With Halloween falling in mid-week this year, Toronto's cinemas seem a little confused about what to book this weekend. Instead of the horror retrospectives we've all come to expect, it's an esoteric mixture of everything but.
The Bloor Cinema, for instance, is screening Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy on Sunday and Monday, making its way to Wednesday night with shadowcast presentations of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The theatre's biggest event, though, is Saturday afternoon's benefit screening of Big River Man, organized as a fundraiser for the film's director, John Maringouin, who's facing a steep bill for cancer surgery in the U.S. The movie's good; so is the cause.
Over at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Halloween creeps in slowly. On Monday, George Hamilton takes a break from starring in La Cage Aux Folles at the Royal Alex to present a screening of his 1978 Dracula spoof Love At First Bite - hey, it's still funnier than Dracula: Dead And Loving It - and the resumption of the Hollywood Classics retrospective on Tuesday offers a screening of Robert Aldrich's Joan Crawford-Bette Davis diva-off What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, which is creepy enough to qualify as Halloween prep.
But the horror arrives in earnest Wednesday night, when legendary horror director Romero (who's been a Toronto resident for almost a decade, and a Canadian citizen since 2010) settles in for Living Dread: The Cinema Of George A. Romero, a retrospective of his early work which begins with his 1982 Stephen King collaboration Creepshow at 9:30 pm Wednesday and culminates in a run-through of his keystone zombie trilogy Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead on Saturday, November 3. Romero will be on hand to introduce the first feature; don't worry, I'll remind you about that next Friday.
Oh, and if you want to go old-school on Halloween night, consider the Revue, which has Ridley Scott's Alien and John Carpenter's The Thing on Wednesday's double-bill. Alien is the inferior 2003 director's cut, but even so, that's four hours of first-class horror. And if Kurt Russell's beard looks oddly familiar, that's because Ben Affleck pinched it for his Argo look.
See, the really great stuff never goes out of style.