The Halloween season seems to start earlier and earlier each year. If you want to spend all weekend watching horror movies away from home, Chicago's got you covered. Included are the best horror and sci-fi picks offered from local, independent venues (which are important to support). There are some fun genre stage productions currently running, as well as large-scale events like Wizard World. To celebrate the release of The Thing: Artbook, local artists will be signing their contributions this Saturday at Chicago Comics.
“Don't walk to the theater–RUN!”
MARIO BAVA Film Series - (August 4th-29th) The Gene Siskel Film Center presents Mario Bava: The Baroque Beauties of Italian Horror, a selection of nine films from the highly-admired Italian horror director throughout the month! Bava was known for making magic on a shoestring budget, using effective lighting techniques for creating stunning visuals that turned many of his films into mesmerizing works of art (see Blood and Black Lace). A BAY OF BLOOD screens Saturday at 3pm and Tuesday at 6pm. THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH screens Saturday at 4:45pm and Monday at 6pm. (Films newly released in DCP.) Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60601.
MARJORIE PRIME - (August 25th-31st) Disturbing sci-fi mystery drama adapted from the stage. Phenomenal actress Lois Smith reprises her stage role as Marjorie, who employs a service that offers holographic recreations of deceased loved ones. A young version of her dead husband (John Hamm) is sent to communicate with her. She begins altering memories and the truth of the past becomes blurred. Also starring Geena Davis and Tim Robbins. Facets Cinémathèque, 1517 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL 60614.
ANNABELLE: Creation / BABY DRIVER - (August 25th-31st) ANNABELLE: Creation begins at 8pm, while BABY DRIVER screens at 10pm. Cascade Drive-In. 1100 E. North Avenue, West Chicago, IL 60185.
THE LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET - (August 25th & 26th) Midnight! Written and directed by Roger Watkins (who also stars), the film follows a pornographer who intends on shooting a snuff film after he's released from prison. The nihilistic, avant-garde vibe has polarized viewers, but remains a worthy curiosity of gore-soaked wonders. There probably would've been even more confusion about the film if they'd kept the title, The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell. The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613.
PULP FICTION - (August 25th-28th) Tarantino insanity is always a great time with a crowd. Enjoy the bar options and hang out in the lounge before the movie. ANNABELLE: Creation is also screening there through August 30th. Logan Theatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW - As always, the Rocky Horror fun continues with a full cast performance each Saturday at Midnight at the Hollywood Blvd. Cinema, 1001 W. 75th St., Woodridge, IL 60517. (630) 427-1880. RHPS
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW [35mm] - Saturday, August 26th at Midnight. Old school Midnight Madness! They just ask that you don't bring toast, hot dogs, prunes, rice, or water guns. The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613.
THE CROPSEY INCIDENT - (August 27th at 9pm) Director will be doing a Q&A. Free giveaways. Carbon Arc, 4614 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60625.
TAKE BACK THE KNIFE - (August 28th at 7pm) Director Matt Storc will be present. Monday at Township, 2200 N. California, Chicago, IL 60647.
WEREWOLF OF LONDON - (August 28th at 7pm) Nitecap Coffee Bar, 1738 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL 60608.
JAWS - (August 28th at 7pm) Free screening! Hosted by Navy Pier and the Chicago International Film Festival. Outdoors by the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, Chicago, IL 60611.
THE THING: Artbook Signing Event - (August 26th from 7pm-9pm) Printed in Blood released a 400-page book filled with illustrations by over 350 artists from around the world. The theme, of course, is John Carpenter's chilling horror film, THE THING. This tribute celebrates its 35th anniversary. Meet some local artists who contributed to the book and enjoy more surprises! Chicago Comics, 3244 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60657. Facebook Event Page.
Wizard World Comic Convention - (August 24th-27th) A celebrity and artist extravaganza commences once again in Rosemont. Meet Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, Gene Simmons, John Cusack, members of Stranger Things, and more. Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 9301 W. Bryn Mawr, Rosemont, IL 60018.
Tattoo-B-Que - (August 26th from noon-10pm) $100 food-themed tattoos. Revolution Tattoo & Gallery, 2221 N. Western, Chicago, IL 60647.
Chicago Ghost Tours App - A free app for enjoying audio and photo tours of Chicago's Haunted Archer Avenue is available, courtesy of Edward Shanahan, a fellow ChicagoNOW blogger (check out his blog, Chicago Paranormal & Spiritual). He is also a psychic and paranormal host who has worked on making his app a great addition to fans of Haunted Archer. The app includes 16 locations and 6 cemeteries. Free download! Shanahan also has a free online magazine.
