Multiplex movie audiences are terrible; repertory audiences are amazing. (Well, some of the time.) That goes triple if it’s horror. The perfect horror audience gets riled up but doesn’t talk back to the screen. They hoot and holler but draw the line at shouting that joke they thought up on the subway ride. You all feel like you had a collective experience, getting jerked around by that most manipulative of genres. Even if you don’t get the perfect audience, you’ll still get cinema that deserves to be taken at least a little more seriously than it is.
Instead of staying in and queueing up whatever morsels live on Netflix, spend the extended Halloween weekend with an old movie, amongst actual strangers.
'Cat People' (1942) @ BAM
We love Paul Schrader’s sexed-up 1982 remake (also showing during the same BAM series) — the one where Malcolm McDowell will die if he doesn’t bang his sister. But we love the original even more, which is, perv-wise, the exact opposite. Simone Signoret plays a Euro beauty convinced if her new man touches her, she’ll get so hot and bothered that she’ll turn into a ravenous panther. That never happens (at least onscreen), not just because it was 1942 but because there was no money. This was the first hit for producer Val Lewton, the poster child for making the most with nothing at all. Here he hit on his formula: Come up with a juicy title then reverse-engineer the story with the lowest budgets RKO could offer. The lack of huge scares leads to goose-bumpy tension; the dearth of money means cheap sets cloaked in deep, chilling shadows. And a movie that can’t act on its urges to go big becomes a deeply transgressive movie, heading to freaky places that we’re still afraid to visit. Sat., Oct. 29, 6:40 p.m.