Halloween season is in full swing with the holiday arriving on Monday,you have a little more than a week to put the finishing touches on your costume. The big studios have been releasing their scare fare since August starting off with the remake of the eighties cult classic Fright Night to mostly positive reviews. It was followed by the thud, in more ways than one of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and just last week marked the release of the sequel (was it a prequel or a remake? A bit of both) of The Thing. This week brings the third film in the Paranormal Activity franchise that has stolen the Halloween crown from the (for now) dormant Saw franchise. I’ve not seen it, the studio didn’t screen it for critics but based on buzz out of Fantastic Fest the word isn’t good. The third film in the franchise was directed by the duo behind last year’s Catfish and was rushed like crazy to get completed in time for the Halloween Holiday.
But forget about all that. Sequels and remakes have all been done to death. They usually suck and its all about the cult classic around my favorite holiday of the year, Halloween. Thankfully, locally-owned independent theaters in Kansas City are making it easier than ever to see new, cult and classic horror on the big screen over the coming weeks. It’s a win win all around. Horror aficionados: avoid crap remakes and tired franchise sequels and the usual ass hat crowds that come with those films while getting to support your local theatres who have really stepped up to the plate to offer some kick ass programing in the next two weekends.
It all gets under way this weekend with no less than two options. First up, I’m going to sound like a hypocrite. That’s right I’m recommending a sequel. Though I should be clear I’ve yet to see it. At the Screenland Crossroads is the KC premier of the anticipated sequel to one of the most buzzed about genre films that hit the pop culture zeitgeist so much it even got its own South Park reference in The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). The film premiered just about a month ago at Fantastic Fest and word was that the sequel takes the gore and sickness to levels far unseen in the first film. It almost sounds as if it’s director Tom Six’s response to those that dreaded the thought of viewing the first film alone. Personally I’ve viewed it three times, its really not that bad. If you’ve seen The Human Centipede (first sequence) you know it isn’t all that graphic, though the situation is very horrific. That said, Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter is now easily one of the best horror bad guys of the last several decades. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) shows this Friday through Sunday at the Screenland Crossroads. Check showtimes and get tickets here.
The second option this weekend is at the Tivoli in Westport. Mighty convenient since it allows one to catch a flick and do some pre and post boozing at one of the entertainment districts many fine establishments. The Tivoli has the classic horror film Zombie. It’s a fully restored print that is alleged to look gorgeous. If you’re in Lawrence you’ll be happy to hear that the excellent Liberty Hall will have a copy of the Zombie print for your viewing pleasure. For Tivoli showtimes check here. For Liberty Hall here Note it looks like Liberty Hall has a lone 10PM screening Friday night.
Halloween weekend gives us something I personally can’t wait for. To those that pay enough attention Trick R Treat has quite a history behind it. Executive produced by Brian Singer the film played several festivals to overwhelmingly positive reviews and word of mouth for several years before the studio inexplicably kicked it straight to the “direct to home video” curb.
The film, and now it’s growing legion of cult fans never got a chance to see the excellent horror anthology on a big screen as intended. Well thanks to Screenland Crossroads that’s all changing for KC residents this Halloween weekend with showings Friday through Sunday.
So skip the crap remakes and sequels and the lame giant soulless multiplexes and support your local independent theatres that have lined up some solid films for the best holiday of the year. You’ll feel good knowing your money is staying in town and encouraging this kind of stuff to happen more often.
EDIT: I just realized that Screenland Crossroads is also screening Tucker and Dale vs Evil this Weekend as well. Now you have but yet one more reason to go out this weekend.
By John Coovert