Seattle is a great place to be a horror movie fan, not only because you're in good company, but also because we have terrific small and art-house theaters showing a wondrous variety of everything frightening. Whether you're jonesing for a critically acclaimed new release like Parasite or looking to revisit a fun, friendly classic like Hocus Pocus or hoping to get deeply, artsily disturbed by Possession, we've got you covered. (You may notice that half of these come from the Beacon. That's because the Beacon is the best thing since sliced fle—bread, we mean sliced bread—and the theater shows a staggering number of movies per month.) Check out more spooky events on our Halloween calendar, and find more movie times here. Plus, if you're in the South Sound, check out our list of the top Halloween events in Tacoma—including some quality spooky movie screenings at the Grand Cinema.
Anime Sunrise: The Curse of Kazuo Umezu/Mermaid Forrest
Anime and horror collide! The Beacon is doing a double bill of two creepy OVAs (original video animation), The Curse of Kazuo Umezu and Mermaid Forest, as part of their ongoing Anime Sunrise series. Inspired by the works of horror mangaka Kazuo Umezu and Rumiko Takahashi, these unstreamable vintage tapes are tough, if not impossible, to find. A rare tape doesn’t equal a good tape (trash can be rare), but Mermaid Forest is dark, puzzling, weird—and fueled by mermaid blood. Hot, scaly, mermaid blood! It includes scenes of slaughtered merfolk, a doctor who cuts off people’s hands, twinks cursed with immortality, a demon dog who kills anyone who crosses his murderous master... Excellent Halloween fodder. I doubt you'll be able to see either of these in a theater again. CHASE BURNS
Sun Oct 20
The Boxer's Omen
Produced by the notorious Shaw Brothers Studio, Kuei Chih-Hung’s 1983 Hong Kong horror film The Boxer’s Omen will stun you as if hit with a flurry of punches from Muhammad Ali’s LSD-soaked gloves. Simply viewing the two-minute trailer will stagger you with its barrage of surreal violence, grotesque mutilations, supernatural capers, and WTF? imagery that makes Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain look like a Hollywood blockbuster. One critic called The Boxer’s Omen a cross between Rocky and Hausu, but that merely scrapes the surface. The plot revolves around a battered boxer who tries to avenge himself and locate an omen that he believes will save his family from an ancient curse. However, you won’t care much about that amid the hysterically over-the-top fights, baffling mysticism, and maniacal, quick-cut action sequences. Gird your psyche—and stomach—for one of the most infernal cinematic mindfucks ever. DAVE SEGAL
Oct 26 & 29–30
The producer Val Lewton produced an astoundingly beautiful, mature series of low-budget horror films in the 1940s, the best of which may well be Jacques Tourneur's tragic Cat People. A mysterious young Russian artist with a bit of a panther fixation falls in love with an ordinary guy. But she's afflicted with a strange malady that causes her to undergo a transformation in the throes of strong emotion—one that threatens the lives of the people around her. A masterful drama of sexual repression, shot in silky, delicious chiaroscuro.
Dead & Buried/Messiah of Evil
The Beacon describes this as "a sleepy seaside town east-coast-vs-west-coast horror double bill!" The East Coast is represented by Dead & Buried, a strange, schlocky feature written by Alien's team of Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett about murdered tourists returning as zombies to terrorize a New England town. Messiah of Evil is, if possible, even weirder, about a young woman who returns to a seaside town to find it in the thrall of a zombie cult.
Fri Oct 18
The BBC's perilously clever haunted-house mockumentary might be considered the granddaddy of found footage horror. A television crew makes the mistake of investigating (and live-broadcasting) an unassuming family home where strange disturbances have been taking place. Very slowly, things begin to go terribly wrong. The original broadcast of this deftly scripted frightfest, which appeared with no disclaimers or indications of its fictional nature, genuinely terrified many British watchers who assumed it was real. You can't have quite the same experience, but you'll still be creeped out.
Sun Oct 20
This is Rob Zombie's 2009 sequel to the first remake of the classic.
