“What Brought a Nice Kid Like Sue Ann to a Shocking Moment Like This?” Find Out in Pretty Poison – 9/18

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Tuesday, September 18 @ 7:30 PM
PRETTY POISON
Directed by Noel Black • 1968
Though cursed with a timid release from the studio and poor box office numbers, Pretty Poison eventually seeped its way onto enough screens to become a cult favorite among those lucky enough to catch it. Director Noel Black wasn’t quite so fortunate however, being forever dogged by critics who claimed his subsequent films never quite lived up to his debut. Anthony Perkins stars as Dennis Pitt, a young man starting fresh after a long stint in a mental institution. After his parole officer lands him a steady job bottling mysterious candy-colored poisons at a chemical plant, he soon becomes smitten with the beautiful Sue Ann Stepenek, a local teenager played with frightful zeal by Tuesday Weld. Lucky for Dennis, batshit crazy is just Sue Ann’s type, but secret meetings at the local hot dog stand and his fake side-gig as a CIA operative can only hold her interest for so long before she suggests they up the ante. Perkins plays the role with an easy grace. He’s a Pan-like Clyde to Weld’s sociopathic Bonnie, and when their secret agent games turn violent it’s him we feel frightened for. It’s part bizarro Badlands and part environmental-horror film, with toxicity lurking beneath Sue Ann’s wholesome freckles and in the place that spawned her, as the chemical factory’s waste slowly leaches into the forests and rivers of small-town Western Massachusetts. There’s something in the water, and the kids are definitely not alright. (RL)
89 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA
Short: “Skaterdater” (Noel Black, 1966) – 17 min – 35mm, Preserved by the Academy Film Archive

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