OPENS SATURDAY

Young Frankenstein is generally considered a Mel Brooks joint, but the idea initially sprang into Gene Wilder’s curly-topped head, and he wrote the first draft, which convinced Brooks to sign on. In an interview with the screenplay magazine Scenario, Brooks graciously conceded much of the film’s genius to Wilder, and reading the magazine’s reprinted earlier draft confirms this assessment. The movie was indeed a happy convergence. Not only did the production benefit from having the original (and literal) mad props from the ’30s classic, but most of the cast members were working at the top of their games. Bug-eyed Marty Feldman was born for the role of Igor. Cloris Leachman was never funnier than as the tightly wound Frau Blucher. Likewise, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle, and Wilder all gave outstanding performances. Young Frankenstein is justifiably honored with a place on the National Film Registry, but the finest tribute is to watch it on the big screen at midnight. Midnight screenings just have a giddy vibe, and adding to that vibe is the fact that D.C.’s own Count Gore De Vol (pictured) is hosting this event. Currently, the former Channel 20 late-night icon has taken the concept of hosted horror movies “from the television set to the Internet” at the Rondo Award– winning countgore.com, where he produces a weekly “show” in his home-built studio. In addition to prize giveaways, De Vol will be “meeting-and-greeting at the door,” he says, adding, “I’m not selling tickets….They may come out light if I handled it. Handling the money with gloves on is tough.” Young Frankenstein kicks off the series, which runs from Saturday, Sept. 17, through Saturday, Oct. 8 (see Showtimes for a weekly schedule), at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $9.50. (202) 452-7672. (Dave Nuttycombe)