Movie Maniac

Scared yet? October at the Oldtown Horror Film Festival returns

Movie buff and director Leif Jonker and his film collective Wichita Big Screen are back with the October at the Oldtown Horror Movie Festival at the Regal Old Town Warren theater, 353 N. Mead, but some things have changed. Namely, the festival is all theirs.

“This year is different from previous years in that we are taking over pretty much everything but ticketing,” Jonker said. “We are renting the theaters from Regal.”

They’re also covering costs of the film rentals, advertising, everything.

“This is now 100% our festival,” he said.

And since it is, Jonker says they were able to solidify the lineup way in advance, “and lock it all down so we don’t have the last minute panicked scramble as we have in the past.”

It’s certainly another strong program, sure to please horror fans. Some highlights of the festival include a 4K restoration of John Carpenter’s “The Fog” and the 2K restoration of Jonker’s own film “Darkness,” which he made in Wichita in 1993.

And it doesn’t matter if you’ve already seen the films. Jonker says the spirit of the festival “is all about the movies themselves, a love for the movies, and seeing them the way they were intended — on the big screen. It seems an old refrain but it is absolutely true, no matter how many times you’ve watched your favorite movie at home, you always see and even feel something new once you experience it in a theater.”

As in years past, the festival is a benefit for the Lifeline Animal Placement and Protection agency, a non-profit animal rescue and adoption kennel.

All the festival screenings happen Mondays and Tuesdays at the Warren Old Town throughout October. Here’s the lineup and show times:

“Poltergeist” (1982) — A family’s home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts. 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1. Tickets are $5.

Stephen King double feature: “Christine” (1983) — A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own — and “Maximum Overdrive” (1986) — A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal. 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12. $10 for both films.

“The Lost Boys” (1987) — After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires. 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. $5.

“Darkness” (1993) — A small community is besieged by vampires. 7 and 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14. $5.

“Deep Red” (1975) — A jazz pianist and a wisecracking journalist are pulled into a complex web of mystery after the brutal murder of a psychic. 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15. $5.

“Candyman” (1992) — A murderous soul with a hook for a hand is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth. 7 and 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21. $5.

“The Prince of Darkness” (1987) — A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22. $5.

Aquatic killers combo: “Piranha” (1978) — Flesh-eating piranhas attack guests at a summer resort — and “Humanoids from the Deep” (1980) — Scientific experiments backfire and produce horrific mutations that terrorize a small fishing village. 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28. $10 for both films.

“The Fog” (1980) — An unearthly fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters. 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Rod Pocowatchit is an award-winning independent filmmaker and SAG/AFTRA-eligible actor who has written and directed four feature-length films, all made in Kansas. He has been a journalist for 29 years and is also an internationally award-winning page designer.
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