Harris Theater delivers extra chills this winter with Januscary horror film festival | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Harris Theater delivers extra chills this winter with Januscary horror film festival

click to enlarge Hellbender - PHOTO: COURTESY OF PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
Photo: Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Hellbender
The holidays are rough for a variety of reasons. The stress of traveling, dealing with family, and gift buying, not to mention the pressure of planning for New Year’s Eve, can really take its toll. In January, trade in the horrors of contrived jolliness for real horror when the Harris Theater presents a series sure to take you out of the holiday spirit.

The historic Downtown theater announced its Januscary Film Festival, a week of films to help horror fans start the year off right. Running From Sat., Jan. 1-Thu., Jan. 6, 2022, the event will feature both new and classic films, including one making its fully-restored debut to local audiences.

A press release promises that Januscary will be the “only festival of its kind in the Pittsburgh area.”


“Most theaters schedule classic horror films around Halloween but once the holiday craze subsides, horror fans still want to see their favorite films and brand new releases outside of the spooky season,” says Joseph Morrison, programming and venue manager at the Harris Theater, in a press release. “That’s where the inspiration for Januscary came from, and it gave me the opportunity to bring in some underappreciated cult classics and overlooked new films that true horror fans will love.”

click to enlarge Night Drive - PHOTO: COURTESY OF PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
Photo: Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Night Drive
The festival kicks off with a free screening of director John Carpenter's The Thing. Set in an isolated Antarctic station, the 1982 film pits a group of scientists against an alien entity and has become known for its masterful practical creature effects by Rob Bottin.

Also included in the lineup is Hellbender, a 2021 film about a teen girl whose mysterious illness pushes her to delve into the “dark secrets of her family's past and the ancient power in her bloodline,” according to a synopsis. Cult film lovers should look forward to Eyes of Fire, a little-known 1983 folk horror gem that recently received a 4K restoration from Severin Films.

Other titles include the new vampire horror-comedy Let the Wrong One In (the title is a play on the Swedish film Let the Right One In) and Night Drive, a thriller about a driver who endures a fateful, deadly night in Los Angeles with a mysterious passenger.


click to enlarge Let the Wrong One In - PHOTO: COURTESY OF PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
Photo: Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Let the Wrong One In
Concluding the festival is a sneak peek at We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, a film about a high school girl who takes on an online role-playing horror game with the “alleged power to enact real-world body modifications and emotional effects.”

A press release says Morrison originally created Januscary for the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, where he previously worked. Once known for its carefully curated programming, including indie film premieres, cult film screenings, interactive events, and more, the Hollywood was bought by the Pittsburgh-based Theatre Historical Society in 2018 and has since been converted into a first-run movie theater.

Morrison says that, for this Januscary, he worked with Rich Dalzatto and Sandy Stuhlfire of Horror Realm, Sticks Downey and Gerrell Marsh, and John Marek, who created the logo for the 2022 Januscary Film Festival.

Januscary Film Festival. Showtimes vary. Sat., Jan. 1-Thu., Jan. 6, 2022. Harris Theater. 809 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $9-11, free for The Thing. TrustArts.org/Film

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