‘Vampires,’ ‘Haunting’ fit WideScreen bill

Pix pegged to kick off fest

NEW YORK — The upcoming Columbia fright-pic release “John Carpenter’s Vampires” and Robert Wise’s classic of the genre, “The Haunting,” will comprise the Oct. 23 opening night bill for the Fourth Annual WideScreen Film Festival in Long Beach.

The festival, which runs consecutive weekends on Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 30-Nov. 1, offers a slate of past pics that celebrate the artistry of widescreen filmmaking.

Gene Allen and Oscar-nominated scripter Fay Kanin — both past prexys of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences — are co-chairs for this year’s fest.

Screenings will take place in the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and the Film and Electronic Arts Dept. at California State U.

“Our goal is to show these films on the bigscreen in the format that their filmmakers created them for,” said fest founder Gary J. Prebula. “I always tell our audiences, ‘Please watch each film as if you’re seeing it for the last time on the bigscreen,’ because chances are, you are.”

Carpenter and Wise will both appear onstage on Oct. 23, discussing the art of widescreen filmmaking and the craft of scaring audiences silly.

Daniel Baldwin, who appears in “Vampires,” and Russ Tamblyn, one of the stars in “The Haunting,” will also attend.

Other major screenings include “The Lady and the Tramp,” “Porgy and Bess” and the James Mason/Judy Garland version of “A Star Is Born” on Oct. 24; and Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and “Exodus” on Oct. 25.

The following weekend has Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” slated for Oct. 30 and Disney’s adaptation of the Jules Verne classic underwater fantasy “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” with Kirk Douglas, Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon,” Carpenter’s groundbreaking slasher pic “Halloween” and the first “Alien” set for Oct 31.

The fest will conclude Nov. 1 with “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” A special cast and crew reunion of the latter is expected.

For more information on the festival, call (562) 985-7000.

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