With the spookiest day of the year just a few short days away, I'm making this column an all-Halloween edition. Here is a dossier of all of the scary movies, costume parties and other fun in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve coming your way between now and Oct. 31.
Celebrate the work of Edgar Allen Poe, author of some of the creepiest prose ever composed, at "Pym: Poe's Gauntlet," presented by award-winning author Mat Johnson. The event will be held tonight at the Fredonia Opera House from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Call 679-1891 for ticket information and more details.
Will your Halloween be filled with tricks or treats?
The premiere of "The Murderous Rampage of Malachi Stitch" will be held at the Spire Theater in Jamestown on Friday and Saturday, screened at 9 p.m. each evening. It's an independent horror film created by Jamestown native Michael Centi, who also portrays 13 of the film's 20 characters. It took Centi a year and a half to make the film on a very limited budget, shot in the local area; many locations in Jamestown can be seen in the film. In it, a young doctor suspected of murdering his father is on a quest to prove his innocence when a series of murders begins.
The Spire Theater is located at 317 E. Third St., Jamestown, and "The Murderous Rampage" will be the first film to be shown there. Tickets will be available for purchase prior to either showing at the theater or pre-sale at the Labyrinth Press Company, 12 E. Fourth St., Jamestown. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under; children must be accompanied by an adult. The movie is rated R. Check out the trailer at www.filmbaby.com/films/5775 - it is awesome.
Bart's Cove in Dunkirk will have a Halloween party Saturday, with live music by Rinky Dink from 8 p.m. to midnight and prizes for costumes.
Valentine's Place will have live music by Everything and You, 21 Pilots and Junkbutton on Friday, and a Halloween costume party on Saturday. Cash prizes will be given to those with the best costumes.
41 West will have live music by Common Ground on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and a Halloween party on Saturday starting at 9 p.m. Party music will be provided by Fredonia Jazz Ensemble and Weapons Of Jazz.
BJ's has an evening of indie rock on tap for tonight. Rochester's Inugami would appeal to fans of the Replacements, Soul Asylum and the Afghan Whigs. The band features former Dunkirk resident Paul Phillips on bass. Buffalo's Hunger Anthem are a power trio with a sound inspired by Dinosaur Jr. and Sugar. Jamestown's Thee Audience are also scheduled to play. The show starts at 10 p.m. It's a $3 cover for 18 and up while being free for 21 and over.
BJ's will also have a Halloween party on Halloween proper (Monday), with treats, tricks and cheap drinks, with bar tabs awarded to costume contest winners.
The Reg will also feature a Halloween double-header, with "Insidious" shown at 7 p.m. and Rob Zombie's "House of 1,000 Corpses" screened at 11 p.m. There will also be a Zombie Horde Gathering, perfect for those North County-dwellers who missed out on the Fredonia Zombie Crawl last weekend, which was great fun. Show up dressed in your best zombie garb between 9 and 9:15 p.m. at the corner of Second and Pine streets in Jamestown; the zombie walk commences at 9:20 p.m.
A tribute to Val Lewton horror films will be on Turner Classic Movies all night on Saturday. Lewton is responsible for creating horrifically bad B-movies on extraordinarily small budgets, such as "Cat People" (1942), which is the first film in Saturday's line-up.
Also on TCM, the conclusion to the network's horror movie fest throughout the month of October ends with a bang. There have been classic scary films on each Monday night but with Halloween on Monday, there will be old-school horror on during the day on Sunday and all day Monday. Don't miss "Them!" (1954) Sunday at 4 p.m., "Village of the Damned" (1960) at 8 p.m. Monday, the original "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) at 9:30 p.m. Monday, and Roman Polanski's underrated "Repulsion" (1965) at 4 a.m. in the wee hours of Tuesday.
The SyFy Channel will debut its new and likely laughably-bad made-for-TV horror film, "Zombie Apocalypse" on Saturday at 9 p.m. Ving Rames (of the "Dawn of the Dead" remake) stars in this film about a small group fighting to survive after 90 percent of the human population has been overtaken by the zombie plague.
Revisit your childhood nightmares on Saturday night with "Gremlins," shown on CMT at 8 p.m. Don't you dare feed any Gremlins after midnight. Between "Gremlins," "Child's Play," "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" and re-runs of "The Twilight Zone," it's no wonder that I've been unable to sleep at night for my entire lifetime. For more on this, let's continue on to my review of the latest "Paranormal Activity" sequel.
REEL TALK: 'Paranormal Activity 3'
The concept of the "Paranormal Activity" films may be simplistic, overdone and oftentimes tedious to watch, but I'll give some credit where it's due. The intention is to render the audience incapable of peacefully sleeping for several nights after seeing it and in my case, the film's creators were certainly successful.
Prior to seeing the third installment in the series, I had only seen the first one and skipped the second. It is not necessary to see the first or second film in order to follow the third, which is a prequel about Katie, one of the main characters in the first "Paranormal Activity." This time, we take a look at some home movies of the haunting of Katie's childhood home, which all begins with an extremely creepy imaginary friend of her younger sister.
Part of the first film's eeriness came from the confusion over whether or not the footage was real, a la "The Blair Witch Project." The jig has long been up and instead of relying on the viewer's unfounded belief that "Paranormal Activity" is a true story, the thrills needed to be kicked up a notch this time around. Thank goodness, because the initial 95 percent of the first movie was all mundane chatter and sleep footage, with the few big scares saved for the end. This time, they're everywhere the freaked-out masses were jumping out of their seats about every five to 10 minutes, nervously giggling and pretending as if they weren't really scared immediately afterward.
Sure, it's just cheap, cheesy thrills if looked at objectively, but it is highly unsettling to think about some violent spirits in your home coming out to play while you're peacefully tucked in. In the days since I've seen it, every bump in the night leads me rushing to turn on the lights. I can't recommend "Paranormal Activity 3" to the skittish, nor can I recommend it to anyone with a child who has an imaginary friend especially one called "Toby."
"Paranormal Activity 3" is now playing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org