If you're like me, October means horror movies: lots of them, preferably with a like-minded, adoring crowd. My 31 favorite Halloween movies are a thing of record, and if you're looking for activities around Halloween itself, we've got you covered: Check out our full, fun guide to Halloween in NYC.
But if you want to experience horror films—classics as well as new discoveries, and tons of them—allow me to introduce you to FearNYC. The brain child of inspired local publicist John Capo, FearNYC is a new festival that will be taking over Cinema Village (22 E 12th St) October 21–27. It will be a week of screenings, parties, events and an awards ceremony at which the late Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) will posthumously receive the fest's first Legacy Honor.
The significance of Manhattan hosting a major new horror film festival is not small. FearNYC will be world-premiering several new works; the festival could grow into a launching pad like Austin's Fantastic Fest has become. I've seen much of the first batch of films—full disclosure: I'm serving on the inaugural jury—and there's some seriously promising stuff here. There's even a "documentary" that suggests the events of the Halloween series were real. Maybe they were.
But just as importantly, if you ever wanted a one-week crash course in the horror essentials, you couldn't do better than FearNYC. There will be screenings of classics like Carnival of Souls, Psycho and Tobe Hooper's immortal family satire The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The Exorcist will screen after a live seance led by a psychic. John Carpenter's Halloween will play, showering costumed attendees with free candy. You'll also get midnight revivals of a more humorous bent: Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, anyone? (The other late-night titles are just as fun, such as The Brain That Wouldn't Die and Reefer Madness.) I would basically live at Cinema Village all week if I could. Familiarize yourself with the FearNYC schedule, where you can also by tickets or a week-long festival pass.