Nights of Fright

In "Seventy Scenes of Halloween" by Luna Theater Company are (from left) Angela Smith, Megan Slater, Jared Delaney, and Griffin Stanton-Ameisen.
In "Seventy Scenes of Halloween" by Luna Theater Company are (from left) Angela Smith, Megan Slater, Jared Delaney, and Griffin Stanton-Ameisen. (AARON J. OSTER)

There are plenty of options for the Halloween-hungry this weekend.

Posted: October 27, 2012

So you've outgrown trick-or-treating, you're sick of the same old parade of masked killers on the movie channels, and the thought of running through a cornfield or an abandoned building with community-theater ghouls on your heels makes you yawn.

Fear not. There are still plenty of options for the Halloween aficionado in the Philadelphia area this weekend.

Eye screams

The Philadelphia Film Festival looks back Friday night at a pair of spine-chillers from the past, with screenings of the haunted-TV classic Poltergeist at 9:30 at Shoemaker Green at Penn and M. Night Shyamalan's alien-invasion (with a twist) thriller Signs at 7:30 at the Prince Music Theater. And it looks forward to a new generation with a "Graveyard Shift" presentation of Antiviral, the debut of body-horror maestro David Cronenberg's son Brandon. The film premiered Monday and will be shown again Friday night at 10 at the Ritz East B.

If you know someone with a spare ticket, you can help Exhumed Films celebrate its fifth anniversary Saturday with its sixth 24-hour Horrorthon, which adds up to almost as many sequels as Friday the 13th, though they're far less predictable. The event sold out within a week of going on sale in August. Keep that in mind next year.

Two area exhibitions offer glimpses of terrifying imagery linked to some of the world's best-known stories. At the Mütter Museum, 19 S. 22d St., the ongoing exhibit "Grimms' Anatomy" looks at the frequent references to medical procedures and bodily transformations in Grimms' Fairy Tales. And "Picturing Poe," at Brandywine River Museum on U.S. 1 in Chadds Ford through Nov. 15, gathers a collection of chilling illustrations for the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The exhibition includes work from Manet, Gauguin, Arthur Rackham, and Robert Motherwell, as well as gruesome pieces by Harry Clarke that curator Audrey Lewis calls "grisly and bizarre, but beautiful at the same time."

The living dead

The Brandywine Ballet will explore the more romantic side of the undead Friday and Saturday with its semiannual presentation of resident choreographer Nancy Page's Dracula. Set in the 15th century, and set to music by several composers, the ballet follows the life and undead story of the world's most famous vampire. According to artistic director Donna Muzio, Dracula is as perfect a fit for Halloween as The Nutcracker is for Christmas, and is a reliable way to reach a wider audience. "We're trying to introduce as many people to the arts as possible," Muzio says. "Someone who would not buy a ticket to Swan Lake might buy a ticket to Dracula."

The process of handing out treats becomes a nasty trick for the couple at the center of playwright Jeffrey M. Jones' experimental classic Seventy Scenes of Halloween. Luna Theater Company kicks off its 11th season with a performance at Skybox@ the Adrienne Theater of the 1980 play, which watches as domestic issues become full-fledged horror over the course of one Hallows' Eve. Director Aaron Oster says, "It's a very unique theater experience that incorporates a lot of humor and a fair amount of horror, so it's an ideal Halloween play for adults."

Sugar Town, the monthly showcase for "lady rockers, DJs and performers," features zombie electro-poppers Rainbow Destroyer for its Halloween party at 11 Saturday night at Kung Fu Necktie. The duo compare their music to Britney Spears adopted by the Addams Family. "Because we're undead, we have a much longer backlog of music and pop culture references to pull from," report Foster Longo and Mo Hayes from beyond the grave (via e-mail). "Plus, no longer being alive means there are no rules, which makes our shows more interesting - there's always something outrageous and unexpected happening."

First-person fear

Those not content to sit back and watch horrors unfold on-screen or onstage can "live the apocalypse" via "The Walking Dead Escape." The zombie-infested obstacle course debuted at San Diego's Comic Con last summer and will be resurrected Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Complex. Participants can attempt to escape the undead, watch from afar, or become a zombie themselves.

And sure, anybody can spend a night eating chocolate, candy corn, and caramel apples. But wouldn't it be more in keeping with the spirit of the holiday to dine on worms or snails? The Academy of Natural Sciences at 19th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is offering a menu full of such delicacies at 7 p.m. Saturday, based on its varied fields of study. The eclectic menu includes venison, seaweed, python, sushi, and crickets. As Ted Daeschler, the academy's vice president for systematic biology, says, "Halloween is the perfect season to push your gastronomic boundaries and discover the more unusual treats of nature."


Halloween Happenings

Nancy Page's "Dracula." Brandywine Ballet. 10 a.m. & 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 700 S. High St., West Chester. Tickets: $40, $30, and $25. Information: 610-696-2711, www.brandywineballet.com.

Seventy Scenes of Halloween. Luna Theater Company. 7 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at Skybox @ The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St. Tickets: $15-$30. Information: 215-704-0033, www.lunatheater.org.

Sugar Town Halloween, with Rainbow Destroyer, KeN, PS XO, DJ Grrrl Afraid. 11 p.m. Saturday, Kung Fu Necktie, 2150 N. Front St. Tickets: $5 in costume, $8 without, 21 and over. Information: 215-291-4919, www.facebook.com/sugartownphilly.

Exhumed Films' 24-hour Horror-thon Part 666. Noon Saturday, International House, 3701 Chestnut St. Sold out. Information: www.exhumedfilms.com.

The Walking Dead Escape. 6 p.m-midnight Saturday, Wells Fargo Center Complex, 3601 S. Broad St. Tickets: $130, $78, $50, and $25. Information: www.thewalkingdeadescape.com.

Picturing Poe. Through Nov. 15, Brandywine River Museum, U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford. Tickets: $6-$12.

Information: 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org.

Grimms' Anatomy. Ongoing, the Mütter Museum, 19 S. 22d St. Tickets: $10-$15. Information: 215-563-3737, www.collegeofphysicians.org/mutter-museum.

Cuisine From the Collections. 7 p.m. Saturday, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. Tickets: $75 for academy members, and $100 for nonmembers. Information: 215-299-1000, www.ansp.org.

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