saturday night at the movies…

By amy ~ May 1st, 2013 @ 12:01 am

deadbydawnAnd I’m back – yay!

The Dead By Dawn 20th Anniversary made for an enjoyably gruelling weekend considering it was actually Thursday, Friday and Sunday as well as Saturday, although the last night was a relatively sedate affair given my otherwise fab hotel’s nothing-short-of-brutal 10am checkout time having me in bed by half one. The first night anywhere new always has that added will-I-or-won’t-I go the wrong way on the way back and get lost at 2am, but thanks to a killer sense of direction and on-BlackBerry Google Maps as back up it’s never happened yet; if I had managed it, I suspect it would have been somewhere not too far away from Edinburgh’s Haymarket, which looks to be the epicentre of the fenced off, dug up and maze-like tramworks on the city’s roads at the moment. What should have been a straightforward ten minute (brisk) walk back took almost twenty, thanks to having to turn at the end of the road barely thirty seconds from my hotel’s entrance and double back along the fences, in the opposite direction and down a different street to cross over (I entertained myself by pretending to plan a prison escape, having finally finished the Oz boxset).

I arrived in Edinburgh in leisurely fashion mid-afternoon Thursday, and soon forgot the oddness of not having to immediately shower, set out work kit and get cracking by way of a sandwich, a brew and a tea-time nap before strolling into town. Since the weekend itinerary didn’t begin until half past eleven and I had already promised myself to lay off the chips and curry sauce until at least Day 2, I decided to kickstart the mayhem myself and headed first for the lovely Cameo cinema just up the road from DBD HQ and not without a fair bit of trepidation, catch the shiny new Evil Dead remake on the sly …which wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I’d feared despite predictably lacking any of the ingenuity, humour and homespun (ie. microbudgeted) charm of the 1981 original. It was certainly vastly superior to the smug, smart-arsed atrocity that was Cabin in the Woods, but then that’s not really a benchmark that helps anybody in all honesty – if you are twenty and probably didn’t even realise it was a remake, you will like it. It’s also gory as hell, for anybody who’s only in attendance to watch the body parts fly and why not, after all? But not scary (unlike the original, at least back in the day). And sadly, not funny either although do wait until the end of the credits, and the acting is, well, it’s better than Cabin in the Woods.

To what extent ‘charm’ is made up of fond nostalgia for the days when various pals’ older brothers rented horror tapes out from the video shop for us to watch in six hour blocks until we choked on our Wham bars and Monster Munch and had nightmares for a week is also debatable, but a little sentimentality for the days when people got together in the garage, bolted a camera to a dolly made out of a skateboard, set it rolling and dragged it bumpily through the woods behind the house to illustrate what the Unstoppable Approach Of Unspeakable Eeee-Vil’s POV might be like is probably forgiveable to most over 35s, especially in comparison to the act of sitting down in front of a computer and clicking on things no matter how impressive the software, and the skill required to use it. To be fair, one huge thumbs up for New-Evil-Dead is that there was strictly no CGI – all done with makeup and prosthetics which is a truly heartening development (unless you were unlucky enough to live near whichever shop was responsible for supplying the production team with raspberry and chocolate syrup and had fancied an ice-cream sundae).

I sat blissfully through myriad new and debut releases and lots of short films as well as a few childhood classics in all their fishing line and plasticine stop-frame glory, not least Basket Case and Brain Damage introduced by director Frank Henenlotter himself – woohoo! The most genial man in horror ever also came back to introduce our special showing of 1959’s The Tingler and tell us about when he saw it at the age of nine (and I personally would have been happy if Frank had returned to the stage between features to just talk about his day; maybe an idea for next year) and take a picture of the entire audience pretending to be dead for the Dead Pix section of his Facebook page (if I can find it once it’s up, I’ll post a link, since I’m in it). Plus the fabulous sight that is An American Werewolf In London on the big screen where it belongs, Hellraiser on proper 35mm (the first 18 certificate film I ever managed to get into the long-gone Cannon cinema Hull to see) and last but not least, my teenage Bestest Favourite (which I suspect my mother can still quote verbatim from start to end), Evil Dead II to close proceedings on top of some short story readings, the annual Shit Film Amnesty and a man from New York who swallowed a five foot balloon and hammered a fork from the café bar up his nose. And that’s it until next year. Or at least until Frightfest. Never let it be said that nerds don’t know how to enjoy themselves.

My favourites: The Battery (made-for-$6000 audience award winner and shot on a DSLR: see it if you think you don’t like horror films), Modus Anomali (see it and if you can work out what the hell it was about, please tell me and I’ll tell Adele DBD because she doesn’t know either) and Fist Of Jesus (for those who remember Brutal Relax, this is the latest step on the road to a full length feature).

As for here, standard blog to follow now I’ve finished recording my weekend, but sometimes it’s fun to remember that it’s my bit of WordPress and I can write about what I want – yay! More soon, and I’ll try to remember to stick something in about work. Promise.filmhouse02

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