Thursday, November 5, 2015

To Cathie, who could not attend the All Night Horror Show this year

November 5th, 2015

Dear Cathie,

Long time, no write, eh? I hope this letter finds you well, given recent events in your life. The man to whom I've given this letter told me that you had to go visit one of your mines overseas because of some kind of "uprising" that you had to "neutralize". These people with their weird business terminology! Anyway, I'm sorry you were unable to attend the latest All Night Horror Show at the New Beverly Cinema last Friday (Oct. 30th).

Yeah, I can't believe it either -- they brought it back to the New Bev! I liked last year's all-nighter at The Cinefamily, and I like that theater, but I always associated this marathon with the New Beverly and it's nice to see it back "home". I don't know if a change of venue resets the count of how many of these have been thrown, but if it doesn't, then I believe this makes it the 8th All Night Horror Show.

As with previous All Nights, programmers/hosts Brian Quinn and Phil Blankenship were there; I went ahead and decided to make things awkward by introducing myself to Mr. Blankenship, thereby closing yet another chapter in the I Hide Behind My Blog book. (First chapter was you Miss Cathie, and the last chapter will be me looking in the mirror with a razor blade.) By 7:30pm, they both came down to welcome the audience; they talked about going over to Cinefamily for last year's all-nighter but now they're back to a place that has a little more room, is a bit more spacious, and with slightly more comfortable seating.

Brian and Phil then gave us a quick rundown of what to expect: six feature films in 35mm (and I believe on in 16mm), along with trailers, raffles, and other bonuses. Just like they did last year, all six films would be kept secret up until they came up on screen. The idea behind this is to try to keep the audience's interest throughout the whole night, people are more likely to stick around for all the films -- or at least up until the opening credits of the sixth film. This worked last year at the Cinefamily because the night ended with the house in 80-percent capacity which is pretty damn good. Keeping the films secret also serves another purpose, said Phil: it allows him and Brian to show movies the audience doesn't want to see.

And so the night began; a trailer reel featuring sequels to The Amityville Horror, Child's Play, Return of the Living Dead, and one non-sequel, Fright Night (the original). This led up to the first film of the night, Fright Night Part 2 (again, the original) from 1989 and once again starring Roddy McDowall and Herman's Head and I had never seen it before except for the first 20 minutes or so waaaaay back in the day at a sleepover. Yeah, sleepover, that's how long ago it was. Still not convinced how long ago it was? The movie we watched before it was An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, and I guess all those animated mice and cats dozed me out before I could properly enjoy the vampire flick.

The sequel picks up some time later after the events of Part 1 with Herman's Head having gone through three years of therapy (Pumbaa from The Lion King!), and has now convinced himself that the fanged bad guy who kidnapped his girlfriend and turned his boyfriend was not a vampire but instead some kind of crazy creepy cultist serial killer. Now he's in college and he has a new girlfriend (the old one now batting for the home team) played by Traci Lind, who I remember having a crush on from Class of 1999 and My Boyfriend's Back. I can't recall whether the crush was returned or not.

So he's in college and is pretty sure that the vampire thing never happened and McDowall's horror film star Peter Vincent is still hosting his late night creature feature program and everything seems fine and dandy BUT -- who is this enchanting enchantress showing up at Herman's door? She is Regine, played by Julie Carmen (raza!) and it turns out she is the sister of Chris Sarandon's vampire baddie from the first film, but what's even scarier is that she's a performance artist. Hitching along with Regine on the revenge/fuck-with-his-head ride is Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite and the Night Slasher from Cobra, so you know the odds are stacked against our boy Herman's.

I liked how Vampire Chick's revenge plan is to make Herman's her slave for eternity, while Peter Vincent gets a lesser punishment -- she gets him fired and takes over his show, which I figure to a guy like him might as well be Hell on Earth. Somewhere along the way she hooks up with Herman's Head's friend and/or roommate, played by the late Merritt Butrick aka Admiral Kirk's Son, and I bring that up because Butrick was also in a film (Death Spa) from the previous week's marathon over at the Aero. But it doesn't stop there, lady and...uh, just lady (forgot I was writing a letter here!).

