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Ninja warriors invade Carousel Cinemas in Greensboro; Woods of Terror scares up a new contest for Halloween

by Mark Burger

The Carousel Luxury Cinemas (1305 Battleground Ave., Greensboro) has re-teamed with the Mixed Tape Film Series to offer a half-dozen martial-arts masterpieces (I use the term very loosely) during the month of September — exactly the sort of cinematic fortune cookie that movie mavens will eat up. Things start at the bottom, relatively speaking, with the 1990 blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (featuring Elias Koteas as Casey Jones and the voice of Corey Feldman as Donatello). Much to the surprise of many Hollywood wags — yours truly included — this became a huge box-office hit and spawned a trilogy of live-action TMNT films during the early 1990s, all of which I was able to avoid. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3. The next Thursday (Sept. 10), the fun continues with director John G. Avildsen’s 1984 smash The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio in the title role, Elisabeth Shue, and Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, in his signature role as Mr. Miyagi. (Morita even scored an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor.) This too became a big-buck Hollywood franchise, with three sequels and a remake on tap, proving once again that nothing exceeds like success. Showtimes are also 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $4 and can be purchased at the theater, or on-line at www.CarouselBattleground.com. But the martial-arts madness isn’t over yet, as the Mixed Tape series presents its own sequelto its “Midnight Madness: Beer and a Bad Movie” series, which was instituted this past spring. “Midnight Madness II: Ninjafest” offers late-night revelry with a distinctly Eastern flavor.’ 

The nocturnal nuttiness begins Friday, Sept. 4, with Ninja: The Final Duel (1986), the heartwarming story of a Shaolin temple besieged by enemies. Alexander Lo plays a monk who journeys to the temple to find peace of mind and knowledge. Instead, he finds action! On Sept. 11, superstar YES! Weekly columnist Chuck Norris teams with Lee Van Cleef in the 1980 drive-in favorite The Octagon, in which they battle a secret society of Ninja that dabbles in kidnapping, brainwashing, torture and murder. Ultimately, Norris must single-handedly fight the nastiest of the Ninja, and if you’re a regular reader of Chuck’s column, then you know how it turns out. Even with odds this overwhelming, you never count Chuck out. Sept. 18 sees the unleashing of the 1983 Sho Kosugi “classic” Revenge of the Ninja. Produced by the immortal, indefatigable, Israeli-born duo of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus (known to some as “the Go-Go Boys”), the film sees Kosugi embroiled in a series of murders committed by a Ninja crime ring. Directed by Sam Firstenberg, Revenge of the Ninja also stars Keith Vitali, Virgil Frye, Arthur Roberts and Kosugi’s real-life son, Kane. The series ends — with a thud? — on Sept. 25, with the screening of Samurai Cop, the 1989 action slugfest that marked the first (and thus far last) screen appearance of Matt Hannon, reportedly once a bodyguard for Sylvester Stallone, in a screen vehicle that was undoubtedly intended to catapult him to the front echelon of action heroes. Robert Z’Dar, fondly remembered for his performance(s) in the title role of the Maniac Cop trilogy, here plays a nefarious Ninja lord. Each film is preceded by coming attractions of other chop-socky classics, as well as live “Ninja” demonstrations by local martial artists. Each screening is $5, which includes a free collector’s cup that can be filled with soda or beer.

For more information about how to get more mojo for your dojo, e-mail movieshowjoe@gmail.com or call 336.662.5691.

On the other hand, if making movies is more your scene — then this may be the scene to beat this Halloween season. The Woods of Terror Haunted Attraction, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is sponsoring its first “CarnEvil” Film Contest. They want movies — the scarier, the better. Area filmmakers are invited to shoot their films in the actual Woods of Terror, located at 5601 N. Church St., Greensboro. On-location filming has already begun, and runs through Sept. 23. The registration fee is $150, and registration ends Sept. 11. Filmmakers will be granted full access to over 20 acres of the Woods of Terror Haunted Attraction along with the use of assorted props. The submitted film must run at least three minutes and no longer than five minutes (not including credits). At least 10 seconds of the film must feature a recognizable Woods of Terror landmark. The eligible films will be available for on-line viewing and voting beginning Oct. 2. Prizes will be determined by a weighted points system, combining the judges’ selections with the on-line voting. Screenings will be held Oct. 20 and 23 at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas. The first prize is $1,000, second prize is $500, and third prize is $250. This year marks Woods of Terror’s 18th anniversary, and the attraction has once again received the stamp of approval from America’s Best Haunts. It remains the largest attraction of its kind in a threestate area, continuing to attract die-hard devotees and new fans each and every Halloween. For more information about the contest, including submission guidelines, terms and conditions, and contest rules and registration forms, visit http://www.woodsofterror.com/horror_film_festival.html. For general information about Woods of Terror, visit www.woodsofterror.com

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