Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Circle Cinema Slumber Party

WARNING: There is lots of blood in this entry!
While a part of me (a very large part) loves the innocence of classic movies, musicals, screwball sex comedies etc, another part loves gore films from the 70s and 80s. I like them much better than straight horror because they rarely jump out and try to scare you. In gore, you pretty much know every death about three minutes before it happens. Gore films are hilarious and satisfying.
I had the pleasure of attending the 1st ever Circle Cinema Slumber Party. We met up at 10:00 pm for a night of cult horror classics, keeping in mind the promised $10 cash back on our $20 tickets if we could handle an all-night gore fest. The 110-seat theatre sold out quickly, and nearly all of us stayed the entire night to watch some of the best worst movies ever made.
About my last sentence: there is a stark difference between “best worst” movies and “worst best” movies. The order is key in telling the difference. Best Worst movies are cult cult classics and other bad movies that happen to be so terrible that they inadvertently become immensely enjoyable, while Worst Best movies are those that we know are classics and should be revered, but tend to be staunch and difficult to sit through. Everyone has different Worst Best movies, but mine happen to be 60s and 70s European Cinema, especially Fellini and Godard.
Our first movie was “Return of the Living Dead” (1985), an enjoyable satire of zombie movies, specifically “Night of the Living Dead”. After two dim-witted employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally bust open a tank with a radioactive dead body inside, The gases leak in to the air and wake up the neighboring cemetery. Yes, there are blatant factual errors about the story of “Night of the Living Dead”, like saying it happened in ’69 when the movie was made in ’61, but it’s all in good fun. You can see the strings that make the skeletons move, and at one point a puppeteer is visible. It’s still a really fun movie.

Number two was a surprise to the guests until it started. “Hausu” is a Japanese horror flick from 1977, we knew from the first minute that this was going to be fun. It is summer vacation, and seven teenage girls are heading to Gorgeous’ (yes, that’s her name) aunt’s house to spend some of their vacation in the country. Of course, the house is haunted and systematically eats them (or maybe it’s the aunt controlling it? It’s really hard to tell). Basically, this is a feature-length acid trip without the acid. Cats have sparkling eyes, a girl is eaten by a piano while giggling, etc. To tell more would make it seem unbelievable.

Hopefully this film will soon have a DVD release. The print I watched had a Janus Films logo, so some restoration has occured.
After a shortbreak to return to planet earth, we watched “The Burning”, the embarrassing debut of the Weinstein brothers, Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter. A camp caretaker is horribly burned after a prank gone wrong (dubbed by my friends and me as the best prank ever!!). He returns to the camp,bent on revenge. Who cares if all of the offending campers are long gone? He’s going to kill everyone in his path, including this group, out rafting to find one of the canoes that mysteriously went missing in the night.

The fourth, and my second favorite aside House was “Night Warning”, a reverse-oedipus complex thriller from 1983. It stars Susan Tyrell as Aunt Cheryl (you may recognize her as Ramona from Cry Baby), who is in love with her nephew who is in her care after his parents’ freak death (an awesome beheading followed by the car going down a cliff, then exploding!). As she descends in to madness, Billy begins to figure things out. But is it too late?
This movie was the best one for re-enacting “Mystery Science Theater 3000”. In fact, one man deemed me “the winner” for a comment that I added. Unfortunately, it was too dirty to share here.
The only youtube clip that I can find is the opening car crash, and for some reason they cut the explosion, which happens literally one second after this video ends.Oh well, you get the idea:

The final movie was the other surprise listing. It was “Race with the Devil” (1975), starring Peter Fonda. It is a car chase/occult thriller hybrid. Unfortunately, it started at abuot 5:30 am, and after the first ten minutes, I succumbed to my urge to sleep. I couldn’t help it! I’m one of those people who likes at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and I had to sing at church in the morning. My friends seemed to enjoy it.
I had a wonderful time at the Circle Slumber Party. I can’t wait for next year!

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