This sequel was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (who also co-wrote) who also had a film play at the Aero Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon (Halloween III: Season of the Witch), making it two horror film marathons in a row that opened with one of his joints -- and no wonder, he makes good flicks for the season. They also look good; they were both shot in Scope and have this atmosphere and texture that seems to be missing from film nowadays. Now is that because those were shot on film and everything's shot digitally now? I'm not ready to mount my flagpole onto that particular trailer hitch yet, so I'm just going to say it has to do with the talents of Wallace and his cinematographers (Dean Cundey and Mark Irwin). Maybe it's an 80s thing too; lots of foggy sets in this joint and I'm just a sucker for that look. Anyway, the movie looked great and I'm glad I saw it this way for my first time; it looks like there's no official Blu-ray for it and the DVD is pan-and-scan garbage, so if you see it playing on some HD channel, DVR that sucker on the double-quick!

I was pleasantly surprised by how much Fright Night Part 2 holds up against the first film. It's a good follow-up that despite a change in writers and director manages to maintain the same kind of tone and style of the original -- just the right amount of chills, laughs, seriousness, and goofiness. Now to guys like Leonard Maltin, who gave it two stars against the original's three, this is considered "more of the same" in a negative way. I prefer to look at it as "more of the same" in a positive way. Sure, it doesn't take Fright Night to another level, but it doesn't drop some levels either. It's only disappointing if you're expecting Coppola or Cameron levels of sequeltude.

Following a trailer reel for the first eight Friday the 13th films was the second film of the night, Messiah of Evil -- or as it was titled on this print, Dead People. Phil and Brian called this one of the best horror films of the 70s -- a stone cold classic! -- and I wholeheartedly agree having now seen it three times. The first time was a few years back on one of those 50 Horror Films DVD sets that cost ten bucks and carried mostly garbage but also had a few gems hidden throughout -- and this film was one of them.

I had come home around 3:30 in the morning and was still pretty faded so I popped this movie in while hitting the Vapor Genie (RIP) and waiting for the gallon of preemptive-strike hangover water I just drank to settle. It was a shitty/squeezy pan-and-scan job, and I figured it'd be Trash Movie good times but hell no! I ended up getting the Code Red Blu-ray and it was even better the second time around because it was cleaned up and presented in its full Techniscope ratio. But watching a beat-up print (complete with the weird theme song that was removed from the Blu-ray) in a packed house with plenty of newcomers to this tale might've been the best viewing yet.

The film starts with Walter Motherfuckin' Hill getting his throat slashed by a girl who figured she was saving him from working on Supernova in the future, but never mind that because then we meet Marianna Hill (no relation) as Arletty, some chick who drives into an underpopulated California beach town called Point Dune that is supposed to be an artist's colony. I don't know why I wrote "supposedly", because after you see the weirdos that occupy this place, you would definitely call it a place full of artists. Arletty stops at a gas station and finds the dude working there firing his revolver at something out there in the distant darkness. He sees her, puts the gun away, wipes his hand with a rag before asking "Fill 'er up?" and telling her he was shooting at stray dogs but you just fucking know there's more to this than just some fuckin' dogs. Then later he strongly whispers "GET OUT" and she's like Whatever.

Arletty's looking for her dad, and instead she finds a diary he left behind at his groovy pad. Turns out this is one of those creepy diaries where each entry gets increasingly unnerving while the reader is demanding more inquiries. More and more information is given to her (and the audience) about what the hell is going on in this book, and God forbid that anyone in these kinds of movies actually reads the entire diary in one look, rather than every few hours or day by day. Understand what I'm trying to say? If you put me in a situation like that I 'd read it cover to cover in one sitting, because I need to know the ending in case there's some lifesaving shit in there or something.

If there's a theme to this movie, it's probably not the theme I came up with: Stop Acting So Cool And Disaffected About Increasingly Weird And Freaky Shit, Or Else The Weird And Freaky Shit Will Become Horrifying Abominable Shit And Then It'll Be Too Late Because It'll Be Gnawing On Your Pancreas And You'll Be Too Busy Going AIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!

Sorry to write that last part like a Spike Lee tweet, but I feel strongly about the lack of reaction throughout most of the film by the main character . Some of the people she runs into also suffer from the same low-key symptoms, specifically some Portuguese motherfucker named Thom who dresses all 70s natty-like and has two foxy ladies with him at all times. He's one of these rich bored assholes who spends his money traveling around and paying hobos in booze for some stories he can record on his reel-to-reel. You know the kind. And he's such a languid son-of-a-bitch too. Wait, what am I saying? They're ALL languid sons-of-bitches!

