Get horror, freaky C-U fiends!

What a boo-tiful day to enjoy Halloween, dearest bleeders! For the adventurous – e.g., those not completely knocked out by pre-All Hallows’ Eve partying last weekend – tonight may be round two, or three, or some other ghastly number, but any which way please be safe. We’d like to toss a few alternate suggestions into your goodie bag of horrifically filmy things you might do this October 31!

First and foremost, go see a scary movie! After an early show of SAMSARA, the Art Theater will present the acclaimed Magnet Films release V/H/S at 7:30 and 10 p.m.; it’s a low-budget, highly creepy anthology taking the “found footage” concept in a new direction. The multiplexes still have most of the recent Hollywood scare fare on tap, although one-off digital presentations of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN and the classic Universal duo FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN have already passed. Both the Goodrich Savoy 16 and Carmike Beverly Cinema 18 will play SILENT HILL: REVELATION, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4, SINISTER, and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, while Savoy has held over Tim Burton’s FRANKENWEENIE in a 4:40 p.m. matinee (hurry!) and Beverly will bite tonight at 9 p.m. with George A. Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in a 3-D and (ugh) colorized edition.

If one must stay home, then one can plan ahead and stock up on a few of the thousands of horror movie videos enshrined on the shelves of That’s Rentertainment in Campustown. Also, Urbana Public Television will offer an evening full of vintage eek starting at 6 p.m.: THE DEVIL’S MESSENGER starring Lon Chaney, Jr., TORMENTED directed by Bert I. Gordon, and THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA and TERROR IN THE CRYPT both with Christopher Lee. Of note is that TORMENTED anchors a “Halloween Special” hosted by Baltimore horror host Dr. Dreck (a.k.a. indie filmmaker Mike Legge) in a tradition long abandoned by the networks, cable outlets, and most local television stations. (One of the rare big-city exceptions is Chicago’s Svengoolie portrayed by Rich Koz, now a nationwide institution on ME-TV.) Numerous bumpers and skits pertaining to Windy City fear programming have been archived on the invaluable Museum of Classic Chicago Television Web site, including the video above which opened the early Seventies iteration “Freaky Films” on WLS Channel 7, the ABC-TV affiliate.

For whatever insidious reason, Champaign-Urbana itself does not host a full-blown Halloween/indie film festival in the fall, bringing us to the topic of past and future glories. Fifteen years ago tonight, many of the C-U’s brightest were enjoying the very first Freaky Film Festival held in the University of IllinoisNoyes Lab and the Channing-Murray Foundation/Red Herring Coffee House, as evidenced by this ancient post courtesy of then-local resident Gerry Kissell. (Yes, that is Bruce Campbell, along with director/former Sam Raimi posse member Josh Becker.) Can our community marshal forces to reignite that spooky fire? Maybe it will take, for instance, the youthful verve and particular sensibilities of a group like the one producing the upstart horror entertainment Web site, Horror-Fix, launched in Rantoul by editor Ash Hamilton. We present a tease below picturing their SINISTER review written by Urbana resident Colin Price, who appeared on the cover of the most recent C-U Confidential digest. Hmmmmmmmm

~ Jason Pankoke

[Janet! Brad! Rocky! Dr. Scott! This is post #700 on CUBlog!]

[Whew … at least this isn’t #666. That’s, um, right here.]

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