard-drinking, chain-smoking gang of spies who fight Hitler and the Nazis. Did we mention the dinosaur men, cheap production effects and a complete disregard for political correctness?

Never mind --it's all over YouTube. Sample it for yourself. The seven-episode series will be shown as a serial between movies, Bartoo said.

--Upside Down (2012) stars Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess as Eden and Adam, a couple who shared a childhood flirtation even though they lived on different worlds. As adults, Adam becomes obsessed with reconnecting.

--Vanishing Waves (2012) is a Lithuanian movie about a scientist who experiments with the thoughts of a comatose woman, from sharing sexual fantasies to attempts to save her.

--Time of the Robots (2012) is a mash-up of public domain silent- and sci-fi flicks by Seattle filmmaker Eric Hammen.

"I have a huge soft spot for old sci-fi," said Hammen, 45. "When DVD started to explode onto the scene, there were so many of these old space movies and silent movies that became available. I tried to explain to buddies how great they were....They don't get the respect they should."

Hammen came by his love for sci-fi as a child, staying up on school nights to watch late screenings of The Twilight Zone and Flash Gordon.

"By the time that was done," he said, "my brain would be totally fried."

Peep Show, an unauthorized 1965 film about Frank Sinatra that producer J.X. Williams assembled from clips and snippets of film, piqued Hammen's interest.

"It seemed like such an interesting story, putting together this freaky film out of other films," Hammen said. "I just love the audacity this guy had, and I see Robots as being an audacious movie as well."

Married with two children, Hammen, a content producer and video editor, thought Robots would take about six months to complete, working on it in his spare time.

Instead, it took six years of writing, sorting through mountains of public-domain footage and creating title cards to finish the film.

Hammen, who played in a high-school punk-rock band, also wrote the soundtrack.

Other movies on the schedule include:

--Dr. Cyclops (1940): Albert Dekker stars as a mad scientist who miniaturizes those who threaten his work.

--Inception (2010): The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt centers on a thief who can steal secrets from people's dreams. The film won four Oscars, including two for sound and one each for cinematography and visual effects.

--The Monolith Monsters (1957): In a film filled with actors famous in their mothers' houses, a meteor leaves shards that grow and replicate when exposed to water.

--Safety Not Guaranteed (2012): Three magazine writers are assigned to interview a man who placed an ad seeking a time-traveling companion. The comedy stars Aubrey Plaza ( Parks and Recreation) and Jake Johnson ( New Girl).

--2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): The landmark Stanley Kubrick film follows a space flight to Jupiter.

tmikesel@dispatch.com

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(c)2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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