Shocktober V

Since 2013, the Art Theater has taken the month of October and transformed it into the most macabre, mangled, malicious month of the year. Our celebration of horror filmmaking celebrates its 5th anniversary with our biggest program yet, an opening night guest star (scream queen Linnea Quigley), tribute to George A. Romero, and the best All-Nite Horror Marathon yet. We’re premiering new restorations of horror classics from Janus Films, the American Genre Film Archive, and Dark Sky Films. We even have a (mostly) harmless free program for kiddos! Join us, won’t you, for Shocktober V?

Programming: Austin McCann (The Art Theater), Jessie Seitz (The Art Theater & Capricorn Rising).


Opening Night

Feat. Return of the Living Dead (1985, Dan O’Bannon) & Devotion (2016, Jessie Seitz)

All-Nite Horror Marathon
Feat. Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter (1984, Joseph Zito) & Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Tommy Lee Wallace) + 3 new restorations from the American Genre Film Archive: The Last House on Dead End Street (1977, Roger Watkins), Eaten Alive (1977, Tobe Hooper), Nightmare Sisters (1987, David DeCoteau)

George A. Romero Double-Feature
Feat. Night of the Living Dead (1968, George A. Romero) – new restoration from Janus Films/MOMA!
& The Crazies (1973, George A. Romero) – new restoration from the American Genre Film Archive!


Eraserhead – new restoration from Janus Films!
1977, Dir. David Lynch

Tales from the Hood
1995, Rusty Cundieff

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer – new restoration from Dark Sky Films!
1986, John McNaughton

Rocky Horror Picture Show + live cast from Illini Musicals!
1975, Richard O’Brien

SMART (SPOOKY) KIDS: Halloween Shorts Program (Free)



For the opening night event of Shocktober V, the Art Theater is thrilled to host the most prolific scream queen of all time — Linnea Quigley!

NR, 120 minutes


Two types of people exist solely to terrorize and/or exterminate all of mankind: zombies and punks! In Return of the Living Dead, these colossal forces of Shit-Disturbing unite for the most savagely entertaining horror-action-comedy of the new wave era! This is an unstoppable splatter-massacre of the highest order, a hyper-adrenalized nuclear shockwave of undead rampaging and mohawked rage! When punk teen Fred accidentally unleashes a toxic corpse-cloud, the world quickly falls victim to a scourge of shambling, talking, unmurderable cadavers. Featuring the most memorable teen performances you’ll ever see in a horror movie, the smartest zombies to ever nosh a brainpan, and a truly unforgettable punk n’ metal soundtrack from The Cramps, 45 Grave and more! (1985, Dan O’Bannon, US, 91 min, R)


From the Art Theater’s own in-house horror filmmaker (and Shocktober co-programmer) Jessie Seitz comes the premiere of Devotion, featuring Linnea Quigley. After the suicide of her best friend, a young woman is drawn to a city with a dark past that holds the key to a sinister mystery. Starring Haley Jay Madison (Babysitter Massacre; Chopping Block), Linnea Quigly (Silent Night, Deadly Night; The Return of the Living Dead; Night of the Demons), and Josh Miller (Near Dark; Wizard of Gore). (2016, Jessie Seitz, US, 60 min, NR)


R, 480 minutes

Since we’re lucky enough to have a Friday the 13th in the month of October, we’ve moved our popular All-Nite Horror Marathon to correspond. To celebrate the day, we’re playing our favorite F13 franchise film, Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter, as well as another beloved horror sequel, the recently-rediscovered Halloween III: Season of the Witch. And unlike our usual top-secret post-midnight program, we’re announcing in advance the rest of our titles, since we’re so proud of them. Three of the most over-the-top brutal and ridiculous films, all playing from restored prints courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive. First, Roger Watkins’s singular The Last House on Dead End Street, grindhouse-horror to end all grindhouse-error, then Tobe Hooper’s incredible follow-up to TX Chainsaw, called Eaten Alive, and finally some horror sexploitation, featuring Linnea Quigley, it’s Nightmare Sisters. Featuring post-midnight snacks. Will you survive?


In our favorite edition of the F13 franchise, Jason Voorhees has (surprise surprise) found a way back to Camp Crystal Lake to murder its inhabitants, despite everyone’s “knowledge” that he was dead & gone. This time, has Jason met his match in the little boy Tommy Jarvis? The Final Chapter has the unique privilege in the series of not just being one of the meanest, most hump-hating chapters, but also the silliest and most fun. This one features none other than Crispin Glover in a predictably eccentric performance, as well as a young Corey Feldman, who moves from innocent child to traumatized survivor. It’s like a John Hughes movie accidentally stumbled into a mid-80s slasher. Make-up by none other than Tom Savini himself! (1984, Joseph Zico, US, 91 min, R)


