August 10, 2014

Show Review: Hudson Horror Show IX - The Lady Maniac is Burning Max (it's a Double Mystery!)

They said it couldn't happen, they said it would never occur again, they were confident in their victory, but they were so, so wrong. Yes, things were touch and go for a little while, but things are back on track and stronger than ever. Even with a shorter window for promotion, the Hudson Horror team pulled it off, delivering another sold out show. It is starting to become rather commonplace to report on a sold out Hudson Horror show, but it really is somethng special. The show brings together the Northeast horror family, hailing from multiple states, but all bonded by that special love that cannot be taken away, cannot be written off, and will not be denied.

There was serious concern that Hudson Horror Show may have been finished when, earlier this year, the theater that played host to the biannual marathon folded. The theater closed and they had begun ripping out the fixtures. Then, by some happenstance, an investment group stepped in and took over ownership with the intention of reopening the second run theater. This came with planned renovations and a conversion to digital. While these renovations are ongoing, there was an agreement struck to retain one of the 35mm projector setups, and with this in place, Hudson Horror Show lives! Not only does it live, but continues to consistently put together amazing film lineups, vendor tables, and draw the best of the best when it comes to horror fans. There really is nothing like it.

This time out they opened the doors an hour early, allowing us more time to spend catching up with friends and checking out the vendors. The vendors, as always, offered a wide array of wares, from rare and uncut movies, to comic books, to rare vinyl albums, toys, custom lunchboxes, original artwork, home d├ęcor, and more. We had vendors like VHSPS, Super Creepz, Tad Leger and Grindhouse Releasing, Cookie's Rock and Roll Art School, and more. I walked away with a nice little selection of stuff, topped with the Blu-ray release of Cannibal Holocaust from Grindhouse and a copy of the latest Blood Farmer's album.

If all that is not enough, we had a couple of celebrity guests on hand. Bill Diamond, who runs a full service production company and has recently produced the documentary Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking the Masterpiece, was in the house. Bigger than that, to me, was the presence of Ron Chaney, the grandson of Lon Chaney Jr. I had the opportunity to meet him early in the day and he is very friendly and easy to talk to. It was not just a coincidence that they were there, they were there to make a special announcement. That news is they are embarking on the production of a remake of London After Midnight, with the goal of being true to Lon Chaney Sr.'s original silent film. This was huge news and seems like a project worthy of supporting and keeping an eye. Stay tuned for more information regarding this project.

With all of this out of the way, we could now move onto the films of the day. There were six movies on the docket, two super secret mystery movies and four that were announced beforehand. The four announced titles were definite winners in my book, but I have to admit to being rather intrigued by the mystery movies as I was really hoping at least one would be a movie I had never seen before. One of the great things about this event is that all of the previous eight shows has included at least one movie I had never seen before and I was scared of breaking that streak.

Now, with the secret movies, I am not allowed to divulge title nor specific detail. Let's say that if you were not there, you missed something special. Neither one of which I had ever seen before, so the streak is still alive. Again, I cannot tell you what the movies were, they are a special treat for those present. So, if you want in on the secret movies, get your ticket early and join in the fun. The first film was a great film starring a couple of big names, well, one bigger than the other, and it did not disappoint. It was a great show opening number. The second film stars a couple of Oscar winners. It really was a great cast and a rather bonkers film that I am surprised I had not seen before this. Still, these are for me to know and for you to simply wonder about.

The first of the announced films to play was the international uncut version of The Burning. Now, I would be hard pressed to tell you all the differences between the two, although some of the gore bits seemed to be a touch longer. This is reportedly the most requested film over the past couple of years. It is hard to argue with as it is an effective slasher film and feels to be a step above your typical Friday the 13th inspired slasher. It has a good killer who is not afraid of taking on multiple targets at once and is not averse to attacking under the harsh light of day. Cropsey does not need to wait for the sun to set to take his hedge clippers to work. The print looked pretty good, and it was just a lot of to watch those Tom Savini effects on the big screen.

Next up was the oddball foreign entry, Lady Terminator. This gonzo flick was sponsored by Jordan Garren and the B-Movie Film Vault, the same fellow who brought us Infra-Man a couple of shows ago. You have to give this guy some credit, he brings us some of the wackiest films to play the show. That is to say, Lady Terminator did not disappoint. I actually had a blast as I witnessed a friend's brain melt when in the presence of this insane Terminator rip off. Words cannot adequately convey the level of insanity that this movie achieves. As it was described at the event, it is made for guys with its gratuitous nudity and violence, but is also a tale of female empowerment. This is a movie that any fan of bizarre cinema needs to experience. Oh yeah, the print was gorgeous, it was in really good shape.

The fifth film is one I had seen people lobby for to be the man event of the day. I was unequivocally against that idea. The movie is William Lustig's Maniac, with Joe Spinell in a career defining role, and the second feature of the night to feature Tom Savini effects. This movie is an absolute gem. It is dark, gritty, and just sucks the life out of a room, which, believe it or not is a good thing. There is something utterly unrelenting about this. We are placed face to face with a damaged psyche in the bod of killer. It is not a happy movie, not the everyday sort, but it is very effective. The print had this wonderful gritty texture that just adds to the look and feel of the old New York City cinematography. This is a grimy, want to take a shower after watching flick. Watch at your own risk.

The final movie of the night is not horror, but fandom very often crosses over. It is the classic action flick Mad Max, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Everyone knows this movie, and this being my first time seeing it projected felt like I was seeing it for the first time. Seeing a movie on the big screen is always preferable to the small one, even for movies you may know very well. You notice more details, see different things, for example there is a scene in Max's home where the baby is playing with his gun. I am not sure I ever saw that before. In any case, the movie is a gigantic crowd pleaser with some fantastic action, intense emotion, an incredible look thanks to the vision of George Miller. It was a great way to close the night.

Six movies, six winners. Toss in some great trailers like Raiders of the Living Dead, Blue Monkey, An American Werewolf in London, Bad Guys, The Murder Gang, Nowhere to Hide, Eye of the Tiger, Dogs, and others I cannot remember, and you have the cherry on top of the horror and exploitation sundae.

Now, more than the movies, the trailers, and the available goodies, Hudson Horror brings family together. An extended horror family that is. I love hanging with the guys running the show, fellow horror writers, vendors who have become friends, and more. Talking horror, movies, catching up with folks are doing, it is an experience that is always worth the backache those seats induce.

Before I go, let me also mention that Hudson Horror is sponsoring a double feature at The Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY, on September 20th. It is a Saturday and they will be screening Tombs of the Blind Dead and Tourist Trap from 35mm prints that day. There are also plans for Hudson Horror Show X for sometime this fall. Keep an eye out!

Key links:
Hudson Horror Show
Alamo Drafthouse
Doc Terror's Blog of Horrors
B-Movie Film Vault
Super Creepz
Grindhouse Releasing
Rock and Roll Art School
Orange Ulster Horror Club
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Anonymous said...

Great review.

The trailers shown, in order of play:

Blue Monkey
The Unholy
Raiders of the Living Dead
Bad Guys
Fantastic Four (Corman)
Nowhere To Hide
Night Angel
Eye of the Tiger
The Murder Gang
Nightmare Honeymoon
Child's Play 1
Child's Play 2
Lifeforce (teaser)
The Stuff
Creepshow 2
American Werewolf in London (teaser)

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