Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Ms. Dreadful’s Nightmare Gallery

Posted: July 2, 2015 by Jenny Dreadful in Art, Events, Film

On the weekend of July 4th, many of us American worker bees are fortunate enough to have extra time to kill as workplaces shut down for the holiday. It’s time for stuffing hot dogs in our faces in the hot sun, fireworks, eagles, stars and stripes… all as Uncle Sam and God intended. MERICA.

I won’t be engaging in these festivities this weekend. What will I be doing instead? MOVIE MARATHON CREATIVE CHALLENGE is what, motherfucker. Want to join me? Introducing…

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Here’s the deal.

Watch the 5 classic horror films listed below. After each viewing, give yourself no more than ONE hour to create something inspired by the film. You have July 3rd, 4th, and 5th only to complete this challenge. (We’re using the honor system here. Try to keep things fair.) Post your creations online no later than Monday, July 6th and link to them with the hashtag #MsDnightmaregallery on Twitter or Instagram.

Any form of creativity is welcome. Write an essay or a short story. Sketch or paint something. Draw a comic. Compose a soundscape or song. Shoot a self-portrait. Create a themed dessert or mixed drink. Make a necklace or hat. Anything!

I’ll be posting commentary and in-progress photos of drawings using the hashtag on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FinalGirlSG. Although it’s not necessary, I would be delighted if you followed along and did the same.

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As acknowledgement of the holiday, I have selected a sampling of classic American horror films ranging from the 60s to the 80s. Each of these films is a monumentally important touchstone in horror history; not just nationally but globally. They’re game-changers. It’s time to revisit them.

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A few notes…

  • Whether you go with DVD, streaming or downloads, you will need to arrange access to the films on your own.
  • Chronological order, as listed, is encouraged but not required.
  • You may take notes or do sketches during the running time, but don’t ignore the film. That ruins the fun!
  • I’m no monster. If you need to fix formatting, correct typos, or make other small yet vital adjustments before presenting the final work, I will not send death eagles to destroy you. Just don’t fuss with it for too long.
  • I am offering no pay and seeking no rights to do anything with your work. What happens to your series of 5 creations is entirely up to you! You can throw them away, post them, sell the work, whatever you like. I would love to post or link to your work with permission, but I am setting up the challenge and my involvement ends there.

Ok! I think that’s everything! Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to set up my gear and get ready for the Art-pocalypse. I truly hope some of you will join me.

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ex-Fest V Part 1: Rise of the Cinepunx.

Posted: May 11, 2015 by Jenny Dreadful in About Us, Events, Film

Hey there, horror friends! Just checking in to tell you about a recent adventure…

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Design by Justin Miller of http://www.hauntlove.com.

On May 2nd, Philly-area film weirdoes (including our crew) had the pleasure of attending Exhumed Filmsex-Fest V! If you’ve never heard of it, ex-Fest is an annual 12+ hour marathon of exploitation cinema, ranging from kung fu movies to blaxploitation to sexploitation, a little ultra-violence, Italian crime thrillers… all varieties of trash projected in classic 35mm. ex-Fest is a cruel injection of pure sleaze right to the heart.

I adore Exhumed Films’ most notorious event, the 24-hour Horrorthon, but I think ex-Fest is gaining my favor over time. I don’t know if it’s the reduced endurance challenge of only 12 hours, less space for “filler” material, or if there’s just so much more left for me to discover in the world of exploitation, but I look forward to it more every year.

So, in brief, yes! I had a great time. I didn’t love every film I saw, but it was a good day of revisiting classics, discovering forgotten gems, and spending some time with my local cinephile community. I have lots to say, but it’s been hard to find the time. I aim to write something up. Until then…

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Buy their shirts! But not online. Find them and buy them in person like it is the Dark Ages. http://cinepunx.com

Check out my appearance on the Cinepunx podcast! Josh Alvarez, Liam O’Donnell, Sean Bennis-Sine and I do a recap of ex-Fest V. There’s only so much you can cover over the length of a single episode, but I think we had a fun discussion about the films and our reactions to them. I do worry a little about people finding out I’m essentially a 13-year-old boy (not the sophisticated feminist genre scholar I want to be), but what the hell… it’s time to come clean. Listen to the post-marathon discussion here and BEWARE! Age of Ultron spoilers abound. We are the worst.