Mon Oct 28
House on Haunted Hill
This extremely silly film is kind of worth it for Vincent Price in the role of a creepy millionaire who offers a group of strangers a jackpot to stay in his haunted house.
Also playing at the Seattle Public Library University Branch on Oct 18.
In the Mouth of Madness
Seattle in October is blessed: there are not one but TWO horror movies this month starring the eccentric New Zealander Sam Neill (see Possession below). The third installment in John Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy is a Lovecraftian psychological horror exploration of the line between truth and fiction—in this film, a powerful book destroys the minds of its readers and unleashes real monsters. Sam Neill's insane laughter alone is worth the price of admission.
Oct 18–19, 21 & 23–24
The Lost Boys
Kiefer Sutherland has never been sexier on the big screen than when he played the leather-wearing moto-riding leader of the vampire gang terrorizing a small California beach town in The Lost Boys. It's your classic '80s-era horror movie, with plenty of camp, some ill-fated romance, and a couple of stake-and-garlic-wielding pre-teens in classic '80s duo Corey Feldman and Corey Haim (RIP). LEILANI POLK
The playwright August Strindberg once wrote, “Could there be anything more terrifying than a husband and wife who hate each other?” Andrzej Żuławski’s 1981 film Possession, set in a drab and chilly West Berlin, asks and answers the same question. Sam Neill (yes, of Jurassic Park) plays Mark, a businessman and possible spy who goes mad with hurt and fury when his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani, Queen Margot) unexpectedly demands a divorce. Almost immediately, the two lock in a desperate, hysterical, bloody clash, and things only get more intense from there. Anna is having an affair, but she’s hiding something far more grotesque. A curdled relationship morphs into a domestic nightmare of doppelgangers, monsters, and murder. This is not the type of horror movie you take your friends to for a laugh; this is what you watch with your ex and realize how much worse things could have been. JOULE ZELMAN
The Spirit of the Beehive
At the close of the Spanish Civil War, a little girl is deeply frightened by a screening of Frankenstein. When she comes across a wounded soldier from the defeated Republican army, she cultivates a secret bond with him, perceiving him as a sort of dangerous but pitiful Frankenstein's monster. Victor Erice's 1973 film is considered one of the greatest films ever produced in Spain.
Through Oct 17
The Thing From Another World
Does it surprise you that the director of Casablanca, Howard Hawks, also produced the movie on which John Carpenter's The Thing was based? Needless to say, the special effects are a little less over-the-top, but it's still a skillfully scripted, intriguing reflection of Cold War fears.
Through Oct 17
Viy: Spirit of Evil
Konstantin Ershov and Georgiy Kropachyov's Viy, perhaps the first true Russian horror film, is based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol and is full of witches, devils, and stop-motion phantasms.
Oct 19 & 22–23
1985's Fright Night boasts an almost entirely queer supporting cast and is hilarious to boot. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
A hilarious landmark in bugout madness, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 haunted house tale is about a group of doomed schoolgirls with names like Gorgeous and Kung Fu who fall into the clutches of a genteel—and secretly evil—old lady. Featuring butt-biting flying heads, a hungry piano, and one naughty kitty. JOULE ZELMAN
This beloved fantasy/comedy film features a badass trio of witches (played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) who want to suck out children’s souls.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven created one of the most memorable—and ubiquitous—baddies of pop culture in the ever-morphing Freddy Krueger. Also featured: a pre-real-life-monstrous Johnny Depp.
Get your senses sharpened for scary Halloween happenings at Cinerama! Watch Ghostbusters (1984), The Thing, Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, The Evil Dead, Midsommar, and many more on the biiiiiig screen.
Sean Bean plays a medieval knight sent by the church to investigate rumors of a necromancers. Reportedly, this one's kind of a slog.
