Halloween in Maine is especially spooky. It just is. Maybe thank Stephen King for portraying our fair state as a murky hellmouth of otherworldliness and unspeakable evil. Or perhaps it’s Maine’s overabundance of creaky, dilapidated houses edging up on the verges of impenetrable dark wilderness. Who can say? Well regardless, Mainers really get into the Halloween season, none more so than Maine horror movie aficionados. So here’s a roundup of the spookiest cinematic treats awaiting you brave readers all around the state.


“Suspiria,” The Waldo After Dark at The Waldo Theatre

Dario Argento may have lost his horror fastball decades ago (personally, I feel that the phrase “Italian master of horror” in general is a red flag for overblown silliness). But even I can’t scoff at his 1977 horror classic about an American student (the always great Jessica Harper) arriving in Germany only to discover that her ballet school has a decidedly witchy undertone. The Waldo Theater’s blessedly weird and wonderful After Dark cult movie series is exactly the sort of thing true movie freaks flock to, and “Suspiria” (even more than the creditable 2018 remake) is a stylish, delightfully nonsensical parade of mind-bending terrors. Tickets are $8.

Damnationland, Eveningstar Cinema

Did you miss the triumphant premiere of this venerable (as in this is the 13th) annual all-Maine horror anthology? Well fear not – then get afraid all over again – as Damnationland is hitting the road for encore pre-Halloween fun at Brunswick’s Eveningstar. All Maine, all wild, all dark, and all great. Tickets are $11/$9 for seniors, students and Eveningstar members.


Bite Night, Maine Studio Works

Bite Night Presents is a Maine-based nonprofit dedicated to the worthy goal of showing and supporting short horror films made by beginning filmmakers from around the world – and they’re having a party. Dancing! Drinking! Sushi! A dozen short horror flicks from up-and-coming frightmasters! Come in costume! Get weird with it! (Tickets are $15.)

Retroween, Flask Lounge

Want some Halloween horror movie fun – but with much more dancing? Then Flask is your spot, as this ’80s horror-themed dance party promises plenty of retro horror themes amidst the more danceable beats, a costume contest, and all the throwback chills you can shake your booty at. Tickets are $8 in advance, more at the door.


“Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,” Merrill Auditorium


If boogieing in full monster makeup isn’t your thing, then perhaps this screening of the 1920 film version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella about a scientist unleashing his dark side will do the trick, as the film’s flickering period horrors will come accompanied by a live score played on the Merrill’s historic (and innately spooky) Kotzschmar Organ. (Get your tickets at PortTix.)


“The Origin of Evil,” PMA Films

Speaking of DePalma, this artsy, eerie, darkly comic tale of twisted family rivalries and secrets is being compared to the “Carrie” and “Dressed to Kill” director at his best. Sure, it’s not exactly a creature feature, but anybody who’s had to deal with an unwanted family reunion knows those are even more unpleasant, as a young woman warily reconnects with her wealthy, estranged family, including the forbidding, disabled patriarch who is clearly up to nothing good. (Also playing on Friday and Saturday, tickets are $9/$7 for PMA members and students with ID.)

Damnationland, Center Theatre for the Performing Arts

What, you thought you could escape Damnationland? Ha – the all-Maine horror anthology creeps further up the coast for its final pre-Halloween Maine screening up at Dover-Foxcroft’s Center Theatre. It’s playing until Nov. 2, and tickets are a measly $6!


“Blood Diner,” Nickelodeon Cinemas/Coast City Comics (with director Jackie Kong)

Horror fans look out for each other. That’s presumably why the fine folks at Coast City Comics and the Fun Box Monster Emporium are bringing us none other than Jackie Kong, the director of such 1980s exploitation films as “The Being,” “Night Patrol” and, in keeping with the season, 1987’s cult classic dark comedy horror, “Blood Diner.” (It’s a diner – they serve human blood. You get it.) Director Kong will be at the Nickelodeon’s 7 p.m. screening for a signing and Q&A, and tickets are a quite reasonable $20. And stop by Coast City Comics beforehand to pick up some of Kong’s comics work – and some limited edition Blood Diner T-shirts.

“Piaffe,” Space

Sometimes, being scared isn’t about the boogeyman leaping out from the dark. Sometimes, it’s the unnerving feeling of your mind slipping away on a strange journey you don’t want to go on – but know you’ll follow to the bitter end. In this 2022 film from Ann Oren (“The World Is Mine”), a shy young woman is thrust into the world of filmmaking as a Foley artist, coming up with sound effects for horses. And then she grows a horse tail. And then things get weird. Is it horror? Good question. It’s eerie, erotic, transgressive, strange and indescribable. Sort of like a particularly enticing nightmare. Tickets are $9/$7 for Space members.

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.

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