Few images are as indelible as Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown in the TV mini-series It. When a group of outcast kids known as the Loser’s Club in Derry, Maine has to destroy the malevolent clown as children, they return 27 years later to finish him off. In this premise you’ve got the makings of some of Stephen King’s most famous themes and characters. With director Tommy Lee Wallace and screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen condensing King’s mammoth 1000+ page tomb into a rather nimble three hours (leaving out some of the less savoury sewer-play), the It mini-series reached unsuspecting homes all over the world cementing new nightmares for generations of viewers.
Lewis Teague’s Cujo may have you questioning if every dog is man’s best friend. Set against Stephen King’s beatific Maine backdrop, Cujo is less about a rabid dog, though the dog does cause a lot of problems to be fair, and more about the complex inner workings of characters trapped in lives they’re not sure they ever wanted or asked for. Cujo speaks to one of King’s greatest strengths, his love of his characters. While you may never look at a St. Bernard the same way again, you may hug your loved ones just a little bit tighter after watching Cujo.
Carrie White may eat shit in Hell but she’ll fuck you up before she gets there. Based on Stephen King’s first novel, Brian De Palma’s adaptation is a bonafide horror classic. As social pariah Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) nears the end of her high school career she becomes more confident in her burgeoning telekinetic powers. As she faces down her school bullies and her overbearing, over-zealoted mother (Piper Laurie) she increasingly becomes a target for all those who want to control her. As prom night draws near little do all the characters know the darkness that awaits them. At once both a grisly coming of age tale and a tender look at a young woman who just wants to be accepted, Carrie remains one of the most frighteningly relatable horror films ever made.
When two horror powerhouses get together, it’s hard to know what to expect. Director John Carpenter’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is imbued with the stark cinematography and underlying menace that made Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982) horror classics. Merged with King’s sinister nostalgia Christine’s slightly absurd premise becomes a B-movie classic. When Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) gets the keys to Christine, a 1958 red and white Plymouth Fury he goes from being an outcast to the coolest guy in his high school. Unfortunately for him, Christine has plans of her own for Arnie as the film wrestles with the parts of ourselves we give up in order to be accepted.
Rob Reiner’s Misery is about art, reception and how to recover from having your ankle shattered. Writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is saved from a car accident during a storm by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates in an Oscar-winning role) who reveals herself to be his “number 1 fan” and holds him hostage until he writes the novel she wants. While King has often stated that Annie is the personification of cocaine, she is more broadly an instrument of obsession, a warning of what happens when love and infatuation are unbreakably intertwined proving the old adage true, it’s hell to be the rage.
After Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma he discovers he has the ability to see the future of those he comes into contact with. The Dead Zone is about the liminal space between the real and perceived, the places that demand to be believed in. While Johnny’s psychic abilities drive the narrative of The Dead Zone forward, Johnny’s journey to rebuild his life after being in a coma for five years is the heart of the story. Directed by horror auteur David Cronenberg there is an iciness to The Dead Zone which balances King’s predilection for earnest sentiment that still shines through in Walken’s performance. Cronenberg keeps the pacing tight, narrowing in on Johnny’s greatest conflict, a fate tied to the furiously up and coming politician Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen).
Doctor Louis Creed moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall. After the Creeds' cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis' son, Gage, dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy's body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis' visions of a deceased patient.
Directed by Mary Lambert
1hr 43m | Rated R
Classic Horror IP And Modern Video Games - A Creative Look at Friday the 13th: the Game and Layers of Fear 2
Join Ronnie Hobbs and Matt Szep as they discuss the process of adapting beloved horror franchises to the ever-changing landscape of today's video game market, all while staying true and faithful to the source material.
Join panelists Paul Tremblay (THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD), Scott Thomas (KILL CREEK), and Matt Leslie (SUMMER OF 84) as they discuss the craft of writing for horror. From its various formats and many sub-genres to how horror has evolved over the years, these creators will do a deep dive, discussing their personal projects, what inspires them and what made them want to write horror.
