When October rolls around, we horror fans look forward to the opportunity to break out our well worn favorite films for marathon movie watching sessions just like we appreciate how the cooling weather let's us break out our most broken in and comfortable sweaters when a chill hangs in the air. As much as we all love kicking back on the couch, there's no denying nothing beats the communal experience of watching one of your favorite movies with an amped up crowd. In the Boston area we're lucky enough to have a number of independent theaters that stuff the calendar with modern favorite and classic. The lineups consist of a modern and classic films near the top of any serious horror fans “best of” lists. The one disappointment is the lack of Trick 'r Treat playing anywhere. Simply put, the film is the best Halloween themed film in years, and should a staple that draws folks in at the end of each season. Here's a look at what the independent cinemas have line up for October.
With their Coolidge @fter Midnite program, the Coolidge Corner is the undisputed king of genre offerings in the Boston area. That's reflected in the robust, month long lineup that culminates in a twelve hour marathon of horror classics that is a horror lover's wet dream.
Last year the Coolidge offered a weekly retrospective of John Carpenter's best work in order to get patrons primed for the Halloween season. This year the Coolidge @fter Midnite program presents the checkered career of Tobe Hooper with four of his post Texas Chainsaw Massacre works. Unlike Carpenter, who helmed two of the all-time great horror movies and consistently brought A-level skills to B-movie pictures, elevating them far above what the material called for, Hooper never came close to matching the heights of the original Chainsaw. It's impossible to make a case for Poltergeist as it has Spielberg's fingerprints all over it which backup the long assumed speculation that Hooper had little to nothing to do with the finished product. I'm a fan of the often maligned sequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where Hooper swapped the horrific tone of the first for gallows comedy as he felt audiences missed the black humor of the original. The rest of his output has some charm, but is marred by a lot of sloppy films.
Tobe Hooper Retrospective
October 5th & 6th The Funhouse
October 12th & 13th Lifeforce
October 19th & 20th Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
October 26th & 27th Poltergeist
Going head-to-head with their own Hooper retrospective are a number of programs that culminate in a twelve hour test of stamina with the annual horror movie marathon. So far the only announced titles are The Exorcist and The Thing. Those two films are worth the price of admission alone.
October 6th J. Cannibal's Feast of Flesh XII feat. Re-Animator
October 12th & 13th V/H/S
October 19th & 20th The American Scream (read my review here and do everything you can to catch this movie)
October 26th The Betsi Feathers Halloween Special
October 27th The 12th Annual Halloween Horror Movie Program announced so far: The Exorcist and The Thing
October 31st Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
The single screen repertory theater has put on some of my favorite events of the past year. Jim Henson Week allowed me to take my daughter to her first ever movie-a 35mm print of The Muppet Movie. The best film fest in the area-The Boston Underground Film Festival-returned to the Brattle. They hosted the area premiere of V/H/S and Kill List and screened a pair of fantastic music documentaries about the Replacements and Archers of Loaf. Nestled right in the heart of Harvard Square, it's one of the few remaining reminders of how unique and vibrant the area used to be until developers turned it into a giant outdoor mall and banking center. That said their program feels light on Halloween-centric programming. This feels odd for as much as I love the theater, they always seem to have their hand out for donations and horror programming is a money maker for them. It also looks like Cabin in the Woods has replaced Evil Dead 2 as the go-to Halloween night film. As much as I love Cabin, it just hit theaters this year whereas the opportunities to experience the knuckle headed brilliance of Evil Dead 2 in a communal setting are few and far between. I have no idea what the Haunted House of Pancakes is all about-short horror movies about breakfast foods?
The best film technically isn't part of a Halloween event. Drafthouse films has reissued the Ozploitation flick Wake in Fright, a film rescued from both obscurity and a dumpster by its editor. Since its rerelease many have praised the nightmarish bizarreness of the film and its depiction of the backwater outback settlement.
October 12th - 18th Wake in Fright
October 30th Haunted House of Pancakes/Cabin in the Woods
October 31st Nosferatu/Cabin in the Woods
Somerville Theater (55 Davis Sq, Somerville MA)
It seems a little quiet on the events front for the time being, but I anticipate that is going to change (and will update accordingly) in the coming days.
October 21st Phantom of the Opera This classic silent film, featuring one of the most chilling make up jobs in horror history (and one that puts to shame many modern day makeup jobs) will be accompanied by live music. This is one that will be a hopeful date night for the wife and I.
October 26th Shudderfest. Stay tuned. I promise it will be worth it.
Kendall Sq Cinema (1 Kendall Sq Bldg 1900 Cambridge MA)
October 30th Halloween & the special feature You Can't Kill the Boogeyman: 35 Years of Halloween.
V/H/S also opens tomorrow.
This is a preliminary list. If you know of any local theaters hosting Halloween themed screenings, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org