Dispatches from the 11th Annual “Shock Around the Clock” 24-hour Horror Marathon

Drexel Theater, Columbus, OH – October 12-13, 2019

“I may seem scary, but I have the heart of a small child…I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

-Robert Bloch, as quoted by Stephen King

There is always something cool going on in this town. 

After several years of unproductive hemming and hawing, including missed opportunities beyond my reckoning, 2019 marked my maiden voyage as an attendee of the annual “Shock Around The Clock” horror movie marathon. I couldn’t be happier I finally decided to take the plunge. Celebrating its eleventh year at Columbus, Ohio’s historic Drexel Theater, SATC takes place each October in a single, continuous session starting at noon on the Saturday of Ohio State football’s bye week and ending at or around noon of the next day. Well over 200 bores, ghouls, and children of the night piled into the Drexel and peacefully cohabitated for a festive day of sights, sounds, smells, and screams fit to thrill the living and wake the dead (if we weren’t already at capacity). Continue reading “Dispatches from the 11th Annual “Shock Around the Clock” 24-hour Horror Marathon”

Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. IV – “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” (1984)

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Gateway Film Center, Columbus, Ohio – Friday, October 13, 2017*

To celebrate the most recent Friday the 13th falling in October, Columbus, Ohio’s Gateway Film Center pulled off a wonderful idea in high style: a back-to-back screening of the first four Friday the 13th films – known colloquially by many fans as “the good ones” – starting at 7:00 on the night itself and ending in Saturday the 14th’s wee hours, just like Friday the 13th Part 3 technically began. Naturally, I was second row aisle for all the carnage, and what follow are breathless, fragmented field reports from the scene, covering all the scenes that I saw fit. Read on if you’re maybe not above a little trespassing on condemned property, definitely not afraid of 3-D yo-yos, if you instinctively shrug off obscure talk downtown of a “death curse”, and know enough to come in out of the rain. We’re gonna party like Ted (Part 2) was bringing the booze and Ted (Part 4) was picking the entertainment…

Continue reading “Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. IV – “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” (1984)”

Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. III – “Friday the 13th Part 3 In 3-D” (1982)

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Gateway Film Center, Columbus, Ohio – Friday, October 13, 2017*

To celebrate the most recent Friday the 13th falling in October, Columbus, Ohio’s Gateway Film Center pulled off a wonderful idea in high style: a back-to-back screening of the first four Friday the 13th films – known colloquially by many fans as “the good ones” – starting at 7:00 on the night itself and ending in Saturday the 14th’s wee hours, just like Friday the 13th Part 3 technically began. Naturally, I was second row aisle for all the carnage, and what follow are breathless, fragmented field reports from the scene, covering all the scenes that I saw fit. Read on if you’re maybe not above a little trespassing on condemned property, definitely not afraid of 3-D yo-yos, if you instinctively shrug off obscure talk downtown of a “death curse”, and know enough to come in out of the rain. We’re gonna party like Ted (Part 2) was bringing the booze and Ted (Part 4) was picking the entertainment… Continue reading “Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. III – “Friday the 13th Part 3 In 3-D” (1982)”

Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. II – “Friday the 13th Part 2” (1981)

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Gateway Film Center, Columbus, Ohio – Friday, October 13, 2017*

To celebrate the most recent Friday the 13th falling in October, Columbus, Ohio’s Gateway Film Center pulled off a wonderful idea in high style: a back-to-back screening of the first four Friday the 13th films – known colloquially by many fans as “the good ones” – starting at 7:00 on the night itself and ending in Saturday the 14th’s wee hours, just like Friday the 13th Part 3 technically began. Naturally, I was second row aisle for all the carnage, and what follow are breathless, fragmented field reports from the scene, covering all the scenes that I saw fit. Read on if you’re maybe not above a little trespassing on condemned property, definitely not afraid of 3-D yo-yos, if you instinctively shrug off obscure talk downtown of a “death curse”, and know enough to come in out of the rain. We’re gonna party like Ted (Part 2) was bringing the booze and Ted (Part 4) was picking the entertainment…

Continue reading “Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. II – “Friday the 13th Part 2” (1981)”

Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. I – “Friday the 13th” (1980)

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Gateway Film Center, Columbus, Ohio – Friday, October 13, 2017*

Columbus, Ohio’s Gateway Film Center is a nationally recognized bastion of chameleonic quality cinema independent in origin, intention, and execution, run by grateful, energized movie lovers for grateful, energized movie lovers. Art house fare, draft house fare, and grind house fare all coexist here in surprising harmony with standard but still carefully selected multiplex fodder. Add into the mix a dizzying number of Ohio premieres and classic film revivals with the accent equally on “classic” and “film” (as in 35 millimeter film, the format in which I saw “Creepshow” earlier this year, or 70mm, in which I saw an exclusive engagement of Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” a year and a half ago). Continue reading “Live-blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. I – “Friday the 13th” (1980)”

Movie review: “The Babadook” (2014)

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“I’m sick, Sam. I need help. I just spoke with Mrs. Roach. We’re going to stay there tonight. You want that? I want to make it up to you, Sam. I want you to meet your dad. It’s beautiful there. You’ll be happy.”

A storybook ghoul looms just behind a terrified child, dark, claw-fingered arms outstretched to a seemingly impossible wingspan, rising and expanding like a phoenix from the ash, then hanging there, poised to descend, poised to strike, savoring the fear. Fierce, bulging eyes pierce the otherwise enveloping darkness, punctuating its lusty rictus grin of longsaw teeth, frozen on the crudely illustrated page, at least for the moment. The creature had been safely contained on the wrong side of the child’s bedroom door, but it knocked, insistently, some would say maniacally. “Let me in!” it bellowed in the little boy’s imagination, though in reality, all it could ever do was to say, “Ba-ba…dook! Dook! Doooook!” and bang on the door as he retreated under the covers. Heaven help you, little boy, if it ever got in. Heaven help you and your mother. Continue reading “Movie review: “The Babadook” (2014)”

Movie review: “It Follows” (2015)

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“It’s been suggested that, when confronted with the inevitable – like a building collapsing on top of you to kill you – most people are strangely content to sit back…and just let it happen.”

Unlike other horror films dealing with the overt supernatural – and most seem to at least dabble in it anymore, whatever their pretenses to brutal reality might be otherwise – the lean, effective indie thriller It Follows has the good sense to stick strictly to the narrow parameters it has established rather than using them as a jumping off point for increasingly bizarre and frenetic action. The movie is piano wire taut, clinical, and devoid of filler, with an uncluttered story and uncomplicated twin character motivations: friendship and survival. There are also tinges of sexual lust present amongst the interpersonal relationships and the standard pleas for calm in the face of the terrifying unknown, but neither detracts whatsoever from the story’s straight line momentum, or even proves much of a speed bump. Continue reading “Movie review: “It Follows” (2015)”