10271514_766887260012066_2594817008020421945_nIf you like what you hear, you can subscribe to Cinepunx on iTunes.  Josh and Liam are some of the nicest guys ever and their passion for film and music is infectious. Thanks for having me, guys!

Part 2, a closer look at the selection of films from my point of view coming soon. For reals. No, I mean it. Totally. (Maybe.)

 

 

Philly Loves Women in Horror – films and panel

Posted: February 26, 2014 by StayFrosty in About Us, Events, Film

frostyThis past weekend, JennyD and I were asked to take part in a panel for Philly Loves Women in Horror, an event of short films and film discussion created by Ashlee Blackwell.  The event was moderated by Hannah Neurotica (whom it was incredible to meet), the creator of Women in Horror month, and it was an incredible, inspiring and exciting event that we were thrilled to be a part of!  We got to meet some awesome and creative women, see some excellent shorts, and be on a panel with other lady horror lovers like us.  What’s not to love?

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Let’s start with the films.  We got to see 10 shorts, and there were some very strong offerings.  I really loved the opening short, “The Dump”, directed by Rebekah McKendry (2012) – she seamlessly blended horror and comedy in her story about two killers who run into each other at a dump site they both want to use.  Discussion and laughter ensues.  Looking forward to more from Ms. McKendry!

We found at this event that we had more fun with horror comedy shorts than the more serious ones, which for me at least is different from normal – horror and comedy can be very tough to combine, but many of these ladies handled it with ease.  “My Mom and Other Monsters” (dir. Kate Tsang, 2011) kept it creepy until the end, “Sheeties” (dir. Paula Haifley, 2012), a mockumentary about the lives and relationship trials of those who dare to embrace their love of wearing the classic ghost sheet, had me laughing the whole time, and “OowieWanna” (dir. Bridget Palardy, 2011), takes an adventure at a laundromat to a whole new (and musical!) level.  Out of all the shorts, I definitely enjoyed these the most, but all of the films had something interesting to offer.

We also got to see two trailers, one from Lil’ Filmmakers, an organization that helps youth and teens learn to make movies and explore their love of cinema.  Their upcoming film is called “Erudition”.  For information, including how to donate, please check out http://www.lilfilmmakersinc.com/

The other trailer was for a documentary entitled “My Final Girl” by Kristina Leath-Malin, who also joined us on the panel, about the role of American black women in the Blaxploitation and horror genre, something that I can’t wait to watch.  Check out the trailer here:  http://vimeo.com/62552635

From left: JennyD, Stay Frosty, Kristina Leath-Malin, Ashlee Blackwell, Hannah Neurotica

From left: JennyD, Stay Frosty, Kristina Leath-Malin, Ashlee Blackwell, Hannah Neurotica

After the films, JennyD and I got to speak on a panel alongside Kristina Leath-Malin and Ashlee Blackwell, moderated by Hannah Neurotica!  We discussed our first encounters with the word/understanding of the final girl, how our gender has affected our experiences within the genre community (both positively and negatively), and much more!

JennyD and StayFrosty on the panel!!!!

JennyD and StayFrosty on the panel!!!!

Jenny and I were honored to be part of an event for Women in Horror Month!  We hope next year we can do even more!  But February isn’t over yet, people – get out there and support ladies in the genre community!  In fact, who cares if it’s not February?  Celebrate women in horror all year round!

Philly Loves Women in Horror!

Posted: February 22, 2014 by Jenny Dreadful in About Us, Events, Film

Hey, Philly horror freaks! This is an important announcement!

PHILLY LOVES WOMEN IN HORROR kicks off at 3pm today at The Rotunda! See more details here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/380316498738942/
A selection of horror films from female directors will be on offer, as well as a panel featuring ladies active in the local genre scene.

PLOT TWIST:
Jenny Dreadful and Rae “StayFrosty” Winters and I are on the panel! Gasp! I bet you didn’t expect that! Come see us gush about horror. It is our favorite thing.

This will be a fantastic event, all thanks to Ashlee Blackwell, founder of Graveyard Shift Sisters; a site dedicated to celebrating the experiences and achievements of women of color in the horror community. Check it out here:
http://www.graveyardshiftsisters.com/p/mission.html

Birdemic 2: The Ressurection!

