Parent Trap

Curse the day — Halloween 1993 — that River Phoenix OD’d. Not only did we lose a gifted and sensitive young actor, but also the path was cleared for Leonardo DiCaprio to have a major career. (The anniversary this month of Heath Ledger’s death raises the similar question of which no-talent pretty boy will be reaping Ledger’s roles and benefits.) Phoenix’ breakthrough turn in Stand by Me is the clear highlight of tonight’s Midnites for Maniacs triple bill, “Broken Homes for the Holidays,” though the lowlights are perhaps more soul-scorching. The Watcher in the Woods, a 1980 haunted-house ghost story with Bette Davis and David McCallum (Ilya Kuryakin of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and one of Disney’s first stabs at horror, gets the festivities started. The late, late show is The Candy Snatchers, a seriously twisted hunk of ’70s exploitation about a teenager kidnapped for ransom and tormented for fun. Aspiring actress and ’70s Playboy Playmate Tiffany Bolling plays one of the demented crooks, a career choice nearly as misguided as Phoenix shooting speedballs.
Fri., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2009

 
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