The People Under the Stairs

A detestable minion reports on the fantastic films of the 2023 cuff 12-hour halloween movie marathon

Hello, friends! All Hallow’s Eve is fast approaching, and as per annual ritual, I, your humble Video Vulture, have news of the Calgary Underground Film Festival’s 2023 incarnation of their infamous 12-Hour Halloween Movie Marathon! Or at least I would have, but I still don’t know the lineup yet, and my spy seems to be running late …

“Master! Apologies for my lateness, but I have returned with the information you seek!”

About flipping time, Ygor! Well let’s hear it! What will the first classic horror film of the evening be?

“Er … first? Forgive me, Master! I only know the names of the films, not the order in which they are to be presented! Please don’t beat me!!”

Relax, Ygor. Just tell me the movies. In no particular order. I guess.

“You’ll be pleased with this one, Master! It is to be … The Wicker Man!”

The Wicker Man, you say? Yes, Ygor, this is excellent news! The unforgettable 1973 classic of suspense, featuring amazing performances from Edward Woodward and a never-better Christopher Lee! Er … wait a minute. Ygor … which version of The Wicker Man is showing?

“Umm …version, Master? I don’t follow …”

Which version, you cretin?! The 1973 original, or the calamitous 2006 remake, in which Nicolas Cage punches women in a bear suit?!

“I … I don’t know! I had no idea there were two Wicker Men! Aieee!”

You useless droolspigot! Do you realize what this means? The readers won’t even know if they’re about to see a sublime masterpiece, or a laughable embarrassment! That is … that … that kind of rules, actually. 

“Shall I eat my little green suicide pill, Master?”

No Ygor, put it away, and just tell me the next movie. 

“Next is Freaks. The 1932 shocker with a cast of genuine human oddities. I’ve always felt a sentimental attachment to this one.”

Hmm, yes. A one-of-a-kind viewing experience, perfect for this event. As a bonus, new viewers will finally get why their weirdest friend keeps chanting, “One of us.”

“Hee, hee! One of us! One of us!”

Yes, thank you, Ygor, let’s keep it moving.

“There’s also going to be Slumber Party Massacre 2 (1987)!”

Is there. Yes, well, I suppose it’s traditional for this event to have a stupid ’80s slasher movie in the mix. This one at least looks like it’s intentionally silly. 

“It’s my favourite! The killer looks like Fonzie, and has a giant drill attached to his guitar! Hee, hee, hee!”

(Sigh) Wonderful. Moving on.

“My notes say The People Under the Stairs. Is that … is that an actual movie? Or is it just some people under some stairs?”

Of course it’s a real movie, Ygor, you ignoramus! And a rather splendid one, at that! Wes Craven’s darkly humorous 1991 satirical horror flick gave the genre a delicious jolt of energy right when it needed it, and is ripe for rediscovery. What else have you got?

“Er, it’s hard to read. Eldie … Eldie something. Eldie la dee daa dee besty. I think. Something in Foreign.”

Give me that! It says … Oh! It’s El dia de la bestia! The Day of the Beast (1995)! Outstanding! Spanish auteur Alex de la Iglesia makes gleefully unhinged flicks like Action Mutante (1993) and The Last Circus (2010), and this is one of his best! A kindly priest comes up with a ridiculous plan to prevent the Apocalypse, and must start by doing as much evil as he possibly can. He’s aided by a dimwitted heavy metal dude who helps him kidnap a phony TV psychic, and they … well, I won’t spoil it. This one’s an absolute treat that’ll make even the sleepiest of Halloween Marathon audiences sit up and cheer. What an excellent lineup this is turning out to be! What’s next, Ygor?

“Something called Suitable Flesh. I think it’s new.”

That looks very promising, indeed! A 2023 adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep, written by Dennis Paoli and featuring the lovely Barbara Crampton, both of Re-Animator fame! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this one. So, Ygor, what is the name of the last movie?

“Trick or Treat!”

Not now, Ygor, it isn’t Halloween yet. 

“That’s the name of the film! Trick or Treat!”

Oh! The 1986 heavy metal ghost story with cameos from Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne? Or one of the other movies with the same or similar title? 

“Umm … the first one! Yup! Pretty sure!”

Good grief, it’s Wicker Men all over again. (Sigh) OK, there you have it, folks. The seven films that make up this year’s 12-Hour Halloween Movie Marathon. It really does look like an amazing event, well worth losing a night of sleep over. It takes place on Saturday, Oct. 28th at the Globe Cinema (617, 8 Ave. S.W.) and goes from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning. Tickets are $20 per person, or $18 for students and seniors. Leave when you’ve had enough, or stay ’til the end! Dress up for the costume contest, and be ready for other surprises throughout the night. Happy Halloween!

And Ygor? You can go ahead and eat your green pill now.

For the schedule, tickets and more information, please go to