As Tampa embraces the spooky season, the return of Tampa Theatre’s “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” marks the city’s eerie transformation. Throughout October, a thrilling array of classic horror films, ghost tours, family-friendly spooky classics, and more will grace the stage and screen of our downtown movie palace.
In the latter part of October, this hair-raising historic landmark fully embraces Halloween with a lineup that includes classic horror movies, special guest appearances, spine-chilling stage performances, ghostly tours, captivating storytelling sessions, and frights suitable for the whole family.
As a side note, Tampa Theatre will officially celebrate its 97th birthday this October! Tampa, get those birthday candles ready! The 2023 series promises to infuse Tampa’s most historic—and perhaps most haunted—movie palace with a delightful array of “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” favorites. This includes classic horror films and cult favorites with two screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show featuring a live floor cast and enthusiastic audience participation. Plus, there will be numerous opportunities to explore the Ghosts of Tampa Theatre on guided tours, experience the elegantly gothic stylings of Phantasmagoria with a mainstage show inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, enjoy an evening of spooky Campfire Stories beneath the starlit theater sky, and partake in family-friendly “Mummy & Me” screenings offering FREE tickets for kids aged 12 and younger. The excitement doesn’t stop there, with many more chilling surprises in store.
A Nightmare on Franklin Street is a Tampa tradition
One event that I hold dear is the balcony-to-backstage ghost tours, which will be available from October 13th to the 31st. Secure your tickets now to ensure your spot before they run out.
On Sunday, October 15th, at 7 pm, Tampa Theatre invites you to join them for an enchanting evening of Campfire Stories beneath the iconic starlit sky of the movie palace. Presented by the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay, this family-friendly program features PG-rated tales suitable for all ages (provided they don’t mind a spine-tingling chill). Tickets are priced at $10 for general admission, and Tampa Theatre Members can enjoy free admission.
As part of the “Film Tampa Bay Presents” series, Film Tampa Bay will generously sponsor a FREE screening of “Cannibal Comedian” (2023) on Thursday, October 19th, at 7:00 pm. This series celebrates films and filmmakers with connections to the Tampa Bay area. The first 150 attendees will also receive complimentary popcorn and soda. After the screening, everyone is encouraged to stay for an audience Q&A session with the local filmmakers.
A spooky film paired with the mighty Wurlitzer organ
Mark your calendar for Friday, October 20th, when Tampa Theatre’s artist-in-residence, Dr. Steven Ball, will enchant audiences with an original score on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, accompanying a new 4k restoration of the silent suspense masterpiece, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920). The performance starts at 7:00 pm.
Next up, on Saturday, October 21st, Tampa Theatre eagerly welcomes back the “Cheap Little Punks” shadow cast for TWO screenings of the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) at 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm.
In addition to these fan favorites, Tampa Theatre has a rich lineup of lesser-known titles like “Slotherhouse,” “Pulgasari,” and “Night of the Lepus,” totaling a spine-tingling 46 events throughout this 19-day series.
For a comprehensive list of films, ghost tours, and events, be sure to visit Tampa Theatre’s website.