Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife,’ starring Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim and Celeste O’Connor

October 9, 2021

by Carla Hay

Celeste O’Connor, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim and McKenna Grace in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Photo by Kimberley French/Columbia Pictures)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

Directed by Jason Reitman

Culture Representation: Taking place in the fictional U.S. city of Summerville, Oklahoma, and briefly in Chicago and New York City, the comedic horror film “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, Asians and Latinos) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: The daughter and grandchildren of the late Dr. Egon Spengler (an original Ghostbuster) move to the isolated home in Summerville that they inherited from him, and they immediately have supernatural encounters with deadly entitities. 

Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of “Ghostbusters” fans, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” will appeal primarily to fans of people who like well-paced adventurous films that combine horror with comedy that’s suitable for most children over the age of 6.

Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Photo by Kimberley French/Columbia Pictures)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a “Ghostbusters” fan’s dream come true. The movie delivers almost everything that diehard fans of the franchise might want to see in a sequel. It also respects all the things that fans loved about the original “Ghostbusters” movie while introducing an exciting new storyline and appealing new characters. It’s the type of movie that is sure to win over legions of new fans to the franchise, which experienced some controversy and mixed-to-negative reviews from fans for the divisive, female-starring 2016 “Ghosbusters” reboot that was directed and co-written by Paul Feig.

Ivan Reitman, who directed 1984’s “Ghostbusters” and 1989’s “Ghostbusters II,” has been a producer of all “Ghostbusters” movies so far. For “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” he handed over the directorial duties to his son Jason Reitman, who co-wrote the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” screenplay with Gil Kenan, a filmmaker who’s a self-professed “Ghostbusters” superfan. The result is what happens when you put true fans in charge of making a sequel to a beloved classic about ghost hunters who call themselves Ghostbusters: You give the fans what they really want. And that’s probably why “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” had its first public screening at the 2021 edition of New York Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. After a “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” discussion panel that featured Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman, Kenan and members of the movie’s cast, people who were in attendance got a surprise treat when the entire film was shown after the panel ended.

In “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the daughter and two grandchildren of Dr. Egon Spengler (an original Ghostbuster) are at the center of the story when they find themselves involved in the same work that Egon did as a Ghostbuster in New York City. Egon was portrayed by Harold Ramis (who died of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis in 2014, at the age of 69), whose presence is definitely felt in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” Ramis was also a co-writer on the 1984 “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II.” When watching “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” fans will notice all the homages paid to these first two “Ghostbusters” movies.

Egon’s divorced daughter Callie (played by Carrie Coon), who was estranged from Egon for most of her life due to his workaholic ways, is having financial problems. It’s reached a point where Callie and her two kids, who all live in a Chicago apartment, have gotten an eviction notice from their landlord. Callie’s ex-husband, who is not seen in the movie, is not involved in raising the children. Later in the movie, Callie describes her ex-husband as a “dirtbag,” in order to leave no doubt that she doesn’t want him in her life anymore.

Instead of waiting to be evicted, Callie decides to take herself and her two kids—brainy 12-year-old Phoebe (played by Mckenna Grace) and socially awkward 15-year-old Trevor (played by Finn Wolfhard)—to the fictional small town of Summerville, Oklahoma, where Egon lived as a recluse until he died about a week before this story takes place. Even though Callie had not seen or spoken to her father in years, she inherited his run-down home. She decides to go there in person with her kids to see what to make of the place and to try to escape from her financial woes.

Egon’s home is a cluttered and dirty farmhouse located in an isolated area filled with corn fields and tall grass. Trevor quips when he looks at the dumpy condition of the house: “This is so much worse than I thought it would be.” Callie tells her children that they only plan to stay for a week while she gets some of Egon’s estate affairs in order. But there would be no “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” movie if that turned out to be true.

Before Callie, Phoebe and Trevor even arrived in Summerville, the movie shows that strange and spirits and creatures were inhabiting the area. And these sinister beings don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. There’s also an abandoned mine that was owned by the Shemdor Mining Company that plays a large role in explaining the mystery behind this story.

The mine used to be a big source of the town’s economy, but the mine was shut down years ago by the U.S. Air Force, because miners began leaping to their death in the mine shafts. Why did the U.S. Air Force get involved? It’s all explained in the movie, but viewers can figure it out as soon they hear that the U.S. Air Force and other military and federal law enforcement have had an interest in Summerville.

After Callie, Trevor and Phoebe arrive in Summerville, they find out that Egon wasn’t very well-liked by the locals, who gave him the unflattering nickname Dirt Farmer. Egon kept mostly to himself, and when he did interact with people, he was often gruff or aloof. Trevor and Phoebe never knew their grandfather Egon, but Phoebe seems more fascinated by Egon than Trevor is. During the course of the movie, viewers will see that Phoebe also inherited a lot of Egon’s analytical and personality traits. While Phoebe is very scientific-minded, Trevor is the more artistic sibling, because he is interested in filmmaking.

Callie already knows that Egon’s house is worthless. But to her dismay, she finds out that her estranged father left behind a lot of debts that she’s now responsible for paying, since she is his only heir. She tries to hide these problems from the children, but they are intuitive and are smart enough to figure out that things aren’t going so well for their family and they will be in Summerville for a while, since they have nowhere else to live rent-free.

Summerville is a quaint small town that has some characteristics of a bygone era. For example, Summerville has a drive-in diner called Spinners Roller Hop that has roller-skating servers. One of these servers is a teenager named Lucky (played by Celeste O’Connor), who immediately catches Trevor’s eye when he and his family eat at the diner one day. It’s attraction at first sight for Trevor.

Trevor is so infatuated with Lucky that he gets a job as a dishwasher at Spinners Roller Hop, in order to get to know her better. Trevor lies about his age (he says he’s 17) so that he can get the job. Callie takes a while to warm up to Trevor, and their possible romance is hinted at and teased throughout the movie. Later in the movie, Trevor does a lot of driving of a certain vehicle that “Ghostbusters” fans know and love, even though he’s not old enough to have a driver’s license.

Trevor and Callie also meet a precocious kid who’s about 12 or 13 years old. He calls himself Podcast (played by Logan Kim), because he has his own podcast where he likes to think of himself as an investigative journalist and historian for Summerville. Podcast is naturally inquisitive, and he quickly befriends Trevor and Callie. Podcast constantly carries around audio equipment with him, so he can be ready to record anything newsworthy. He’s also an aspiring paranormal investigator. How convenient.

Summerville is the type of town that doesn’t have many cops, but there are enough police officers who eventually notice some of the shenanigans that Trevor, Phoebe and Podcast get up to around town. Summerville’s Sheriff Domingo (played by Bokeem Woodbine) just happens to be Lucky’s father. Lucky ends up joining Trevor, Phoebe and Podcast in their ghostbusting activities when things get really dangerous.

Trevor isn’t the only family member to meet a potential love interest in Summerville. Carrie begins dating a seismologist named Gary Grooberson (played by Paul Rudd), who teaches at the local high school. Gary, who is a middle-aged bachelor with no children, is a little bit of a goofball nerd who would rather be a full-time scientist than be a teacher to help pay his bills. He’s so bored with teaching that one of the movie’s first scenes of Gary has him using a VCR and TV monitor in his classroom, to show old horror movies such as “Cujo (on VHS tape) to his students, as a way of babysitting them while he does other things that interest him.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a feast of references to the first “Ghostbusters” without copying any previous “Ghostbusters” plot. Is there anyone from the previous “Ghostbusters” movies who is in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”? That information won’t be revealed in this review, although that information has already been leaked on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and other places where people can find out the details if they really want to know. Any “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” cameos from original “Ghostbusters” cast members also have updates on what their “Ghostbusters” characters have been up to since the 1990s.

