Spooky! Where (and when) to see scary movies in Vancouver in October

The ladies of The Craft, a Snapchat away from going full Carrie.

Who doesn’t love a good scare, especially this time of year, and one that’s in the safe remove of a movie theatre?

This Halloween, Vancouver’s independent theatres have some treats in store. Our picks include Carnival of Lost Souls and Lost Highway (well, the first half, anyway), both screening at Cinematheque; and An American Werewolf in London at the Rio. Although, that could just be because we haven’t seen the 1981 movie in, oh, 37 years or so.

Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Lost Highway (35mm print)—A Lynchian nightmare, probably because it was directed by David Lynch. From 1997; according to Wiki, the movie “features the last film appearances of Robert Blake, Jack Nance, and Richard Pryor, and the acting debut of Marilyn Manson.” (Oct 27 at 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 29 at 8:10 p.m.; and Oct. 31 at 8:30 p.m., as part of the Cinematheque’s Halloween party. The evening includes a DJ set and cash bar)

“Yes, as a matter of fact we do have a cash bar…” Robert Blake in Lost Highway.

Hour of the Wolf (new restoration)—A 2012 British Film Institute directors’ poll ranked this 1968 Ingmar Bergman as one of the 50 greatest films ever made. “Brilliant … A dazzling flow of surrealism, expressionism, and full-blooded Gothic horror” (Tom Milne, Time Out). (Oct 27 9 p.m.; Oct 28 4:30 p.m.; Oct 30 6:30 p.m.)

Carnival of Lost Souls —A black-and-white, deliciously creepy and hallucinatory B-movie masterwork not soon forgotten by anyone who sees it. (Oct. 28 at 9 p.m.; Oct 29 at 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 30 at 8:30 p.m.)

Actress Candace Hilligoss, originally from South Dakota, only made three movies. Carnival of Souls was the first, and the one she is remembered for.

Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (40th Anniversary Remaster)—Old Leatherface, in a restoration that lets you see every stitch. (Oct. 20, 11:30 p.m.)

An American Werewolf in London—The werewolf legend played for laughs, until it isn’t. Stars Jenny Agutter (Logan’s Run). (Oct. 24, 9:30 p.m.)

Suspiria (40th Anniversary Remaster)—Italian director Dario Argento’s 1977 film regularly makes lists of best horror movies. (Oct 26 9:30 p.m.)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula—Francis Ford Coppola, slumming it in Transylvania. (Oct. 27 8:45 p.m.)

The Craft (1996)—Four teenage girls pursue witchcraft because Snapchat had yet to be invented. (Oct 31, 6:20 p.m.)

The Exorcist (Director’s Cut)—It scared your parents. (Oct 31, 8:30 p.m.)

The Rio is also hosting multiple screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Check the Rio website for details.

Vancity Theatre

Boo! The Hallowe’en Movie Show—Film scholar Michael van den Bos hosts a collection of clips from classic horror and monster movies, as well as moments from musicals and comedies. (Oct. 22 at 3:45 p.m.; Oct. 30 at 6:45)

The Nutty Professor—Jerry Lewis is both Jekyll and Hyde in this modern (for Hugh Hefner’s 1962, at least) retelling of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. (Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m.; Oct. 31 at 4:20 p.m.)

Suspiria—Dario Argento’s classic, also screening at the Rio, and again showing in its recent 4k restoration. (Oct. 30 at 8:45 p.m.; Oct 31 at 6:30 p.m.)

Jessica Harper in Dario Argento’s Suspiria.


Lucifer Rising: The Films of Kenneth Anger—Vancouver writer Shane Scott Travis hosts a look at the work of Kenneth Anger. An occultist, Hollywood muckraker, and avant-garde icon, Anger made films that are, according to  viff.org, “an intoxicating brew of pop, homoeroticism and satanic imagery.” (Oct. 31 at 8:20 p.m.)

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