We’re getting into the very wee hours of the morning now, and there’s always this hump I have to climb over where I’ll be drifting off but then I’ll get my second wind. For this line-up I was dozing a bit during the fourth film, but woke up and was fine for the fifth and sixth. The fact that it was FREEZING in the theater probably helped me stay awake, but also made me uncomfortable! The seventh and final film, Brain Damage, was one I really wanted to see and I was totally awake for it, but I started freaking out about homework and a freelance project I had to finish and decided to check out early. But Brain Damage just arrived from netflix so I’ll be watching it soon! Anyway read on for the last films I DID watch at the Horrorthon, it’s an interesting mix.
4 13 Ghosts (1960)
This is a great example of the ridiculous gimmicks William Castle would get up to with his films, introducing “Illusion-O,” a use of 3D that revealed ghostly images when seen through a red lens and hid them when seen through the blue. Instead of the original visor-type of viewer we had red/blue glasses, so it was kind of annoying to look through one eye during all the Illusion-O moments, but I have to say the effect did look really eerie as the three-dimensional red ghosts moved through a 2D black and white space, I dug it. Unfortunately the movie itself is kind of dull, or at least it was for a sleepy audience in the early morning. I definitely nodded off a few times but got the general idea of the story (family inherits a wacky relative’s mansion, discovers he was a weirdo who collected ghosts, are subsequently haunted by them). I appreciated the at-times weird visuals (wtf was with that headless lion tamer? And the mustachioed chef ghost?) and the self-aware characters, but the little boy was irritating and the whole subplot about the hidden money and the duplicitous attorney was just whatever.
5 Quella villa accanto al cimitero (The House by the Cemetery) (1981)
I woke up for the Fulci, which is good because last time they showed a Fulci at one of these things I slept through most of it. In learning my own horror tastes I’m realizing that I really like the idea of a haunted house movie, so I think that’s why I was more engaged by The House by the Cemetery than The Gates of Hell. Focusing on a family that moves into a creepy New England mansion haunted by the experiments of its previous tenant, “Dr Freudstein,” it’s half a hilariously bad movie, half a creepily good one. So there were a lot of emotions going on between the outrageously-dubbed child, stilted acting, melodramatic zooms, and genuinely spooky ghosts and wonderfully gory kills and freaky monster men and whatnot. Also what the FUCK was up with that doll-face babysitter? I fell asleep for like 5 minutes and maybe I missed her reveal, because she definitely had a mystery but I could not figure out what it was. She was helping Dr Freudstein sort of but then she got killed? And she reminded the mom of a doll? Or something? Maybe it was never explained.
6 Near Dark (1987)
I saw this years ago at the Somerville Theatre Horror Marathon when they had a “From Dusk to Dawn” vampire night, and I remembered really liking it but wasn’t too clear on the details. Look back on what I wrote then I think my feelings are basically the same- overall I’d say it’s a fun movie but the female lead is weak and the happy ending feels like cheating. That being said, Near Dark is just cool, I mean Bigelow is so good at making characters seem cool, you know? You’ve got an assholey Bill Paxton chewing all the scenery, smoking-hot couple Jenette Goldstein and Lance Henricksen, and a cowboy Adrian Pasdar, and everything’s just so slick and stylish. Also something I don’t think I put together last time: Adrian Pasdar’s character is turned basically as punishment for being pushy and sexually demanding on his date with Jenny Wright (he won’t drive her home until she kisses him, even though she seems anxious to get home), and the rest of the movie is hell for him, so that’s appropriate.