It’s not just people from the first “Ghostbusters” movie that might or might not make a re-appearance. Don’t be surprised to see any ghosts, demons and monsters that look familiar. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” also has done something hilarious and clever with the Stay Puft marshmallow presence in the movie. The visual effects for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” are well-done and bring chills and laughs in all the right ways.

The filmmakers of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” understand that all the visual effects and scary creatures in the world wouldn’t make this movie succeed. People have to root for the main characters. And the movie delivers on featuring characters that are relatable yet find themselves in extraordinary situations. It’s a well-cast movie where all of these talented actors inhabit their character roles with a great deal of believability, even when extraordinary things are happening to their characters on screen.

In “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” Phoebe is portrayed as the smartest and most fearless hero of the movie, which is undoubtedly a star-making turn for Grace. Phoebe is serious about science, but she also likes to tell jokes that she knows are corny. For example, one of the jokes is: “What do a cigarette and a hamster have in common? They’re both completely harmless until you stick one in your mouth and light it on fire.”

Wolfhard also does a very credible job as Trevor, who can be adventurous or nervous, depending on the situation. Kim’s portrayal of Podcast is of someone who is endlessly curious, but he’s not a brat, which is what this character could have been but thankfully is not. Coon’s portrayal of Callie is of a concerned mother who’s trying to hold her family life together, even when things are starting to fall apart. Gary is smitten with Callie, so this infatuation is used for some lighthearted jokes in the movie.

Because “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” focuses most of the story on the adolescent characters, some people might say that the movie is trying to be like the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which also co-stars Wolfhard. But make no mistake: This is a “Ghostbusters” movie in every way. It has comedy, scary thrills and plenty of adventure and mystery that all harken back to the original “Ghostbusters,” but told from young people’s perspectives. That doesn’t mean the adult characters are sidelined in the movie, but they really are supporting characters who don’t get involved in the action until it’s absolutely necessary.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is escapist entertainment, but the movie also has some tearjerking, poignant moments, especially in the final scenes. Stick around for the mid-credits and end-credits scenes too, which will further delight fans of the original “Ghostbusters” movie. Even if people don’t see these credits scenes, it should come as no surprise that “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” already telegraphs that this film is not the end of the “Ghostbusters” movie series.

Columbia Pictures will release “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” in U.S. cinemas on November 19, 2021.

Halloween 2021: Horror movies and supernatural thrillers in theaters on All Hallow’s Eve

October 1, 2021

by Carla Hay

There are numerous horror movies available to watch on TV, computers or mobile devices, but for Halloween 2021, there are some horror flicks and supernatural thrillers that will be released in theaters in October. Horror and supernatural movies released before October 2021 that should still be in theaters during the Halloween season include “Candyman” (rated R); “Don’t Breathe 2” (rated R); “Malignant” (rated R); “The Night House” (rated R); and “Old” (rated R).

Here are the movies that have an October 2021 release in theaters:

Information in this article is about U.S. releases.

“The Addams Family 2”

The ghoulish Addams Family returns in this sequel to 2019’s “The Addams Family.” Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon directed both movies. In “The Addams Family 2,” the family goes on a road trip, as gloomy teenager Wednesday Addams begins to question her identity after coming up with a biologically altering invention. The voice cast of the animated “The Addams Family 2” includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, co-director Vernon, Javon Walton, Bette Midler and Snoop Dogg. “The Addams Family 2,” which is rated PG, arrives in theaters and on VOD on October 1, 2021.

“Antlers”

After this movie’s release was delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sci-fi horror flick “Antlers” is finally arriving in theaters. Not much has been revealed about the plot, except that it’s about a mysterious creature that goes on the loose in a small Oregon town. Directed and co-written by Scott Cooper, “Antlers” has a cast that includes Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. “Antlers,” which is rated R, is set for release in theaters on October 29, 2021.

“The Blazing World”

Written, directed and co-starrring Carlson Young, this sci-fi horror movie is about a woman haunted by the drowning death of her twin sister and ends up in an alternate dimension. The movie also stars Udo Kier, Dermot Mulroney and Vinessa Shaw. “The Blazing World,” which is not rated, is set for release in select theaters on October 15, 2021.

“Coming Home in the Dark”

In this New Zealand film, a high school teacher, his wife and his two stepsons encounter two murderous drifters​. Directed and co-written by James Ashcroft, “Coming Home in the Dark” stars Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu, Billy Paratene, Frankie Paratene and Bailey Cowan. The movie, which is not rated, arrives in theaters, on digital and on VOD on October 1, 2021.

“Detention”

Directed and co-written by John Hsu, the Taiwanese film “Detention” is an adaptation of the video game of the same name. The story, which takes place in 1962, is about the mysterious occurrences at a high school in an oppressive society. The movie’s cast members include Gingle Wang, Fu Meng-po, Tseng Ching-hua, Cecilia Choi and Hung Chang Chu. “Detention,” which is not rated, opens in select theaters and in virtual cinemas on October 8, 2021.

“Halloween Kills”

Jamie Lee Curtis returns in her iconic role as Laurie Strode, the most famous survivor of mask-wearing serial killer Michael Myers. You already know what the movie is about: Michael Myers goes after Laurie and some other people again. David Gordon Green, who directed 2018’s “Halloween,” directed and co-wrote “Halloween Kills.” The movie, which is rated R, opens in theaters and begins streaming on Peacock on October 15, 2021.

“Lamb”

The Icelandic movie “Lamb,” starring Noomi Rapace, is a supernatural horror film that has a lot of strangeness revolving around a lamb. “Lamb” is directed and co-written by Valdimar Jóhannsson. The movie, which is rated R, will be released in select theaters on October 8, 2021.

“Last Night in Soho”

Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie star in this supernatural thriller with retro elements. The movie is about a London fashion student who begins having strange dreams about an aspiring singer from the mid-1960s. Directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, “Last Night in Soho” also stars Matt Smith, Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp. The movie, which is rated R, arrives in theaters on October 29, 2021.

“Monster Family 2”

In this animated comedy film, the Wishbone family returns to “free Baba Yaga and Renfield from the clutches of Monster Hunter Mila Starr,” according to the movie’s official synopsis. Directed by Holger Tappe, “Monster Family 2” features a voice cast that includes Emily Watson, Daniel Ben Zenou, Jessica Brown Findlay, Emily Carey and Nick Frost and Jason Isaacs. The movie, which is rated PG, is set for release in select theaters on October 15, 2021.

“Roh”

In this Malaysian folk tale, which is the feature-film debut of writer/director Emir Ezwan, a family headed by a single mother is deeply affected by a stranger who has been brought into the home. This stranger is a girl who was found caked in mud by the children in the family. And this mysterious girl has an ominous prediction: The entire family will soon die. The cast of “Roh” includes Farah Ahmad, Mhia Farhana, Harith Haziq, Nam Ron, Junainah M. Lojong and Putri Syahadah Nurqaseh. “Roh” (which is not rated) is Malaysia’s official Oscar entry for consideration for the 2022 Academy Awards category of Best International Feature. The movie arrives in select theaters, on digital and VOD on October 29, 2021.

“The Secret of Sinchanee”

Directed by, written by, and starring Stephen Grayhm, “The Secret of Sinchanee” is about how an industrial tow truck driver, who has insomnia, returns to his hometown after his father’s death and finds out that his childhood home is haunted. Meanwhile, a single mother from the area has gone missing. The movie’s cast also includes Nate Boyer, Tamara Austin, Laila Lockhart Kraner, Jacob Schick and Rudy Reyes. “The Secret of Sinchanee,” which is not rated, will be released on October 8, 2021, in select theaters, digital and VOD.

“The Spine of Night”

In this animated supernatural thriller, a power-hungry young man steals knowledge from another planet and becomes a corrupt villain. Throughout the years, his misdeeds result in human suffering, and several entities try to stop him. Written and Directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King, “The Spine of Night” has a voice cast that includes Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel and Joe Manganiello. The movie, which is not rated, is set for release in select theaters, digital and VOD on October 29, 2021.

