Hey! What are your plans for the last Saturday night before Halloween? What? Sleeping? And miss an all-night screening of seven horror movies in a row? Nonsense!
The dedicated horror fanatics at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) have once again curated a dazzling lineup of films old and new to get you in that All Hallows Eve mood. So dress up as the Lawnmower Man (costume contest at midnight!), get some popcorn and/or adult beverages (bar stays open until 2 a.m.!) and settle in for this year’s lineup of gypsy curses, mad slashers, and possessed cars. There’s no particular theme this year (other than “scary movies”) so let’s jump right in, shall we?
HELL FEST (2018) at 7 p.m.
This one’s about … actually, you know what? Never mind what it’s about. This is a brand new movie that most of you haven’t seen yet, so why not come in blind and get surprised? After all, if you don’t like it, you’ve still got six more movies ahead of you!
CHRISTINE (1983) at 8:30 p.m.
Damn, I haven’t thought about this film in ages! It’s an inspired choice. Horror legend John Carpenter directing a slick adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, back when both artists were at the top of their game. Possibly the best “killer car” movie of all time. (Ed’s note: No. The Car is better. And although technically not a car, Killdozer! was pretty delightful.)
MURDER PARTY (2007) at 10:30 p.m.
Before Jeremy Saulnier wowed us with Blue Ruin and Green Room, he was already known for this clever deconstruction of the horror genre in which a hapless loner attends what he thinks is a Halloween costume party, and gets more than he bargained for. We root for the guy in the homemade knight costume to get out of this fix, but we don’t fret over it too much because the would-be killers might just be too stupid to successfully murder anyone. Much more Dark Comedy than straight Horror, this is a great choice to liven up an evening full of splattery movies. The costume contest is right after this flick, so you’ll probably get extra points for wearing the distinctive set of cardboard armour seen in this film.
HIGH TENSION (2003) at 12:15 a.m.
Don’t go home yet; this is a good ’un. “In the early 2000s horror was in need of a shake-up and High Tension delivered the goods, leading a new wave of extreme and original horror films from Europe,” enthuses Cameron MacGowan, programmer for CUFF. True. Even critics put off by the much-discussed plot twist had to praise High Tension for its brutal artistry. MacGowan also adds, “Please note, we will be showing the dubbed version of this film as no one will want to read subtitles with blurry eyes after midnight.”
GRADUATION DAY (1981) at 1:50 a.m.
This is the point at which most of the audience traditionally goes home, right after the midnight movie; but those who stay tend to stick around for the entire evening. So here’s where you might make your decision; right before the only genuine 80s slasher movie in the lineup.
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003) at 3:30 a.m.
Just go home. This movie is terrible. I have no idea why it has a cult following today, because it is just the worst. Back me up here, Mike! (Ed’s note: It is a horrible turd of a film. You will need a Silkwood shower after watching it.) Yeah, you’ll miss out on Sam Raimi’s awesome Drag Me To Hell and a free breakfast, but come on! Nobody should have to watch House of 1000 Frigging Corpses at 3:30 in the frigging morning!
DRAG ME TO HELL (2009) at 5:20 a.m.
It’s a shame that all the sensible people will miss out on this gem, but for those of you who actually made it through the previous entry, this is your reward! Don’t know if it’s improved by extreme sleep deprivation, but hey, here’s your chance to find out!
That’s it. Eat your breakfast and stagger home. Then do it again next year!
(Illustration courtesy Tom Bagley.)
The 2018 Halloween Horror Movie Marathon begins at 7:00 pm on Saturday, October 27th at the Globe Cinema (617 – 8th Ave SW). Tickets are $20, or $18 for CUFF members. Ages 18+ only. Concession stand will be open all night, with bar service until 2 a.m. Costumes are encouraged, and free breakfast will be provided in the morning. For details, go to https://www.calgaryundergroundfilm.org/halloween-movie-marathon-2018, or check out the event page on Facebook.
John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook, Twitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.