Countdown to Halloween Movie Guide

Will Jigsaw's grand plan finally be revealed? Saw VI opens today, and with The Stepfather, Zombieland, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, and Paranormal Activity still in theatres, it looks like cineplexes are well stocked with thrillers and chillers to set the mood for Halloween.

Having spent what seems like an eternity skimming through the local listings, I've dug up more on (and off) screen movie picks -- including mainstream, camp, and even some interactive stuff. It's a weeklong creepfest in Toronto... and the 2009 edition has lots and lots of zombies.

Cinema of the Dead/Toronto Zombie Walk
Saturday, October 24th, 3:30pm walk, 7pm movies, Trinity Bellwoods Park to Bloor Cinema
Hoping to beat last year's 3000 zombie record, the undead will lurch all the way to a 'Cinema Of The Dead' double bill at the Bloor. The lineup is camptastic: valley girls vs. zombies in Night of the Comet (1984) -- a must-see, judging by the above trailer -- and Lucio Fulci's Zombie (1979). Tickets are $16 if purchased in advance and for zombies or $20 at the door (for non-zombies).

Canadian Film in Revue: The Dark Hours
Wednesday, October 28th, 7pm at the Revue Cinema
I almost teared up when I heard that the Revue's series of homegrown gems was returning this season, after a successful summer run. In this canuck cabin chiller, a psychologist for the criminally insane gets a surprise "visit" from former patients while on a weekend cottage trip. It was directed by Paul Fox, who is in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.

Creepy Classics: Halloween Spook Show Edition
Thursday, October 29th, 7pm at the Revue Cinema
In this edition of the horror classics (from the '30s and '40s) series, Baron Frankenstein builds a romantic interest for his monster in Bride of Frankenstein (1935). On-screen highlights are Boris Karloff, the bride's tall 'do, and a pre-show with over 30 minutes of old school horror trailers, cartoons, and spooky 16mm odds and ends.

Movieoke: Halloween Edition!
Friday, October 30th, 9pm at The Garrison -- 1197 Dundas St W (at Ossington)
Movies and karaoke meet, as audience members are invited to get on stage and play out their favorite lines from horror movies, while the scene is projected on a big screen. Have a beer and zomb or vamp it up! Or, dare one your friends to have a go at the possession/green vomit/head twisting scene from The Exorcist. Free admission.

The Zombie Short Film Festival
Friday, October 30th, 9:30pm at the Revue Cinema
Finalists compete for the first ever Zomb D'or at this zombie-themed shorts fest. Live (dead) action, animation, claymation and puppetry are in the mix.

Trash Palace

All weekend, October 30th to November 1st, tickets and details at Eyesore Cinema
Toronto's Classiest Cinema is hosting a weekend blitz of obscure chillers. Selections include, but are probably not limited to: a possession blaxploitation piece called JD'S Revenge (1976) then, marriage is even scarier than you'd think in Honeymoon of Horror (1964), and Invasion of the Animal People, in Spanish, which is fine because Trash Palace is all about the movie-watching experience, not the movies. There's no better place to celebrate Halloween (if you don't have a party to go to) than the local splatter movie house.

Rep Roundup
The Fox Theatre is screening an off-theme but creepy Alien/Aliens double bill on Thursday, October 29th, plus the scariest movies of all time on Halloween night: The Exorcist followed by The Shining. Over on the west side, the Revue Cinema is running Prince of Darkness (Oct 27 & 29) and my favourite (pig blood soaked) prom night flick Carrie (Oct 28 & 30), in addition to its ghastly week of events listed above. The Bloor Cinema celebrates with The Rocky Horror Picture Show to a live shadow-cast performance by Excited Mental State on October 30th and 31st (8:30 and 11:30pm), along with warm up screenings of American Werewolf in London and The Exorcist on Thursday, October 29th.


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