What better way to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day than with a bunch of murderous travelers fleeing the law, determined to set up shop on a new terrain at any cost? The Critters, knowns as Crites, are a dangerous alien species who wreak havoc wherever they go. When they escape from intergalactic jail they make their way to Earth to breed and infest our home. It’s up to the residents of a small town in Kansas and two space bounty hunters to stop them, repeatedly. Luckily for us, the Critters franchise kept replicating with each entry more entertaining and bonkers than the last.
Seven years after the events of 9/11, Americans were afraid. War was raging overseas and the tide of hatred and intolerance within America’s borders was rising. People craved a safety that no longer existed and maybe never did. Being home at the beginning of the new millennium has never been more terrifyingly realized than in Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers. Pseudo-ly based on true events, the film is about the impossibly gorgeous couple James (Scott Speedman) and Kirsten (Liv Tyler) who arrive at James’ family cottage after a wedding and are unrelentingly attacked by a group of masked individuals. Despite the film’s insistence at it being based on true events, Bertino took inspiration from the Tate/ Labianca murders, the Keddie Cabin Murders, and a spat of home invasions that took place in the neighborhood he grew up in. So while The Strangers is a work of fiction, the events are eerily plausible.
After Orson Welles scared the bejesus out of millions of unsuspecting listeners with his radio play of War of the Worlds, Hollywood created its own version laying the foundation for the apocalyptic blockbusters to come. Director Byron Haskin’s retelling of H.G. Wells’ iconic book updates the threat from Victorian London to present day California. As the aliens invade destroying everything in their path it’s up to a few Americans to figure out how to fight for survival. For a world still reeling from the fallout of World War II, War of the Worlds is indebted to its groundbreaking special effects which made the film seem all too real for a world trying to forget a violent past.
When Michael Haneke remade his own film Funny Games ten years after the original Austrian version, he was uncompromising. A near shot-for-shot remake changed only by the language spoken on screen (English) and a cast made up of recognizable Hollywood actors Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Michael Pitt, Funny Games 2007 was less reimagined for a new millennium and more of an amplification of Haneke’s warnings of our appetite for violence. Haneke is a provocateur with an axe to grind, an enfant terrible who remained petulant enough ten years after the original failed to provoke a response in North America beyond the art house circle to return to the story. Haneke was determined to make Funny Games accessible to a larger audience having heard that the film would not play well with subtitles in North America. His fable of a well-to-do family whose summer home is invaded by a pair of erudite young men is not only unrelentingly violent; it is an unflinching look at its audience if they are brave enough to return the gaze.
Part of the Classic Universal Monster series, James Whale’s The Invisible Man based on H.G. Wells’ novel shook film audiences to their core with groundbreaking special effects. Featuring the American screen debut of Claude Rains as Dr. Jack Griffin who discovers the formula for invisibility he decides to test the formula on himself driving him mad. While Griffin is seemingly free from society’s restraints, he is unable to control his urges and he begins to lose his humanity at a terrifying pace. The Invisible Man is one of Wells’ more insular stories focusing on the intimate relationship between the individual and social constructs both condemning and reinforcing them. Under the direction of James Whale The Invisible Man remains a timely allegory for the cost of unmitigated power.
Mickey and Jules are lovers on the run, headed southbound for a fresh start in the Sunshine State. When their car dies after a gas station robbery, they break into a nearby house looking for a new set of wheels. What they find instead is a dark secret, and a sweet-as-pie pair of homeowners who will do anything to keep it from getting out.
Sneaking in just before the, ahem, tail-end of the Pre-Code era in Hollywood, during which there was no ratings board to represent the moral majority and classify films, Island of Lost Souls presents a gruesome and shocking filmic realization of one of H.G. Wells most famous stories. When Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) is shipwrecked on a strange island he is taken in by the sinister Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton). Parker soon realizes the strange creatures on the island are not born of nature but of Moreau’s own hand. Banned in twelve countries and cut by State censors in the US, Island of Lost Souls still caused a moral panic across the country cementing its place in the horror canon.
'That’s la Morte: Italian Cult Cinema and the Years of Lead' is a new 80 minute documentary that considers how cult and horror film cycles came to reflect wider anxieties within 1970s Italy.
