Rarely does a week go by without a underseen horror movie gracing a Boston-area repertory theater. So it goes without saying that those silver screens look like they were stained by blood orgies by the last day of each October. And for that we can thank our local programmers, a number of whom are certified experts in the genre.
To wit: Kicking off the 2015 Halloween season is Mark Anastasio, the mad doctor behind the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s After Midnight program, who will be crossing over to an adjacent haunt—the Brattle Theatre—to introduce a free screening of An American Werewolf in London at the end of this month (Mon 9.28, 8:30pm, 35mm).
Soon after that, the Brattle will be dedicating its screen to the history of film noir. And two of that mode’s forerunners are stalwarts of spooky cinema: The Invisible Man and The Mummy (Fri 10.9, 8pm and 9:30pm). And if you prefer your cosplay in the seats, as opposed to on-screen, you can head to The Somerville Theatre for its scheduled anniversary showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Fri 10.15, midnight, 35mm).
If you’re measuring by body count, though, the Coolidge Corner Theatre is the biggest menace of the scare season this year. Its weekly midnight-movies program will host the area premieres for two evocatively titled festival favorites—Hellions (9.25 and 9.26, midnight) and Deathgasm (10.9 and 10.10, midnight)—alongside prime selections from 50 years of witch cinema: Vincent Price in Witchfinder General (10.2 and 10.3, midnight, 35mm), two evenings of Hocus Pocus (10.16 and 10.17, midnight, 35mm) for the millennial crowd, the Michael Myers-less Halloween III: Season of the Witch (10.23 and 10.24, midnight, 35mm), and the creepy-crawling possession chiller Rosemary’s Baby (10.30, midnight, 35mm) on the eve of All Hallow’s Eve.
Also slated for the witching hour at the Coolidge is a movie whose influence on the genre rattles and shakes on-screen to this day. But don’t let the found-footage efforts that followed The Blair Witch Project (10.9 and 10.10, midnight, 35mm) color your experience of the original article. The rhythms here are looser than in the rip-offs—the observational moments are more banal, the scares are more inexplicable—and the result is a movie to be reckoned with.
Blair Witch, with its “don’t go in the woods” fable-izing and its “blurring the lines of non-fiction” conceit, is of a piece with A Filmmaker’s Nightmare, the Harvard Film Archive program curated by Ben Rivers. Bonus: The program also features films that document the “dangers” of making movies—be they spiritual, physical, or chemical. The program will wrap up on the holiday itself with a short film by Rivers, playing in between two nonfiction works that gaze at the horrors that wait behind the scenes of horror films: Demon Lover Diary (Sat 10.31, 7pm, 35mm) and Cuadecuc, Vampir (Sat 10.31, 9pm, 35mm).
So those are the choices for deconstructionists on the 31st. But those with a more traditional taste will have movies to see all day and night. The Somerville’s TerrorThon will fill the noon-to-midnight shift (screenings include West of Zanzibar, Dracula, and Seconds—Sat 10.31, noon, all 35mm), while the Coolidge’s 15th Annual Horror Movie Marathon will take us from midnight on Saturday through the following afternoon (screenings include Halloween II and Trick or Treat—Sat 10.31, midnight, all 35mm).
We’ll have more on those next month, but they’ll provide your fix for the goriest genre—you may even leave them wanting to take the next week off from the horror genre.
But we doubt it.