Cine’s annual “Schlocktoberfest” series brings frights and sounds

Provided/Shout Factory William Finley stars in Brian DePalma’s 1974 musical “Phantom Of The Paradise,” opening Friday at Ciné.

Ciné has programmed an outstanding selection of cult and classic horror flicks every year since the inception of their “Schlocktoberfest” series in 2014.

 

I don’t know how nonprofit arthouse theatres in other towns do October, but I’m very familiar with how the one in Athens handles things. Though I’d probably sit through several hours of academically-approved thrillers if that’s what they wanted to play, the folks at Ciné clearly have a sense of what kind of films work best with a big audience in a dark room.

This year’s schedule will transform their building into a bona fide revival house each weekend to provide the nighttime crowds with the same unique, communal experience that earned each of these movies a well-deserved place in the hearts of loyal fans across generations.

Everything listed here comes with my highest personal recommendation. Even if you’re already familiar with some of these, if you haven’t seen them on the big screen yet, I maintain that you haven’t really seen them (especially the last one):

FRANKENSTEIN (Oct. 5-7): Presented in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of Mary Shelley’s original novel, this Universal Studios classic was rushed into production after the success of “Dracula” and released the same year. Controversial in its day due to a scene where the monster (Boris Karloff) accidentally drowns a little girl (Marilyn Harris), the film’s gothic set design and unforgettable creature makeup remain unmatched by the standards of any era. 1931. 1 hr. 10; Not rated.

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (Oct. 5-7): A year before “Rocky Horror” came out, a pre-”Carrie” Brian DePalma wrote and directed this comedic horror musical mash-up of “Faust” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Featuring “Suspiria” star Jessica Harper and original songs by Paul WIlliams (who also plays the villain), the film centers on a disfigured composer (William Finley) who plots revenge after his music is stolen by producers at a corporate record label. 1974. 1 hr. 32; PG.

THE DEAD ZONE (Oct. 12-14): For his first foray into adapting someone else’s material, Canadian horror master David Cronenberg (“Scanners”) worked with “Halloween” producer Debra Hill to bring Stephen King’s politically charged thriller to the big screen. Christopher Walken stars as Johnny Smith, who awakens from a coma with new psychic powers that reveal “man of the people” candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) will become President and start World War III. 1983. 1 hr. 43; R.

RE-ANIMATOR (Oct. 19-21): Arguably the greatest horror flick of the 1980’s, this darkly comic and excessively gory take on an H.P. Lovecraft story came from Chicago theater director Stuart Gordon, whose inexperience with the subtleties of film resulted in an over-the-top experience for genre fans. The story concerns a crackpot medical student (Jeffrey Combs) who involves his innocent classmates — and eventually his professor (David Gale) — in his experiments with corpses. 1985. 1 hr. 45; Unrated.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Oct 26-28): It’s hard to imagine one of the most frightening and influential films of all time was originally shown to kiddie matinee crowds by woefully unaware theatre owners, but that was how George Romero came to be the godfather of the modern zombie movie. Recently given the full restoration treatment by Janus Films, the tense and disturbing tale pits a group of strangers against undead cannibals — and one another. 1968. 1 hr. 36, Not rated.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (Oct 27, 28, and 31): Originally a successful West End stage production before becoming a critically-panned feature film, Richard O’Brien’s wildly unconventional glam rock love letter to classic B-movies was embraced by midnight audiences in New York City and went on to become a worldwide cultural phenomenon that would define “cult film” for all time, holding the record for longest-running theatrical release in cinema history. 1975. 1 hr. 40; R.

Visit athenscine.com for full schedule, special events, and show times.

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