VILLAGE OF MANLIUS — Going until the end of October, Manlius Cinema is celebrating this spooky season with a series of horror flicks sure to send shivers up and down the spine.
The theater started the run on Oct. 17 with four straight days of the 1978 classic “Halloween,” which the cinema’s owners Dan Chapman and Joe Ori decided to hold off from including in a preceding “niche” showcase focused on the works of director John Carpenter.
Chapman said he and Ori consciously saved that slasher starring Jamie Lee Curtis for the two-week horror fest because of its clear association with the holiday of Halloween, unlike Carpenter’s more action-filled science fiction films like “They Live” and “Escape from New York.”
On Oct. 21 and 22, the cinema held matinee showings of Tim Burton’s 1988 film “Beetlejuice,” a horror comedy starring Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton. Chapman said that movie was scheduled for the daytime because it’s more of a fun, family-friendly choice that parents could feel more comfortable bringing their younger children to.
Later those same nights, the cinema presented the 1976 film “Carrie,” a supernatural shocker that was based on the Stephen King novel of the same name and directed by Brian De Palma. As the tagline on its original theatrical poster suggested, that film is in part known for its memorable prom scene.
The festival of fright-inducing films continued this week with 1981’s “An American Werewolf in London,” a film noted for its makeup and its non-computerized special effects. That movie starts out by following two American backpackers in England who have a less-than-fortunate run-in with a werewolf under a full moon.
“An American Werewolf in London” is being shown again tonight, Oct. 25, at 7:15 p.m. at the theater, which is located at 135 E. Seneca St. in the village of Manlius.
Leading up to Halloween, Manlius Cinema will also be showing Wes Craven’s 1984 film “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” the first installment in what would turn out to be a franchise revolving around the metal-clawed, dream-entering menace Freddy Krueger. That film, which starred Johnny Depp in his feature-length acting debut, will be shown at the theater tomorrow, Oct. 26, and Friday, Oct. 27 beginning at 9:45 both nights.
For three straight days, the cinema is showing the 1984 blockbuster comedy “Ghostbusters”—another example of lighter fare that still fits in with the Halloween theme, Chapman said. Its showtimes are Saturday, Oct. 28 at 3:20 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2:45 p.m.; and Monday, Oct. 30 at 6:15 p.m.
Also on Oct. 28 and 29, the cinema is unveiling Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of “The Shining,” another film based on a Stephen King novel that stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. That will run both nights at 9:45 p.m.
The 2023 horror fest concludes with the only follow-up to 1978’s “Halloween” that does not feature the character Michael Myers as the main villain. Ori said that film, 1982’s “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” is an underrated entry in the series and one with “great music” handled by John Carpenter, who co-produced it but did not officially direct it as he had the original.
“Season of the Witch” will be shown Monday, Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. and Halloween night at the same start time.
Adding that October is the perfect time of year to put these films through the projector, Ori said the mix of lighthearted and scary Halloween movies complements the “quirky charm” of the historic century-old cinema.
“Especially with it being smaller, for anybody that’s here, you’re all in it together instead of being spaced out as well,” Ori said.
Chapman said the darkness and “very immersive” sound inside the cinema also helps to build the necessary atmosphere to watch horror movies.
“It’s a full experience,” Chapman said. “It gets a little creepy sometimes in the movie theater, so you’ll constantly be looking over your shoulder.”
For more information on the theater’s festival of horror films, visit manliuscinema.com