Boo! Two Film Series At LACMA And Cinefamily Jumpstart Halloween

Cinephiles are lucky to live in L.A., which boasts a number of rare or classic films screenings on any given night. Two film series that start this week caught our attention—kind of like Christmas lights in July—but this time, we’re not complaining. Though summer’s technically not over yet, Cinefamily and LACMA are rolling out films that are the perfect for Halloween season.

Last night, Cinefamily and SpectreVision launched SpectreFest, which brings progressive genre (horror, thriller, fantasy) films and forward-thinking music together. The series kicked things off last night with a free sneak preview of The Guest, starring Dan Stevens and Lance Reddick. Director and editor Adam Wingard and scribe Simon Barrett (the team also behind the film You’re Next) did an informative Q&A about the genre-crossing film. It’s a bizarro mashup of Halloween and Terminator films, but, hey, we’ll watch anything that stars the former Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey.

Next up in the series is a free sneak screening on Sept. 16 of Kevin Smith’s horror flick Tusk offsite at the Vista Theater with Smith and cast in person. The screenings continue through Halloween with a number of L.A. premieres, classic horror films with live accompaniment and more.

The SpectreFest 2014 lineup:

Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 8 pm: Free sneak preview of Tusk offsite at the Vista (L.A. premiere, Kevin Smith & cast in person)
Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 pm: Housebound (L.A. premiere)
Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 pm: White Shadow (L.A. premiere)
Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 pm: The Golem (w/ live score by Jacaszek)
Saturday, Sept. 4 at 9 pm: Nacho Party! (feat. L.A. premieres of Open Windows & Confetti of the Mind: Nacho Vigolando Shorts)
Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 pm: Dead Snow & Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead (L.A. premiere, cast members in person)
Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 pm: The Creeping Garden (L.A. premiere)
Thursday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 pm ($18/$10 for members): Show & Tell w/ Clive Barker & Nightbreed: Director’s Cut
Thursday, Oct.23 at 7:30pm: Metropolis (w/ live score by Chrome Canyon)
Saturday Oct. 25 at 5 pm: Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Spooktacular
Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 pm ($15/free for members): Tales From Beyond The Pale: LIVE!
Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 pm: Gremlins (30th Anniversary screening) & “The History of PG-13″ Panel
Friday, Oct. 31: special Halloween night event, details coming soon…

Unless otherwise noted, most of these films are $12, and free for Cinefamily members.

The Academy at LACMA presents the second film series, Let There Be Fright: William Castle Scare Classics, to celebrate the prolific filmmaker’s centennial. Castle had primarily directed westerns and noir before directing his first horror/thriller, Macabre (1958), which led to a number of great, gimmicky classics. From LACMA:

The success of Macabre led to a new career for Castle as a producer-director of horror films sold with inventive gimmicks such as “Emergo,” a skeleton that flew over audiences watching the Vincent Price spook fest House on Haunted Hill; “Illusion-O,” special glasses that allowed patrons to see all 13 Ghosts in their full gory glory; and “Percepto,” buzzers under theater seats that startled moviegoers in the grip of The Tingler, Castle’s signature film. Castle also became a self-styled Alfred Hitchcock of horror, appearing as himself on-screen to introduce his films - or in the case of Mr. Sardonicus in 1961, to ask the audience to choose an ending for the picture - and set up their gimmicks with mordant delight. (A brief cameo in Rosemary’s Baby, a film that he produced, is worthy of Hitch.)

Every Friday in September, The Academy and LACMA screen Castle double-features in the Bing Theatre, beginning tonight (Sept. 5) with Vincent Price in The Tingler at 7:30 pm, followed by Hollywood Story, a thriller-mystery set in L.A., at 9 pm.

Let There Be Fright lineup:

Friday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 pm: House on Haunted Hill
Friday, Sept. 12 at 9 pm: 13 Ghosts
Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 pm: Mr. Sardonicus
Friday, Sept. 19 at 9:10 pm: The Night Walker
Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 pm: Strait-Jacket
Friday, Sept. 26 at 9:15 pm: Homicidal

Tickets (for each double feature): $5 general public; $3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members, and students with valid ID.