Looking at my calendar, I'm realizing that I am booked SOLID for the next five weekends. That can mean only one thing, interpals--it's the start of October, the most gloriously event-tastic month of the Tenebrous Year! Let's take a look at some of the Halloween-themed offerings taking place along the beautiful New York City to Philly corridor, shall we?
92YTribeca has announced their schedule of horror cinema offerings, and it's a wild and wonderful melange of international terror. Programmers have covered the high-brow with a Takashi Miike series that will include "Audition" and "Happiness of the Katakuris" while trash movie fans will squeal over the Halloween night double-header of "Killer Workout" and "Chopping Mall" (guaranteed to have 100% less hideous crowd-control issues than the Village Costume Parade) and aficionados of the classics can view an evening of Vincent Price films. For a full schedule of October films, visit 92YTribeca's event calendar.
Other independent theaters have listed some horror screenings, including "The Lost Boys" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" at the Landmark Sunshine Theatre and the intriguing-sounding "Eulogy for a Vampire" (sign me on for sexy horror shenanigans at a monastery, kiddos!) at Quad Cinema.
Films screenings are marvelous and all, but my true seasonal passion is for haunted houses. There's just something about a profoundly startling jump-scare that gets my blood pumping! Fortunately for me, there are teams of fiendish minds conspiring to invent new and ridiculous ways to frighten people, and some of the best haunted attractions are located but a short jaunt from my home. Picking the best would be like selecting a favorite child, so I won't do it. I'll just share my glee here.
Perhaps the most unique of the NYC haunts is Nightmare, an event in its sixth year in 2009. What makes Nightmare special is that each year, the designers select a single theme to unite the rooms of the haunt. Past themes have included Ghosts and Phobias, and this year it's Vampires. I realize that vampires are all hot 'n' trendy, but I love 'em. From ghouls to lesbians to Draculas to poncey gothic twinks, I devour vampire entertainment in its many forms. In addition to the creativity of the scares inside of Nightmare, the event is run extraordinarily smoothly--tickets are purchased for specific half-hour time slots, so line-waiting is kept to an absolute minimum even at the height of the season. Be warned that, like all events highlighted here, this one does sell out, so purchase those October 30th tickets today!
Blood Manor is a haunt that casts itself in the Greatest Hits of Horror model, with each of its highly-detailed rooms drawing inspiration from such films as "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "Hostel," and "The Haunting." What Blood Manor may lack in ingenuity, it makes up for in strength of execution--the decor is very well-executed and each scene is full of costumed actors doing their best to freak out the attendees.
Moving a smidge south- and west-ward (and entirely outside of the comfort zone of my New Yorker pals), Philadelphia has a couple of noteworthy October offerings as well. As my literary nerd pals can attest to, Philly has been engaged in a bitter war with Baltimore over the title of Appropriate Resting Place for Edgar Allan Poe. The City of Brotherly Love has stepped up its assault on B'More's claim to fame this year, and in addition to the Poe Bicentennial Conference, theatre company Brat Productions is staging Haunted Poe, intriguingly pitched as a Poe-themed haunted house. I don't know much about the event, but HOLY WOW! What a poster, right folks?!
Possibly THE greatest haunted attraction *ever* is Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls. Absolutely worth the drive or train ride down to Philly, this fear-fest takes place inside the halls of the historical Quaker prison. In terms of atmosphere, there's just no beating this event--it's held in one of the most infamous allegedly-haunted sites in the United States. As you might expect, lines for this haunt are epic, even with advance tickets, so plan for significant but completely-worth-it wait times.
If you have the inclination to tear yourself away from the inevitable daily re-runs of "Halloween III," there's plenty to do out there! Maybe I'll catch you in the Meat World, cupcakes.