My current financial situation demands constant denial of things that once brought me joy, but God Damn It All if I'm going to deny myself a trip to the New Beverly Cinema for their 2nd annual All Night Horror Show. So yeah, I went. Seven flicks, one of which was a "secret movie" we wouldn't find out the name of until the moment it projected onto the screen. You've probably seen most of these movies, so don't expect me to really get into them. I'm probably just gonna tangent this fuckin' thing every which fuckin' way. Advanced warning.
I know a lot of people were saving seats for their friends, because I was one of them, but there had to have been a few motherfuckers in there who were full of shit, trying to give themselves buffer zones; quite a few people were left standing in the aisle during the first movie. Usually, I'm all about the buffer zone, but in these kind of occasions, you gotta give that shit up.
So Phil Blankenship comes out and does his intro, and was it me or did he seem a bit down? Is it some rose-colored lenses shit making me remember him being a bit more energetic in last year's Horror Show? Or am I confusing him with that one guy from the Aero whose name I can't remember because it's been a goddamn eternity since I went to THAT place too. Anyway, I hope Phil wasn't too bummed out or anything and maybe his mind was just elsewhere because he and the other New Bev staff were busy busting their asses just to give us motherfuckers a good time.
That's why I will never host a party -- because you can never completely partake in the fun when you're too occupied running back and forth making sure the booze doesn't run out or that there's enough chips or that no one throws tissue in the toilet and Goddammit, who put tissue in the toilet, now it's clogged! What? You want to use the bathroom? Sorry, it's clogged. I don't know, some asshole who didn't know how to read because I put a goddamn sign on the door saying not to put motherfucking toilet tissue in the goddamn motherfucking toilet! Go piss outside. What? Well, fine, DON'T come back! Yeah, you too, asshole.
The first movie, Dog Soldiers, I caught on DVD in '03 by myself, and while I enjoyed the movie, it's definitely a much more fun experience to see it with a packed crowd. Soldiers versus werewolves, lots of splatter, occasional movie references, what's not to like? The tone reminded me a lot of Marshall's most recent film, Doomsday, which didn't get much love when it came out. People gotta understand that The Descent might just be an anomaly in his oeuvre; that one was a tad more serious and deeper compared to Dog and Doomsday and it sounds like the fanboys will never forgive him for it if he doesn't make something in that vein again. Fucked up, yes, but I can't hate on the fanboys for feeling that way either, because I'm guilty of the same shit when it comes to Joe Carnahan; he's either the director of Smokin' Aces and Blood Guts Bullets and Octane or he's the director of Narc, and I would be a lot happier for the latter filmmaker to return ASAP and the former to take a nice long break.
Halfway through the movie, an older gentleman came in and like 20% of the attendees at the beginning, stood in the aisle. He then started having a silent conversation with no one but the empty space in front of him; he was gesticulating like crazy and his mouth would open real wide like he was yelling, but no sound came out. I looked for a Bluetooth earpiece on him, but couldn't see one. That occupied my mind for a good 10 minutes. Then he walked over to the front row and sat down.
Intermission. There was a couple sitting in the row ahead of me and they brought pillows. To me, that's a very dangerous decision to make. I mean, pillows mean comfort and comfort means sleep and sleep means BAD BAD BAD when you're at a movie marathon. I'm sure they didn't care if they nodded off during a flick or two, but still, you might as well be reading Playboy in church, as far as I'm concerned. People brought in food from the outside, mostly Papa John's and Domino's and for that, I say, thanks New Bev for turning a blind eye to that. Very cool. Having said that, I really wish quite a few of these motherfuckers would throw their goddamn trash away. Phil would come in with a bag asking people to throw their shit away, and you still had people leaving their shit behind. What the fuck. You need a weepy Native American tomahawking a few of these jerks to get the point across.
The next movie was called The Burning, a story about one man's struggles with gonorrhea *rimshot*. No, it's Bob & Harvey Weinstein's attempt to cash in on the success of Friday the 13th with their own summer camp slasher. I saw the uncut version of this once and thought it was kind of dull, save the occasional kill scene, in particular one taking place on a raft. Thankfully, it plays a hell of a lot better (read: unintentionally funny) with an audience, and this viewing felt a lot faster because of it. It's a trip to watch some of these actors before they became famous (or at least established) like Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, Ratner from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Strozzi from Last Man Standing and Holly Hunter (whose character shoulda been named Blink, because that's how long she appears on-screen, it seems).
