With Day 4 of Exhumed Films’ and PhilaMOCA’s 2013 Tele-Terror Fest falling on a weekend, there was time for more 1970s televised horrors. Saturday’s festivities included not one, but two double features. That’s right, a double, double feature.
The first double feature (whether intentionally or coincidentally) had Star Trek DNA. The first film The Horror at 37,000 Feet features William Shatner as an alcoholic ex-priest who battles his personal demons on a plane while helping defend his fellow passengers from what looks like a satanic pool of diarrhea. This was an enjoyable film that had the feel of an old Twilight Zone episode and was also reminiscent of the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing favorite Horror Express.
Between the first and second films, the programmers treated us to a 35mm print of Shatner’s Twilight Zone appearance, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” Yep, the one with the gremlin on the airplane wing.
Next up was the Gene (creator of Star Trek) Roddenberry-penned Spectre. Originally intended as a pilot for an occult Sherlock Holmes-inspired series, its story follows an occult detective and his partner, a man of science, who investigate the dealings of a businessman who may or may not be practicing the dark arts. This film had a lot of memorable moments, including one scene that is hard to believe made it to TV in the ‘70s, but between these memorable moments it tended to drag. In spite of the slow pace, it was fun to see something that was so X-Files-esque that came out 15 years prior to the start of Mulder and Scully’s iconic investigations.
The second of the day’s double features began with Where Have All the People Gone, an apocalyptic, somber film in which a solar flare causes most of the world’s population to turn to white powder. Feeling at times like Night of the Comet and other times like the film I Am Legend should’ve been, this was a deep, brooding meditation on the hardships of living in a world decimated by cataclysm. The horror here comes less from the animals driven mad or the event itself, but from the people as they struggle to deal with the collapse of their civilization and everything they hold dear.
Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby closed the night out. While lacking the psychodrama that made the first Rosemary film so special, the direct-to-TV sequel was charming in its own way. Split into three parts, it tells the story of antichrist Adrian as he comes of age. The film gets more interesting as it goes along, but a drinking game that requires the viewer to drink anytime someone on screen utters “Hail Satan,” could prove fatal.