For a different outdoor movie-going experience this Halloween, the Rooftop Film Club offers a weeklong series of classic horror films. Located on the roof patio of the historic Montalban Theater in Hollywood, the Rooftop Film Club’s Los Angeles chapter features lounge seating and complimentary warm blankets along with views of the Church of Scientology and the Broadway Hollywood building signs. And if watching scary movies on the roof of a theater named for a dead actor who played great cinema villains isn’t enough, there’s also the occasional swarm of bats flying overhead.
The series began on Tuesday with two of the most authentically terrifying movies ever made. Tuesday kicked off with John Carpenter’s The Thing, in which the mastermind behind Halloween combines intelligent sci-fi with pure horror through psychological suspense, icy paranoia, and creature effects. The Wednesday show payed tribute to the late Wes Craven through the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, reminding us that before all the sequels, crossovers, and remakes, Freddy Krueger was once the all-time scariest movie villain.)
Tonight, the series shifts to a more established classic with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the respected godfather of the slasher film genre that tops nearly every list of great horror films, if not great films period.
Friday the 30th gives us the campy (pun intended) 1980 version of Friday the 13th in which, despite the retrofitted poster on the theater website, the killer does not in fact wear a hockey mask presumably because it was outside the film’s budget. And the series concludes on Halloween night by trading scares for laughs with Tim Burton’s Beetljuice.
Moviegoers be warned: the stairs at the Rooftop Film Club are not for the faint of heart. Attendees receive their own headphones for a more intimate, film-oriented experience and less annoying conversation from the trendy hipsters sitting next to you. There’s also no BYOB or picnic dinners, just good old-fashioned movie popcorn, new-fashioned burgers courtesy of the Hache LA Burger stand, and, of course, the mandatory bar with craft beer and wine. And for curious cinephiles with an aversion to the horror genre, the next week’s films offer romantic classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Casablanca.