Summer cinema series comes to Long Island

Dustin Hoffman looks over the stockinged leg of

Dustin Hoffman looks over the stockinged leg of actress Anne Bancroft, his seductress in this scene from the 1967 film "The Graduate." (Credit: Embassy Pictures)

Just about anybody can enjoy a summer blockbuster with 3-D glasses and a supersize buttered popcorn. But it takes a special kind of filmgoer to appreciate a cult classic or the early work of an auteur.

That's what the cineastes at Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center in Patchogue are counting on with upcoming showings of "Eraserhead" (1977) and "The Exorcist" (1973), wrapping up their Cult Madness film series.

Meanwhile, devotees of Brett Sherris' annual Summer Camp Cinema Film Festival at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington will be treated to a different kind of experience than they've come to expect from the camp and horror film fest: a festival of double features by legendary filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Nichols and Spike Lee.

Here's what's in store for movie fans who don't mind a cinema lecture or a Q&A to enhance their summer viewing experience:

CULT MADNESS

WHEN | WHERE 9:30 Thursday and Sunday night, July 10 and 13 at Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center, 20 Terry St., Patchogue

INFO 631-438-0083, plazamac.org

ADMISSION $11

Watch out for those eerie flying worms in "Eraserhead" (screening tonight and Sunday) and Linda Blair's famously rotating, pea-soup-spewing noggin in "The Exorcist" (July 10 and 13). Cinema spokeswoman Vanessa Graniello says the formerly sedate 3-year-old art house wants to attract a younger crowd that might otherwise watch these classics streaming on an iPhone.

"We want people to see the movies as they were meant to be seen -- in a theater," she says.

Adding a scholarly patina to the proceedings will be William Burns, a horror and cult movie expert and associate professor of English at Suffolk County Community College in Selden. Burns, who will lead a question-and-answer session after each movie, says "Eraserhead," directed by David Lynch, reached midnight movie cult status through word of mouth.

And although "The Exorcist" was a multi-Oscar-nominated box office champ, both films attained cult status because of the approach of their filmmakers. Says Burns, both "were made by mavericks with a vision. They were artists who didn't care about box office returns."

The theater is equipped with a digital projector, surround sound and a new wine bar that also has beer on tap from the Blue Point Brewing Co. in Patchogue.

AUTEUR AMERICAN STYLE/ BRETT SHERRIS' SUMMER CAMP CINEMA FILM FESTIVAL

WHEN | WHERE 10:30 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 16 at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington

INFO 631-423-7611, cinemaartscentre.org

ADMISSION $13

In its ninth year, Brett Sherris' summer series takes a breather from screening horror and camp to refocus on auteur film directors. Sherris and his wife and cinematic partner, Peg, screened more than 100 films to find the "initial signature films" of directors who are now household names.

The early career gems being shown include David Fincher's "Se7en" (1995) and Christopher Nolan's "Memento" (2000) Saturday; Mike Nichols' "The Graduate" (1967) and Hal Ashby's "Harold and Maude" (1971) on July 5; and Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" (1935) and Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944) on July 12.

Sherris says each of the films in this program "is completely emblematic of where the directors went in the long term and what they contributed to the overall fabric of film language."

But never fear, vampire and zombie fans: Summer camp concludes with the All Night Pay-to-Get-Out Horror Marathon on Aug. 23.

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