Multiple sources report that the 1984 classic Ghostbusters will receive a limited-run theatrical re-release in mid October. As an avowed lover of revival screenings, I’m excited to revisit the Bill Murray horror/comedy. While I would much prefer a large-scale theatrical run for John Carpenter’s Halloween (which, with its marvelous use of the full Panavision frame, is perfectly suited for cinematic re-release and big-screen TVs), Ghostbusters will still satisfy at least some of my yearly craving for ghouls and ghost and goblin host. Halloween aside, what spooky movies would benefit from a theatrical revival (or, at the very least, a re-watching on a mammoth HD screen)? Here are four I’ve seen at revival houses in the past few years, and how much oomph they have on the big screen.
City Of The Living Dead – Lucio Fulci’s bizarre Italian horror movies compensate for their awkward dubbing and plotless “storylines” with spectacular horror setpieces. You sink into your seat, staving off Mr. Sandman as stiff, boring actors exchange meaningless dialogue, and then Fulci whams you with something like the “splinter scene” from Zombie (a girl’s eye is slowly, inexorably, wince-inducingly drawn into a door splinter). City Of The Living Dead’s similar and equally infamous drill scene almost had me hiding under my cinema seat. And really, isn’t that just what we want from a horror movie?
Nosferatu – Odds are, if you catch this silent film fave in a theater, you’ll also be treated to a live musical performance. A wide variety of musical accompaniments have appeared on the DVD editions of the film, ranging from traditional organ to spooky, ambient new age. A nice string quartet, with the bowing violin as a shrill aural representation of vampire Nosferatu’s predatory gaze and bite, seems the ideal sonic complement to director F. W. Murnau’s haunting visuals.
Poltergeist – Don’t you just hate it when they move the cemetery but they leave the bodies? Effects-heavy movies always play best on the big screen. And admittedly, some of Steven Spielberg’s (oops, Tobe Hooper’s – let’s save that old controversy for another day) matte shots do look a little bit dated on home video. The big screen experience gives them all a distracting visual sweep, allowing you to enjoy the Freelings’ clash with restless spirits without thinking much about matte lines.
The Shining – The legendary genre effort is not shot in an ultra-widescreen format (in fact, all video versions until 2006 were in a full-screen, open matte format at the director’s behest), but the oft-mentioned Steadicam shots, to say nothing of that elevator unleashing torrents of blood, are ideal big screen fodder. And when little Danny spins round those corners in his Big Wheel, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the Overlook Hotel with him.
What old-school horror movies would you love to see playing again at your local cinema? Re-watch a few old favorites and post some suggestions in the comments section.