An Insider’s Guide to an Esoteric Halloween Movie Experience
In addition to New York City’s commercial multi-plex theaters, eclectic Indie movie houses like IFC, Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema, the Pioneer Theater and others are hosting Halloween movie screenings. Fresh releases and classic films starring ghastly ghouls, flesh eating zombies and cross-dressing aliens are part of the Halloween movie fun, which extends far into November. Many of the movies are one or two night only screenings and all are inexpensive.
Landmark Theatres’ Sunshine Cinema at 143 E. Houston Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues on the Lower East Side of Manhattan is known for it’s excellent indie film offerings. Most auditoriums have roomy stadium seating. The adult orientated snack bar offers vegan sweets, an espresso bar, swiss chocolate and eight different popcorn seasonings. A Japanese rock garden is there to soothe and beautiful city views can be seen from the viewing bridge (landmarktheaters.com).
Halloween classics are part of the theater’s new “Sunshine at Midnight” movie promotion. The following films for this promotion are shown at midnight at a cost of $9.99:
- Michael Jackson & Diana Ross in The Wiz playing on October 2nd & 3rd.
- Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice playing on October 16th and 17th.
- Teenage vampires on a rampage in The Lost Boys playing on October 23rd and 24th.
- Freddie’s back in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, screening October 30 and 31st.
- Halloween frights and fun in The Goonies, screening on November 13th and 14th.
- Alfred Hitchcock’s original Psycho screens on November 20th and 21st.
For a unique Halloween movie experience, New Yorkers know one of the most rousing is The Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings that take place at the Chelsea Clearview Cinemas at 260 West 23rd Street at the corner of 8th Avenue and 23rd Street. Movie goers are encouraged to sing, dance and dress up as their favorite character. The show is every Friday and Saturday at midnight. Tickets are $12.50 for general admission, $9 for Seniors and children. ID is required and children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult (chelseaclearview.com).
The cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been around since 1975. It continues to bewitch, electrify and mystify it’s viewers. A newly engaged couple find themselves stranded in a remote area after their car breaks down. The couple stumbles upon the freakish mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a mad cross-dressing scientist from the planet Transexual who has created the perfect man. Enthusiastic and unconventional music numbers energize audience members. The movie is graphic and rated R (rockyhorror.com).
The Pioneer Theater, a 99 seat foreign film and indie classic nirvana is closing this year, but before it does, be sure to catch the Halloween showcase. The Pioneer is located at East Third Street between Avenues A and B. Tickets are $10 for general audiences and $6.50 for members (twoboots.com).
The following vintage selections at the Pioneer Theater are sure to scare up some fun:
- Frightening Wicked Lake screens on Friday,10/03 at 12:30 a.m. and on Saturday, 10/04 at midnight.
- The bloodfest known as Bikini Bloodbath is screening Thursday,10/16 at 9:00 p.m.
- Saturday Splatter Show screens on Saturday, 10/18 at 9:00 p.m.
- Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie screens from Friday, 10/17 through 10/20 at 7:00p.m and Tuesday, 10/21 at 9:00 p.m.
- Creature Feature screens from Friday 10/24 through Thursday, 10/30 at 7:00 p.m.
- The must-see Tooth and Nail Terror Show screens on Saturday, 10/25 at 9:00 p.m.
- The dancing nightmare known as Splatter Disco screens on Tuesday, 10/28 and Wednesday, 10/29 at 9:00 p.m.
- Blood-sucking Freaks screens on Thursday, 10/30 at 11:00 p.m.
- Zombie classic Night of the Living Dead screens on Friday, 10/31 at 11:59 p.m.
The IFC Center located at 323 Sixth Avenue near Washington Square Park is the premiere independent film theater. New independent films are presented alongside foreign and documentary features. The theater is state-of-the-art with comfortable seating and organic popcorn. Tickets range in price from $9 for members, $8.50 for children and $12.50 for general admission. Check the IFC website for online tickets (IFCtheater.com).
