The American Cinematheque’s 8th Annual Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror features something for every fan of the genre: vampires, hobbits, bikers, abominable snowmen and even Pumpkinhead. The monthlong festival kicks off this evening at the Egyptian with the sneak preview of Larry Bishop’s latest biker extravaganza “Hell Ride,” which also stars Michael Madsen and Dennis Hopper. Bishop, the son of Rat Packer Joey Bishop, and several cast members will be on hand for a discussion.
On tap for Friday at the Egyptian is a Jack the Ripper double bill: 1959’s “Jack the Ripper” and 1965’s “A Study in Terror,” starring John Neville (“The X-Files”) as Sherlock Holmes. Saturday gives us a triple feature with the uncut version of 1970’s “The Vampire Lovers” with Peter Cushing, 1960’s “The Vampire and the Ballerina” and 1960’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Scheduled for Sunday is the new documentary “Bringing Godzilla Down to Size,” as well as the monster classics “War of the Gargantuas” (1966) and 1961’s “Mothra.”
The Aero Theatre presents “The Lord of the Rings” marathon -- the extended versions -- on Saturday, which will be introduced by illustrator-artist Greg Hildebrandt.
Director Wayne Wang will be feted for two days at the Aero beginning Wednesday with his latest film, “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” and a new cut of 1985’s “Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart.” Wang will participate. www .americancinematheque.com
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art goes Italian this Friday and Saturday with two comedies by acclaimed Italian writer-director Pietro Germi: “Divorce Italian Style” and 1964’s satirical “Seduced and Abandoned.” www.lacma.org.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Great to Be Nominated” series continues Monday with 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain,” which won three Oscars including director for Ang Lee and adapted screenplay for Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The late Heath Ledger stars. Ossana and production designer Judy Becker are scheduled to participate. www.oscars.org
Charlton Heston wasn’t the only actor to play Ben-Hur on the big screen. Back in 1925, Ramon Novarro played the heroic Jew sold into slavery in the epic “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” screening Wednesday at the Silent Movie Theatre. The lavish MGM production directed by Fred Niblo features a chariot race that nearly rivals the one in the 1959 Heston Oscar-winner. www.silent movietheatre.com