Rep Cinema Toronto

This Week in Rep Cinema: Grinderhouse Halloween Party, The Mask, Shivers, Jabberwocky

Welcome to the Halloween edition of This Week in Rep Cinema, where I feature second run and classic film selections from cinemas such as The Fox, The Revue, The Royal, Toronto Underground Cinema, the Projection Booth, TIFF Bell Lightbox and more.

If there's one thing repertory cinemas enjoy, it's targeted entertainment for the holidays. This goes over especially well when the holiday is Halloween, a week in which there are so many delights to choose from, whether you want to showcase monsters, murderers, freaks and ghouls from one type of grisly genre story to another. While the Toronto After Dark Film Festival continues this week (wrapping up on Thursday evening) other theatres in the city are bringing back some very interesting selections of classic spooky cinema for our fright and delight.

The Mask — Wednesday October 26th / TIFF Bell Lightbox / 8:30pm
The Mask is a 3-D Canadian film from 1961 about a scientist who becomes possessed by a bizarre tribal mask. When he wears it, his dreams become psychedelic and violent and the lines between his life and the mask's influence begin to blur. While the film, obviously, uses a more rudimentary 3-D style than what we're used to viewing today, it was also focused on offering a certain type of elevated experience for the viewer. An eerie voice-over provides commands audience audience members to put on their glasses specifically for the (few) 3-D scenes and the film utilizes an electronic soundtrack specifically during the 3-D scenes to emphasize the "strangeness."

Shivers — Thursday October 27th / Revue Cinema / 9pm

Film School Confidential celebrates Halloween with a free screening of David Cronenberg's germophobia-inducing debut feature Shivers, about a parasite that's passed through sexual encounters and rapidly spreads throughout an apartment building. Move over Contagion, casual sex never looked this terrifying. A contentious film that caused parliament to address the merit of its sexual and explicit content, Cronenberg's aesthetic is visible even this early in his career, despite the horror-film sell.

As this is the special Halloween edition of the programme, expect a bunch of giveaways and be sure to arrive early, as seating is first come first serve, a costume wouldn't hurt either.

Grinderhouse Halloween Party — Friday October 28th / Projection Booth / 8:30pm

Toronto's newest rep cinema joins forces with Grinderhouse this Halloween season to showcase two horror films as they enjoy their Toronto premieres, complete with giveaways, costume contests and the power of a licensed venue. Welcome to the Grinderhouse Halloween Party, please stay awhile.

First up is Millenium Bug, a film set during the good ol' Y2K days as the Haskin family heads into the mountains to hide out while the world falls apart. Instead of the apocalypse, they find themselves abducted by inbred hillbillies, and to make matters worse, there's an insidious bug-like being stalking the lot of them, looking for a feast. Next up is Bong of the Dead, a film with an initial micro-budget of $5,000 (and a 'donated' $200,000 worth of special effects make-up) to tell the story of two enterprising survivors of a zombie apocalypse who find a way to capitalize on the destruction of mankind. Their discovery? By using zombie brains as fertilizer, they're able to grow amazingly potent and fast-growing weed. While not quite a spoof, the film definitely caters to zombie-fans and marijuana enthusiasts, or anybody who appreciates a good stoner comedy with a side-order of gore and brains. Tickets cost $14 and can be purchased at the cinema.

Jabberwocky — Saturday October 29th / TIFF Bell Lightbox / 11pm

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!" The Jabberwocky is the strange story of the elusive and mysterious beast that was hatched in a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass. While the film is most definitely the work of the dark and visionary director, it still manages to utilize more Monty Python-esque humour than any of his later works, and also features several friends from the Python troupe.

Notably, the film stars Michael Palin as Dennis, a young cooper (basket maker) who has the unfortunate task of being sent off to destroy the hideous dragon responsible for killing his father. In classic Terry Gilliam fashion, the film pokes fun of the state of affairs in the Medieval era, from the rulers to the clergy, all of whom stand in the way of Dennis as he attempts to achieve his goal. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the theatre or online.


  • Rosemary's Baby at the Revue on Tuesday
  • Blue Velvet playing Tuesday through Thursday at the Royal Cinema
  • The Devil's Backbone at TIFF on Sunday.

For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.

Still from The Mask

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