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'Halloween' and 'Dracula' hit the big screen to unleash double dose of chills
Terror in a small town
Vaunted films set to fuel fright in theaters
Two titans of horror cinema are returning to the big screen to deliver throwback terror for the Halloween season.
“Dracula” -- the atmospheric classic starring Bela Lugosi -- is being re-released for showings at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (local time) on both Sunday, Oct. 25, and Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“John Carpenter’s Halloween” will revive the eerie Michael Myers at 7:30 p.m. (local time) on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Both films are presentations of Colorado-based Fathom Events, which utilizes select American movie theaters to present limited-time showings of notable motion pictures from the past.
Released in 1931, “Dracula” follows the character of Renfield, whose harrowing journey through a mountainous region of Eastern Europe lands him at a castle, where he intends to finalize the acquisition of London’s Carfax Abbey by Count Dracula -- who, in reality, is a vampire.
Universal Studios’ stylish production -- a box-office hit -- helped forge reputations.
“Universal became synonymous with horror films; Lugosi became synonymous with horror films,” said Wes Gehring, distinguished professor of telecommunications at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
“It’s a decent movie,” said Gehring, describing “Dracula” as a bit “creaky,” but noting that he views it as more of an historically important movie.
He said “Dracula” does not quite match the quality of two other chilling productions from Universal: “Frankenstein” (1931) and “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935).
“It’s not as smoothly put together,” contended the film professor and author of many cinema-related books.
Despite his reservations, Gehring said “Dracula” has redeeming aspects.
“It’s still an interesting film,” he said. “It had a good director (Tod Browning).”
Gehring also uses the word “fascinating” to describe staircase footage at Dracula’s gloomy castle.
Lugosi’s “Dracula” is being paired with the 1931 Spanish-language version, which will be shown immediately after the English edition.
Fathom Events bills it as a “Dracula Double Feature.” Both works are set to be seen at more than 550 movie theaters in the United States.
Fathom is teaming up with television’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel to present the “Dracula” duo, which will be the subject of insightful on-screen commentary by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.
The black-and-white cinematography contributes to the chilling tone of the two films.
That icy feel of dread also pervades 1978’s “Halloween,” which hits about 275 theaters in America on Oct. 29.
Officially promoted under the name “John Carpenter’s Halloween,” the thriller is being returned to theaters by Fathom, in partnership with marketer/distributor SpectiCast.
Audiences can take in the stark tale of Michael Myers, who at age 6 stabs his older sister to death on Halloween night, 1963.
After 15 years in a mental institution, he escapes and returns to his small hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois.
His desire is to kill.
Wearing a cold-hearted, expressionless mask, Michael methodically stalks Haddonfield during Halloween time.
He is the ultimate boogeyman.
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, “Halloween” is a granddaddy of the slasher genre in motion pictures.
It stands as the original version that spawned numerous sequels and an iconic horror villain, Michael Myers.
“I went to see it, and the end result was nightmares for a week,” said Wade Jessie, owner of Otaku Hobbies in Schererville, Indiana. “The movie and its franchise has held strong, and from generation to generation it has provided horror buffs with what they wanted to see.”
Jessie has sold merchandise that was spun off from “Halloween” -- a groundbreaking, independent work that premiered Oct. 25, 1978, in Kansas City, Missouri.
“This was a shocking and terrifying experience to see a movie like this at the theater,” Jessie said.
For theater locations and ticket information for “John Carpenter’s Halloween,” visit:
For theater locations and ticket information for “Dracula,” visit: