Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen

by | Jan 22, 2021

There’s something strangely meta about film character’s sitting in a movie theatre. Whilst film imitates life in many ways, there’s a strange disconnection when we see certain actions, such as a character reminding us that we are watching a film. And you get this feeling when you spot someone in or coming out of a cinema. It’s borderline fourth wall breaking, and yet thrilling at the same time. There’s something special about the magic of cinemas being caught in the glamorous light of a camera lens. Me, the thrill often comes from spotting the film that characters are watching, especially when that film is of the horror persuasion. And that is where we have landed for this article, a little list of movies that dropped their cast of at the cinema, to watch a scary movie. From romantic comedies, to comic book action films, there’s always room for a little horror!

Here are Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen.

The Evil Dead in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

During the late 80’s, Ninja Turtles has recently become a successful Playmate toy line and an extremely popular animated series, and so a movie adaption was the next logical step for the heroes in a half shell. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out in 1990 to much success, and in a very early scene, we see Ralph blowing off some steam, late at night at a sleazy Manhattan theatre. He emerges from the cinema, which proudly displaying the poster for Critters (1986). “Where do they come up with this stuff?”. Interesting enough, the movie changes depending on the medium. In the film novelization, Ralph watches E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and in the comic adaption, he watches Batman.

 

 

The Evil Dead in Donnie Darko (2001)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - Donnie Darko

In a era of extensive superhero films, it’s easier to appreciate a more unconventional one such as the mind bending 2001 movie Donnie Darko. The film follows the titular character as he is find’s himself trapped in a strange parallel timeline with the end of the world close at hand. Despite the impending doom of all things, Donnie does find time for some recreational activities, in which he takes a date to the local cinema to catch a midnight viewing of The Evil Dead. For a film with complex time travel and wibbly wobbly, timey wimey, stuff, the hardest part for me to believe, is that Donnie sticks around, and even tries to save the life, of his girlfriend, who falls asleep whilst watching Sam Raimi’s masterpiece. Shame on you Gretchen!

 

Seven in The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - The Butterfly Effect

Another film that deals with time travel is 2004’s The Butterfly Effect. The film follows Ashton Kutcher as Evan Treborn, a man who discovers he can travel back in time to periods in his childhood. At one point in the movie, a 15-year-old Evan goes to the cinema with his child-hood friends, where they watch David Fincher’s Se7en.
 

 

I Was a Teenage Werewolf in IT (1990)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - IT

Tommy Lee Wallace’s epic adaption of Stephen King’s IT follows the Loser Club, a bunch of misfits determined to fight the terrifying entity killing local children. During a flashback of 1958, The Loser find themselves at the Paramount, a local theatre in Derry, where they watch the classic 1957 horror I Was a Teenage Werewolf.

 

Daughter of Horror in The Blob (1958)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - Donnie Darko

The Blob is a classic 1950’s horror starring the King of Cool, Steve McQueen, who find’s himself battling against a giant gelatinous space alien which is quickly devouring a small Pennsylvania town. During one of the films more epic scenes, the Blob attacks the Colonial Theater, which is jam packed with patrons watch the 1957 Re-release of Dementia titled Daughters of Horror.

In the 1988 remake, director Chuck Russell decided to go with a fictional slasher film called Garden Tool Massacre.

 

Friday the 13th Part III (1982) in Murphy’s Romance (1985)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - Murphy’s Romance

Murphy’s Romance is a 1985 American romantic-comedy about an ex-wife, whose new relation ship is challenged when her ex-husband returns. The main characters take time out to visit a local theatre, where they watch actress Tracie Savage being attacked in the infamous hammock scene in Friday the 13th: Part III (1982).

 

 

The Shining in Twister (1996)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - Twister

Twister is a much loved 1990’s action adventure film about storm chasers desperately trying to test out a new system for predicting storms. But things are turned on their head when a F5 tornado emerges, causing chaos in it’s path. In one the films most ominous moments, the team stays in a hotel next to a drive-in cinema that is showing Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. As the storm crashes through the cinema, the film is shortly projected onto the side of the tornado. As Jack Nicholson’s face is projected onto the storm, for a few seconds, it’s like the storm is jeering at the fleeing folks below.

 
In The Mouth of Madness In The Mouth of Madness (1995)

Cinema in Cinema – When Movie Characters Watch Horror on the Big Screen - In the Mouth Of Madness
In the Mouth of Madness is a 1994 American horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter. The follows insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) as he scrutinizes the claim made by the publisher of horror novelist Sutter Cane. Things turn a little weird, when Trent discovers that Cane’s fictional world is creeping into reality. In the films conclusion, and a moment of immense meta commentary, Trent gets to visit a cinema, and watch the very movie in which he is in.


 

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“Hi Horror Fans – Well, who doesn’t like going to the cinema to watch a good horror film. Looking at this list, It seems like even film characters can’t resist the call of horror. Did we miss something? Why not let us know in the comments below?

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