10 Great Halloween Movies to See in L.A. This Month

Rosemary's Baby, at Electric Dusk Drive-In on Oct. 25
Rosemary's Baby, at Electric Dusk Drive-In on Oct. 25

Ah, October in Los Angeles. Pumpkin-flavored treats at every coffee shop and bakery, weather so brisk it occasionally drops below 70 degrees and the promise of Halloween candy just around the corner. If you seek more frightening thrills and you don't feel like driving to Universal so some dude dressed as a Walking Dead zombie can menacingly walk in your general direction, consider visiting one of your local movie houses for some horror cinema instead.

Oct. 3: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at LACMA
Witness some of the most memorable set design of all time in this masterpiece of German expressionism, screening in a new DCP restoration at LACMA's Bing Theater. Robert Wiene's landmark of the silent era is among the most innovative, influential horror films ever made — and maybe even the first. Some would argue that we've still yet to top it. (Tickets and information)

10 Great Halloween Movies to See in L.A. This Month

Oct. 4: Tokyo Tribe at the Aero
Less a horror movie than a balls-to-the-wall midnight movie, Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe is a rap musical about warring gangs in Japan’s capital city. It’s also batshit insane and almost certainly unlike anything you’ll see on a big screen this year — just wait until the rap battles turn into actual bloodbaths — especially as Sono’s films rarely get proper theatrical releases in Los Angeles. (Tickets and information)

Bride of FrankensteinEXPAND
Bride of Frankenstein

Oct. 6: Bride of Frankenstein at Arclight Beach Cities
Oct. 10-12: Frankenstein at Old Town Music Hall

It’s regrettable that Bride of Frankenstein screens at the Arclight in El Segundo four days before the original plays a few miles away at Old Town Music Hall, but such are the horrors of intracity programming. If you’ve never seen these films, there’s no time like the present and no exhibition quite like a proper movie theater, not least because Old Town’s screenings are preceded by musical stylings on their famous pipe organ and a short film of a comedic nature. Though less actively frightening than sad at this point, both movies are an unfortunate testament to our primal tendency to violently reject that which we don't understand. (Tickets and information)

Upcoming Events

Oct. 10: Nosferatu and Nosferatu the Vampyre at LACMA
F.W. Murnau's all-time classic screens at 7:30, with Werner Herzog's 1979 reimagining following at 9 p.m. in a new DCP restoration. As with Caligari, Murnau's vampire story is a master class in atmosphere and mood that many have imitated but few have replicated. Herzog's take, which stars frequent collaborator/co-conspirator Klaus Kinski, is expectedly off-kilter and equally unsettling in its own way. You can't go wrong with either version, but not having to choose is a rare opportunity that shouldn't go unnoticed. (Tickets and information)

See also: 10 Best L.A. Movie Theaters You Aren't Visiting But Should Be

Oct. 17: The All-Night Horror Show at Cinefamily
A joint production of New Bev’s Grindhouse Film Festival and Cinefamily’s Heavy Midnites program, this mishmash running from dusk till dawn will consist of to-be-announced features, shorts, trailers and more. No specific details have been announced as of yet, but Cinefamily can always be trusted to put on a good show. (Tickets and information)

 

Oct. 21: The Thing at Arclight Beach Cities
The Thing is, in a word, gnarly. It’s also John Carpenter’s best movie — yes, even better than Halloween — and perhaps the most rewarding of his many collaborations with an at-his-peak Kurt Russell. Set at a remote outpost in Antarctica, it allows us to witness the dissolution of a tiny society as an untraceable alien entity takes root in unwitting hosts who show no visible signs of having been possessed. In most horror movies, what the director chooses not to show us is often more frightening than what he or she does show us. The Thing isn't most movies, however, and only David Cronenberg can top this film's delightfully grotesque brand of body horror. (Tickets and information)

Oct. 24: All-Nighter on Elm Street at Cinefamily
If you’ve always wanted to watch the first seven Nightmare on Elm Street movies in rapid succession — phooey, Freddy Vs. Jason and that reboot from 2010! — get thee to Cinefamily on Friday, the 24th. Few of them live up to the legacy of our original introduction to Freddy Krueger, whose ability to kill his victims in their sleep remains unique in the slasher-flick canon even now, but there's something fascinating about watching an entire series nevertheless. All seven installments will be projected on glorious 35mm, and a number of special guests (whose identities have yet to be revealed) have been promised as well. Perhaps we’ll get lucky and Freddy himself will make an appearance? (Tickets and information)

Oct. 24: Halloween III: Season of the Witch at The Nuart
Family is forever, and so is John Carpenter’s foundational slasher franchise. It’s easy to think of the entire genre as the endless parade of inferior sequels and needless reboots it’s been for oh, the last few decades or so, and Halloween: III Season of the Witch is part of that problem, but it also represents an attempt at reinventing a concept the first film helped innovate. Neither the masked, lumbering Michael Myers nor scream queen-era Jamie Lee Curtis appear in Season of the Witch, as Carpenter (who co-produced but didn't direct) and co-creator Debra Hill sought to introduce sci-fi and witchcraft themes into the franchise as a means of turning it into an anthology series. It didn't work, but hey, at least they tried. (Tickets and information)

Oct. 25: Rosemary’s Baby at Electric Dusk Drive-In
This writer’s personal pick for the best horror film of all time, Rosemary’s Baby is already unsettling by the time the opening credits have finished rolling. Mia Farrow is at her most compelling in this haunting meditation on marriage, evil and the intermingling thereof, and Roman Polanski knew (and knows) more about both than most of us will ever have to. Long before you see the devil's eyes, you'll sense him in the people closest to our heroine: her neighbors, her husband and, most horrifying of all, Rosemary herself. (Tickets and information)

See also: More L.A. Weekly movie coverage


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