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The weird and the wild

The Grand Cinema ushers in a new film series to break your brain

An infamous movie actress is transported into an ‘80s horror film in The Final Girls. Photo credit: The Grand Cinema

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One of the last great horror movies I saw was at The Grand Cinema. The film was The House of the Devil, and it was a loving homage to the ‘80s satanic panic that ran through culture and really flourished in horror movies. There's a point close to the end of the movie where the tension was so high that I found myself curled up in my seat with my hands covering my face. To be fair, though, the first awful horror movie I remember seeing was Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, when I was 15, and I covered my face for that one, too. I'm a wimp.

Still, there's something so delightful about seeing a horror flick in a theater, surrounded by gore-hounds and wimps alike. There's a giddiness that settles over a room of people who have all agreed to expose themselves to the sordid (and sometimes goofy) world of horror. In this way, horror is a genre that shares qualities with comedy: it's the type of experience that only gains power through the contagious feeling of viewing it in a crowd.

It's been a few years since The Grand Cinema has indulged in a series devoted to the fringe and the bizarre, but they're bringing it back with their new Weird Elephant film series. Taking up slots on the last Friday and Saturday of every month, Weird Elephant will be bringing horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and any sort of out-there cult movie to Tacoma. While previous midnight movie-esque programs at The Grand Cinema have focused on established properties, Weird Elephant will be introducing recently released films that have the potential of living long lives in the libraries of genre aficionados.

"It's been a while since we've had a cult movie series at The Grand, and we thought that it would be a good time to revitalize it," says Wade Neal, The Grand Cinema's assistant executive director and primary programmer for Weird Elephant, which features two films for the special month of October. "There's a lot of stuff out there that's good, bad, ugly, and great. ... Comedy-horror seems to strike a chord with a lot of people me included. Stuff like Shaun of the Dead, the Cornetto Trilogy - that's the kind of stuff that's kicking off the series."

Because this is October, Weird Elephant is starting with a bang, featuring two movies. The first is The Final Girls, and the weekend of Halloween will feature Deathgasm. If you have even a passing interest in horror, both of those titles should ping on your radar. The Final Girls features the daughter of an infamous horror starlet being transported into an ‘80s horror film, while Deathgasm (nominee for best title ever?) centers on a heavy metal band accidentally summoning demons and having to defeat them.

"I'd like for people to have a drive-in experience at The Grand," says Neal, in the sort of sentence that makes my heart flutter.

In addition to the wild assortment of movies that will be ushered in to The Grand Cinema at the end of each month, Weird Elephant will also be bringing in local breweries to enhance your experience. Nothing's better than having a drink and shrieking in public.

The Final Girls, Fri-Sat, Oct. 23-24, 9:09 p.m., Deathgasm, Fri-Sat, Oct. 30-31, 9:09 p.m., The Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett St., Tacoma, 253.593.4474

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