It's the time of year for fear, meaning there's plenty of eerie entertainment and chill-inducing cinema stabbing and slashing its way on to the silver screen. And like a flashlight in a dark, creepy cabin basement, we're here to guide your way – minus the inconvenient flickering on and off. From fresh frights to throwback terror, here's what's going boo on Brew City big screens this spooky season.
(And if you prefer your horror from the comfort of your own home, here's 100 good horror movies you can stream from your couch ... where there definitely isn't a creepy slasher villain standing behind you, nope, probably don't need to turn around to check.)
In addition to new releases like Michael Myers' frightening finale "Halloween Ends," the ghoulishly grinning hit "Smile," and the twisty AirBnb terrors of "Barbarian," the local theater chain has several tricks and treats to offer on the big screen this Halloween holiday – including literal trick-or-treating! Several Marcus locations will show the '90s live-action "Casper" movie complete with candy stations for kids to trick or treat (complete with costumes encouraged) and other family-friendly fun, all for $8 on Oct. 22-23.
As for a trick or treat experience definitely more for adults, Marcus Theatres will also feature the eerie Halloween hidden gem anthology "Trick r Treat." That freaky favorite is a part of the local theater chain's throwback horror series, showing several cinematic chillers for just $5 this month. Watched "Halloween Ends" and want to see how Michael and Laurie's story began all those decades ago? The original "Halloween" is on the list for Oct. 27-31! "Smile" got you grinning so much, you want to see the movie's obvious inspiration? Gore Verbinski's moody masterpiece "The Ring" will return to screens on Oct. 23, 24 and 26.
For more throwback thrills, the elegantly gruesome "Bram Stoker's Dracula" will celebrate its 30th anniversary on the big screen with some special showings on Oct. 23 and Oct. 27. And then ... there's "Terrifier 2." The tiny indie horror shocker has turned into a devious darling, scaring up serious box office while scaring audiences reportedly out of the theater and into barf bags. The first movie is a low-budget, highly gory meat-grinder of a flick that's earned quite the cult following thanks to its no-holds-barred nastiness and memorably menacing killer, Art the Clown – and now it's earned an epic sequel that's worth checking out if you're searching for something truly shocking this Halloween.
To see when these selections are showing this October and at which specific locations, check Marcus Theatres' website.
When it comes to Halloween picks, the AMC Mayfair is doing its best impression of the twins from "The Shining" this spooky season, looking very similar to Marcus' slate with "Halloween Ends" and "Smile" on its schedule as well as the terrifying throwback treat "Trick r Treat" showing for $5 as a part of its fan faves program.
The mall-based movie hot spot, though, will also mix things up and get the blood pumping this Halloween season with $5 screenings of the '80s bloodsucker blockbuster "The Lost Boys" coming this week – a selection that definitely does not suck. For daily showtimes, visit AMC Mayfair's website.
Milwaukee Film's gorgeous East Side hub is getting into Halloween so much, they're bringing in a real goblin – Claudio Simonetti's Goblin, that is, which will perform the score to Dario Argento's technicolor terror "Suspiria" live at the Oriental on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. Even if you've seen Argento's legendary giallo – about a young ballet student who finds herself wondering if her new dance school houses a coven of killer witches – you've certainly never seen it like this, with the mesmerizing music as bright and boisterous as the film's iconic color palate. (Unless you were there when he first came in 2018, which in that case you DEFINITELY know not to miss it.)
As for current creepiness, the 1950s housewife psychological drama "Don't Worry Darling" isn't technically a horror show – unless we're talking behind-the-scenes stories – but Olivia Wilde's impressively crafted sophomore effort still has its share of shocks and spine-chilling elements. To check it out for yourself, check the showtimes for the starry thriller here.
We're betting, however, you won't need to check the times for the Oriental's other big Halloween weekend treat: the ultimate cult classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," back on the legendary theater's big screen at midnight on Saturday, Oct. 29 with all sorts of sing-along fun, kooky costumes and laughs both intentional and less so. Plus, it delivers the truest scare of all: the fear of having to wake up the next morning after staying up until an ungodly hour the night before.
And if all of that's too freaky for you, the Oriental also has the adorable doc "Cat Daddies" – which is only scary if you're allergic to cats.
The Avalon always gets wholly into the Halloween spirit with its Shocktoberfest lineup of scares and spookiness, mixing in the obvious chilling choices with some deep-cut creepouts and underappreciated gems.
