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Bay Of The Living Dead: Halloween Horrors Around Town

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Welcome to Bay of the Living Dead, a regular column about the horror genre.

Greetings, great pumpkins! Halloween is once again upon us and there are plenty of goings-on around town to wet your horrific appetite.

If classic horror films are your cup of tea, then head over to the big, beautiful Castro Theater to see some oldies but goodies, on the big screen as they were meant to be seen.

Scary still from the original Halloween (1978)

On Saturday October 27 the Castro will screen the film that started it all: John Carpenter’s original Halloween (1978). Still the scariest film in the franchise, Halloween is the chilling slasher film which introduced the world to Michael Meyers, the escaped mental patient who terrorizes the town of Haddonfield on Halloween night. Jamie Lee Curtis established herself as one of the cinema’s greatest scream queens as she fights off the masked Michael’s knife wielding attacks. Even after repeated viewings, Halloween does not lose its power to drum up some genuine scares.

Halloween will be seen on a double bill with Carpenter’s The Fog (1980), a weird supernatural tale about an ominous fog which carries the angry spirits of some shipwrecked souls from 100 years ago.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931) screening at the Castro Theater

The following day, October 28, the Castro takes you way back to the early days of the horror film when they screen three gloriously black and white chestnuts: Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932) and The Wolfman (1941).

Boris Karloff as Im Ho Tep, The Mummy

Horror icon Bela Lugosi brought the horror genre into the talking era with his career defining portrayal of the immortal Count Dracula, the 500 year old vampire who comes to London in search of fresh blood. Lugosi, a stage trained actor, makes for a powerfully mesmerizing Dracula, and the early scenes in the Count’s Transylvanian castle remain as eerie as ever.

Fresh off his star making turn as the Frankenstein Monster, Boris Karloff is chilling and thrilling as Im Ho Tep, the 3000 year old mummy who returns to life in modern day Egypt and finds the reincarnation of his lost love.

And Lon Chaney Jr became a horror icon in his own right when he played the cursed Larry Talbot in The Wolfman. “Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night, can become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the moon is full and bright.”

If you prefer live horror, never fear, there’s plenty going on around town. Just head over to the San Francisco Mint (88 5th Street) and experience Terror Vault, an interactive attraction that combines theater, haunted mazes, escape rooms, and special effects, and features some of the city’s top performers…and screamers!

One of the horrors on display at Terror Vault. Photo: Rick Felix

Thrill seekers discover the untold story and dark history of The San Francisco Mint when they descend into the dark on an unforgettable journey that puts them face-to-face with the despicable horrors that continue to terrorize the storied venue and its vaults. Inspired by the City and The Mint, local producers, designers, artists, and veteran fear experts combine history with modern technological magic to create an interactive haunted experience unlike any other attraction. Terror Vault is an imaginative historical horror come-to-life.

Terror Vault will be around until November 3. For ticket info go here.

You can also join drag diva Heklina and scream Queen Peaches Christ for Mother: Halloween: A Party at the Oasis on Saturday October 27 at 10PM. Mother is Heklina’s ever popular monthly drag cabaret. She and Peaches will no doubt offer thrills and chills as they co-host and offer performances by Taco Zamora, Florida Man, Raya Light, Meredeath, Gia, Rock M. Sakura, Piranha and more. There will be a costume contest in which you can compete in three different categories: Scariest, Sexiest, and Best In Show! There will be dancing from 10-11:30, followed by the show. But your tickets here.

Join Jason Brock at Martuni’s for a fun night of Halloween themed songs!

And finally, join cabaret artist extraordinaire Jason Brock at Martuni’s Piano Bar for his 3rd annual Halloween show on Saturday October 27 at 7pm. Brock, who has a powerful set of pipes, will put his own unique stamp on Halloween themed tunes like Thriller, Monster Mash, Addams Family Themeand much more! Ticket info here. 

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David Elijah Nahmod

David Elijah Nahmod

I, David-Elijah Nahmod am a Queer, American/Israeli dual national of Syrian descent who has lived in New York City and Tel Aviv.
Currently in San Francisco, my eclectic writing career includes LGBT publications (news and entertainment) and monster magazines. In 2012 I was voted Film Reviewer of the Year at the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Film Awards.
Look for me in Bay Area Reporter, Hoodline.com, South Florida Gay News, Echo Magazine, Outfront, Scary Monsters Magazine, Videoscope, and, of course, Broke Ass Stuart, (I'm so broke it's SCARY!)
Now, let's watch a horror movie!