ASBURY PARK – It’s been cited in volumes of local ghostly folklore; “investigated” by enthusiasts of the paranormal, and has even served as the setting for an episode of TV’s popular Ghost Hunters series. While the historic Stephen Crane House at 503 Fourth Ave. has never officially owned up to its whispered status as a “haunted house,” the old place has been known to get into the spirit of things each October – and this year is no exception.
The pre-Halloween season of the witch begins in earnest on Sunday, Oct. 21, with the return of The Crane House Movie Club, a series of free screening events featuring interviews and discussions with special guest programmers. Doors open at 4 p.m. for a double-feature salute to one of the most iconic stars of screens, stages and speakers, Boris Karloff, hosted by writer, cartoonist and all-around authority Mark Voger.
Best known as the home video reviewer (and Cool Stuff columnist) for the Star-Ledger, the author of The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics introduces a pair of films that many fans cite as Karloff’s finest, including legendary producer Val Lewton’s atmospheric suspenser The Body Snatcher, a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation (with Boris in a tour de force as a graverobbing, blackmailing cabbie in Victorian-era Scotland) that represents one of the first directorial efforts of the celebrated Robert Wise, as well as the last screen teaming of Karloff with Bela Lugosi.
The 1945 classic is complemented with an unusual film that marked the beloved star’s Hollywood swan song: 1968’s Targets, directed by Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show) and starring the aging monster master as a horror-movie ham who’s forced to confront the very real, scary reality of an increasingly out-of-control American society.
Free popcorn and other refreshments will be on hand with the freewheeling conversation. Admission is free as well, although seating is limited and advance reservations are welcomed (and strongly recommended) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Jersey Natural Gas executive Tom Hayes – the former Crane House owner who rescued the century-old home from demolition in the 1990s – returns Craneside on the evening of Friday, Oct. 26 to host a special Haunted House Experience in support of the American Cancer Society’s Tides of Change Gala. Tickets for this 7 p.m. event are $25 per person, and include house tour, scary movies, wine and cheese, light fare and many scary surprises.
All proceeds benefit the local chapter of the ACS, and reservations for this limited-attendance event can be made by calling Madalaine Rice at 732-292-4250, or emailing Madalaine.email@example.com.