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5 tips for Halloween at the kino

From Oliver Stone’s "Natural Born Killers", to a 5th anniversary screening of Jennifer Kent’s "The Babadook" and Creepy Crypt's Halloween special featuring "The Fly" and "The Howling", we’ve got five terrifying tips for you this 31st.

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Photo courtesy of Final Girls Berlin Film Festival. Catch The Babadook at City Kino Wedding, Oct 31, 20:00.

If you want to avoid trick-or-treaters, why not celebrate within the safe and cathartic confines of a kino this Halloween? We’ve got five terrifying tips for you this 31st. Take your pick… 

Tip one: EXBlicks goes parasitic

Bit of shameless self-promotion first, as we cap off our EXBlicks Korean Kino series this month with the screening of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.

The film won this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes and became the first Korean film to do so. It’s an uncompromising and borderline unclassifiable masterwork from the South Korean auteur, who crafts a caustic indictment of entrenched social strata. It follows a family of grifters who break out of their cramped basement apartment to take over the house of their nouveau riche benefactors. The director toys with our initial perceptions and weaves in some unexpected twists, plenty of tension and even some farcical elements within his social commentary. 

Those of you looking for a scare this Halloween, fear not: what Parasite lacks in ‘horror’ it makes up for with dollops of Hitchcockian suspense. Furthermore, it’s a dark and sombrely poetic parable that truly earns its title: It’ll lodge itself under your skin and set up camp there for a wee while.

Where? Lichtblick Kino. 

Starts: 19:30

Tip two: Final Girls’ Babadookian Halloween

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival has got a spooky Halloween treat for you. They’ve lined up a fantastic selection of horror shorts directed by women, including Jiwon Moon’s Nose Nose Nose EYES!, a beautifully shot and distinctively disturbing tale with shades of Takashi Miike’s Audition, as well as Celine Held and Logan George’s Mouse, a darkly grotesque and stomach-churning gem that you won’t forget in a hurry. 

Following the eerie thrills of the shorts is a 5th anniversary screening of Jennifer Kent’s debut feature, The Babadook. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet, The Babadook follows widowed Amelia (Essie Davis), who is finding it hard to discipline her unruly six-year-old Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Just when things couldn’t get any more stressful, a children’s book called Mister Babadook mysteriously turns up on Samuel’s shelf… From the Rosemary’s Baby-like claustrophobia to the disturbing iconography, via the powerhouse performance by the great Essie Davis – who ensures that the themes of depression, motherhood and mourning all hit the spot – this is one of the decade’s very best horror films. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Final Girls are doing a costume contest with prizes to win… So crack out the face paints, and all together now: If it’s in a word or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the BAAAA BAAAA DOOOOK…

Where? City Kino Wedding

Starts: 20:00

Tip three: Road tripping with the Berlin Film Soc

Berlin Film Society’s autumn programme, dedicated to the surreal highway in cinema, continues this Halloween with a screening of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers

While it’s not a horror film per se, it’s a shrewd and timely bit of curation from the Berlin Film Soc: with everyone talking about Todd Phillip’s Joker and the exhausting hullaballoo surrounding it, it’s worth reminding that it’s not the first film to provoke heated debate, nor the first to be overshadowed by controversy. 1994’s Natural Born Killers stars Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as two lovers on a murder spree across the US. The film sparked quite the panic in the media at the time, with many fearing it would incite violence and copycat murders; the irony being that Oliver Stone’s film is a pitch-black comedy satire of sensationalist media. It scathingly comments on mass media’s morbid obsession with murder and the bleakly glorified and iconic characters they create from their coverage of mass murderers. 

So, forget Joker for one merciful minute and brace yourself once again for Mickey and Mallory Knox.

Where? Factory Berlin in Görlitzer Park.

Starts: 18:30

Tip four: Creepy Crypt’s Halloween double feature

If nothing has caught your attention so far, there’s a canny double-bill of 1980s horror touchstones at Rollberg. It’s clear that Creepy Crypt has got metamorphosis on the mind, as they’re showing David Cronenberg’s The Fly and Joe Dante’s The Howling.

The Fly sees a science experiment go horribly wrong; the chilling results are bolstered by Jeff Goldblum in his underwear, Gina Davis’ delivery of the classic horror line “Be afraid – be VERY afraid”, as well as Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis’ make-up effects. It’s Cronenberg at his body horror best. As for The Howling, it’s werewolves instead of diptera; Dante’s terrific horror thriller also benefits from some impressive practical effects that make the transformations hold up to this day.

Where? Rollberg Kino

Starts: 20:00

Tip five: Go go GOBLIN

We’re cheating a bit with this one, as it’s not strictly speaking a kino anymore… But legendary prog-rock legends GOBLIN are back in Germany for one night only at the Lido

Claudio Simonetti and his band redefined the genre with their score for Dario Argento’s giallo-horror masterpiece Suspiria. Add Profondo Rosso, Phenomena, Dawn of the Dead, and all your urges will be fulfilled for a show of cult soundtracks, complete with projected movie clips on the former cinema’s big screen.

Where? Lido

Starts: 19:00