The Ritz at the Bourse’s Midnight Madness series, which appeals to late-night moviegoers with 12am screenings every Friday (well, technically, Saturday), tends to schedule hidden gems alongside cult favorites like The Room and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This month is no exception. On December 23, it will show Tim Burton’s surreal 1990 comedy Edward Scissorhands, starring a young Johnny Depp as a malformed human experiment adrift in suburbia. The following Friday, December 30, things will get even stranger with Belladonna of Sadness, an experimental 1973 Japanese animated film dealing with sex, violence, and witchcraft. Tickets to either screening cost $10.
The combination coffee shop/video rental store CineMug will have a busy month leading up to the holidays, and if you like a dose of Halloween during Christmastime, it has you covered. Things will start on December 15 with a screening of Krampus, Hollywood’s 2015 take on the folkloric Christmas demon. Stop in the next day, December 16, to see Altered States, a 1980 sci-fi horror starring William Hurt as a scientist who experiments on himself with psychedelic drugs.
Finally, three days before Christmas, CineMug will host Gremlins, the 1984 film that introduced the world to mogwais, adorable pets that transform into evil monsters if you feed them after midnight. (Technically speaking, however, isn’t it always after midnight? I never understood that part.) Admission to Krampus and Gremlins costs $5 apiece, while Altered States is free.
Cinema Ray, too, will hop on the holiday horror train with a series of $8 screenings at its home base, the Ruba Club. First up, on December 14, is Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 swan song, Eyes Wide Shut, famous for perhaps the least sexy sex scene ever put to film — young Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman notwithstanding. Next, on December 21, is Christmas Evil, a low-budget 1980 slasher flick that essentially takes Michael Myers from Halloween and puts him in a Santa suit. A few days after Christmas, on December 28, the group will wrap things up with 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, one of the original disaster films. I hope you don’t have any cruises planned for after New Year’s.
Sean Durkin’s debut thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene astounded audiences at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and — for a quiet, subtle, independent work — found remarkable success at the box office later that year. On December 27, the Roxy Theater will show the film for a free one-off screening (though donations to PFS’s Philly Film Showcase are welcome). Elizabeth Olsen stars as a woman who escapes an abusive cult and who must deal with terrifying psychological trauma during the aftermath. Merry Christmas, everyone!