Ready for some frights to start your new year right?
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is hosting the Januscary Film Festival at the Harris Theater throughout the first week of January. The six classic and new horror films kick off with a FREE screening of John Carpenter's The Thing on Sat., Jan. 1 at 8 p.m.—a free ticket is required for entry.
The five remaining films include Hellbender, Night Drive, Eyes of Fire, Let the Wrong One In, and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, which will run on select days and times from Jan. 1-6.
“Most theaters schedule classic horror films around Halloween, but once the holiday craze subsides, horror fans still want to see their favorite films and brand new releases outside of the spooky season,” says Joseph Morrison, programming and venue manager, Harris Theater. “That’s where the inspiration for Januscary came from, and it gave me the opportunity to bring in some underappreciated cult classics and overlooked new films that true horror fans will love.”
The concept for Januscary originated during Morrison’s time working at the Hollywood Theater in 2017, and this is the first year the film festival comes to the Harris. With an emphasis on new releases and restorations, it is the only festival of its kind in the Pittsburgh area.
“While at the Hollywood, I worked with incredible board members like Rich Dalzatto and Sandy Stuhlfire (of Horror Realm), and great staff including Sticks Downey and Gerrell Marsh, as well as a concessions operator named John Marek. John was studying graphic communication at the time and created our very first Januscary logo. I’m thrilled that he has returned and created the logo for the 2022 Januscary Film Festival.”
Purchase tickets to any screening of all five films in the Januscary Film Festival and save $3 per ticket. For tickets in-person, please visit the Harris Theater box office, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.TrustArts.org/Film.
The Thing Jan. 1 | 8 p.m. A free ticket is required for entry. Director John Carpenter took the 1951 sci-fi classic The Thing from Another World, produced by Howard Hawks, and turned it into something darker, fiercer and altogether more disturbing, pitting sombrero-wearing helicopter pilot Kurt Russell and a crew of Arctic scientists (Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart) against a ravenous, shape-shifting alien being. From the haunting opening shots of a sled dog fleeing across the snow to the apocalyptic, fire-and-ice ending, this ranks with Ridley Scott’s Alien as one of the finest (and most beautifully crafted) sci-fi films of the past 40 years. The imagery, often verging on the Dalí-esque, is still powerful. The film was terribly underrated by critics on its initial release but its stock has constantly risen in the ensuing decades as one of the most intelligent, scary and uncompromising horror films of the 1980s. Also starring Keith David and David Clennon.
Hellbender Jan. 1 | 5:30 p.m. Jan. 6 | 8 p.m. 16-year-old Izzy (Zelda Adams) suffers from a rare illness that has kept her isolated on a mountaintop with her mother (Toby Poser) her whole life. As Izzy begins to question her sickness, she pushes back against her confinement and secretly befriends Amber (Lulu Adams), another girl living on the mountain, but her newfound happiness is derailed after she eats a live worm as part of a juvenile game and finds an insatiable and violent hunger awakened within her. To understand the hunger, Izzy must learn the dark secrets of her family's past and the ancient power in her bloodline.
Eyes of Fire Jan. 2 | 8 p.m. The seminal American folk horror film, unavailable on home video for decades, now debuts in a new 4K restoration from Severin Films. Set in 1750 in the colonial era of what would eventually become America, an adulterous preacher is ejected from a small British colony with his motley crew of followers, who make their way downriver to establish a new settlement of their own beyond the western frontier. Protected by the mysterious powers of the mad witch Leah, and feeling themselves guided by providence, they traverse through Shawnee territory to a forest enchanted by strange spirits – brought to life through incredible handmade optical effects - unaware of the heart of darkness they have wandered into. Come join us in the valley where the lost blood gathers, and the trees speak of forgotten horrors. Restoration courtesy of Severin Films and the American Genre Film Archive.
Nightdrive Jan. 2 | 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3 | 8 p.m. Russell (AJ Bowen) is a driver in Los Angeles who’s reeling from a series of bad decisions. While his life seems to be caught in a downward spiral, a business proposition from an alluring but enigmatic passenger named Charlotte (Sophie Dalah) proves too good to turn down. A simple ride turns deadly, catapulting Russell into an even darker place, but Charlotte may be the key to a second chance he thought he’d never have…if he can make it through the night. Surprising at every turn and with a wickedly dark sense of humor, directors Meghan Leon’s and Bradford Baruh’s Night Drive is an unforgettably shocking ride-along with a seemingly normal man and the most abnormal of passengers.
Let the Wrong One In Jan. 4 | 8 p.m. Let the Wrong One In follows young supermarket worker Matt, who is a little too nice for his own good. When he discovers that his older, estranged brother Deco has turned into a vampire, he's faced with a dilemma: Will he risk his own life to help his sibling, with blood being thicker than water? Or will he stake him before he spreads the infection further? The film stars upcoming Irish talent Karl Rice and Eoin Duffy, along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer icon Anthony Head in the role of Henry; a taxi driver with a sideline in vampire hunting.
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair Jan. 5 | 8 p.m. A JANUSCARY SNEAK PEAK BEFORE ITS NATIONAL RELEASE. A remarkable, rare combination of frightening and tender, Jane Schoenbrun’s accomplished narrative debut is a hypnotic and destabilizing tale of the fragility of online existence and the human capacity for change. Anna Cobb embodies heartrending teenage fragility as Casey, an isolated high schooler who has decided to take the “World’s Fair Challenge,” a role-playing horror game with the alleged power to enact real-world body modifications and emotional effects. Initially using a static webcam aesthetic familiar to fans of recent first-person internet horror, Schoenbrun ultimately creates something unique, a film about deprivation and connection, dysphoria and desire, that allows its characters self-awareness and grace even as they descend deeper into dark interior spaces.