“Titane”

Written and directed by Julia Ducournau, the French film “Titane” tells a bizarre story of a 32-year-old dancer (played by Agathe Rousselle) who is a serial killer and who’s sexually attracted to automobiles. Her strange obsessions have to do with a surgical operation that she had after being in a car accident when she was 7 years old. Vincent Lindon also stars in “Titane,” which won the Palme d’Or (top prize) at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. “Titane,” which is rated R, is also France’s selection to be considered for the Best International Feature category at the 2022 Academy Awards. “Titane” arrives in theaters on October 1, 2021.

“Val”

An outlaw criminal (played by Zachary Mooren) breaks into the home of an escort named Val (played by Misha Reeves), and he finds out the hard way that she’s a demon. Directed and co-written by Aaron Fradkin, “Val” (which is not rated) is set for release in select theaters on October 1, 2021, before being released on digital and VOD on October 5, 2021.

“Witch Hunt”

What if the modern-day United States made being a witch illegal and punishable by death? That’s the concept of this movie written and directed by Elle Callahan. In “Witch Hunt,” a teenager in high school (played by Gideon Adlon) disapproves of her mother (played by Elizabeth Mitchell) secretly hiding witches in their home as part of an underground smuggling network for witches. There’s also a ruthless government inspector (played by Christian Carmago) who’s on the hunt for witches. “Witch Hunt,” which is not rated, arrives in select theaters, on digital and VOD on October 1, 2021.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASES

“Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes” (RiffTrax Live)

RiffTrax comedy stars Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett give their running commentary during the 1989 campy horror flick “Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes.” In this TV-movie (directed by Sandor Stern), priests try to defeat the evil spirit that’s taken over the notorious Amityville haunted house. The movie’s cast includes Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt and Fredric Lehne. Fathom Events will present the RiffTrax version of “Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes” in select theaters on October 21, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Beetlejuice”

Tim Burton’s classic 1988 horror comedy tells the story of deceased young couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), who haunt their former home and try unsuccessfully to scare away the house’s new residents: Charles and Delia Deetz (played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) and their moody teenage daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). In desperation, the Maitlands conjur up the obnoxious ghost Betelgeuse (played by Michael Keaton) to enlist his help in terrifying the Deetz family into moving out of the house. “Beetlejuice” (which is rated PG) will have screenings at several movie-theater chains. Cinépolis will show the movie on October 13, 2021. The screenings for Alamo Drafthouse locations will vary by location.

“The Craft”

In this 1996 film, four teenage girls in high school find out that they have the power to practice witchcraft. Directed by Andrew Fleming (who co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Filardi), “The Craft” has a cast that includes Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor and Breckin Meyer. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain is showing “The Craft” (which is rated R), with the dates varying by location. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Dracula” (1931)

The original “Dracula” movie (starring Bela Legosi and directed by Tod Browning) will be shown as a double feature with 1931’s “Frankenstein” movie (starring Boris Karloff and directed by James Whale) to celebrate the movies’ 90th anniversary. Fathom Events will present this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 2, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“The Evil Dead” (1981)

The 1981 supernatural horror film “The Evil Dead” established writer/director Sam Raimi as a filmmaker to watch. Bruce Campbell stars as Ash, who arrives at a remote cabin in the woods with his girlfriend Linda (played by Betsy Baker), his sister Cheryl (played by Ellen Sandweiss), and another couple named Scotty (played by Hal Delrich) and Shelly (played by Sarah York). When a mysterious occult book is found in the cabin, mayhem ensues. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Evil Dead,” Fathom Events is bringing back the movie in select theaters, with an exclusive precorded introduction by Campbell, on October 7, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Exorcist”

The 1973 classic “The Exorcist,” directed by William Friedkin, is often ranked as the scariest horror movie of all time. In the story, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) is distraught when she sees her 12-year-old daughter Regan (played by Linda Blair) begin to act strangely, such as speaking in tongues. When Regan starts levitating, Chris is convinced that Regan might be possessed by the devil. Chris asks a local priest named Father Damien (played by Jason Miller) for help. He then requests to perform an exorcism, and the Catholic Church sends an exorcism expert Father Lankester Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) to assist in the exorcism. “The Exorcist,” which is rated R, received 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), and ended up winning two Oscars: Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. The Cinépolis theater chain is showing “The Exorcist” (which is rated R) on October 23, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain is showing “The Exorcist” (which is rated R), with the dates varying by location. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Frankenstein” (1931)

The original 1931 “Frankenstein” movie (starring Boris Karloff and directed by James Whale) will be shown as a double feature with 1931’s “Dracula” (starring Bela Legosi and directed by Tod Browning) to celebrate the movies’ 90th anniversary. Fathom Events is presenting this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 2, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Get Out”

In 2017’s “Get Out,” the horror of racism is on display when an interracial couple (played by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams) go back to her family home so that he can meet her parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). Writer/director Jordan Peele made his feature-film directorial debut and won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for “Get Out,” which also stars LaKeith Stanfield, Betty Gabriel and Lel Rel Howery. “Get Out” also received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, while Kaluuya got an Oscar nod for Best Actor. AMC Theatres will re-release “Get Out” on October 13, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Halloween” (1978)

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is considered one of the most influential horror movies of all time, and certainly one of the top films representing the “slasher” subgenre of horror flicks. The mask-wearing, knife-wielding, mute serial killer Michael Myers has become a much-parodied and imitated horror icon, but at the time that “Halloween” was released, many of the terror-inducing elements of this movie were considered groundbreaking. The slow-burn suspense of “Halloween,” which spawned numerous inferior sequels, can be fully appreciated on the big screen, considering that most modern “slasher” movies follow a formula of someone getting killed every 15 to 20 minutes. Jamie Lee Curtis, as teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, made her movie debut in “Halloween,” one of many horror films in which she’s had a starring role, including the 2018 movie sequel of the same name and 2021’s “Halloween Kills.” Donald Pleasence also stars in the original “Halloween” as Myers’ psychiatric doctor, who doggedly tries to find his patient after Myers escapes from a psychiatric institution. The Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of the original 1978 “Halloween” (which is rated R) on October 27, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain will have “Halloween” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Halloween II”

In this 1981 sequel, Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Loomis (played Donald Pleasance) return to do battle against serial killer Michael Myers, who wreaks havoc in a hospital. “Halloween II” was directed by Rick Rosenthal, in his feature-flm directorial debut. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain will have “Halloween II,” which is rated R, at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Hotel Transylvania”

In the 2012 animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania” Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) runs Hotel Transyvania, where he has invited several monsters to visit. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (in his feature-film directorial debut), “Hotel Transylvania” (which is rated PG) has a voice cast that includes Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade and CeeLo Green. Alamo Drafthouse will show “Hotel Transylvania” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“The Howling”

This 1981 film, directed by Joe Dante, is about a TV journalist who goes to a remote mountain resort, only to find out the resort’s residents are werewolves. “The Howling,” which is rated R, stars Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, and Robert Picardo. Alamo Drafthouse will show a 4K restoration of “The Howling” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Howl’s Moving Castle”

In this supernatural Japanese animated film from director Hayao Miyazaki, a wizard named Howl takes a quiet girl named Sophie on an adventure, but she is cursed by the Witch of the Waste and turned into a 90-year-old woman. Sophie must break the spell by going to Howl’s moving castle. The English-language voice cast includes Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer and Jean Simmons. Fathom Events is presenting “Howl’s Moving Castle,” which is rated PG, in select U.S. theaters on October 24, 25 and 28, 2021. The October 24 and 28 screenings will be dubbed in English, while the October 25 screening will be in Japanese with English subtitles. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Invisible Man” (1933)

The original 1933 “The Invisible Man” movie (starring Claude Rains and directed by James Whale) will be shown as a double feature with 1941’s “The Wolf Man” movie (starring Lon Chaney Jr. and directed by George Waggner). Fathom Events is presenting this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 30, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1968, in color)

