Gaslamp brings you the lighter side of horror with ‘Hocus Pocus’ and ‘Ghostbusters’

In all relationships, personal, professional and, it appears, Halloweenal, communication is key. It turns out that there was a bit of a communication mix up as to which movie the Gaslamp would be playing, outdoors, on Friday night, Oct. 23. Originally, the restaurant/events venue had advertised “The Exorcist,” the ultimate unwanted houseguest movie, but as it got closer to the actual screening, things changed.

Now, on Friday night, Oct. 23, the Gaslamp will be showing a double bill of horror-comedies—emphasis on the comedy—”Hocus Pocus” and “Ghostbusters.”

“We’ve realized that the movies that are successful, that are drawing people, are lighter,” said Gaslamp owner Michael Neufeld. “The heavy stuff, ‘The Shining’ was good, but we think people are enjoying a lighter approach to Halloween right now.”

This double-bill certainly seems to fit the, well, bill. “Hocus Pocus,” is a comedy witch romp starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker, while “Ghostbusters” is, well, you know what “Ghostbusters” is.

Neufeld said the switch from “Exorcist” to “Ghostbusters” was made because “we’re trying to find all the things that are more family-oriented.” And though “Exorcist” happens to be a family, family-oriented it ain’t. I must admit to have never seen “The Exorcist,” not all the way through, not in a theater and certainly not in the dark.

The horror classic debuted in 1973 when I was a 12-year-old Catholic school kid attending daily religion classes so that a film based around Satanic possession seemed less like a horror classic than a documentary. Truth is, given my age, I probably wasn’t eligible to see “The Excorcist” in 1973. Still, I learned all I needed to know about it when my sister—18 and fearless—returned home from a screening, woke me up and stationed me at her bedroom door to protect her from the devil while she slept because, though the Prince of Darkness was the sum of all evil, he apparently had the good manners to knock.

Anyway, Catholics.

OK, if you want to see “Hocus Pocus” and “Ghostbusters” on Oct. 23, the movie ticket portion of the evening will cost you $10 and requires you to book dinner reservations. Guests will be seated at socially distanced spaced tables on the outdoor patio area. Dinner and other refreshments are not included in the movie ticket price. Movies will be projected on a large, elevated screen otherwise dubbed their “movie wall.”

The Gaslamp is located at 6251 Pacific Coast Hwy. For more information, or to make reservations, click here.

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.