Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Additionally, before the official lineup kicks in on June 1st, I'll put up special bonus Summerfest reviews of [REC] and [REC 2] some time Thursday afternoon, along with brief thoughts on John Landis' Masters of Horror episode, Family.
Then it's time for the main event at 10pm, kicking off with... well, you'll just have to come by or read later to find out!
On to our special audiovisual selections!
Our first video comes from Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout, which I someday hope to show in its entirety at a Horror Fest. It involves Quigley, zombies, aerobics, and a pool. The rest speaks for itself:
Our second video is The Best Bloody Moments in Horror History, which is exactly what it sounds like. Unlike most of the clip compilations the Cap'n finds, this one has a bit of context in between clips, which help keep this from being a random assemblage of gore. That being said, you're going to see some of the gorier moments in the genre's history, from the gut puking in City of the Living Dead to the facelift scene in Eyes without a Face. Ergo, I must make it clear this is probably NSFW:
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The C.H.U.D. Incident:
Barrett: I remember that chick that nearly jumped out of her seat when she saw a C.H.U.D. Then
Kai: I was not scared by C.H.U.D!
Nathan: She was definitely scared by a C.H.U.D.
And Now Barrett Presents His Patented Rules for Surviving Horror Fest:
Okay now you may be asking yourself "Well Brains won't there be booze at the Horror Fest?" Well of course there will be booze at Horror Fest, Satan may not partake but he still knows how to get down! BUT you see here is the thing, the booze at Horror Fest can't be trusted, remember who’s supplying it, your drinking Satan's booze and it's not his good stuff it's primarily fucking Wild Irish Rose & Mountain Dew game fuel (sponsored by red bull). Unless you’re Adam or, well, Cranpire (in which case I'm really fucking sorry) you really don't want to drink it. So what I'm getting at is that Horror Fests are great, as long as you remember it's BYOB, a good time will be had by all... oh yeah, and as long as you follow Rule Number Two!
Rule Number Two:
Do Not Pay Any Attention To That Hideous Pile of Crap on the Couch (That's Cranpire)!
So just to give you a bit of a warning Horrorfest's have been known to be one of the rare occasions when you can see the Cranpire outside it natural surroundings. For those uninitiated with the beast, he is best described as a Golgothan, yes that's right, he's basically a 6 foot tall pile of crap. I mean for a six foot pile a crap he doesn't smell that bad, just of the plague and communes for some reason, but I digress, he will make noise at you he may even follow you around, but what ever you do don't touch him or your cloths will never be the same (Brains tip: go to goodwill for the perfect Cranpire safe attire wear once then burn). But as long as you follow these simple rules a good time will be had by all.
Patrick: Two words, Hammer and Bullet. Now yes I was intoxicated (I usually am at the fests and elsewhere) but it was just a bullet and a hammer.
Barrett: Does it shock anyone that
Patrick: My memory is shit and most of you know it. I really do not know how many [Horror Fests] I have been to.
The Cap’n: I remember that people didn’t want to be anywhere near him while he was hitting a bullet with a hammer. It pretty much cleared off the porch.
Riannon: I cannot recall now if
Patrick: The amount of fear and nervousness that I inspired in the hearts of the other festers was just laughable. Yeah, I am a goof and not very careful but really what was I going to do. People were hiding and getting worried but I was just fooling around. Nothing would of or could have happened but the fear in faces still makes my day...
Phillippi: I’m pretty sure that Mythbusters has proven
Nathan: But if any freak accident was going to happen, you know it would happen when he was doing it.
