For lovers of goblins and witches and things that bump and drool in the night, October is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s like Christmastime for the morbid, complete with lights, but much cooler lawn decorations.
For Portlanders, October is also the golden season – the leaves are changing (although nowhere near as glorious as the Midwest or New England, but still pretty glorious), the smoke-scented air gets a delicious chill, which means that the insects and omnipresent spiders begin to die off, and you get to unpack all your sweatshirts and long sleeve shirts and hats and scarves, and get that awesome layered look we are known for. The autumn begins to set in, in earnest, but hasn’t yet settled in to the neverending drizzle and leaden skies that will last until May.
Which means, you owe it to yourself to get out as much as possible, and soak up that autumnal splendour!
Macabre cinephiles will be in paradise, as horror movies begin to pop up on Portland’s big screens, like so many madness-inducing mushrooms. Of course, there’s this seasons bloody blockbusters – Annabelle, Dracula Untold, and the Guillermo Del Toro produced animated feature The Book Of Life, based on folklore about the Mexican Day Of The Dead, a lot of classic and obscure films will be making special, one off experiences.
Unlike horror fanatics, daywalkers only dabble in dark delights for 31 days out of the year, so make the most of it, this season, and remember the childlike wonder and terror that is Halloween.
Undoubtedly the best spot to experience macabre cinema, The Hollywood Theater’s 1920s veneer is like something out of a horror film, with its chandeliers and brocade interior. Just makes you wonder what is lurking behind the screens and in the projection booths.
Atmosphere aside, The Hollywood Theater also gets the best obscure films, year round, and should be haunted as often as possible.
To begin, you’ve got the Zombie – Nazi epic, Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead. Martin (Vegar Hoel) wakes up in the hospital with a zombie arm that’s trying to kill him, and decides to raise an undead army of his own, to wreak vengeance on Coloner Herzog. Featuring nazis and zombies… what more do you need to know?
This weekend, view a rare and special treat: two special 35 mm screenings of Ray Bradbury‘s Something Wicked This Way Comes, one of the darkest “children’s movies” ever made. Seriously, how many have been traumatized by the Spider Lady, and that circus funeral parade? Ray Bradbury’s works just scream “twisted childhood”, so come along, and re-open some of those traumas. As an added bonus, it’s only $5, and $2 for children under 12. Get them started early.
On Tues. Oct 21st, check out the Andy Milligan double feature, Guru: The Mad Monk and The Body Beneath. Milligan is the master of creating on a shoestring budget, going so far as to make the costumes himself on The Mad Monk. Lustful ghouls, depraved souls, blood worship… sound good? You know it does. Twice the trauma, double the fun!
On Wed. the 22nd, get a rare chance to view Something Evil, one of the few Steven Spielberg films to never get a home video release. Originally a made for TV movie, Something Evil has influenced nearly every childhood possession film since its inception. Shown on 16mm, complete with vintage ads from the early ’70s.
Friday the 24th, a special appearance of The Monster Squad, the film that taught me what a virgin was, and introduced the children of the early ’80s to classic Universal Monsters like The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein. Director Fred Dekker will be in attendance. Wolfman has nards!
10.25 The House On Haunted Hill One of William Castle‘s tinglers, although I doubt the seats will be rigged with buzzers. Experience the creepy original, and not the crappy remake!
10.24 – 31 Ghostbusters, with a special digital restoration, in honor of its 30th anniversary. This is one of the first films i saw in the theater, and didn’t scare me nearly as bad as follow that bird.
10.26 Experience the claustrophobic terror of Ridley Scott‘s Alien. You know this is going to be jolting on the big screen!
Lastly, the Hammer Horror Double Feature, Twins Of Evil from 1971, and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, from 1969. Always a gothic good time, Hammers’ red, red kroovy still looks shockingly lurid, nearly 50 years later. For those that are tired of cheap jump scares and blaring sound effects, experience the slow creep, for the very first time. Featuring blaspemous horror trailers before each film!
5th Avenue Cinema
Located near PSU, in SE Portland, the 5th Avenue Cinema is a favorite of students. Know what’s the best thing about 5th Avenue? All movies are free!
This Friday, Oct. 17th, there will be a special screening of Dario Argento‘s Deep Red (best known as Profondo Rosso). Deep Red is known to be one of Argento’s finest giallos, and it’s Goblin soundtrack is one of the bestselling of all time. Here’s your chance to hear it loud, and bathe in the gallons of gore Argento is best known for.
While not exactly a horror film, David Lynch‘s Lost Highway IS creepy. And unsettling. It also has a damn fine soundtrack, always great to hear over the loudspeakers. Who knows, maybe it will make sense this time? Lost Highway will be playing all weekend long, 10.17 – 10.19
And, finally, a couple more classics at The Academy Theater.
The Fly, from 1958, is playing 10.17 – 10.23. Much like this film’s lead, The Fly is a delightful mutation of horror and science fiction, as the Atomic Age revealed its subconscious fears. I’ve never had the opportunity to see the original. This may be my chance. Heeelp Meeeee!
And finally, on the spooktacular week itself, John Carpenter‘s classic, Halloween, the most beloved and feared slasher flick of all time. While Haddonfield, Illinois may not be a real place, for a midwestern ex-patriate like myself, this film is the next best thing. No matter how many times you see it, it never gets old. Bound to be dizzying, on the big screen!
Know of any other screening happening around Portland this month? Let us know in the comments!
You can also find more happenings, in the greater Pacific Northwest, at The Shadow Over Portland.