August 30, 2018
For its sixth year, the Retro Horror Series at the Ayrsley Grand is back with perhaps their most varied and exciting lineup yet. There are bonafide classics, unique cult films, 3D monster thrillers, ‘90s teen horror and horror-comedies to satisfy the need of every person looking for something a bit spooky this Halloween season.
While you could easily digitally stream all of these films at home, the fun of Ayrsley’s Retro Horror Series is being able to experience classic films with a crowd– one that respects and cherishes the movies just like you might. There’s no judgment at the Retro Horror Series, so what better way to experience a classic for the first, or the 30th time, than on the big screen?
Slashers, monsters, and ghosts galore pervade the halls of the Ayrsley Grand this Halloween season and, at $5 per movie, you it’s hard to beat the experience. Let’s dig into this year’s Retro Horror Series.
September 21 – 27
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The world was introduced to the zombified genius of George A. Romero in 1968’s low-budget classic Night of the Living Dead. Shot in black and white on a paltry budget of $114,000, Romero’s film would go on to spawn five new iterations of his _____ of the Dead series from 1968 to 2010. But it’s always the original with its pure, grassroots approach to terror, that keep audiences coming back for more brains.
Zombi 2 (1979)
Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 is an interesting film. It’s a sequel to 1978’s Zombi, which in turn was the Italian re-edit of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Italian copyright laws aren’t as strict on intellectual property as they are in America, so through that, the original production Zombi 2 was born. Known for its immense gore and polarizing reputation, it’s best to view Zombi 2 on an empty stomach and an open mind.
September 28 – October 4
Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D (1954)
Released during the height of the Universal Classic Monster movies and the crest of the 1950’s 3D craze, Creature from the Black Lagoon is a classic that most people never knew was released in 3D, even during its initial release. Now, the Retro Horror Series is showing the iconic film in its full 3D glory. The first 3D film in the Retro Horror series, audiences get to enjoy a rare moment in movie history the way it was meant to be seen.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter is a staple of any horror series that anyone puts on, but especially that of the Retro Horror Series. Last year, audiences got to experience Christine on the big screen, a lesser-known, but still very respected film in Carpenter’s canon. This year, however, it’s not one, but two of Carpenter’s magnum opuses, including The Thing, here to scar filmgoers all over again. The claustrophobic spaces, insanely great visual effects and strong performances are only the start of what makes this a classic. Seeing it on the big screen will show you the other elements that make this a near-perfect horror experience.
October 5 – 11
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead might’ve been the movie that put him on the map to find his footing as a filmmaker, but Evil Dead 2 is where Raimi perfects the formula. Following the events of the first film, Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams is holed up in yet another cabin while fighting off a horde of demons unleashed from the Book of the Dead. This North Carolina-shot film is the textbook definition of an insane film, one with as much humor as it has horror, and watching it with as rowdy of a crowd as possible could be the most fun you’ve had in a theater in a while.
Army of Darkness (1992)
If Evil Dead 2 is where Raimi perfected the formula of the series, Army of Darkness is where he loses his damn mind. After Ash is transported back to the middle ages at the end of the last film, Raimi opens up the series to a whole new level of crazy. Arguably the most comedy-based installment in the series, Army of Darkness finishes the perfect double feature of craziness for the Halloween season with gore, hilarity and Bruce Campbell at his most unfettered.
October 12 – 18
The Craft (1996)
Easily the most underrated film on this list, Andrew Fleming’s The Craft is everything the perfect teen movie should be. Described as Carrie meets Clueless, and that couldn’t hit the nail on the head more accurately. Following a group of dejected private school girls as they dabble in witchcraft, this has the perfect mixture of horror, comedy, social issues, sexual frustration and everything in between that teens want to see in their horror films. The Craft is an absolute classic from the ‘90s.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Long before Sarah Michelle Gellar picked up the stake to battle vampires in the iconic television series of the same name, Kristy Swanson lit the torch to eventually pass to her in the 1992 original. Arguably not as fleshed out as the series became, Joss Whedon’s script still is a lot of dumb teenage fun that never takes itself too seriously. Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be rough around the edges, but it’s effortlessly cool, surprisingly clever and very fun.
October 19 – 25
No, not the controversial 2016 remake (that wasn’t too bad), the original Ghostbusters is one of the most iconic horror-comedies to date, and for good reason; it’s hilarious. The comedic pairing of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis just can’t be beat. There’s just an organic charm about the original Ghostbusters that can be imitated, but can never be replicated, and that charm has lasted throughout the years without fail.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Some comedies are classics among the generation that spawned them, and then fall dormant in later ones due to changing tastes, humor, and timely references; Young Frankenstein is not that movie. This is a rare film that every person of every age can watch and can find something absolutely hilarious about it. Mel Brooks’ talent as a filmmaker and comedian transcends time, and like a fine wine, gets better with age. Young Frankenstein is just as much of a roaring success now as it was 44 years ago.
October 26 – November 1
An exciting element of the Retro Horror Series this year is the inclusion of two classics with new iterations releasing into theaters this year: Halloween and Suspiria. This means that during this week, you’ll be able to do a double-feature of John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween with David Gordon Green’s 2018 sequel, Halloween, on any of these nights. While on November 1, you can catch Dario Argento’s 1977 Suspiria the same night as the early Thursday premiere of Luca Guadagnino’s enigmatic 2018 remake before its release on November 2.
If The Thing isn’t Carpenter’s magnum opus, then Halloween is. The low-budget horror is the slasher film to end all slasher films, and jump started the illustrious career of the legendary Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s Carpenter’s restraint here that makes Halloween so frightening, in that Michael Myers feels more like an entity than a physical killer. His brooding presence in the background only makes his violent reveals all the more scary. There has never been a film like Halloween and I do not think there will ever be a film like Halloween again.
Argento’s Suspiria is a classic in its own, colorful, weird right, even if it took a while to get there. Oozing Italian Giallo from every pore of its being, this violent, mysterious, feminine and occasionally hilarious film is a personal favorite of mine. Paired with its chaotic score from the Italian band Goblin, and some truly horrifying scenes of terror and violence, Suspiria has a really unique bite to it. One that Luca Guadagnino knows not to touch in his seemingly disparate remake, but to expand upon beautifully.
*CLTure is a proud ad partner of Ayrsley Grand Cinemas Retro Horror Series*