An incomplete but completely terrifying list of classic horror showings from local theaters

It’s the time of year when everyone likes to stay home and watch their favorite horror movies. But let’s face it, they’re always better with a crowd. There’s a collective energy when strangers gather to scare us, an electricity impossible to replicate in your living room. We all have fond memories of spectators screaming simultaneously or of a certain spectator losing on their own. My favorite was a late show of Scorsese’s “Cape Fear” at the long-demolished Assembly Square Mall multiplex, in which a viewer was so traumatized by an early scene in which Robert De Niro bites off a piece of his cheek. a woman she spent the rest of the film screaming whenever he came within six feet of any of her co-stars, including Nick Nolte. But nothing tops my parents’ memory of going to see “The Exorcist” when it first came out. They never tire of telling me that it took pea soup vomiting Linda Blair projectiles for a drunk guy in the front row to realize he was in the wrong auditorium. “It’s not ‘Patton!’ the man shouted, “I came here to see ‘Patton!’ »

By my count, there are over two dozen horror movies screening this week in Boston-area theaters. You can review often filtered watches such as “the brilliant at the Kendall Square Cinema and “The thing brattleor search for stranger offers at the Somerville Theater As “The little girl who lives down the streeta perverse proto-“Home Alone” in which 13-year-old Jodie Foster tries to fend off Martin Sheen’s creepy child molester while hiding a few corpses in the basement. Bingeable events include Somerville’s Halloween Hullabaloo 2: Electric Boogalooprogrammed by Horror movie survival guide podcast host Julia Marchese, and it wouldn’t be a spooky season without Coolidge After Midnite’s Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, celebrating its 21st year with 12 hours of vampire movies for those still brave enough to stay up later than this particular reviewer. There probably aren’t enough parties in the entire month of October to catch them all, but here are seven scary movies worth seeing on the big screen.

Kyra Schon in “Night of the Living Dead”. (Courtesy of Photofest)

George A. Romero’s seminal shock of 1968 spawned so many imitations and homages that it’s easy to forget what a piquant, no-frills affair it is. Shot in 16mm black and white, the film confines the apocalypse to a single farm outside Pittsburgh, where cannibalistic undead represent a country that at the time felt like it was eating itself alive . What sets Romero’s zombie movies apart from most other entries in the genre he inspired is their pointed political outrage. The director knew exactly what he was doing when he cast this film’s hero (Duane Jones) into a capable, intelligent black man beset on all sides by the ignorant, cocky, and undead. The film’s cruel and abrupt ending is still heartbreaking and seems even more depressing and plausible today. As Romero’s “Dead” streak continued for five more films over the next 41 years, his creatures grew more pitiful and pathetic while the human characters only grew more hopelessly vicious. Yet, even from the start, it’s been obvious that the real enemy is us. (Screens at the Coolidge Corner Theater Monday, October 24 and at the Somerville Theater Friday, October 28.)

Elle Fanning and Val Kilmer in
Elle Fanning and Val Kilmer in Francis Ford Coppola’s “B’Twixt Now and Sunrise”. (Courtesy of Rialto Pictures/American Zoetrope)

The smartest of this week’s Somerville double features combines Francis Ford Coppola’s first real outing with what remain (to this day) his last two low-budget horror films with a particular and personal bent. 1962’s “Dementia 13” was the filmmaker’s graduation from the nudity films he had made, becoming semi-legitimate at Roger Corman’s exploitation factory. In a possibly haunted Irish castle, a miserly stepdaughter takes desperate measures to insinuate herself into the wretched matriarch’s will. Heavily influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, it’s still unmistakably a Coppola film because it’s all about the family. His independently funded 2011 curio “Twixt” never played locally, its initial release being thwarted after the film was booed by goons at Comic Con. It’s a weird, sneering, and at times terrifyingly sad image starring Val Kilmer as an alcoholic horror novelist on a failed book tour chained into a local murder mystery by Bruce Dern’s skeezy sheriff . Every time Kilmer gets drunk, he is visited by Poe himself (Ben Chaplin) and the victim (Elle Fanning) amidst striking and deliberately contrived digital backdrops. Kilmer’s character mourns the loss of a child in a boating accident while being forced to do a job he hates, so it’s basically Coppola’s life in the 1980s. Some scenes are silly, some are impossible to shake off, and I see the notorious tinkerer has now tried to rename it, “B’Twixt Now & Sunrise”. Whatever he wants to call it, it’s a movie that deserved better audiences. (Screens at the Somerville Theater Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26.)

