RALEIGH — Evil, as venomous as a snake, turns the quiet of this town into a writhing Hell on Earth. Where every man fears for his safety and his sanity. Where everyone is suspect. Trapped like animals in a cage. And getting closer, and closer, suffocating them with terror. It’s “The Reptile,” at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday, March 1 at 7pm.
Following the mysterious death of his brother, Harry Spalding inherits and moves into the now empty country cottage with his wife, Valerie. The locals are less than friendly, and one particularly strange neighbor rigorously attempts to persuade them to leave the house and the village behind. Unfortunately for Harry (but a plus for moviegoers), the not-so-subtle warnings go unheeded until he discovers the horrible truth hidden in the place. But by then, it’s too late.
“The Reptile” (1966) is a production of Hammer Films, a company best known for a series of Gothic “Hammer Horror” films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. During its most successful years, Hammer dominated the horror film market, enjoying worldwide distribution and considerable financial success due, in part, to distribution partnerships with major United States studios including Warner Bros.
Harry Spalding is played by Ray Barrett, whose face may be familiar for his roles in mid-1960s British TV series “Emergency - Ward 10” and “The Troubleshooters,” while his voice gave life to a number of characters in Gerry Anderson’s weird marionette series “Stingray” and “Thunderbirds.” Spalding’s daughter Valerie is played by Jennifer Daniel, who also starred in Hammer Films’ “The Kiss of the Vampire.” The angry Dr. Franklyn is portrayed by Noel William, who actually won a Tony Award in 1962 for his direction of the original Broadway production of “A Man for All Seasons.” The pub owner is played by Michael Ripper, who appeared in more than 20 Hammer Films, becoming “the most familiar face of British horror.”
Calling all teens! What do you do when a blue-headed wrasse doesn’t have a blue head? Come find out at this month’s Teen Science Café (6pm in the Daily Planet Café), when Museum Chief Veterinarian Dr. Dan Dombrowski discusses veterinary medicine as it applies to all critters that fly, creep, crawl, prowl or prance. Dr. Dan will highlight similarities and differences between usual and unusual species and review real cases of the strange and bizarre, such as surgery on a fish in the water and exoskeletal repair of a millipede. Then you can test your knowledge with animal care trivia!
The Museum and the new Nature Research Center stay open from 5 to 9pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to witness a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, enjoy live jazz from guitarist Eli Wittmann, or enjoy food and beverages at the Daily Planet Café. “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” is now open and First Friday visitors can see it at a discounted rate ($3 off adult tickets). Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception for Lori Kincaid, whose photography exhibit “Nature in Focus” runs through April 1 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.