’Tis the season to be scared out of your witch’s hat (or Dick Cheney mask). But if haunted trails and the Six Flags Fright Fest are too much for your blood pressure, consider a tried-and-true alternative: Go see a scary movie at the cinema.
At the American City Diner, free vintage movies for diners start every night at 8. Stop by for some classics—aliens, zombies, psychopaths, and monsters. (Maybe you should eat first.) See Invasion of the Body Snatchers on October 17, The Birds on October 18, Young Frankenstein on October 22, and Night of the Living Dead on October 28. View a full schedule of movie screenings here.
Come in costume to the Arlington gastropub EatBar on October 31, when best-dressed prizes will be awarded for individuals and groups. Even costumeless partygoers should swing by at 8, when there’s a free screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (It’s just a jump to the left . . . )
The E Street Cinema is screening the same movie on October 30 and 31. Tickets are $10. Call 202-452-7672 for more information.
The prince of Halloween movie screenings in Washington is Spooky Movie 2009: The 4th Annual Washington, D.C. International Horror Film Festival . The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring and the Cinema Arts Theatre in Fairfax will screen dozens of horror films and spooky shorts, including foreign cinema, forgotten greats, and the flat-out bizarre, from October 21 through November 2. This year, the films include titles such as Evil Angel, Doctor S Battles the Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie, Frankenstein vs. the Wolfman, Séance, The Death of Alice Blue, Murder Loves Killers Too, and Morgue Story: Sangue, Baiacu e Quadrinhos. The opening-night film is Two Thousand Maniacs! at AFI. Tickets ($9 for AFI members, $12 for nonmembers) are on sale here.
The AFI Theatre will also host Halloween on Screen from October 20 through November 4, a series of classic horror films mixed with a little comedy. Don’t miss the annual screening of the 1922 horror Nosferatu, with live musical accompaniment provided by the Silent Orchestra, on October 30 at 7 and 9:30. Tickets ($15 for AFI members, $20 for nonmembers, and $5 for children under 12) are available here. The theme of the rest of the films must be lycanthropy: Other titles include The Wolfman, The Howling, and An American Werewolf in London plus the British zom-rom-com Shaun of the Dead. Don’t miss the November 2 screening of Every Other Day Is Halloween—director C.W. Prather and star Count Gore de Vol will be there, and tickets are $5.