Last night I attended the All Night Horror Madness marathon at the Cameo Cinema for the very first time! I’d always wanted to go and it just so happened that it matched my movie-watching Halloween plans as well — and you can follow my progress through my hand-picked Halloween month movies on instagram — which was great! Anyway, I got these tickets months ago, and finally, finally yesterday was the day! I was super excited, because the first film of the night — the nine-hour marathon, from ten past eleven in the evening to a quarter past eight in the morning, and I stayed awake through ALL OF IT — was none other than The Evil Dead! Not only The Evil Dead, but the 2003 uncut version on 35mm, which was super cool! In fact, all of the films but one where on 35mm.
So, anyway, let us begin our journey…
The first film of the evening was THE EVIL DEAD, as I’ve said before. This version was uncut, and I hadn’t seen it like that before, because my own DVD is different, so it was quite the experience, watching a film I’d seen before but with bits I didn’t know. And there’s something about watching a film like that in a room filled with like-minded people that fills you with a strange sort of mirth that hardly belongs to a film about evil spirits possessing teenagers in a forest. But regardless, it was brilliant fun laughing at Bruce Campbell’s outlandish facial expressions throughout the film, and at the rest of the actors too, who are each their own brand of absolutely weird. But what had us all laughing out heads off every single time was a stock image of a full moon superimposed on the corner of the frame without any type of blending so that it just looked like, black box on the frame against the image, and it was so funny. There are lots of funny things about The Evil Dead, and that only added to the fun. God bless Sam Raimi.
After The Evil Dead, we had a bit of a break, and before the SURPRISE FILM, they showed a few old school horror trailers which were AMAZING. The first was about a murderous Grizzly bear who attacked random campers to eat them alive, and the brilliant voice of the narrator saying GRIZZLY in that awesome old-school style was the best. Then it was immediately followed by perhaps the best trailer of what looks like the best film ever — DR BLACK AND MR HYDE. Rhymes, soul music, the swagger that not even Robert Louis Stevenson could capture on paper. This trailer is everything anyone could ever ask for a trailer, and it has perhaps one of the best lines ever uttered by a human being: “don’t give him no sass or he’ll kick yo ass.”
And finally, the final trailer was for THE DEVIL’S RAIN, and amazing church demon film featuring a shirtless, straw-cowboy-hat-wearing William Shatner and incredibly graphic gore. It looks amazing, and I will definitely look it up to watch sometime, because gosh. Gosh!
After the trailers, it was time for the surprise film, which turned out to be Cronenberg’s SHIVERS. They couldn’t get a hold of the 35mm copy of it, so they showed us a digital copy, which actually was a very nice Arrow Video DVD, so it looked pretty good. I’d never heard of that film, so I was going in completely blind, and it was probably one of my favourites of the evening. If not THE favourite, not counting The Evil Dead. It was just so weird and fucked up, definitely very Cronenberg-y. I won’t give away much of the plot in case you want to watch it, but it’s about this apartment complex in an island where life is perfect, until this doctor guy starts experimenting with parasites that cause humans to go berserk, and that’s when we arrive in the story. It’s pretty fantastic, there’s some brilliant bad acting, which is what you always want in films like these, of course And the lead actor has some of the best “nope” moments ever. I would definitely recommend finding an Arrow Video copy of it, because I definitely will!
After Shivers, there was a raffle contest thingie! I had a free raffle, and then two special ones that I purchased for the fancy prizes. And I, of course, being of the terrible luck that I am, won nothing. One of the prizes was this gorgeous poster of They Live, and I wanted it so so so bad. But alas, ’twas not my day. Maybe next year. And anyway, after losing as usual, I was looking forward to watching the third film of the evening — THE HIDDEN. Featuring Kyle MacLachlan. I’d just purchased the Twin Peaks boxset two days before, so that was a very interesting coincidence. The Hidden was yet another film I had never heard of, and it turned out to be more sci-fi than horror, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. There were some homoerotic undertones that I probably read way too much into, but overall the film was pretty fun. Chases, explosions, funny space guns — what’s not to like? Also — incredibly high-waisted 1980s trousers. It was a great film, and a good choice for the middle of the marathon because it was somewhat lighthearted and it went by really quickly.
There were yet more trailers after The Hidden. They all had titles like “Don’t Look in the Basement” and “Don’t Answer the Phone” and were all predictably hilarious, bringing up the morale after six hours of constant movie-watching in the same not-so-comfortable-anymore cinema chair.
Finally, we’d reached the home stretch. The final two films. The second-to-last was another I’d never heard of before called PIECES, which is a pretty standard slasher/serial killer story, about this guy who chops up co-eds to build up the perfect woman (his mum.) I figured out who the killer was at the very beginning, but it was still a really fun film, because it was SUPER gory and there was some really really terrible acting/dubbing, which just made it all the better. And some of the worst tennis players I’ve ever seen, ha-ha. This I would highly recommend, especially with a group of friends, because it’s way more fun if you can laugh at it with other people.
And the grand finale of the evening was — ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS. This one, I’d seen before many times at HMV and Fopp while browsing the horror section. The film has a bit of a Cannibal Holocaust vibe so I kinda knew what I was going to get with it even though I didn’t know the plot. I knew not to expect Romero-levels of social critique or anything like that, and I don’t know if it was the fatigue of having been awake for twenty-four hours straight, but I found this movie a bit disappointing. It definitely is in the bottom of the list of the line-up, and I felt myself glazing over multiple times during, and wishing everyone would just die already so it could end. In terms of zombies, I’ll always love Day of the Dead more than anything else, and Zombie was just far too Cannibal Holocaust-y for my taste — and I hate that movie with a passion.
Overall, I loved loved loved this first ANHM experience. It was super fun, and fantastic to share these films with people who like them like I do! I can’t wait to go back next year and see what they’ll have lined up then.
post by Mariana Duarte
P.S. I am currently working on a masterpost of all the films I’ve been watching in October for Halloween, so keep an eye on this space (on the 31st of October, anyway,) and in the meantime, follow us on instagram where I keep everyone updated on the daily films. And don’t miss out on Filmology on RadioENRG Monday from 4-5PM (GMT). For links, check out the index on this blog, or keep an eye out on our Facebook/twitter.