Every time Retrofantasma plays at the Carolina Theatre, it opens with a montage of classic genre films set to Me First & the Gimme Gimmes' cover of the theme to Rocky Horror
, "Science Fiction Double Feature," which contains the lyric "Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
." This week, those lyrics take on bittersweet meaning. Retrofantasma will indeed be showing that 1956 sci-fi classic, but the timing is eerily appropriate; Francis passed away Jan. 2 at age 80, shortly after the passing of her leading man in that film, Leslie Nielsen. It's a fitting tribute to see this remarkable sci-fi take on Shakespeare's The Tempest
on the big screen at this time. Despite five decades of improved special effects, the film's imagination and visual style hold up well. And Robby the Robot is awesome no matter what decade you're in.
Forbidden Planet is just half of the double feature; the second film is Howard Hawks' production The Thing From Another World, which gave us the classic line, "Watch the skies!" as well as the less-classic, "An intelligent carrot—it boggles the mind!" A suspenseful number based on John Campbell's novella Who Goes There?, the film deals with a military group that discovers ... something in a flying saucer left frozen in the ice. Less gory than John Carpenter's 1982 remake (which itself has a prequel coming out this year), it's still a masterpiece of building suspense and Cold War paranoia. And hey, James Arness from Gunsmoke plays the intelligent carrot! You can get all this for $8 starting at 7 p.m. —Zack Smith