Döppelgangers and undead ghouls, oh my! The apocalypse is funny in Zombieland: Double Tap.

This weekend, watch award-winning films from Germany at ...and the winners are..., see Eddie Murphy embody a blaxploitation legend in Dolemite Is My Name , or catch a sneak preview screening of the hotly anticipated Bong Joon-ho movie Parasite. See all of our film critics’ picks for this weekend below, and, if you've got a special taste for the macabre, click here to find all the spooky movies you can watch this month. If you're looking for even more options, check out our film events calendar and complete movie times listings (which are now location-aware!).

Note: Movies play Thursday–Sunday unless otherwise noted

Ad Astra
Writer/director James Grey's follow-up to 2016's excellent, underrated The Lost City of Z is a clunkier affair, with sad-sack Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) embarking on an almost-certainly doomed voyage through the solar system to track down his MIA astronaut father (Tommy Lee Jones). Along the way, he fights battles both external (space pirates!) and internal (daddy issues!), and he also spends a whole lot of time monologuing, thanks to an unnecessary, on-the-nose voiceover that rivals Harrison Ford's awkward ramble in Blade Runner. But it's when the movie shuts up—when Gray's camera skims the plains of the Moon, when an antenna towering into Earth's atmosphere begins to shudder, when the screen is filled by the shadow-blue rings of Neptune or the churning storms of Jupiter—that Ad Astra hits the profundity and scope that all McBride's monologuing fails to get at. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Wide release

...and the winners are...
This touring festival organized by the German Film Academy and the Goethe-Institut will bring you some of the best in German film. Check out the biopic of a Stasi informant, Gundermann, the working-class drama The Mover, the German Syrian war doc Of Fathers and Sons, and more.
SIFF Film Center
Friday–Sunday

Experience The Spectrum of Oolong Tea–& Its Unique Culture & History— August 1st!
Taste 6 different oolong teas (mailed to you before class), and learn all about their creation!
The Stranger Presents: A Worldwide Silent Reading Party!
Every Wednesday at 6pm PST, make yourself a snack, pour yourself a drink, and read whatever you feel like reading silently
Join the party at Speakeasy!— make cocktails and draw with Callan Berry!
Every other Thursday, make a cocktail, chat, and draw with Police Reports Illustrated’s Callan Berry!

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
The Beacon
Sunday only

An Autumn Afternoon
An Autumn Afternoon adheres to director Yasujiro Ozu's specific style, a style that can seem overly simple, even lazy, at first glance, but one that reveals itself to be surprisingly intricate the more that you watch it. Ozu rarely moved his camera (especially later in his career), choosing instead to keep it static and close to the floor; his characters often look directly into the lens, causing each conversation to feel extremely intimate, as if the audience is itself involved. It is a clean, trouble-free vision, void of flair but so perfectly realized that its apparent simplicity can obscure just how beautiful the images really are. BRADLEY STEINBACHER
The Beacon
Sunday only

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
MoPOP
Sunday only

Cat People
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.
The Beacon
Friday–Sunday

Chez Jolie Coiffure
One of two films showing this weekend by Cameroonian Belgian filmmaker Rosine Mbakam (see Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman below), this documentary profiles Sabine, a hairdresser in the West African immigrant community of Matonge in Brussels. It pays tribute to the vibrancy and complexity of the life of these women.
Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

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.
The Beacon
Friday only

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 minimal gore and simple special effects. JOULE ZELMAN
Grand Illusion
Thursday only

Desolation Center
You could classify director Stuart Swezey's Desolation Center documentary as a vanity project, as it focuses on his efforts as an events organizer and includes him on camera talking about the logistics and meaning of throwing off-the-grid concerts in the '80s. But in this case, the vanity is earned. From his Southern California home base, Swezey facilitated some of the most extraordinary multimedia extravaganzas of the pre-internet/pre-smart-phone era. The five shows he memorializes in Desolation Center went on to inspire such well-known festivals as Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Burning Man. And he did it with no corporate sponsorships. Swezey and crew were true DIY entrepreneurs, and their risks paid off much more in cultural capital than actual currency. DAVE SEGAL
Northwest Film Forum

Dolemite Is My Name
Of the many stars of the Blaxploitation genre of the early ’70s, Rudy Ray Moore may not be the most famous, but he was certainly the most original. After recording several comedy albums, he used the money to self-produce his starring vehicle, 1975’s Dolemite—about a rhyming pimp trained in kung fu who takes revenge on the rival who put him in jail. In Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy plays Moore from his days as a struggling comedian/singer/dancer who worked as a record store manager, to making comedy albums and eventually willing his cinematic visions to life. The film deftly captures the hardship of inner-urban life in the ’70s, where classism and privilege kept Black entertainers who were unwilling to play the game out of the mainstream. Dolemite Is My Name is a bittersweet, filthy-mouthed comedy that also sneakily educates its audience in the Black experience. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
SIFF Cinema Uptown & Ark Lodge Cinemas

