The Upstate Beat: Scary monsters and stranger things — celebrate Halloween with spooky area shows

Local punk rock groups Blackcat Elliot, pictured, and Society High host a Halloween party Friday night at Pauly's Hotel.
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Local punk rock groups Blackcat Elliot, pictured, and Society High host a Halloween party Friday night at Pauly's Hotel.

UPSTATE BEAT – What’s on your Halloween playlist?

Mine is over 100 songs long. Songs like “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads, Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare” and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Halloween” never get old.

Then you’ve got the undeniable classics like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” and Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash.” I could listen to it all year.

Cue up your own Halloween party playlist list this weekend or don your best gorilla suit or Velma from Scooby Doo costume and head out on the town. The following are our top picks for fun, spooky cultural happenings this Halloween week.

— In the immortal words of Ray Parker Jr., “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” The 8th Step theater at Proctors (432 State St, Schenectady) presents Whispering Bones: An Evening of Ghost Stories on Monday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. Expect creepy and chilling tales from some of the region’s best storytellers: a mix of classic legends, new stories and whispered folktales. Presented by Prof. Betterov-Underhill and his Cult of Storytellers, including Erin Ouellette, Mary Murphy, Tony Malikowsky, Kelvin Keraga, Jennifer Jasper and Barbara Chepaitis.

— An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the 1922 silent film “Nosferatu” is considered by many film buffs to be the most unsettling vampire film ever made. The Linda WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Ave., Albany) will screen the film, newly restored in HD in honor of its 100-year anniversary, on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. Order of the Illusive, a project of three experimental musicians — Bradford Reed (King Missile III, Blue Man Group), Geoff Gersh and Zach Layton — provide live musical accompaniment.

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— Baked Shrimp, a progressive funk trio hot on the jam band circuit, brings the group’s 5th Annual Halloween Extravaganza & Costume Contest to the Hollow Bar + Kitchen (79 North Pearl Street, Albany) on Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. Every Halloween, Baked Shrimp unveils a surprise theme to their audience and brings fans onstage for a costume contest. Past themes included Scooby Doo, the Wizard of Oz, baseball and NRBQ. What will it be this time? Show up to find out. Glass Pony, a psychedelic groove band from Albany, opens.

— The Super Dark Halloween Prom at Desperate Annie’s (2 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs), hosted by the Super Dark Collective, is always a fun time. What better-named group to headline this year than the monster-inspired Capital Region punk band Zombie Giuliani? Monday, Oct. 31 at 9:30 p.m. with Capital City Crooks, Blisterboo and a DJ set by Saratoga’s Off-Track Records. And in Troy, Super Dark hosts a Halloween show at No Fun (275 River St., Troy) on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. with Wet Specimens, Cindy Cane, BloodX3 and Beneath Black Waves.

— The Built4BBQ record label hosts a Halloween hootenanny on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Hangar on the Hudson (675 River Street, Troy). The monstrous mixed bill features rare performances from 518 fuzz-surf favorites Kimono Dragons and one-man country-blues troubadour  Henry’s Rifle — both making their first live appearances in three years — plus local punkers Girth Control, hilltown noise machine Turf ‘n’ Turf, and touring ska acts PWRUP and Do It with Malice.

— Let’s do the time warp again! Drew Benton, frontman for Albany rock group haunted Cat, stars as the Frankenstein-like lead character in a creatively reimagined live musical production of Richard O’Brien’s cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” staged this weekend at R’ville Stage Creations, a community theatre organization in Rensselaerville. Directed by Tara Hostash, this version of the campy gothic glam-rock musical, which pays tribute to sci-fi and horror B movies of yore, holds its closing weekend at Conkling Hall (8 Methodist Hill Rd., Rensselaerville) on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 and 11:30 p.m.

— Two shows at Pauly’s Hotel (37 Central Ave., Albany) celebrate the Halloween spirit: local punk rock groups Society High and Black Cat Elliot host a Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. And the Chaos Collective puts on a varied bill of hardcore, pop punk, classic rock and hip hop groups on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. in honor of spooky season.

— Party with ghosts, axe-wielding barbarians, mad doctors, roided-up wrestlers and live rock and roll music on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. El Dorado Bar (121 4th St., Troy) with a crew of great regional bands: Albany’s Doctor Baker, the Dionysus Effect, BattleAxxx and The Savage Randys.

— Schenectady- and Albany-based band Dark Sarcasm pays tribute to the legend of Pink Floyd, recreating songs from classic albums like The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, and more. We hope they might have some Halloween tricks up their sleeves when the group’s members perform at the Charles R. Wood Theater (207 Glen St., Glens Falls) on Friday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. See you on the dark side of the moon.

Reach Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

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