Trapped in a Room with a Zombie - Room Escape adventures where guests must figure out clues and puzzles to escape a room they share with a snarling, chained-up zombie. Ages 14+ or must have parent. Fine Arts Building, 408 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605.
Chicago Hauntings Bus Tours - One of the longest-running ghost tours in Chicago, each 2.5 hour tour is led by founder, paranormal investigator, and author Ursula Bielski and her partner, author David Cowan. Routine stops include locations of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Death Alley, gangland sites, murder sites, and more. Departs at the Congress Hotel. For schedules, all tours, and background information, please see ChicagoHauntings.com.
Helltrap Nightmare - (August 26th at 9pm) Horror comedy and noise music at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago, IL 60642.
Machinal - (Aug. 11th-Sept. 24th) Inspired by the true story of the 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, who killed her husband. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614.
Shockheaded Peter - (August 11th - Sept. 16th) Black Button Eyes Productions presents the return of one of the greatest, strangest, quirkiest, most macabre performances to grace the Chicago stage! If you have a penchant for dark humor and puppets, this is a must. The same group that last performed in 2001 will return! Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657. (Ages 13+ only.) Tickets.
Improvised Twilight Zone - (Fridays at 8pm through 10/27) Improv comedy using audience suggestions to create three episodes. The Annoyance Theatre & Bar, 851 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL.
Stranger Thongs: A Stranger Things Burlesque - (June 3rd-Dec. 16) Gorilla Tango Theatre presents a quirky burlesque show with the Stranger Things theme. $28. Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647.
The Veil - (August 17th - Sept. 17th) Set in 1822, this is a historical thriller, ghost story, and a love story all in one. Idle Muse Theatre Company at Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640.
NOIR CITY at the Music Box - (August 25th-31st) The Music Box Theatre presents another great round of noir greatness at the end of the month. Check out THE AURA [35mm] Saturday at 9:15pm. 3733 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613.
MILLENNIUM PARK SUMMER MOVIES - (June 13th-Sept. 5th) Enjoy free Tuesday movies on a 40-ft. LED screen in Millennium Park. On August 8th, they'll screen THE SHINING and GHOST. Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Great Lawn.
CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - (through Oct. 4th) On Wednesdays, arrive early for free screenings of independent, international, unrated films with the theme, “A Taste of Cinema,” revolving around food. Limited seating. Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington, 2nd Fl. North, Chicago, 60602.
MOVIES IN THE PARK - (June 2nd-Sept. 7th) The Chicago Park District's annual celebration of summer movies in various Chicago parks returns with a nice selection of family-friendly movies. See free screenings under the stars, including: GHOSTBUSTERS, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, THE SANDLOT, DROP DEAD FRED, ROGUE ONE, BIG, and many more!
Summer Exhibits at LUMA - The Loyola University Museum of Art offers three photography exhibitions this summer: Susan Aurinko: Searching for Jehanne – The Joan of Arc Project, Jeffrey Wolin: Pigeon Hill: Then and Now, and Michelle Murphy: Responsive Beauty. To celebrate, the museum offers free admission through November 11th! 820 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660.
Gregory Jacobsen Art Exhibit - (July 14th-Aug. 26th) “Balm of Body, Spice of Flesh” is a new exhibit displaying Gregory Jacobsen's colorful oil paintings in the spirit of the weird and the grotesque. His works revolve around body horror themes depicting deformities, sexually graphic anomalies, and candy-colored mutations. Zg Gallery, 300 W. Superior, Chicago, IL.
Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist - (June 25th - Sept. 10th) A deep look into the artist's creative process. Hours: Daily 10:30pm-5pm; Thursdays until 8pm. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL.
Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg - (June 6th - Sept. 24th) Retrospective of over 3 decades of his whimsical work! Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago, Chicago, IL 60611.
GOBLIN Live in Concert - (October 25th) Start planning Halloween early with tickets to another rare chance to see Goblin live! Their first stop in North America this year will be in Chicago.
John Carpenter: Anthology Tour - (November 9th) The Master of Horror returns to Chicago for more chilling music at the Aragon Ballroom. Tickets are now on sale! 17+.
DUSK-TO-DAWN HORROR FEST - (Sept. 23rd) ALIENS, DAY OF THE DEAD, HALLOWEEN II, and one more TBA. Midway Drive-In, 91 Palmyra Rd., Sterling, IL.
Times are subject to change.
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