As part of the Flashback Weekend horror convention, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, the hotel’s west parking lot will be converted into an open-air theater. Patrons are invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs (the “drive-in” part is purely sentimental). Tickets are $10, and all screenings are by DVD projection. For more information call 847-478-0119 or visit www.flashbackweekend.com.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon In this horror mockumentary by Scott Glosserman, a TV journalism student (Angela Goethals) gets more than she bargained for when she reports on an aspiring bogeyman (Nathan Baesel). The self-reflexive slasher is hardly a fresh idea, and though this one is more precise than Scream in spelling out the genre’s psychological ingredients, it isn’t nearly as fun or scary. Glosserman drops the documentary conceit whenever it suits him, but not enough to take full advantage of Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street) as a psychiatrist chasing the killer. With Scott Wilson. R, 92 min. (JJ) a Fri 7/20, 11 PM.
Freddy vs. Jason This monster mash should satisfy fans of the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. Forgotten by his hometown, dream demon Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) revives mad slasher Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger) and sends him to Elm Street, but then a turf dispute leads to a gruesome showdown. At its best when the monsters are on-screen–with a cackling Englund addressing the camera and the massive Kirzinger managing some pathos behind his blood-spattered hockey mask–this chiller by Hong Kong director Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky) loses energy when it shifts to the dumb teen protagonists, and the script faithfully wallows in cliches so ridiculous they border on Scary Movie territory. R, 97 min. (Brian Thomas) Englund and Kirzinger will introduce the screening. a Fri 7/20, 9 PM.
RA Nightmare on Elm Street Horror master Wes Craven first broke away from the pack with this nifty 1984 slasher about a quartet of high school kids menaced in their dreams by a barbecued bogeyman in a slouch hat and ratty pullover (Robert Englund). It spawned four sequels and a TV series, though here the idea of sleep as the ultimate threat is still fresh and marvelously insidious, and Craven vitalizes the nightmare sequences with assorted surrealist novelties (carpeted stairs that behave like quicksand, a victim sucked into a sinkhole in his mattress). With Heather Langenkamp, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, and Johnny Depp in his screen debut. R, 92 min. (JJ) Englund, Blakley, Langenkamp, Wyss, and other cast members will introduce the screening. a Sat 7/21, 9 PM
A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 3: Dream Warriors Freddy returns again to unsettle the sleep of unwary teens and children in this Wes Craven-produced shocker (1987). Craig Wasson, Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, and the inevitable Robert Englund star, with cameos by John Saxon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Dick Cavett. Chuck Russell directed, Cravenite screenplay in hand. R, 96 min. Cast members Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, and Ira Heiden will introduce the screening. a Sat 7/21, 11 PM.