No joke, mostly everyone here seems too doped up to react to all this weird shit in town -- and if this were a bad movie, that would be an issue. But it's not. It's pretty damn great, this movie. Maybe the actors were directed to underact that way or maybe those were the best actors they could get for the money, actors with names like Joy Bang. But along comes Elisha Cook Jr. for one scene (which I'd reckon is all they could afford with him) and he's the most animated in this film, albeit a kind of dialed-down animation because he's probably been directed/medicated by the filmmakers too.

I know one group of actors who had good reason to appear down and listless; the extras in this film, mostly made up of middle-aged unemployed aerospace workers. They look like they got lost on their way to their real jobs, and snatched up by a van filled with casting department personnel. I try not to think about it too much or I get sad. Fucking Randolph worked hard, went to school, got his degree, got his aerospace gig, gave the company TWENTY FUCKING YEARS OF HIS LIFE and then here comes the pink slip. His son doesn't even look at him with fear and respect anymore -- he looks at Randolph with worry. Is this what's left for Randolph? Chewing on raw meat at a supermarket in front of a camera for a bunch of long-haired liberal peacenik fucks?! Randolph used to believe in this country. Now he only believes in himself -- and he's losing faith fast.

This is one of those movies where you can tell they didn't have much to work with budget-wise, location-wise, everything-wise, but they made the best of what was available -- like the beach house that belonged to Arletty's father. I don't know what the deal is with that place, if it's a real house or a set, but either way it's impressive. The bed hangs from the ceiling and has a record player on it. I freak out if I find out I slept with my phone on the bed. The place is covered wall-to-wall with paintings that would be terrible to look at in an altered state of mind. All of this is shot beautifully by Stephen Katz who frames his shots in a way that treats the backgrounds (like those paintings) as if they were characters as well. The color scheme is what I'd call American Argento, which I understand is also the name of an 80s movie starring Mitch Gaylord?

The whole thing has this dream feel to it -- this takes place in a universe where there is no such thing as Logic -- but for long periods it feels like the kind of unsettling dream where you're not in control and you're not entirely sure if this is going to be one of those good dreams where Genesis Rodriguez is beckoning me to her bedroom for cookies and milk, or one of those bad dreams where Paul Rodriguez is beckoning me to listen to his stand-up while fucking me in the ass. Please don't get that last part wrong; I'm not afraid of getting fucked in the ass. I'm just not a fan of his comedy.

(I mean, I respect him for being a Latino comedian and all that, but after a certain age his stuff started to sound hacky to me and I'm thinking, maybe it always was?)

OK, so. Messiah of Evil -- it's got some eerie stuff going on and not much of it makes sense, but that's part of the fun. It's not really a BOO! scary-scare-scare kind of flick, it's more like the slow kind of scared you feel, little by little, until it's all over you and you're ready to climb out of your skin because you're riding with some strange driver who talks funny and then pulls out a rat and chomps on it but he's willing to share it with you -- which is what happens in this movie, by the way.

This was written & directed by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who've since gone on to work with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg on various projects. They also went on to direct films like Best Defense and Howard the Duck, but even with better actors and bigger budgets they were never able to match the quality of their first film. Maybe if those films featured stuntmen jumping through skylights then eating shit on the way down as they slam against the narrow walls bordering said skylights, like they do in Messiah of Evil, they would've had better luck.

After the break, Phil told us that there were four movies left and coincidentally there are four Ghoulies movies. Oh man, what if? What if that's what the rest of the marathon played? Oh man. Thankfully, that wasn't the case -- after a raffle where DVDs and figures were given away, Brian introduced the third film of the night by telling us that it was a black-and-white film from the 1950s that was one of his favorites and that Phil had never seen it. Before that, we saw a trailer reel consisting of the first Return of the Living Dead, Army of Darkness, and Pet Semetary.

I can't remember where, it might have been before this film or the next film or maybe they split them between these films, but I remember seeing the short film Bambi Meets Godzilla and a Little Rascals short called "Spooky Hooky". Let me ramble a bit about the latter; Alfalfa, Spanky, Porky, and Buckwheat are like Fuck School and decide to leave a forged doctor's note on the teacher's desk so they can go to the circus the following day. Turns out that the teacher is taking the whole class to the circus on that day, so the boys decide to break into the classroom that night to take the note back. My favorite thing about this short is this kid Porky, who at least in this episode comes off as an agent of chaos who does things for the lulz, like scaring his friends by putting a sheet over himself and playing as a ghost, even though I'm sure he knows that on this dark and stormy night the last thing his friends want to deal with is a ghost.