Posted: May 8, 2013 by StayFrosty in Events, Film, Guests, Reviews

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Okay movie friends, if you’ve clicked on the link to read this review, you’ve probably already experienced the original Birdemic: Shock and Terror, directed by master of the Romantic Thriller James Nguyen. Or it could be you’re just intrigued by the word “birdemic” – and who wouldn’t be?  This also means it’s likely you already know if you’re going to enjoy the sequel, and there’s not much I can do to change your mind.  Most people who’ve seen Birdemic have strong feelings about it.  Love it or hate it, the one emotion I haven’t encountered is ambivalence.

How can you not love this photo?

How can you not love this photo?

JennyD and I (joined by some bird loving, hanger-carrying friends) saw Birdemic 2: The Resurrection at the closing of the Cinedelphia Film Festival (http://www.cinedelphiafilmfestival.com) at PhilaMoca, late at night with a bunch of other people who were there to enjoy the shit out of this movie.  On top of that, we were joined by Director James Nguyen, Producer Jeff Ross, and star Alan Bagh (“Rod”)!  How much better could a premiere get?

Not much better, as it happens.  I can’t recall the last time I laughed and enjoyed myself so much at an event like this.  It seemed like everyone was having a great time – they laughed, they cheered, they freakin’ sang along to the original movie’s now classic song “Just Hanging Out”!  I love a sing-along at a movie!  Clearly, almost every single person there knew what they were in for, and were loving it.  And with a movie like Birdemic 2, that’s exactly the way you need to go into it.

In the film, we continue to follow the exploits of Birdemic‘s brilliant computer engineer Rod (Alan Bagh) and his girlfriend Nathalie (Whitney Moore, clearly very much in on the joke this time around), along with Rod’s adopted son (!), a boy he rescued in the first film and in this film only makes an appearance in one scene (hey, children are expensive to hire in the movie world).  There was a sister in the original too, but since the film didn’t have the budget for two kid actors, she was conveniently dealt with offscreen in a way that is far too awesome for me to reveal here.

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Joining our intrepid couple is Bill (Thomas Favaloro), an independent film director struggling to make it in Hollywood despite resistance from the big studio system (those jerks!).  And given how much screen time is devoted to him walking around town, it’s clear the poor guy needs some big studio cash.  Lend this man some money for a cab, people!  Bill just wants to make the movies he wants to make, like his current project, Sunset Dreams, but he needs financing since the studios just don’t understand him.  Fortuitously, his good buddy Rod just happens to have a MILLION DOLLARS from his software sales!  Executive producer/director high five! (I should note the high fives in both films are epic).  Now Bill can make his movie, but where shall he ever find a lead actress with the right amount of beauty and talent?

Cue waitress/aspiring actress Gloria (Chelsea Turnbo), whom Bill meets for about 5 seconds before he decides not only would she be perfect in the lead role, she’s perfect for him as well.  And with some of the worst pickup lines – but the best eyebrow work – in cinematic history, Bill gets his leading lady.

All this blossoming romance signals it’s about time for some bird chaos!  Instead of a detailed explanation, how about I offer you this: Millions of eagles and vultures are attacking Hollywood!!!  It’s raining blood!!!  Who will survive and what will be left of them?!?!?!

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Our intrepid heroes

I could discuss the subplots about global warming and blood somehow resurrecting creatures from the La Brea tar pits, but why do that?  Cue attacks!  Cue hangers!  Cue exploding birds!  Bagh and company combat the winged threat with weapons including not just the famous hangers of the past but guns, umbrellas, tripods and (most wonderfully) totally badass karate moves!  And during all this madness Rod and Nathalie never thought to mention that THEY’D ALREADY BEEN THROUGH THIS BEFORE!!!   The. Exact. Same. Thing.  Eventually they think to bring up this minor tidbit of information – about 15 minutes before the end of film.  You know, when it’s important.

It's not hangers, but it will have to do.

It’s not hangers, but it will have to do.

I’m leaving out all sorts of hilarious moments – zombies, cavemen (don’t ask, just accept) and another rockin’ dance scene complete with a new song from Damien Carter. But it’s no fun to hear about that stuff from me, so I’ll leave some secrets for when you watch.

