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Horror Shows

It's Rocky Horror time

The best ways to spend Halloween weekend in the dark

You’re not really planning to spend Halloween seeing Saw 3D, are you? There’s just no point, not on a weekend which offers so many other movie options to the horror fan, even those who didn’t get their fill at last weekends Buffalo Screams festival. (Which by the way was so successful that plans are underway to make it a longer event next year, with a special presentation or two in the interim.)

At the very least, you can relive your youth—or pretend to be your parents (now that’s scary!)—by partaking in the Rocky Horror Picture Show experience. The Riviera Theater is making a night of it on Friday with a party starting at 10pm, featuring a DJ, cash bar, dancing, and performances by Eye Candy Burlesque before getting to the flick itself at midnight. If the movie alone is enough for you, you can do that on midnight Saturday at the Hamburg Palace Theater.

You can’t go wrong with the classics, and the HD Video Café in Williamsville is featuring the German expressionist classic Nosferatu (1922) and George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead (1968). Both films will be shown twice nightly every night except Sunday.

Too mainstream? I like the way you think. The Screening Room in Amherst has a whole weekend full of unrespectable entertainment. Friday brings another in their “Night at the Grindhouse” series, featuring two films for one price accompanied by lots of trailers. Bloodlust (1961) is a campy remake (one of about a zillion) of The Most Dangerous Game, in which teenagers who visit a remote island are hunted as game by the nutcase who owns the place. It stars Robert Reed, eight years before The Brady Bunch. And if you’ve never seen The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, a movie so sleazy and gruesome it’s hard to believe it was made in 1959. This tale of a doctor who leaves his girlfriend’s severed head in a pan in his lab while he auditions replacement bodies at strip clubs is not easily forgotten. (Stay away from that closet door!) Showtime is 7:30pm.

Saturday night’s program features Night of the Living Dead at 7:15pm and the 1974 British classic The Wicker Man (no, not the Nicolas Cage remake) at 9:15pm. Separate admissions. The weekend concludes on Sunday at 8:30pm with Edward D. Wood Jr.’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space (1956), a movie whose ineptitude gets more endearing every time I see it. (How can you not love Criswell, he of the swirly blond hair and pompous prognostications like “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember, my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future!)

For those of you who really like to take your chances wallowing on the bottom of the cinematic barrel, take a nap Friday afternoon to be ready for the dusk-til-dawn Horror Fest 2010 at the Angola Screening Room. Five dollars admission (worth it just for the free popcorn) gets you seven movies, most of which you are highly unlikely ever to have seen. Setting the mood at 7pm is The Bob Wilkins Halloween Special, a paean to the pleasures of Grade Z horror from the host of Sacramento’s Creature Features. At 7:45pm is the 1978 anthology movie Last Stop on 13th Street (which played a few theaters as Alien Zone, even though there are no aliens in it). Amputee with an Axe (a.k.a. Scream Bloody Murder, 1973) is the tender story of a farm boy sent to a mental hospital after throwing Daddy under the tractor, who is not pleased on his release to find that Mom has remarried. It’s at 9:30pm, followed at 11pm by The Pigman Movie, a short film by local filmmaker Jason Mager (Born to Die). Vincent Price fights a lonely battle against zombie vampires as The Last Man On Earth at 11:30pm. You’re on your own as far as Colony (1am) and Gore (2:30am)—I have no idea. And you can greet the dawn with—what else?—Night of the Living Dead at 4:30am.

Those of you who like to hide out at home on holidays don’t have to worry that Netflix will come through with your choices by the weekend. Turner Classic Movies has the ultimate Halloween marathon planned: 51 movies starting at 8pm Thursday and ending just before you’ll have to get up to go to work on Monday morning. The fare ranges from high-toned Hollywood scary stuff (Poltergeist, Rebecca, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) to Bela Lugosi Poverty Row chillers, with something for every taste along the way. Some highlights: Peter Lorre in Mad Love (Sun 12:45am), Vincent Price in The Tingler (Sun 3pm), Jodie Foster as The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (Fri 12:15am), Mr. Sardonicus (Sat 4:30pm), and a whole evening of Peter Cushing in Hammer Studio’s Frankenstein series on Friday. The weekend includes two real rarities: Elio Petrie’s ghost story A Quiet Place in the Country, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero (Mon 3:15am), and Carnival Magic by the ignoble Al Adamson (Sun 2:45am). You can get the entire schedule at

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