Spook Show Intermission!
If you haven’t noticed, the theme of Anti-Film School’s 3rd Annual Halloween Horror Movie Spooktacular has been a mash-up of grungy drive-in nostalgia mixed with the forgotten midnight Spook Shows of years past. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “just what the hell is a Spook Show?!” From the 1940’s through the 1960’s, movie theaters across the country would hold Spook Shows, which would consist of a traveling magician or ringmaster entertaining audiences with elaborate tricks and illusions. It wouldn’t be out of place to find these entertainers mingling with the Universal Studios monsters (a trick that usually consisted of an actor or actress in elaborate masks) or presenting oddities like Garganta or Franken and Stein (a twin-headed ghouls) “live” on stage in front of a packed theater. Near the middle of these shows, there would often times be “blackouts,” which would then find “spirits” manifesting out of thin air through various lighting tricks and special effects. These “spirits” would glide over the heads of theatergoers, plop down in seats next to terrified young girls, or even tap you on the shoulder. Theaters would then bring the terror to a close with the showing of a horror movie, most likely a Universal Studios monster movie or some radioactive creature feature. All in all, it was a night of total terror.
While it’s possible you may have never heard of a Spook Show, most have probably seen their eye-catching poster art or chuckled at one of their exaggerated trailers that warned those who scared easy to stay far away. Since it’s the season for all things spooky and these shows just screamed Halloween, I thought it might be a good time to share some of the art and trailers with all of you. And remember, if the show is too scary, bring some friends and create a “spook party!”
-Theater Management (Steve)