Jeffrey Combs in Re-Animator.
Forget Christmas: In Athens, October is the most wonderful time of the year.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we take Halloween seriously around these parts, as evidenced by the gazillion related concerts, art shows, parades and other spooktacular events slated to happen all month long. The darkness dawns with Revenge of Schlocktoberfest, a month-long film series at Ciné that screens canonical horror flicks alongside campy classics. Along with the movies, the arthouse theater is hosting an associated exhibit featuring monster-inspired artwork. (Check out Graham Shirley’s artwork on this week’s Flagpole cover.) An opening reception is set for Thursday, Oct. 5 from 6–8 p.m.
The fun kicks off at Ciné Tuesday, Oct. 3—the day this issue hits stands—with a double-feature showing of two pioneering films with an accompanying live score by the Invincible Czars. The Austin, TX band incorporates a variety of instruments, voice loops and Romanian folk music to fill out the eerie atmosphere of these iconic silents.
There are many more scary movies to be seen in town this month. Flicker Theatre & Bar will celebrate the return of its Flicker Film Society with 31 Days of Darkness, featuring screenings of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Oct. 4), The Slumber Party Massacre (Oct. 11), Friday the 13th Part 2 (Oct. 13) and others. Check facebook.com/flickerbar.athens for details.
Below, a rundown of this year’s Schlocktoberfest schedule. For showtimes and tickets, check the Ciné site.
DR JEKYLL & MR HYDE (1920) John Barrymore (Drew's grandpa) takes on the split persona in one of America's earliest horror films. Watch as Barrymore transforms from the good Dr. Jekyll to evil Mr. Hyde entirely through the power of facial contortion and a scraggly wig.
NOSFERATU (1922) Max Schreck still chills as the lead, with bat ears and rodent fangs. Count Orlok doesn't show up right away, but when he does, you can see why Nosferatu is regarded as a stone-cold horror classic.
FRANKENSTEIN (1931) “It's alive! It's aliiiiiiiiive!”
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974) No matter what you think about Brian De Palma's rock musical, you can't say it's boring. The story may be based on The Phantom of the Opera, but the production is a wholly original, cuckoo-bananas mess with rich sets and a fun ’70s soundtrack. De Palma's phantom is Winslow Leach (William Finley), a songwriter who is cheated by an evil record tycoon named Swan (Paul Williams). After being disfigured by a record press, Leach dons a chrome mask and haunts Swan's venue, The Paradise. The result is an unforgettable, flamboyant spectacle.
THE DEAD ZONE (1983) It's pretty crazy to think David Cronenberg followed Videodrome with a Stephen King thriller, but to his credit, The Dead Zone stands as one of the better King adaptations. Johnny (Christopher Walken) comes out of a coma with the ability to see what will happen to other people just by touching their hands. Compared to other Cronenberg movies, this one's light on the body horror, but there is an incredible, cringe-inducing scene involving scissors…
RE-ANIMATOR (1985) For anyone interested in a Frankenstein-style story with 100 times the blood, look no further than Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, loosely based on an H.P. Lovecraft story. Jeffrey Combs plays obsessed medical student Herbert West, who has discovered a formula that brings the dead back to life. The movie is a gruesome delight and a must-see for any horror fan.
GONZORIFFIC HORRORSHOW The local fem-positive, DIY cinema collective has been screening no-budget gems since 2004. This year's lineup includes Bad Girl Dracula and Paparazza by Andrew Shearer, The Glittering by Coquette De Jour, Me and Nancy by Jennie Cain and Tunabunny, The Stain in the Ceiling by Xtina, Christmas Threesome by Henrique Couto and Peel by Zena Sadé Dixon.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) The late, great George A. Romero essentially launched the modern zombie genre with these black-and-white ghouls. His first Dead movie follows Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O'Dea) and some other refugees, who are hiding in a boarded-up farmhouse from a bunch of reanimated ghouls. Romero keeps the tension high with plenty of dialogue amongst the living and no character safe from death.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) suffer a flat tire and go back to a castle they recently passed for assistance. The castle is home to a race of aliens, none of whom are racier than mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). At the point of his introduction, the movie shows why it is revered as a cult classic. Dress up, sing along and throw toast in the air.