Another Midnites for Maniacs theater crawl. Starting at the Castro.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999): I remember seeing this movie when it came out in theaters. And I remember both the hype (super low budget, heavily promoted on the Internet back before that was a thing) and the backlash (people complaining that it wasn't scary, mainly because [spoiler!] it never actually showed the witch). But mostly I remember a coworker seeing it a few days before me, and just ripping on it constantly. Thing is, I really didn't like this guy, so I went in there determined to like it just to spite the guy. 14 years later, I'm convinced I was right. It's an effectively scary movie, not for the mystery as much as for the terror of being lost in the woods and friends turning on each other. And for you kids out there, this was before you could just whip out your smartphone and pull up a map with GPS to lead you out of there. Getting lost in the woods used to be a real thing. God damn I feel old.
RINGU (1998): The original Japanese version of THE RING, the terrifying story of a cursed VHS tape that kills you one week after you watch it. Kids, a VHS tape is...awww, what's the use? Now this one I saw originally in the best possible way. I ordered a set of bootleg VHS tapes off the Internet because A: there was one movie I wanted (I don't even remember what it was anymore) and B: it was a great price. Something like $25 for 6 tapes of J-horror (although I don't think we were calling Japanese horror movies J-horror yet). So I pop in RING--alone at home--and this story unfolds about a videotape that after you watch it the phone rings and you have one week left to live. And I swear to God, as soon as the movie was over, my phone rang! It was just a friend, and we had a good laugh over it. But for a split second...nah, I'll never admit to actually believing it. But it is still one of the best J-horror movies ever, if not the best (for my money the only competition is the Japanese version of DARK WATER.)
Then a brisk walk to Roxie, pop into a convenience store to grab a beer for the theater, and on to the midnight movie.
DEMONS (1985): Produced and co-written by Dario Argento, directed by Lamberto Bava, a brisk, funny, and actually scary story of a cursed/infected mask that unleashes a plague of demons/zombies/call 'em whatever you want inside a theater where the audience is watching...a silly, cheesy horror movie. This is a film about genre film making, and more importantly genre film watching. And it was a good 11 years before SCREAM came out and (eventually, through multiple sequels) wrung every last bit of cleverness out of that idea. But this is still a good, fun movie and some of the scenes mixing the parallel action in the theater and in the film-within-a-film are pretty damn smart. A really cool way to end the night.
Next month, on November 8th M4M brings you Acid Westerns with Johnny Depp in this year's THE LONE RANGER and DEAD MAN at the Castro, and a TBA midnight movie at the Roxie.
Total Running Time: 265 minutes
My Total Minutes: 339,428