Posted on October 19, 2020

From an Australian cult-classic, to an Adam Sandler Halloween romp and Brandon Cronenberg's eerily timely feature-film debut, here are our programming team's top picks for October! 

 

Brian Owens, Artistic Director

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THE EYE (2002)
dir. the Pang Brothers 

Do not mix this up with the inferior American remake. The original Thai version of THE EYE is a great combo of creeping dread and the occasional jump scare. Watch with the lights out...until you're so scared that you'll ask someone to turn them on for you!

DVD available on Amazon

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THE ORPHANAGE (2007)
dir. J.A. Bayona

When you want your scares to come with a little emotional heft, turn to this underseen Spanish classic about a woman who returns to her former home, a former orphanage for disabled children, and discovers her young son talking to...something. It goes in unexpected directions and the ending is a wallop! 

DVD available on Amazon

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THE BABADOOK (2014)
dir. Jennifer Kent

What could have been a simple horror movie about a mother and son stalked by a creature out of an eerie children's book becomes a much deeper, darker examination of parenthood and the existential fear of failing our children. One of the most amazing debut horror films ever made.

Streaming on Crave and available to rent on Cineplex, iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.

 

Brenda Leiberman, Lead Programmer

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MURDER PARTY (2007) 
dir. Jeremy Saulnier 

Screening at CIFF in 2007, this low-budget horror-comedy, was Jeremy Saulnier’s first feature, and he has since become a several-film alumnus at the festival. I've always loved MURDER PARTY, with the mix of absurdity, and dark comedy it honestly was a great discovery film for what has now become one of my favourite filmmakers.

Available to rent on iTunes

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HUBIE HALLOWEEN (2020)
dir. Steven Brill

If you love Halloween as much as I do, you should always watch whatever new Halloween-themed film comes out that year, even if the fim isn't very good. Adam Sandler vowed to make the worst movie ever after being snubbed at the Oscars for Uncut Gems, and this is the film he came up with! There are definitely some funny parts, and some very "what in the world is this" parts, but what I loved the most is he always works with his actor pals, often the same cast from film to film. If you watch the credits and look at all the faces, you'll hopefully recognize he's used his and everyone else's kids in this film, too. To me, HUBIE HALLOWEEN would have been a blast to make, full of friends, family, and Halloween craziness!

Streaming on Netflix

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SAVE YOURSELVES! (2020) 
dir. Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson 

This isn't a Halloween flick, but it's an October theatrical release not to be missed if you want something quirky and fun. SAVE YOURSELVES! is a comedy-sci-fi about a couple trying to disconnect from their devices, and while doing so (of course in a remote location) the planet is under attack. I would actually recommend you watch this one in the theatre if you can, as that's really where comedy shines best and becomes infectious with those around you.

Now showing at select theatres

Adam Keresztes, Shorts Programmer

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MAGIC (1978) 
dir. Richard Attenborough

Maybe not a traditional horror film, but in this fun psychological thriller, Anthony Hopkins (THE FATHER, CIFF 2020) plays a deranged ventriloquist. Hopkins must have spent a lot of time learning some real magic tricks for this, and his performance is pretty fantastic. 

Available to rent on iTunes.

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THE THING (1982) 
dir. John Carpenter

What's not to love about THE THING in 2020? A parasitic virus jumps from host to host so quickly that you can't even trust those close to you. Sound familiar? THE THING has some of the best physical special effects of all time, and the isolated location of the Arctic keeps the tension high. Plus, anything with Kurt Russell is okay in my books.

Available to rent on iTunes, Cineplex & YouTube.

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ANTIVIRAL (2012) 
dir. Brandon Cronenberg

The debut film from POSSESSOR (CIFF 2020) director Brandon Cronenberg is prescient and creepy. Brandon tries to distance himself from his father's horror film legacy, but it is clear there is something passed down in his genes. CIFF screened ANTIVIRAL for Calgary audiences back in 2012 at the Black Carpet Gala. 

Streaming on CBC Gem & Amazon Prime

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