George A. Romero’s zombie-invasion classic is often on people’s lists of the best horror movies of all time, and it’s considered the best of all the sequels, spinoffs and remakes that this original movie inspired. Filmed in black and white, 1968’s “The Night of the Living Dead” has a plot that is simple but executed to chilling effect: A group of strangers trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse try to survive an unexpected plague of zombies. Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea were among the cast of relatively unknown actors in the film. Alamo Drafthouse will present a 1986 colorized version of “Night of the Living Dead” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Serial killer Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund), who comes to life in people’s nightmares, is considered one of the all-time greatest horror movie villains. He was first introduced to the world in 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” directed by Wes Craven. The movie, which also stars Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp, in one of his first film roles. The Cinemark theater chain will present “A Nightmare on Elm Street” on October 8, 2021. More information and ticket purchaes can be found here. Alamo Drafthouse will show “A Nightmare on Elm Street” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Nosferatu”

The silent film “Nosferatu,” released in 1922, was the first movie based on the “Dracula” novel. Directed by F. W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck, “Nosferatu” is shown at Alamo Drafthouse locations every Halloween season, with a musical score by the Austin-based band the Invincible Czars. In 2021, “Nosferatu” will be screened at Alamo Drafthouse locations on October 29. According to Alamo Drafthouse: “The Invincible Czars have updated their soundtrack for ‘Nosferatu” in preparation to release a recording for the film’s centennial in 2022. This will be the debut of the updated score.” More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Phantasm”

Written, directed, produced and edited by Don Coscarelli, the 1979 supernatural horror flick “Phantasm” introduced the world to the villain The Tall Man (played by Angus Scrimm). Alamo Drafthouse will show a 4K restoration of “Phantasm” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Possession” (1981)

In the 1981 psychological horror film “Possession,” Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani portray a Berlin-based international spy and his wife, who begins acting bizarrely after she asks for a divorce. Written and directed by Andrzej Żuławski, “Possession” also stars Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent and Johanna Hofer. Alamo Drafthouse locations will show a 4K restoration of “Possession,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Do the time warp again as an audience member of the 1975 horror-comedy musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which is based on the stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show.” This cult-movie classic, directed by Jim Sharman, has been a late-night staple at cinemas for decades. The movie tells the story of naïve, engaged couple Brad Majors (played by Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (played by Susan Sarandon), who find themselves stranded at a mysterious mansion after their car gets a flat tire during a storm. At the mansion, they meet an eccentric bunch of people, including Dr. Frank-N-Furter (played by Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist who’s determined to make Brad and Janet lose their innocence. Screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which is rated R, usually include audience participation and sing-alongs, so don’t expect people in the theater to be quiet during the movie. The Cinépolis theater chain will exhibit “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on October 29, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Scream”

This 1996 classic film features a masked serial killer on the loose with an ultimate target: high schooler Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell). The psycho also likes to call his victims before he murders them. Directed by Wes Craven, “Scream” has a cast that includes Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich and Drew Barrymore. Fathom Events is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Scream” (which is rated R) by bringing the movie back in select theaters on October 10 and October 11, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here. Alamo Drafthouse will show “Scream” on October 29, 2021. More informaton and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Shaun of the Dead”

The 2004 horror comedy “Shaun of the Dead” shows what happens when two best friends (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) try to survive during a zombie apocalypse in England. Directed by Edgar Wright (who co-wrote the screenplay with Pegg), the movie’s cast includes Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have various screenings of “Shaun of the Dead,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Silence of the Lambs”

The 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs,” directed by Jonathan Demme, was the first horror movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie tells the story of a determined police detective named Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster), who is on the hunt for a serial killer who calls himself Buffalo Bill. She enlsts the help of an imprisoned cannibal serial killer named Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins) to give her advice on how the mind of a serial killer works. “The Silence of the Lambs” also won Academy Awards for Demme (Best Director), Foster (Best Actress), Hopkins (Best Actor) and Ted Tally (Best Adapted Screenplay). To celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Silence of the Lambs,” which is rated R, Fathom Events is having screenings of the movie in select theaters on October 17 and October 20, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Spirited Away”

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Japanese fantasy adventure “Spirited Away” is an Oscar-winning movie (Best Animated Feature) that tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro Ogino who enters the spirit world after her parents are turned into pigs by a witch named Yubaba. Chihiro then works in Yubaba’s bath house to try and find a way to free her parents from the spell and get them back into the real world. To celebrate the movie’s 20th anniversary, Fathom Events is presenting “Spirited Away,” which is rated PG, in select theaters on October 3, 4 and 6, 2021. The October 3 and 6 screenings will be dubbed in English, while the October 4 screening will be in Japanese with English subtitles. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Thing” (1982)

In the original 1982 version of “The Thing,” which is rated R, 12 researchers at a remote Antarctic research station discover a deadly alien that had been buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Directed by John Carpenter, the movie’s cast includes Kurt Russell R.J. MacReady, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis and Thomas G. Waites. Alamo Drafthouse will have screenings of the 1982 version of “The Thing,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Us”

In 2019’s “Us,” a family of four (played by Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) are menaced by four people who look identical to them. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, “Us” also stars Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. AMC Theatres will re-release “Us” on October 15, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Velvet Vampire”

A vampire (played by Celeste Yarnall) sets her sights on an amorous couple (played by Michael Blodgett and Sherry Miles) in this campy 1971 film (also known as “Cemetary Girls”), directed by Stephanie Rothman. The results are a very bloody love triangle. Alamo Drafthouse will show a restored version of “The Velvet Vampire,” which is rated R, on October 27, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Wolf Man” (1941)

The original “The Wolf Man” movie (starring Lon Chaney Jr. and directed by George Waggner) will be shown as a double feature with 1933’s “The Invisible Man” movie (starring Claude Rains and directed by James Whale). Fathom Events is presenting this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 30, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

Halloween 2019: Horror movies and supernatural thrillers in theaters on All Hallows’ Eve

October 1, 2019

by Carla Hay

There are numerous horror movies available to watch on TV, computers or mobile devices, but for Halloween 2019, there are some horror flicks and supernatural thrillers that will be released in theaters in October. Horror and supernatural movies released before October 2019 that should still be in theaters during the Halloween season include “It: Chapter Two” (rated R); “Ready or Not” (rated R); “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (rated PG-13); “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” (rated PG-13); “Freaks” (rated R); “The Nightingale” (rated R); “The Lake Vampire” (not rated); “Prey” (rated PG-13); “Beloved Beast” (not rated); “The Curse of Buckout Road” (not rated); “Tigers Are Not Afraid” (not rated); and “One Cut of the Dead” (not rated). Here are the movies that have an October 2019 release:

Information in this article is about U.S. releases.

RELEASES FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

(Movies that are rated R or unrated)

“100 Acres of Hell”

Directed by Hank Lee Hump, “100 Acres of Hell” centers on former wrestling champ Buck Severs (played by Gene Snisky) and his posse of friends. After Buck has some life setbacks of getting a career-ending injury and experiencing a family tragedy, he and his pals travel to an abandoned wildlife preserve for a weekend getaway. They soon become the targets of a mutant psycho killer, who uses the preserve as a personal hunting ground.  The movie’s co-stars include Eileen Dietz, Ernest O’Donnell, Catherine Corcoran, Jason L. Koerner and Jim Roof.  “100 Acres of Hell,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters on October 11, 2019, before expanding to more theaters on October 18, 2019.

“Beloved Beast”

In sort of a twisted homage to the classic film “Harvey” (about an imaginary rabbit friend named Harvey), the slasher flick “Beloved Beast” (written and directed by Jonathan Holbrook) features a serial killer named Harvey who wears a rabbit mask. The murderer is an escaped patient from a psychiatric institution, and he befriends a 12-year-old orphan named Nina, who’s living with her unstable, druggie aunt. The movie’s cast members include Meredith Binder, Sheila Houlahan, Tabitha Bastien, Sanae Loutsis, Khoe King, Elizabeth Rhoades and  Luke Schuck. “Beloved Beast,” which is rated R, is set for release in select theaters on October 11, 2019.

