Time Warps and Terror Tours: Tampa Theatre brings fabulous frights

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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October is upon us, and while Florida isn’t known for its fall-like weather, Tampa Bay is lucky to have the Tampa Theatre—dedicated to bringing the area chills in other ways.

Built in 1926, the newly-renovated landmark has a longstanding reputation of being one of Tampa Bay’s most entertaining sites. On the heels of the 29th annual Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the theatre is setting its sights on spooky with “A Nightmare on Franklin Street,” now in its frighteningly fifth year.

“It’s one of our favorite series to book and exhibit,” Tampa Theatre Marketing Manager James DeFord says. “It’s just too bad October is only four weeks long!”

First time visitors are encouraged to attend the silent presentation of 1927’s “The Cat and the Canary,” a touchstone of early horror films. “Seeing a silent movie being accompanied by our mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ, in a movie palace that was built to present silent films, will transform your idea of what going to the movies can be,” DeFord says.

If that isn’t your cup of witch’s brew, “Nightmare” offers something for everyone—from running amok, amok, amok with the Sanderson Sisters to homoerotic horror with Johnny Depp. Watermark has a rundown of some of this year’s most petrifying programming below, which runs Oct. 19-31.

“Ghosts of Tampa Theatre Tour”

The “Ghosts of Tampa Theatre Tour” is a great choice for this year’s “Nightmare,” filling 75 minutes with scary fun. Spooky facts are shared about the building’s history of unusual occurrences, including ghost sightings and an account of the only confirmed death on the premises. Learn the true story of Robert Lanier, an employee who would regularly tear tickets, who was found dead by the front doorafter payday in 1959. “One of the paranormal investigation groups that we’ve worked with repeatedly made contact with a ‘man in uniform,’” DeFord shares. “We believe they may have met Robert.”

Tickets: $12 for adults; $10 for children ages 2-12; Tampa Theatre Members are free.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cultural artifact with an unlimited lifespan. Filmgoers can do the timewarp to 1975 to visit Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank N. Furter for an audience participation version of the cult classic Oct. 19, which demands of viewers “don’t dream it, be it.” DeFord says that “if it’s your first time, you’ll see what all the fuss is about … If you’ve been before, maybe this is the year you should find yourself a costume and join the party.” More than costumes are encouraged, though: so are toilet paper, cards, newspapers, toast and other props. If you’re not sure why, be sure to google a participation guide. Curry will lead you on a gender fluid, rock musical journey with fabulous favorites Magenta, Columbia and Meatloaf along for the ride.

Tickets: $15 general admission; $12 Tampa Theatre Members.

All-Day “Nightmare” Marathon

If you’re a Freddy fan, you can spend all day with the man of your dreams by watching six of Mr. Krueger’s best entries Oct. 20. “We’ve never done anything like a marathon of the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ movies before,” DeFord says, “so I recommend that, especially if you’re interested in seeing us host more marathons in the future!” The monster mayhem begins with 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” moves onto the homoerotic “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” and continues all the way to 1991’s “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.” The marathon allows plenty of time for bathroom, snack and stretch breaks—just don’t fall asleep.

Tickets: $40 All-Day Nightmare Pass; $35 for Tampa Theatre Members.

Family-Friendly Films
Whether you have kids or you’re a kid at heart, the Tampa Theatre has a fun lineup this year for the gentlest of goblins and ghosts. Selections include Tim Burton’s“The Corpse Bride”on Oct. 21 and “Hotel Transylvania” on Oct. 22. The Sanderson Sisters of “Hocus Pocus” will also put a spell on audiences Oct. 28. “We always make sure to book events and films that appeal to all kinds of audiences,” DeFord says, “so families can bring their kids to some films and real horror-heads can get their fill of the more outlandish stuff.”

Tickets: $10 General Admission; $7 Tampa Theatre Members

The Tampa Theatre is located at 711 N. Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. For more information about the theatre, this or additional “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” programming or to purchase tickets, visit TampaTheatre.org.

This article is part of our full in-depth story ‘This is Halloween.’  Click here to read the full article on our website now

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