In Halloween III: Season of the Witch, an evil toymaker plans to kill all of the kids who go trick-or-treating on Halloween using deadly masks in order to complete an ancient Pagan ritual. It’s up to a doctor who is exploring the death of one of his patients to find out what is going on and convince everyone of the danger. With absolutely nothing to do with the two previous movies (tho that was the original intention of the series, but that’s another story), the film has only recently found the love it deserves. The film involves all manner of weird and wonderful plots, some of which go nowhere fast and some of which lead to the excellent conclusion. You’ve got androids, snakes and bugs, lasers, decapitations, burnings, Stonehenge, creepy Halloween masks and much more. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is unsettling at times, overly morbid and grim to the teeth and it leaves a sour after taste in your mouth as soon as the credits hit – perfect horror viewing! One of the most underrated horror films ever made and one which, thankfully, has finally started to gain a following. (1982, Tommy Lee Wallace, US, 99 min, R)


Strap yourselves in, for even the most hardened cinemagoers will meet their match in this epic dose of creeped-out heaviness: Last House oozes wrongness out of every pore. The threadbare plot involves a venomous, leather-jacketed ex-con (played by director Roger Watkins, who freely admits he crafted the movie during an extended meth binge) who lures his cohorts into filming snuff movies in an abandoned building. Strange rites ensue, involving Greek tragedy masks, power tools, animal limbs, and other niceties. Last House’s mystique was first built solidly upon its phony production credits and murky visuals — and what continues to set this film apart is its suffocating existential dread, creating the feeling of a sinister, odorous stranger breathing heavily down the back of your neck for an hour and a half. Last House is clearly Watkins’ attempt to create an offense to God, country and the universe itself — so come join us, and see how close he actually got! (1977, Roger Watkins, US, 91 min, R, DCP c. American Genre Film Archive)


A shatteringly singular exploitation experience.  Darker, danker and even more disturbed than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, director Tobe Hooper’s ‘78 follow-up blends Chainsaw’s aggressive, hallucinatory drive with the out-of-control theatrics of an off-off-Broadway tribulation.  Neville Brand is unforgettable as the gibbering yokel manning a decrepit swampside motel (which is beautifully rendered on a dusty soundstage.)  As Elm Street’s Robert Englund, Phantom of the Paradise’s William Finley and Chainsaw’s Marilyn Burns make their way to this diseased charnel house, Brand makes quick use of his trusty scythe(!), wanting to feed them all to the famished croc waiting below the water.

Eaten Alive’s non-stop carousel of freaky weirdos embody the mania Hooper can be so adept at capturing in a bottle — plus, Hooper and collaborator Wayne Bell lay on an unnerving musique concrète score that ratchets up the suspense as much as the events onscreen.  (1977, Tobe Hooper, US, 91 min, R, DCP c. American Genre Film Archive)

“Probably the best cinematic attempt to capture the otherworldly madness of the death of the amateur-night-in-Dixie brand of the American Dream.” — The Official Splatter Movie Guide


Three plain looking sorority sisters (our Shocktober opening night scream queen Linnea Quigley along with Brinke Stevens & Michelle Bauer) decide to host a séance and invite their nerdy boyfriends to enjoy the fun. But when Omar (Dukey Flyswatter), a mystical shaman, suddenly appears in their crystal ball and tricks the girls into touching him, they’re suddenly transformed into ravishing succubi, determined to suck more than just souls. Director David DeCoteau’s sexy horror comedy, Nightmare Sisters, is a non-stop thrill ride of outrageous 80s trash, starring three of the biggest names in scream queen history. Vinegar Syndrome is proud to bring Nightmare Sisters in DCP, newly restored from its original 35mm camera negative! (1987, David DeCoteau, 87 min, R, DCP c. American Genre Film Archive)


R, 200 minutes

In tribute to George A. Romero, the inventor of the modern zombie, the creator of modern day cinematic horror, and a compassionate artist of social issues, we present  new restored DCPs of two of his masterpieces: Night of the Living Dead, which was restored after decades of terrible 35mm prints and DVD scans, and the paranoid sci-fi thriller The Crazies.


Bonus shows:

R, 96 minutes

In tribute to passed horror icon George A. Romero, the Art will screen the brand new 4K DP restoration of Night of the Living Dead, a movie which all of us love but has always looked like utter shit given the various legal battles surrounding the film. This radical independent film will look better than any of us have ever seen it this October. While visiting a cemetery, Johnny and his sister Barbra are attacked by a lumbering figure. Johnny is killed, while Barbra manages to escape to a nearby farmhouse, where she promptly stumbles over a dead body. As she tries in vain to phone for help, a horde of hulking attackers gathers outside. African-American Ben, who has also sought safety in the house, reports that there have been similar assaults all over the country. After nailing the windows and doors shut, they discover additional survivors in the cellar. Young Karen has been bitten by one of the “living dead” and is sick … “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” George A. Romero’s radical independent film, made in 1968, was a graphic tale of war and racism. It also established the zombie as an indelible icon in science and pop culture. (1968, George A. Romero, US, 96 min, R, restored DCP)


