There’s no more distinctive voice in American independent horror than Ti West, a director who specializes in patient, creepy, old-school thrillers that are streaked with dark humor. This Friday, February 3rd, West is coming to the Music Box in Chicago for a special opening night New Cult Canon double feature of his new film The Innkeepers and his great retro-‘80s occult thriller The House Of The Devil. West will join me for an introduction and a Q&A. Here’s how it will break down:
7:20 p.m.: The Innkeepers. Inspired by the experiences his cast and crew had while staying at a haunted hotel while filming The House Of The Devil, West’s new film adds some modern twists to the classic haunted house movie. Sara Paxton and Pat Healy are both very funny as clerks who trade shifts at the Yankee Pedlar Inn during its last weekend before closure. With only a few guests (including Kelly McGillis) to manage, they mark time by goofing around and exploring the hotel’s disturbing part. In the process, they summon the ghost of a woman who hanged herself in the hotel many years earlier.
Between screenings: Q&A with Ti West.
9:45 p.m.: The House Of The Devil. Anyone who spent the ‘80s and early ‘90s trolling video stores for clamshell-packaged VHS horror will feel a wave of nostalgia for West’s 2009 breakthrough. But even those who weren’t around for that era—like, say, Mr. West, who’s still in his mid-30s—will appreciate how beautifully The House Of The Devil evokes that period while delivering a much more skilled and satisfying take on it. Giving juicy roles to cult icons like Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov—and a brief but memorable one to Greta Gerwig—the film follows a college student (Jocelin Donahue) who takes a “babysitting” job way off campus. On the night of a lunar eclipse, she heads out to a creepy Victorian house and is asked to mind the house while an old woman sleeps upstairs. Needless to say, the night gets a little bumpy.
Advance tickets are on sale now for $12. Admission the day of the show is $15. Separate admission for The House Of The Devil only will be sold if still available at the door. Check out the trailers (and excellent retro posters) for both below.