After the movie’s rather abrupt ending, we were treated to a Q&A with James Nguyen, Alan Bagh and Jeff Ross.  I was initially worried that people would be jerks and ask crappy, jerkish and awkward questions.  I get it, the movie’s not a cinematic masterpiece, but in my opinion being obnoxious to the director is just bad form.  However, with few exceptions, everyone was there in the spirit of fun, and the questions reflected that.

The surprise for me was James Nguyen.  I wasn’t sure prior to this screening if he thinks he’s making great movies or if he’s just very clever and knows exactly what he’s doing.  The jury’s still out on that one.  Before the film started he asked everyone how many drinks we’d all had, and later compared the Birdemic viewing experience to Rocky Horror, which suggests he’s in on the joke, but the way he answered some of the questions implies otherwise.  So who knows?  And does it really matter?

Director James Nguyen

Director James Nguyen

Here’s what I do know – the guy seems incredibly sincere, and he knows about movies.  Whether or not he knows how to make them is not in question at this time.  He loves Hitchcock, which is no secret, but he also knows his Hitchcock.  These are two different things.  He can discuss, in detail, camera angles, lighting design, film history and theory.  He cites a reference from a David Lynch film that he put into his movie, and damned if I didn’t see it.  I saw it in a scene of questionable quality, but I saw it nonetheless.  He has a wealth of knowledge; however, his ability to apply said knowledge to his own films is perhaps not his greatest strength.

Either way, he loves what he’s doing and he’s thrilled that people are enjoying themselves watching his movie.  He was very up front about his budgetary restraints and some of the adjustments he had to make.  He also brought up what I thought was a very good point – that if the movie was perfect, we probably wouldn’t be out at PhilaMoca late at night laughing and cheering.  He’s probably right.  Sincerity doesn’t make your movie better, but it does deserve some respect.

Jeff Ross and Alan Bagh didn’t have nearly as much to say, but we were treated to not one, but TWO karate kicks from Bagh!  Those kicks in the movie weren’t just fancy camera angles, friends!  They were REAL!

And that was our adventure with Birdemic 2: The Resurrection!  If you are going to watch this movie (and hell, why not?), I suggest you get a group of (open-minded) friends together and enjoy the ride!  Looking forward to BIRDEMIC 3!  ~SF.

ex-Fest III post-marathon report

Posted: May 6, 2013 by Jenny Dreadful in Events, Film
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Poster by Justin Miller

jennydThis past weekend was ex-Fest III, a 12-hour exploitation film marathon run by our friends at Exhumed Films. As with their fantastic 24-hour Horrorthon, there is no film list provided and the audience finds out what films are playing as they appear on the screen. We attended last year’s ex-Fest and I had a good time even though exploitation is not my favorite subgenre.

Unlike many folks who care about social issues and real-world violence, though, it’s easy for me to get into the right mindset to enjoy them. Many stories and dialogue that would usually offend me become hilarious or entertaining because of the context; the bizarre over-the-top place where all of these films live, and the fascinating history behind them. Depictions of sexual assault, violence and hate bothered me most last night when they DIDN’T fit into the classification of an exploitation film, when they were fit into the framework of “the real world.” I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’re interested in what we saw yesterday, here’s my official report.

1. Sunday in the Country (1974)

AKA Ernest Borgnine tortures and kills some dudes. This film was a wee bit dull at times, but fairly amusing. Seeing Borgnine, a devout church-goer and doting grandfather, turn sinister when dangerous criminals visit his farm was shocking and fun.

StayFrosty: I was expecting your basic rape/revenge, but this movie takes a very sharp turn away from all that.  I mean, there’s still revenge, but it came from an unexpected source.  Namely, Borgnine.  I loved that this was sort of an Amish version of Saw (minus the weird little puppet guy).  A good, offbeat, violent beginning to our day.

radioactivedreams2. Radioactive Dreams (1985)

Oh my god. A very 80s post-apocalyptic adventure following Phillip and Marlowe (GET IT?), two 40s-obsessed young men exiting the bunker they inhabited alone for 15 years to explore what’s left of the world after a nuclear attack. It was a little slow to start, but it soon became my favorite of the marathon. There are roving gangs of thugs, all styled after a particular decade’s film and music culture (I suspect the folks behind Six-String Samurai found some inspiration here), hilarious musical interludes, silly sci-fi tech, and fabulous monsters. It even ends with a dance sequence. It’s not perfect, but I think I have to own it.