Thurs Oct 17
The Dead Center
Ever wonder what would happen if a dementor escaped into the muggle world with no wizards to intervene? That's more or less what happens in Billy Senese's beautifully paced The Dead Center, starring Shane Carruth as a workaholic psychiatrist who tries to treat a hospitalized catatonic patient with a dangerous secret. As mysterious deaths multiply in the hospital, a medical examiner at the morgue tries to solve the mystery of a vanished corpse. This film's deliberately ugly surfaces—monochromatic hospital corridors, degraded city streets, McMansions that recall the neighborhoods of It Follows—deepen the bleakness while accentuating the humanity of mentally ill people and those trying to help them. Best of all, The Dead Center'll make you hide your eyes despite the simple special effects. JOULE ZELMAN
Through Oct 17
Dick Miller Double Halloween Bill
The theater honors the actor Dick Miller, the lead of the beatnik-culture satire A Bucket of Blood and florist Burson Fouch in The Little Shop of Horrors. Also featuring door prizes, cartoons, and a poetry reading by "Dead Allen Ginsberg."
Tues Oct 29
Usually, the spectre of "cult" moviegoing lends itself to a goofy, fun-loving atmosphere, where fans gather together and power through a familiar favorite fueled by sugar and warm nostalgia. But The Driller Killer is about a starving artist who is so scared of becoming homeless he becomes a mass murderer whose weapon of choice is a fucking power drill. Good night and good luck ever sleeping again.
Oct 19 & 23
Fatal Exposure imagines the great-grandson of Jack the Ripper (also named Jack) as a handsome, wealthy, American serial killer who loves photographing his female victims as he murders him. He drinks the blood from his victims in order to stay sexually potent so that he can impregnate the right woman with his murderous seed. Wooo boy. He finally meets his match in a girl with absolutely no danger-radar named Erica, who unwittingly helps him lure women into his house. But Jack—in his drive to murder, fuck his girlfriend (awkwardly), and procreate—starts making mistakes that could expose him. Delightfully low-budget and campy, it seems like all the film's money went toward its gory visual effects. They're pretty fucking disturbing, like when the camera lingers on blood squirting out of a recently decapitated head, or the way skin bubbles when injected with hydrochloric acid. It's not a masterpiece, but it's smutty and bloody and culty. You can catch this baby in theaters: VHS Über Alles is doing a late-night screening. Go and get spooked! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Fri Oct 25
Ishiro Honda's original Godzilla in its Japanese version, believe it or not, is a sad, elegant drama of sacrifice and hubris that just so happens to have a man in a monster suit tromping through Tokyo. If you've only seen the sequels or remakes or the bowdlerized American cut, go back to the newly restored source, the Ur-kaiju.
Oct 25–26, 28 & 31
Godzilla vs. Hedorah
Godzilla returns, but he's on our side now! Yoshimitsu Banno's 1971 Godzilla sequel pits the King of Monsters against a deadly smog monster that feeds on toxic waste. This one gets trippy.
Oct 27 & 30–31
The Golden Glove
Fatih Akin has won international acclaim for the Golden Globe-winning In the Fade and the European Film Award-winning Goodbye Berlin, but critics are less than thrilled with his newest, an exceedingly grim black comedy about the real-life killer Fritz Honka. Ben Kenigsberg of the New York Times opens his review thus: "Filmmakers can have a tough time distinguishing themselves in the crowded serial-killer genre. For Fatih Akin [...] the solution seems to have been making his movie as vomitous as possible."
The much-hyped Tarantinoid horror movie Kill List certainly doesn't want for showily overt moments (most notably a bit with a hammer that might make even the most jaded splatter fan cringe), but, more impressively, also succeeds on generating a mightily effective slow-burn aura of unease. While it's screaming in your face, it's also quietly creeping up behind you. Director/co-writer Ben Wheatley's film follows a combat-shocked British hitman (Neil Maskell) trying to pick up the pieces after a botched job in Kiev. In an attempt to keep his family together, he accepts a lucrative trio of contracts, only to learn that he really should have checked the fine print first. I'm not giving anything else away. Wheatley isn't afraid to set an initially deliberate pace, with a talky first half that may bring on the fidgets. The small odd moments soon begin to mount, however, creating an atmosphere that makes the scenes of gory carnage almost seem a relief. ANDREW WRIGHT
Oct 18–19 & 21–22
The Long Weekend
A horrible, litterbuggy Australian couple gets their comeuppance when cute lil animals ATTACK!
