Where to catch the best Halloween horror films

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Tom Huddleston gets ready to watch the greatest horror films all the way up to the witching hour and beyond

Every Halloween sparks a flurry of movie events, wheeling out the creaky old chillers and midnight classics. But with this year’s celebration falling on a Friday, the stage is set for a blood-feast of cinematic monstrosities, with multiplexes and repertory houses attempting to outdo one another in an effort to shock, horrify and entertain.

‘League of Gentlemen’ alumnus Jeremy Dyson will be screening four of his favourite late-night chillers at the Curzon Soho. ‘ “I Walked with a Zombie” is a complete one-off, a really atmospheric horror film,’ Dyson explains. ‘Then we’ve got “Night of the Eagle”, which is more obscure, a British film from the early ’60s. It’s got this amazing premise, that all women are witches, but men don’t know it. Which sounds terribly sensational, but it’s handled in a very uptight, Freudian way.’

Dyson explains that his event at the Curzon won’t only be about the movies. ‘I have a band called Rudolf Rocker, we did the “Crème Brûlée” songs in “League of Gentlemen”. Given that it’s sort of a voodoo theme night, we thought this would be a good excuse to play a 15-minute wigout version of “Voodoo Lady”. And I’m supposed to be reading a story as well, as I’ve got a new book out. There are some out-and-out horror stories in there.’

Among the more inventive events taking place across the capital is the BFI Southbank’s ‘Flipside’, pairing up Tod ‘Freaks’ Browning’s toyshop nightmare ‘The Devil-Doll’ with the similarly named but otherwise unconnected ’60s horror ‘Devil Doll’, while the IMAX will screen all five parts of the ‘Saw’ saga. Heading north, the Screen on the Green has opted for an unbeatable night of zombie entertainment and will screen the first three parts of George Romero’s apocalyptic ‘Living Dead’ chronicles. While in Dalston, the Rio plans a rare outing for Jacques Tourneur’s eerily poetic ‘Night of the Demon’.

The Barbican reaches back into the archives for a highbrow horror classic, the silent 1928 adaptation of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Man Who Laughs’, complete with a live soundtrack from DJ Nacho Martin. The Union Chapel is going even further with its ‘Chills in the Chapel’ season, a week of classics from ‘Dead of Night’ to ‘Dracula’ in gothic, funereal surroundings. For real sophisticates, legendary avant-gardeist Kenneth Anger will be visiting the Shunt vaults in London Bridge to screen occult classics like ‘Scorpio Rising’ and ‘Eaux d’Artifice’.

The ICA’s slate initially seems a tad underwhelming: it’s screening hysterical Vincent Price chiller ‘Theatre of Blood’ alongside reissued J-horror progenitor ‘Ring’. But look ahead to the following day and there’s an extraordinary treat for fans of modern gore: the annual Film4 Frightfest all-nighter, including six UK premieres, plus a themed quiz and screening of John Carpenter’s action classic ‘Escape From New York’. Kicking off at midday and going right through to 8am the next morning, this is a marathon of epic proportions.

For his event, Dyson is hoping that patrons will enter the Halloween spirit. ‘People are being encouraged to turn up in costume. I went to a brilliant Halloween party once where Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg turned up in immaculate ‘American Werewolf’ costumes. That made a vivid impression. I love Halloween.’

Author: Tom Hudddleston



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