“The Dead Center”

In “The Dead Center,” written and directed by Billy Senese, a suicide victim (played Jeremy Childs, Preacher, Nashville) disappears from the morgue, which triggers a terrifying chain of events. A troubled psychiatrist named Daniel Forrester (played by Shane Carruth) tries to figure out the mystery behind a catatonic patient who is brought to the emergency psych ward with no memory of how he reached the hospital. It isn’t long before gruesome deaths begin happening on the ward. “The Dead Center,” which is unrated, arrives in select theaters and digital HD on October 11, 2019. The movie’s release on DVD and Blu-ray is on October 14, 2019.

“Echoes of Fear”

Written and directed by Brian Avenet-Bradley, “Echoes of Fear” is about a young woman named Alysa (played by Trista Robinson), who inherits her grandfather house. As she tries to find out more about his mysterious death, Alysa finds out the hard way that the house is haunted. “Echoes of Fear,” which is unrated, will be released in select theaters on October 16, 2019.

“Girl on the Third Floor”

Written and directed by Travis Stevens, “Girl on the Third Floor” tells the story of a deeply flawed husband named Don Koch (played by CM Punk), who tries to redeem himself from his criminal past by fixing up an old house where he and his pregnant wife Liz (played by Trieste Kelly Dunn) plan to start their family. Liz is concerned about whether or not Don will be able to finish the house in time for the arrival of their baby. Meanwhile, Don is tempted by a young, attractive woman named Sarah (played by Sarah Brooks), who offers to help Don with his renovations. Not surprisingly, the house has secrets that are revealed to deadly consequences. “Girl on the Third Floor,” which is not rated, opens in limited release on October 25, 2019.

“Joker” 

Joaquin Phoenix inhabits the title role in “Joker,” an origin story of Batman’s most famous enemy. In the movie, directed and co-written by Todd Phillips, Phoenix portrays Arthur Fleck, a troubled loner whose descent into madness includes a murderous crime spree. “Joker” had its world premiere at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival, where “Joker” became the first movie with comic-book origins that won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion. “Joker” and Phoenix are also getting a lot of buzz for other prizes, including the Academy Awards. The movie’s cast also includes Zazie Beets and Robert De Niro. Film critics, who have mostly praised “Joker,” have described the movie as being influenced by the Martin Scorsese films “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy.” “Joker,” which is rated R, opens in wide release on October 4, 2019.

“The Last Fiction”

This animated film from Iran tells the story of ruthless Zahak, who takes over as king of Persia. Under his leadership, young men who work in the palace begin to mysteriously disappear. In reaction to growing unrest among the citizens, Zahak orders the murder of newborn babies. Among the discontents is a young rebel named Kaveh, who forms an army of outlaws to rebel against Zahak. Kaveh enlists the help of Afaridoun, who he trains as a warrior capable of fighting humans and demons. “The Last Fiction,” written and directed by Ashkan Rahgozar, is unrated and is set for release in select theaters on October 18, 2019.

“The Lighthouse”

Directed and co-written by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), this dark and brutal drama centers on two lighthouse keepers who are isolated on a New England island in the 1890s. Thomas Wake (played by Willem Dafoe) is the older, more experienced keeper, who often becomes frustrated with the younger Ephraim Inslow (played by Robert Pattinson), who shows signs of having a rebellious streak and mental instability. Thomas is a superstitious taskmaster who warns Ephraim not to kill any of the seagulls that are constantly hovering around the lighthouse. As the story unfolds, there is an ongoing power struggle between the two men, as sinister forces become increasingly present in and around the lighthouse. “The Lighthouse,” which is rated R, opens in limited release on October 18, 2019.

“Little Monsters” (2019)

Written and directed by Abe Forsythe, the zombie comedy “Little Monsters,” which takes place in Australia, follows the madcap journey of an unemployed, slacker musician named Dave (played by Alexander England) and how he ends up in the middle of a zombie invasion. After finding himself living with his older, single sister Tess (played by Kat Stewart) and her precocious kindergarten-age son Felix (played by Diesel La Torraca), Dave volunteers to be a chaperone for a field trip that Felix’s class is taking to a family zoo. Part of Dave’s motivation to go on the trip is because Felix is attracted to Felix’s straight-laced teacher Miss Caroline (played by Lupita Nyong’o), who is the complete opposite of Dave. While at the zoo, they meet a famous children’s entertainer named Teddy McGiggle (played by Josh Gad), who becomes a rival to George for Miss Caroline’s affections. It isn’t long before the zoo is invaded by zombies. “Little Monsters,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters for one night only on October 8, 2019, and begins streaming on Hulu on October 11, 2019.

“Memory: The Origins of Alien”

The excellent documentary “Memory: The Origin of Alien,” directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, takes a deep-dive examination into the 1979 classic sci-fi horror movie “Alien.” It’s best that people see the movie “Alien” before watching this documentary, which contains a lot of spoiler information. Ridley Scott directed “Alien,” and this documentary also gives a great deal of the movie’s creative credit to screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, who adapted the “Alien” screenplay from a story titled “Memory” that he wrote with Ronald Shusett. Several major influences on “Alien” are explored, such as artist H.R. Giger, whose “Necronom IV” painting gave Scott the idea of how the “Alien” title character would look; artist Francis Bacon, whose work inspired the creature in the movie’s famous chestburster scene; and several comic books, sci-fi novels and movies that inspired the screenplay and art direction of “Alien.” Among the notables interviewed for the documentary are “Alien” cast members Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright; film editor Terry Rawlings; art director Roger Christian; associate producer Ivor Powell; Diane O’Bannon (Don O’Bannon’s widow); and legendary horror filmmaker Roger Corman. Several pundits also note the sociological and cultural influences and statements of “Alien,” which one commenter says is a movie symbolic of “patriarchal guilt.”  Although the documentary is not rated, it contains a lot of the movie’s most graphic images, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how those horrifying scenes were filmed. The fan-driven company Legion M teamed up with Screen Media to acquire “Memory: The Origin of Alien” after the movie premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. “Memory: The Origin of Alien” is set for release on VOD and in select theaters on October 4, 2019.

“Portals”

On August 5, 2020, after an undisclosed research facility creates the world’s first active black hole, a cosmic disruption occurs that sets off a series of blackouts around the world. Millions of mysterious portals then begin appearing. While some people run away from the portals, other people are drawn into the potentially deadly doorways. “Portals” is an anthology featuring three internationally connected stories told by four directors: Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto and Liam O’Donnell. The movie’s cast members include Neil Hopkins, Deanna Russo, Gretchen Lodge and Natacha Gott. “Portals,” which is nor rated, arrives in select theaters and on VOD on October 25, 2019.

“Trick” (2019)

Directed and co-written by Patrick Lussier, “Trick” uses the slasher-flick trope of a serial killer out for revenge. On Halloween night in 2015, Patrick “Trick” Weaver massacred his high-school classmates at a costume party. He was arrested, but he escaped from police custody after being shot five times by Detective Mike Denver (played by Omar Epps). Trick is presumed to be dead, but a masked killer reappears the following Halloween, and every Halloween after that, which convinces people that Trick has returned to continue his murder spree.  The cast members of “Trick” also include Kristina Reyes, Jamie Kennedy and Tom Atkins. “Trick,” which is not rated, arrives in select theaters and on VOD on October 18, 2019.

