24-Hour Horror-Thon Wrap Up; Or, I Survived 24 Hours of Horror Films and All I Got Was An Awesome Experience, PART 2

When we last left off, I was discussing the merits of bromance in the middle of shark attacks. There are many. Sadly, Tintorera was not made as the TV miniseries it was clearly intended to be. That said, the charitable souls at Exhumed had more entertainment to offer.

hosrThe House on Sorority Row (1983)

Exhumed Description: Over the last sixteen years we’ve shown a lot of slasher films. But we have never shown this one before. I know that’s not much of a clue, but that’s all I’ve got…

Exhumed has run through a number of slasher films. 2011’s ‘thon seemed to be a high-point with back-to-back screenings of Blood Diner and The Burning, so my expectations were high…and sadly unmet. I don’t blame Exhumed due to the fact that they’ve screened so many slasher films. In fact, I blame the filmmakers responsible for The House on Sorority Row. It’s the kind of low-rent, forgettable slasher trash that makes a lot of what was released in the early ’80s indistinguishable. One interesting side thought: part of the plot hinges on a confusion of genders in relation to the killer. This idea seemed to be prevalent in a lot of slasher films, probably as a direct response to Psycho, but it’s really odd that a subgenre so heavily identified by its masculinity and finding an audience in mostly men so consistently returns to gender identity issues.

nighttrainNight Train to Terror (1985)

Exhumed Description: Ridiculously inept and absurd horror movie mess that actually is pretty entertaining despite being a complete train wreck

I’ll preface this by stating that I love horror anthologies. I’ll make a slight addendum to that by noting that I also love Richard Moll. These two things never fail me. Night Train to Terror is no exception. In fact, Night Train to Terror smashes these two loves of mine together in what might be the most delirious, crazed 98 minutes of film I’ve ever experienced. To put it bluntly, this movie defies description. A work of unrelenting terror, or a brilliant experiment in surrealist humor? You be the judge. Just rest assured that you’ll experience a struggle between Heaven and Hell scored by gloriously synthesized ’80s pop-rock, all while experiencing the joys of watching Richard Moll mug at the camera in multiple roles.

shiversShivers (1975)

Exhumed Description: Unsettling early horror/pseudo-zombie film from another one of the most highly regarded genre directors of all time

Shivers, aka They Came From Within, aka The Parasite Murders, aka The Film With A Hundred Alternate Titles, is actually one of the most critically underrated horror films of the 1970s. I’ve actually devoted a fair amount of coverage to its thematic elements elsewhere, but it bears repeating: Shivers is a fantastic film both as a traditional horror film and as a taboo-breaking form of empowerment. Of all the films in the festival, it was probably the most disturbing because of the way it handled sexuality in its lumping of all forms together as deviant. The crowd around me became noticeably skittish once Cronenberg began playing with traditional sexual roles, which is probably the best compliment anyone could have paid the film as that was clearly the intended reaction. If you have the opportunity, hunt a copy down.

Golden_Voyage_of_SinbadThe Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

Exhumed Description: Rousing fantasy/action/giant monster movie

While a Ray Harryhausen film is always appreciated, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad did seem to be stretching the marathon’s horror concept a bit far. Caroline Munro helped me overcome any reservations I may have had. The film itself is a fun early ’70s actioner that sees Sinbad stumble into a scenario that sees him forced to stop an evil magician, find a great treasure, and fight a centaur. So, typical work for the swashbuckling hero. The real star of the film, though, is the set design. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is impressive in the way so many old action films look impressive, free of tacky computer-generated landscapes and abundant in the charm of its beautifully-constructed studio sets.

toxiczombiesToxic Zombies (1980)

Exhumed Description: Dumb zombie movie we showed ages ago and vowed we’d never show again. And yet, here we are…

What separates a Flesheater fromĀ Toxic Zombies is the conviction in which one attempts to be earnest while the other clearly knows it’s silly; Flesheater is funny because everyone involved seriously thought they were making a scary movie, while Toxic Zombies just sort of exists because it can’t decide whether it wants to go into full-on parody by turning mischievous pot farmers into undead zombies with a gnawing case of the munchies or it wants to be a regular horror film trying to wring fear out of those same zombies.

darkmanDarkman (1990)

Exhumed Description: Fun action movie (with sci-fi/horror overtones) directed by a fan favorite

Also known as that action film starring Liam Neeson where he doesn’t chop people in the throat. Another fun action diversion on the part of Exhumed, Darkman was Sam Raimi’s first action movie and you can clearly see elements of his later Spider-Man films at work in it. Borrowing elements from serial pulp heroes like The Shadow and Batman while also incorporating the horror elements of The Phantom of the Opera, Darkman is a frenzied merging of high-brow and low-brow sensibilities that almost lapses into the realm of parodying the other deathly serious, overly dark comic adaptations that were being released at the time the film came out. Thankfully, Raimi’s a good enough director to know how to make the silly and the sappy congruent, and prevents the film from becoming too overbearing by providing those sorts of moments as a counter-balance to violence.

demons2Demons 2 (1986)

Exhumed Description: Horror movie sequel that is not nearly as good as the original, but is still pretty entertaining in its own right

As Exhumed noted in its description, Demons 2 is no Demons, but then no film is. The original Demons might be the highpoint of ’80s Italian excess, including absurd levels of gore, mind-blowing dialogue, and one of the most bizarre finales you’ll ever see to any film, ever (hint: it involves a dirtbike and a samurai sword). Demons 2 tries to match the kind of idiot zen state its predecessor achieved but doesn’t quite make it despite a commendable effort. With that in mind, the film is its own special kind of wacky. It contains one of the instances I can think of in which a group of people actually attempt to dance to a Smiths song, and a pregnant woman is attacked by a Muppet. Or maybe it’s a demon baby? I’m not sure, but I know the cute little guy stole my heart. Clearly, not a serious film, Demons 2 was probably the best way to close the marathon — start with Billy Zane, end with an evil Muppet. That’s coming full-circle and providing the perfect ending to a great marathon.

Author: Robert Skvarla

Robert is a contributing writer at Cinedelphia who is finishing up his undergrad at Temple University in Strategic Communication. He writes for a number of local publications including City Paper and in the past has failed to maintain a series of rambling blogs related to pop culture. In his free time, he also enjoys strange music, offbeat art, and weird people. Follow him on Twitter @RobertSkvarla.

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