October is upon us, and that means it’s spooky movie season. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons and monsters take center stage in our cinema to rave reviews and high box office returns. New and classic horror films will find veteran and newcomer audiences to scare. It’s a great time for movies, and James Island’s Terrace Theater is getting in on the action with a month-long horror movie program built for fright fans.
Every weekend through October, the Terrace will present a curated horror “drive-in double-feature” series. For $35 per car, you can park and watch two hand-picked, complementary horror flicks. The Terrace found success with the drive-in model throughout the pandemic, and this is a great way to bring that back in a fun, thematic way. The double features start at 7:30 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Kicking off the series Oct. 1-3 is the one-two psychological horror punch of The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby. Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, The Shining, is a staple for horror and cinema fans. The story of Jack Torrance and his family trying to survive the winter at the Overlook Hotel has inspired not just frights but also decades of conspiracy theories. Likewise, Rosemary’s Baby, the Roman Polanski-directed take on Ira Levin’s novel, follows a young woman’s troubling pregnancy and the realization of who may be pulling her strings. Both films are standalone works of art and should make for a great, if emotionally and mentally taxing, double-bill. You’re also in store for about five hours of movie between them, so bring snacks and plenty of fluids.
Oct. 8-10 is a curious, but surprisingly fun, pairing of movies. The 1960 slasher progenitor, Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho, is joined by the much loved 2004 modern classic Shaun of the Dead. Despite being in black and white and over 60 years old, Psycho still holds up as an incredibly enjoyable watch, with an excellent story, impeccable shots and music and one of the most-effective twists of all time. Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead remains a laugh riot all these years later, and remains the shining star of horror comedy. The zombie movie starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost brings the laughs and every single bit of Wright’s frenetic editing and scorching soundtracking.
Oct. 15-17, the Terrace shifts gears a little, leaning more into family-friendly fare. That doesn’t mean the kiddos aren’t getting their own brand of creepy stories. Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Laika Studios’ ParaNorman are great family films that are also full of monsters, ghosts and ghouls. Based on Burton’s original shorts, 2012’s Frankenweenie is a charming little tale of a young boy named Frankenstein who brings his beloved dog back to life. 2018’s ParaNorman, from the same studio that made Kubo and the Two Strings, follows young Norman as he uses his ability to see and speak to ghosts to end a 300-year-old curse.
The big league scares continue Oct. 22-24 with The Blair Witch Project and Hereditary. The Blair Witch Project was a phenomenal success in its initial 1999 run, turning a budget of less than $60,000 into the 10th highest domestic box office gross of the year with a total haul of over $248 million. It’s also rightfully credited with reviving and popularizing the found-footage genre of horror films. Hereditary was a wildly successful critical darling in 2018, featuring a highly praised performance by Toni Collette. The film also introduced the horror world to director Ari Aster, who would continue to impress horror audiences with 2019’s Midsommar.
Closing out the double feature series on Halloween weekend, the Terrace is bringing out the big guns: the original Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween is the film that launched a franchise (the latest installment, Halloween Kills, hits the Terrace Oct. 15) and gave cinema the defining “final girl,” Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. It also introduced one of the most enduring movie monsters of all time in Michael Myers. Four years earlier, Tobe Hooper had created an equally iconic and monstrous movie villain in Leatherface, the hulking perpetrator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hooper’s film, loosely based on the story of Ed Gein, scared a generation and set the groundwork for the slasher genre that Halloween would perfect and countless other films would imitate.
It’s an incredible slate of movies and a fun way to experience them from the comfort of your own car. If you’re looking for ways to experience the horror classics this October, drive on over.