Top 7 Horrors in the Movie Theater
Howdy Hellions! It’s been a long time since I put together a list like this, but after watching one of the below flicks, I thought it was time to cobble one together. Now that we all stream our entertainment most of the time, going to an actual theater is a welcome and special event. I practically grew up in theaters, and the damn pandemic stole one of my life’s greatest pleasures from me for a while. Luckily, my daughter just got a job at the Alamo Drafthouse near us, so I’ve been making it a point to hit the theater once a week.
One of the things I always loved to see on the big screen was horror movies set in a big screen. Watching it kind of felt like we the viewers and actors were all in the same theater, and the lurking terror was all around us. From the hilarious interactions between David and Jack and the recently dead in An American Werewolf in London, to the mysterious paranoia Jay’s date exhibits in It Follows, there’s something about watching the terror unfold in the same environment where you think you’re safe, watching it all, is a bit of a thrill.
So, here in my very subjective order, is what I think are the top 7 movie theater horrors. I wonder what makes your list…
7. THE BLOB
Who can forget the iconic scene of terrified teens fleeing the theater as the gelatinous creature from outerspace oozes from the exits? I prefer the remake in the 80s, but nothing beats the visuals set down way back in 1958.
6. THE LAST MATINEE
This nasty little gem from Uruguay will haunt your cinematic dreams, especially if you have a thing…like me…about eyeballs. Set almost entirely in a movie theater, once the action starts it never lets up.
With an unforgettable last act that makes it a standout for the early 90s (with a definite 80s feel), Popcorn also has a stellar cast – Jill Shoelen (The Stepfather), Dee Wallace, the late Tom Villard in a brilliant, manic performance, all written and directed by the great Alan Ormsby (Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things). Popcorn, buy a bag, go home in a box! I miss those great taglines.
4. THE TINGLER
Where is the next William Castle? Not only is a creature on the prowl in a theater on the screen, it may just be running past your feet in your own theater! My father hooked up the Tingler devices when he worked at his local theater as a kid. Vincent Price never mailed it in, no matter how cheesy the premise. The Tingler is a horror classic. Remember to scream, scream for your life!
What happens when the tired workers at a little hometown theater find a hidden porno theater below it? Madness, gore and hilarity, of course. This main feature from the folks at Fangoria is an absolute blast. Gentlemen, prepare to experience some crotch sympathy pain. Seriously.
2. THE FINAL GIRLS
This has become one of my all time favorite movies, hands down. When a teen girl goes to a showing of her deceased mother’s 80s slasher movie, a fire in the theater leads to them escaping into the movie itself. Screamingly funny, tear-jerkingly poignant, with some fantastically framed scenes that will stick in your brain like they were made of Gorilla Glue. It’s a fun homage to 80s slashers with a killer cast.
I’m not a big fan of Italian horror, so the fact that this is my #1 speaks to it’s sheer bonkers-ness. Patrons are trapped in a theater flooded with blood thirty demons. So much splattery fun. The sequel is pretty much the same movie, but set in building and parking garage. Bring out the super red blood and practical effects!