Sunday, October 25, 2009

Post-mortem - My Ohio Horrorfest experience

So what's it like to sit in a movie theater for half a day? I'll show you.

Granted, attending movie marathons is nothing new to me. I'd been through one horror-thon in Columbus before, and I've attended several scu-fi marathons, also in Columbus. And most of those lasted a full 24 hours - so this marathon of seven features was shorter, but no less enteraining.

The fun starts with the trailers, in good quality digital projection - a good sign. Trailers include, Ju-On (the Japanese original which I'd love to see  - the American remake, The Grudge, was lame) Saw (the original, which I'd still like to see, despite the allegedly diminishing returns of that series ) Alien, The Stepfather (the original), The Blair Witch Project and Slither (which is great for a marathon crowd - that should play here if it hasn't already.)

And now for our first movie ...

The Birds - Still utterly chilling, especially in a theater. Print in  great shape, although the sound is a bit spotty - which is too bad, considering the sound is so important in this movie. It's also fun to see with an audience - except when some people start laughing at inappropriate times, like when birds are attacking children. SO Hee-larious that.  I'd like to see a bird attack them and then see how funny they think it is. But then, some people in these audiences have all the maturity and brain power of a newly laid egg. GRADE: A

Next group of trailers - these will be simple lists because they came thick and fast.

My Bloody Valentine (ho-hum)
Night of the Living Dead
Lady Frankenstein (w/Joseph Cotton!)
Beyond the Darkness
Beyond the Door
The Night Child
The Legend of the Wolf Woman
Several "Living Dead": trailers, one offering free interment in an asylum
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave
The Hitcher (remake)

The House of the Devil - The premiere of the 'thon is a disappointment. Starts off well, creating a nice air of suspense when a girl desperate for money takes a shady babysitting job and things get messy from there. The finale turns literal and obvious, undermining what could have been a solid little B movie. Instead it's a grade below.  GRADE: C

When I go to get concessions, a number of people call me Sir Critic - nice to see my name still precedes me!

Next it's sostume contest time. In my 'thon experience, this is tradiitonally won either by the cute kid or the girl exposing the most skin.

We have: A disembowled zombie bride, a nerd zombie, green man (he kinda looks like one of those visaul effects dummies on a Star Wars green screen), a pirate zombie, Shaun of the Dead survivors, Max from Where the Wild Things Are and a bat. Zombies are clearly "it" this year.

Max has some very loud screamers - wild things, I guess you could say - and Max wins! So in a way, even though I don't think the winner was an actual kid, she was playing one, so - told ya!

More Trailers

Babysitter Wanted
Tourist Trap
The Addams Family
Addams Family Values (superior to the first)
Urban Legend
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (one of the stupidest horror titles ever)

Re-Animator - I had never seen this film, and I can see why it has the reputation it does. Great fun that's neither too serious nor too goofy - it cleverly walks the line between scary and satrical. Great performance by Jeffrey Combs in the title role. I wonder, though  did Bernard Herrmann's estate sue the composer? They should have - talk about a blatant Psycho score rip-off! GRADE: B+

Fatigue definitely starting to sink in ....

Still More Trailers

Silence of the Lambs
Happy Birthday to Me
The Fog (remake-ugh)
Urban Legends 2
Saw 2
28 Weeks Later
Halloween (remake -P-UKE)

Shaun of the Dead  - I think this movie is great fun, but since I had seen it before, I don't feel so bad about sleeping through most of it.  Great choice for the 'thon, although personally, I like the follow-up film by the same team, Hot Fuzz, even better.

Even more trailers ...

Saw 3
Curse of the Cat People (I would LOVE to see this or the original Cat People at a future 'thon -textbook examples of great low-budget shockers)
Serial Mom
Cat people
Saw 6
Last House on the Left (remake)

Repulsion - Roman Polanski's first English language film stars Catherine Deneuve, who, shall we say ... has a problem relating to men. Some people in the crowd complained that "nothing happened" and they "didn't get it." Their loss. This was my favorite film of the marathon. It's an eerie and extremely unsettling psychological drama of a woman driven over the edge of madness, with great camerawork by Gilbert Taylor, who has a fascinating filmography, including A Hard Day's Night, Dr. Strangelove, Frenzy, and a little film called Star Wars.  GRADE: A

Friday the 13th - I have never, and I will never, understand the appeal of this series, or of the original movie, which is really slipshod, amateur hour bullshit. Borderline incompetent. So I bailed and went to have pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.

Last group of trailers ...

Black Sunday (this is NOT the Super Bowl in jeopardy movie, but a 1960 Mario Bava movie)
Friday the 13th remake  (zzz)
Nightmare on Elm Street - upcoming remake (You know, I'd like to believe this will be good. There's a chance it will be, with Jackie Earle Haley in the lead - but given the less than impressive output of Platinum Dunes, I can't bring myself to be encouraged)

Night of the Living Dead - Unfortunately, given my unsteady consciousness, the title applies to me pretty well (although really, the title should be Morning of the Living Dead since the sun is up by now). I sleep through much of the movie, but what I do see reminds me of how potent it still is. For my money, still the ultimate zombie movie.

And so the marathon comes to an end. As I head out the door, I'm asked to pick out a prize, most of which are Halloween trinkets. I pick out a "monk's cross" - after all, I figure, my dad is a Franciscan friar, so it sorta fits. Or  maybe I can bring it with me to the next Uwe Boll movie I see.

Till next year ...


Allison Dickson said...

Sounds like a great lineup! I will be adding Repulsion to my Netflix queue!

Night of the Living Dead is entertaining, but I actually think Dawn of the Dead was even better.

And yes, as much as I love Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is one of my favorite comedies of all time.

Sir Critic said...

I would say that Dawn of the Dead is more ambitious, but Night of the Living Dead more frightening - and I like the fright of Night better than the more satirical bent of Dawn - but that's just me.