Tom: Some time later, I flashed back to January 1988, watching on the old WKFT-40 station from Fayetteville - which has since become Univisión - on a Saturday evening with my family the film TerrorVision. We had recently as a family obtained our first VHS VCR - a sleek Emerson front-loader - and it became a weird hobby of my mother and me to randomly record things that showed up on television. We have stacks of VHS tapes of things taped from TV, but TerrorVision was the first movie we taped. The very fact that this was -ever- on broadcast TV - and, unedited, since I've hence found the original tape - is mind-boggling given how gratuitously dirty the movie is. On the same tape were two episodes of PeeWee's Playhouse, an episode of 21 Jumpstreet, and about half of Poltergeist. (We were still learning the subtleties of SP, LP, and EP speeds) This is what passed for fun in our house, especially if there wasn't anything good on TV that particular night. And, until we had built up a reasonable library of film texts, a lot of our off-time viewing pleasure derived from this tape and others like it. (I think I had watched the orphic Canadian Christmas special "George and the Christmas Star" a solid dozen times between Christmas '87 and New Year's '88) But TerrorVision remained that anomaly. Years later I recalled it, and remembered the name Mary Woronov, though uncertain how or where. I tried tracking this gem down, but it was never released as a DVD and the VHS had long been out of print. I happily forked over eight dollars plus shipping just to get another glimpse at what I remembered, ostensibly, as a family movie. After seeing it at Horror Fest for the first time in probably eighteen or so years, I can only conclude that my family was nothing more than fucked in the head. I am happy that my childhood recollection of a weird-assed film no one else in the room had ever seen paid off big: this may have been one of the few times that I have ever heard the Cap'n, among other aficionados, ask non-rhetorically: "What the hell did I just watch?"
Kai Once Again Disputes "The C.H.U.D. Incident":
Kai: Ladies and gentlemen, Horror Fest attendees one and all, I am writing to address a serious case of slander and libel that has caused me many a sleepless night. I stand accused of being the only person to ever be frightened by a C.H.U.D. Yes, I do mean Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers from the 1984 cult classic. I hope to clear my name and reputation by recounting the true events of that fateful movie showing.
One dark and stormy night in early July I stood in front of an ominous building that was bathed in red light straight from hell. I thought it was only the oppressive humidity that was causing my hair to curl but now I know that it was the impending horror and evil that I would encounter.
The movie selection was C.H.U.D. and all was well for most of the showing. My fellow horror fans and I laughed at the special effects and questionable script yet I still detected danger under the seemingly benign joviality. I attempted to quell my suspicions but my survival instinct told me to prepare for the worse.
And then came that scene, oh what a scene, I can hardly bring myself to narrate the horror! As the protagonist made his way down into the deep dark sewers teeming with unknown dangers I felt as if all of humanity was in mortal peril. When all of a sudden OHGODNO! The C.H.U.D. appeared with glowing eyes, dripping fangs, male pattern baldness, and an aura of pure evil. No circle of Dante's hell or Nicholas Sparks book contained such a horrific creature worthy of contempt.
But do not dare to think that I was frightened. My valor did not falter. The so-called "start and gasp" that has been taken as evidence for my faintness of heart was truly a rush of adrenaline as I prepared to defend those crammed into the tiny room. Only I recognized the menace that was in our midst. So no, I was not frightened by the creature, this C.H.U.D, but I was preparing myself for the inevitable battle to the death that must occur in order for humans to maintain dominance over the despicable monster. While it turns out that my assistance was not required to vanquish the evil C.H.U.D. foe, you dear Horror Fest fan, must recognize that you stared into the glowing eyes of pure evil that night and that John Heard and I saved humanity so that you may drive your Prius in safety.
Nathan: Nope. She was definitely scared by a C.H.U.D.
The Cap’n: Generally speaking, the hardest time someone has at a Horror or Summer Fest is their first. If you’ve never been to one before, it’s hard to know what the atmosphere is going to be like. Movies take precedence, generally with running commentary from the viewers, but these events are not like normal parties where people wander in and out during movies. The following anecdote is about such an incident.
Adam: One year, a relative newcomer (who we will call Mr. X) showed up for
the Friday night festivities. He seemed like a decent guy, maybe a
little too in to Madden NFL, but personable. He had such a good time
that he decided to bring a date (Ms. Y) the next night.