- The IFC joins in the Halloween merriment with a special showing of The Shining (1980) on Friday, September 25th through Saturday, September 26th. In the film, a resort hotel caretaker (Jack Nicholson) goes mad during the off-season.
- Monday, October 5th at 8:00 p.m. the Film Forum is screening October Country, a story that follows a family from Halloween to Halloween as they descent into the horrors of war, child molestation, poverty, teen pregnancy and foster care. The Tickets are $12 for general admission, those under 12 years old and large groups pay $6. Seniors pay $6 before 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (IFCcenter.com).
Film Forum is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York City and one of the few in the U.S. It is located at 209 West Houston Street, between 6th Ave and Varick at 7th Avenue. The theater is supported by private and public funders and does not feel obligated to showcase big box office Hollywood films. Instead, you will find a diverse and international selection. Halloween double feature, The Theater of Blood and Scream of Fear will screen on Friday, October 30th through Thursday, November 5th.The Theater of Blood (1973) stars Vincent Price. London theater critics are being murdered after a demented actor leaps to his death in the Thames. In Scream of Fear (1961) a wheelchair-bound Susan Strasberg travels to Côte d’Azur for a first meeting with her stepmom and is surprised by her Father’s corpse in the summer house. This showing is two features for the price of one (Filmforum.org).
The beautiful movie house Village East Cinema, located at 181-189 Second Avenue, opened in 1926. Once the Yiddish Art Theater and designed in the Moorish Revival style that was the rage in synagogues at the time. A forty-foot ornamental ceiling with a beautiful Star of David in the center, still can be seen. Completely renovated in 2006, The Village East Cinema features stadium and balcony seating, comfortable lobbies with lounging areas and concession stands. The theater screens a mix of commercial hits and independent film. Tickets are $12.50 for general admission and $9 for seniors and children (VillageEastCinema.com).
Must-see Halloween movies at the Village East Cinema include:
- In Jennifer’s Body, a demonic rock band takes hold of a gorgeous cheerleader and permits a demon to possess her. She begins eating the boys in her town and only her homely best friend can save the town and stop the rock band. Show times are at 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m – 2:20 p.m. – 3:40 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – 8:20 p.m. – 9:40 p.m. -10:40 p.m. and midnight. Jennifer’s Body is a new release and is currently open.
- Evanegelion 1.0 (2007) is a stunning, Japanese animated tale based on the original anime series Neon Genesis Evanegelion. A teenager must save the Earth from evil creatures. It screens from Friday, September 18th through Thursday, September 24th. Friday, September 18th through Saturday, September 20th there is an 11:30 a.m. viewing. Other show times are 1:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.( VillageEastCinema.com).
- The dark comedy about relationships gone awry, The Room is a Los Angeles cult classic along the lines of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (theroom.com). Audience participation is encouraged. It’s first screening is Friday, September 25th at midnight.
- Woody Harrelson stars in the horror comedy Zombieland as a zombie killer (Zombieland.com). The film opens October 9th at the Village East (VillageEastCinema.com).
The creepy film Pandorum stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster as two astronauts who may be responsible for saving the entire human race. Pandorum opens on Thursday, September 24th at select AMC Loews theaters at 12:01 a.m. AMC Loews 34th Street 14 at 312 W. 34th Street, AMC Loews Village 7 at 66 3rd Avenue and AMC Loews 84th Street 6 at 2310 Broadway will all have midnight screening (amctheatres.com).
According to moviefone.com some exciting new films being released this Halloween season include:
- The Stepfather, an unsuspecting family discovers a serial murder in their midst. Opens October 16th.
- The Antichrist is the horror tale of a troubled, young married couple in the woods. Opens October 23rd.
- Cirque du Freak: Vampire’s Assistant. The vampire circus comes to town and the head Vampire turns an ordinary boy into his assistant. Opens October 23rd
- Saw VI continues it’s forray into the dark abyss of the murderous Jigsaw’s crazy scheme. Opens October 23rd.
- In The House of the Devil a babysitter learns that she is to be sacrificed in a satanic ritual. Opens October 23rd.: