It may not be Halloween, but who needs an excuse to show a bunch of weird old horror movies?
Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre is staging one of its regular "Pay to Get Out" Horror Movie Marathons, in which patrons who endure all eight films – count 'em, eight – get a $10 refund on the ticket price and a free breakfast. Brett Sherris, the marathon's longtime programmer, has bowed out for now but has handed the reins to an outfit called Retro Picture Show, which seems to be keeping the spirit alive. All films – even the unannounced "mystery movie" – will be shown in good old 35mm. Blankets and pillows are encouraged. Alcohol, alas, cannot be brought into the venue.
Here are just a few of the titles you must endure:
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988) When a spaceship lands in a small town, those expecting little green men are instead attacked by red-nosed circus-aliens. Their evil plan: Turn all of mankind into sugary junk food! The intentionally dopey title and late-'80s date-stamp suggest self-aware camp rather than true horror. Keep your eyes peeled for John Vernon, Dean Wormer from "Animal House," as a police sergeant.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) Things take a more serious turn with Tobe Hooper's enduring masterpiece. With its helpless hippie teens, shades of Charles Manson and overall bad-trip vibe inspired by one of the nation's lousiest political climates, this gritty flick still has the power to shock and disturb.
THEY LIVE (1988) A drifter stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that reveal the awful truth: Aliens have infiltrated society! And they're using the media to send us subliminal messages! John Carpenter's sci-fi thriller works as a parody of conspiracy theories, but it also briefly became one when white supremacists adopted it as a weird metaphor for their beliefs. (An exasperated Carpenter set them straight on Twitter.) Pro wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, in the lead, delivers the performance of a lifetime.
XTRO (1982) This British oddity, about a man who returns to Earth after being abducted by aliens, includes many a strange idea: a woman birthing a monster, a human-sized toy soldier, a scream than can kill. Critics were not kind. Roger Ebert, in a rare scorched-earth review, summarized: "It's movies like this that give movies a bad name."
WHEN WHERE The "Pay to Get Out" Horror Movie Marathon begins Saturday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m. at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. Tickets are $50. Call 631-423-7610 or go to cinemaartscentre.org.