After reinventing the zombie film with Night of the Living Dead, George Romero made his first color horror film The Crazies, another social commentary cloaked in exploitation trappings about a small Pennsylvania town decimated by the accidental release of a dangerous biochemical weapon in the water supply, thanks to a crashed truck. New DCP restoration courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive. (1973, George A. Romero, US, 85 min, R, restored DCP)

“Though not an official part of Romero’s ongoing Dead series, The Crazies still fits in just fine thanks to its depictions of normalcy shedding apart from the inside and a ruthless but incompetent military ultimately driven by self-interest — themes which would reach their most crystallized version in Day of the Dead.”  -Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital



R, 85 minutes

David Lynch’s infamous debut mindscraper is the full embodiment of pure cinema, and, thirty-five years later, has lost none of its primal power to shock, amaze and engage. A key player in the original midnight movie revolution of the Seventies, and one of those rare films that truly deserves its cult status, Eraserhead is horrifyingly original: a nightmarish landscape where stunning B&W cinematography, groundbreaking industrial sound design and a singular hallucinatory vision — one brimming with images of bodily assault and decay, sexual revulsion and unidentifiable mechanical constructions — all melt into a glorious subconscious abyss. Which is to say the film’s completely badass, a landmark jawdropper in the realm of the weird ‘n wild. A surprisingly thorough primer in the visual motifs that would come to dominate both Lynch’s later film and television work, Eraserhead is a must-see touchstone for all cinematic explorers. (1977, David Lynch, US, 85 min, R, Restored DCP c. Janus Films)


R, 95 minutes

Feat. discussion w/ Sundiata Cha-Jua & Gus Wood

Produced by Spike Lee and directed by Rusty Cundieff, Tales from the Hood is a horror anthology that offers something unique – namely the perspective of young, urban black Americans circa 1995. With four EC comics-inspired morality tales woven around a framing device set in an inner city funeral home (run by a wonderfully Crypt Keeper-esque Clarence Williams III), Cundieff and co-writer Darin Scott move between funhouse scares and serious, real-world problems – from police abuse of people of color to child abuse to gang violence to the KKK (!) – keeping their message pointed without ever sacrificing gory good times. With a slammin’ soundtrack boasting 90s hip hop heavyweights like Wu Tang Clan and Grave Diggaz, and a solid cast featuring Wings Hauser, David Allan Grier and Michael Masse, Tales From the Hood rolls deep while scaring you silly. Still topical and well-deserving of a venerated place in the horror anthology vault of horrors. (1995, Rusty Cundieff, US, 98 min, R)


X, 83 minutes

Special intro by Chuck Koplinski (The News-Gazette)

One of the first movies to really explore the inner mind of a serial killer, John McNaughton’s 1986 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a film that isn’t easy to shake, even thirty years and countless serial killer films later. Based on the real-life story of Henry Lee Lucas, the film stars Michael Rooker in a career-defining performance as the titular Henry, a serial killer who is spurned on to a murder rampage by his ex-con roommate when his sister comes to town. Tom Towles puts in an indelibly slimy performance as Otis, Henry’s roommate and Tracy Arnold is pitch-perfect as Tracy, the sister who drives a sexually charged wedge between these already volatile men. A triumph of indie cinema, the film cost a measly $100,000 and, after an extensive battle with the MPAA, would go on to gross several millions through theatrical re-release and home video. Today it is rightly regarded as a classic and a pioneer in the serial killer subgenre, its documentary feel and 16mm grit often imitated but never replicated.

Dark Sky Films proudly presents Henry in a brand new 4K scan and restoration from the 16mm original camera negatives, and featuring a new 5.1 audio mix from the stereo 35mm mag reels, all approved by director John McNaughton. Sure to send shivers of mortal dread through a whole new generation of filmgoers, this amazing new transfer puts Henry firmly back into the vanguard of contemporary cinematic horror. (1986, John McNaughton, US, 83 min, R, restored DCP)


R, 100 minutes

Illini Student Musicals are back to provide their stellar live performance at all shows–BUY TICKETS EARLY THESE SHOWS WILL SELL OUT!

This low-budget freak show/cult classic/cultural institution concerns the misadventures of Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and their indoctrination into the world of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) and his cavalcade of beautiful weirdoes: Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien), Magenta (Patricia Quinn), Columbia (Neil Campebll) and Eddie (Meatloaf). A cult classic and the pinnacle of audience participation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an experience you’ll never forget. (1975, Richard O’Brien, US, 105 min, R, DCP)


NR, 90 minutes

A free kids program of fun Halloween shorts! Considerably less scary than our other programs, and good for all ages!

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