I took in the 4th annual all night horror show at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. For those not familiar with the New Bev, it’s an LA landmark for fans of kick ass double features and special movie events. Think, The Alamo Draft House LA style. I say that because Mondo Mystery Movie is doing a six show screening next week, complete with posters and recently the Austin connection has been growing and growing. Oh, and when the theater almost went under a couple years ago a very famous fan by the name of Quentin Tarantino stepped in to the save the day and ensured that as long as he is alive and rich, “the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm.” Except, of course, when they put together an all-nighter to start the Halloween season.
12 Hours to go: Beyond the Door
The place was packed. A sellout. Almost everyone attending was wearing a Fright Rags shirt and most had blankets, pillows, or boxes of pizza (something I wish I’d thought of) for the long haul. After a solid 10 mins of horror trailers Beyond the Door the door finally started. It’s an Italian knock off of The Exorcist which features some riotous potty-mouthed kids and some incredibly random goofiness that only the Italians would dare put on screen. Like the infatuation with Campbell’s Green Pea Soup. A fun way to start. Most of the murmuring I heard afterwards was along the line of, “What the hell was that?” and “I have no idea what happened, but I liked when the little girl told her brother to go stuff it.”
10 Hours to go: The Creature from the Black Lagoon
Next up was a screening in 3D of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Anaglyphic glasses were passed out and the theater was still at 100% capacity. No wimp outs…yet. I felt very honored to see the classic 1954 film on 35mm in 3D. Not many people alive on this planet can say they’ve done so. Maybe your gramps? Julie Adams was smoking hot. It didn’t play great to the audience and I’m not sure if that is because it’s not campy enough to garner laughs or it’s too predictable for modern audiences. Whatever. I freakin’ loved it.
8 Hours to go: Hell Night
Onto Hell Night after more trailers. The first of the early birds have called it quits. I’m having a hard time breathing from the stuffy recycled air, but wouldn’t trade it for the world. Nothing a quick break, some Pringles and Cherry Coke couldn’t fix. Hell Night features a cute Linda Blair and some friends trapped in mansion with some pissed off former residents. Of all the films this one played the best. Everyone was in their groove. Plenty of laughs and plenty of real chills. If I had to make a complaint it would be that this was the only movie in the lineup that was actually scary and certainly the only one that caused noticeable jumps from the audience. I would have loved to seen more horror films with teeth.
6 Hours to go: Brain Damage
This movie was a secret until the moment it popped on screen. It appeared that many people hung around just to see what was going to be pulled out of the vault. Prior to the film we were treated to a series of trailers featuring bugs, reptiles, cats, and other things of nature along with a great Halloween cartoon short staring Bugs Bunny. The film starts. Everyone is juiced up on caffeine or passed out. It’s Brain Damage – the 1988 cult horror comedy from Frank Henenlotter. Some dozed off. Others, like me, watched every wicked second. The Basket Case cameo within the film brought the place alive with laughter and clapping. Go ’80s horror nerds! Good times. Alright, I am beyond tired now.
4 Hours to go: The Pit and the Pendulum
I watch ’til I can no longer fight it and the last vestiges of wake depart. In other words, I lasted about 5 minutes. Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs and friends in a period piece from Stuart Gordon based on an Edgar Allan Poe short. It’s a million volts of crazy and since it has the most recognizable cast of the lineup it plays well to those left. I’d guess we were just shy of 50% of capacity by now. I’ve seen the film several times before so I don’t feel bad about falling asleep. I did manage to murder a delicious Apple Danish at some point during the movie. That was a good call.
2 hours to go: Planet Horror
The sugar rush from the Danish quickly dissipates and I doze in and out of consciousness. An interesting thing to do during a movie that features crazy bug aliens impregnating a woman with a tube full of space sperm. In between dozing I noticed three things: 1. The budget of the movie seemed to be spent almost entirely on caves that people could run around in. 2. The Preggorsaurus Rex lady would not stop screaming for more than 2 fucking seconds during the entire last 30 minutes. And 3. The good guy seemed to really enjoy running around the caves like a sissy nanny while dropping incredibly important items.
0 Hours to go: House of Pies
We leave the theater and walk out into the sunlight and I’m instantly reminded of Las Vegas and all those times I walked into a casino at night and stumbled out into daylight, broke and hungover. Except I’m not broke or hungover this time and my friend and I pile into the car and head to House of Pies to get our breakfast grub on and wax nostalgic about the night. Our conclusion: Next year we are ordering Domino’s during the show. The guy that did is a genius.
Thanks New Beverly for an awesome night!