December 4, 2011

Review: Hudson Horror Show 4 - December to Dismember

Yesterday was the fourth Hudson Horror Show. Never heard of it? Well, if you are a fan of classic and old school horror, it is the place to be! What they do is get a collection of 5 or 6 movies and a nice selection of old trailers, all on 35mm film. and put on a show! A full day of old school projections. It is a great and exhausting time, this edition was no different. I tell you, there is nothing like watching an old worn print of an old school horror movie with a theater full of like minded fans. It really amps up the energy. Seriously, if you are into horror movies, this is the place to be.

Now, I would love to tell you all the trailers I saw and what movies they were paired with, but that just isn't going to happen, my memory for such details is not so good and I have never been good with taking notes. I will tell you day included the likes of Annihilators, Vigilante Force, The Shining, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Road Warrior, Mad Max, Masters of the Universe, Commando, Predator, Total Recall, Phantasm II, and Hellraiser.

The first movie of the day was called The Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman. It stars Paul Naschy and is a lot of fun, even if it doesn't make sense all the time. There are no real explanations, it just is. Two women on a road rip end up at these ruins with a home where the werewolf guy lives, they uncover an old tomb where a vampire queen is buried. Of course they mistakenly awaken the thought dead woman. She starts haunting people culminating in a battle between Naschy's werewolf and the vampire woman.

The movie is filled with awkward edits, terrible dialogue, and some of the worst day for night shooting I've ever seen. That said, this is a lot of fun. It is a fun example of Eurotrash cinema. Also, it is quite reminiscent of Subspecies, if you have seen that one

Next up was the secret film. When I first heard there was going to be a secret addition to the lineup, I thought for sure it was going to be the original Black Christmas, I was wrong. The movie turned out to be a Godzilla movie, and surprisingly one that I hadn't seen before. It was Godzilla vs the Cosmic Monster. It is the first appearance of Mechagodzilla, and possessor of some awesome comical monster moments.

There is some great stuff like the assumption that the bad guys are spacemen, the fact they look like apes when you shoot them, plus Godzilla acting like pro wrestler playing to the crowd. Loved it!

Watching this made me realize that I need to go back and revisit the Godzilla series. This is not one of the more serious films of the series, in fact it is downright silly at times. Seeing it with a crowd was a blast.

Godzilla also brought the first glitch of the night as the projector just shut off at one point. Fortunately, it started back up pretty quickly and the movie marched forward.

The third movie was probably the one movie I was most looking forward to, even with the ones I had never seen, this was high up there. The movie is none other than Lucio Fulci's masterpiece The Beyond. It is a movie that is just a fantastically surreal experience. It has a deadly serious tone with some some very funny moments. It is a zombie movie with no way out, once it starts there is no stopping and no going back, it is just a matter of how long you want to fight it before succumbing to the inevitable.

There are some great gore moments, like the opening crucifixion, a face eaten by spiders, and plenty of zombie head shots (and torso shots, despite knowing they are ineffective), not to mention some requisite Fulci eye violations. It is a movie that really needs to be experienced by all horror fans.

It should be said that this print was in fantastic shape. Most of the damage seemed localized to the beginning and end of the film, and the sound was great. This has to be be of the better prints t have screened her. This print actually came from the show's sponsor, Grindhouse Releasing.

The fourth movie is another one that I had never seen before, Rolling Thunder, a 1977 revenge film. It is a movie that has never been officially released on DVD or even VHS! It stars William Devane as a recently freed POW, held for seven years in Vietnam. He is having some trouble adjusting to life home, especially after learning his wife wanting a divorce. It doesn't get any better when his home is robbed and his wife and son are murdered. He enlists the aid friend and fellow POW, played by Tommy Lee Jones and head to Mexico for a little bit of revenge.

What a gritty movie with a great violent ending. Devane gives a great subtle performance of a troubled man. It is a shame it has never had a home video release. I cannot see how there would be no interest in it. It is also interesting to note that this film appeared as number 10 on Gene Siskel's Top Ten of 1977.

The fifth movie is said to be one of the scariest horror movies ever made. The marked, worn print, with faded colors did nothing but enhance the effect. The movie is none other than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What can I say that has not already been said about this? It is dark, gritty, scary, unsettling cinema. It is a movie that could only be the product of the 70's, it could not be made the same way today, it would be more created and less authentic (although I should note that I quite liked the remake).

That first quick appearance of Leatherface is scary as anything ever put to film. Sure, the hitchhiker may have stirred up some unease, but it is Leatherface's appearance and the screams that follow that seal the deal. Let's not forget the dinner scene, talk about unsettiling.

Yes, this is one of the all time greats. It's hard not to cheer for Marilyn Burns as she screams her way through most of the movie.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre was also the second glitch of the night. As the opening scroll with the John Larroquette narration rolled, the film bound up and melted. Literally. It took a few minutes but they were able to splice the film, but a chunk of that opening is gone. Sad, as we pegged this print as one dating back to the mid 1970's.

The last movie of the day was Silent Night Deadly Night. A great and controversial slasher from the mid 1980's, A young boy is told by his mentally ill grandfather that Santa punishes naughty children. Later that night he witnesses his parents murder by a guy dressed as Santa. This warps his view of Santa and Christmas. Years later he is put in a Santa suit at a toy store and he just snaps, picks up an axe and proceeds to punish the naughty all over town. This is seriously over the top holiday fun and has gone a long way towards getting me ready for Christmas. To make it even more fun, take a drink whenever you hear them say "naughty" or "punish." Trust me.

Oh yeah, this was a third and final glitch of the night. At one point the film split, the projectionist said she's never seen anything like it. Apparently, one side of the film caught and the other side kept going, splitting the movie right down the middle. Again, they were able to splice the film and get us going again in short order.

That brings the day to a close. It was an exhausting, back killing day of movies, but it was worth it. Also they have vendors too, selling dvd's toys and other stuff. It is like a mini convention, and it is growing as this show was a virtual sellout, biggest crowd yet! Look up or on facebook for when they announce the next show, I am guessing either May or June.

That about wraps it up. Be sure to let me know what you think. Until next time be sure to check out full length ramblings at critical

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