Seven Indie Films to Smooth Your Post-Halloween Comedown


After a marathon weekend of black-and-orange celebration of all sorts, (Go Giants!) the last of the Halloween offerings trickle into theaters; most will slither away shortly after they came, but some are worth checking out. Here are our picks:

Wake in Fright
If you haven't had enough of your Halloween fear fix after this weekend's seemingly ceaseless spooky celebrations, this brutal Aussie gem is still playing in the city. Once a Palme D'Or nominee at Cannes, this deep-cutting 1971 portrait of teacher defeated by the Outback was once thought to be lost, only to be unearthed just a few years ago and restored to glory in time to show at the festival again in 2009. Playing at Opera Plaza Cinemas.

Escape to Witch Mountain
On Sunday after lunch, Castro screens Disney's 1975 FX live-action wonder for kids and any of us "adults" who can drag ourselves out of bed. This lightly Halloween-themed beauty is considered one of the Mouse House's best films of the era when Disney's live action output (Watcher In The Woods, Bedknobs and Broomsticks) almost overtook its cartoon offerings, in quality and in sales. Plays at Castro Theatre.

Miami Connection
Korean director Richard Park's long-forgotten rock 'em-schlock 'em martial arts mix-up finally gets its due this weekend at the Roxie after building a generous head of steam at a series of beloved midnight screenings at Austin's Alamo Drafthouse. Comparisons to silly-but-seriously-great cult goodies like The Last Dragon and The Room aren't far off the mark: This one's a doozy. Plays at the Roxie Theatre.

The Flat
While digging into his own personal history, documentarian Arnon Goldfinger unearths ties between his grandmother and the Nazi party, which he pursues, largely against the will of his family, in the manner of Perry Mason doggedly focussed on closing a case. This investigation into the necessity of truth played earlier this year at the Jewish Film Festival and has become a sensation in its native Israel. Plays at Embarcadero Center Cinema.

The Game & Zodiac Double Feature
Fans of local color will want to try and make time for Castro's awkwardly double bill of David Fincher's two San Francisco-set thrillers next Wednesday. Both are worth their weight on the bill, but plan to grab a tall cup of coffee in between–at almost 5 hours between them it could turn into quite the movie marathon. Plays at Castro Theatre.

A Simple Life

This surprisingly understated Andy Lau showcase played earlier this year in Film Society's annual Hong Kong series and now gets an unlikely in-town run at the venerable Four Star. Its fairly downbeat theme won't appeal to everyone, but those in search of an earnest, honest story with refreshingly few cinematic pretensions won't be let down. Plays at Four Star Theatre.

The Bay
This interesting but not always successful found-footage thriller by Rain Man director Barry Levinson isn't the best eco-horror movie in recent memory, but manages to be interesting as an artifact, especially in terms of its cockeyed portrayal of local politics and modern media. More appropriate to fans of Zeitgeist than Critters, it may still satisfy undue desires for carnage if you're in a bind. Plays in theaters around the Bay.

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