Horror movies should be seen in a darkened theater.
More so than with any other genre, the shared experience of sitting with other creeped-out audience members, who may even occasionally gasp or scream right there on the edge of your vision, heightens your sense of anticipation and dread. A yowling group of teenagers can make even a “Final Destination” flick seem kind of scary.
Luckily, several members of the Louisville film community are screening classic horror films this weekend and next, leading up to Halloween. Some of the movies are scarier than others, but all are worth seeing with a group of folks who want to feel a few goosebumps.
Friday, Oct. 21
‘Let the Right One In’
The best bet this weekend is Friday’s showing of “Let the Right One In” (2008) at the Floyd Theater in the University of Louisville’s Student Activity Center. Not only one of the best vampire films ever made, this Swedish insta-classic is among the best horror films you will ever see. Misinterpreted by many as a somehow sweet love story between an ancient “child” vampire and her troubled young familiar, the film is actually a dark warning against escalating violence, with clear political overtones for its time and cultural origin. Kåre Hedebrant is incredible as the creepy boy who falls prey to the vampire’s cravings for more than just blood. Bonus warning: Avoid, at all costs, the hideous American remake. 7:30 p.m., Floyd Theater, Free.
Saturday, Oct. 22
Baxter Avenue Theatres wraps up it month of weekly midnight monster movies with a 2K restoration of Ridley Scott’s xenophobic masterpiece. Baxter general manager Bryan Senteney tells us the restored print has the same run time as the 1979 theatrical release, so don’t expect any famously cut scenes to be re-inserted. Cool – it’s perfect the way it was. Midnight, Baxter Avenue Theatres, $9.
Dario Argento films never make any sense, but this story of a witch cult terrorizing a girls’ boarding school is beautifully nonsensical like none other. Hugely influential and revered among horror geeks, it’s not for everybody, but the visuals are absolutely stunning. 7:30 p.m., Floyd Theater, Free.
Monday, Oct. 24
‘The Haunted Mansion’
Kid-friendly free screening. 6 p.m., Shawnee Library Branch, Free
Tuesday, Oct. 25
Some Scary Movies
The folks at Kaiju typically don’t announce the exact movies they screen each week, but the staff tells us this week’s offerings will probably be horrific. 11:30 p.m, Kaiju, Free.
Thursday, Oct. 27
Halloween, Movie Discussion Group
There’s no screening, but a chance to get together with other films nerds and talk about “Halloween” (1978), not the first, but absolutely the definitive slasher film. 6:30 p.m, Crescent Hill Library Branch, Free.
Friday, Oct. 28
Speed Cinema kicks off a weekend “Scared Smart” series of classic suspense/ horror films with the surrealist nightmare that put director David Lynch on the critical map back in 1977. Speed curator of film Dean Otto said that of the three movies showing in the “Scared Smart” series, he finds “Eraserhead” most “disturbing,” which is probably the best way to describe it. The film’s desolate setting of an urban and industrial wasteland is really the star; there’s also a deformed baby thing.
All the presentations in the “Scared Smart” series will include discussion sessions with University of Louisville faculty whom Otto invited because of their special familiarity with aspects of the films. For “Eraserhead,” the presenter is Frances McDonald, who has researched how sensory stimuli can trigger biological reflexes, including fear. The soundtrack is an industrialized drone that really puts you on edge – again, “disturbing.” 7 p.m., Speed Cinema, $9.
The all-female reboot of the horror/comedy (really, just comedy) landmark got pretty good reviews and a lot of fanboy flak upon its release this year. All in all, it’s a mixed bag – the first half of the movie is a treat, with its talented cast (yes, Kate McKinnon is every bit as amazing as you heard) and snappy dialog going chuckle-for-chuckle with the original. The second half goes off the rails, sadly, with a lot of forced action set pieces and ghosts who are too scary for giggles but not scary enough for cathartic laughs. 7:30 p.m., Floyd Theater, Free.
Saturday, Oct. 29
Halloween Movie Marathon at the Library
The Shawnee Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library is hosting four free screenings of family friendly spooky movies. On the list are “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Hotel Transylvania.” The best bet for the day is “Coraline” (2009), a gorgeous, inventive and, in places, genuinely scary animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s newly minted classic children’s book. All Day, Shawnee Library Branch, Free.
‘Carnival of Souls’
This 1962 super-low budget production has won largely deserved acclaim in recent years. (We like it so much that we included it on our own list of Halloween party flicks.) It’s cheap, but just super creepy. 7 p.m., Speed Cinema, $9.
3 p.m., Speed Cinema, $9.
Sunday, Oct. 30
‘Eyes Without a Face’
This French classic was met with critical indifference to downright outrage in 1960, due largely to a surprisingly graphic surgery scene and obvious references to German expressionism. Now it is considered a landmark. Juliette Mayniel is remarkable as the female lead who must express the full range of horror movie emotions while acting behind a haunting, plain mask. 3 p.m., Speed Cinema, $9.
7:30 p.m., Floyd Theater, Free.