The third film turned out to be a nice print of the 1958 film I Bury the Living, starring Richard Boone and directed by Albert Band. Band was the father of Charles Band, who ran Empire Pictures in the 80s and then Full Moon Pictures in the 90s and onward. I used to follow Charles on MySpace and he always opened up his updates with "Dudes!" and it always came off desperate to me but then I recently listened to the audio commentary on the Trancers Blu-ray and he throws off "Dudes", "Dude" and variations of it so much it was clear that he really does talk like that (or tries really really hard to talk like that). He also threw a couple gay jokes in there for good measure. Oh, and during the end credits, Tim Thomerson mentions doing coke back in the day, and based on his distance from the microphone at that point, I don't think he knew he was being recorded.

What does that have to do with this film? Absolutely nothing, but this is a short movie so I figured I needed to pad it out with something. So anyway, this film is about Boone's character, Kraft, who's the new chairman over at some department store and I guess part of the breaking-in period for new chairpeople is to watch over a cemetery. It doesn't seem so bad because all the actual hands-dirty work is done by this old Scotsman named McKee, who is kinda like what Groundskeeper Willie would be like if he ever grew old and out-of-shape and calmed down and began working at a cemetery. So I guess that means he's nothing like Groundskeeper Willie, except for being Scottish. Anyway, McKee seems more than OK with his job and even though he's been told by Kraft that it's time to retire and live off a pension, he's not in a rush to find someone to replace him.

I get that, retirees wanting to stay busy so they end up finding part-time jobs or begin doing volunteer work. I just don't feel it, because it's weird for me to want to do that, but that's because I'm a genuinely lazy fuck (notice how it's taken me days to write this letter to you, Cathie?) who would love nothing more than have a pension to collect while I sit back watching movies and doing nothing else. I'm probably a minority in the minority; there are more people out there like McKee who are taken aback by the idea that they're supposed to just take the money and not work. Also, I'm not Old old, I'm more like I'm Not 20 Anymore old -- maybe if/when I become an old man I'll change my tune. And the tune will sound like "Sentimental Journey" because that's old music and I'd be an old man.

Another thing McKee does that seems alien to me is giving the impression that he's made peace with dying. He shows Kraft a big map of the cemetery on the wall inside the caretaker's office; it displays all the plots with the names of the people who own them. On the plots are pins; the white ones mean the plot is empty but owned by someone, and the black pins mean they're occupied by the owners, if you know what I mean. Well, McKee shows Kraft his particular plot and with the tone of voice that he uses, you'd think he's talking about the place where he's going to do all his fishing when he retires. I guess -- I hope -- that kind of peace comes with age, because at my particular age I am scared to death of dying. Cathie, no joke, I'd sell so many people out, I'd throw so many under the bus -- literally throw them under a bus! -- if it'll extend my time on Earth. I'd throw YOU under the bus for just one more day.

So things seem OK enough at this cemetery and both McKee and Kraft get along with each other and all that. But then that clumsy scatterbrain Kraft accidentally places black pins on a newlywed couple's recently purchased plots, and later that day the news comes in that they died in a car accident. It creeps him out, but not enough to pay attention to where he places his pins because he does it again -- lousy numbskull -- putting a black one on an empty purchased plot and whaddya know? The owner of that plot drops dead later that night! Kraft slowly begins to realize that this eerie coincidence is becoming more coincidental each time he puts a black pin on a plot that should have a white pin on it, and it starts weighing heavily on his soul and his sanity. HE BURIES THE LIVING! (but only after killing them)

I first caught I Bury the Living late at night; I left the television on and the pounding score by Gerard Fried woke me up and I ended up watching most of it before sleep took me back. (Notice how all these movie discovery stories begin with me coming home late at night or waking up late at night.) Having now watched it in its entirety, I can say that I liked it. It felt like an extended above-average Twilight Zone episode, right down to what looked to me like a lower production value more suited to television; it's not a particularly flashy film and most of it takes place inside the groundskeeper's office. But it's got enough style to get you into the decreasingly stable mindset of the main character, who seems to be a decent enough dude so you end up feeling bad for him as this situation becomes more and more of a living nightmare that he cannot escape. HE BURIES THE LIVING, CATHIE! FOR GOD'S SAKE! And if you still don't get that things are getting more messed up for him, the music score will remind you.

