Classic Horrors on the Big Screen For Halloween
Welcome to Bay of the Living Dead, a regular column about the horror genre.
And a special greeting to Great Pumpkins everywhere! Here’s a few classic horrors playing on the big screen for this Halloween season.
Dracula (1931) screened with the Philip Glass score performed by Kronos Quartet. Tuesday October 31 @8pm, Paramount Theater in Oakland.
86 years after it was first released, Tod Browning’s vampire classic Dracula remains one of the most influential horror films ever produced. It’s the performance of Bela Lugosi which gives the film much of it’s power. A classically trained actor, Lugosi brought an intensity to his portrayal of the thirsty Count Dracula which has yet to be equaled. Lugosi still gives people chills when he utters the immortal lines “I never drink…..wine….” or “Children of the night, what music they make……”
To honor Glass’ 80th birthday, Oakland’s Paramount Theater will screen Dracula on the big screen, where it was meant to be seen. Kronos Quartet will perform Glass’ score live as the film unspools.
Tickets range from $50-125. Its pricey, but worth it. All ages require a ticket: no infants admitted.
More info go here.
Young Frankenstein, Sunday October 29 @7pm, Davies Symphony Hall.
Halloween will begin a little early this year when the venerable Davies Symphony Hall screens Mel Brooks’ masterpiece Young Frankenstein. According to the SF Symphony website, the evening will include the “chart-topping piano duo Anderson & Roe performing haunting music and silent film accompaniment with spine-tingling twenty-fingered dexterity—so good it’s scary.”
Selections include Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, along with classical selections by Ravel, Stravinsky, among others.
NOTE: The film screens without musical accompaniment.
The Exorcist, Sunday Oct 29, 3:30 and 8:15pm, Castro Theater
If you’re in the mood for a little pea soup, William Friedkin’s horror classic screens at the beautiful Castro Theater, also on Sunday the 29th–the 3:30 matinee show follows the theater’s Frozen sing-along, which may be the most terrifying offering of them all.
Considered “shocking” in its day, The Exorcist now has a fair amount of detractors who find the film “campy”. OK, we admit that lines like “the sow is mine” and “your mother sucks c**k in hell” are quite humorous. But the film, we’ll argue, remains a solid scarefest–the exorcism scene is as unforgettably chilling now as it was back in 1973. Get it on DVD or Blu Ray here.
Also be sure to check out the calendar for the New Parkway Theater in Oakland–they’ve got several Halloween goodies lined up.
On Saturday October 28, the original Evil Dead will be shown at the Parkway–this is one SCARY flick!!
On Sunday the 29th, F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, the original vampire flick, screens at 3pm. Produced in 1922, this German production is incomparably spooky–the vampire’s lair was filmed at an actual medieval castle. And no vampire was ever scarier looking than Max Schreck’s human/rat hybrid.
And if you want to see The Exorcist twice, the film plays at the New Parkway on Halloween night at 9pm.
NEW ON DVD/Blu Ray
The Forlorned (2017)
Produced independently on a shoestring budget, Andrew Wiest’s The Forlorned is a fun, quasi-spooky time-waster. Tom Doherty (Colton Christensen) takes a job repairing a house on a desolate island–the island includes a haunted lighthouse right next door to the main abode. Almost immediately, ghosts from the past begin beckoning to Tom–they’re trying to right a terrible wrong from the early 19th century.
Tom is eventually joined on the island by the beautiful Amy Garrity (Elizabeth Mouton), who lived on the island as a child. She knows a lot more than she’s letting on.
Much of The Forlorned is a one man show. Tom, the only living person on the island–there are dead people all around him–tries in vain to get his work done. If only those pesky ghosts would leave him be. Unlike other films, Tom offers a plausible reason for staying–he needs the money. Badly.
Long sequences in which the spirits reach out to Tom are actually somewhat scary, and transcend the film’s no-budget origins.
Not a great film by any stretch, The Forlorned is nonetheless worth a look. Get it on DVD or Blu Ray here.
The Bat People (1974)
Shout Factory offers this silly drive-in flick from four decades ago. While vacationing in the desert, Dr. John Beck (Stewart Moss) is bitten by a bat. Rather than contract rabies, he inexplicably begins turning into a bat/human hybrid. No explanation is offered as to what’s causing this, one of the many issues we found with the film’s weak script.
But there are still pleasures to be found in viewings of The Bat People—Moss’s monster make-up is superb, though he looks more like a werewolf than a bat. And throughout the film there are cringe-inducing close-ups of actual bats–ew!
The Bat People was brought to drive-ins courtesy of American International Pictures, creators of some of the greatest shlock movies ever made. Many of these films made for fabulous date night flicks to teens during the 50s and 60s. Today they stand as camp classics. Though made towards the end of AIP’s 25 year run, when the company was running out of steam,The Bat People rates high on the camp meter. Get it on DVD or Blu Ray here.