Oct. 18--Wasn't it the cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot" that cheerfully advised us to "Always Look on the Fright Side of Life"?
Smart lads. In October, it's nearly impossible to look any other way. Scream all you want, but Halloween has become a 31-day occasion with haunted houses, corn mazes, stage shows, scary movies, ghost walks, government shutdowns and other paranormal activities.
With so many choices, it's not easy to choose your poison. Allow us to show you the light into the darkness.
Get 'Carrie'-d away
All hail the king -- Stephen King -- in October. The remake of King's "Carrie" just opened in theaters; it stars Chloe Grace Moretz as the shy teen with a domineering, religious-crazed mom. Poor Carrie just doesn't fit in, so she's excited about being asked to prom. You know how that goes.
The story of "Carrie" also became a Broadway musical in 1988 that flopped, but it developed a cult following and was revived off Broadway in 2012.
Now "Carrie: The Musical" is playing through Oct. 27 at the Erie Playhouse. Emily Tworek plays Carrie; Gretchen Kerr plays her fundamentalist mom. Showcase reviewer Scott McClelland said the show features strong performances and spectacular special effects.
For ticket information, call 454-2852 or visit www.erieplayhouse.org.
King fans can also revel in his new book, "Doctor Sleep," the sequel to 1977's "The Shining," which is earning strong reviews. The story follows Danny Torrance 30 years later.
"The horror, the horror," mumbled Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now." "Where is the horror film festival?"
Relax, Brando. It's at the Warner Theatre, its usual haunt, today through Sunday. Look for more than 40 films, including "Scream Park," which features Doug Bradley (Pinhead from "Hellraiser") and was shot at Conneaut Lake Park.
There's also "Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut," a restored version of a Clive Barker film from 1990 that was butchered by its studio.
Edinboro University students Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic shot "Adjust Your Tracking," a well-received documentary on VHS fans and the format, which screens Sunday. They'll do a Q-and-A afterward.
Special guests at the Eerie Horror Film Festival include "Nightbreed" actors Bradley, Craig Sheffer and Chris McCorkindale, plus restoration director Russell Cherrington. They'll talk about making "Nightbreed" the film Barker intended, and that fans demanded through a website, OccupyMidian.com. The new version debuted at a North Carolina festival.
"Within 24 hours, the Internet had gone insanely crazy," Cherrington said. "I got three screen requests a day after the screening from people all over the world wanting to watch that film as soon as they heard it was available."
It won't be available on DVD until mid-2014, but Eerie Horror Film Fest will screen it Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
C. Thomas Howell will also appear; he was in "E.T.," "The Outsiders" and the original "The Hitcher."
"I don't do many festivals; this is the third or fourth I've done," Howell said. Feel free to ask him about any of his films, including his first one, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," directed by Steven Spielberg. He was just a kid, which helped.
"I wasn't intimidated," Howell said. "When you're 12 or 13, there's nothing at risk. I was just enjoying the work. I didn't have bills to pay. I didn't think about a future or being in a hit movie or being a good actor. I just did my job. I think Steven liked to work with kids for that reason."
Fest passes are $30, good for all three days, plus seminars. Day passes are $15 today and Sunday and $20 on Saturday. You can also visit after 7 p.m. today and Saturday for $10 each day. See www.eeriehorrorfest.com.
(Ghost) walk this way
The area abounds with haunted houses, hayrides and corn mazes. Three of the most elaborate are: Eeriebyss, 1053 W. 12th St.; Conneaut Lake Park's Ghost Lake 13 Levels of Fear; and Wesleyville Fire Department's annual Halls of Fear.
Eeriebyss offers a Factory of Terror that might scare Michael Myers, but also has a family fun hour that's less scary (lights on) from 3 to 6 p.m. Erie Playhouse Showstopper zombies also visit this Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. For hours and prices, see www.eeriebyss.com.
Ghost Lake features five more levels of fear than in 2012, including a 3-D Funhouse and a hostel modeled after one from Eli Roth's films. See www.ghostlake.net.
Halls of Fear promises the return of classic horror at its scary environs, located at the corner of Shannon and Station roads.
Sparrow Pond Family Campground features moderately scary Haunted Hayrides on weekends through Oct. 25, plus a Halloween Kids Fun Fest on Oct. 26. Details are available at (814) 796-6777.
Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm in Edinboro has a game maze, plus a Haunted Corn Maze to navigate during witching hours. See www.woodennickelbuffalo.com.
Kid-friendly ZooBoo starts today and continues through Oct. 30 at the Erie Zoo. Decorated scarecrows dot the grounds. Don't forget to check out the troll bridge and ghost train. Call 864-4091.
Tom Ridge Environmental Center's annual TREC or Treat is set for Oct. 26 at 10 a.m.; it includes admission to the movie "Super Buddies" at noon and 2 p.m. Call 833-7424.
DAVE RICHARDS can be reached at 870-1703 or be e-mail.
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