Before the next film, we were shown a trailer reel featuring some of the late Wes Craven's films like Shocker, The Serpent and the Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, Deadly Blessing, Deadly Friend, and if there were others, I missed them or I can't remember. What I can remember, unfortunately, was that the fourth film of the night turned out to be Screams of a Winter Night from 1979 -- where it belonged and should've remained.

This movie, Cathie. I just can't. I just can't waste my time but here I am, wanting to ramble about everything shown that night. This wins the Spookies award for Worst Film of a Horror Marathon -- so it makes sense that this film and Spookies were the fourth films of their respective marathons. I'll give it this, though: I like the title, which I like to think is a play on Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night. Oh, how I love the films of Ingmar Bergman, and oh, how I couldn't fucking stand this one. I would've rather watched the extended cut of Fanny and Alexander in the place of this film, even at that time of night. That's not a slam against Fanny, no ma'am, that film is fucking great.

Look. I give all movies a chance, in fact I was kinda excited about this one when the title came up because I almost caught it a few years ago when it screened at the New Bev during that two month period back in '07 when Tarantino was promoting Grindhouse by screening a bunch of grindhouse joints (I'm sure that's when it screened). But I missed it, so I tried watching it through less reputable sources (Lord forgive me) and I ended up only catching the first ten minutes before it got all corrupted. I was left thinking "Hmm, those opening credits were kinda awesome and the following ten minutes were pretty amusing, after that I'm sure things really got good!"

CUT TO: Me at the New Bev watching the first ten minutes of this award winner and thinking the same thing -- for another 30-40 minutes.

OK, so this movie starts with a group of people who I'm thinking are supposed to be in their twenties but look like they're in their late thirties (just like Spookies!) heading off in their van to a cabin in the woods for whatever it is these kids do up there in them cabins in the woods, like drinking the alcohol, having the sex, and perhaps a cigarette or two containing the devil reefer. Or maybe they are in their twenties; I'm sure you've seen old high school yearbook photos, where the further back in time you go, the older those kids look. By the time you get to the 1960s, you got these 17-year-old boys looking like unemployed aerospace workers on their way to the set of Messiah of Evil.

On the way to the cabin, they stop at a gas station manned by a no-fucks-to-give attendant (young Herman's Head!) and some weirdo backwoods types; they're warned about some Native American legend and blah blah blabbity blah blah be careful blah don't go up there blah that'll be eight bucks blabbity blah. So they're in the cabin, this motley assortment of regular looking folk (my favorite is Geek Supernerd with his squinty face and Rick Moranis-in-Ghostbusters gait) sit around and entertain themselves by telling old urban legends and campfire tales. Yeah, that's the movie: three stories I'm sure you've heard before, but played out on the big screen. Oh, and these versions suck.

The first story is a variation on the one about a car getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, so the guy half of the couple goes out for gas while the girl half stays to get spooked out. Here it's boring and way too drawn out. The second is about three dudes staying overnight at some haunted house as part of a frat initiation over at what must be the University of Fathers because these mothers look old. Boring and way too drawn out. The third is about some wallflower type who of course would turn me down, so who does she end up with? Some beefy fuck who won't accept No for an answer, so in its place he must accept getting killed. The girl gets away with it and then goes off to Mom College where she and her equally middle-aged-looking roommate are, like, total opposites. That particular story wasn't too boring or drawn out, so I guess that's the best one in the film.

I thought it was a pretty clever touch to have the actors telling the stories in the cabin also play the characters in the stories themselves. It's almost like that's what the characters telling/listening to the stories are picturing in their heads. It's also a way to save money by eliminating the need to cast more actors. I missed the intro before the film, but according to a helpful audience member (who in the movie of her life would be portrayed by Amanda Seyfried in glasses), Brian and/or Phil warned everybody that this movie was a little "kooky" or "goofy" or whatever term was used to prepare us for this burned-out s'more of a film.

