Sunrise Theater Hosts Special Halloween Silent Movie Event
Lon Chaney's original 1925 silent movie thriller, "The Phantom of the Opera," highlights the Sunrise Theater's Oct. 31 Halloween movie event this year.
Patrons are encouraged to come dressed in their spookiest Halloween costumes, too, as prizes will be awarded to those with the best costumes.
Kicking off the evening will be a live performance of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" by Thrill in the Sandhills.
Chaney's 1925 production of this famous story is one of the most faithful to Gaston Leroux's original novel, which was published in 1910.
It tells the story of the Phantom of the Paris Opera House, who lives a life of total darkness in the catacombs underneath the famous landmark. A mere chorus girl, Christine Daae, becomes, under his guidance, a well-known singer with a beautiful voice. But her sweetheart, the Viscount Raoul de Changy, has also entered the picture.
Will the Phantom yield his love to the handsome, rich Raoul or will Christine give herself to her masked Angel of Music? Is this Phantom a great benefactor or a madman? What does this man look like underneath the mask?
When originally released in 1925, "The Phantom of the Opera" was a hit with audiences, with many reports of women fainting during the unmasking scene.
Chaney was the acknowledged master of makeup, and his transformation into the horrific figure described in Leroux's book is still considered to be without equal.
(Chaney Sr. is not to be confused with his son, Lon Chaney Jr., who made low-budget horror films during the 1930s and 1940s.)
Chaney's version of the famous story has remained popular with audiences today, and, according to Sunrise volunteer Tim Lussier, prints of this film are in such high demand at this time of year, the Sunrise Theater is fortunate to be able to offer the film for local audiences.
Returning to provide the musical accompaniment will be Chicago's David Drazin, who has delighted audiences with his amazing skill on the keyboard for the past five Sunrise Theater silent movie events.
Drazin, a composer, is a music and motion picture archivist who has acquired a national reputation for his piano improvisations accompanying silent films.
Among silent movie screenings for which he has performed are Cinevent Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio; the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago; Pordenone Silent Film Festival, Italy; Silent Film Society of Chicago; Argonne National Laboratory; LaSalle Bank Theatre; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Cinematheque, as well as at many universities, libraries and churches and silent movie DVDs.
He is notable among contemporary film accompanists for his use of the 1920s-era jazz and blues, rather than classic ragtime, in playing for silent comedies.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. with the live performance by Thrill in the Sandhills, followed by the movie and then the awarding of costume prizes to complete the evening.
Tickets may be purchased at the Sunrise Theater administrative office next to the theater at 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines, or online through Etix.com.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12.
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