The biggest game in town has arrived. Now more than a quarter-century old, the Philadelphia Film Festival will kick off on October 19 for a massive celebration of all things cinema, showcasing festival-circuit up-and-comers alongside some of the titans of Hollywood and master filmmakers from abroad, with a special category for projects with a Philly-area connection. Plus, there are all kinds of celebrity events and VIP parties.
Over the festival’s 10 days, the Philadelphia Film Society will showcase more than 110 works at venues like the Prince Theater. The opening and closing receptions stick to recent mainstream titles — La La Land will launch the festival, Arrival will close it out — but expect features, shorts, and documentaries of all genres and budgets. All-access passes cost $500, while weekly passes go for $175 and individual tickets for $13.
Despite serving as the occasion for the Philadelphia Film Festival, October is also the month that brings out those black sheep of film fandom: horror aficionados. And the upcoming calendar for fans of fright is stacked.
On October 8, CineMug will host the 10th annual Druid Underground Film Fest, a tribute to the kind of experimental filmmaking that creeps you out not with jump-scares and boogeymen, but with unsettling imagery, jarring techniques, and sensory overload. Just check out the event trailer. Even David Lynch would squirm. Tickets to the all-day festival cost $10.
CineMug will also screen two overlooked horror sequels: 1986’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a lighter go-round than its 1974 counterpart, and Army of Darkness, Sam Raimi’s third and final installment in his Evil Dead series, on October 12 and 19. If you prefer your gore with a dose of self-aware humor, these films won’t disappoint. Both screenings cost $5.
Classic scares: Legacies and origins
The Ritz at the Bourse will celebrate the season as literally as it can when it shows John Carpenter’s Halloween, the 1978 film that introduced the world to serial killer Michael Myers and set the tone for all slasher films in its wake. (It also inspired millions of children’s costumes, unmatched in ubiquity except perhaps by Jason Voorhees and Darth Vader.) The screening will take place late on Friday, October 27, as part of the Ritz’s Midnight Madness series. Admission costs $10.25.
Exhumed Films will have a predictably busy month, though unfortunately tickets to its 24-hour Horror-thon at International House are sold out. But here’s a different kind of event: On October 7 at PhilaMOCA, Exhumed will host a talk about three bestselling paperback novels — Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Other — that inspired some of the classic horror films of the 1960s and ’70s. It’s bound to be an interesting discussion for anyone interested in why these stories became classics of the silver screen. Tickets cost $10 to $12.