I'll admit there are quite a few funny moments throughout, unintentional or otherwise (one character is named "Jukie" and another character straight up cops Steve Martin's old "Excuuuuuuse me!" bit). Also, the last five minutes are the best thing next to the opening credits sequence (which is basically the ending played out over black screen), and it's all scored to what sounded like rejected tracks from 70s television sitcoms and dramas. But goddamn all that decency is spread way too thin, all the amusing stuff is few and far between this interminable slog. Screams of a Winter Night would make a good condensed 5-minute YouTube clip, but I'm not putting one together, I wasted enough time on this shit.

Just like Spookies in the last marathon, this piece of shit drained me of way too much energy and made the rest of the night a bit tougher to get through. I went outside and tried my best to let the fresh air and nicotine do its magic, then returned to find Phil introducing what he called "the very very very Phil movie of the night...oh my God, so fuckin' inappropriate". He said that this film was directed by a woman (which got applause) and that the print featured more footage than the official VHS release. Brian told us that this film went straight-to-video back in 1990 and that this screening would be it's West Coast theatrical premiere. One more raffle, followed by a final warning that the next two films were going to be played back-to-back with no breaks, and then it was on --

The fifth film of the night was Blood Games, directed by Tanya Rosenberg, starring a bunch of actresses who I can't remember by name (but I can certainly remember their shapes GRRRROOOOOWWWLLL I'm a sad pervert), Ross Hagen, The Devil from Snoop Dogg's "Murder was the Case" aka Mac's Dad from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", and George "Buck" Flower. It's not so much a horror film in a ghost/monsters/zombies/slasher sort-of-way, this is way fuckin' scarier than that pussy shit because we're dealing with Human Nature. The worst!

Of all the films shown tonight, this one had the best looking print. It looked beautiful! I felt like I was watching a Grindhouse-style throwback minus the scratches and film damage, like some film shot today but everyone was made up and clothed to look like it was 1990. Why would they do that? I don't know, but a man can dream. The sound -- specifically the dialogue -- had some issues though, like it hadn't been ADR'd and smoothed out yet. So you end up with parts of the film where the dialogue is drowned out by the background sound, or other parts where one side of a conversation has more ambient hiss or hum than the other side.

Blood Games opens with a softball game out in some small town in the woods and it's a bunch of sweaty rednecks versus sweaty hotties and guess which sweatiness I find alluring and which sweatiness I find disgusting. Yup, you guessed it: I find both hot! (Because it's heat the causes sweatiness of the human body, you see.)

The sweaty hotties are known as "Babe and the Ballgirls" which I think is kinda messed up because it's clear they are separating lead ballgirl Babe from the other girls, like she's special. But then I see that Babe is the coach's daughter, and everything is made clear. I mean, this guy coaches the team, drives the bus, handles the business end -- what he says, goes, and if he wants to put his little princess front & center, it's his right to do so. Yeah, it's a business, I think; I guess they go around to parties or get-togethers and play softball while looking hot. You know, I wouldn't mind doing something like that -- provided I'm not paying. But I can see convincing a friend to call up Babe and the Ballgirls for a bachelor party or something. Or better yet, forget the girls, forget the bachelor party. Let's just get together and read the Bible, hold hands.

In the case of Blood Games, Babe and her gals are playing against these rednecks for the occasion of Roy "Mac's Dad" Collins' birthday, which sounds innocent enough except these are Extra Strength Rednecks who love beer, ballcaps with stupid sayings written on them, giant Confederate flags that I'm sure in no way celebrate slavery, but most of all, treating women like the lesser species they see them as. It's an increasingly uncomfortable ball game that seems to go on forever, starting with the rednecks making inappropriate comments, moving on to touching them, and eventually straight out copping feels. Maybe they feel entitled to that shit because they're getting their asses kicked big time. Whatever the case, all that asshole treatment isn't doing it for our bad guys, so Ron decides to take it to the next level by elbowing one of the girls in the fuckin' face!

Man, the audience was like Holy Shit at that moment. But don't worry, dear Cathie, because Ron then gets his courtesy of a fastball to the nuts. As a man who loves karma, I thought that was awesome. But as a man with testicles, I couldn't help but get a little choked up for this piece of garbage Ron. Testicles unfortunately don't get to choose who they're attached to, they must accept all the good AND bad that comes with the man who carries them.