PS: I understand I’m in the minority on this one!

StayFrosty: If JennyD and I are in the minority about this movie, I don’t know why.  It doesn’t fit into what most people would define as “exploitation”, so maybe that’s the problem.  This would fit perfectly in with films like Miami Connection – in fact, that would be a hell of a double feature.  In this case, I’ll happily stay in the minority, thank you.

3. The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)

I missed the very beginning of this film because we had a date with some gigantic hot dogs. I kind of wish I had caught it. The film’s title and poster are not representative at all of this film. It’s a bizarre psychosexual thriller about a woman remembering childhood abuse in pieces and killing television personalities she’s attracted to. Her dialogue and behavior is jaw-dropping. I hardly know how to describe it. Random, lewd, terrifying, non-sensical? And the film moves at a quick and disjointed pace. I don’t know what I think of the film, but I’ll tell you one thing. I was never bored.

4. Vigilante (1983)

A film from William Lustig, known for the dubious classic Maniac. It was fine. I was a bit bored, but it had good moments. Honestly, I hardly remember it. Woops.

(Frosty and I missed the beginning of this one because we were finding someone who was trapped in part of the building via Twitter and saving them! True story! No regrets!)

5. Lightning Swords of Death (AKA Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)

These movies are classics and I know I’m a jerk when I say I was super bored and falling asleep. The setup was fun and it was worth hanging in there for the last act when the violence and bloodshed got crazy, but the squishy middle bits had me snoozing. Also? Surprisingly rapey. Not a fan.

6. Get Down & Boogie (1975)

This is the craziest, silliest, most fun Blaxploitation film I’ve ever seen. After this colorful, energetic, slap-sticky marvel, all is forgiven. There’s a lot of material in here that would otherwise be offensive and uncomfortable, but I was charmed by its super positive attitude and message. I would watch it again. No question. My 2nd favorite of the day.

pick_up_summer7. Pick-up Summer (1980)

A teen sex comedy from Canada. I don’t even know where to begin when I tell you how much I HATED this movie. We’re following two boys who enjoy pranks and chasing girls and we’re supposed to like them, but I WANTED THEM TO DIE. I suppose it’s a different time, but these protagonists we’re cheering for are committing sexual assault, invasion of privacy, vandalism, and bullying throughout most of the film, and we’re supposed to laugh with them and enjoy their whacky antics. I would have had these fuckers arrested… or maybe gotten myself arrested for murdering them. Like I mentioned at the beginning of my report, this stuff is much more irritating to me in this context… “boys will be boys, summer, woooooo!”… than the over-the-top disrespect and violence found in the cartoony wastelands of true exploitation cinema. Fuck this movie.

8. Gums (1976)

An explicit  oddball porn parody of the Spielberg classic Jaws. Whoa. They warned us, but this is crazy-pants. Well, without the pants. In this case, the threat is a love-sick mermaid who uh… um… sucks poor men to death. If the last movie hadn’t drained our very will to live, this would have been a lot of fun. Certainly a memorable way to end the marathon for sure. Not uh… not for everyone!

That’s it! I think I had more fun last year… my personal hits to misses ratio was more favorable… but it’s always fun to see what bizzare films they’ll have on offer and it’s a pleasure to meet fellow film freaks and catch up with friends. The Horrorthon is more my speed, but I’ll be back for ex-Fest IV. Wild mermaids can’t keep me away.

Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horrorthon 2011

Posted: October 25, 2012 by Jenny Dreadful in About Us, Events, Film, News, Reviews

Poster by Justin Miller

This post may exclude a number of our readers and I apologize, but the best time of the year is on its way and that means one thing here in the Philadelphia area; The Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horror-thon!

Yeah, you heard me. 24 hours. Noon Saturday to noon Sunday. Equal parts wild entertainment and grueling endurance test, the International House is definitely the place to be this weekend. It’s magic. Sweaty blood-splattered butt-numbing magic.