Turns out this print (the only surviving one, according to Phil) was missing the raft scene, which is tantamount to watching a print of The Untouchables without the train station sequence. Basically, a bunch of campers get owned by Cropsy the killer while they're on a raft. Later on, one of the characters finds the bodies and the aftermath now comes off like No Country for Young Campers since we never saw them get murdered. But I guess what you don't know won't hurt you, because the film still worked (relatively speaking) without it; the discovery of the victims, along with quick flashcuts of the raft murders during the climax, could make it feel like an intentional holding-back-information type of deal to anyone with no idea of what was supposed to happen in the movie, like my friends.
Speaking of whom, one of my buddies turned to me -- after noticing not only the Weinsteins' name but Brad Grey's as well -- and asked if all it took to become a major Hollywood player was to make a shitty Friday the 13th clone? It certainly doesn't hurt. Anyway, I found one of the Weinsteins' credits at the end as "Editorial Consultant" frighteningly prophetic, considering how in another ten years, these sensitive souls were going to be infamous for going Cropsy on many a filmmaker's final cut.
Another intermission, more trailers, and then the 3rd film, House by the Cemetery. This is the third time I've seen it, first time projected in 35mm, and I'm going out and calling this my favorite of Fulci's horror flicks. Some people prefer The Beyond or The One Where The Chick Pukes Her Intestines Out, but this is the only one that has genuinely creeped me out. In addition to taking place in a nightmare world where Fulci long ago told Logic and Sanity vaffanculo, all the other elements come in and work together beautifully; the English dubbing of people already speaking English, the little boy who sounds like a little girl, red herrings like that spooky babysitter with the Brooke Shields eyebrows -- it's already unsettling, and you haven't even been introduced to Dr. Freudstein yet.
We were told that the print for this movie was "interesting", which is another way of saying that it's got a lot of wear and tear, lines, scratches, jump cuts, purple specks, a kind of flapping sound during one of the reels, quick snippets of unrelated moments in between scenes, and the main title credits use an alternate theme. At least it was still in its proper color and hadn't turned into that pinkish hue. It was all good though, because it added a welcome grindhouse vibe.
You can always count on Fulci to give you at least one Holy Shit moment, and my fave would have to be little Bob's head being held against a door while his father is trying to hatchet through on the other side. Nice. In addition to a Holy Shit moment, you have a decent amount of WTF's as well, and I think the majority of them were taken up with extreme close-ups of eyes. Boy, does Fulci love him some eyeballs, and if he can't show them to you, then he'll sure as shit have someone go on about them, like that dude in The Beyond; "The eyes, the eyes!". Motherfucker loves eyeballs like Dario Argento loves...uh, eyeballs.
There's a trailer for House and I want to offer a virtual pat on the back for the person who decided to get the late, GREAT Brother Theodore to do the voiceover. If you don't know who that is, then you just don't fuckin' know. Go Google that guy for some awesome times, he did a lot of interviews on Letterman and made that gap-toothed staff-fucker look like Craig Kilborn and by that, I mean he made him look like a giant douche who fancies himself funny. If there was ever a movie of my life, I'd have wanted him to play me -- either him or the actress who played the drunk, rich lady on Will & Grace, for no reason other than it would be so goddamn random. Anyway, EVERY horror trailer should've had Brother Theodore narrating them, and here's why:
The scheduled "secret movie" turned out to be HBO's Tales from the Crypt Vol. II, featuring three episodes from the first season. It was cool to see something that I was used to seeing on television projected onto the big screen, in a nice 35mm print, no less. Too bad the episodes weren't so hot. My favorite of the three was called Lover Come Hack to Me, because it was kinda funny but mostly because someone had the balls to say Hey, you know who we should get to do some steamy soft-core Skinamax-style sex scenes? Amanda Plummer. Normally filmmakers use the She's All That technique by casting a hot piece of ass and just putting her hair up in a bun and giving her glasses to wear to come off as plain jane, mousy or even ugly, but here they actually made the admirable move of finding someone who isn't known (at least not in my galaxy) for being sexy and tried their absolute goddamned hardest to turn Mono into Dolby Digital, looks-wise.