This year's lineup is no different, wrapping up these final two weekends with eerie icons like "Night of the Living Dead," "The Exorcist" and the original "Halloween" alongside cult classics such as the crazy car chiller "Christine," the visually mind-bending 2000 Jennifer Lopez thriller "The Cell" and the blissfully bizarro murder-clown spectacular of "Killer Klowns From Outer Space." As an added bonus, Milwaukee Record will also host one of its special screenings at the Avalon on Wednesday, Oct. 26, showing the '80s vampire favorite "The Lost Boys" at 6:30 p.m.
If all of those are too freaky for your tastes, the Avalon's Shocktoberfest slate also includes a number of nightmare-inducers approved for all ages – headlined by "Beetlejuice" and "Ghostbusters." For the full list of selections and showtimes for the Avalon's Shocktoberfest, click here – and to buy tickets, head to the Avalon's website.
And in case somehow all of that wasn't enough, in addition to the not-particularly-scary superhero punch-em-up "Black Adam" – which is only frightening if you have a fear of mediocre The Rock movies – the Avalon is also still showing the box office smash "Smile," about a young woman menaced by a murderous presence making people see creepy smiles all over the place before dying in less than a week. So yeah, it's basically "The Ring" with grins instead of grainy VHS footage – but it's a mean, lean little freakout if you're looking for fresh frights this Halloween season. For showtimes – and to buy tickets for all of these options – click here.
After a truly horrifying hiatus, The Times Cinema is back – and, thanks to the Neighborhood Theater Group's Shocktoberfest lineup, filled to the brim with spectacular scary movies for spooky season. Basically, if it's a great iconic horror flick, it's showing at the Times Cinema this Halloween season, playing the original "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "The Shining" (the best horror movie of all time, in this author's opinion), the OG "Fright Night," "A Nightmare on Elm Street" – no, not the remake; they're trying to scare you, not ruin your whole night – and, of course, John Carpenter's original "Halloween" for the final weekend. Kids are invited to get creeped out as well, with family-friendly frights like "Monsters Inc." and "Hocus Pocus" screening during Shocktoberfest as well.
For an extra dose of Halloween haunts, WMSE's monthly Friday Night Freak Show will get into the spooky spirit too with a showing of the underseen '80s cult favorite "Pumpkinhead" on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. – complete with a DJ getting the "Pumpkinhead"-loving party started early at 6:30 p.m. For a complete list of showtimes – and to buy tickets – visit the Times Cinema's website.
The Silverspot Cinema in The Corners of Brookfield deserves a gold medal when it comes to Halloween haunts this season.
Not only does the slick dinner-and-a-show movie theater offer the latest jumps and jolts out of Hollywood – including "Halloween Ends" and "Smile" – but on Sunday, Oct. 23, the Silverspot will show an old-school blend of jokes and jolts with "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" at 12:30 p.m. And for a truly one-of-a-kind take on a regular big screen boogeyman, stick around for Francis Ford Coppola's fantastically freaky "Bram Stoker's Dracula," showing Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. plus an extra 7 p.m. screening on Thursday, Oct. 27. Plus, it wouldn't be Halloween without, well, "Halloween" – so the Silverspot will show John Carpenter's chilling original on Oct. 28-29.
For a full list of showings and to purchase tickets, visit Silverspot's website.
The weather outside may not be frightful quite yet, but you can find frights outdoors thanks to The Milky Way Drive-In in Franklin. Right behind the left field fence at the Milwaukee Milkmen's ballpark, The Milky Way offers retro-style entertainment with its drive-in theater – and this month, they're all fright nights beyond the fence.
This year, the drive-in will bring a particularly devilish lineup of scary movies to its screen under the stars. The 2022 slate of scares includes some of Hollywood's newest horror flicks ("The Black Phone," "Bodies Bodies Bodies," "Nope"); boo-filled blockbusters ("It Chapter Two," "The Conjuring," both "A Quiet Place" films); creepy classics ("The Silence of the Lambs," "The Blair Witch Project"); and even a number of kid-friendly chills like "Halloweentown," "Monsters University" and "Monster House."
So no matter your age or tolerance for terror, The Milky Way has a home run of an outdoor horror show waiting for you – all from the comfort of your car. For the full schedule – complete with movie times – visit The Milky Way's website.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.