It's scary movie season, so to help guide you through the ghoulish shocks and surprises on screen this year, here's a breakdown of what to see and where to be scared this Halloween weekend.
Those looking for a scary movie at the local cineplex are in for a terrifying sight: There's not that many new horror flicks out to see. Thanks to "Rings" being pushed back (yet again; its original release date was 2015), the only major release is "Inferno" – which could only be considered horror if you're plagued with nightmarish flashbacks to Tom Hanks' wig in "The Da Vinci Code."
There are a few leftovers, thankfully. Last week's "Ouija: Origin of Evil" is still out in most Marcus theaters – and while the prospect of a sequel to the mostly miserable "Ouija" doesn't sound thrilling, this new installment comes with an all-new cast, an all-new story in an all-new era and an all-new director: Mike Flanagan, who directed the very good "Oculus" a few years back. The break-in gone bad thriller "Don't Breathe" still has a late screening at the Marcus Southgate, while a few screens of the border-crossing nailbiter "Desierto" – from "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron's son Jonas – snuck into the Southgate and South Shore this weekend as well.
For more kid-approved creeps, "Goosebumps" will have single screenings throughout the weekend at the Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore as a part of Marcus' Flick or Treat film series. Also, "Boo! A Madea Halloween" is around, if you prefer your Halloween jolts with some supposed jokes.
But that's about it for new-ish scares. So your best bet for Halloween haunts at a Marcus will likely be – what else – "Halloween" (the original, none of that Rob Zombie remake nonsense). Marcus Theaters will show John Carpenter's essential horror classic – a treat to revisit or see for the first time – at the Majestic, Menomonee Falls, Ridge and South Shore theaters at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, along with a bonus 12:30 a.m. show at the Majestic.
As for spooky specials on Monday, Halloween night itself, the Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore cinemas will all have 7:30 p.m. showings of the 1962 cult classic "Carnival of Souls" – complete with the Rifftrax Live experience, featuring comedians Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett providing commentary. That'll likely be more funny than freaky, however.
The Halloween options – or lack thereof – are much the same over at the AMC Mayfair 18 at Mayfair Mall. "Ouija: Origin of Evil," "Boo! A Madea Halloween" and "Don't Breathe" – with two nighttime screenings rather than just the one at the Southgate – can all be found at the shopping mall cinema (as well as an early afternoon showing of "Pete's Dragon," which isn't a horror movie but is just a gosh darn terrific film you should see).
However, for old school scares – or at least weirdness – the AMC Mayfair will have nightly 10 p.m. showings throughout the weekend (and Monday night) of the ultimate cult classic, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." That being said, if you're going to do "Rocky Horror" this weekend, we'd probably point you in the direction of ...
Indeed, if you're going to do "Rocky Horror," you should really do it down at the Oriental Theatre, where they've been hosting the ultimate midnight movie experience on a monthly basis for coming up on almost 40 years, complete with costumes, crying out lines and songs and all the festive freaky cheer a person can manage with bloodshot eyes at one in the morning. The party begins at midnight – but considering the event's non-stop popularity and the time of year, it'll probably start well before then.
Fox Bay Cinema Grill
No scary movies at Whitefish Bay's Fox Bay Cinema Grill. However, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" – which is also showing at several Marcus Theaters and the AMC – does feature several creepy Slenderman-esque monsters and a sequence involving eyeballs getting gobbled down like Ferrero Rocher. So that might be an option.
The pickings are slim at the iPic as well for spooky movies, limited to only "Ouija: Origin of Evil" and "Boo! A Madea Halloween."
Times, Rosebud and Avalon
Over the past year or so, the Neighborhood Theater Group – especially the Times Cinema – has focused its attention on booking some really fascinating, little-known independent films, stuff like the dinner party thriller "The Invitation," the homecare drama "Chronic" and the disgusting destined-to-be-midnight-movie "Greasy Strangler." So it shouldn't come as a surprise that for their past month of "Shocktoberfest," they dug a little deeper than the predictable "Halloween" pick with classics like "Carrie," "The Thing" and the original Boris Karloff "Frankenstein."
Of course, for Halloween weekend, they still went with "Halloween" (sneaky tip for next year, everyone: See if you can book up "Halloween III: Season of the Witch," whose reputation as a misunderstood gem keeps growing every year) at the Rosebud and Avalon with midnight showings on both Friday and Saturday. As a bonus injection of funny frights, the two theaters will also host screenings of "Ghostbusters" at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, at the Times Cinema, the original zombie movie, George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," will have midnight showings on Friday and Saturday night.
UWM Union Cinema
The UWM Union Cinema has a thrilling pair of chilling combinations set for Halloween weekend. On Friday night, the Union Cinema will host a "Something's In The House"-themed duo of "Don't Breathe" at 7 p.m., followed by the original Tobe Hooper-directed (or was it actually Steven Spielberg?) haunted house spectacular "Poltergeist" at 9 p.m. Haven't seen a guy rip his own face off in a while? What better time to do so than Halloween weekend!
