December 5, 2016

Festival Recap: Hudson Horror Show 14 has Ended

Seven years in and going stronger than ever. It is amazing watching this force of cinema exert its will on an audience and watching them all eat it up. Beginning as a small, unassuming screening of some horror movies, some local, independently made shorts, and a few vendors, it has grown into a colossal beast, an entity known far and wide, able to sell out theaters in minutes. One of the biggest changes was when they expanded into a second theater last year. Even the threat of losing the venue a few years back was not enough to get them down. The Hudson Horror Show has become an institution and easily among the best genre related events of the year.

This event was shaping up to be another good one, from the solid selection of films, to the vendors I saw confirming their appearance, and, of course, all of my friends and acquaintances talking about being there and getting their tickets before they all sold out. I had the added bonus of it being my girlfriend’s first experience with a full blown Hudson Horror Show event, she had previously attended their smaller shows at the Alamo Drafhouse, but they are hardly the same thing.

We arrived to the theater pretty early, only one other brave soul was there waiting in the chilled air. As the night moved on, more folks began to arrive, including Gordon and Dina of Super Creepz, Dan of Inked Up Merch, and George of VHSPS. All of us talked movies and anxiously waited for the doors to open. Not even inside and fun was already being had. Hudson Horror, more than any other event I attend is like an extended family. Most of us have been going to these for a long time, lots of familiar faces, along with the friends. Going to this show is much like going home.

Once we got inside, we checked in and made a bee line for our theater. It is very tempting to hang out with people, or shop at the vendor tables, but believe me, you will want to get in that theater and claim your seats, the good ones go quick. So, with the seating squared away, we went back out to the lobby to hang out with friends and shop.

Among the vendors I was there to see was Vinegar Syndrome. You have to love these guys, the hard work they put into their releases, and their lineup of bizarre, unusual, and rare films is spectacular. So, I made sure to add a few titles to my collection. I also had to visit Inked Up Merch as Dan’s selection of movie themed baseball caps, trucker hats, beanies, and patches is always worthy of a little drooling. This time my target was a Cannon Films logo beanie (he also has Vestron Video). Other great vendors include VHSPS and their obscure films, Grey Matter Art with their gorgeous posters, Super Creepz masks, mugs, and toys, among other artists and authors.

Now, as much fun as it is to check out the goods, we are there primarily for the movies. So, as the start time approached, we gathered in the theater just in time to listen to Hudson Horror mastermind, Chris Alo, gives a rundown of the rules. You know, no phones, no talking, no refunds, have fun, buy stuff and so forth. Before you know it, the first film started and the lights go down.

The first movie is the Roger Corman classic Death Race 2000. It was my first time seeing it projected and it was my girlfriend’s first time seeing it ever. The print was great, even with the Swedish subtitles. It was a blast watching David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Mary Woronov, and others race crazy looking cars and running people over for points. Also, I had completely forgotten that The Karate Kid’s Martin Kove was in this.

Next up was a mystery movie, which will not be spoken of specifically here. I will say it was a great surprise that went over great with the crowd. The print was in great shape and I truly loved watching it.

Moving onto the feel good portion of the program, the third movie is the grimy, genre defining classic, I Spit on Your Grave. This is a good film, but it is a rough watch in a theater with a group of people. The print was noticeably worn and did break early on, but that was resolved quickly. Now, the movie may seem to be a bit overacted at times, but it is still very hard to watch. I do not think I have been in such a quiet theater in a long time. Very grimy, very unsettling, but still nice to see in a theater.

Keeping the party going, the fourth film is the one that keeps my streak of Hudson Horror events always having at least one movie I’ve never seen before. In this case that movie is The Hitcher. The print was in great shape and Rutger Hauer was a great villain.

The fifth film of the day is a certifiable classic, RoboCop. I never saw this when it first came out, so this was my first opportunity to see it in a theater. The print was great, and it is always great to see how well this holds up. It is super violent, fun, and is just seriously one of the great ones. May not exactly count as horror, but no one seemed to mind. RoboCop brings the people. Watch it and be happy. “Your move, creep.”

Rounding out the day is the werewolf classic, The Howling. This is a movie I have not seen in a long time and I have to say, it is better than I remembered. It has a solid cast led by the great Dee Wallace. It takes us from grimy New York City to a getaway that may be more than it appears. I love the way this one finishes. Although, I will also admit to not being the biggest fan of werewolf films.

6 movies, 12 hours, and a lot of fun. These events are always so much fun. I love seeing all of my friends and checking out the vendors. For this show, I particularly loved getting to share my Hudson Horror love with my girlfriend, who loved it just as much as I did.

Oh yes, the show also features a selection of trailers attached to each film. Here is the list that played (courtesy of Darryl Rabideau):
Fear No Evil (1981)
The Silent Scream (1979)
Stir Crazy (1980)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Darkman (1990)
Body Parts (1991)
Dr. Giggles (1992)
Shadow of the Hawk (1976)
Stripped to Kill (1987)
Parasite (1982)
They Came from Within (aka Shivers, 1975)
Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
Venom (1981)
Blackout (1978)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (1987)
Dead Heat (1988)
The Perfect Weapon (1991)
Shoot to Kill (1988)
Black Rain (1989)
The Dead Pool (1988)

See you next time!

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