Oh hey, it’s that time of year again! Every year the lovely Coolidge Corner Theatre hosts a wild all-night horror marathon complete with live music, a costume contest, and lots of long-haired nerds. This year I was again joined by the magnificent Katie and her horror-loving beau, and together we took in several spooky classics. Also for the first time I participated in the costume contest! I forget to get a full photo but here’s a selfie from when I tested out my costume at a party, I was of course Dr Herbert West from Re-Animator, The Perfect Movie. I was a little bummed that this year there weren’t any video compilations from the Whore Church but it looks like they were premiering new stuff in Austin that weekend so I guess that’s why. We still got some fun trailers between films. Anyway, read on for the first three films!
1 Psycho (1960)
I hadn’t seen this film since maybe high school (?) so it was neat to revisit it on a big screen, as I remembered all the main points but was still surprised by some of the details. It’s a strangely-paced film, ostensibly a crime drama about a woman’s choice to steal money from her job, but really it’s about this unstable killer with whom she happens to cross paths. Hitchcock gradually shifts the focus and the perspective from her story to his story, and so the plot moves kind of weirdly but it all works thanks to the unsettling script, strong cast, and instantly-iconic camerawork. I love love Anthony Perkins here, he’s amazingly adept at switching between affable charmer and sinister sociopath, and it’s totally believable. Janet Leigh rocks some old-timey brassieres, a few cars are destroyed, and several people are murdered. Best of all I got to make a hilarious joke about Bernard Herrmann’s wonderful score, pretending like I thought it was stolen from Re-Animator. Everyone likes this joke.
2 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
I saw this at the Horrorthon in 2011 so I was actually disappointed that they would show it again so soon- One thing I’ve liked about these events is that I’m always introduced to lots of awesome new-to-me films, but this year I’d already seen 3 of the 7 films being shown. Anyway, it’s still a good movie! Like Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is loosely inspired by Ed Gein, but much more visceral and gory in its horror. It’s got some serious scares, and an impressively resilient final girl. I mostly love all the freaky stuff with Leatherface’s family- like it starts off as this rural slasher but it gets SO weird as we really go further into this house and meet the inhabitants. The blood-sucking grandfather left the strongest impression on me this time, I didn’t remember how gross and creepy he was.
3 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
OH MAN OH MAN. I’d been putting this one off for a while because I found the premise so scary (he gets you in your dreams? That’s fucking terrifying!), but I’m so glad I was basically forced to watch it here because I looooooved it. This movie is such a great combination of 80s ridiculousness, honestly frightening ideas, and amazing effects. I loved the characters, especially doofy Johnny Depp and the lovely Heather Langenkamp in the lead, whose wonderfully resolute character I really admired. And obviously Robert Englund as Freddie Krueger is fantastic, a truly memorable villain that I hear just gets snarkier and snarkier as the films go on, so I definitely plan on checking out some of the sequels. This one is pretty perfect all by itself though, gory and fun and chock-full of big hair, with a dreamlike atmosphere well-attuned to the subject matter. Nice score, too. There’s a reason it made my recent horror list!
Ok check back next time for Part II of the Horrorthon, which I mostly stayed awake for!by