Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Knight at the Movies: Halloween at the movies
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Halloween at the movies

It's a well-known fact that Halloween is the second most popular holiday, with retail revenues in the $2.5-billion range—a figure that doesn't include the plethora of choices for moviegoers. For fans of the horror genre, there's no dearth of options this witching season, whether it be at home or at the local Cineplex. An overview of haunted movie happenings this season:

In theaters

The "found footage" craze—which The Blair Witch Project popularized a decade ago and other films like Cloverfield capitalized on—is part of the schtick in Sinister, which finds Ethan Hawke back in horror territory after his hit 2010 vampire flick Daybreakers. In true Amityville Horror fashion, Hawke plays a true crime writer who moves his family into a home of a recently murdered family. In the attic, he finds a box of old Super 8 films that, when viewed, kick the psychic happenings into hyperdrive.

Paranormal Activity 4 derives from another "found footage" megahit with this third sequel finding the series' original star, Kate Featherston, once again headlining. It opens this Friday. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is another sequel—of sorts—to the 2006 original, both derived from a video-game series (with many more incarnations) that is set in the fictional title town—a place that acts as a cover for lots of evil happenings thanks to a doorway to another dimension. The 2006 film was confusing as hell but its nightmarish visuals were just as striking, sparking my curiosity about this new movie that is being released Oct. 28.

There are two area one-night-only cinematic scarefests worth noting. The first is the return of horror entrepreneur Rusty Nails' The Massacre: 24 Hours of Horror Movie Madness, which commences Saturday, Oct. 20, at noon at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. The line-up includes 16 features, an assortment of trailers and short films, along with vendor tables, a zombie make-up table and special guests (Linnea Quigley, star of 1985's Return of the Living Dead and Spider Baby director Jack Hill).

The films include everything from silent fare to movies such as the Karloff-Lugosi S&M/homoerotic 1931 curio The Black Cat (which includes gay actor David Manners as its young heartthrob lead), Curse of the Werewolf (a Hammer horror classic), The Witchfinder General (with Vincent Price) and the 2009 Norwegian Nazi zombie black-comedy gorefest Dead Snow. There are also several interesting sequels: Phantasm II, Halloween II, Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and one of my personal favorites, John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Vital Bridges. Complete line-up and advance tickets available at

The second one-night-only special event is NCM Fathom Events, TCM and Universal's Wed., Oct. 24, double-feature screening of queer director James Whales's 1931 monster classic Frankenstein and its superior 1935 sequel Bride of Frankenstein, both to celebrate the release of the films on Blu-ray as part of Universal's classic monster movie box set. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. with a filmed interview segment that TCM host Robert Osborne will conduct with Boris Karloff's daughter, Sarah; Bela Lugosi, Jr.; and special effects makeup wizard Rick Baker.

Home video

Bare bones to lavish, feature-stuffed editions of Tim Burton's campy reimagining of the 1960s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows are now available. Although the film wasn't exactly his best collaboration with Johnny Depp—who takes on the role of the forlorn vampire Barnabas Collins from the original's Jonathan Frid (who made a cameo in the film just months before his death)—Burton's stylish, dark visual palette is tremendous (as usual), and that's reason enough to see the film.

Even though the up-and-down tone of Seth Grahame-Smith's script veers between a traditional frightmare and low-grade comedy (based on the 1972 time period), the film never congeals and finally bogs down with too many plot strands tossed in for good measure. Michelle Pfeiffer, among others, is also sorely underused. Frid and other original members of the TV show shot a condensed film version of the soap titled House of Dark Shadows in 1970 during their summer break. The movie was a big enough hit for MGM to order 1971's Night of Dark Shadows, which utilized cast members and characters from the series but focused on spirit possession (thanks to nasty witch Angelique) rather than rogue vampires—but wasn't nearly as successful. Both are coming to Blu-ray/DVD for the first time Tuesday, Oct. 30.

That same day the Criterion Collection releases its spectacular new version of Roman Polanski's 1968 movie Rosemary's Baby (which the director approved). Mia Farrow stars as the hapless Manhattan housewife who slowly realizes that her unborn child is in danger from a coven of witches living in the apartment next door. The release boasts a host of newly created special features, including new interviews with both Polanski and Farrow as well as a full-length vintage documentary on the film's score composer, Krzysztof Komeda, who tragically died within a few years of the making of the movie.

Other recent releases worth noting include Cabin in the Woods, the loving and very clever tribute to the black-comedy gorefests of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series; the visually gorgeous Prometheus, Ridley Scott's prequel to his sci-fi horror classic Alien; John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, mystery writer-turned-serial-killer pursuer (with gay actor Luke Evans as his sidekick) in The Raven; the silly guilty pleasure Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; and collector's editions of the 1980 slasher picture Terror Train and Tobe Hooper's 1981 oddity The Funhouse.