The second story was called Collection Completed, starring M. Emmet Walsh (who got some cheers in the audience when his name came up) and Mrs. Roper from Three's Company (who didn't). I remember seeing this one as a kid, and it depressed me then and it depressed me here as well. But that's me, I'm strange. Mary Lambert directed this episode, she also directed Pet Semetary but I will always remember her as the director of a Sega CD video game called Double Switch which was basically a PG version of Night Trap starring Corey Haim and R. Lee Ermey, and if you don't know what I'm talking about then that probably means you were getting laid at the time. Speak for yourself, man. I was able to get laid AND get my video games on. Fine, fine.
The last one (written by Fred Dekker, who got applause during the credits as well) was something about Lea Thompson being a whore (the character she plays, I mean) and selling her looks to a pawnbroker. Then I got up and did a typical Fat Fuck move by going to buy popcorn when I wasn't really that hungry to begin with. I was kinda done with the Tales from the Crypt "movie" at this point and just waited for it to end.
When Phil came up afterwards and asked the audience if they enjoyed what they just watched, someone in the audience made the comment "Thanks for sharing your DVD collection" to which Phil responded with "That was a film print, you asshole." I laughed so hard at that. Look, if anything, I was probably as disappointed in the "movie" as he was, but it was obviously a film print we were watching, and apparantly that wasn't going to stop Snarky McSnarksnark from saying what he had to say for the sake of saying SOMETHING. The way Phil responded was also hilarious because he never raised his voice and remained as low key and deadpan as he had been all night, but you just fuckin' know that every syllable of his comeback was completely drenched in Go Fuck Your Mother. Shit, for all I know, he could've been Phil's friend, and they were just fucking with each other. But it still made me laugh whenever I thought of it.
During the intermission, one of my friends decided to take his leave and get some sleep. I stood up in the aisle to see him off and to avoid butt-numbing. There I was, comfortably talking to my friend and just then it hit me -- I had asked for lots of butter on my popcorn (because I'm disgusting and have no shame). I had placed the bag on my lap during Tales from the Crypt, and I'm usually very careful about that because eleven years ago I did the same thing and ended up getting butter on my lap and -- FUCK, NOT AGAIN! I looked down at my lap, and right there, directly on my crotch was a nice big round stain. So in case any of you happened to see a fat, ugly asshole who was nonchalantly standing in the aisle and jawing away having apparently pissed himself and seeming OK with it, yeah, that was me. My buddy had a great time the rest of the night not believing it was butter.
I wasn't tired at all during the marathon, but I'm sure getting tired writing about it. Gonna have to half-ass the rest of this one.
We were going straight on till morning without intermissions from here on out. Superstition followed and it was around this time that I noticed Marc Heuck in the house, and he appeared to have spent most of the time in the aisle, and I swear I thought I saw him fixing or cleaning something near one of the seats. Helpful guy. Anyway, yeah, a couple of clergymen are trying to get an old house in the woods fixed up so a reverend's family can stay there, never mind that the place has been the site for a few freak accidents and deaths in the past. It all comes down to an evil witch's revenge for having been drowned in a nearby lake in the 1600's or something, because that's what people did to witches back then.
Ms. Witch had a vibe to her that reminded me of the kind of evil lady you normally see in a Sam Raimi joint; she wouldn't look too out of place threatening to swallow your soul, is what I'm saying. Superstition started off strong, as movies tend to do when they include a severed head getting microwaved, but it slowed down massively in the middle. First third and last third are best, because that's where the cool kill scenes and the majority of ridiculous dialogue reside ("Shut your bitchy mouth!"). It was worth it, though and would make a fun trash movie viewing at home.
The guys who produced this movie went on to produce the Rambo and Terminator flicks, but they also produced Showgirls and Cutthroat Island (which still makes them awesome, if you ask me). Supposedly this was a Canadian production, which really threw me off because usually I can spot a Canuck flick a mile away; this one looked like it was shot in California, and maybe it was, maybe that's why I never caught that Great White North vibe. Plus, I didn't find any last names that ended in UX or RE or EE or ON in the end credits and that's usually the last giveaway.
