It was something I did often in high school and college – the ol’ all-night movie marathon. As a 36-year-old married adult with 2 children, the concept of staying up all through the night watching movies is something that sounds unreasonable and completely illogical. But then I saw the advertisement pop up in my Facebook feed… the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island, NY, was hosting an all-night horror movie marathon. It took me over a week of intense debate as to whether I should do it, but on Saturday morning, with my wife’s permission (of course), I purchased my ticket for their 2018 Up All Night “Pay to Get Out” Horror Movie Marathon and headed out to meet my fate… 8 horror films in 13 hours, one last great All Nighter… for now.
First off, kudos to the Cinema Arts Centre for hosting such a cool event. They packed nearly an entire theater with horror fans, dressed accordingly in our favorite horror-themed t-shirts, pajamas, and tattoos. They kept their concession stands open all night with us, offering a nice selection of beers, hot and prepared foods, popcorn, candy, and of course coffee. It’s great to be able to refuel with a knish and beer at 3:00 AM. The theater also made a fun guarantee, or rather challenge, to its crowd: If you managed to stay the night, you received a $10 refund and free breakfast! Also, kudos to the horror community in NY and Long Island. Horror is the only genre that can pull off an all-night marathon!
Now the most important part, the films. The evening started promptly at 9:30 PM with movie 1 of a planned 7 with movie 8 being the “mystery movie.”
Movie 1 – 9:30 PM – Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)
Directed by James Signorelli
What a perfect choice for an opener! A movie I hadn’t seen since the video store days over 25 years ago, Elvira was even better now as I actually got all the one-liners and innuendo. Cassandra Peterson is perfect and the script is genuinely funny and the crowd had a ball with this one!
Movie 2 – 11:16 PM – Hellraiser (1987)
Written and Directed by Clive Barker
After a fun opener, we got dark and bloody real fast with Clive Barker’s body horror classic Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. While everyone remembers this film and its countless sequels for the Cenobites, led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley), this film features a duo of great unheralded horror villains: Frank Cotton, the rotting corpse regenerated by blood in a epic special effects sequence that holds up over 30 years later and Claire Higgins’ amazing turn as Julia, his lover who kills for him. While there are some aspects of logic missing, it’s still worthy of its classic status.
Movie 3 – 1:00 AM – Creepshow 2 (1987)
Directed by Michael Gornick
From the minds of horror masters Stephen King and George A. Romero comes the sequel to their 1982 anthology hit, and this time it is more hit and miss, than just hit. The stories are Old Chief Wood’nhead, The Raft, and The Hitchhiker. Most fans LOVE The Raft and the crowd applauded when it came on. The first part is poorly acted and features pretty lame effects. The Hitchhiker though is easily the best and most underrated of the entries thanks to a great performance from Lois Chiles and a relentless pace. The Raft in 2018 feels a bit… pervy.
Movie 4 – 2:37 AM – Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
Directed by Jeff Burr
The original is an all-time classic and one of the grittiest films ever made. The sequel is a complete 180, a horror-comedy with absolute wacky performances and a perverse sense of humor. This third entry is a perfectly fine horror film, but feels far beneath the first two in the series. R. A. Mihailoff is admirable as the titular villain, and Viggo Mortensen, the future Aragorn, is fun to see in an early horror role.
Movie 5 – 4:07 AM – House (1986)
Directed by Steve Miner
House is funny, campy, and a perfect middle of the marathon film. Miner is a veteran horror director, the story comes from Night of the Creeps and Monster Squad’s Fred Dekker, and there are some great performances here with William Katt and Richard Moll. House is a really entertaining haunted house horror film.
Movie 6 – 5:43 AM – Blood Feast (1963)
Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
The infamous splatter film from low-budget splatter king Herschell Gordon Lewis, Blood Feast took us closer to sunrise and I admittedly chose this for a quick nap. The beginning had the crowd roaring as Mal Arnold’s Fuad Ramses is laugh out loud funny, even if not the intention. Lewis is great and Blood Feast is a gory good time, but I needed to rest my eyes.
Movie 7 – 6:53 AM – The Stuff (1985)
Directed by Larry Cohen
The Stuff is another that I hadn’t seen since the grand ol’ video store days and it does feel longer than the 87-minute run time. But it is really funny, and Michael Moriarty delivers a terrific performance. Cohen is an auteur and this is a typical Larry Cohen film. It’s also a dead-on take about the evils of commercialism and capitalism.
Movie 8 – THE SPECIAL MYSTERY MOVIE… at 8:45 AM – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Directed by George A. Romero
Our mystery movie was the original 35mm cut of Romero’s classic, Night of the Living Dead, the zombie film that started it all… despite using the word “ghoul” and never saying the Z-word. While undeniably great and influential, I would have rather had a different mystery film. It just felt too common a pick, it’s literally in the Horror Movie starter kit. I think after starting with Elvira, they should’ve ended with a more fun horror film, perhaps Return of the Living Dead. Still, a classic is a classic.
Overall this was an awesome adventure: 13+ hours, 8 horror films, hundreds of horror fans, and a nice bagel spread to end on in the morning. The Cinema Arts Centre hosts special events all the time. Their full schedule is available on their website at cinemaartscentre.org. In September, they are hosting a Retro Picture Show Demon Night 35MM Triple Feature, showing Night of the Demons (1987), Tales From the Crypt presents: Demon Knight, and 976-EVIL. Find out more at retropictureshow.com. Cinema Arts Centre is located at 423 Park Avenue in Huntington, Long Island, NY.
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