So you figure OK, getting hit in the nuts makes it even so let's move on. Nope. After the game, we find out that the coach made a bet with Ron's creepy asshole father and is trying to collect. Or maybe the Ballgirls were playing for free and Coach Dad decided to make a wager? Damn, this movie is intriguing. Whatever the case, would it surprise you that the father doesn't pay up what's owed? Next thing you know, Coach busts into the town watering hole to take what's rightfully his from Ron's father. A fight ensues and more disturbing than the violence that arose out of Ron's father's petty act of obstinateness is the plain and simple fact that Ron's father was on the toilet in the middle of taking a shit when this confrontation took place and hadn't had a chance to wipe or wash his hands yet. It was getting to be too much for me, watching that.

This all ends up leading to Babe and the Ballgirls running for their lives as All The Rednecks are after them through them redneck woods brandishing guns, knives, crossbows, and boners. Yup, what we have here is the makings of a chase movie and the end result is something approaching Deliverance if it were written and directed by Andy Sidaris. The girls are trying to make it to a safer area, at least one that isn't populated by crazed woman-hating good ol' boys -- I mean, I don't recall seeing a single female in this town aside from the ballgirls. Maybe this was some kind of weird colony where every vehicle is stocked with a full gun rack and the only people living there are all misogynist menfolk. Coach should've done a better job researching this area before booking the baseball field there.

It's ridiculous and at some moments laughable, but it still delivers the B-movie goods: boobs and violence. You cheer for the ballgirls and hiss the fuck out of the bad guys. Actually, that's my main problem with the film -- it does a good job making you hate the bad guys so much that you (me) want to tear the armrest from your (mine) seat, but when it comes time for these guys to get paid back in full for their evil behavior, it holds back. These guys needed to get PUNISHED and they only got punished in small letters. I mean, these dudes get rapey and for that we needed to see them get longer beatdowns, slower deaths, and overall more painful comeuppances. Don't give me shit for my bloodlust, you! This movie knew what it was doing when it worked it up in me, but it then committed the crime of not satisfying my need to see more BLOOOOOOOD.

I remember one part where the girls are beating some dude down and it was BASH BASH and that's all. He's dead. Nah, fuck that -- this guy's been chasing you around, resulting in one girl getting arrowed to a tree, another was raped, and you're just gonna give a couple lousy bashes? No way -- you keep on bashing until there's nothing left but white meat and red sauce! Pull up your sleeves and give this creep a little taste of Rosie the Riveter! Put your back into it, ladies! We can do it!

But hey, it ain't no major crime, it's more like a misdemeanor. Because Blood Games does a lot more right than it does wrong. Or did right/wrong. My use of tenses and proper grammar go out the fuckin' window when I'm on a tear.

There was a Stephen King trailer reel somewhere in the night, so I'm betting it was before the sixth and final film of the night/morning: 1984's Children of the Corn, which was greeted by cheers and sudden exits. I hadn't seen this film since I was a children of the corn myself so I stuck around. A lot of this was pretty much new to me in my old age; my childhood viewing reduced to memory fragments. The opening of the film, where the young'uns of Gatlin, Nebraska start murdering all the olds in town is pretty fucked up. The narrator is this little kid from town and he's just trying to drink his milkshake at the diner when all this slicin' and dicin' gets going. He's watching people drop dead from poisoned coffee, getting slashed up, chopped up, and some poor guy gets his hand shoved into a meat slicer!

Years pass and the town of Gatlin is all kid, all the time. Running shit is a child preacher named Isaac (the one responsible for The Kiddening) and he's got these kids' hearts, minds, and souls, selling them on some crazy shit about He Who Walks Behind The Rows. No adults left but one who helps lead over an adult or two into town for the children to sacrifice. Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated part of the film, we have Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton playing husband and wife on a road trip. We're first introduced to them in a motel; Hubby's got a doctor gig waiting for him in the city of Who Gives A Shit and Hamilton wants to bang him, but apparently he's suffering from I-Have-a-New-Job Dick and can't get it up because that's the only reason you're gonna turn down young Linda Hamilton.

