Monday, August 26, 2019

24 Hours of Movies: Can't Wait for #ScaryMovieMonth

by Patrick Bromley
Why wait until October to stay up all night watching horror movies?

The best month of the year is just a few weeks away. As is the case every year, I have grown impatient waiting for October to come. Spirit Halloween has already opened near me and some stores have begun putting out their Halloween stuff, but we're still not quite close enough for us to put up our decorations or to find a box of Count Chocula on the shelves at Target. We've got a few weeks still, so in the meantime let's gorge ourselves on horror movies to tide ourselves over.

10 am - Dead of Night (1945, dir. Alberto Cavalcanti, et. al.) I like to start things off with a classic, and Kino Lorber's recent Blu-ray release of this anthology, hard to come by for a number of years, has me wanting to give it a rewatch. I've only seen it once and don't recall being blown away by it even in the context of its time period, but that could easily change with another viewing. The puppet segment is the one everyone talks about, right?
11:30 am - The Tingler (1959, dir. William Castle) Because we've got to have a Vincent Price movie, and a Vincent Price/William Castle collaboration is too good to pass up. I'm not ambitious enough to rig the chairs in our basement with buzzers to complete the effect of "Percepto," but The Tingler is a great time even without the gimmicks.
1 pm - The Dark Half (1993, dir. George A. Romero) Here's one of those movies I'm constantly defending because it's either ignored or derided, neither of which is a fate I feel the film deserves. I'm a big fan of this Stephen King adaptation about an author (Timothy Hutton) whose pen name becomes corporeal and begins committing murders. This is always one of the first movies I feel like watching as the seasons begin to change, because George Romero really nails the look and feel of Fall better than most. I can't quite explain my affection nor the effect this film has on me.
3 pm - The Changeling (1980, dir. Peter Medak) A first time watch! I picked up the Severin Blu-ray at Flashback Weekend last year with every intention of watching it in October, but that month got away from me for a whole bunch of reasons. I also skipped out on it when Joe Bob Briggs ran it as part of The Last Drive-In because that didn't seem to be the correct format to watch a movie like this for the first time. Here's the perfect excuse to give it my undivided attention, and before I'm too tired to lose focus.
5 pm - Lust for a Vampire (1971, dir. Jimmy Sangster) I just saw this for the first time courtesy of Scream Factory and had a really good time with it. As a fan of Hammer's The Vampire Lovers (part of a very loose trilogy with Lust for a Vampire and one other), this movie scratches a very similar itch in terms of its overall vibe -- and I'm not just talking about the same-sex eroticism, either. Plus, Erika hasn't seen it and this would be a good chance for her to check it out, as it's very much up her alley. And now I am talking about the same-sex eroticism.
6:30 pm - Dolls (1987, dir. Stuart Gordon) The majority of the movies I'm programming into this marathon fall under the category of "fun," which aptly describes Stuart Gordon's Dolls. It's a couple different kinds of horror movie rolled into one: killer toys, slasher, old dark house movie, creepy fairy tale. It's better at being some of those than others, but it's always fun and is short enough so as not to overstay its welcome.
8 pm - Evil Dead (2013, dir. Fede Alvarez) Here's another one I'm anxious to revisit. I wasn't crazy about it when I first saw it (we recorded our podcast as soon as we got out of that first screening), but have really warmed to it in the years since. I've not yet seen the longer, supposedly gorier director's cut, which is the one I'll program into our marathon. The remake is grisly and nasty and mean-spirited, but fun in its own way and should fit nicely into the overall tone of these 24 hours. I hope.
9:45 pm - Fright Night Part 2 (1989, dir. Tommy Lee Wallace) I'm not even crazy about this movie (please no one tell Elric Kane), but the beauty of these 24 hour marathons is that they get me in the mood to watch stuff I might not otherwise feel like watching. On its own, Fright Night 2 is kind of disappointing retread of the first film, which I dearly love. As part of 24 hours of horror movies, though, it's just a different flavor -- a change of pace, a new vibe -- and, as such, probably would play a lot better. We'll find out, I guess.
11:30 pm - The Innkeepers (2011, dir. Ti West) It's been too long since I revisited The Innkeepers, still my favorite of all Ti West's movies. I love Sara Paxton and Pat Healy in this movie and could easily watch an entire story about them without any of the ghost stuff. It could just be them working in a hotel and I'd be on board. Few horror movies have the hangout feeling that this one nails. The supernatural stuff is fun, too, with some terrific jump scares and a lot to say about being young and stuck at a certain point in your life. This is such a smart, winning horror movie.
1:30 am - City of the Living Dead (1980, dir. Lucio Fulci) And, just like that, we switch over to Italian weirdness. I mostly programmed this here as an excuse to watch the Arrow restoration, which I've not yet had the opportunity to check out. This is my second favorite Fulci film behind The Beyond, one which I've been fortunate enough to see on the big screen in 35mm twice now (even if the first time I couldn't appreciate it). It's one of the best waking nightmares ever committed to celluloid.
3:15 am - Absurd (1981, dir. Joe D'Amato) Another first time viewing! Erika and I picked up this Halloween rip-off (so I'm told) at the Severin table at this year's Flashback, and the weirdo overnight Italian slot is the perfect excuse to give it a spin. I'm a fan of George Eastman in just about everything, so I'm excited to see what he does as a screenwriter, too. I have no idea what else to expect, though the above picture sure promises something.
4:45 am - Just Before Dawn (1981, dir. Jeff Lieberman) Because I'm the least creative person alive, I'm programming Just Before Dawn just before dawn. This is one of my favorite underrated slashers, one which appears to have found a slightly larger audience in recent years. I wrote a piece about a year ago over at Bloody Disgusting about all the ways it subverts slasher tropes, but the truth is that most of these things weren't tropes just yet. This is such a good movie and perfect to watch as the sun comes up.
6:15 am - Shivers (aka They Came from Within) (1975, dir. David Cronenberg) This is a David Cronenberg horror movie I still haven't seen. There's no excuse for that. Weirdly, first thing in the morning feels like the right time to check it out and I don't really know why that is. I think I once watched Rabid in a similar time slot and I'm just conflating the two movies.
7:45 am - Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981, dir. Steve Miner) I wanted to include a Friday film somewhere in the lineup (I've been thinking about them a lot lately), and since The Final Chapter would feel wrong in this time slot, I'll go with my second favorite of the franchise. This one probably has my favorite characters and one of my favorite iterations of Jason, even if I'm not among those who prefer Baghead Jason to Hockey Mask Jason. This is a great slasher even if you don't like this series.
9:15 am - It: Chapter One (2017, dir. Andy Muschetti) With It: Chapter Two just days away from release, I thought it might be fun to end our marathon by revisiting the first of the two films. Public perception seems to have cooled on this once since the weekend it was released, but I still love it to death. I love the kids, I love the direction, I love Pennywise, I love it all. And because the final shot of the final movie is so important in these 24 hour marathons -- it's a very specific feeling I'm chasing -- this one will make for a perfect capper. Chapter Two can't get here soon enough, and either can #ScaryMovieMonth.


