Review: ‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,’ starring the voices of Brian Hull, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Brad Abrell, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn

January 14, 2022

by Carla Hay

Blobby (voiced by Genndy Tartakovsky), Wanda (voiced by Molly Shannon), Wayne (voiced by Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (voiced by David Spade), Ericka (voiced by Kathryn Hahn), Dracula (voiced by Brian Hull), Jonathan (voiced by Andy Samberg), Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez), Frank (voice by Brad Abrell), Eunice (voiced by Fran Drescher), Murray (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) with (pictured at far right, in the front row) Dennis (voiced by Asher Blinkoff) and Winnie (voiced by Zoe Berri) in “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” (Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation/Amazon Content Services)

“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania”

Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska

Culture Representation: Taking place in Transylvania and South America, the animated film “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with one African American and two Latinos) depicting monsters and humans.

Culture Clash: Count Dracula is ready to retire and pass Hotel Transylvania along to his daughter Mavis, but a mishap with Van Helsing’s invention changes Mavis’ human husband Johnny into a monster and Dracula and his monster friends into humans.

Culture Audience: Aside from obviously appealing to “Hotel Transylvania” movie series fans, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in lightweight animated films with cliché-ridden and predictable plots.

Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg) and Van Helsing (voicd by Jim Gaffigan) in “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” (Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation/Amazon Content Services)

It’s never really a good sign when a movie studio takes a sequel film from one of its most popular franchise series and sells it to a streaming service. It usually means that the movie is considered not commercially appealing enough for the studio to release the film. It’s also not a good sign when two of franchise’s biggest stars decide not to be part of this sequel.

That’s what happened when Sony Pictures Animation dumped “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” (the fourth movie in the “Hotel Transylvania” hotel series) by selling it to Amazon, which is releasing it on Prime Video. (China is the only country where Sony will release the film in theaters.) It’s easy to see why Sony thought this movie was substandard. It’s also easy to see why original “Hotel Transylvania” franchise stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James took a hard pass on being involved in this movie, whether it was because they weren’t going to paid what they wanted and/or legal issues. (Sandler and James both have lucrative movie deals with Netflix.)

Genndy Tartakovsky—who directed the first three “Hotel Transylvania” movies and co-wrote 2018’s “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”—co-wrote “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” with Amos Vernon and Nunzio Randazzo. The first two movies in the series are 2012’s “Hotel Transylvania” and 2015’s “Hotel Transylvania 2.” Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluskais directed “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” which is not a completely terrible movie. But in terms of its story, the movie is lazy and not very interesting.

As the fourth movie in the series, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” had the potential to go on an original adventure with the franchise’s well-established characters. Instead, the movie is filled with over-used clichés that have already been in other films. “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is essentially a not-very-funny comedy with this not-very-original concept: Two characters with opposite personalities are forced to travel together and find out how much they have to rely on each other in order to reach a shared goal. Relationships and characters that could have been developed are ignored or shoved to the margins of the story. The ending of the movie is also kind of weak and abrupt.

“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is also one of those sequels that doesn’t adequately explain some of the backstories of some of the main characters. If people need to watch one movie to prepare for “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” it should be “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.” That’s the movie that introduced monster hunters Van Helsing (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) and his sassy great-granddaughter Ericka (voiced by Kathryn Hahn), who started off as enemies to the “Hotel Transylvania” protagonists and ended up becoming their friends. And in Ericka’s case, more than friends, because she and widower Count Dracula fell in love with each other.

The voice of Count Dracula was originated by Sandler in the first three “Hotel Transylvania” movies. In “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” Dracula (voiced by Brian Hull) and Ericka (who is a human) are now happily married, but it’s barely explained in this sequel how they got together. The prejudice between monsters and humans, which fueled much of the conflicts in the previous “Hotel Transylvania” movies, is only used as a flimsy plot device in “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.” Dracula’s vampire daughter Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez) is married to a human named Jonathan, nicknamed Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg), who’s had a hard time getting reluctant acceptance from Dracula, who thinks Johnny is too goofy for practical-minded Mavis.

But now that Dracula is married to a human, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” does not do anything to explore this new aspect of Dracula’s life. Instead, the movie’s story goes back to Dracula disapproving of Johnny, which was the basis of the first “Hotel Transylvania” movie, when Johnny and Mavis began dating and fell in love with each other. In “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” Johnny and Mavis have been married for several years and have a son named Dennis (voiced by Asher Blinkoff), who is about 8 or 9 years old and who has very little screen time in the movie.

In “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” Dracula still owns and operates Hotel Transylvania (a hotel for monsters), but he wants to retire so that he can have more time to spend with Ericka. Dracula has decided that he is going to give ownership of the hotel to Mavis and Johnny. Mavis, who has hearing superpowers, overhears Dracula telling Ericka about his retirement plans, which he says he’s going to announce at the hotel’s 125th anniversary celebration.

Mavis is excited to find out that she and Johnny will be taking over ownership of the hotel. She tells Johnny, who’s also elated. Johnny immediately comes up with ideas of how he’s going to change the hotel.

When Johnny enthusiastically shares these ideas with Dracula, his father-in-law is so turned off, he changes his mind about wanting Johnny to co-own the hotel. Instead of telling the truth about why he changed his mind, Dracula lies to Johnny by telling him that there’s an ancient law that says hotels for monsters can only be owned by monsters. At the hotel’s 125th anniversary party, Dracula lies to everyone and says his big announcement is that the hotel will get a new restroom in the lobby.

