John Barrymore and Brandon Hurst in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1920)—Playing at the Ambler Theater Thursday, October 24th at 7:30pm.

Your Halloween Viewing Guide: Part II

Benjamin Skamla
Oct 17 · 5 min read

Last year we asked the filmmakers featured in our Local Haunts film festival to weigh in on which horror films you should seek out, which you should skip, and which ones kept them up all night. Read on—if you dare—for the spooky sequel, and their expert opinion once more on highlights from the genre.

From left: Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, and Roman Griffin Davis in Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit”—Opening November 8th at the Ambler, County, and Princeton Garden theaters.

Non-horror director that you would like to see take a stab at the genre:

“Taika Waititi. Sure, he made What We Do in the Shadows (2014), but that’s more of a comedy anyway.”
Michael David Charles Hicks—Writer/Director, Eugene vs. Humanity

“I’d love to see a Damien Chazelle horror film. The tension he was able to build in Whiplash combined with the visuals of La La Land, I think we’d have something pretty unique on our hands.”
GG Hawkins—Writer/Director, An Aspirational Space

Michael Baldwin and Reggie Bannister in “Phantasm” (1979)

Your vote for best horror franchise of all time:

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is the only horror franchise I can think of that is fun, inventive, scary, and ridiculously corny over the course of 7 films. Each film gives you a little something different whether it’s the MTV infused visuals of the 4th entry, the gothic production design of the 5th, the cornball use of 3D for the 6th, or the breaking of the fourth wall in New Nightmare.”
Brendan Joyce—Festival Programmer, Local Haunts

Phantasm (1979) So bizarre you can’t stop watching.”
Adam Newton—Writer/Co-Producer, Spring House


Horror movie cliché that filmmakers need to stop using:

“Filmmakers need to stop using the “flatulence through a tube” sound effect in lieu of a traditional score. It’s never worked, it never will. Find somebody who can actually score your film.”
The Cremer Brothers — Writer/Director, Keep It in the Dark

“Halloween” (1978) — Playing at the County Theater Thursday, October 31st at 7:30pm.

Your ideal horror double feature:

“It Follows (2014) and The VVitch (2015). There’s nothing more terrifying than growing up. Imagine going through puberty while you’re being a: haunted by a witch, or b: terrorized by an STD. (sexually-transmitted demon, that is)”
GG Hawkins—Writer/Director, An Aspirational Space

Halloween (1978) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Two incredible films, both written and directed by masters of the genre. The former is a perfect example of how suspense is supposed to be done—the latter provides the suspense, shock, and gore. Nancy is the greatest final girl* of all time, not waiting around to be saved but taking matters into her own hands and bringing the fight to her antagonist.”
The Cremer Brothers—Writer/Director, Keep It in the Dark

Final girl: A horror film trope that refers to the last girl or woman alive to confront the antagonist—ostensibly the one left to tell the story.


A horror movie that you will never watch alone:

The Blair Witch Project (1999) is still unnerving to watch alone almost 20 years later. I’d attribute that to the naturalistic performances, and the fact that the actors were totally in the dark with regards to how the film would play out. Plus, that ending still freaks me out to this day!”
Brendan Joyce—Festival Programmer, Local Haunts


The best foreign horror film of all time:

Rec (2007), the film does an amazing job creating a claustrophobic environment that leaves the viewer questioning the events that are transpiring in front of them. It is intense and suspenseful; everything a horror movie should be. It’s not only the best foreign horror film, it’s also the best found footage* horror film.”
The Cremer Brothers—Writer/Director, Keep It in the Dark

Found footage: A film sub-genre in which all, or a substantial part of the work is presented as if it were discovered video recordings—the events on screen typically being seen through the camera of one or more of the characters.


A film that everyone thinks is horror (but actually isn’t):

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) is a tremendous buddy comedy that just so happens to have gross out zombie effects.”
Brendan Joyce—Festival Programmer, Local Haunts

Midsommar (2019) This is one of my favorite films, but I see it more as a cathartic breakup movie.”
GG Hawkins—Writer/Director, An Aspirational Space

Theatrical posters for “The Exorcist” (1973) and “Carrie” (1976—Japanese version)

The best horror film poster of all time:

The Exorcist (1973) The priest standing outside of the creepy house with the light shining through, it’s just so perfect.”
Michael Licisyn—Writer/Director, STILL

“The Japanese version of Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) poster. It hangs framed above my bed. Everything is on fire, it’s extremely dramatic and beautiful.”
Abby Brenker—Writer/Director, Midnight Visitor


A clever horror movie technique that only a filmmaker would pick up on:

A Quiet Place (2018) was brilliantly executed through its sound design and mixing. It’s the first time in a while I can remember being on the edge of my seat, with my heart pounding in anticipation of what may happen next.”
Michael Licisyn—Writer/Director, STILL


The best campy horror film:

“Gotta go with a local favorite and one of the inspirations in my youth: The Blob (1958).”
Michael David Charles Hicks—Writer/Director, Eugene vs. Humanity

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978) What could be more terrifying than vine-ripe tomatoes coming for us all?
Adam Newton—Writer/Co-Producer, Spring House


Princeton Garden Theatre:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (With live score)—Thu, Oct 17th at 7:30pm
Local Haunts—Wed, Oct 23rd at 7:30pm
Prof Picks: Rosemary’s Baby—Thu, Oct 31st at 7:30pm

Ambler Theater:
An American Werewolf in London—Thu, Oct 17th at 7:30pm
Kids: Hocus Pocus—Sat, Oct 19th at 10:30am
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (With live score)—Thu, Oct 24th at 7:30pm
The Fly—Thu, Oct 31st at 7:30pm

County Theater:
Kids: Hocus Pocus—Sat, Oct 19th at 10:30am
Halloween—Thu, Oct 31 at 7:30pm

Renew Theaters

News & notes from the County, Ambler, Hiway and Princeton Garden Theaters.

Benjamin Skamla

Written by

Marketing Assistant, Renew Theaters.

Renew Theaters

News & notes from the County, Ambler, Hiway and Princeton Garden Theaters.

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