Chicago Park District’s Horror Movie Screenings Return to Northerly Island on Fridays in October

Northerly Island's 'Campfire Horrors' movie series will feature six movies and marshmallow roasting.
© Chicago Park District

Screenings will feature five horror classics and one family-friendly film as well as an original bone-chilling score from local composer Maxx McGathey

The Chicago Park District announced today the second annual ‘Campfire Horrors’ outdoor movie series at Northerly Island, which will feature Halloween-themed feature films.  The film series kicks off on Friday October 6th and will continue every Friday through the month of October.

In the spirit of Halloween, Northerly Island will showcase five horrifying cult classics and a family-friendly movie. Each screening will be accompanied by campfires, spooky nocturnal noises, and marshmallow roasting.

The film series will kick-off on October 6th at 7 p.m. with The Birds (PG), a nail-biter from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. One of the best-known slasher films,Friday the 13th (R) will be shown on its namesake October 13. Also on October 13, the family-friendly Hocus Pocus (PG) will treat little ones and nostalgic millennials alike to a Halloween favorite full of mild frights and big laughs.

The movie marathon wouldn’t be complete without the screening of the most thrilling haunted house flicks The Shining (R) on October 20 and the cult classics Nosferatu (NR) and The Night of the Living Dead (NR) on October 27.

New this year, the Park District has commissioned local composer Maxx McGathey to create an all-new live score for the October 27 screening of Nosferatu, the 1922 silent German vampire film. Chicago composer Maxx McGathey will be performing the composition with his band Gramps the Vamp. This eerie symphony will add to a full day of activities.

During the last night of the spooky film series, moviegoers are invited to come dressed for a zombie themed night in honor of George A. Romero, the late director of the zombie classic Night of the Living Dead. His popular film will be screened following the showing of Nosferatu.

Campfires, with ample firewood, will be set-up throughout the park to create a cozy atmosphere and for roasting marshmallows provided by the Park District along with roasting forks. Hot coffee, tea and cocoa will be available for free to keep visitors warm on chilly nights. Screenings are outdoors, weather permitting, and audiences are encouraged to bring their own chairs/blankets and layer up for the cooler weather. Campfires will be lit one hour before the start of the film, and burn bright throughout.

All screenings are scheduled to take place outdoors at the Northerly Island Visitors Center, located at 1521 S. Linn White Dr.

‘Campfire Horrors’ Movie Schedule

Friday, October 6

The Birds(PG) at 7 p.m.

Enjoy this Hitchcock classic about avian attackers, if you’re brave enough, in the pitch-perfect setting of the urban bird sanctuary that is Northerly Island.

Friday, October 13

Friday the 13th(R) at 8:30 p.m.

This favorite from last year makes a by-demand return, because when the 13th of October lands on a Friday, you basically have to watch this 80s seminal slasher flick.

Friday, October 20

The Shining(R) at 7 p.m.

Long before Stephen King’s Pennywise was terrifying audiences at the movies, Jack Torrance and his unlucky family were spending the winter at the Overlook Hotel and giving us all new reasons to be nervous about family time.

Friday, October 27

Nosferatu(NR) at 7 p.m.

In 1922, F. W. Murnau created Nosferatu, a silent horror classic. This first, although unauthorized, adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula brought the vampire to life and made vampires staples of horror to this day. This screening will get some new blood with an all-new live score composed by Maxx McGathey and performed live by Gramps the Vamp.

Night of the Living Dead(NR) at 9 p.m.

In July, George A. Romero, the King of the Zombies, passed away, but his legacy lives on – just like his most famous creations. We’re honoring Romero’s impressive work with a screening of his very first feature and the original undead invasion that sparked uncountable zombie takeovers in every corner of horror fiction and film.

‘Creepy Campfire’

Friday, October 13

Hocus Pocus(PG) at 7 p.m.

This kid-friendly and campy classic brings the laughs to the Halloween season with plenty of 90s nostalgia.

The frightening film series by firelight is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Movies in the Parks, an initiative of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Night Out in the Parkscultural and arts event series. For a complete list of all fall events happening in the parks, download the free My Chi Parks™app or visit

For more information, please visit In the event of inclement weather, screenings will be moved indoors to the Northerly Island Visitors Center.

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Maxx McGatheyis a Chicago based composer and keyboard player best known for his role as band leader and main song writer in Gramps The Vamp. Maxx assembled the group in 2011, combining his interest in groove-based music (funk, afrobeat, Ethiopian jazz) with his love of classic horror and science fiction soundtracks. The success of this dark but danceable cinematic sound, known as "doom funk" or "funk-noir", led Gramps The Vamp to performances at many prominent Chicago venues including Metro, Lincoln Hall, and Schubas, as well as to shows and festivals around the country. It also led Maxx to his film scoring debut in 2016 with the 70s-style B-horror short, Demonoid (1971). In addition to his composing work, Maxx has played as a session/live keyboardist for various groups in the Chicago funk, indie-pop, and psych-rock scenes.

Movies in the Park’s ‘Campfire Horrors’ film selectionis presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series and is supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan. Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Night Out in the Parks series will host over 1,200 cultural events and programs at more than 250 neighborhood parks throughout the city, making community parks a safe haven and hubs of activity. Projects will vary from traditional performances and concerts, to movies, peace rallies, community workshops, nature based programs, dance pieces, festivals, and more. The Chicago Park District has partnered with more than 120 arts and community organizations to expand and produce this successful initiative.


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