Friday October 26th the 16th annual Halloween themed all night movie bash Horrorama played the Englewood Cinema showing five cinema slashers from new brain smashing movies dedicated to 50’s era horror, to early 80’s comic book capers, mid 80’s gory reanimation, late 80’s campy horrifying hair metal and a local, well-made historical true crime shockumentary based on the most infamous ‘family’ of the late 60’s. Since 1997 Horrorama has been a premiere event showcasing the newest in local film, best horror movies of any given era and just plain messed up, underground, weird, cult stuff you’ll never see on any other big screen again… ever. Event hosts Andrew Copp, Matt Brassfield and Richard Martin once again brought the goods for another year of all night screaming and movie mayhem. The genesis of the event stemmed from Copp and Martin’s appreciation, fascination and admiration of Shock Theater talking to Mr. Hobart about creating a live action version encompassing all the great elements and entertaining moments that made the show a local favorite phenomenon. Splattertude’s imposing painted up bassist A. Ghastlee Ghoul also co-hosted for a while.
Along with the beloved Dr. Creep the night also honored the memory of national entertainer Dow Thomas and local News Anchor Carl Day who appeared in the night’s last feature. This year marks the end of an era sadly due to the universal conversion to digital prints. Friday night was the last time 35mm prints were shown on the Englewood screen. Three of the five flicks Re-Animator, Trick or Treat, and The Manson Family were the last films to grace the long run format and were a fitting swansong. The evening began with one of two digital prints Atomic Brain Invasion and Creepshow.
The kids costume contest opened the show with the young’ens playing a female joker, Carl from The Walking Dead, the devil and a Zombie. However after saying his name three times Beetlejuice won followed by the female joker and the young ‘walker’ killer.
‘Coming attractions’ from yesteryear included Creature of the Walking Dead, The Last Chase starring Burgess Meredith, there was Magic (way before there was Dead Silence), the crowd pleaser Stunt Rock (featuring music giants Sorcery), Blood Bath and the family friendly G rated Legend of Boggy Creek.
The night’s crème de la cinema began with the fun 50‘s throwback Atomic Brain Invasion. A bunch of big brained aliens land in New England looking to kidnap Elvis and take him back to their leader. Hilarity ensues as the aliens give chase, but the homo-sapiens are cleverer than the creatures thought picking them off with shovels and shotguns and foiling their invasion/kidnapping progress with doors that won’t open. The gang consists of the pretty girl, smart but nerdy main lead, the coon skin cap wearing scared funny guy and the origami loving jock who eventually befriends the nerdy dude to help save the day. A booze guzzling shotgun wielding hillbilly with an invading past joins the fight for survival with a cast of other zany characters from the era. There’s a big Back to the Future feel and the movie gives a unique chance to see what would have happened if Crispin Glover had played Biff.
The adult costume contest featured Doctors, Harley Quinn, Medusa, Saint Mary, Ursula, Werewolf’s, Mermaids and Sherlock Holmes amongst other ghouls and goblins. After much applause the top three were chosen. Top honors and prizes went to the guy for wearing a creative idea, literally, as 50 Shades of Grey followed by the woman who would turn him into stone for beating her and the Movie Damsel who would stand silent and watch.
Before the creepshow began we watched previews for The Undertaker and His Pals (it’s not a wrestling movie), the freakish Giant Gila Monster, the black and white flash version of arguably the scariest movie ever made The Exorcist, Eyes of Hell and the fun 80’s demonic romp Night of The Demons.
Inspired by the 1950’s E.C. comics George Romero and Stephen King bring five tales of terror to the big screen in the early 80’s horror anthology Creepshow. Fathers Day’s about a poor old guy that just wants his cane, cake and to eat it too. The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill has Stephen King feeling a little green after a meteor falls from the sky slowly turning him into vegetation. Something To Tide You Over features a young Ted Danson and a rare bad guy performance from comical Leslie Nielsen. Adrienne Barbeau plays a nagging drunk who walks into the wrong stairwell in The Crate. They’re Creeping Up On You, has lots and lots of cockroaches, nuff said. Apparently several patrons bugged out and took an early break on this one.
The scream contest was next. Each contestant caused cupped ears and ringing drums. The winner received some special Dr. Creep artwork. The strong lunged Beth won and earned the admiration and appreciation of the crowd when she stopped.
1985’s gory dark humored tale of post mortem morticious resurrection Re-Animator was next. Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, a very young Jeffrey Combs plays doctor with dead things, bringing animals and humans back to life with a few CC’s of neon ‘glow stick’ green goo. It was a starring vehicle for Combs reprising the role in two other films. The movies theme is dark and serious playing like a medical drama despite carrying off incredible black humor, gore and a complete lack of professional ethics. Though the decapitated body milling around from the heads POV makes a great pan shot.
Coming attractions for movies made in the late 80’s and earlier included Black Roses, Rituals aka The Creeper, Devils Express, Ms. 45 (possible inspiration for The Brave One), Mardi Gras Massacre and Night Warning.
For those of us that grew up in the 80’s and loved PMRC inspired movies about devil driven evil heavy metal bands like the previewed Black Roses, Rock n Roll Nightmare and Rocktober Blood know that 1986’s campy horror hair metal classic Trick or Treat is a definite cherished cult classic gem. A definite period piece capturing the cassette/Walkman/vinyl era with backward messaged accuracy. Skippy from Family Ties plays a mulleted metalhead,… well….kinda, sorta, who’s a diehard fan/worshipper of the fiendish shock rocker Sammi Kerr who died in a hotel room fire. The films also famous for Gene Simmons playing a Howlin Wolf type radio DJ and Ozzy Osbourne making two cameo’s type cast as a TV evangelist. Poor Eddie’s the target of some mean abuse and ridicule from the dumb jocks until he starts communicating with the deceased Kerr by playing a demo backwards acting on the messages given by the charred singer. Eddie starts getting revenge and Kerr gains his trust and enough current to come back through a bedroom PA system wreaking havoc on high school kids and has the bizarre cinematic distinction of electrocuting Ozzy through a TV. Kerr’s spirit travels through electricity, a similar theme used in 1989’s Shocker, using radios, Walkman’s and iPods (kidding) to make an entrance.
2003’s The Manson Family directed by Jim Van Bebber and filmed in Ohio includes Andrew Copp and other local actor’s is probably the closest on screen account of what the Manson Family was actually like. The film took several years to make. There’s PLENTY of blood, sex and gore, many family member interview scenes are embellished recreations of the original 1973 Robert Hendrickson documentary. It’s also the only Manson documentary besides Hendrickson’s 2007 follow up Inside the Manson Gang to feature actual family footage. Van Bebber’s version makes you feel like your tripping as your eyes are held hostage with acid like images, trippy rapid fire film cuts and some not so easy to watch but probably accurate blood orgy scenes. The murder scenes are extremely violent and brutal but as horrendous and savage as they are to watch any viewer familiar with the facts of the case would appreciate the accuracy used displaying just how violent, vicious and cold blooded the blunt force trauma and maniacal delivery of these crimes were. Carl Day makes a few appearances before some ‘modern day’ Manson followers break into the studio and take care of business. Mike King the producer and cinematographer lent his personal print for the showing.
A special thanks to everyone that came out this year. Horrorama looks forward to seeing everyone again next October.