Of particular interest is 2011's Munger Road, a production with Chicago-area actors that was shot and produced locally; it is the first-time feature from Columbia College graduate Nick Smith. An urban legend involving a set of train tracks and a dark country road is the jumping-off point for a well-crafted horror thriller (starring veteran character actor Bruce Davison) that relies on atmosphere over gore. Smith throws in elements of a lot of other movies; while not all of them ultimately fit together, this is an admirable first effort worth checking out.

Still want more? In addition to a plethora of cable stations running a bevy of scary movies (with more available for a price OnDemand), the return of two horror-based TV shows on the horizon are worth enthusing over: the second season of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story (titled American Horror Story: Asylum), which kicks off tonight, while season three of the hit "zombie apocalypse" series The Walking Dead returned Oct. 14.

Of related interest: British director Julian Jarrold's The Girl, which debuts Oct. 20 on HBO, details the Svengali relationship suspense director Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) had with discovery Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller), whom he handpicked to star in The Birds and, later, Marnie. Imelda Staunton plays Hitchcock's wife and creative consultant, Alma, while Downton Abbey's Penelope Wilton plays the master of suspense's secretary.

The movie's rather dry tone, considering the juicy material at hand—which focuses on Hitch's sexual and otherwise rather strange harassment of Hedren—is a bit of a letdown, as is the miscasting of Miller, who never captures Hedren's innate graciousness or sweetness. But for the uninitiated, the movie will be an eye-opener and provide insight into Hitchcock's rather odd proclivities—and whet the appetite for the forthcoming Blu-ray boxed set from Universal that features his movies.

Check out my archived reviews at or . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Knight at the Movies: Tab Hunter Confidential 2015-11-25
Entertainment: 'Gotham' actor; Melissa Etheridge; Nathan Lane; Samira Wiley 2015-11-24
NUNN ON ONE: MOVIES Van Hansis, The name game 2015-11-24
TELEVISION Ilene Chaiken helps to rule an 'Empire' 2015-11-18
Upcoming: Susan Sontag movie; Barlesque 8; HBHC and FFC 2015-11-18
Chicago Public Library, Chicago Commission on Human Relations to screen Waking in Oak Creek 2015-11-13
Upcoming: Buck Angel; Mitchell/Wachowski; Maserati; Barlesque; Twyla Tharp 2015-11-03
MOVIES Out model/actress, director weigh in on 'Liz in September' 2015-11-03
Knight at the Movies: Suffragette; Nasty Baby 2015-10-28
Entertainment: James Franco; Selena Gomez; Laverne Cox; Adele 2015-10-27
THEATER David Zak talks theater, film, upcoming benefit 2015-10-24
Ellen Burstyn on working with Personal PAC 2015-10-21
Chicago dancer on Alvin Ailey, film and coming out 2015-10-21
CIFF: 'Mia Madre,' LGBT films and more 2015-10-20
Entertainment: Ezra Miller; 'Ab Fab;' Lee Daniels; Lupita Nyong'o 2015-10-20
MOVIES Talking with 'Big Eden' director Thomas Bezucha 2015-10-19
Knight at the Movies: Chicago Internat'l Film Festival LGBT highlights 2015-10-14
Upcoming film, music: I Am the Queen; Homolatte 2015-10-14
Reeling announces festival winners 2015-10-14
Entertainment: 'Model'; Lance Bass; ABC Family; Madonna & Prince 2015-10-13
Queer Bits Film Festival becomes two programs of international LGBTQ+ shorts 2015-10-12
MOVIES Talking with 'Freeheld' screenwriter Ron Nyswaner 2015-10-07
THEATER All Girl Dracula: Interview with the vampire and a director 2015-10-07
First UK LBQ Web series makes transatlantic debut 2015-10-07
KNIGHT AT THE MOVIES 'Freeheld' kicks off fall 2015-10-07
LGBT HISTORY MONTH P.L. Travers: A spoonful of speculation 2015-10-07
IMPACT seeks persons for HIV video 2015-10-06
Entertainment news: Gaga; Ian McKellen; Ruby Rose; Matt Damon 2015-09-29
PASSAGES Honey Lee Cottrell 2015-09-26
VIEWS Dis-membering Stonewall 2015-09-23
MOVIES Stonewall: Brick layers 2015-09-23
Reeling Film Festival: Into the homostretch 2015-09-23
'Easy Abby' Web series raising funds for second season 2015-09-23
Knight at the Movies: Fall LGBT movie preview 2015-09-23
Bully Project uses film, education, litigation to assist schools 2015-09-23
Trans groups, allies protest Stonewall screening 2015-09-23
1985 MOVIES 2015-09-23
Reeling turns ripe old age of 33 2015-09-22
"Not a Sin" film highlights religious rejection, homelessness among LGBT youth 2015-09-21
Emmy wins exhibit diversity 2015-09-21

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.