Everyone likes a good scare, right? As befits our approach to Halloween, Vancouver’s independent theatres are rolling out the blood-soaked carpet to all those who appreciate fright films. Here are some highlights of what you can seen in the dark, with a roomful of strangers and only a pail of popcorn to stave off an ever-mounting dread.
Frankenstein (Oct. 16 at 1 p.m., Cinematheque) – Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.) presents the 1931 classic in a matinee screening. Boris Karloff stars. As a bonus, after the screening makeup effects studio Lindala Schminken Special Effects (LSFX) will give a special presentation on character prosthetics, animatronics, and creatures.
Phantasm: Remastered and Phantasm: Ravager (Oct. 24, 7 and 9 p.m. at the Rio Theatre, 1660 E. Broadway) – “Terrifying, funny and weird at the same time” is how bloody-disgusting.com recently described Don Coscarelli’s cult horror film. Thanks to fan J.J. Abrahms (rebooter of Star Trek and Star Wars), the 1979 movie has received a 4k restoration. This version screens at East Vancouver’s Rio Theatre, along with the newly released Phantasm: Ravager. The fifth in the series, Ravager received a positive review at fangoria.com, which said that the movie “reminds you of how magical the Phantasm series has always been, and it is definitely a bittersweet goodbye to one of the best horror series of all time.”
Rosemary’s Baby (Oct. 30, 8:30 p.m., the Rio) – Mia Farrow is carrying the devil’s baby in a move directed by Roman Polanski. ‘Nuff said!
Demon – (Oct. 28 – Nov. 1, Vancity Theatre, check viff.org for tickets and showtimes) – Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.) presents 2016 arthouse favourite Demon. In this take on the Jewish legend of the dybbuk, a bridegroom is possessed by an unquiet spirit in the midst of his own wedding celebration.
Halloween Vampires (Oct. 29-31 at Cinematheque; check thecinematheque.ca for showtimes and ticket info) – Cinematheque again, this time presenting a series of three bloodsucking favourites. In The Fearless Vampire Killers, director Roman Polanski spoofs the horror films of British studio Hammer, with a cast that includes his wife Sharon Tate as well as Polanski himself. The stylishly ’80s The Hunger stars David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. A cult following has grown around Near Dark (1987), which marked the debut of director Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker).
The Exorcist (Oct. 31, 8:30 p.m., the Rio) – Did you know that director William Friedkin saw over 2000 actresses in the search to find someone who could play the possessed girl in 1973’s Exorcist? Or that author William Peter Blatty based the story on a real-life exorcism? Find out more on this list of 10 Creepy Details from the Scariest Movie Ever Made.