Bursting pipes, rotting walls, and unidentifiable slime were not what Don Koch (WWE legend Phil "CM Punk" Brooks) expected when he convinced his wife, Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn), that he could rehab their new Victorian home himself. In over his head, under duress, and tempted by his old weaknesses, Don soon discovers that the house has its own dark, sordid history and won't be so easy to renovate after all....
At the end of the last millennium three film students went into the woods and were never seen again. Or that’s what the marketing guru’s behind The Blair Witch Project would have you believe. Between the film’s premiere at the Sundance Festival which traumatized the unsuspecting crowd to the Curse of the Blair Witch TV special which aired in the lead up to the film, it was hard to believe the plight of Heather, Mike and Josh wasn’t real. Directors Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick created a premise simple enough to be believable while weaving in enough backstory about the Blair Witch herself to make her seem like a real part of Colonial folklore. In the 20 years since its release The Blair Witch Project has re-envisioned the American Nightmare.
Director Stuart Gordon returned to the world of H.P. Lovecraft with his follow up to Re-Animator, From Beyond a fully realized look at Lovecraft’s preponderance with Cosmic Horror, the kind of horror that exists around us but just out of reach of our perception. When Dr. Pretorius (Ted Sorel) manufactures the ability to extend the perception of the penal gland in the human brain it not only extends his consciousness but turns him in to something monstrous. Combining the terror of Lovecraft’s time, most notably confinement to a sanitarium or psychiatric ward and the conditions within them, and all the ooey-gooey 80s effects celluloid could handle, From Beyond an inter-dimensional journey into horror you won’t soon forget.
When the horror genre was occupied with the bodily destruction of Torture Porn in the 2000, director Oren Peli wanted to go back to basics to scare his audience. A young couple Katie and Micha are experiencing strange phenomena in their home so Micha sets up a video camera in their bedroom to figure out who or what the culprit is. As the unseen force becomes more powerful and continues to defy explanation Micha and Katie have fewer and fewer options as they grow increasingly worn down and the entity becomes more powerful. With an ingenious marketing campaign that focused on real audiences’ terror and a voting feature which allowed curious viewers to demand a screening at their local cinema, Paranormal Activity became a grassroots-driven phenomenon with a worldwide gross of almost $200 million. Katie and Micah’s plight is at once intimate and universal, reinventing the haunted house genre for the new millennium.
Director Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s serialized story Herbert West: Reanimator eschews Lovecraft’s seriousness while keeping his terror and mythology. Featuring Jeffery Combs in a cult-star marking turn as West, the fun, violence and gore doesn’t let up in Gordon’s version, nor does the body count. The film both resituates Lovecraft’s work in a modern context while also letting it do most of the work with humor extending from the strangeness of West’s unrelenting pursuit of reanimating the dead within the confines of academia taking education from the ivory tower and bringing to the sublimely absurd.
The heart of Antrum is the titular cursed feature, which purports to have been shot in the late 1970s by unknown filmmakers. It spins the tale of two siblings who perform an occult ritual in the woods, seeking closure after the death of a beloved pet… but their seemingly symbolic act may have truly unleashed Hell on Earth.
Maurizio Guarini, founding member of the synth-horror group GOBLIN, will be making his Salem debut performing a live score to DANTE’S INFERNO.
Legacy of the Marsten House: The Political, Cultural, and Theological Impact of Stephen King’s ‘salem’s Lot
Legacy of the Marsten House: The Political, Cultural, and Theological Impact of Stephen King’s ‘salem’s Lot will explore how this iconic novel, as well as its 1979 television adaptation, is able to traverse and interconnect politics, theology and popular culture in a compelling and thought-provoking manner as a result of its rich history, mythology, cosmogonic implications, and the metaphorical potential to lead one into contemplating their role amidst the oppressive forces of our day.
Thackery Binx returns to Salem! Jason Marsden plays the cursed black cat in Hocus Pocus. You may also remember him as Eddie Munster (The Munsters Today), Rich Hawke (Step by Step), Dash X (Eerie Indiana), Young Clark Kent (Superman: The Animated Series ) and Nelson Burkhard (Full House).
AUDIOBOOK OF THE DEAD
Directed by Lyndsey Bohlender and Sean Nichols Lynch
A young woman just wants to listen to her audiobook of Jane Eyre, but the book’s sinister narrator has other plans.
