June 15, 2015

Hudson Horror Show XI – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the woods on Elm Street with a .45...

Year six has begun for Hudson Horror Show. the show that never expected to make it past 1 is now in its sixth year of delivering a show that our horror brethren flock to on a biannual basis. This is the one show I would lament to loss of, but that is not going to happen now is it? There was a scare last year, but the guys bulled through and we are surging forward with a renewed passion, vigor, and passionate fan base. This show sold out in a record 88 minutes (give or take depending on who you talk to). There is no denying the following Hudson Horror has earned over the years.

It feels a bit repetitive to talk about these shows, but it has to be said. There is nothing like this gathering. I love seeing the familiar faces, people I have to call friends over the years. We hang out, talk movies, buy awesome merchandise from the vendors and sit in rapture in a darkened theater at the altar of horror and exploitation. It never fails to put and keep a smile on my face for an entire day, one of the few days where I really feel like me as the outside world just fades away, a non-entity in my day of horror watching.

Hudson Horror XI is no exception to the rule. Besides the record sell out, they put on an impressive run of films, brought in guest stars from on of the films, and filled the hall with great vendors, like Vinegar Syndrome, Dan's Inked Up Merch, Kevin's Inkspatters, and Gordon's Super Creepz. There were toys, art, hats, movies, and more just begging to be bought.

The show began around 12:45 with the first batch of trailers, including:
Swamp Thing (1982)
The Devil Within Her (aka Sharon's Baby, 1975)
Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massace III (1990)
The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

Made ya look. hahah

That great batch of trailers led us right into the first film, sponsored by Jordan and the B-Movie Film Vault. I would absolutely love to tell you what the movie was, but it is a secret, something special those of us who were there to know and everyone else to just speculate. Remember this the next time tickets go on sale for a show, be ready for a surprise that only those in the theater are privy to. I will say that it was a great surprise and a movie I love. The print was in really nice shape and it made up for a time last year that I missed an opportunity to see it. It has a great cast and is a fantastic example of genre film making done right.

After a break, we moved into the second batch of trailers:
Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Def-Con 4 (1985)
April Fool's Day (1986)
Leprechaun (1993)

I loved seeing the Def-Con 4 trailer. Have been a fan of that ever since I saw it on VHS so many years ago.

The second movie is one that has divided fans for years, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Here is a sequel that I used to go along with the popular opinion of the time and hated on, much like Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Day of the Dead. How wrong was I? I enjoy all of these now, especially Day of the Dead. Freddy's Revenge is still not a particular favorite and feels rushed, like they did not know how they wanted to deal with Freddy, but I like it more now than I did. It does seem even more unintentionally homosexual, and I was wondering with a friend if there was ever an analysis on the film in relation to those struggling with sexual identity? I don't know, but it seems to make the movie a bit more interesting. Seeing it with an audience was fun, improving the experience of a lesser sequel.

The third film of the night was preceded by these trailers:
Black Sunday (1977)
Force 10 from Navarone (1978)
Sorcerer (1977)
Blue Thunder (1983)
Jaws 2 (1978)

Movie three is a wonderfully sleazy and gritty feature from Abel Ferrara, not a favorite director of mine, but someone who knew how to use the gritty underbelly of New York City to great effect. The movie is none other than Ms. 45, a movie I only introduced myself to last year. It was amazing watching the slow burn nasty unfold on the big screen from a nicely grimy old print with its fantastic jazz score and a crowd that had a lot of first timers in it. The movie has an almost hypnotic quality to it, much of that due to the expressive, anime-like face of Zoe Tamerlis, who goes through the entire movie speaking nary a word. Approve of what happens or not, there is a lot to like and reflect on here.

The fourth round of trailers:
Tender Flesh (aka Welcome to Arrow Beach, 1974)
Inseminoid (aka Horror Planet, 1981)
Meatcleaver Massacre (1977)
Theatre of Death (aka Blood Fiend, 1967)
Canadian Restricted rating bumper
To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

Madman was our fourth feature of the day and the one to keep the Hudson Horror unseen streak alive. What streak? The streak of the marathon featuring at least one movie I have never seen in any format. All 11 shows to this point have managed to do this, and I feel I am always better for it.

Now, Madman will never be a particular favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it enough. It is a campground slasher film that may qualify as a Thanksgiving horror film, considering it is set near the holiday. It begins with a small group of campers and counselors around a fire at night, a scary story is told, and one of the boys, proving he isn't scared, gets up and sends out a challenge to Madman Marz, the thought dead, killer farmer. What follows is a repeated format of someone goes to look for someone missing, gets killed, someone else goes out, gets killed, repeat. A little slow, but generally enjoyable. I did like one of the clever hiding spots and the bit with the shotgun.

What makes the screening even better, besides having the great looking print sponsored by Vinegar Syndrome (who also had their remastered Blu-ray of it on sale, amongst many other great flicks) was having some of the cast and crew on hand for a QA session. Producer/writer/composer Gary Sales, Madman Marz himself, Paul Ehlers, Tom Candela (credited as Jimmy Steele), and Michael Sullivan took to the front of the theater. They spoke about making the film (and the awkward hilarity of the hot tub scene), about marketing and the release of the film, and how tough the market became after Friday the 13th, from competing with 15 horror projects at the start of production to 150 when it was time to try and sell the picture. They also spoke of how they are trying to get a reboot off the ground, already having a screenplay, a sequel, and a prequel written. Paul Ehlers also told a great story of rushing to the birth of his child in partial Madman makeup, seeming like the Amazing Stories episode “Mummy Daddy.” It was cool hearing them happily reminisce on the film.

The final reel of trailers included:
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

The top billed movie of the evening was the classic, blockbuster defining, era defining, Jaws. A movie I love, but had not watched in such a long time. So long, in fact, I had forgotten just how brilliant it really is. The funny lines, great characters, and incredibly think tension all add up to such a great movie. If you have not watched it in awhile, or have never seen it, this is a great time of year to give it a spin. I am pretty sure the movie itself can go without description. The print was in nice shape and fit in with the marathon's aesthetic. This is one of those movies everyone should love.

Overall, it was a great lineup of films, again. The crowd was a blast and it is more and more becoming a family reunion of sorts. There are far too many people to go through, but special thanks goes out to Chris and the HHS team for knocking it out of the park again. Also thanks to Kevin and Inkspatters, making his first vending appearance at HHS, hope to see him there again, and everyone I bought stuff from, and even those I didn't. Let's all do this again in a few months, what do you say?

If you thought you were done, check out my pal Jordan's coverage over at The B-Movie Film Vault.

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