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Fright Fests

Six horror-film festivals that provide all the shock and terror you need.


Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, screening at BAMcinématek.  

Halloween at Nitehawk
Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave., nr. Berry St., Williambsurg; 718-384-3890
Brooklyn's best theater for (legally) boozing in your seat is showing scary movies all month at its regular brunch and midnight screenings, as well as at special events. The diverse lineup includes 1960 Italian horror classic Black Sunday (10/18–10/19), The Exorcist (10/25–10/26), and The Devil's Advocate (10/26–10/27). As part of the Live + Sound + Cinema series, which pairs silent films with new contemporary scores, you can see 1927's The Cat and the Canary (10/26–10/27) and The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Cheney (10/31). True film nerds should cancel their Halloween plans to attend "A Nite to Dismember," a ten-hour marathon of five films (including An American Werewolf in London and Dawn of the Dead) that kicks off at 10 p.m.
When: Through October 31

Spectober
Spectacle Theater, 124 S. 3rd St., nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
All month long, this one-screen cinephile paradise is showing bizarre, even shocking films that you've likely never heard of. Standouts include the atmospheric 1958 Norwegian film Lake of the Dead (10/22); Morgiana, a hypnotic, hallucinatory stunner from the Czech New Wave (10/30); and Japan's The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, ostensibly a children's movie about sibling rivalry but really a rather sadistic and sinister tale (10/30).
When: Through October 31

Midnight Movies
Landmark Sunshine Cinema, 143 E. Houston St., nr Eldridge St.; 212-358-7709
Poltergeist is often remembered as the movie in which cast members would meet untimely deaths, but the film itself (co-written and co-produced by Steven Spielberg) is a standout ghost flick, especially by eighties standards. Stay up late to see that and, the following weekend, millennial bait Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the precursor to the cult series, which stars Kelly Swanson, Luke Perry (remember him?), and a very un–Pee-Wee Herman Paul Reubens.
When: October 18–19; October 25–26


Little Shop of Horrors  

Puppets on Film
BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave., at Flatbush Ave., Fort Greene; 718-636-4100
The name of this short series may have you thinking of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (who are on the lineup), but not all puppets are nice ones. In order of scare factor, the roster also includes Little Shop of Horrors (10/25), the always-creepy Return to Oz (10/26), and the pre-Gravity, outer-space terror flick Aliens (10/27).
When: October 25–27

Scary Movies 7
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 145 W. 65th St., nr. Broadway; 212-875-5601
The Film Society of Lincoln Center's annual festival of slasher flicks is generally the best in the city, and this year's selections include nine films making their U.S. or New York premieres. Highlights include The Green Inferno (Eli Roth's homage to Cannibal Holocaust that he will introduce in person at the Walter Reade Theater) and the nineties-era French gorefest Baby Blood. In addition, the festival features a handful of seventies and eighties films about bad things happening in the countryside.
When: October 30–November 7

The Golden Age of Spanish Horror Cinema
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave., at 2nd St.; 212-505-5181
In the final years of the Franco dictatorship, Spain produced hundreds of no-budget horror films, remarkable for their violence and eroticism, about werewolves, vampires, and demons. In the decades since, they've gained a cult following but are still rarely shown in theaters, so this lineup of eleven titles from the genre shouldn't be missed.
When: October 30–November 10

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