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'Campfire Horrors' kicks off October 5th with two film screenings.
'Campfire Horrors' kicks off October 5th with two film screenings. Photo: Chicago Park District

Horror classic screenings kick off October 5th; Featured activities include a live original score, marshmallow roasting, carnivorous plant demo, tiara give-away, and a Harry Belafonte dance party

The Chicago Park District announced today the movie lineup for the third annual ‘Campfire Horrors’ outdoor Halloween-themed feature film series at Northerly Island, located at 1521 S. Linn White Dr.  The film series kicks off on Friday, October 5th and will continue every Friday through the month of October.

In the spirit of Halloween, Northerly Island will showcase six scary classics, ranging from tame to terrifying. Each screening will be accompanied by campfires, family-friendly activities, and marshmallow roasting.

The film series will kick-off on October 5th at 7 p.m. with the silent godfather of horror, Nosferatu. The 1922 silent German vampire film will be accompanied by a remount of last year’s brand-new live score commissioned by the Chicago Park District, composed by Maxx McGathey and performed by the live band, Gramps the Vamp. 

The evening will wrap up with a screening of 1986’s musical-horror-comedy Little Shop of Horrors with a sing-along and a chance to learn about real-life carnivorous plants from Chicago plant experts.
On Friday, October 12th, Stephen King’s Carrie will grace the big screen. The popular 1976 film centers on the story of a vengeful (and telekinetic) prom queen. To get audiences in the spirit, free prom tiaras will be provided to the first 50 audience members named Carrie (or any spelling variation). 

In week three, the campy and over-the-top fun of Beetlejuice and accompanying Harry Belafonte dance party will offer something for younger viewers. After all that fun, another meaner boogeyman takes over the park as Freddy Krueger arrives in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Rounding out the month, Campfire Horrors will feature a seminal film of the horror genre, as shocking now as it was in 1973, The Exorcist. This terrifying tale of possession was the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and sent audiences screaming from theaters in its original release.

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 30 minutes 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 5

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 remount of our all-new live score composed by Maxx McGathey and performed live by Gramps the Vamp.

Little Shop of Horrors (PG-13) at 9 p.m.
A nerdy florist (Rick Moranis) finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who arrives during an eclipse and demands to be fed.

Friday, October 12
Carrie (R) at 7 p.m.

This film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, follows Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, as she unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

Friday, October 19
Beetlejuice (PG) at 7 p.m.

In this afterlife comedy, a recently-deceased ghost couple finds their now-vacant home invaded by an obnoxious family and hires a sleazy ghost who gets rid of humans to help them reclaim their post-life peace.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (R) at 8:30 p.m.
One of the most successful and productive horror series of the slasher-filled 1980s, A Nightmare on Elm Street is the introduction of one of horror’s most memorable villains, Freddy Krueger. The monstrous Krueger invades the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Friday, October 26
The Exorcist ® at 7 p.m.

The Exorcist terrified audiences in its original 1973 release, and we’re letting it loose on the city with this free, outdoor screening. A teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity and her mother turns to two priests to help her daughter and rid her family of the curse.

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


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Maxx McGathey is 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 series is 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.