“Wrinkles the Clown”

This documentary, directed by Michael Beach Nichols, examines the urban mythology of Wrinkles the Clown, a sinister character that first came to the public’s attention in 2014, when a viral YouTube video emerged of Wrinkles the Clown coming out from hiding underneath a sleeping child’s bed. The video described that the clown was available for hire in southwest Florida to scare unruly children. Wrinkles the Clown then became an Internet sensation, as people filmed sightings of the clown. In addition to showing how the character developed a cult following, the movie unmasks the clown by interviewing the man behind the costume. “Wrinkles the Clown,” which is not rated, will be available on VOD and will have a limited theatrical release on October 4, 2019.

“Zombieland: Double Tap”

Ten years after the 2009 comedy film “Zombieland” became a hit, the movie’s sequel “Zombieland: Double Tap” arrives in theaters, reuniting director Ruben Fleischer with original cast members Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin, as a quartet of misfits trying to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse. New cast members include Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson and Avan Jogia. “Zombieland: Double Tap,” which is rated R, has a wide release in theaters on October 18, 2019. In select cities, AMC Theatres will be showing a special double feature of “Zombieland” and “Zombieland: Double Tap” on October 16, 2019. Tickets and more information on the double feature can be found here.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY RELEASES

(Movies that are rated PG or PG-13)

“The Addams Family”

Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, “The Addams Family” is the animated version of Charles Addams’ comic-strip that ran in the New Yorker from 1938 to 1988. The comic strip , which is about a spooky clan that has a hard time fitting into a “normal” world, would go on to spawn a live-action TV series in the 1960s, an animated TV series in the 1970s and live-action films in the 1990s. The all-star voice cast of “The Addams Family” animated film includes Oscar Isaac as patriarch Gomez Addams; Charlize Theron as matriarch Morticia Addams; Chloë Grace Moretz as daughter Wednesday Addams; Finn Wolfhard as son Pugsley Addams; Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Gomez’s brother; Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt, Gomez’s cousin; Bette Midler as Grandmama, Gomez and Fester’s mother; and Allison Janney as reality TV host Margaux Needler, the story’s villain. “The Addams Family,” which is rated PG-13, opens in wide release on October 11, 2019.

“Countdown”

Would you want to know the exact date and time that you’re going to die? That’s the premise behind “Countdown” (written and directed by Justin Dec), which tells the story of what several people do when they download an app that predicts when they will die. One of the people who downloads the app is a young nurse named Quinn (Elizabeth Lail), who finds out she only has three days to live. The movie’s cast also includes Anne Winters, Charlie McDermott, Peter Facinelli, Jordan Calloway and Talitha Eliana Bateman. “Countdown,” which is rated PG-13, is set for release on October 25, 2019.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

This sequel to 2014’s “Maleficent” reunites Angelina Jolie as the titular witch character and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora. Directed by Joachim Rønning, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” picks up several years after “Maleficent,” as Maleficent and Aurora form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures in their environment. The movie’s co-stars include Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith (Aurora’s future mother-in-law) and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall, one of the leaders of the dark fey, a band of winged creatures exiled from the human world. The movie’s cast members also include Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Juno Temple and Ed Skrein.  “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” which is rated PG-13, opens in wide release on October 18, 2019.

“Polaroid”

Directed by Lars Klevberg, “Polaroid” centers on a high-school student named Bird Fitcher (played by Kathryn Prescott), a social outcast who uncovers dark secrets when she starts using a mysterious Polaroid vintage camera. People end up dying after having their picture taken by the camera. “Polaroid” was originally supposed to be released in 2017 by Dimension Films, a subsidiary of the now-defunct Weinstein Company, before Lantern Entertainment (which bought the Weinstein Company’s assets) and 13 Films took over the distribution rights for the movie. The film is the American version of Klevberg’s 2015 Norwegian short film of the same title. “Polaroid,” which is rated PG-13, will be released in select theaters on October 11, 2019.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASES

“3 From Hell”

“3 From Hell” is the third film in writer/director Rob Zombie’s series of horror movies that began with 2003’s “House of 1,000 Corpses” and continued with 2005’s “The Devil’s Rejects.” In “3 From Hell,” Baby Firefly (played by Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (played by Bill Moseley) and Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake) have survived a shootout with the police, and are now planning a breakout from prison. When the three make their break, they go on a road trip. Along the way, people are take hostage, and there’s plenty of murder and mayhem. After a successful three-night run in mid-September 2019, “3 From Hell” returns to theaters for a one-night screening on October 14, 2019. Fathom Events is presenting the movie, which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Alien”

“In space, no one can hear you scream” was the tagline for director Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 sci-fi horror film “Alien.” That sentence sums up the deepest fears of the film’s protagonists: an isolated, seven-member crew on the space tug Nostromo. The movie tells the story of how they find out that they are not alone on their spaceship. Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto are among the stars of “Alien,” a critically acclaimed film that has spawned many sequels and prequels. Fathom Events is presenting “Alien” (which is rated R) on October 13, October 15 and October 16, 2019, to celebrate the movie’s 40th anniversary. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“An American Werewolf in London” 

Directed by John Landis, the 1981 film “An American Werewolf in London” tells the story of two vacationing American college students—David Kessler (played by David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (played by Griffin Dunne)—who are backpacking in England. While traveling in the moors of Yorkshire, they stop in a pub and get a strange reaction from the locals, who warn them not to be outside at night when there is a full moon. It isn’t long before David and Jack find out the hard way that there’s a werewolf on the loose. “An American Werewolf in London” has the distinction of being the first movie to win an Oscar for makeup and hairstyling when it became an official competitive category for the 1982 ceremony, where Rick Baker won the prize. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “An American Werewolf in London” (which is rated R) on October 15, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954)

In “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” directed by Jack Arnold, a partial skeleton of mysterious creature with webbed hands is discovered in South America’s Amazon. Four scientists (played by Antonio Moreno, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning and Whit Bissell), along with a female colleague (played by Julie Adams) and a boat captain (played by Nestor Paiva) take a boat trip on the Amazon to look for the rest of the skeleton and to investigate if the creature has any living relatives. Needless to say, they get their answer. “Creature From the Black Lagoon” spawned sequels at least one remake. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series and to celebrate the film’s 65th anniversary, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Creature From the Black Lagoon” (which is rated G) on October 22, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Exorcist”

The 1973 classic “The Exorcist,” directed by William Friedkin, is often ranked as the scariest horror movie of all time. In the story, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) is distraught when she sees her 12-year-old daughter Regan (played by Linda Blair) begin to act strangely, such as speaking in tongues. When Regan starts levitating, Chris is convinced that Regan might be possessed by the devil. Chris asks a local priest named Father Damien (played by Jason Miller) for help. He then requests to perform an exorcism, and the Catholic Church sends an exorcism expert Father Lankester Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) to assist in the exorcism. “The Exorcist,” which is rated R, received 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), and ended up winning two Oscars: Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing the director’s cut of “The Exorcist” (10 minutes of extra footage that wasn’t in the film’s original release) on October 29, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

The original 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie is considered a horror-comedy classic. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the movie tells the story of three paranormal investigators (played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis), their first recruit (Ernie Hudson), their socialite client (played by Sigourney Weaver), her neighbor (played by Rick Moranis), and how they stumble upon ghosts and demons in New York City. To celebrate the movie’s 35th anniversary, Fathom Events is showing “Ghostbusters” in select theaters on October 6 and October 10, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“House of the Devil” (2009)

The indie horror film “The House of the Devil,” written and directed by Ti West, will get a limited re-release to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary. Set in the 1980s, “The House of the Devil” tells the story of financially struggling college student Samantha Bolin (played by Jocelin Donahue), who takes a babysitting job from a creepy couple named Mr. and Mrs. Ulman (played by Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov). Samantha’s best friend, Megan (played Greta Gerwig), gives her a ride to the isolated mansion where the Ulmans live, and reluctantly leaves Samantha there. Not surprisingly, many horrible things happen in the mansion. “The House of the Devil,” which is rated R, will have its theatrical re-release in select theaters (mostly at Alamo Drafthouse), beginning October 8, 2019.

“Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)

The 1986 musical-comedy film “Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Frank Oz, is based on the off-Broadway musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was based on Roger Corman’s 1960 film “The Little Shop of Horrors.” In the story of 1986’s “Little Shop of Horrors,” Rick Moranis plays Seymour Krelborn, a nerdy florist shop worker who finds out his Venus flytrap can speak. (Levi Stubbs voices the plant, named Audrey II,  in the movie.) Also starring in the film are Ellen Green as Seymour’s co-worker Audrey, who’s the object of his affections; Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s abusive boyfriend; and Jim Belushi as Patrick Martin, a licensing and marketing executive who tries to get Seymour to sell other talking plants like Audrey II. John Candy, Bill Murray, Christopher Guest, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell are also among the movie’s cast members in smaller supporting roles. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing the director’s cut of “Little Shop of Horrors” (which is rated PG-13) on October 1, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Psycho” (1960)

The most influential film ever directed by Alfred Hitchcock is 1960’s “Psycho,” a horror masterpiece that is considered the “grandfather” of slasher movies. In the beginning of the movie, embezzler Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) is on the run from the law with stolen cash, when she checks into the creepy and isolated Bates Motel, whose caretaker is Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins). What happened to Marion in her motel room’s shower became one of the most iconic horror scenes in movie history. It isn’t long before Marion’s sister Lila Crane (played by Vera Miles) goes looking for Marion, and she also ends up at the Bates Motel, where Lila discovers how dangerous the Bates Motel really is. “Psycho” spawned the 1983 sequel “Psycho II” (starring Perkins and Miles) and director Gus Van Sant’s 1998 “Psycho” remake, both of which got mixed-to-negative reviews. The “Bates Motel” TV series, which was on the air from 2013 to 2017, was the origin story of a teenage Norman Bates. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (which is rated R) on October 8, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Do the time warp again as an audience member of the 1975 horror-comedy musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which is based on the stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show.” This cult-movie classic, directed by Jim Sharman, has been a late-night staple at cinemas for decades. The movie tells the story of naïve, engaged couple Brad Majors (played by Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (played by Susan Sarandon), who find themselves stranded at a mysterious mansion after their car gets a flat tire during a storm. At the mansion, they meet an eccentric bunch of people, including Dr. Frank-N-Furter (played by Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist who’s determined to make Brad and Janet lose their innocence. Screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which is rated R, usually include audience participation and sing-alongs, so don’t expect people in the theater to be quiet during the movie. AMC Theaters will have late-night screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in select cities for one week, beginning October 25, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Shining”

“The Shining” is director Stanley Kubrick’s version of the Stephen King novel, which tells the story of an aspiring writer named Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), who takes a job as a live-in caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain area during the hotel’s off-season. He moves there with his wife Wendy Torrance (played by Shelley Duvall) and kindergarten-aged son Danny Torrance (played by Danny Lloyd), who shows signs of having psychic abilities. The hotel cook Dick Hallorann (played by Scatman Crothers) notices Danny’s unusual abilities, which Dick calls “the shining.” When Danny’s visions become more menacing and Jack starts descending into madness, it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. A 4K remastered restoration of “The Shining,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters on October 1, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here. After the movie, there will be a featurette shown about “Doctor Sleep,” the sequel to “The Shining” that will get a wide release in theaters on November 8, 2019.

“Zombieland”

The 2009 film “Zombieland,” directed by Ruben Fleischer, is a horror comedy about a quartet of misfits (played by Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin) who are thrown together during a zombie apocalypse. As they fight for survival, they have some strange and hilarious encounters. Look for a memorable cameo from Bill Murray. In select cities, AMC Theatres will be showing a special double feature of “Zombieland” and the 2019 sequel “Zombieland: Double Tap” on October 16, 2019. Both movies are rated R. Tickets and more information on the double feature can be found here.

Halloween 2018: Horror movies and supernatural thrillers in theaters on All Hallows’ Eve

October 1, 2018

by Carla Hay

There are numerous horror movies available to watch on TV, computers or mobile devices, but for Halloween 2018, there are a select number of horror flicks and supernatural thrillers that will be released in theaters in October.  Horror and supernatural movies released before October 2018 that should still be in theaters during the Halloween season include “The Nun” (rated PG-13); “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” (rated PG); “Hell Fest” (rated R); “The Predator” (rated R); and “Slender Man” (rated PG-13). Here are the movies that have an October 2018 release:

Information in this article is about U.S. releases.

RELEASES FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

(Movies that are rated R)

“Halloween” (2018)

Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, the most famous target of serial killer Michael Myers’ murderous wrath. Curtis played the role in the first “Halloween” movie in 1978, the 1981 sequel “Halloween II” and in 1998’s “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.” In the 2018 “Halloween,” Laurie once again faces off against Michael Myers, as he returns to their hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. John Carpenter, who wrote and directed the first “Halloween” movie, is not a key player in this 2018 sequel, which was directed and co-written by David Gordon Green. The 2018 “Halloween” cast also includes Nick Castle (who played Michael Myers in the first “Halloween” movie), Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, and Virginia Gardner.  The 2018 “Halloween” sequel got mostly positive reviews after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie, which is rated R, opens in wide release on October 19, 2018.

“Suspiria” (2018)

This remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror movie is also set in the 1970s (just like the original “Suspiria”) and the concept is the same: a young American female dancer joins a dance company in Germany that is plagued by evil forces. Luca Guadagnino (Oscar-nominated producer of “Call My By Your Name”) directed this “Suspiria” remake, whose cast includes Tilda Swinton as the troupe’s artistic director; Jessica Harper, who starred in the original “Suspiria”; and Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth and Chloë Grace Moretz as members of the dance company. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke makes his debut as a film composer with this movie. “Suspiria” got divisive reviews (critics loved it or hated it) after its world premiere at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival. The movie arrives in select U.S. theaters on October 26, 2018, before getting a wider release on November 2, 2018.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY RELEASES

(Movies that are rated PG or PG-13)

“I Still See You”

In a post-apocalyptic world, the ghosts of dead people can still be seen performing activities on a repetitive loop before they disappear. When a high-school student Veronica “Roni” Calder (played Bella Thorne) receives threatening warnings from a mysterious young male ghost, she teams up with a classmate (played by Richard Harmon) to get to the bottom of the mystery. “I Still See You” also stars Dermot Mulroney as one of Roni’s school teachers. The movie is based on the novel “Break My Heart One Thousand Times” by Daniel Waters. Directed by Scott Speer, “I Still See You,” which is rated PG-13, opens in limited release on October 12, 2018. The movie is also available on demand on the same date.

“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween”

This sequel to 2015’s “Goosebumps” doesn’t have most of the first “Goosebumps” movie’s cast, but it follows the same premise: a group of kids discover toys that come to life and often scare them after a mysterious book is opened. Based on author R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” book series, “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” directed by Ari Sandel, has a cast that includes Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris, Chris Parnell and Ken Jeong. Jack Black has a cameo reprising his role as R.L. Stine from the first “Goosebumps” movie. “Goosebumps 2,” which is rated PG, opens in wide release on October 12, 2018.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASES

“Beetlejuice”

Tim Burton’s classic 1988 horror comedy tells the story of deceased young couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), who haunt their former home and try unsuccessfully to scare away the house’s new residents: Charles and Delia Deetz (played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) and their moody teenage daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). In desperation, the Maitlands conjur up the obnoxious ghost Betelgeuse (played by Michael Keaton) to enlist his help in terrifying the Deetz family into moving out of the house. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Beetlejuice” (which is rated PG) on October 17 to celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary.  More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Evil Dead 2”

Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead 2” is a rare sequel that is considered just as good if not better than the original movie: 1981’s “The Evil Dead,” which Raimi also wrote and directed. In a plot similar to that of its predecessor, 1987’s “Evil Dead 2” has Ash Williams (played by Bruce Campbell) fighting off demons in a secluded cabin in the woods. This time, instead of reading from the Book of the Dead that conjures the evil spirits, it’s a discovered audiotape of a professor reading from the book that unleashes the horrific beasts once again. “Evil Dead 2,” which is rated R, has been given a 4K restoration and a limited re-release in select U.S. theaters, as of October 1, 2018. More information can be found here.