Andrea: Y'know. *them*
Adam: Saturday night is typically the crown jewel of the fest, featuring the most anticipated flix and thus the largest audience. I believe we were watching Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus (or MSVGO to the initiated), when Mr X. and Ms. Y came in. They sat on the floor and began chatting...well, she began chatting. She was drunk and getting drunker by the minute, which would have been fine if she could have even constrained her conversation to the movie. MSVGO is not a movie that demands constant attention and some light heckling is warranted. Her first real mistake came when she decided to confront Pat on his encyclopedic knowledge of pornography. Anyone who knows Pat, is well aware that he could write a column for the Adult Video News (I assume
there is a periodical).
Patrick: I do know my porn.
Adam: The confrontation centered on her insistence that a certain actor in the movie resembled some porn actor, who she incorrectly named. When pat corrected her, she fought a little too hard for her mistake and it fell to Barrett and his Blackberry Storm to confirm Pat's information. She, at this point, became very impressed
with Pat. This was not reciprocated.
Barrett: Oh, you mean [NAME DELETED]? I actually knew her independently of this situation, and when she’s drunk, things can get bad pretty quickly.
The Cap’n: Were it not for smoke breaks, I assure you we could watch every movie in the lineup without problem. Instead, the breaks get longer and longer the more of them go out there, so I tend to put on Dr. Re-Animator’s “Move Your Dead Bones.”
Andrea: Yay! The "Move Your Dead Bones" video ad infinitum, and the dancing!
Phillippi: Oh god, not that stupid video.
Neil: I'd love to tell you all about the Beyond Re-animator techno remix in all it's... well, I don't know the word. Unfortunately, if I described it, you would not believe me. It is quite possibly the worst thing I have ever seen, in too many different ways to count. I may just have to claw out my eardrums and eyeballs, but that still won't dislodge it from the deep recesses of my brain.
Nathan: [the Cap’n] found it on the Beyond Re-Animator dvd. It’s some vaguely Spanish Mark McGrath looking guy singing a techno song about being re-animated.
Barrett: [the Cap’n] says he puts it on when people go out for smoke breaks. I say it causes the smoke breaks.
Phillippi: It’s more of a “chicken or the egg” thing, if you ask me. The video sucks, and he does play it between every single movie.
Adam: So the more she convinced people to go out on the roof and smoke, the more annoyed many of us got. Not to mention the fact that the more time people spent with her, the more they grew to dislike her, but at this point it remained largely tacit. Finally during one of the breaks, Pat sneaks back inside to talk to those of us not smoking or milling around outside and says "OK. Which one of us is going to tell her to shut up? Let's draw straws." Which we did. As I recall, Neil drew the short straw but
really didn't want to be the one to do it.
The Cap’n: I don’t remember this at all.
Adam: Eventually we settled on feeding her a little concoction we like to call Hobo Bug Juice (HBJ) which is a mixture of Wild Irish Rose and Mountain Dew Game Fuel. She didn't get very far into it before, as far as I could tell, she realized that she was in a hostile environment. She got very quiet and then wanted to leave.
Cars, Tools, and Ratcheting the Tension:
Phillippi: This happened a year or two ago, a friend, we'll call him Cranpire so as not to protect his identity at all, hauled himself to Greensboro in his car (which is the same steady sort of process of decay as the Parthenon) for horrorfest and of course it broke down on him. He was pretty sure it was the spark plugs, so he called some other friends who knew about cars to come help him replace them. They brought tools, and the only thing they requested of him was that he go down to the auto parts store and get the plugs and the proper size ratchet to change the plugs with. Cranpire did this, and in the early afternoon we all gathered around his car to quickly and easily (or so we thought) fix it. The tools came out, and not having a ratchet there (hence the request Cranpire buy one) They guys looking at the engine asked for the tools. Cranpire handed over the plugs, along with a two inch long shiny cylindrical slug, the socket. I looked over and asked... "Where's the ratchet?"
