It’s that time of year again, Chicago– time to spend a lot of time in dark rooms watching horror movies to prep for Halloween! And this year, the various theaters and film groups around Chicago certainly aren’t disappointing with a ton of great programming. One of the longest-running current traditions, however, has a new home: Movieside Film Festival’s 8th annual Massacre– a 24-hour horror film marathon– will be held this year at the historic Portage Theater on October 20th & 21st. Previously the Massacre had been held at the Music Box Theatre, but Movieside has decided to throw the event at the Portage in celebration of its remaining a theater after being threatened with a buyout by the Chicago Tabernacle Church.
The line-up for this year’s Massacre is impressive, and includes both modern favorites and old classics. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of this year’s schedule:
12:00 p.m.- Un Chien Andalou (1929, dir. Luis Buñuel)
This massively influential classic will be screened with live organ accompaniment!
1:45 p.m.- The Curse of the Werewolf (1961, dir. Terence Fisher)
Hammer’s take on Universal’s Werewolf followed in the footsteps of their wildly successful Dracula and Frankenstein films, although it did not prove quite as popular at the box office. Oliver Reed stars as the man under the curse of the werewolf; director Terence Fisher was one of Hammer’s best directors, and also directed The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Horror of Dracula (1958) before this film.
5:30 p.m.- Spider Baby (1968, dir. Jack Hill)
Jack Hill’s Spider Baby tells the story of Bruno (Lon Chaney, Jr.), caretaker of the last three members of the cursed Merrye family: infantile Ralph (Sid Haig) and his sisters Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) and Virginia (Jill Banner), all afflicted with a strange disease that causes their behavior to regress as they get older, until eventually they will be violent animals. When some distant relatives visit the Merrye home to settle some legal paperwork, Bruno has his hands full keeping the visitors alive! Jack Hill will be appearing at the show in person!
7:45 p.m.- Return of the Living Dead (1985, dir. Dan O’Bannon)
Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 comedy/horror classic returns to the Portage, with star Linnea Quigley in person! When a canister of a weaponized gas is accidentally opened by the maintenance guys at a medical supply company, the dead return to life, hungry for brains!
1:45 a.m.- Hausu (1977, dir. Nobuhiko Ôbayashi)
Co-presented by The Chicago Cinema Society, this insane slice of Japanese horror is one of weirdest movies ever made. A group of schoolgirls heads to one of the girl’s aunt’s house in the country for a relaxing vacation; too bad the aunt is a ghost, and the house is haunted! Flying heads, demonic cats, rooms full of blood, musical numbers– Hausu has it all!
6:45 a.m.- Dead Snow (2009, dir. Tommy Wirkola)
This Norwegian horror/comedy became a popular midnight feature after being imported to the U.S., mostly due to its novel concept: a group of young people on vacation in the mountains plan for a weekend of snow and sex, but instead wake up a frozen army of Nazi zombies! A modern cult classic.
8:30 a.m. – Frenzy (1972, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
Seeing any Hitchcock film on the big screen is a treat, especially when it’s one of his more rarely-screened films such as 1972’s Frenzy. London is terrorized by the Neck Tie Murderer, and the police think it’s Richard Blaney. It’s not, but the police may be closer than they think and much closer than Blaney might like.
For full schedule (including A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Witchfinder General, Prince of Darkness and more!) and to buy advance tickets, head over to Brownpapertickets.com. Tickets are $24 in advance or $25 at the door day of show.