December 2, 2012

Hudson Horror 666: Aftermath

Another one for the ages. Hudson Horror 666 is over and done with, gone into the annals of time. I will be remembered fondly. In all seriousness, this was the sixth show over the past three years and they have all been memorable experiences. Hudson Horror stands as the only local event celebrating horror and exploitation cinema, not to mention the glory of 35mm projection. I would like to say this was my favorite of the six shows, however each show holds a special place in my heart. They have each offered a mix of first time viewings and old favorites all seen in a way I had never seen them before.

Never let anyone tell you watching at home is better than watching in a theater. Sure, watching at home does have some distinct advantages, but there is nothing like watching on the big screen. You just see things differently when it is giant sized, you will notice details, expressions, effects, and even dialogue in a different way. Now, take that and add in a roomful of rabid horror fans and you have the makings of an experience to remember.

Hudson Horror 666 saw yours truly sit and watch some twelve hours worth of movies and trailers with Fangoria managing editor Michael Gingold on my right and crazy Liberry Man on my left. It was great hearing their reactions, discussing horror and exploitation cinema with them, and just having fun. This is just part of what can happen at a Hudson Horror show. There were also guys from the Riff Bros., Horror News Network, B Movie Film Vault, plus Dr. Gash from

As for the movies? There six, yes six, of them, and three of which I had not previously seen. One of these unseen movies is off my list of shame, and I am glad to mark that one off. All of the prints were in good shape, although they all showed evidence of age and wear. This wear is not a bad thing, they add personality to the movie, not to mention a certain physicality that you just cannot get with digital. I am one to argue for both film and digital, but when it comes to these movies, 35mm is the only way to go.

The first film of the day was The Devil's Rain. This 1974 movie stars Ernest Borgnine and William Shatner and is seriously trippy. Between Shat's unique..... speech. Patterns. and Ernie turning into an angry goat demon, what's not to like? It is a crazy satanic tale of Puritans, Satan worship, and an ancient book that culminates in what seemed like a good twenty minutes of people melting wax. I cannot say I have seen anything like it before. This is a must for those interested in satanic cinematic tales. Oh, and do not forget that Anton Lavey was involved and the movie is rated PG!

Moving right along, the second film is a classic of horror cinema, a landmark in the early years of the slasher, and one of the more atmospheric and scary films made. It also happens to be the one from my list of shame. It is none other than Black Christmas. Directed by Bob Clark (A Christmas Story), this movie sees a killer loose in a sorority house. It is really creepy, has some great characters (including Margot Kidder as the house drunk), and has a way to get under the skin. I am glad my first time was on the big screen.

Next up is the 1974 exploitation girl gang flick Switchblade Sisters. Highly touted as a favorite of Quentin Tarantino, you will see just how much influence it has had. This was a blast to see with an audience (and another first time for me). I centers on drama around Lace (the adorable Robbie Lee), leader of the Dagger Debs, when a new girl shows up, Maggie (Joanne Nail, who looks like a cross between Jamie Pressley and Elizabeth Banks). Here is backstabbing, rival gangs, black militants, a lesbian juvie warden, and more. It is over the top and a lot of fun.

Halfway through, you could see some people in the crowd reaching for a second wind.

Fourth movie up is Phantasm II, the first film played at Hudson Horror 5. This is the second time sequels have played back o back shows, the first and second shows featured Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. Now, Phantasm is not my favorite franchise but I liked the European vibe and Angus Scrimm is fantastic. The sequel furthers the mythology, adds more action, and is really a rather strange movie with new random characters, blow torches, and evil Jawas. It was fun on the big screen.

The penultimate film of the day was the Lovecraft inspired Stuart Gordon movie Reanimator. It has been a long time since I have seen this classic, seeing it on the big screen made it seem like the first time. Jeffrey Combs' Herbert West is a creepy, darkly comic, intense research scientist who wants to conquer death. This movie goes completely berserk as the end approaches. It is is bloody, funny, and just insane. This very nearly stole the show for me. It is a great example of how to pace a movie and just nail the tone.

The final movie of the night is a personal favorite of the show runner, Conan the Barbarian. I cannot claim to be the biggest Conan fan, but there is something about this movie that seems made for the big screen. There is some great cinematography and the way it takes it's time building up the epic adventure is rather delicious and seems like something that filmmakers today just cannot equal.

That about wraps up the films. However, something to remember is that this is more than just movies. There is the camaraderie amongst the horror fans. There are vendors, and this was other biggest yet with a poster vendor, another selling necklaces and magnets, the guys from VHSPS were there, as we're some local artists such as Zombie Petz and Rock and Roll Art School.

It has been announced that there will be a part 7 but there is no date or films yet, just keep your eye out.
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