Fight for Your Life was the next flick, and I've seen this movie already, in fact I own the DVD (although in reality, the movie owns *me*), but it is definitely something else to experience with unsuspecting audience members watching this for the first time. If you take two parts The Desperate Hours, four parts 70's Grindhouse, one part Seediness and half a bottle of 100 proof Hatred, throw them in a blender and hit Frappé, you end up with this tasty concoction. I never knew J.F. Sebastian could be this big a piece of shit to his fellow man, but he is, taking an African-American family hostage with the help of his two fellow prison escapees and letting loose with the most fucked up racial invective not heard since the last Klan meeting in Alabama or the last New England Patriots game.
People were laughing throughout, probably a mixture of uncomfortable Did He Just Say THAT? and unapologetic I'm Sorry, Racist or Not, That Shit Was Fucking Funny. Perhaps people were getting out of it what William H. Macy said he got out of reciting so much offensive dialogue in the film version of David Mamet's Edmond -- a "wicked pleasure".
It's an unabashed audience manipulator, getting you so worked up that you can't wait to see these assholes get theirs, and when they do, it is as pure a goddamn movie high as one could get. I wouldn't call this a fun movie, but it's worth a watch for sure. The print we saw was titled Stayin' Alive, which according to the DVD was the "black" version. There's no difference between the "white" and "black" version, except that the trailer for the latter features a black dude's voiceover saying things like "...it will make you get down and shout 'I am PROUD to be a black man!", "Get 'em Mama!", "Yeeeeah!" and "Now let's all stand up and cheer the brotha who taught America the meaning of the word Courage!".
So far the Last Man Standing alumni have been doing a good job representing tonight, between J.F. Sebastian in this movie and Strozzi in The Burning.
By now, the couple in front of me had fallen victim to their comfortable pillows (they would eventually leave halfway through the next movie).
Mindwarp: An Infinity of Terror was the name of the final movie, but it turns out that is just the alternate title on this print of Galaxy of Terror. For a second I thought they were switching flicks on us and giving us the Bruce Campbell movie of the same name. This was my first viewing, and for a while I thought we were getting a straight-up Alien rip, but instead it's a nice little crossbreed between that movie and Solaris, making it a proto Event Horizon. A group of astronauts go to some planet and end up getting attacked by their manifested fears. The best/worst example of this is when a poor girl who is afraid of worms ends up getting raped by a giant one. I want to know who the fuck came up with THAT idea, and when that happened, did at least one person turn and go "What are you, fuckin' high?" or did they start snickering and maybe one boisterous lad said RIGHT FUCKIN' ON and gave the idea man a high-five? Maybe the writer was once made fun of by a chick he slept with, and she went around telling everyone else that he was hung like a worm and ever since he's been like I'll Show Her...
This flick's got a cool cast; Joanie Minus Chachi, Robert Englund, the guy from Blue Sunshine who ended up creating Red Shoe Diaries, and muthafuckin' Sid Goddamn Haig. Wow, Mr. Hand is also in this movie, so now between him in Galaxy of Terror and Ratner in The Burning, Fast Times at Ridgemont High is also getting repped tonight at the New Bev. The ship's captain is played by Grace Zabriskie, who I've always been a fan of ever since she scared the shit out of me in Wild at Heart. She's like a female Harry Dean Stanton, and like Stanton, she has the ability of infecting her performances with just a slight amount of odd, whether or not the role calls for it. Like House by the Cemetery and Superstition, Galaxy of Terror is indiscriminate about who gets killed and how badly they get got. It's pretty goddamn relentless, and I gotta give it some serious points for that. I liked it.
James Cameron worked on this movie as 2nd unit director, and he impressed a couple of Italian producers enough that they decided he was the sucker to direct their Piranha sequel. So there you go, if it wasn't for Galaxy of Terror and that insert shot of maggots crawling on a severed arm, we wouldn't have Titanic. Take that as you will.
They showed a Tom and Jerry cartoon after the last movie, and then it was all over. Phil gave us "I Survived the All Night Horror Show" pins, we thanked him, and went outside. It was around eight o'clock and completely overcast and gloomy. What better way to end a fun night than with a shitty morning; Sunday Morning Coming Down in-fucking-deed.
3 days ago