The Driller Killer
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 Abel Ferrara’s 1979 directorial debut 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.
Grand Illusion
Saturday only

First Love
There’s a budding relationship at the heart of First Love—a tender, tentative romance between Leo (Masataka Kubota), a boxer with a brain tumor, and Monica (Sakurako Konishi), a young, drug-addicted woman forced into prostitution to pay off the debts of her abusive father. And as it progresses, First Love follows the traditional beats of a cinematic love story, starting with a meet-cute and ending with a happily ever after. But this is a Takashi Miike movie, after all, so there's also an ongoing war between Japanese and Chinese gangs, along with a bumbling gangster, a crooked cop, and stolen drugs. Which means every moment of the duo’s courtship is punctuated by a moment of violence. Here for the romance? Great. Not here for the romance? Brush it aside, and focus instead on every other tense, brutal moment. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. ROBERT HAM
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Thursday only

Fright Night
1985's Fright Night boasts an almost entirely queer supporting cast and is hilarious to boot. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Central Cinema
Friday–Sunday

Ghostwatch
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.
The Beacon
Sunday only

Hausu (House)
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
Central Cinema
Friday–Sunday

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.
Seattle Public Library, University Branch
Friday only

Hustlers
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers is based on the true story documented in "Hustlers in Scores," a 2015 New York magazine article by Jessica Pressler. The movie kicks off in 2007, before the effects of the recession were fully felt, and when things were still fun and business was still good. Wall street guys were making bank, and a considerable amount of that dough made it into the hands of strip club workers. But in 2008, the financial crisis started to affect the club’s clientele, which also meant a decline in the dancers’ pay. Hustlers shows how an all-out class war ensued, with a group of four stripper friends (played by Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhart) targeting their rolodex of wealthy clients, drugging, and guiding them to a club where the women had negotiated a percentage of their spending. Once there, the women would easily persuade their drunken victims to hand over their credit cards, racking up thousands of dollars in expenses. Ultimately, the funny, fleshy Hustlers is solid because the strippers are uniquely portrayed as real women with full lives, but also, let’s be honest: It’s just fun to watch Wall Street pervs get taken advantage of for their money. JENNI MOORE
Various locations

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 next week). 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.
The Beacon
Friday–Saturday

Joker
Joker isn’t really the story of a good man gone bad; clown for hire Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is troubled from the outset. He’s barely scraping by, living with his mother (Frances Conroy), and coming undone due to cuts in social services. Sure, Phillips overdoes it with long, panning explorations of Fleck’s bruised, skinny ribs, but then again, men with insecurities about being skinny are presumably the film’s target audience. The first half hour unfolds like a dog-whistle symphony for insecure guys who think they have it bad. Fleck berates his black social worker (Sharon Washington) for not listening to him when she’s obviously doing her best. He fixates on a black single mother (Zazie Beetz) after the briefest sign of camaraderie. Yet there are a series of trap doors throughout Joker that unexpectedly drop its audience into new perspectives. Early on, an obvious foreshadow shifts Fleck onto a new path, and as that plotline plays out, Joker offers some surprisingly rewarding reflections on the relationship between the villain and Batman. (Oh yeah! This is a Batman movie, remember?) Both men, Joker suggests, might be equally deranged, making sweeping moves against the world without regard for those who become collateral damage for their respective manias. SUZETTE SMITH
Various locations

Judy
A biopic about the last months of famed entertainer and Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland, Judy features an uncanny, spot-on performance from Reneé Zellwegger that’s unfortunately paired with a script that veers from affecting to eye-rollingly ham-fisted. Bouncing back and forth from Judy’s famed London Palladium gigs six months before her death and her childhood that was crushed under the abusive thumb of Louis B. Mayer while filming The Wizard of Oz, Zellwegger gives an honest, raw performance that lays bare Garland’s crippling depression and addiction. However, her valiant attempts at subtlety are betrayed by a shallow script that relies too heavily on emotional manipulation. That aside, Zellwegger’s gloriously accurate hair and makeup is almost reason enough to see this film, and when she belts out “The Trolley Song,” you'll long for the days when consummate pros like Garland pushed past their personal demons to bring audiences to their feet. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Various locations

Kill List
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
Grand Illusion
Friday–Saturday

Loro
Berlusconi's grin is clownish and rictus-like, and he wields it as a tool of seduction. Whether he’s trying to woo a senator or a dewy young woman in a short skirt, his smile floats through this fizzy, caustic satire like the Cheshire Cat. You get so distracted by it, you don’t feel his claws sinking into your flesh. The disclaimer that opens Sorrentino's film insists that Loro (Italian for “them”) is a work of fiction, inspired by the true story of the media magnate who became the most powerful man in Italy. But it’s a thin disguise. The details of Berlusconi’s attempts to return to politics after being ousted in 2006, his enormous ego and vanity, and the infamous bacchanals he participated in are all here—and through Servillo’s impeccable performance, the underlying desperation rises to the surface, overtaking the copious amounts of naked flesh and the slavish worship of wealth that's on display. ROBERT HAM
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Thursday only

Parasite
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. You have a chance to watch it in a special sneak preview.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Saturday only

Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire
Discover the history of Seattle's own Pilchuck Glass School, founded in 1971. This documentary is shown as part of Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Thursday only

RIP Robert Forster
In celebration of the life of the talented Robert Forster, who died October 11, 2019, watch two of his best and toughest films, Jackie Brown and Vigilante.
The Beacon
Saturday only

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.
Grand Illusion
Sunday only

Seattle Polish Film Festival
The Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association will mark its 27th year of co-producing a festival of Polish films, which will no doubt continue to show the strength of this cinematically important country. Check out Forbidden Songs, the first Polish feature to be filmed after World War II, and Mr. Jones, a historical drama about the Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who reported on Soviet atrocities in the 1930s.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Seattle Queer Film Festival
Local shorts, indie features, and national or international releases will stoke and satisfy your appetite for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, enby, and otherwise queer-focused films, from historical romances to incisive documentaries to perverse suspense flicks. There are many movies worth checking out, but don't miss the queer horror film history doc Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street or the closing film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Various locations

The Shining
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.
Scarecrow
Friday only

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.
The Beacon
Thursday only

The Thing From Another World
Does it surprise you that the director of Casablanca 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 skilfully scripted, intriguing reflection of Cold War fears.
The Beacon
Thursday only

The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman
One of two films showing this weekend by Cameroonian Belgian filmmaker Rosine Mbakam, this documentary chronicles Mbakam's journey to the place of her birth and her conversations with the village women, yielding a history of war, colonialism, and forced marriage.
Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

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.
The Beacon
Saturday only

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
Seattle Public Library, Greenwood Branch
Thursday only

Where's My Roy Cohn
The once-famous Roy Cohn has faded from the public consciousness, but the lawyer had a hell of a career, beginning with doing his part to destroy America alongside Joseph McCarthy and ending with doing his part to destroy America by representing a young Donald Trump. The documentary Where’s My Roy Cohn? spends much of its runtime examining Cohn’s arrogant, confrontational, and self-promoting public image, making a strong case that Cohn’s shiftiness and shittiness paved the way for today’s political belligerence. Cohn was also gay, though he never came out (he died from AIDS-related causes in 1986, shortly after being disbarred for unethical conduct), and his relationship with Ronald Reagan, even as Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis, is just one of a dozen eye-widening, stomach-sinking elements in director Matt Tyrnauer’s film. But by the time Cohn’s crazy, furious tale ends, one’s feeling isn’t of enlightenment so much as weary resignation: Terrible people have always existed, and they’ve always helped other terrible people be terrible, and a whole lot of these terrible people are also very powerful. Ugh. Sigh. Fuck all these motherfuckers. ERIK HENRIKSEN
SIFF Cinema Uptown

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
Grand Illusion
Saturday only

Zombieland 2: Double Tap
The problem with comedy sequels is that it's hard to tell the same joke years later, but funnier. Despite the ravages of time and changing tastes, filmmakers must suplex the lightning back into that bottle. But despite lurching into theaters a full decade after the original, Zombieland: Double Tap avoids those pitfalls while delivering a suitably zany Zombieland experience with the easy charm of an off-brand Mike Judge picaresque. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone all return to banter and blast zombies, and their wry camaraderie speaks a seemingly genuine desire to play in this viscera-splattered sandbox again (rather than, as with many long-delayed sequels, simply the desire for a new beach house). Added to the mix are a spate of goofy newcomers, including a delightfully unapologetic flibbertigibbet (Zoey Deutch) and a pair of dirtbag doppelgangers (Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch). It's more a live-action cartoon than a serious entry in the zombie canon, but as a low-key genre comedy, it totally works. BEN COLEMAN
Wide release

Also Playing:

Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might like to know about them anyway.

Black Death

Downton Abbey

Gemini Man

The Golden Glove

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Rambo: Last Blood