Now, the Horrorthon sells out fast. Faster every year. I do believe 2012 set a record at just six days and that was back in August. Why am I bothering to discuss the event if most of you can’t attend? If you’re attending for the first time or may attend in the future, I’m hoping to give  you a general idea of what to expect. Hell, if neither of those qualifiers apply, here are a bunch of micro-reviews.

 

The list of films seen last year, in the order they were shown, along with the dubious hints included in the program:

1. Psychomania

Hint: Fun 1970s British film that successfully combines two specific horror and exploitation genres.  Year: 1971

Jenny: Obnoxious biker teens become the living dead through ritualistic suicide. Horror elements are overwhelmed by unintentional silliness and that’s just fine. Lots of fun.

StayFrosty: This was a great choice to kick off the Horrorthon, because this movie is totally nuts.  And by nuts I mean hilarious.  Between asking for the secrets of the living dead while angrily eating a sandwich (where did it come from? Where????) or a graveyard makeout ending with a frog hidden in a coat pocket (you heard me), the audience was engaged and laughing pretty much throughout.

crowbait: The British films I’ve seen from this era are often so . . . bleak. Even while they are camp entertainment. The villains enjoy a reign of terror while the “heroes” are woefully ineffectual police officers, stuffy officials who are cut down by the gleeful satanists and monsters. Youth are revolutionary and evil and will not be stopped except by their own self-destruction! Yeah, sure it’s done for laughs here but with some better acting and less witchcraft, this could be A Clockwork Orange. Or not. 

 

2. Rodan

Hint: Giant monster movie classic.  Year: 1956

StayFrosty:  I’ll admit I slept through most of this.  I was trying to get my sleep in early.

crowbait: The Japanese dig too greedily and too deep and awaken the winged Godzilla-alike. The impressive destruction of model cities fills the second half of the film and makes up for the ponderous narration that weighs down the first half. Par for the course really with Toho features. I remember watching these movies as a kid, filling in the boring “talking” parts with my own dinosaur toys.

Jenny: No doubt a classic of Japanese monster flicks. I was so bored though. I’m so sorry, Japan! I want to love your giant rampaging kaiju. I just don’t have the strength.

 

3. Frightmare

Hint: Little seen supernatural shocker that marks the horror debut of a future genre icon.  Year: 1981

Jenny: The future genre icon in question here is legendery actor and reanimator, Jeffrey Combs, appearing in his first horror film role. I was thrilled to see him and the pissed-off undead horror star (in the tradition of Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi) was an amusing choice for a villain. With a plot strangely similar to Weekend at Bernie’s and a goofy gothic aethsetic, Frightmare is campy slasher fun. It’s overlong, unfortunately, and gets surprisingly dark. Dark is fine, but it’s an odd change in mood after the setup. Despite criticisms, I enjoyed it and I’m glad I had a chance to see it.

StayFrosty: This started out pretty fun, and it’s a cool idea to have a Bela Lugosi-type actor be all evil with mind powers, but it just doesn’t deliver the goods.  Too many long shots of our villain touching his head and making big eyes, not enough stuff actually happening.

crowbait: Yeah. I thought with some tighter editing, this could have been one of my faves. Unfortunately, when you have 30 minutes to wait around for the villain to even start moving you have plenty of time to notice “hey, this movie isn’t as clever as it thinks it is.”

 

4. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Hint: Just when you thought you were having fun, along comes Movie #4 to completely depress you with its stark brutality and nihilsim.   Year: 1986

StayFrosty: I’d seen Henry before – it’s an impactful, rough film.  I still felt this way watching it on the big screen, and I also realized I now know where Rob Zombie got his inspiration for every character in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects (they’re pretty much all Otis, including Sid Haig, who plays a guy named Otis).  Michael Rooker does an amazing job here of showing us a dangerous, frightening man who is still trying desperately to do the right thing with the one woman he might be able to care about.  Watching the scenes where she wants to be close to him and he is so desperately trying to stay away to avoid hurting her still carry weight on the second viewing.  In fact, I think I appreciated those types of scenes more this time around.  This isn’t an easy movie to watch, but I think it’s one that should be seen.

Jenny: They’re not kidding with that hint. This is a really severe shift in tone after the last few flicks, but it’s a classic. Horror fans willing to explore such a hopeless and violent place should see at least once. However, viewers uncomfortable with sexual violence in film should use caution or skip it entirely.

 

5. The Dead

No hint needed. Film announced in advance.   Year: 2010

StayFrosty:  Much like everything filmed in Australia, Africa is a gorgeous place to shoot a film.  This movie has beautiful landscape shots and lovely natural colors.  I was very much looking forward to this, and while I enjoyed it, I think it lost its footing in the last third of the film.  However, there’s some excellent imagery and a few very creepy moments.

crowbait: It’s always really interesting to see a zombie movie play out in a foreign environment. The zombie has always been seen as a metaphor for disease and witnessing the destruction of Africa this way, as the white people flee, is poignant. The antidote for the Resident Evil 5 video game, which started with a similar premise and quickly lost its way.

Jenny: The only new release shown and the only title projected digitally; both very unusual for an Exhumed Films event. I was very excited to see The Dead because I’d heard lots of intriguing things. That it was dangerous to film, that the locations were both beautiful and breaking new ground… it sounded amazing. After seeing it, I do appreciate the choice of setting and its relevance to social issues, but was rather disappointed by the film itself. Just another zombie movie.

 

6. Trick or Treat

Hint: Totally stupid, totally awesome Satanic silliness.  Year: 1986 

crowbait: Yes! One of my favorites! I’d seen it before of course but I’m never going to complain about having a chance to see this rock and roll nightmare. What’s really great about this film is that you can tell real fans of shock rock were behind it. It never descends to the level of parody: Embracing it’s subject matter for laughs rather than abusing it. Even though it’s about a satanist rocker using back-masking to cast spells and resurrect himself from the dead to get some revenge, there’s never any preachy nonsense about devil music, except for a hilarious cameo by Ozzy Osbourne as an anti-smut reverend.

StayFrosty:  Crow is right on all counts.  I hadn’t seen this before, so it really was a great surprise.  I loved it.  And the facial expressions on our Satanist rocker – oh man, they are excellent.

Jenny: I’d seen this before and I was so happy to see it again. The Osbourne cameo is fantastic and the villain is hilarious. Best movie ever? Well… maybe not, but a must-watch if you don’t hate fun. Possibly my favorite film screened at the Horrorthon. 

 

7. Night Warning

Hint: Underappreciated, over-the-top slasher/psychosexual thriller.  Year: 1982

Jenny: I’m so confused about this one. I’ve seen a number of post-Horrorthon reports taut Night Warning (AKA Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker) as the pick of the event. There’s definitely some dialogue here, featuring over-the-top homophobia and incestuous professions, to shock and amuse slasher fans, but I don’t get it. I got bored and left, so I can’t give it a proper review. There’s plenty of love going around for this tale of serious family dysfunction, though, so folks into exploitation may want to check it out.

 

8. Frankenhooker

Hint: Unconventional adaptation of a literary horror classic #1.  Year: 1990

StayFrosty: This was my first time seeing Frankenhooker.  Very much in the vein of Re-Animator (except our mad scientist is from Jersey), it mixes humor and horror in equal measure.  Probably more humor than horror, but a very funny and clever take on the Frankenstein story.  The stuff with the super crack wasn’t really necessary, but what can you do.

crowbait: Once the actual monster awakens and the rampage begins, the movie’s entertainment value soars. Unfortunately, it’s a long slog to get there and it doesn’t last long. There’s some tacked on commentary on the sad state of women who fill a need that has always has been a part of society and who are abused and destroyed for doing so but that’s never allowed to get in the way of gratuitous, unattractive nudity, pimp-slapping and “super crack.”

Jenny: I have tried (Basketcase) and I have tried (Bad Biology), but I’m just not a Frank Henenlotter fan. With that said, I really enjoyed this sleazy little flick. I’m sure the party atmosphere of a tired giggling crowd contributed to the positive experience, but I do think it’s worlds better than the rest of Henenlotter’s catalogue. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for laughs and trashy fun.

 

9. Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde

Hint: Unconventional adaptation of a literary horror classic #2.  Year: 1976

crowbait: I have to wonder about the underlying message here about how black people shouldn’t try to “be white” by becoming well-educated medical professionals and scientists. Eh, maybe I’m reading too deeply into what is obviously an excuse to see pimps and cops destroyed by a black man with a bullet-proof layer of white skin. (That’s a whole other can of symbolic worms.)

Jenny: It’s getting late at this point and the audience is tiring. I suspect some of the weaker less engaging selections are placed in this slot where folks inevitably start zoning out. So many of these blaxploitation twists on classic monsters start out with promise, but turn out to be slow-paced disappointments that drag on and wear out their welcome before long. Especially hard to get into after the rude guilty pleasures of Frankenhooker, I was very bored.

 

10. The Legend of the Wolf Woman

Hint: Infamous, sleezy, and bizarre Euro-horror/sexploitation movie.  Year: 1976

Jenny:  Basically an Italian rape-revenge movie with gratuitous full-frontal and delusions of lycanthropy. I’d seen Wolf Woman before; found in one of those cheap and glorious 50-packs Mill Creek churns out constantly. I sort of half-watched it then and I fear that’s the best way to do it. Once again, it’s amazing how some of these films with bad dubbing, hilarious dialogue and silly effects can get boring so quickly if the pace is slow and the scenes are repetitive. Even viewers attracted to the female form will tire of seeing this lady dance naked in a circle of torches for eternity. Adding goofy werewolf prosthetics to the naked dancing can only help for so long. It might be fun to throw it on during a party, but it doesn’t deserve your full attention. I fought sleep so hard during this film and I’m certain I lost.

 

11. Blood Diner

Hint: This is a goofy gore/sleaze-fest that will probably make your brain hurt with its sheer stupidity. It’s 5:30 in the morning, what did you expect?    Year: 1987

Jenny: I’m afraid this isn’t a review at all. This is the inevitable movie I slept through. I didn’t want to. I’m so ashamed. Every time I woke up for a minute, something tacky and horrible was happening onscreen and then I was out again. I’ve been told by more than one source that what I’m describing is the best way to enjoy Blood Diner, so I’m fighting my desire to seek it out and rewatch while awake. Dare I ruin my delirious 5:30 in the morning memories? Uh… highly recommended as a movie to sleep to.

 

12. The Burning

Hint: Star-studded” slasher semi-classic.  Year: 1981

Jenny: After a nice breakfast break, I’d recovered from my Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde and Wolf Woman woes. The Burning, definitely a classic, was a great way to start a new day of film overload.

Regarding the hint, both Holly Hunter and Seinfield‘s Jason Alexander made their film debut in this campgrounds slasher. Based on the old “Cropsey” urban legend, a summer camp caretaker is horribly burned and disfigured by a group of campers when a prank goes terribly wrong. Years later, Cropsey returns to the camp for brutal revenge. Slasher fans should check out The Burning for creepy kills (many featuring that terrifying pair of shears), successful shocks, and a rare Final Boy.

 

13. Maximum Overdrive

Hint: Usually, this is the spot where we show an “animals attack” movie. Well, there are no animals here, but people definitely get attacked in this silly sci-fi/action/horror amalgam.  Year: 1986

crowbait: Ugh. I guess it’s a good thing this was made when Stephen King was frequently face down in a bucket of cocaine because then he at least has some excuse. Nonsensical plot inconsistencies, schizo characters, ill fitting music and overlong scenes.

Jenny: I am generally a fan of King, but I couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t. The man shouldn’t direct. I left.

 

14. Meet the Feebles

Hint: For the first time ever, the Horror-thon does not end with a zombie film. In fact, it technically doesn’t even end with a horror movie. Instead, we close with this jaw-droppingly ridiculous/offensive/just-plain-wrong cult film favorite.   Year: 1989

Jenny: Meet the Feebles. Where do I begin? It’s The Muppets gone horribly horribly wrong presented by madman Peter Jackson. A relic of his wonderful and disgusting pre-Hobbit years.

This was an amazing conclusion to over 20 hours of movie madness. In a sick twist on the Henson characters we all know and love, puppets running a variety show succumb to their many vices—greed, drugs, sex, violence—and circle the drain as we cringe and follow along. It’s childhood corrupted. It’s both awful and hilarious. Peter Jackson, what have you done?

And that’s the last movie!

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Despite the occasional misses, the Horror-thon is a great time. There’s something special about not knowing what comes next and sharing the bewildered experience with an enthusiastic crowd of fellow genre nerds. With our senses and backs throughly assaulted, we are victorious, and go blinking into the sunlight. The end.