He's Calling From Inside the House! Get Out! GET OUT!
This week, The Onion’s AV Club asked schlock director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) to program a 24-hour horror movie marathon for their readers. You can see Roth’s response here. Roth isn’t much of a director—his films are more notable for gore and tits than any genuine scares—and he seems way too pleased with himself (it seems like every movie he talks about can somehow be related back to his own work, despite the fact that he’s talking about horror and slasher classics, while his own work is usually derivative and boring).
Nevertheless, he has some good taste in horror movies, and this is a great idea. So I’m pleased to present to you, dear Incerterrorists, my own 24 hour horror movie marathon program. Read on… if you dare.
First of all, Roth designed his own marathon to run from noon on a hypothetical Saturday to noon the following Sunday; this makes sense to me. That gives participants time to get up, eat a big breakfast, get some caffeine in their systems, and then sit down to watch 24 hours of blood, ghosts, and demons. Start any later, and people are liable to get fatigued early into the marathon. Plus, it gives us more of the day Sunday to recover.
With this list, I’ve deliberately left out both the classic Universal monster movies and most of the popular Hammer Horror movies—I could easily fill an entire marathon with Boris Karloff and Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. So I won’t.
Noon-- Night of the Living Dead (dir. George A. Romero, 1968)
An oldie but a goodie. Light on the gore, heavy on the tension, Romero’s zombie classic will set the mood for the festivities without overdoing things too quickly.
1:30—The Shining (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
The greatest haunted house movie ever. Here’s a fun fact: Stephen King hated the Kubrick adaptation of his novel, and later took part in an effort to create a new film version for TV starring Steven Webber (of Wings and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and all sorts of other things nobody likes). It sucked ass. Here’s another fun fact: Stephen King is an idiot for not liking the Kubrick movie.
4:00-- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir. Tobe Hooper, 1974)
The Citizen Kane of slasher movies. Seriously. This is one well put-together movie—and it’s not as gory as you think it’s going to be, if you haven’t seen it (in fact, there’s no gore at all, really). It’s just really, really scary.
5:30—Suspiria (dir. Dario Argento, 1977)
It seems like there’s been a backlash against Dario Argento lately, probably because everything he’s touched in the past decade has turned to shit (seriously, try watching his version of Phantom of the Opera or his God-awful Masters of Horror episode-- featuring The [fake] Shining's Steven Webber-- for proof). Nevertheless, he’s also responsible for some great films, and Suspiria-- beautiful, elegant, gory, and terrifying—is one of his best.
7:00—The Exorcist (dir. William Friedkin, 1973)
Let Jesus fuck you!
9:00—The Wicker Man (dir. Robin Hardy, 1975)
The first of two “horror musicals” we’ll be watching during this marathon. Forget what you heard about the Neil Labute/ Nicolas Cage remake—this is one damn good movie. Scary, weird, sexy, and altogether awesome. Brit Ekland’s naked song and dance scene is especially memorable, even though it turns out they used a body double because the director was reportedly dissatisfied with her ass for some reason.
10:30—Black Christmas (dir, Bob Clark, 1974)
I’ve written about this movie on this blog before, so I won’t say much about it here, except to reiterate what I’ve said all along: Scariest movie ever.
Midnight—Halloween (dir. John Carpenter, 1978)
Largely considered to be one of the best slasher movies of all time, and directly inspired by the film we just watched.
1:30—Demoni (Demons) (dir. Lamberto Bava, 1985)
A little break from the intensity of the last two movies—this is the kind of movie they used to show on the USA Network at three in the morning when I was a kid. Basically, you’ve got a group of people in a movie theater, and they start to turn into green-paint vomiting ghouls… for some reason. It’s actually more like a zombie movie than a demon movie, but… Well, I don’t want to give too much away. Needless to say, it wallows in its low budget, Eurotrash griminess. It’s not to be missed.
3:00—Alien (dir. Ridley Scott, 1979)
There aren’t a lot of monster movies on this list. So here’s one—the greatest one of all time, if you ask me.
5:00—Hellraiser (dir. Clive Barker, 1987)
Most of Clive Barker’s efforts are kinda… meh. And the vast majority of the Hellraiser movies are profoundly unwatchable. That’s why it’s surprising to realize that the first two are actually totally awesome. Hell, it turns out, is like an S & M club that you can never leave, populated by insect demons and ghouls with impossible piercings. This movie’s genuinely scary, due in no small part to the connection it makes between sex and terror.
6:30-- Hellbound: Hellraiser II (dir. Tony Randel, 1988)
Okay, the only sequel on the list-- and I even had to leave out my all-time favorite slasher movie A Nightmare on Elm Street to make room for it. It just seems to me that the first two Hellraiser movies link together to tell a larger story in a way most horror movies and their sequels do not. Think Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, only with people who don’t have skin.
8:00—Cannibal! The Musical (dir. Trey Parker, 1996)
After spending three hours in Clive Barker’s hell, we’re probably ready for an intellectual palate-cleanser. So here’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, years before South Park, in a film they made while undergrads at the University of Colorado. The movie tells the “true” story of Alferd Packer, a man convicted of murder and cannibalism in the late 19th century, with singing and dancing. As the announcer in the trailer put it, this film is done “In the tradition of Friday the 13th… and Oklahoma."
9:30-- Frankenweenie (dir. Tim Burton, 1984)
A comic/ horror short about a boy and his resurrected monster dog. Something light, to prepare us for the tension of our final film…
10:00—Odishon (Audition) (dir. Takashi Miike, 1999)
And finally, to end our festival, the most fucked-up movie I’ve ever seen. If Tobe Hooper and David Lynch could somehow have a kid together, I think that kid would be Takashi Miike. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is the most brutal, intense movie I’ve ever seen. Like an Eli Roth film, this movie revels in physicality and carnage. Unlike an Eli Roth film, this movie is shot beautifully and has a larger point to make beyond just blood and guts and gratuitous nudity. The perfect film to end a horror marathon on, I think.
So that’s it. Already, I’m filled with remorse. No Psycho? What about Phantasm? And for God’s sake, what about the classic silent horror movies like Nosfertatu and the Barrymore Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Ah well. There’s always next year.