  1. I watched The Changeling for the first time back when Joe Bob ran it a few months ago like you were talking about. I wasn't a big fan of it. It felt like nothing was ever really happening, and I hated that I couldn't critique it more than that - - then I read Roger Ebert's review and of course he nailed it and put precisely what I was thinking into words (he didn't love it).

  2. I've been wanting to check out Dead of Night for forever, thanks for the Kino heads up!

  3. First of all, I was looking at that photo for "Dead of Night" and the dummy's head slowly swiveled around to look at me, so thank you. Second, JB and I just watched JBB's episode featuring "The Changeling" and I have to say, it really got to me! I totally understand the critique that it's kind of slow but it captured a certain vibe that I really find effective. This is a terrific marathon! Oh, and speaking of "Lust for a Vampire," could you mention to Erika that I think we're due for another "spa day"? She'll know what I mean.

  4. I hope SMM keeps creeping in more and more as we get into Boring Old September.
    I can't wait to hear the SMM theme music start for new episodes.

  5. As usual I want to watch this Marathon. I am already gearing up for SMM. My rep theatre has an awesome line up for is 24hr Spooktacular. 35mm prints of TCSM and Drag me to Hell. Also Societ, Slumber Party Massacre, Next of Kin and House of the Devil are playing. With Monster Fest (Bliss and Satanic Panic) as well in Oct I am positively giddy for SSM!!!

  6. I have the entire nightmare on elm street and saw franchise ready to go starting October 1st. I've only seen a handful of each and the blu ray collections were cheap grabs earlier this year.

    Evil dead remake has also been on my mind to revisit