Exhumed Films 24-Hour Horror-thon 2011

I was commenting to a friend that the Exhumed Films 24-Hour Horror-thon 2011 is the premiere film-going experience in the world. After much deliberation I stand by that. Can you name any other 24-hour film festivals? The only one I know about is Harry Knowles’ Butt-numb-a-thon. But that doesn’t show as many movies and half of those you will be able to see in the theater in a regular release.

As you can see from my previous write-ups the Exhumed Films horror-thon is a great mix of quality, obscurity, and an opportunity that should not be missed:

2010 Line-up
2009 Line-up
2007 Line-up

2011 was no exception. In fact, the line-up was even better than usual:

#1 – Fun 1970s British Film that successfully combines two specific horror and exploitation genres

A unique, dreamlike opening leads into a story of a motorcycles, resurrection, and toads. The leader of a motorcycle gang learns how to live forever and leads invincible cyclists on a rampage through the English country side. This film truly is a combination of two genres, supernatural horror and cycle-sploitation, and it manages to be the best of both.

#2 – Giant monster movie classic

As fun as one would expect. Japan, a force to be reckoned with when it comes to giant monsters, creates another one with this tale of a mining company that accidentally digs up giant bugs that terrorize the town. But that is only the beginning. The bugs are being eaten by something that hatched out of a huge prehistoric egg. One is reminded of the dwarves of Moria, who delved too greedily and too deep.

#3 – Little seen supernatural shocker that marks the horror debut of a future genre icon

What if a famous horror icon died, but instead of going quietly he left behind a cursed mausoleum tourist attraction? And what if a group of teenage fans stole (kidnapped?) his dead body and used it for a night of goofy fun? Some funny yet disturbing scenes lead up to a fun supernatural slasher. The future horror icon is Jeffrey Combs (as one of the students), but Ferdy Mayne as the great Conrad Radzoff is the real star of the film.

#4 – Just when you thought we were having fun, along comes Movie #4 to completely depress you with its stark brutality and nihilism

This film does some important things that good films do. It makes you feel something, it creates a style that compliments the story, and uses a script that is unique but logically sound. It is the story of a murderer, based on Henry Lee Lucas, and a small segment of his life. A great film full of an independent film-making spirit, strong performances, and an ending that will stay with you.

#5 – Zombie Movie: Philadelphia Premiere of Howard Ford and Johnathan Ford’s “The Dead”

Over-hyped. It is an above-average new zombie-film, but that isn’t saying much. It does a few things well but too many things wrong. The good: a cool African backdrop, realistic slowly moving zombies, and an ability to create fear using them. The bad: over-the-top use of music and slow motion, and a lack of urgency in the story set-up. But worst of all is that it brings absolutely nothing new to a played-out genre.

#6 – Totally stupid, totally awesome Satanic silliness

It’s a familiar formula: a teenager, teased and bullied for years, finally fights back with the help of supernatural powers. The hook for this film is that the teenager is a rock and roll metalhead and his powers are in the form of a dead musician’s advice coming from a vinyl record played in reverse. Yes, it is is goofy and fun as it sounds, and it includes Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne in some great cameos.

#7 – Underappreciated over-the-top slasher/psychosexual thriller

A bizarre, creepy film about a woman and her unhealthy obsession with the nephew she has been raising since he was a toddler. When he gets old enough to potentially move away from home, she does everything in her power to keep him there. Yes, its disturbing, but it has a perverted energy and a powerhouse performance by Susan Tyrrell that make it fascinating.

#8 – Unconventional adaptation of a literary horror classic #1

I just saw this in the theater a week earlier. I feel honored, because it is a remarkable film. It’s an adaptation of Frankenstein involving dead prostitutes. It shouldn’t work but it does because Henenlotter has a way of setting up a tone where everything makes sense and the subject matter doesn’t feel as sleazy as it sounds. James Lonrinz is a riot as well. I don’t feel bad saying I love this movie.

#9 – Unconventional adaptation of a literary horror classic #2

I enjoyed this film, but this was at the point in the marathon where I started to lose it a bit. I liked what I saw. Bernie Casey is very likable as a black doctor searching for a cure, and also very terrifying as the white murderer he turns into when his new drug doesn’t work as expected. Yes, I just described a blaxploitation version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

#10 – Infamous, sleazy, and bizarre Euro-horror/sexplotation movie

Another film I missed most of, but I did get to see a naked wolf woman tearing men’s throats out before I fell asleep. Was this a standard Euro-horror sexploitation film or something more? One of the bad things of 24-hour horror-thons is not being able to stay awake the whole time to find out.

#11 – Thought-provoking, intellectual genre masterpiece that serves as a metaphor for the fragility of the human condition (…just kidding. 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?

It starts with a feel-good 50s-style opening where a man with a meat-cleaver is gunned down by the police. The two nephews he leaves behind grow up to be the brains and the brawn behind a vegetarian diner that is actually serving human flesh. Together with their uncle who is now only a brain in a jar, they set about trying to bring an ancient goddess back to life. This film has a deserved cult-following due to a good mix of gore and humor. My favorite was the deep-fried head scene.

#12 – “Star-studded” Slasher semi-classic

I like how “star-studded” was in quotes. But with names like Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter the quotes are deserved. It’s about a deranged summer camp caretaker getting revenge on young kids that accidentally burned him. It’s an above average slasher-flick, but again, that is not saying much.

#13 – 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

I love Stephen King, but I always avoided this film that he wrote and directed because I heard it was horrible. But from the opening scene on I was pleasantly surprised. The Earth passes through the tail of a comet, which causes all electronics and machines to come to life and attack humans. The story centers around a group of people stuck at a truck stop, surrounded by a convoy of killer trucks. It is a fun, big-budget siege story that has all the trappings of a good genre film.

#14 – 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

This was the only film that I managed to guess based on the above clues. But I don’t think I guessed it. I wanted to see this film so badly on the big screen that I willed the print into the projector with the power of my mind. Peter Jackson directs this infamous puppet film with no-holds-barred gusto. The plot manages to weave many intriguing story lines into one coherent piece, and wraps them up with a flourish. A great film to end with and the highlight of the night.

Where would I rank this Horror-thon? The films were definitely the most consistent in quality, the most varied, and the most obscure. For me, that is what makes the Exhumed Films horror-thon so important, and that is why this has been my most favorite so far.

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