Oct 26 & 30
Scarecrow Video Weirdo Horror Triple Feature
Go to Grand Illusion Cinema and bring your appetite for the "weirdest, cheapest, unbelievable trash cinema ever to get mercilessly crammed into your gummy, juicy brain." This triple feature will include three secret movies chosen by Scarecrow Video's Matt Lynch.
Sun Oct 20
Often listed as one of the most disturbing movies ever made, Mick Jackson's realistic BBC TV feature follows a young couple in Sheffield who try to survive in the wake of nuclear war.
Oct 25–26 & 28
The Wicker Man (Final Cut)
Not the "NOT THE BEES" version, but the vastly more bewitching and less laughable (though plenty campy) 1973 original. A tight-arse policeman (Edward Woodward) searches for a missing child on the estate of the pagan Lord Summerisle (a superbly sinister Christopher Lee) and finds himself at the center of a horrifying plot. Yes, there are plenty of ridiculous moments, like a sexy dance that will have you giggling, but that Shirley Jackson-esque ending still has the power to shake you up. Lhude sing cuccu! JOULE ZELMAN
Oct 19, 24 & 26
Campout Cinema: ‘The Fly’
David Cronenberg directed a(n initially) beautiful young Jeff Goldblum in the role of a brilliant scientist fatefully transformed in a teleportation accident. It surely stands as one of Cronenberg’s most tragic—and most viscerally disgusting—tales of science gone wrong. JOULE ZELMAN
Sun Oct 20
Northwest Film Forum
Nocturnal Emissions: Ginger Snaps
Dark-minded burlesque maven Isabella L. Price and Clinton McClung of Cinebago Events will return with their cheeky, sexy, macabre series Nocturnal Emissions, which prefaces an unusual horror classic with "phantasmagoric" burlesque performances and other fun. October's movie is Ginger Snaps, a fraught feminist Canadian flick about two sisters whose relationship gets complicated when one of them's bitten by a werewolf.
Thurs Oct 24
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
The gayest slasher film ever made is getting a documentary. Obviously that film is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), a critical flop that's become a cult hit. In the sequel, the original film's lead female character was replaced with a male character, a choice that embeds a queer undercurrent throughout Elm Street 2. The film's screenwriter and director refused to acknowledge its gayness for years, but they have now reversed their position. CHASE BURNS
Sat Oct 19
Part of Seattle Queer Film Festival
The Royal Room
Removed as they are from the modern movie-going experience, silent movies possess a special kind of hypnotic otherworldliness—and few are stranger than Robert Wiene's 1919 Expressionist masterwork The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a tale of a malevolent fairground "doctor" and the unfortunate sleepwalker who murders at his command. Don't miss your chance to see this film with a live score by award-winning Seattle keyboardist Wayne Horvitz and his ensemble.
Thurs Oct 31
The Black Pit of Dr. M.
In this vintage Mexican horror, two doctors make a pact that the one who dies first will return to spill the secrets of beyond the grave to the other.
Wed Oct 30
Timur Bekmambetov directs this supernatural action movie.
Fri Oct 25
Roman Polanski’s 1968 maternal-jitters flick is simultaneously one of the scariest horror movies ever made and one of the funniest black comedies of all time. Mia Farrow plays an expectant mother who fears a clan of Satanists has an eye on her unborn child. Is she hormonal? Paranoid? OR IS SHE RIGHT? Rosemary’s Baby is wonderfully creepy (and pretty hilarious), proving that despite his real-life creep factor, Polanski knows what he’s doing behind the camera.
Fri Oct 25
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining towers over every film made before or since about hauntings, possessed children, beleaguered wives, and psychotically murderous ax-swinging lunatics. (And there are a lot.) There's something beautifully, coldly opulent about its portrait of American violence, with Kubrick and cinematographer John Alcott's inexorable tracking shots rushing us toward overwhelming evil.
Fri Oct 18
Seattle Public Libraries
Booktoberfest Halloween Horror Movie Marathon
The library will present four classics that you can watch for free: A Bucket of Blood, Little Shop of Horrors, Carnival of Souls, and Night of the Living Dead (the original).