Then, on Saturday night, the venue will host another themed duo, this time "Bad Ass Women of Horror." The evening starts at 7 p.m. with Brian De Palma's blood-soaked prom from hell in "Carrie," followed by the brilliant new classic, "The Descent," at 9 p.m. Afraid of heights? The dark? Tight spaces? Gore? Ghoulish monsters? Well, they're all here in Neil Marshall's 2006 fabulous freak-out. Hopefully this showing comes with the original British ending rather than the cheap American one – but either way, be there.
OK, so perhaps your David S. Pumpkins costume got lost in the mail and now you just want to stay home this Halloween and wallow in your own misery by watching horror movie characters' misery. That's why god created Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Here are some scream-worthy streaming options this weekend:
- "The Invitation": Friends gather for a dinner party and ... well, the less you know, the better.
- "The Guest": A fun and unpredictable mix of "Terminator," John Carpenter and the devilishly handsome Dan Stevens.
- "Deliverance": The classic 1972 outdoors thriller still has the power to horrify. Even more horrifying? It leaves Netflix on Nov. 1.
- "Fatal Attraction": Another creepy classic – one of the ultimate stalker stories – leaving Netflix at the start of next month.
- "Black Mirror": This BBC import-turned-Netflix original delivers bite-sized modern morality chills, like "Twilight Zone" for our technology-driven world.
- "I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House": Netflix's new original horror movie, just in time for the season, starring Ruth Wilson ("The Affair") and directed by Oz Perkins, the son of Norman Bates himself Anthony Perkins.
- "Jaws": The ultimate summer blockbuster is still also the ultimate horror movie – even living miles away from an ocean.
- "The Babadook": A new classic chiller, "The Babadook" follows a widow trying to comfort her son while a monstrous presence haunts the house.
- "The Host": More a monster movie than a horror flick, but anytime I can recommend this brilliant South Korean smash-up of genres and emotions, I will.
- "Re-Animator": When it comes to gross, Lovecraftian horror, "Re-Animator" is one of the few to do it right – complete with a black sense of humor.
- "Let the Right One In": Don't let its basic plot – a young loner befriends a young vampire – scare you away with its "Twilight"-esque sound. This Swedish thriller is creepy, with an unforgettable finale.
- "The Witch": Travel back in time to colonial New England for this eerie – and crazily period-crafted – tale about a religious family menaced by a witch.
- "The Mist": A small gaggle of survivors fights off a mysterious mist in this solid Stephen King adaptation – complete with an ending so good that the author probably wishes he'd come up with it.
- "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre": Tobe Hooper's all-timer, about teenagers stuck amongst insane rednecks, still brings the chills.
- "Nosferatu": One of the grandfathers of horror cinema, this silent era classic is a must-watch for true horror fans – and true film fans, period.
- "Under the Skin": One of the best horror movies – and one of the best movies, period – this decade, following Scarlett Johansson as she stalks men around Ireland and ... some black goo stuff happens. It's better than this explanation.
- "I Saw the Devil": A haunting and thrilling look at revenge from South Korea. Not for the faint of heart, however, as this is a grueling, but great, experience.
- "Misery": Another Stephen King adaptation, this one another cinematic classic about an author trapped by his biggest fan – one distressing apt with a sledgehammer.
- "An American Werewolf in London": See some of the best special effects to startle on the big screen with John Landis' horror comedy.
- "Goodnight Mommy": This new horror freakout from Austria tells the story of twin boys whose mother may not be who she says she is. A slow boil that hits a devastating finale.
- "The Silence of the Lambs": You can find the all-too-human movie monster Hannibal Lector at his finest in this Best Picture-winning thriller from Jonathan Demme.
- "Buried": Ryan Reynolds gets buried alive for 90 minutes in this breathlessly tense little thriller. Obviously not for the claustrophobic.
- "The House of the Devil": Ti West's old school horror flick is another satisfying slow burn, but when it catches fire, look out.
- "The Blair Witch Project": Wash down the underwhelming recent sequel with the original "Blair Witch Project," which only feels more real, raw, authentic and terrifying decades later.
- "Carrie": If you can't make the UWM Union Cinema's screening, Brian De Palma's high school horror story adaptation is available on Hulu.
- "The Gift": Joel Edgerton is more famous in front of a camera than behind, but his directorial debut – about a couple pestered by an insistent old friend – is a unsettlingly uncomfortable thriller certainly worth checking out.
- "It Follows": Another modern horror gem, "It Follows" follows a teenager haunted by a slowly walking menace (not zombies).
- "Berberian Sound Studio": Film becomes reality for a man working on Italian horror sound design in this expertly crafted, creepy tribute. A must-watch for cinephiles.
- "The Others": This quiet, almost elegant approach to a haunted house story may be easily overlooked these days, but don't make that mistake this weekend.
- "Eraserhead": It wouldn't be Halloween without some David Lynch mind-f*ckery to liven things up. "Eraserhead" would make a fine choice, though "Blue Velvet" is also available on Hulu.
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.