Horror Movies Set In A Theater

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Movies

Most of us horror fans recall some of our best memories as those spent in the darkness of movie theaters. Even now, as we sit home waiting for the pandemic gripping the world to finally be over and we can go back to our normal lives. Watching films at home, although convenient, does not quite compare to the energy of a crowd, especially in regards to horror films. The smell of popcorn that permeates the lobby, the previews, and the communal experience of every gasp and scream while seeing a movie on the big screen all make for a sorely missed activity right now.

True the theater is a barren ghost town, and our favorite cinematic venue are shuttered for the time being, but that means we have to find new ways to keep our passion for film satiated. Long story short, WE MISS GOING TO THE MOVIES. I mean we really, really miss going to the movies. So we’ve comprised a special list of 7 films(one for each day of the week) with our favorite place in mind. The Theater.

Popcorn 1991


A great example of a 1990’s slasher gem. It’s about a group of film students who put together an all night horrorthon to raise money for a permanent editing space. The event is to be held at an old local theater with a dark past. As the night progresses, people start to get killed in ways that relate to the obscure B movies the students are screening. The scenes shown from the screenings are enough to make this one worth watching but a few of the performances and makeup effects give it a personality of it’s own.
This would be an especially fun one to see in a crowded theater but it is still a great one to check out at home too.

The Tingler 1959


Vincent Price (which should be enough of a reason to see it) stars as a pathologist who discovers a parasitic creature that attaches to its host’s spine and feeds off their fear. The wife of movie theater owner Oliver Higgins falls victim to this parasite, the Tingler, which fuels most of the plot. The climax, of course, sees the Tingler let loose in Higgins’s theater.
This William Castle film might have earned a reputation for featuring one of his best gimmicks, in which he installed electric buzzers in some of the theater seats. The 'buzz’ was strong enough to make the audience jump at certain scenes in the movie.

 Anguish 1987


This dynamic flick is anything but typical of the slasher films. With two story lines running parallel, it explores the affect films have on the human psyche and the nature of reality. That movie features a serial killing ophthalmologist’s assistant that brings his victims’ eyes back to his overbearing mother. Not only is it a mind bender, but it has enough 80’s slasher fun to keep an audiences engaged.
I have to give a disclaimer here. I have not found evidence where they use low frequencies in this film, but when I watch it, it does give me mild anxiety attacks. However when I watch it without sound, I do not. This is a personal warning, I can not prove or disprove it. So be warned if you or someone is sensitive to anxiety or panic attacks.

The Blog 1958 1988


In the grand scheme of the plot, very little of the film takes place in the theater, and yet the scene is so iconic it warrants inclusion. Of course, it began with the original 1958 original, but the 1988 remake dials the scene up to eleven. Glorious practical effects, humor, carnage, and utter mayhem at an evening showing of a slasher film, no less.
So either chose or watch both. They are theatrical perfection.

Fade to Black 1980


Eric is a lonely cinephile. By day he works at a film distributor’s warehouse, and he spends his nights at repertory film screenings. After being mistakenly stood up for a date, his obsession turns into psychosis, and he embarks on a murder spree. He incorporates his love of movies into each kill, making himself look like a classic film character before committing each murder. The finale takes place in one of the most iconic theaters of all: Mann’s Chinese Theatre.

Nightmare Cinema 2018


This horror anthology boasts five segments by Mick Garris, Joe Dante, David Slade, Alejandro Brugues, and Ryuhei Kitamura, offering up different styles and tones for every horror taste. All of these stories are connected by a wraparound, in which five strangers converge at an old theater and witness screenings showing their darkest fears and secrets. They’re curated by the Projectionist, played by Mickey Rourke.

Coming Soon 2008


This Thai ghost story is the directorial debut of Sophon Sakdaphisit, the writer behind Shutter, this theater-set horror movie follows an employee who makes money on the side selling movies he pirated at the theater. When he attempts to pirate an advanced copy of a horror movie set for theatrical release, spooky and strange things start happening around him. Like Ring, Coming Soon features a cursed film that triggers during a specific scene. If you’re looking for vengeful ghosts and serious scares, give this a watch.

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