Patrick: You mean besides getting to hate on Barrett (which is a great joy)?
Adam: Well, there was Pat trying to piss on people from the roof, Pat considering trying to piss in the toilet through the bathroom window when he didn't want to leave the roof…
Adam: I shirked a wedding I was supposed to be heavily involved in for Summerfest, me working through my grief over a Halloween funeral by driving clear across the state round trip to make it back for Shark Attack 3: Megalodon and the Shecklestein brothers.
The Cap’n: Oh yeah! Shecky and Yankel Shecklestein!
Tom: There are ever more things that I will remember, but these seem to be the most prominent, and I am sad that the tradition is coming to a graceful and classy close, but look forward to what may in fact be other offshoot traditions. I could write some plenty about the idea of creating a community and fostering a central idea or axis about which people rotate and gravitate and return to, but I'm hoping this message is in the very least implicit for the lot of you reading this. Don't make me break out the sociological guns.
Andrea: My absolute favorite Horror Fest / Summerfest memory is the feeling of sheer delight that I get from being so freely silly with (and enjoying shared experiences of the absurd with) such wonderfully wonderful people. People I feel I can relax around, people who are hilarious (isn't laughing the best?), people I love. People who are very, very dear to me. Us all gettin' together to watch something ridiculous & crack wise about it is just SO MUCH FUN. It makes me giddy. I'm a kid at Christmas when I'm going to Horrorfest.
Tom: And as long as I can find some way to make a DEEZ NUTZ joke, hopefully at Adam or Neil's expense, the merrier I shall be.
Neil: I just heard a strange noise coming from downstairs, so I'm going to go investigate. I'll be right back…
Monday, June 28, 2010
The “Who’s Who” of Horror Fest Memories:
The Cap’n: Fearless leader, host of Horror and Summer Fests, sadist.
Nathan: Horror aficionado, frequent attendee. Also sadist.
Andrea: Regular Horror Fest attendee, geek. Not particularly sadistic.
Adam: Nuclear Physicist / Engineer. Masochist.
Patrick: Video Store employee, has attended every Summerfest. Porn expert.
Tom: A Doctor. Has attended every Horror and Summer Fest.
Neil: Comes for the torture. Stays for the movies.
Barrett: Reluctant mechanic. Enemy of the Cranpire.
Phillippi: Parent and Politico. Not a fan of Matango.
Liz: Culinary expert and Used Book seller. Loves Golden Girls.
Kai: Graduate Student. Afraid of C.H.U.D.s.
Kevin: First time visitor last fall. No fan of Jive Turkeys.
Random Memories and Movies:
Nathan: My best memories of Horror Fest(s): Revisiting old favorites (Chopping Mall, C.H.U.D., Night of the Lepus) with people who weren't as familiar with them and the beautiful commentary that came as a result of it.
Nathan: Adam's various attempts at drinking Wild Irish Rose and the faces he made because of them.
Adam: Just remembering the taste gives me the feeling that someone is walking
over my grave.
Tom: There will always be Tripwire, which I eagerly anticipate downing yet again, just for auld lang syne.
Liz: Getting to see [Return to Horror High] was a life-changing moment. I think that film launched George Clooney into that bit part on Golden Girls.
The Cap’n: I’m forever grateful that Neil introduced us to the film Blood Car, a movie that took a year to get ahold of.