Thurs Oct 31, Central Library
Jack Hill's notoriously strange 1967 horror comedy stars Lon Chaney Jr. as the caretaker to three regressing, murderous children.
Fri Oct 25, University Branch
What We Do in the Shadows
Cowritten by, costarring, and co-directed by Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords’s Jemaine Clement, Shadows combines the banality of reality television (“I tended to torture when I was in a bad place,” Clement’s Vladislav deadpans to the camera) with pretty much every vampire trope from the last century of film. Some of the humor is smart, and some of it is pleasantly moronic. (Waititi’s naive, innocent vampire, Viago, runs around the house at dusk in the first moments of the film shouting in his bad Transylvanian accent, “Vake up! Vake up, everyone! Avaken! Avakey-vakey!”) Though Shadows suffers from some aimlessness in its latter half, it’s overall a pleasant revisitation of the mockumentary tropes perfected by Christopher Guest. The special effects are surprisingly good for a low-budget New Zealand feature, with characters flying around, turning into bats, and struggling to slurp blood as it gushes forth from an accidentally damaged aorta. This is funny stuff. PAUL CONSTANT
Thurs Oct 17, Greenwood Branch
Fans of the delicious-as-butter historical horror The VVitch are downright salivating for director Robert Eggers’ follow-up, in which Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play lighthouse keepers losing their minds in isolation. Film festival critics have been ecstatic, so don’t miss this one. JOULE ZELMAN
Opening Thurs Oct 24, Uptown
Fans of international thrillers and art-house movies are eagerly awaiting this Palme d'Or-winning film by Joon-ho Bong (Snowpiercer, Mother, Okja, The Host), a dark comedy about a down-and-out family that slowly insinuates itself into an upper-class household.
Sneak Preview Oct 19
Opening Fri Oct 25, Egyptian
Be Kind, Rewind: 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge'
In this special Halloween episode of Be Kind, Rewind, hosts Uh Oh and SHE continue their new tradition of performing pop-up drag during screenings of queer classics with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Freddy Krueger is the ultimate nightmare daddy, a killer on a mission to turn us all into his children. Will SHE and Uh Oh submit to his freaky demands? Chances are probably 90 percent yes, and happily. Who knows?! I do know that there will be spooky drink specials, lots of popcorn, hilarious commentary, and a whole lotta butt. Full disclosure: Uh Oh daylights as Chase Burns, my Slog editor, but he doesn't know I'm writing this preview because I enjoyed myself so much at the last Be Kind, Rewind, so really the joke's on him. RICH SMITH
Thurs Oct 24
Wide release/Various locations
Horror flick fiends can get their fix of frightful short films at this festival.
Rocky Horror Picture Show
How does a new generation of fighters for trans rights inherit Dr. Frank N. Furter of Transsexual, Transylvania (played by Tim Curry), in this campy 1975 horror musical? Susan Sarandon costars, along with ripped fishnet stockings, corsets, and the dreams of science fiction.
Through Oct 31
Zombieland 2: Double Tap
Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland is one of my all-time favorite zom-coms, ranking right up there with Shaun of the Dead, Life After Beth, and The Cabin in the Woods (which is really more zom-fusion than anything). The plot is typical, but the execution of it and the cast involved are damn near perfect: Jesse Eisenberg as the loner-geek college kid quietly and doggedly following his own set of “rules” to make it through the zombie apocalypse (also the film’s running gag and provider of comic relief); Woody Harrelson as the redneck gun nut he meets on the road and who becomes his sidekick/partner in crime (or is it the other way around?); and the two sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) they meet, who alternately help and take advantage of them. Oh, also Bill Murray in the most epic walk-on role ever. I am super excited that Fleischer has helmed a sequel 10 years later, in which we pick up with the foursome as they deal with fellow survivors, evolved zombies, and their own makeshift family’s growing pains. No idea if it’s as good as its predecessor, but the trailer made me belly laugh, which is a good sign. LEILANI POLK
Opening Fri Oct 18