MAITLAND – Maybe it’s that familiar piano music that everyone instantly recognizes ….
…. or Jaime Lee Curtis’ frantic scream ….
…. or that eerie mask that Michael Myers wears …
When the Enzian Theater hosts its Wednesday Movie Pitcher Night tomorrow, the aim is to revisit one of horror’s esteemed cinematic classics.
“Halloween,” the 1978 slasher/stalker movie by director John Carpenter, is a part of the theater’s monthly tribute to horror classics, following showings of “A Nightmare of Elm Street” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Matt Curtis, the Enzian’s program director, said when they were selecting movies to show outdoors, “Halloween” seemed like an obvious choice.
“It’s an important film,” he said. “It’s one of John Carpenter’s main calling cards, and set the tradition for the stalker movie.”
With a poster showing a hand swinging a knife, under the tag line “The Night HE Came Home,” Halloween is about a six-year-old boy, Michael Myers, who murders his sister and spends years in a mental institution before escaping as an adult to the town of Haddonfield, where he begins following teenager Laurie Strode.
And he does it on Halloween night.
As Matt Curtis noted, this movie set the standard for the modern day slasher movie, although few of the imitators managed to capture this film’s style and wit – and genuine scream-out-loud scares.
“There’s a lot of really subtle touches that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up,” Curtis said. “John Carpenter’s films play great outdoors.”
Outdoors is the operative word here. For months now, the Enzian has hosted free movies on its property, inviting the public to drop by, relax on the grass, and watch a flick together.
“This is ongoing, and we’ve been doing this since the spring,” Curtis said, adding that the crowds have been lining up ever since to join in.
“I think they start putting down blankets an hour before showtime,” he said.
“It’s outside on the hill next to the Eden Bar, and that space fills up quickly,” said Elizabeth Tiedtke, the Enzian’s executive director. “It’s new for this year.”
October has been a particularly good month for attendance, she said, since those horror movies are drawing in strong crowds.
“We’ve had probably on the highest side of our attendance for all the October films,” Tiedtke said.
That’s not a surprise, Curtis said, since horror movies are a great adrenaline rush – terrifying, but in a safe environment.
“I think it’s a thrill,” he said. “People like being scared, but they’re being scared in a safe environment, and it’s a communal thing. People like to get together and be scared as a group.”
Typically, the Wednesday night movies start at 8:30 p.m., although beginning in November, Curtis said, they will begin a little bit earlier, at 8 p.m.
Enzian plays these movies on either DVD or Blueray discs, since many of these older films are no longer available on traditional 35mm prints.
“We decided to make it free, just a great time for people to come here,” Curtis said. “For the whole month, we’ve been trying to show classics of the (horror) genre.”
On Sunday, however, the movie theater will also show a family-friendly scary movie – “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad,” the 1949 Disney movie that includes an animated version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and its menacing headless horseman.
“This Sunday we’re even doing a kids event,” Curtis said. “It’s been a blast. This is the most we’ve ever done in one month, and people want more and more.”
The Enzian is at 1300 S. Orlando Ave. in Maitland. To learn more, call 407-629-0054.
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