Big Spring, Texas: Film Society has Big Plans for 2010 Involving Outdoor Cinema and Spielberg

Heading into the second month of 2010, officials with the Big Spring Film Society say they have a whole slew of new film screenings lined up for the coming year, starting with a classic.

Brandon Johnson, chairman of the film society, said the group will get the year under way in April with a screening of the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark, the film that launched the exploits of Indiana Jones into movie history.

This will be the last leg of our Spielberg retrospective during the outdoor movie series this summer, said Johnson. We'll be screening ‘Raiders' April 24 in the Comanche Trail Amphitheater in the city park. We honestly couldn't think of a better place to screen the film than a stone amphitheater, and I think it will make a fabulous backdrop for all the fun. We've been looking forward to this screening for quite some time.

Johnson said the Spielberg retrospective will then continue in June, as the film society plans to screen one of the most recognizable horror films of all time.

‘Poltergeist' wasn't officially directed by Spielberg, but he stayed right in the middle of the film from pre-production all the way to doing the finishing touches on the final edit, said Johnson. He wanted to direct the film but was under contract to do ‘ET: The Extra Terrestrial' and couldn't direct two films at the same time. However, he was so involved with ‘Poltergeist', the directors guild did an investigation to see if Spielberg should have had a co-director credit. The film was directed by Tobe Hooper, who also directed the 1973 original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'

Johnson said Spielberg is quoted as having said, If ET was a whisper, then Poltergiest was a scream.

Anyone who has seen ‘Poltergeist' will tell you the film has Spielberg's fingerprints all over it, he said. It was more of a Spielberg film than a Tobe Hooper movie.

The film is rated PG, but the public is warned it contains some extremely scary situations, and your young children will sleep with you until they are about 13 years old if you decide to bring them along.

If Johnson seems excited about the Poltergeist screening, it's no wonder.

'Poltergeist' is a film that holds a very special place in my childhood memories, he said with a smile. It's the film that caused me to bury my Ronald McDonald doll because I was afraid it was going get me. And it also caused me to sleep with my parents until I was 12 years old. It doesn't contain the type of over-the-top gore most recent horror movies feature, but it is certainly enough to scare the pants off most people.

Set for June 18 by the lake at Comanche Trail Park, Johnson said the location was a no-brainer.

Last year we screened ‘Jaws' at that location, and it got a wonderful response, said Johnson. A lot of people told me it really added to the suspense of the movie. So when we started trying to come up with a location for ‘Poltergeist,' we felt it was perfect.

Johnson said the group plans to finish out this summer with a August screening of Jurassic Park atop historic Scenic Mountain, but before the group gets into the season swing, he hopes to be able to add one more ingredient to the society's list.

One of the most important aspects of what the society does is the men and women that donate their time and hard work, said Johnson. Volunteers and sponsors are what drives this summer program, and we're always needing more. We have a lot of fun, and I just can't tell you how great it makes you feel to see people's faces light up during the films we screen.

Johnson said the film society will be holding a meeting Feb. 25 at the Hall Center for the Arts on the Howard College campus, and encourages anone interested in helping to attend.

The meeting will get under way at 7 p.m., he said. We are in desperate need of sponsors for the series this summer and volunteers to help with the three events ushers, concession stand help and just anyone wanting to lend a hand. If people want these events to continue, we're going to have to step things up a little and get some help. We really feel like this a great thing for Big Spring and we'd like to see it continue.

Thomas Jenkins


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