Movie Maniac

Horrorfest film festival returns to Warren Old Town in October

George A. Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead” will be shown in 3D at this year’s Horrorfest 2018 at the Warren Old Town theater on Oct. 29 and 30.
George A. Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead” will be shown in 3D at this year’s Horrorfest 2018 at the Warren Old Town theater on Oct. 29 and 30. Courtesy photo

Wichitan Leif Jonker wants to scare you. Again.

The filmmaker and organizer of a horror film festival every October at the Warren Old Town theater again has curated a program of horror classics — some scary, some campy — for Horrorfest 2018, presented by his Wichita Big Screen collective.

All films shown are either a 4K or 2K restoration of the director’s original cut.

Jonker says that this year he landed five movies that he has wanted to show for some time, including a “Hellraiser” double feature and a “Changeling” and “C.H.U.D.” double feature that he’s billed “The Chultimate Chouble Feature.”

But every year there’s a prime headliner among the offerings, and Jonker is downright giddy about this year’s — a showing of George A. Romero’s zombie classic “Dawn of the Dead” in 3D, which he says he’s lobbied to show for the past six or seven years.

The film wasn’t originally shot in 3D, but was converted 10 years ago, Jonker said, and ”took years to complete and has only been screened three times for the public in the years since — once at a festival in South Korea, where the conversion work was done, and once in Hollywood. Our screening in Wichita will be the second screening ever in the U.S. A very, very exciting development.”

The festival is again raising funds for the LAPP Animal Shelter in Wichita, but volunteers won’t be taking donations at the box office anymore. Instead there will be a table in the lobby where they will be taking donations, as well as selling T-shirts, buttons, posters and more.

Jonker says that there are other changes happening behind the scenes, the biggest being that this year they are transitioning to take over the festival entirely from Regal Cinemas, which owns the Warren Old Town, and that will mean more risk, he says.

“Thankfully one of last year’s sponsors, World Studios ICT, stepped up to help with the overages and frankly, saved the fest this year,” Jonker said. “I can’t thank them enough.”

There are definitely behind-the-scenes headaches, but Jonker says it’s a continuing passion project.

“Seeing cool old movies on the big screen does make me happy, and makes Wichita more fun for me,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

Here’s the Horrorfest 2018 schedule:

“Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” (1987) — Part horror, part comedy, all fun as Bruce Campbell returns in Sam Raimi’s sequel to once again battle horrifying demons at a secluded cabin in the woods. 7 and 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, and Tuesday, Oct. 2. Admission $5. Get tickets here.

“Hellraiser” (1987) and “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” (1988) double feature — Clive Barker’s horror classic gave us the iconic villain Pinhead. In the original, a man inadvertently opens a portal to Hell when he tinkers with a box he bought while abroad, unleashing evil “Cenobites” into the world. In the sequel, there’s, well, more of them. 7 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9. $10. Get tickets here.

“Re-Animator” (1985) — A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments tinkering with the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus. 7 and 10 p.m. Oct. 15-16. $5. Get tickets here.

“The Hills Have Eyes” (1977) — Wes Craven’s creeper classic follows a family traveling to California who become stranded when their car breaks down in an area inhabited by violent savages. 7 and 10 p.m. Oct. 22. $5. Get tickets here.

“The Chultimate Chouble Feature”“The Changeling” (1980) — A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted. “C.H.U.D” (1984) — A bizarre series of sudden disappearances on the streets of New York City seem to point toward something unsavory living in the sewers. 7 p.m. Oct. 23. $10. Get tickets here.

“Dawn of the Dead” in 3D (1978) — George A. Romero’s gut-chomping, genre-defining masterpiece follows an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, as a group of survivors seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall. 7 and 10 p.m. Oct. 29 and 30. $13. Get tickets here.

In a small town of Derry, Maine, seven children come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise.