The best film event in the world returned again for another year. 24+ horrors of trailers, shorts, and feature films. I never dreamed I would be able to attend an event like this, let alone once a year for the past 7 years. Craziness!
Here are the line-ups from previous years:
As usual, we were able to try to guess the films based on the clues below. (Tough year!)
This has to be one of the most consistent horror-thon’s they’ve done in terms of quality. Most of the time there are 5 or 6 films I don’t care about. This year, though, almost every film was interesting or entertaining. Nothing quite as good as Raw Force or Phantom of the Paradise, but the consistency meant that I was engaged throughout and stayed awake far more than I had in the past.
#1 – Weird, fun, underrated horror film from the 1990s
Definitely fun. Definitely underrated. A great opening film that got the crowd in the mood. The crypt-keeper narrates and directs this tale of a man on the run from a demon (Billy Zane in a fun role). The story is tight, full of cool moments, and lacking obvious stupidity. Not only that, but the effects are great, and the movie is stuffed with interesting actors: William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, and Thomas Haden Church. You can’t ask for much more from a horror film.
#2 – Unique psychological thriller/”Animals Attack” film from one of the most highly regarded genre directors of all time
I haven’t explored Romero’s non-zombie movies. I love Knightriders but that is all I’ve seen until this one. It’s the story of a quadriplegic who gets more than he bargained for when he receives a trained helper monkey. It’s a great setup with lots of potential and Romero does a great job building on it. The script has some strange things in it that I didn’t quite understand, and that detracted from the overall experience, but there is a lot going for this film that kept me interested until the really cool ending.
#3 – Low budget zombie film that may be better than it looks… but probably isn’t
Um. It isn’t. This generic zombie film was made by a person who knew what to do to sell a movie. Get a bunch of teenagers, have them get sexual and get killed by zombies with decent special effects. Make it fast and make it for super-cheap. I’m sure that this movie made him a lot of money. It was fun to watch because of the terrible acting, but don’t expect a good film.
#4 – Grim, gruesome, disturbing ’70s horror film
This was a very close remake of Eyes Without a Face with eyes instead of faces. But it’s well-done, creepy and has that “wrong”-vibe that only 70′s films seem to have. A doctor accidentally blinds his daughter in an accident, and now he has to keep giving her eye-transplants from unwilling victims. And it stars Lance Henriksen, which is a bonus.
#5 – Euro-Horror classic
I never liked this film. Out of the trilogy, Suspiria is by far the best. Argento has a knack for working with color and set-design, and staging really cool death scenes. Unfortunately, he has no knack for scripts. The story for this one doesn’t make much sense and I found myself wondering why people were dying, and even who the main character was supposed to be. And even though the ending looks good, none of those basic questions are answered.
#5 1/2 - Silly, sorta-sexy ’60s “Spook Show” short
Awesome! The short itself was a goofy mad-cap story of an evil scientist messing with a sorority initiation. He is helped by a gorilla and an Igor-like character, and they keep kidnapping the girls while the local teenage hunks try to stop them. Eventually they run out of girls and the scientist announces they must get another girl from the audience!
And then the scientist, the wolfman-gorilla and Igor run out from backstage and terrorize the audience! They did a great job getting the audience involved and then eventually they grabbed an unlucky girl and brought her backstage. The film then continues. This was a great experience and well worth the price of admission alone.
From the Exhumed Films Facebook page
#6 – Pioneering combination of horror and rock music
This one was a bit of a disappointment. I thought this might have had some sort of fiction inserted between or around the songs but it turned out to be a concert-film only. Not really my thing but fans were definitely happy.
#7 – If you loved last year’s “Night of 1000 Cats,” you’ll probably love this; If you hated last year’s “Night of 1000 Cats,” you’ll probably want to take a nap
Directed by the same director as Night of 1000 Cats, and starring Hugo Stiglitz as well. It has the same style, too. Weird, and cheesy and serious. But where Night of 1000 Cats had a strange and interesting story, this film was meandering around until it finally got to the point. It was very (unintentionally) funny, but the meandering and the constant fish-murder made it much less interesting than Cats.
#8 – Over the last sixteen years we’ve shown a lot of slasher films. But we have never shown this one before. I know that’s not much of a clue, but that’s all I’ve got…
If you like slashers, you will like this one. It’s a solid yet unsurprising entry into the genre. After the first 30 minutes I realized what type of movie this was and fell sleep. I woke up for the ending and was easily able to fill in the blanks.
#9 – Ridiculously inept and absurd horror movie mess that actually is pretty entertaining despite being a complete train wreck
My god that song! ARG! I was very tired at this point so all I remember is God and Satan on a train discussing the fate of various people. The first story they tell made absolutely no sense to me so I fell asleep. But that song the teenagers were playing penetrated my dreams. I’ll never forget it.
#10 – Unsettling early horror/pseudo-zombie film from another one of the most highly regarded genre directors of all time
This was the only one that I guessed correctly. I love the director, and this, his first feature, is a great introduction to the style and themes of his work. An apartment building is infested with parasites that turn people into raging sex-zombies who transmit the parasite through sexual conquest. It’s creepy, disturbing and full of cool scenes. I was glad to see it in the theater.
#11 – Rousing fantasy/action/giant monster movie
The highlight of the night for me. I’m a huge fan of adventure movies like this, and this one has everything you would want going for it. A cool story, great settings and characters and action scenes. And incredible effects by the great Ray Harryhousen. Seeing it on the big screen really highlighted the detail of the models and the animation. That fight with the shiva-monster?! This is everything a movie should be!
#12 – Dumb zombie movie that we showed ages ago and vowed we’d never show again. And yet, here we are…
Go back up and read my review of number 8, but just replace slasher film with zombie film and you will get the idea. Not much here to report. Toxic crop-dusting causes drug-smugglers to turn into zombies and rampage through the countryside. An enjoyable zombie romp, but tough to get through after 11 other films.
#13 – Fun action movie (with sci-fi/horror overtones) directed by a fan favorite
This was one of the newest films they showed. Which is fine, because it was a great change of pace from some of the cheesier old films of the night. Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand star in a Sam Raimi directed story of a a scientist, left for dead, who is out to get revenge on the mobsters who killed him. It’s got a dark, fun comic book style. Very engaging. The climax goes on a bit too long, but there is a lot of talent on display here. One of the best films of the night.
#14 – Horror movie sequel that is not nearly as good as the original, but is still pretty entertaining in its own right
The first film is great. A gory, crazy nonsensical movie full of weird and over-the-top moments. This one was similar, but never quite reaches the heights of the first. It does have it’s fair share of craziness, and it does have Asia Argento in her first movie role. It’s just not the same, but it is a cool sequel to the really really cool original.