Horror Movie Screening at Chicago Cemetery Causes Controversy

It is an unusual venue for a movie screening, but Friday night Bohemian National Cemetery will open its gates for a free showing of “Sinister”

A controversy has sparked over a public showing of a horror movie in Chicago, but it's not the movie that bothers some people – it’s the location.

For more than 100 years, Bohemian National Cemetery has been the tranquil final resting place for hundreds of Moravian and Slovak immigrants and descendants. But Friday night, the cemetery will open its gates to a free horror movie screening of “Sinister.”

It is an unusual venue for a movie screening, and once we put up the information on NBC Chicago website, the comments began pouring in.

“How distasteful to show a horror film in a cemetery among the dead,” one Facebook user could be seen writing. But others told NBC Chicago they support the idea.

Chuck Betzold, who is on the board of directors at Bohemian National Cemetery, told NBC Chicago the open space where the moving will be shown is actually retained for picnics – not for burials. He said they are happy to showcase what a beautiful cemetery they have here.

“There’s always going to be some people who object to it but here at the cemetery we are free thinkers,” Betzgold said. “There will be no mourners at that time, just those for this event.”

By phone, one Algonquin man, Joshua Eady, told NBC Chicago he still thinks it just isn’t right.

“I think it’s in poor taste to be honest,” Eady said. “They’re using as a gimmick to sell tickets to a crappy sequel. I think it would be different if it was ‘Wizard of Oz’ at noon, but to put on a horror movie with dead people around? It’s kind of disgusting.”

Many others told NBC Chicago that same reason was why they believe it’s a perfect spot to take in the scary flick.

“I’ve seen them do other events over there before, but a scary movie – that sounds cool,” one woman said.

“Why not? It’s a movie!” said another Chicago man, echoing a similar sentiment.

The cemetery’s board members say that the not-for-profit business is making very little on the event and that they expect no problems.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Friday and “Sinister 2” begins at 9 p.m.

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