September 23, 2018

Event Recap: The 5th Exhumed Guilty Pleasures Marathon (Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY, 9/22/18)

There are a few cinematic events that are well worth looking forward to. This goes beyond your anticipated new releases. This goes beyond what shows on the screen (although that does matter), it is about the people who run the event and the people that attend the event. For me, Hudson Horror Show will forever sit at the top of the list, but another that is among the best is Exhumed Films Guilty Pleasures Marathon. This is the Exhumed show that sees the Philadelphia collective travel away from their home city and travel to Yonkers to screen some well received titles from their other events at the Alamo Drafthouse. The guys behind Exhumed are a great bunch of people and their collection of 35mm prints has proven to be a great resource to other shows, such as Hudson Horror, not to mention being an inspiration. Also, the friends that go to the event are my extended family and bring another level of life and energy to the day.

The show, the fifth annual, featured a slate of 5 films, none of which I had seen before. They were not all horror films, there was also a roller disco flick, a TV monster movie, a bit of exploitation, and (a first for guilty pleasures) a legit X-rated feature. So, I thought it would be good to give a rundown of the films and some brief thoughts on them.

The fist film of the day was called Wicked, Wicked. It is a thriller shot with the gimmick of Duo-Vision, meaning, most of the movie is present in split screen, where each side shows a different angle of the same scene, or something related to the content of the other. I found it to be a pretty clever way to hold your interest. The story itself seems to be a play on Phantom of the Opera. It provides some legitimate thrills, but I think the dialogue, which was often unintentionally comical, that stole the show for me. I am rather glad that this style never took off, but I would not be against seeing someone take another stab at making a movie like this. Also, I give a lot of credit to the editor, I would imagine it can’t be easy to keep them all straight.

The second film was a TV feature from the 1970’s that was shot on 35mm and actually was released theatrically in Europe. The movie was called Gargoyles. The movie was really rather effective. I had my doubts considering it was a made for TV movie, we could not expect any blood or gore, or anything terribly exploitive. Still, this tale of a writer and his daughter investigating the story of a man out in the desert claiming gargoyles. Of course, it is revealed to be true and the two find themselves the target of a gargoyle gang. I really was entertained by this, surprisingly so. It was fun to see an early Scott Glenn appearance as the leader of a group of dirtbikers.

This is where the day takes a swerve in terms of type of film. Most of these Exhumed show features can be labeled as Horror or Exploitation. This was roller skating disco movie called Skatetown, USA. A brightly lit and colored film, shot with high energy and terrible music. It is notable for being written by the man who would play The Shape in the original Halloween, Nick Castle. Among the film’s stars are Scott Baio, Marsha Brady, and Horshack. This also features th first appearance of Patrick Swayze, and from the moment he appears, he owns the camera, it is easy to tell that he was going to be a star. The movie itself is silly and mostly entertaining, if you can stomach all the disco, this is a harmless fluff of a movie that is really not all that bad. Although I don’t feel the need to revisit it.

Now, we have come to what was probably my most anticipated movie of the day, Scream for Help. My friends who have seen this before all sang its praises, so it was hard to not be a little excited for it. The movie is from Death Wish 1-3 director Michael Winner and was written by Fright Night scribe Tom Holland. It was reminiscent of The Stepfather, but with a sleazier edge to it. It is like an After School Special with a heavy dose of WTF. I really enjoyed the hell out of it. The movie starts off pretty straightforward, but pretty quickly flies off the rails. This was my favorite movie of the day.

The final movie is the previously mentioned X-rated feature, obviously this one had to b saved for the end. It was a Jaws parody called Gums, it is about a mermaid the goes around pleasing men to death. First off, I did find it a little bit awkward with a crowd. When it was over, my first thought was: “Well, that happened.” It was a weird and whacky movie that had puppets and Brother Theodore as a Nazi mermaid hunter. It should also be noted that the score was by Brad Fiedel (Terminator) and Robert Kerman (Cannibal Holocaust) plays the Richard Dreyfuss role. Not sure what to say about this other than I saw it.

Overall, it was a fun day with some really good movies, good friends, and was just what the doctor ordered. Plus, there was a table of recent releases for sale from DiablikDVD and Garagehouse Pictures (2 for 1!), so, of course I picked up a few titles. I was a little sad to see it all end, but it was a long day and I doubt I could have kept my eyes open for another movie. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


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