November 17, 2013

Hudson Horror Show 8: Invasion of the Demon while you Escape from the Thing on the Express

My, how you have grown. It is hard to believe it has been four years since Hudson Horror Show first opened its doors. In that time, spanning 8 shows, the horror and exploitation loving collective has shown all manner of movies, from Italian classics like The Beyond, to American landmarks like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to classic splatter like The Evil Dead, to exploitation like Switchblade Sisters, to complete oddball titles like Inframan. and everything in between. On top of that, they have fostered the growth of the local horror community. More than a get together to watch movies, it is an extended dysfunctional family reunion. It has been amazing to see this show grow from its humble beginnings into this behemoth in such a short period of time.



After the show ended, the Hudson Horror crew asked people to post their favorite part of the day. The simple answer is to name a movie, but that really is too simple. The thing that makes each Hudson Horror show special is the entire experience of the day. It is about getting up early, going to the theater, and wait in line, watching for friends to show up, the hustle of the vendors getting set up. It's about getting inside, staking out your seat, scoping out the vendor's wares. It's about reconnecting with friends, making new friends, talking about movies and fandom. Then it's about the movies and the trailers.

Now, considering just how important the movies are, you can imagine how much I value the experience. I have made some very good friends at these shows and getting together to watch these marathons is like Christmas.



The opening event of the night was the 1973 sexploitation classic Invasion of the Bee Girls. It is a movie I had never seen before, and let me tell you, it is one weird and wacky movie. It is a movie that is built around sex and nudity and does not really have anything to do with plot. It is the story of a recently widowed scientist (Anitra Ford) who has combined her DNA with that of a bee, and has been doing that other women around town. Meanwhile, a security investigator (William Smith, who reminds me of Christopher George) is looking into mysterious deaths that seem to occur during sexual intercourse. Everything points towards the widow. Nothing is really explained and the conclusion fails to wrap much up. Still, this is one of those movies that is just weird fun and definitely a product of its time. On a side note, the movie is the first credit for screenwriter Nicolas Meyer, who went on to work on the Star Trek franchise, writing and/or directing its most popular entries (II, IV, and VI).

After the first break we returned to be faced with the special, super secret, mystery movie. It is a movie that I am not allowed to divulge title nor specific detail. Let's say that if you were not there, you missed something special. It was a movie that I am a fan of and stars someone I really like. It was a movie that I was happy to see play, made cooler by a little known alternative title. The print was in gorgeous shape and it was like seeing it for the first time, the big screen allowing previously unseen details to be seen.



Moving onto the third film of the day brings us another movie I had never seen before. The movie was 1972's Horror Express, a Spanish production that teamed Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing with Telly Savalas. It seems like a weird combination, but the movie's blend of horror, science fiction, and mystery also proved to be a little to the odd side. The movie tells the story of a creature discovered in an icy Manchurian cave that Christopher Lee believes to be the missing link. He has it crated and placed on train for transport back to England. The train also has Cushing as a rival doctor and Savalas as a Russian military captain. Horror Express is a blend of stand up classy British horror and off the wall, bonkers possession/monster movie. It is a blast watching the thing run amok on the train with Lee and Cushing racing time to figure it out and stop it. Not my favorite, but there is something definitely fun about this odd film. The print was a little marked up, but was always clear and in decent shape.



As the speeds onto its fourth film, we have arrived at the first of the co-headlining main event films. It is the first film to ask how much Kurt Russell and John Carpenter is too much Kurt Russell and John Carpenter. The movie is none other than the beyond cool Escape from New York, the dark, futuristic feature with one of the best cast ever collected in one movie. Now, this is a movie I have seen numerous times before, but I had never seen it projected and have not seen it in quite some time. This is a movie that just drips with atmosphere and cool. Russell's Snake Plissken is one of the coolest bad ass characters ever introduced to the big screen. The plot is pretty simple, in the future Manhattan has been turned into a prison and the President's plane has gone down on it. Snake is forced into going on a rescue mission, which he begrudgingly does. This is a great time and the print looked really good. The movie also features a great score by Carpenter and get this cast: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton, Tom Atkins, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers. Not bad at all.



The second half of the explosive main event was The Thing, This Russell/Carpenter team up was released less than a year after Escape from New York, during the summer of 1982. This stands up as one of the best horror films ever made, at least in my estimation. It is a movie that is creepy, mysterious, and gory all at the same time. The best part of it is that the film holds up today. The practical gore effects are still convincing, bloody, gross, and awesome, all at the same time. The paranoia, the fear, the suspicion that sweeps through the base is real. These guys are convincingly frightened for their lives. This is a very dark film in a very bright setting. Pair the strong performances with the great score by Ennio Morricone, and you have the makings of one fine movie. Now, the print was gorgeous, it was bright, vibrant, with nary a mark on it. It has come to my attention that Universal has been striking new prints of some of their touring films over the past few years, it shows.

In addition to the five movies, we got some great trailer reals. Among the trailers were Panorama Blue, Tango and Cash, Tombstone, Phantasm, Convent of the Sacred Beast, Pray for Death, Slithis, House, They Call Her One Eye, and others I can't remember. These are almost as fun as the movies themselves.

I want to thank everyone involved with Hudson Horror for continuing to put on great shows, and also congratulate them on the growth and success of the show. This show sold out well in advance of the day and was the first time they did not have tickets available at the door. The word is out, get your ticket early or suffer the consequences. People know about them, there is no escaping it and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us at show number 9!

Also, big shout out to my always growing circle of horror loving friends: Craig the Crazy Liberry Man, James Harris from DocTerror.com, Gordon and Dina of SuperCreepz, Tad Leger from Grindhouse, Michael Gingold from Fangoria, Jeff Zornow, Jordan Garren from B-Movie Film Vault, and anyone I might have missed. Not to mention the Hudson Horror team: Chris, Glenn, Dan, Sean, Errol, Bill, Marcos, and anyone else I might have missed. Love all of you crazy folks!

Updated!
Trailer List:
When Women Had Tails (1970)
Girls Gotta Play ???
Emmanuelle II (1975)
School of the Holy Beast (1974)
Panorama Blue (1974)
Children of the Corn (1984)
The People Under the Stairs (1991)
The Stepfather (1987)
Near Dark (1987)
House (1986)
Phase IV (1974)
Devils of Darkness (1965)
Slithis (1978)
Demon Seed (1977)
Tales from the Crypt (1972)
Pray for Death (1985)
I Come in Peace aka Dark Angel (1990)
Red Scorpion (1988)
Tombstone (1993)
Cobra (1986)
Tango & Cash (1989)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Strongest Man in the World (1975)
They Call Her One Eye aka Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973)
Phantasm (1979)


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