As the most prolific and profitable cinematic subgenre of all time, horror movies are truly the lifeblood of the fall film scene. Sure, streaming options from Netflix, Hulu or Shudder abound. But fortunately for Clevelanders, we've got a wide array of big-screen options for anyone looking to get a frightening fix this Halloween season. Between one-night only specialty screenings or butt-numbing movie marathons, there's something for everyone, no matter what age or how strong-willed you might be.
Cinema Wasteland (Holiday Inn, 15471 Royalton Rd., Strongsville)
Strongsville is invaded twice a year by one of the oldest and rowdiest alternative film conventions in the country, Cinema Wasteland. This year's fall show contains classics on 16-mm, new releases of independently made horror films and countless cult favorites, but the central focus will be the cast reunion and screening of the original 1981 slasher classic, My Bloody Valentine. Wasteland Weekend is Oct. 5 to 7 and a full lineup of events and ticket purchases can be found at cinemawasteland.com
Cleveland Cinematheque (11610 Euclid Ave.)
The good people behind the Cleveland Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art curate some of the most unique screening opportunities imaginable, serving as one of the "premier repertory movie theaters" in the country, according to the New York Times. This fall, the Cinematheque slate features first-time screenings as well as all-time favorites.
Dementia 13, a Roger Corman produced Psycho knockoff and one of the earliest films from Francis Ford Coppola, will have its Cleveland revival premiere and show throughout the month.
The often forgotten Targets, about a psychopathic sniper and a has-been horror movie star (Boris Karloff) who has retired because scary films can no longer compete with the terrors of everyday life, will screen in 35-mm.
Goblin keyboardist Maurizio Guarini will present a live performance of his original score to the first-ever feature film produced in Italy, Dante's Inferno, showcasing horrific cinematic imagery decades before such giallo classics as Dario Argento's Deep Red and Suspiria, both scored by Goblin and Guarini.
Newly restored double features of Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Cat O' Nine Tails keep the giallo running red, and triple-feature nights of The Fog, Evil Dead and Evil Dead II offer a little more name recognition among horror favorites.
All of these films will play on multiple dates, so check out the full list of showtimes by visiting cia.edu/cinematheque.
Aut-O-Rama (33395 Lorain Rd. North Ridgeville)
As is traditional, the Aut-O-Rama Drive-In will close out its season with special screenings of retro horror classics, including family-friendly options. On the scarier side of things, the new reboot of Halloween is scheduled to play alongside three of the following four films: Hellraiser, The Thing, Return of the Living Dead or Evil Dead 2. For families, Goosebumps 2, E.T., Ghostbusters and Corpse Bride are slated to screen with Little Shop of Horrors serving as the backup for Goosebumps 2. As of now, all of the scheduled films are tentative and will be confirmed closer to the show date on Oct. 21.
Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights)
The Oct. 6 midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an absolute must this fall, but the schedule of scary movies at the Cedar Lee is pretty solid for 2018. The Addams Family plays on Oct. 6 and 7, as does the wildly dark and twisted Await Further Instructions. As part of the National Theatre's stage-to-film productions, viewers can see Danny Boyle's stage adaptation of Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular creator's monster on Oct. 22 and 24 or Jonny Lee Miller on Oct. 29 and 31. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Night of the Living Dead, there will also be celebratory screenings on Oct. 24 and 25.
Tower City Cinemas (230 West Huron Rd.)
In conjunction with the most popular horror movie website in the world, Bloody-Disgusting.com's Retro Nightmares cinema series is coming to Tower City with the 1983 slasher classic, House on Sorority Row on Sept. 27, a double-feature of the underseen sequels Amityville: The Evil Escapes and Amityville: It's About Time on Oct. 4, and a double feature of the totally underrated Sweet Sixteen and cult-favorite nuns-ploitation flick The Convent on Oct. 11.
Capitol Theatre (1390 West 65th St.)
Opening up the haunting season, the pregnancy nightmare film featuring horror icons Scout Taylor-Compton, Sid Haig and Bill Moseley, Cynthia hits on Oct. 1. On Oct. 24, the only "true" horror film to ever win a Best Picture Oscar (Silence of the Lambs is a crime drama; fight me), The Exorcist, will spider-walk its way into the theater as part of the Happy Hour Classics series, which means a spooky specialty cocktail hour precedes the screening. For the 40th anniversary of the horror classic, producer Richard Rubinstein has made a new digital 3-D version of Dawn of the Dead, which will screen starting Oct. 26.
However, the crown jewel of Cleveland's horror movie screenings is the annual 12 Hours of Terror on Oct. 20. Curated each year by Cleveland Cinemas' Dave Huffman, this Halloween highlight event will feature Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep, Candyman, The Human Centipede, Event Horizon, The Hills Have Eyes and the highly debated and coveted "secret screening." We've featured this event as the "Best Place to Binge Watch Movies That Isn't Netflix," because absolutely nothing beats the all-day marathon of gruesome goodness.
Additionally, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Halloween, Goosebumps 2 and HellFest all have wide-release screenings in theaters all across Cleveland and the surrounding area.