A dismayed Johnny then asks for help from Van Helsing, who has been living as a retired eccentric who tinkers with inventions. Van Helsing has an invention called a Monsterfication Ray, which can turn humans into random monsters. The device looks like a long ray gun with a giant crystal as its source of power. Van Helsing uses the Monsterfication Ray on Johnny, who is turned into a giant green monster resembling a dragon. Even though his physical appearance has drastically changed, Johnny has the same personality, and he can still talk like a human.

Dracula is furious about Johnny’s transformation into a monster because he still doesn’t want to give Johnny ownership of the hotel. And so, Dracula angrily goes over to Van Helsing’s place to take the Monsterfication Ray and use it to turn Johnny back into a human. But the plan backfires when Dracula shoots the Monsterfication Ray at Johnny, the lasers on the ray ricochet off walls, and the rays accidentally hit Dracula, who turns into a human being as a result. Much to Dracula’s horror, he is now looks and feels like an old man, with a balding head, a stomach paunch and weaker physical strength.

Dracula’s four closest monster friends—good-natured Frankenstein (voiced by Brad Abrell, replacing James in the role), worrisome werewolf Wayne (voiced by Steve Buscemi), fun-loving mummy Murray (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and sarcastic invisible man Griffin (voiced by David Spade)—have all witnessed this debacle. Dracula is terrified about Mavis finding out about him turning into a human and Johnny into a monster. Dracula orders his friends not to tell Mavis.

Somehow, when Dracula used the Monsterfication Ray, the device got broken, and the crystal no longer works. Van Helsing says that the crystals used for the Monsterfication Ray are extremely rare. Through a tracking device, Van Helsing finds out that the nearest crystal is in South America. Guess where Dracula and Johnny are going for most of the movie?

Meanwhile, a poorly written part of the movie has Frankenstein, Wayne, Murray and Griffin turning into humans too. It’s shown in an awkward scene where the hotel’s DJ—a green blob called Blobby (voiced by Tartakovsky)—gives the four pals a drink that has something in it which automatically turns them into humans. Blobby consumes the drink too, but he’s just turn to a green gelatin mold.

Frankenstein changes into a vain “hunk” with a tall and muscular body, Wayne transforms into a very hairy man, and Murray becomes an old man with rolls of body flab. Griffin is exposed as someone who only wore eyeglasses, so he’s naked the entire time that he’s human. Griffin’s nakedness is used for some dimwitted comedy in the movie.

Just like Dracula and Murray, Griffin is horrified that he looks old and out-of-shape as a human. This movie has not-so-subtle and problematic messages that looking like an elderly human being is a terrible fate that should be avoided at all costs. It’s the closest reason to explain why Frankenstein suddenly becomes an egotistical jerk over how he looks as a young and virile human being. This drastic personality change still comes across as too phony, and it doesn’t serve the story very well.

Mavis, Ericka, Frankenstein’s shrewish wife Eunice (voiced by Fran Drescher) and Wayne’s loving wife Wanda (voiced by Molly Shannon) find out that Dracula and Johnny have gone to South America. And so, Mavis, Ericka, Eunice, Wanda, Frankenstein, Wayne, Murray, Griffin and several of Wayne and Wanda’s werewolf kids go to South America to find Johnny and Dracula. It’s never really explained why some but not all of the werewolf kids (Wayne and Wanda have dozens of children) are along for the ride or why these kids even need to be there in the first place.

Meanwhile, much of “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” shows repetitive mishaps that Dracula and Johnny go through as they wander around Amazon River areas in South America in search of the crystal. Dracula has a hard time adjusting to life as a human. He no longer has to fear being in the sunlight, but he’s frustrated that he gets tired, thirsty and sweaty on this grueling trip. When he jumps into a waterfall that Johnny warns could be dangerous, Dracula gets bitten by several piranhas and is shocked that he can’t recover quickly from these injuries.

Johnny is the same cheerful goofball, but he still gets on Dracula’s nerves. Dracula is also jealous that Johnny now has more physical strength than Dracula does. It goes on and on like this for too long in the movie. As an example of how “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” stretches out the banality, there’s a scene with Johnny singing a Spanish version of Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” during a bus ride that Johnny and Dracula take with some local people. It’s intended to be hilarious, but it just comes across as dull and cringeworthy.

Visually, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” does nothing special, although the movie makes good use of vibrant hues in the outdoor South America scenes. The cast members’ performances are adequate. Thankfully, movie clocks in at just 98 minutes, but the story is filled with too many recycled tropes of two opposite personalities stuck together on a road trip; the hunt for a treasured item; and the central characters being chased by people who want to find them.

“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” doesn’t have much use for the adult female characters, who basically just worry about and react to what their husbands are doing. And because Dracula is separated from his four closest monster pals for most of the movie, that friendship rapport is largely missing from “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.” This rapport was one of the highlights of previous “Hotel Transylvania” movies.

The movie shows almost nothing about what Dracula is like as a grandfather to Dennis. Wayne and Wanda have a daughter named Winnie (voiced by Zoe Berri, replacing Sadie Sandler in the role), who is Dennis’ best friend/love interest, but that relationship is also essentially ignored in the movie. Instead, some the werewolf children, who do not have names or individual personalities, get unnecessary screen time when they tag along during the trip to South America.

Some people might enjoy “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” if they want to see another “Hotel Transylvania” movie about Dracula and Johnny trying to navigate their tension-filled relationship. “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is being marketed as the final movie in the “Hotel Transylvania” series. If that’s true, then the “Hotel Transylvania” movie series is going out with a toothless whimper, not a bang.

Prime Video premiered “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” on January 14, 2022.

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.

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