Movie Blog: Freaky Halloween Flicks Galore

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Janet Leigh in "Psycho." (credit: Universal Studios)

Janet Leigh in “Psycho.” (credit: Universal Studios)

Eric Henderson Eric Henderson
Eric Henderson joined the WCCO.COM web team in June 2006 and currently...
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So, are you among those ticked off that the squeaky-fresh faces of Fox’s super-polished show Glee decided to “pay tribute” to the all-time cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show by, among other things, utterly sanitizing it beyond recognition?

Are you, like me, horrified to see the likes of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Riff Raff, Brad and Janet turned into mere costumes for the Abercrombie-American Idol set?

Well, there are multiple solutions to wash your brain clean (or, rather, get it back to grimy) this Halloween weekend.

* First, you can return directly to the source (removing the symptom and redressing the cause, if you will) by catching a midnight screening of Rocky Horror, complete with live playfulness from the venerable local troupe Transvestite Soup. See it with a raucous audience and be reminded of why the movie (while, it must be admitted, is itself a sort of rocky affair once you get beyond Tim Curry’s absolutely immortal performance) is such a cultural institution. There are shows both Friday and Saturday.

* For an entirely different sort of immersive experience into a classic film, head over to Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis this Friday. There, the Minnesota Orchestra will be performing the notorious, strings-only musical score to Alfred Hitchcock’s archetypal slasher flick Psycho against a projection of the movie. The legendary rink-rink-rink-rink orchestral stabs that accompany Janet Leigh’s fateful shower at the Bates Motel are terrifying enough on television. Imagine those death pulsations coming at you in stereosonic splendor!

* And don’t forget that Willow Creek is wrapping up their “Shocktober” midnight showings this weekend with the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, which, if you haven’t seen it in awhile, seems a lot more brutal and humorless than anyone who’s suffered some of the series’ jokier, dippier later entries. (And without being totally preoccupied and dour like the remake that came out earlier this year.)

* If you want to kick off your Halloween weekend celebrations early (and take a chance on some unheralded new cult contenders), why not check out what some local filmmakers are cooking up right here in the not-so-staid Twin Cities? This Thursday evening, the Riverview is hosting a double feature from Noah Tilsen and James Vogel, both of whose offerings skirt the edge of vanguard horror. Tilsen’s short Grinning Faces, a head trip doused liberally in blood and sex, makes the most of the Twin Cities’ vaguely Cronenbergian, 49th Parallel sort of metropolitan sophistication. Oh yeah, and it opens with a part-Wellesian, part-Ed Woodish flourish. The scenario of Vogel’s feature The City seems to reside in the crux between Adaptation and Snuff, with all the inappropriate humor inherent in the juxtaposition. Check out the write-up The Onion’s A.V. Club gave both movies this week.

* Speaking of psychotic visuals, MFA announced they are extending the run of French artsploitation provocateur Gaspar Noe’s new film Enter the Void for another week. Head over to St. Anthony Main to check out the hallucinogenic movie that can best be described as a scuzzbucket, first-person 2001, swapping outer space out for the mean streets.

* Every bit as hallucinogenic and unhinged is the instant camp classic Hausu, a 1977 Japanese film that in just the last year has been rescued from relative obscurity and thrust into cult aficionado’s collective conscious with a gusto matched only by the much newer The Human Centipede. I haven’t seen the movie, but I bet I know what it’s about just as much as those who have seen it. I mean, just look at this trailer. All I know for sure is that, at some point in the movie, a piano devours a girl while she laughs out a concerto the entire time. Mind. Blown. See it on Sunday at the Trylon.

* Finally, if you’re like me, you know that there’s nothing scarier than the thought of Joan Crawford wielding an axe. Catch her doing just that (maybe) in William Castle’s campy/delightful Strait-Jacket at the Heights this Sunday.

There, now you can banish all thoughts of chirpy high school choir geeks butchering “The Time Warp” out of your minds completely this Halloween.

Eric Henderson is a web producer and film blogger at WCCO.COM.

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