Exhumed Films Twenty-Four Hour Horror-thon 2015

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Another Exhumed Films Horror-Thon has come and gone and I am a better person for having attended. I’ll save you the gushing about why this even is so great, you can check that out in the previous write-ups below. I’ll just say that it is a huge privilege to be able to see 14 35mm classic/obscure/campy films, dozens of trailers and some in the theater in 24 hours.

Here are the line-ups from previous years:

2014 Line-up
2013 Line-up
2012 Line-up
2011 Line-up
2010 Line-up
2009 Line-up
2007 Line-up

We didn’t know what was going to play beforehand. The audience only had access to the clues below. The top guessers won prices. I thought this year I was a shoe-in. I was very happy with my choices. However, only one of those was correct.

In terms of quality, I think this was another consistent year. I enjoyed nearly every film that I could stay awake for!

#1 – Gruesome, insane Hong Kong comedy

This very early film by Tsui Hark shows that even at the start of his career he had a eye for imaginative action and a gleefully insane approach to telling stories. This one is about a secret agent who stumbles upon a village of cannibals with only his martial arts skills, and the help of a sketchy old man, to keep him alive. It’s bizarre and crazy and loads of fun. A must see for fans of martial-arts/horror/action/comedy/gore/spy films.

#2 – Totally awesome Action/Horror/Sci-fi amalgam

This early Chuck Norris film is a solid B-action film. It’s a bit slow on the action, but the dated tone makes it entertaining to watch. Chuck takes his shirt off a lot, kicks some butt, and likes to lift his leg up and man-splay for the audience. Stephen Furst (Flounder from Animal House) adds some fun comic relief.

#3 – Giant monster movie

More Godzilla, except this time… he’s from 1985! I don’t know what else I can write about another Godzilla film. If you like him, you’ll like this one. It’s a solid entry in the franchise. If you are tired of him, well, this was a good time to take a nap.

#4 – Innovative, intellectual horror classic from a genre legend

I realized that I really like the non-zombie Romero films. Knightriders is one of my favorite films ever. This one is great, too. A young man it told by his family, based on a family legend, that he is a vampire. He struggles with that idea, and with the expectations of his family and modern society. Dark, interesting, and enigmatic in a good way.

#5 – Horror anthology featuring works by influential genre filmmakers

This DCP projection was more of an interesting oddity than an entertaining piece. It was a compilation of USC student films from the likes of Dan O’Bannon, John Carpenter, and others. They are what they are: very amateur, a bit boring, but mildly interesting.

#6 – Cool Halloween-themed fan favorite from the 1980’s

A lot of fun. The filmmakers knew the formula and made a solid, entertaining demonic possession flick. A group of teenagers go to a party at a creepy, abandoned, and supposedly haunted funeral parlor. Things go predictably wrong from there, but it is fresh and entertaining and moves quickly.

#7 – Strange, funny, and slightly disturbing monster movie that serves as an allegory for addiction

I really like Frank Henenlotter, and I really wanted to see this one. Unfortunately I fell asleep a bit. But what I saw was classic Henenlotter. Funny, perverse, and full of the unique DIY energy of his films. I’ll have to catch up with the second half at a reasonable hour.

#8 –Surreal, cerebral science fiction film with a dash of good old-fashioned monster movie thrown into the mix

Wow. This one was the highlight of the show in my opinion. A big and bombastic pseudo-scientific examination on the origins of consciousness. The dialog is fast and smart, even if it probably doesn’t mean much after real examination. But it sounds great. And the deliveries, mostly by William Hurt, really work. What happens in the film is crazy, full of great ideas, and builds to a memorable climax. Even if you don’t like it, you probably won’t forget it.

#9 – Bizarro sci-fi satire/schlockfest starring a who’s who of cult movie icons

How the hell did this movie get made? I say that in the most loving way possible. This is the bizarre story of an alien monster who gets stuck in the television of a strange family full of swingers, rockers, and soldiers. It’s purposefully campy in a stagey way. It’s a bit perverted, a bit gory, and more than a bit entertaining. I’m surprised this one doesn’t get more play.

#10 – Stylish, gory, and underseen shocker that feels like a Euro-horror film even though it was produced in the US

I missed it completely. The opening was promising, but I had hit the wall and couldn’t possibly stay awake for it.

#11 – Infamous, goofy 1960’s B-grade monster movie

This film was made by a producer. Meaning, it was made as a money grab only. Now, this is just an educated guess, but it was as if Del Tenney said to himself: “Hey, I know teenagers in bathing suits are a draw in movies, and I know monsters are a draw, and I know kids love rock & roll. And I have $1000 to spend on a movie!” So he put all those things together in a film. I’m sure the finished product made him a giant profit, but watching it now it’s just a goofy, campy product of its time.

#12 – Quite simply one of the best vampire movies of all time

The description is very true! I’ve been in love with this one ever since I saw it at a previous Exhumed Films show many many years ago. A family of vampires travels the midwest, keeping a low profile but a high body count. The introduction of a new member causes things to escalate out of control. The script is tight, the performances are great (Lance Hendrickson and Bill Paxton especially), and the direction is bold. A solid, solid film.

#13 – Non-traditional “Animals Attack” moving filling the traditional Horror-thon “Animals Attack” timeslot

I’m really not sure why this one is considered “non-traditional.” It’s a pretty standard animals attack film, albiet directed by one of the greatest action-directors of all time. This, being his first film, doesn’t show that behind the camera talent. And it definitely isn’t as good as the first one. It’s just… fine I guess. Not bad, but nothing special.

#14 – Wacky horror comedy which, shockingly, we have only screened once over the course of eighteen years

Watching this film again after many years really shows how talented the people behind this movie were. Do you think anyone else could have delivered lines like “This is my BOOM-stick!” and “Groovy” And “Hail to the king, Baby.” in such a way to make it cool and not corny? And who else can direct a whole slapstick battle full of fake skeletons and fill it with that much creative energy?

This was a good film to end the night on. One that invigorated my tired mind and my tired body, igniting my burning love of cinema into a bonfire. It sounds corny, I know, but just watch this movie. Really watch the details and understand the talent that went into making it and you’ll probably feel the same way.

 

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