Horror films are scary. Horror theater is arguably scarier. The energy of live theater, the closeness and immediacy, can ramp up the fear factor.
Launched in 2012 by Four Humors Theater as a juried, horror-themed, live-performance arts festival, now overseen by United Festival Group (whose owners include Four Humors’ Jason Ballweber, Ryan Lear and Matt Spring), the Twin Cities Horror Festival has called the Southern Theater home since the start. Old, intimate and worn, its classic proscenium arch a gaping maw, the Southern is a perfect place to scare people silly.
TCHF VII starts next Thursday, Oct. 25, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 4, with 13 different shows and experiences. Most are suggested for ages 13 or 16 and up. Just one, Rogues Gallery Arts’ “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is all-ages.
Four nationally and internationally known guest companies and artists will perform: Toronto’s Kairos Collective, New York’s Jody Christopherson, Breaker/Fixer Productions from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Portland’s Amica & Hecate, whose “Funerals for Life” take place in the lobby. For a sliding scale donation ($15-30 suggested), you’ll lie down on their coroner’s slab and be embalmed. You’ll leave with a photo and a signed death certificate.
“A Morbid History of Sons & Daughters” by the Vincent Hovis Experience (cabaret artist Leslie Vincent and composer Keith Hovis, with friends) is a song cycle about serial killers. Tom Reed’s “Greenway” is a bike commuter’s worst nightmare. Christopherson’s “St. Kilda” follows a working-class woman from Nebraska as she unearths a dark family secret on an abandoned island off the coast of Scotland. Kairos Collective’s “The Bathtub Girls” is a tale of sibling matricide. Garrett Vollmer’s “Home,” the newest horror show from Dangerous Productions, digs into what happens in the basements of small-town America. There will be blood.
Playable Artworks’ “Second Skin” is an audio-driven, site-specific adventure that takes you out of the Southern and around the Seven Corners neighborhood. You’re the protagonist in an interactive horror adventure.
Not everything is scary. Reverend Matt’s “Monster Science: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” is a pair of comedy lectures.
Each show has five performances. “Second Skin” is by appointment, “Funerals for Life” is by reservation. View the whole line-up and buy tickets or passes here. If you’re a glutton for punishment, a Skeleton Key ($180) gives you unlimited priority access.
More Halloween fun
The Haunted Basement is back, now in its 12th year and not at the Soap Factory anymore (since 2017, if you missed that memo). It’s in a new home – Building No. 9 of the old General Mills Research Facility in Minneapolis – with new horrors. Their words: “Expect strong smells, physical contact, and projectile liquids. You may get very messy, you may have to crawl, and you may find yourself in a confined space with something horrible.” Sounds great! FMI, times and tickets ($25). Ends Oct. 31.
National Theatre Live’s “Frankenstein” returns to the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre for six screenings between Monday (Oct. 22) and Nov. 26. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller (“Elementary,” “Dexter,” “Trainspotting”) alternate between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. Directed by Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “Slumdog Millionaire”). FMI including trailer, times and tickets ($20-10).
It’s the 200th birthday of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” and the U of M’s Department of English is celebrating. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Twin Cities actors will read from “Frankenstein” and other 19th-century monster texts. 7 p.m. in Lind Hall, room 2017A. On Wednesday, Oct. 31 (Halloween night), U of M students will present an evening of original “Ghost Stories.” 6:30 p.m. in Pillsbury Hall, room 110. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Zeitgeist Halloween Festival 2018: “Things That Go Bump in the Night” is four nights of live music and storytelling. Each night will be different. The music includes new works by Dameun Strange, Dan Nass and Doug Opal; Mark Engebretson’s “She Sings She Screams”; a new work by Alyssa Anderson inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Bells”; electronic sets by DeVon Russell Gray and Eric Gonzalez; and an improvised on-the-spot score to a silent horror film. The storytellers are Loren Niemi, Debra Ting and Laura Packer. “Crocus Hill Ghost Story,” a musical tale of a house possessed, will be performed twice. Oct. 25–28 at Studio Z. FMI including schedule, times and tickets (singles $15/10, festival pass $40).
Count on the Trylon to have its Halloween on. From Friday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 28, its William Castle Fright Fest will feature two vintage films by the legendary schlockmeister: “House on Haunted Hill” (1959) starring Vincent Price and “Homicidal” (1961) starring Joan Marshall and Glenn Corbett. Per the Trylon, “House” was “filmed in Emergo, a process so terrifying it hasn’t been used in any movie since.” FMI, times and tickets ($8).
Tonight (Friday, Oct. 19) at Highpoint Center for Printmaking: Opening reception for “Kinngait Studios: Printmaking in the Arctic Circle.” Prints from Kinngait (pronounced Kinn-ite), the Inuit printmaking studios at the West Baffin Cooperative in Nunavut, Canada, are coveted around the world. This exhibition of work by 18 artists covers a wide range of imagery, from traditional Inuit practices to contemporary subject matter to Inuit lore. One of the featured artists is Kananginak Pootoogook, the first Inuit artist to be presented in the Venice Biennale (2017). Tour and talk by Inuk art scholar Heather Igloliorte at 5:30 p.m., RSVP requested. Reception 6:30-9 p.m. FMI. Free and open to the public. Correction: The tour and talk are on Friday, Nov. 16, not Friday, Oct. 19. Apologies if you showed up early on the 19th for that (so did we!).
Saturday at the Minnesota History Center: “Crucial Conversations: Refugees and Minnesota.” Refugees displaced by war, religious persecution and genocide have resettled in Minnesota for more than a century. In recent years, fears around national security, limited resources and national identity have led to the U.S. accepting fewer refugees. Staff trained by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience will lead small-group conversations to explore the history of refugees in Minnesota and exchange ideas. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Free.
Saturday at Macalester’s Mairs Concert Hall: Gao Hong and Issam Rafea. Chinese pipa master Hong and Syrian oud master Rafea recently released their latest album, “Life as Is,” to international acclaim. They will be joined by students in the Macalester Asian Music Ensemble. In the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, 130 Macalester Street. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Sunday on your teevee: Minnesota Original. The broadcast version of TPT’s arts and culture series continues with profiles of choreographer Karen L. Charles, watercolor artist Tara Sweeney, author Carter Meland and musician Stokley Williams. Inspired by her father’s death to do what was truly important to her, Charles quit her job as a mathematician to start a dance company. Watercolorist Sweeney is creating an alphabet book based on objects Swedish immigrants carried to this country. Educator Meland learned about his Anishinabe heritage in his thirties and turned that discovery into his first novel. And MNO caught up with Williams, longtime lead singer for Mint Condition, as he debuted his first solo album at the Ordway. Watch Sunday at 6 p.m. on TPT 2 or view all four stories online.
Monday through Thursday (Oct. 22–25) on your teevee and at the St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Welcome to Waverly.” Aswar Rahman, an immigrant from Bangladesh who grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, ran for mayor of Minneapolis in 2017. He suspended his campaign on Nov. 2 and endorsed Jacob Frey. He’s now digital director for Dean Phillips, who’s running for Congress in Minnesota’s Third District against Erik Paulson. In between, Rahman made a four-part TV series for Bravo. He was one of seven professionals from major metro areas who spent six weeks living and working in the small town of Waverly, Kansas, population 563. You can watch the series at home (9–10 p.m. on Bravo) or join Rahman, his friends and family for live watch parties at the St. Anthony Main. 8:30 p.m. all four nights. FMI. Free (first come, first served). Here’s the Facebook event page.