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
Directed by Emily Gagne and Joshua Korngut
When teenage outcast Leslie mistakenly unleashes a nightmarish ghoul named Nancy, she’s forced to defeat a decades-old urban legend or face a fate worse than death: becoming Nancy’s new best friend … forever.
BITCH, POPCORN & BLOOD
Directed by Fabio Soares
At Salt’ n Sugar, a popcorn bar in the middle of nowhere, LILY a bored waitress, is goingto turn her life around when two fishy strangers show up in the bar. A mix of onirism, violence and dark humor, Bitch, Popcorn & Blood is simply the weapon that everyone has dreamt of being one day.
Directed by Manny Serrano
On Halloween night, a group of friends play a game, with a supposedly haunted Matryoshka doll, which unleashes more than a few tricks or treats…
Directed by Matthias Hoene
The story of Esme, an abandoned girl rescued by a family of monsters. But when one day a Swat team breaks into their lair her life is turned upside down and she is thrust into our world. Now she must decide which life she wants to lead, the life of a quirky outsider or the life of a 'normal' person in our normal world.
NOCTÁMBULOS (NIGHT OWLS)
Directed by Romén Rivero
In the middle of the night, a group of teenagers practice skateboarding without notice that somebody is watching them from the shadows. One of the girls separates from the group to return home through the lonely streets of the city and someone follows her.
Directed by Mick Thomas
Siblings battle headless demons on All Hallow’s Eve.
Directed by Elwood Quincy Walker
A group of teenagers hold a seance in attempts to prove or disprove an urban legend about children that went missing on Halloween night.
Well before Samara came out of your TV and before the Lords of Salem were played over the airwaves, metal god Sammi Curr (Tony Fields) came back from the dead to wreak havoc in the lives of his fans when the teenage Eddie (Marc Price) plays Sammi’s posthumous release backwards conjuring Sammi’s spirit. A riff on the conservative 1980s fear that shock rockers could invoke Satan at a moment’s notice, Trick or Treat embraces its camp to examine fandom and the mainstreaming of Metal. With cameos by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne, Trick or Treat is a unique combination of the horror of Metal and the music industry with a slasher narrative, Parental Advisory sticker not included.
Following up from his efforts on Frankenstein, director James Whale returned to the helm for its sequel Bride of Frankenstein a film that asks, what if the monster wants to be human? Donning the iconic Frankenstein Monster makeup once more Boris Karloff returns and this time he wants to be “normal”, to mate and be accepted, but of course, it all goes horribly wrong. Incorporating the constructs and confines of marriage, the early drag aesthetic of Elsa Lanchester’s Bride (dead, but makes it fashion), the widely read for filth queer villainy of Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) and the winking nods of the Hermit, Bride of Frankenstein rejects and problematizes so-called normalcy and asks its audience to open itself to a brave new world filled with gods and monsters.
Some films are just destined to become fan favorites. After being denied a theatrical release, Trick ‘r Treat steadily gained its status as one of the all-time classic Halloween films through word of mouth after it was released on DVD. An anthology which follows five storylines over the same Hallow’s Eve, Michael Dougherty’s films boasted a wickedly dark tongue and cheek tone, a notable cast including Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker as well as gruesome effects that point to the importance of behaving yourself on Halloween when the barrier between the living and the dead is its weakest and anything can happen. Especially if you’re don’t respect the rules of Sam(hain).
James Whale’s Frankenstein not only helped define and popularize the horror film at its outset, it is also one of the most openly queer-coded films ever made. Working with Mary Shelley’s classic text of a doctor so desperate to prevent death he creates a monster; Whale imbued the fearsome tale with iconic images while also creating sympathy for Frankenstein’s monster. Whale was one of the few men in Hollywood (particularly in the 1920s and 1930s) who lived as an openly gay man and many of gone from speculating to outright saying that Whale’s sexuality had nothing to do with his filmmaking. While the art can always be separated from the artist it’s difficult to overlook the film’s sensitive portrayal of monster cast out from society without a queer lens. Frankenstein ultimately asks us to question who is truly a monster versus who we are told is a monster.