Image taken from
Image taken from “Fright Night”. (Courtesy of Photofest)

Played by the less than endearing William Ragsdale, teenage Charley is a horror-movie nut who strongly suspects his suave new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) might be a vampire. Maybe it’s the coffin that Charley saw being delivered late at night, or all the dead sex workers that started showing up in town since he moved in. Or it could be that the guy keeps turning into a bat. But regardless of the evidence, no one will believe a high schooler with an overactive imagination, which is why Charley ends up bringing in a scruffy old actor (Roddy McDowall) working as a nocturnal creatures host on local television. A sleeper hit in the summer of 1985, “Fright Night” lovingly teases old vampire movie tropes while working as a surprisingly chilling example of the same. Writer-director Tom Holland (not the Spider-man guy) gets witty performances from Sarandon and especially McDowall, whose name “Peter Vincent” is a loving tribute to Hammer horror icons Peter Cushing and Vincent Price. Just like his hambone game. (Screens at the Coolidge Corner Theater Saturday, October 30 and at the Somerville Theater Monday, October 31.)

Always from
Still from “Angel Heart”. (Courtesy of Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal)

Director Alan Parker’s outrageous supernatural thriller stars Mickey Rourke at his most magnetically disheveled, playing a mildly shocked private eye hired by a ponytailed, long-nailed eccentric (Robert De Niro, doing a funny impression of his pal Martin Scorsese) to track down a missing pop singer who doesn’t want to be found. Drenched in a clammy, overheated atmosphere, the case takes him from Harlem to New Orleans, where our sleuth falls in love with a willowy voodoo priestess played by Lisa Bonet. Their graphic, blood-soaked nightmarish sex scene was all everyone was talking about in 1987, which initially earned the film an X rating and upset American morality champion Bill Cosby so much that he fired Bonet from its highest rated TV show. “Angel Heart” is scary as hell but also something of a hoot, with a biting sense of humor and some of the biggest character names in the genre. (The crooner is called “Johnny Favorite,” De Niro plays “Louis Cyphre,” and there’s a jazz musician named “Toots Sweet.”) Even the title turns out to be a terrible pun. (Screens at the Somerville Theater Sunday, October 30.)

Bruce Campbell in
Bruce Campbell in Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead II’. (Courtesy of Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal)

The craziest zombie movie ever made, Sam Raimi’s live-action cartoon subjects star Bruce Campbell to a dazzling array of indignities after his alleged romantic weekend is foiled by reading a Book of the Dead which unleashes all sorts of interdimensional ugliness, including an extremely nasty tree. The film’s relentless, whiz-bang, “everything is fine” energy is a high that generations of gorehounds would end up chasing for the rest of their cinematic lives, like even Raimi’s studio-funded follow-up “Army of Darkness.” Could’t summon a fraction of the naughty ingenuity those hungry young filmmakers discovered back there in the woods. Campbell has a chiseled smirk on a 1950s cigarette commercial, and the film’s most memorable sequence is a one-man show in which he fights with his demon-possessed right hand, eventually taking a chainsaw to the hilt. unruly appendage and trying to tame it. with a heavy hardcover of Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”. The splattered slapstick and stop-motion shenanigans are sublimely silly, even the shotgun blasts are all fun and groovy. (Screens at the Brattle Theater Monday, October 31.)

Jamie Lee Curtis in
Jamie Lee Curtis in John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’. (Courtesy of Photofest)

Do not accept any substitutions, sequels or reboots. John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece is the ultimate slasher flick and an exercise in pure craftsmanship. No one needs a convoluted mythology for Michael Myers and attempts to explain the monster only diminish it, which is why in the original image he is only credited as The Shape. “Halloween” is a favorite of both the Film Comment ensemble and the Fangoria crowd because, at its core, it’s a minimalist art film, with Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey mapping vectors. of screen space in a catastrophic grid of leafy sidewalks and manicured lawns. It’s a movie about mood and movement, exploring all the foregrounds and backgrounds of big screen real estate. And boy does the big guy move *slowly*. That’s what’s so scary about the suspense scenes. There is also the disturbing emptiness of this Shatner mask he wears, impossible to read and unable to express. The monster is simply. (Screens at Cinema Salem from Friday 28 October to Sunday 30 October and at the Coolidge Corner Theater Monday, October 31.)

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