You're not going to believe this, but get this -- Horton & Hamilton's path crosses with the Corn Children. They take a few wrong turns on the road and end up running over a kid. Isn't it weird how one of the most horrible things one could witness in real life is also one of the funniest things you can see in a movie? You can't blame Horton for anything but ensuring a closed casket; the kid was damn near dead already from being neck-slashed. Now where could that kid have been coming from? Could it be...Gatlin?!? DUN DUN DUN

The child cult stuff is far more entertaining than the Horton & Hamilton show (Monday to Friday, 7 - 9am, 790 KABC-AM), so of course more time is spent with the latter -- at least it felt that way. I think this movie is at its best once the cat's out of the bag and things finally move beyond the adult couple looking confused at everything, not knowing the whole story. But the stuff with Isaac and his right hand enforcer Malachi is fun to watch; the actor who plays Isaac, John Franklin, is great at being evil without having that gleam in his eye because Isaac sure as fuck doesn't seem to enjoy what he does, nah, he's got that fuckin' sour puss that only the most humorless and devout can display. Or long sentence short: he's good at being a crazy extremist. With Malachi, you get the feeling that he gets a kick out of using extreme force against betrayers and outlanders. You can tell he's already at that stage of his henchman lifespan where he probably looks over at his boss, this shrimp with the old face, and thinks to himself "I'd be a lot better at his job".

The poor kids get the worst of both worlds in this new world; music and games are forbidden, and you just fuckin' know that if they can't have that then junk food is also out of the question. Fun is a past concept long extinct in Gatlin. Isn't the whole point of an adult-free society to be able to do all the things they wouldn't let you do? (I wanted to be able to do everything as a kid -- now I just want to be able to get eight hours of sleep every night.) And it's so fucking bland in Gatlin too! Overcast skies and monochromatic clothing. They killed all the adults for this? How did these dumb kids fall for this garbage? Hell, how do we stupid humans fall for this garbage? Oops, my answer is in the question itself!

It was all right, this movie. I was tired by then, but the movie (and free coffee refills for the night) kept me up as I wanted to see how this played out, like, I remember the large bulge burrowing under the cornfields but didn't remember the context of it -- so it was cool to be see that part again for the first time. I honestly wasn't left wanting to see the twenty sequels they made for it, but I can understand why people would still be interested in the Parent-Killing God-Fearing Asshole Cult Kids saga, because it definitely is an intriguing concept -- as is most anything Stephen King comes up with. Speaking of which, I remember reading his thoughts on this particular film adaptation somewhere long ago. I don't remember exactly what he said but I do remember the word "rape" being used, so it's probably safe to say that there must be major differences between novel and film.

Following the last film, we were treated to a Woody Woodpecker cartoon which I'm sure I've seen before at a previous All Nighter. I don't remember the name but it was about Woody being chased around a mad scientist's castle by a feather-plucking robot. Then we had the National Anthem (this year's marathon had the most people singing along to it), giving the night a sendoff not unlike the way television stations used to end a broadcast day.

As we stepped out into the lobby preparing our eyes for the morning light of Halloween morning (about 7:30, as planned), we were each given a gift for surviving this, the (8th?) Annual All Night Horror Show:

I had a good time, just like the other times. I really liked seeing the All Night show return to its original home, and I look forward to next year's marathons -- both New Bev and Aero. (And anywhere else that wants to have them!) It's an interesting contrast of crowds at these things; the previous week's Aero Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon was more of a rowdy affair while the All-Night Horror Show feels more like hanging out with people who actually want to watch the film. At breakfast, I was talking to my friend about that and he said that he preferred the crowd at the Aero. Me, I'm more of a New Bev guy. So we agreed to disagree on that one thing but agreed on another: the IHOP on Sunset and Orange is no good.

Here's my friend's list of his most to least favorite films that night:

1. Children of the Corn
2. Blood Games
3. Fright Night Part 2
4. Messiah of Evil
5. I Bury the Living
6. Screams of a Winter Night

And here's my list:

1. Messiah of Evil
2. Fright Night Part 2
3. Blood Games
4. I Bury the Living
5. Children of the Corn
6. Screams of a Winter Night

Anyway, that's it for now, Cathie. I forgot I was writing a letter! Please get back to me when you have time. I know the diamond mining business is a tough one but according to the man in charge of your correspondence, you seem to have the willpower to see your plans through and the firepower to overcome all obstacles. Take care and be well.

Your friend in time,

EFC, esq.

P.S. Remember when I asked you to keep your voice down at the New Bev and you responded by pulling that butterfly knife out of your boot and putting it to my throat and then you said something about how "the only sight more beautiful than seeing the light go out in a man's eyes is the sight of tears coming out of them"? Here's my question: what movie was playing that night? I want to say it was Cabin Fever but my friend says it was Grease.