Tom: I remain convinced that Blood Car may be the unsung hero of low-budget horror-comedy. Perhaps, even, its Messiah, given that the subject matter - at once palatable as well as beyond-the-pale-inconceivable - propels the juggernaut forward. I would probably never have seen this flick were it not for SummerFest (and, reluctantly, Neil), nor would I have ever thought about the ludicrous - yet in our era of living beyond peak oil - moral and ethical ramifications of using living beings to power the world in which we live. As over-the-top as the story is, and as painful and occasionally gruesome as it is (puppy hunting, anyone?), it stands to reason that Blood Car fits our times and delivers a message (that presumably few will see) we need. When I saw this at SummerFest, my then girlfriend and I ruminated over the film and bonded even more over it. We would break out laughing when we encountered wheat grass or a bag of chips at the grocery store. Tofu became an awkward commodity. We balked at the idea of ever becoming that speciesist as a human race, but were kept in check when a gallon of gasoline was nearly one-half of an hour's work for me at the time.
Nathan: Blood Car! I need me a Blood Car.
Tom: As a kitten-loving vegetarian, I was alarmed at how loudly I was laughing at the slaughter of a disabled, triple-amputee vet for his luscious sanguinity.
The Cap’n: Oh, and there was The Giant Claw, which most people missed out on!
Neil: Trying to decide on a closing film for horror fest is serious business, so Nathan and I knew we were in for an experience when all of a sudden [the Cap’n] says, "alright sit down, we're watching Giant Claw." It's from the 50's, stars no one you've ever heard of, and it's called Giant Claw. Sounds incredi-awesome, right?
The Cap’n: Yes.
Neil: Ladies and gentlemen, by my count, I watched 13 movies, and all of them lived up to any preconceived expectations, but this one exceeded my wildest imaginations. For the first half hour, you never see the mysterious, out of focus threat plaguing the skies. (Whether out of suspense of lack of money is anyone's guess.) But nothing, and I mean nothing can prepare you for when it's finally revealed. Not even me spoiling it for you right now and telling you it's a giant antimatter space turkey.
Nathan: *combination of sighs and chuckling*
Neil: Yes, that's right, an giant antimatter space turkey, who boldly ignores the basic laws of particle physics and declares war on humanity, presumably out of boredom or the need to procreate light years away from whatever galaxy it flew from. (According to the trailer, it's also 17 million years old.) It also has googly-eyes.
Adam: I feel so bad for that bird.
The Cap’n: I feel bad that we watched The Ruins.
Neil: I don't remember much about The Ruins because I was distracted by Adam's running commentary, which should tell you all you need to know about how interesting a movie it is.
Adam: I really stopped caring after the HJ collector died.
Kevin: I remember when me and Zak came up there last year and you and me were the only ones left to watch Scream Blacula Scream. We talked of jive turkeys and funky soul antics all through out the movie.
Andrea: Omg, the Troll 2 popcorn scene!
The Cap’n: Best. Sex. Scene. Ever.
Riannon: I wish I could say that my favorite moment from Horrorfests gone by was not a cruel, sadistic/masochistic (depending on who you ask, of course), and unnecessary viewing. But I’m a fucker, so that wish is dishonest. We all deceive ourselves at the unconscious level, though. Which is perhaps why someone—several people, rather--thought it was a really great idea to put The Happening into production.
Nathan: Ah, the modern crapsterpiece The Happening and everyone else's vitriolic reaction to it.
Riannon: It was only a week or so earlier that The Cap’n had arranged a special trip to the theatre to view what he hailed as THE WORST MOVIE EVER MADE. Even in an age hip to hyberbole, this was a claim not to be ignored. Like moths to a flame, like whores to a Harley, like us to this movie, we fell in line and went to see Mark Wahlberg undo all the good that was I Heart Huckabees. The laughs issued from our bellies and even deeper, and we were, by those final scenes in the old shed--where the downsy leads reveal the true love you felt not even once, for a second, ever-- on the edge of giggling insanity. (Perhaps it was happening?) I just found this excerpt of a review: Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal said that the film was a "woeful clunker of a paranoid thriller" and highlighted its "befuddling infelicities, insistent banalities, shambling pace and pervasive ineptitude". Joe, you’ve wasted too much time looking for college words. Piece of shit.
Tom: (July 2008) I will unregrettably never see The Crappening by M Night Shit-on-my-lawn. While I could piecemeal together the entirety of the film from what I have been told, and while I could tell you unequivocally that no amount of pressuring or convincing me that I should see it because it might be the worst thing ever made and I may never have that chance again.
The Cap’n: After everybody came to see The Happening for our Field Trip movie, I brought them back to watch Plan 9 from Outer Space. Lucky Tom only caught the second part…
Tom: I have room enough for only one Worst Movie Ever Made. Once Plan 9 From Outer Space is wholly obliterated from the museum of human creation, I can safely see The Crappening. The two cannot feasibly or safely coexist in my existence, and to do so would be to unleash antimatter unto my soul, which would, of course, devastate the universe and create a black hole precisely where in the movie house (or Kinohaus) I sit.
Nathan: Tom was lucky. He didn’t see it – the first time...
Riannon: But Shamlasdidgyanana’s B movie was a great occasion to be amongst friends, friends that love to torture themselves in public as well as the comfort of their own homes. Yet, I never expected to have an opportunity to revisit the pain in such terribly, wretchedly close proximity to the first exposure. That’s where the Cap’n can get you—if it seems too much, too soon, he’s probably considered it.
Barrett: He tricked us, you know. The Cap’n made us go see it on the big screen and then made us watch it AGAIN the following October.
The Cap’n: That is true. Ain’t I a stinker?
Nathan: After making us watch The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.
Riannon: So then there we were, huddled in the viewing room waiting for Horrorfest’s secret surprise great times fun picture…and we were firmly punched in the asshole with the opening credits to The Happening. Fuck. We suffered well, the only way we knew how: by making as many interruptions, mocking to the best of our ability, by adding a bittersweet commentary track to the biggest budget snuff film ever—if you consider that we were watching the deaths of several Hollywood careers, and the drawn-out sacrifice of the dignity of human storytelling. Our laughter was a thin veil for pain, real pain, the kind that interrupts our comfortable 21st century being with echoes of the ancient suffering that sent many off to war with the glad hope of being impaled by broadswords.
Liz: Has anybody mentioned how drunk Adam and Tom got during The Happening? And how Freddy’s Dead turned into on long DEEZ NUTZ joke?
Tom: I honestly don't remember much of the second half of The Happening, and for good reason. Dr Davis and I decided that there was a necessity in easing the torturous pain from the onslaught of rife overacting, plebeian and laughable storyline, and every imaginable absence of cohesion possible in a film by consuming a fair to middling amount of... of... well, I'll be damned if I knew what we were drinking.
Adam: DEEEEEEEEZ NUTZ!!!!
Tom: Who is the most captivating character in "Freddy's Dead: the Final Nightmare"? DEEEEEEZ NUTZZZZZ!!!!!
Barrett: If he ever shows [The Happening] again, I’m leaving.
To be continued tomorrow...
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Urban Legends: Final Cut
City of the Living Dead
The Gingerdead Man
The Comedy of Terrors
Class of Nuke 'em High
Happy Birthday to Me
Friday, June 25, 2010
Look, I understand that people love The Big Lebowski. I love The Big Lebowski. I saw it when it ran the first time. This August will mark the THIRD year in a row it's opened The Mixed Tape Film Series. If that's going to be your tradition, then cool, but it's not as though the Coen brothers don't have other excellent comedies that people maybe don't know as well (or that they do; Raising Arizona, for crying out loud!)
Year after year, the Cap'n looks at the lineups at The Carousel and I usually say "meh." It's nothing against the movies being shown, but 90% of the time I a) own the movies or b) saw them the first time they ran. Nostalgia's not a big factor for me, and while there's a tiny allure in seeing actual prints of the film, it's not enough to get me to shell out cash for something I can watch any time for free and / or already saw on the big screen.
I worked for a movie theatre. I own actual trailers (and some fun ones at that: as a gift, I once gave away 35mm trailers for Dancer in the Dark and what's probably a fairly rare teaser for House of 1000 Corpses back before Universal dropped the film), and I get that it's cool to see the real deal and not just DVD or BD's at home. But for some reason The Mixed Tape Film Series just doesn't do it for me, and I think I know why.
Slight digression: While this is comparing apples to oranges, I feel like the Cap'n should express that I feel at least a little qualified to talk about film programming. I put together anywhere from three to five free film festivals a year, and I think carefully about the movies I'm going to show. The goal is almost always to find a healthy balance between what people want to see and what they never knew they'd love. It doesn't always work, and while I'd say that next week's Summerfest is the safest I've ever played it, there are still movies I'm showing that may never be part of a "Midnight Madness" series (but easily could be, which is part of why I take umbrage with the programming year in and year out).
I get that it's popular, and there's a very good reason why: the programmers are offering cinematic comfort food. The biggest problem I have is that the films showing time and time again are the obvious choices. Yes, you're guaranteed to have an audience turn out for a movie every single one of them knows, even if it's being shown again and again (which, admittedly, is a good business model), except that at a certain point the nostalgia factor wears off and the incoming flux of college freshmen can't sustain this.
The Mixed Tape Film Series is in its third year (as best as I can tell), so let's take a look at what they've been showing:
Year One: The Big Lebowski, Reservoir Dogs, The Monster Squad, Friday the 13th Part 3, Rushmore, Edward Scissorhands, Labyrinth (without a "The", go check), Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Oldboy, Riki Oh: The Story or Ricky, Blue Velvet.
Year Two: The Big Lebowski, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Gremlins, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Clerks, Fight Club, Amelie, The Princess Bride, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Robocop, The Goonies.
Year Three (coming soon): The Big Lebowski, The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, 10 Things I Hate About You, Heathers, Donnie Darko, Rosemary's Baby, The Fly, The Silence of the Lambs, Army of Darkness, A Hard Day's Night, Rock 'N Roll High School, Purple Rain, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Die Hard, American Beauty, Seven, Boogie Nights, The Crow, Groundhog Day, Dirty Dancing, Harold and Maude, The Color Purple, Do the Right Thing, Labyrinth (again, no "The"), The Neverending Story, Willow, Legend, The Dark Crystal, Dumb and Dumber, Happy Gilmore, Kingpin, Wayne's World, Back to the Future.
If you hadn't noticed, the upcoming Mixed Tape Series is broken into "theme" cycles, like "Back to School," "Horror Classics," "Films that Rock," "Holiday Classics," "90s Classics," "Valentines / Black History," "80s Fantasy Classics," and "April Fool's Comedies." (Transformers: The Movie should be in there somewhere, but I'm going by their official listings).
The first year had some pretty nice curveballs in there, but since then it's been a steady decline into "mass appeal" territory. That being said, I know people who are planning to go to these movies, and good for them. About half are too young to have seen the films the first time, and the other half are nostalgic, so that plays right into the earlier points. Got it.
That being said, there's not one movie in the upcoming year's lineup that I desperately need to see on the big screen. Eventually, more people are going to feel the same way; the cinephiles first, then slowly but surely the general populace, and I'd rather that not happen*.
As I said before, it isn't as though they couldn't (or haven't branched out): despite a fondness for showing Tommy Wiseau's The Room repeatedly, the guys at The Movie Show have also put together the Midnight Madness series (including Summer 'Camp' Classics and Summer Scare-Ousel festivals) which feature a slightly more eclectic lineup.
(Well, okay, not exactly: the Summer 'Camp' Classics consists of Showgirls, The Warriors, The Room, and Predator. I'll grant you the first three, and I understand that Predator is being tied into the release of Predators, but come on. There are much better "camp" classics out there. Xanadu? Forbidden Zone? Cherry 2000? Geez, even Plan 9 from Outer Space is a better fit for this series. Please don't get me started on the Horror one. Kudos for The Brood, but that's about it.)
In the past, they've hosted showings of Troll 2, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, Sleepaway Camp, Audition and Pieces. Three years ago, The Carolina Theatre had "Grindhouse Double Feature" Fridays (which I believe was tied in some way to The Movie Show) that branched out and introduced audiences to movies they wouldn't see otherwise. It's quite do-able, so why does this feel like the exception and not the norm?
Here's one thing I wondered after perusing The Movie Show's blog: the writers are clearly advocating that more people see movies that didn't get a fair shake the first time around (Grindhouse, Hot Rod, The Fountain), so why aren't you showing them? It's nothing new for film fans (and bloggers) to be passionate about films they think people would love, but the folks involved in The Mixed Tape Film Series are at a distinct advantage: they can actually make that happen.
But they don't, and I have to stress my disappointment with going for the easy draws. There's an opportunity here to develop something like what goes on at The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin (which is certainly what these events are reminiscent of) where the popular films are more regularly interspersed with movies that don't get that kind of attention but should. After three years, you'd think they'd be more comfortable branching out, but instead it's starting to look like The Carolina Theatre's Summer lineup: predictable and mostly miss-able.
It sounds like I'm bagging on the programmers (who I'm intentionally not calling out by name because I don't know them, they don't know me, and there's no reason to get personal here), and in some ways I am. Clearly they're capable of being more adventurous, and I really wish they would be. The Mixed Tape Film Series and the Midnight Madness Series could be more than they are, and to really build up a loyal and consistent audience over the years, it pays to give them what they want to see AND introduce them to new or "lost" films that keep them excited for the next screening. They can do it, so hopefully this serves as a motivator to do it and not the ramblings of some jaded film geek. Win me over, because I feel like you certainly could.
* Allow me to make my case: since you've already shown Labyrinth, allow me to suggest four perfectly viable alternatives that fit the "theme" - The Last Unicorn, The Secret of Nimh, Time Bandits, and Return to Oz. All equally regarded but often less seen movies that yeah, I'd pay to see projected in a theatre.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I'm putting together an oral history of Horror and Summer Fests, one that covers fond memories, crazy experiences, terrible movies, or unforgettable moments that you had while you were here. In order to help facilitate things, I put together some topics that might help jog your memories.
- What was your first Summer / Horror Fest memory?
- What was the best movie you saw?
- What was the worst movie you saw?
- If the answer to the previous question wasn't The Happening, then what did you think of The Happening? Even if it was, were you one of the unfortunate masses who saw it twice in one year?
- What kind of shenanigans occurred between movies? Did you hang out on the porch? The roof? Did somebody do something really stupid?
- Speaking of which, how about that Hobo Bug Juice from Summer Fest Part 2? Deeelicious!
Anywho, I hope this helps give you some ideas, as I think that the end result is going to be pretty fun to read. Based on the memories that have come in so far, it's going to be quite a collection, so send yours in today (comment, email me, message me on Facebook, or just text me your recollection).
I'll be sharing my own memories the following day (Tuesday), followed by another horror-related essay and some pre-fest review action. The Video Daily Double for next week promises to be very Not Safe for Work, unless your boss is a total gorehound (and why wouldn't they be?)
But on to today's videos...
Our first clip is all the rage since a certain Windows 7 ad brought Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 into the mainstream, albeit in a jokey way. Here, presented for blogorium readers, is the "zombie vs shark" clip from Zombi 2, without narration:
Our second clip, in honor of the return of Futurama tonight, is a little compilation of one of my favorite characters, entitled "Hooray for Zoidberg!" Enjoy:
|Futurama||Thursdays 10pm / 9c|
|Hooray For Zoidberg!|
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Several people have asked, but there will be NO Field Trip film this year. Twilight: Eclipse is the only remotely "horror" related film in theatres near Summerfest, and I'm not interested in subjecting any of us to that. We're here to have fun this time!