“The Fog”

Writer/director John Carpenter followed up his 1978 classic horror film “Halloween” with 1980’s “The Fog,” a ghost story about a fictional seaside California town named Antonio Bay that is haunted by sinister spirits whose presence is foreshadowed by an eerie fog. The movie’s cast includes Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook and the mother-daughter duo of Janet Leigh and original “Halloween” star Jamie Lee Curtis. “Halloween” co-star Nancy Loomis, who now goes by the name Nancy Kyes, also has a role in this movie. “The Fog,” which is rated R, has received a 4K restoration and is getting a limited re-release in select U.S. theaters by Rialto Pictures, beginning on October 26, 2018. More information can be found here.

“Frankenstein” (1931)

The original “Frankenstein” movie is considered one of the all-time great horror movie classics. The story of mad scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his man-made horror creature has been told on screen many times, but film historians consider the original movie version to be the best. The original “Frankenstein” movie also made Boris Karloff, who played the creature, a horror-movie icon. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Frankenstein” (which is unrated) on October 16. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Frankenstein” (2011 National Theatre stage production)

In 2011, Fathom Events released a screening of the U.K.’s “Frankenstein” National Theatre stage production, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller switching roles as Dr. Frankenstein and his Creature in different versions of the play. Directed by Danny Boyle, this special screening (which is not rated) is getting a re-release in select U.S. cinemas on two dates: October 22 will have Miller as Dr. Frankenstein and Cumberbatch as the Creature, while October 29 will feature Cumberbatch as Dr. Frankenstein and Miller as the Creature. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

The original 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie is considered a horror-comedy classic. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the movie tells the story of three paranormal investigators (played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis), their first recruit (Ernie Hudson), their socialite client (played by Sigourney Weaver), her neighbor (played by Rick Moranis), and how they stumble upon ghosts and demons in New York City. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Ghostbusters” (which is rated PG) on October 9. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Halloween” (1978)

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is considered one of the most influential horror movies of all time, and certainly one of the top films representing the “slasher” subgenre of horror flicks. The mask-wearing, knife-wielding, mute serial killer Michael Myers has become a much-parodied and imitated horror icon, but at the time that “Halloween” was released, many of the terror-inducing elements of this movie were considered groundbreaking. The slow-burn suspense of “Halloween,” which spawned numerous inferior sequels, can be fully appreciated on the big screen, considering that most modern “slasher” movies follow a formula of someone getting killed every 15 to 20 minutes. Jamie Lee Curtis, as teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, made her movie debut in “Halloween,” one of many horror films in which she’s had a starring role, including the 2018 movie sequel of the same name. Donald Pleasence also stars in the original “Halloween” as Myers’ psychiatric doctor, who doggedly tries to find his patient after Myers escapes from a psychiatric institution. The original 1978 “Halloween,”  which is rated R, is getting a 40th anniversary re-release, with a restored and remastered digital print, in select theaters in the U.S. and other countries.  CineLife Entertainment teamed up with Compass International Pictures and Trancas International Films for the re-release that begins for a limited time on September 27, 2018. More information can be found here. The Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Halloween” on October 30, with Squared Co photo ops and giveaways. A select number of Cinépolis locations will have director’s commentary on SoundFI devices.

“Hocus Pocus”

The supernatural comedy film “Hocus Pocus,” directed by Kenny Ortega, tells the story of three ancient sister witches (played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) who are accidentally conjured up by a teenage boy (played by Omri Katz) after he and his family move from Los Angeles to Salem, Massachusetts. “Hocus Pocus,” which is rated PG, is getting a special 25th anniversary re-release at AMC Theatres from October 26 to October 31. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

 “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

George A. Romero’s zombie-invasion classic is often on people’s lists of the best horror movies of all time, and it’s considered the best of all the sequels, spinoffs and remakes that this original movie inspired. Filmed in black and white, “The Night of the Living Dead” has a plot that is simple but executed to chilling effect: A group of strangers trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse try to survive an unexpected plague of zombies. Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea were among the cast of relatively unknown actors in the film. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release, Fathom Events,  in association with Museum of Modern Art and the George Lucas Family Foundation, are presenting a restored and remastered print of “Night of the Living Dead,” which is rated R, in select U.S. theaters on October 24 and October 25. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

The 1993 animated musical “The Nightmare Before Christmas”—produced and conceived by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick—tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town, who accidentally goes through a portal to Christmas Town.  When he returns to Halloween Town to celebrate Christmas and share  his knowledge about Christmas, chaos ensues. Danny Elfman, who wrote the film’s songs and score, provided the singing voice of Jack. The voice cast also includes Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, and Ed Ivory. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is getting a 25th anniversary re-release at Regal movie theaters from October 26 to October 31.  Screenings will be available in standard 2D at all participating Regal theaters, as well as in 4DX at select locations. Regal Crown Club members who purchase tickets to the event will also receive a $5 concession combo offer, including a small popcorn and drink, while supplies last. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Rosemary’s Baby”

Roman Polanski’s 1968 sinister horror film tells the story of a young New York City wife named Rosemary Woodhouse (played by Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband Guy (played by John Cassevetes), whose joy of having their first child turns to horror when strange things start happening around them, including people they know becoming severely ill or dying. The couple’s strange neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet (played by Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon), who have a creepy interest in Rosemary’s pregnancy, might have something to do with it. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Rosemary’s Baby” (which is rated R) on October 2 to celebrate the movie’s 50th anniversary.

“Spirited Away”

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Japanese fantasy adventure “Spirited Away” is an Oscar-winning movie (Best Animated Feature) that tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro Ogino who enters the spirit world after her parents are turned into pigs by a witch named Yubaba. Chihiro then works in Yubaba’s bath house to try and find a way to free her parents from the spell and get them back into the real world. Fathom Events is presenting “Spirited Away,” which is rated PG, in select U.S. theaters on October 28, 29 and 30. The October 28 and 30 screenings will be dubbed in English, while the October 29 screening will be in Japanese with English subtitles. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Twilight”

The vampire film series “Twilight” (based on Stephanie Meyer’s young-adult book series) evoked love/hate responses from moviegoing audiences. Rabid fans of “Twilight” loved the romance of vampire Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) and human teenager Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart); the Cullen vampire clan’s complicated relationship with werewolves; and the battles of good versus evil. However, there was an immense backlash against “Twilight” by the time the movie series ended in 2012, with critics deriding the acting, dialogue and visual effects. And even though the “Twilight” series made Pattinson and Stewart into highly paid teen-idol celebrities (and sparked a doomed real-life romance between the two co-stars), they have since given interviews saying they dislike their “Twilight” notoriety. For people who want to remember or experience the film that started the “Twilight” movie craze, Fathom Events will have a 10th anniversary re-release of the first “Twilight” movie (which is rated PG-13 and directed by Catherine Hardwicke) in select U.S. theaters on October 21 and October 23. The screening includes a filmed introduction by Hardwicke and an exclusive sneak peek of the new special feature “Twilight Tour…10 Years Later.” More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Young Frankenstein”

This 1974 horror comedy is widely considered to be director Mel Brooks’ greatest film. Brooks co-wrote the “Young Frankenstein” screenplay with Gene Wilder, who stars as Frederick Frankenstein, a grandson of Victor Frankenstein, who travels to Transylvania and unwittingly creates another monster creature (played by Peter Boyle). The movie also stars Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars and Marty Feldman. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Young Frankenstein” (which is rated PG) on October 23. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

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