OCTOBER 9, 2010
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (REVIVAL SCREENINGS)
With Screamfest demanding my attention, the fact that I slept through the bulk of the last 2 movies, I figured I’d just review the New Beverly All Nighter as a whole, instead of five full reviews (two of the movies I’ve already seen/reviewed) in addition to everything else. Maybe if I find some time I’ll do a full review of Trick Or Treat since that one’s been requested a few times. Otherwise, you take what I give you, dammit!
A terrific way to kick off the night, since it’s one of Argento’s most accessible films and rarely gets screened. A “draw”, if you will. Last time I saw it was at home by myself, so it was great to see with a crowd, making treasured moments like Saxon demonstrating his hat’s “power” all the more amusing. And it had been long enough for me to forget who the killer was, so that was a nice little bonus. The print was pretty close to perfect too.
GATES OF HELL/CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD
We go from one of Argento’s most coherent movies to one of Fulci’s least. I’ve seen the movie 3-4 times now and I still have no idea what the hell is going on through most of it (and if anyone can explain the final shot, you sir/madam are some sort of sage wizard). Knowing that paying attention wouldn’t be much use, I spent a good part of the screening watching others, who I knew hadn’t seen the film, react to its more memorable moments, such as the infamous car vomit scene and the death of John Morghen/Giovanni Lombardo Radice. Speaking of this treasure, why was I the only one to cheer his name at the top of the film? You people make me sick!
Also, I want a Christopher George marathon.
If I was doing reviews for each film, this one just made the “deadline” for a Saturday movie, starting just moments before midnight. It’s a pretty lousy movie, but it made for a good “break” if you needed one, since no one wants to miss the secret movie (which was next). Andrew Prine keeps it from being a total loss, but it’s pretty slow paced, and everyone that’s not Prine or Richard Crenna is pretty forgettable. I do sort of like the fact that the movie is essentially about Crenna and his wife inviting a bunch of people to the haunted house they just bought to help them get it cleaned up, and then being the only ones to make it out alive. Assholes.
TRICK OR TREAT
The secret movie was met with thunderous applause, as it’s an oft-requested title and the type of thing Phil would probably show at a midnight show anyway (though it was more like 2 am by now). I think it’s pretty clear that Wes Craven saw this one before writing Shocker – the killer’s fondness for electricity, the 80s metal soundtrack, the unintentional cheese... it would make a pretty terrific double feature, no doubt. And you gotta love Ozzy’s cameo as a preacher, decrying metal lyrics while sporting slicked back hair and a nice cheap suit. If not for his unmistakable voice, you probably wouldn’t even recognize him. I was also delighted by the fact that Doug Savant, best known as the homosexual Matt on Melrose Place and/or the Mr. Mom-y Tom on Desperate Housewives, playing a bully cut straight from William Zabka cloth. Nice to see him be the alpha male for once.
My only minor gripe with the movie is that the hero didn’t enjoy his power for a bit before realizing it was wrong. They seem to be going down the Christine route, with the nerd turning into a power-hungry jerk, but he more or less regains his conscience within a few minutes. I also don’t get why he destroyed so many of his awesome posters after hearing his hard rock hero had died in a fire – why take it out on Kiss or Motley Crue? And why didn’t he notice his best buddy, a DJ named Nuke, was a dead ringer for Kiss’ Gene Simmons?
THE GIANT CLAW
How was this movie never on MST3k? It’s tailor made for the show – it’s only 72 minutes long, so they wouldn’t have to edit it in order to fit it in, and it features a terrible puppet on strings as its monster. It’s also loaded with wall to wall bad dialogue, such as “You keep your shirt on, I’ll go put my pants on”, or just plain odd ditties like “That makes me chief cook and bottle washer in a one-man bird watching society!” (HUH?). And you can make a drinking game out of every time someone says “Battleship”, if you want to die of alcohol poisoning after two reels. Speaking of reels – even though this movie is from 1957 and thus the oldest one they showed of the night, it was actually one of the best preserved prints. Weird.
I slept through most of this one, but it seemed to be little more than a series of sequences in which a woman we don’t or barely know disrobes (regardless of the situation, one does it after putting a pot on the stove) and is then raped by an alien. In between these are scenes of a cop and a man-hating lady doctor trying to find the pattern and stop the madness. I assume they succeeded, I woke up from the applause when the credits began to roll. Not on DVD, so I guess I blew my chance to see this one.
I slept through a lot of this one too, but not as much as Breeders. Here we have a group of kids trapped in a museum getting killed by a genie. Well, eventually. I was awake for a while but I fell asleep right when the kills were about to begin (some robbers got killed in the opening scene, but this part of the reel was damaged/lost, so it just cuts from when the genie is about to start causing some shit to when the cops are investigating the crime scene). I did stay awake long enough to hear some out of nowhere racism, and see that our heroine and her dad had a strained (and borderline creepy) relationship, which I’m sure was resolved by the end (or he died). We also almost got a shot of his balls when he sat down with a loose fitting robe and hiked one leg over the other. Oh, and cinema’s worst ever stunt double during one of the many scenes in which the school bully harassed one of our protagonists, the excess of which resulted in my falling asleep before anything good happened. But from what I saw it wasn’t too bad in that cheesy 80s/midnight movie kind of way. At least, so my half sleep deprived/half still sort of sleeping mind thought.
There were also a couple of cartoons and a lot of great trailers, plus a raffle with prizes such as a Freddy Krueger yo-yo and a VHS copy of Silent Night Deadly Night. And it was fun seeing the men get separated from the boys (or women from girls) – the place was 100% capacity at the start, but dwindled with each film, and was about only half full (if that) by the end. Some folks claim to have never even dozed off, which I find damn impressive (I am jealous). It takes a true love of movies to sit through the whole thing, even if falling asleep off and on, so everyone there at the end is forever in my cool book. I just wish the pizza options were better – I really don’t like Papa John’s or Domino’s. If a Little Caesar’s or Pizza Hut opens in the area, you bet your sweet bippie I’ll be a happy lad.
Onward to next year!
What say you?