Sunday, October 23, 2011

Horror-Thon 2011: Meet Tucker and Dale

You may have noticed I have not written much about new releases here of late. That's because the current cinematic landscape has been about as barren as Paris Hilton's intellect. There just isn't much out there.

That's why I was grateful to attend another Horror Marathon at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs.  Horror has never been my favorite genre, but I like it when it works - and most of the movies the 'thon offered up did.

Rear Window - Not really a horror movie, and I already saw it once in a theater this year. But am I complaining? Oh HELL no!

BTW, the theater inadvertently offered up a lesson in how "flat" films are projected. Movies that are shot without a specific widescreen process shoot a full frame of film, which is square in shape. That excess image, which you are not supposed to see, (and which we briefly saw here)  is supposed to be masked by an aperture plate in the projector to produce a rectangular image. That's why, if you ever see boom mikes dropping into frame, it's not the fault of the people who made the movie - it's the fault of the projectionist, who has framed the image improperly.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: Without question, this was THE highlight of the marathon. I could see why this wildly entertaining spoof has developed such great buzz. It takes the old cliche of mean hillbillies vs. guileless college kids and turns it completely on its head by the end of the first reel. The movie walks the line brilliantly between fright and humor, never straying too far in either direction. Not only was it the best heretofore unseen film of the marathon, it's one of the best films I've seen this year. Read Leonard Maltin's piece about how the movie almost got away, thanks to a short-sighted distributor.

Attack the Block was an offbeat film about British hoodlums and how they tangle with nasty little alien beasties that fall from the sky like meteors and seem to be made mostly of teeth that glow in the dark. It's a solid film that's a little easier to admire than it is to love. I never cared about the characters as much as I wanted to, even though I found the offbeat approach praiseworthy. It struck me as something Danny Boyle might have made early in his career.

Zombie: And here's where I started to lose it. Lucio Fulci is considered a horror-master in some quarters, but I sure as hell can't see why. Yeah, it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to have a woman strip naked just so she can dive underwater and witness a zombie fighting with a shark - but that's about the only memorable scene in this snoozefest. Sadly, the movie reminded me of the clueless Italian hacks who made Troll 2, even if Fucli is at least technically competent.

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein: It's too bad this very funny movie played when it did. Zombie had put most of the audience to sleep, so the reaction to this movie was subdued. It was quite the contrast to the crowd who ate it up in Columbus earlier this year.

Alien: Still scary. And still Ridley Scott's best film. And so, I thought it best to close the marathon with this movie, rather than sticking around for The Human Centipede II. I wanted to be able to eat later in the day.

1 comment:

Zack said...

What can I say? I *love* your write-ups of the event, Eric. It's so great to have a post-mortem from someone who was in the audience all night. Thank you. Here's a little behind the scenes take: