8:30 PM to 3:30 AM
After chowing down on some excellent ice cream, I made my way back into the auditorium where the next movie was playing: Pet Sematary (1989). There’s not much more that can be said about this movie. It’s taken from the only novel Stephen King ever wrote, then tossed into the trash. After being pursuaded to visit the subject matter once more, he finally released the book in 1983. The movie version came years later and still holds up as every parents’ worst nightmare. It’s bad enough knowing your children could be killed by a random act of violence, it’s worse envisioning what might come afterward. The audience was appreciative. As for myself, there are still a few scenes in this movie I won’t watch.
By now I had figured out the hash tag for the Horrorthon and was able to live tweet the event to several other fans in the audience. Not as many people were joining in as I’d hoped. Still, it was fun to read other peoples’ take on a film the moment it concluded. Also a useful way to find out what movie started when.
Next up was The Gate 2 (1990) and the groans emitting from the audience were audible. I’d never seen the film before, so I watched it to see how Gate 2 compared to the original. In some ways it was a different type of film. Oh sure, the suburban extra-dimensional demons were there, but the budget was higher. At least this one didn’t take itself too seriously, with the punks adding to the comedy relief. The first Gate film was memorable not because it was a ground-breaking horror movie. the reason it made history was from blasting the big Hollywood Ishtar out of the water when both were released in 1987 the same week. Much gnashing of teeth ensued. Elaine May’s career never did recover.
And then we came to Last House On A Dead End Street (AKA The Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell) from 1973. Directed and Starring Roger Watkins, this film has achieved the kind of cult status Eli Roth can only dream about. The plot has something to do with a filmmaker released from prison on drug charges who decides to get his revenge by filming the actual murder of his producer. For years no one could figure out who really made the movie until Watkins finally came clean. He wasn’t too proud of it as he later admitted to being strung out on controlled substances when he made it. The movie really didn’t make a lot of sense. It started out as 8 1/2 and turned into Helter Skelter. I spent the final half hour trying to identify the super 8 mm camera one of the hippie killers was using. I remember that model being very popular at the time since the cartridge loaded from the top and it had the rotating prism viewfinder.
I did a little fist pump of my own when Guru The Mad Monk flashed on the screen. Any chance to see an Andy Milligan film on in its original format is worth the price of admission. The late auteur of 42nd street was famous for using his films to work out his own private obsessions and Guru showed the process. It’s the Middle Ages and Father Guru runs the Church Of Lost Souls on an island. The kingdom sends him their prisoners to torture and execute, but Father Guru has to beg more money for the budget. Not helping is Fr. Guru’s conversations with himself and a tendency to kill anyone entering the church with cash. I seemed to have misread my medieval European history, but I don’t seem to recall coteharides made out of paisley flowers or copper collection plates sitting in the vestry. The movie was one continuous guffaw if you watched for anachronisms. I don’t think it would be a good idea to play “spot the goofs” drinking game to this film. And the color was lush! But I don’t think very many in the audience shared my appreciation for this non-masterpiece. Quite a few attendees were talking about how they slept through it.
As we went into the wee hours of the morning, the audience was treated to Bog. I’ve seen this movie many times at video stores and on lists. Never seemed worthwhile to rent it. And I learned why: its’ a real snoozer. I had a difficult time staying awake for this one, even with constant infusions of coffee. There are a few reasons to watch Bog:, Gloria Dehaven and Aldo Ray. The lake monster was pretty horrible. As was the hixploitaition elements. It was filmed in Wisconsin, which makes it a regional horror movie I suppose. But I spent the bulk of the flick sleep fighting and the zzzzz tended to win out. From the background conversation in the wash room, I was in good company.
To be continued….