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2013 RONDO AWARD
THE MUSIC BOX MASSACRE
October 15th-16th, 2005
Regulars to our site have heard me speak of Music Box Theatre before. We've gone there to see some great films, both old and new. It's one of these beautiful old theaters that are a dying breed. So when something is playing there that we'd love to see, we have no problem making the hour drive to support this theatre. If you have one in your area, hopefully you're doing the same. So when we heard about this marathon they were going to be doing, we were ecstatic.
In my younger days, pulling an all-nighter was a breeze. Staying up all night to watch horror movies was even easier. But nowadays, there's times when I have trouble staying away through one movie if I start it too late in the evening! So when I first heard of this incredible 24-hour marathon of madness, I was excited. But then started to realize that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to stay awake the whole night. One of my complaints to promoter Rusty Nails, was that the lineup was so good, there was really no films that I wouldn't mind take a sleep break for. But luckily, that was my only complaint for the show. I figured sleep or no sleep, this was one experience that I wasn't going to miss.
To make matters worse, I actually had to work earlier that morning. So instead of being able to sleep in before heading off to the marathon, I was at work at 7:00 in the morning. I didn't get out of there early enough to catch the first movie, the screening of the uber-classic NOSFERATU, accompanied by a live organ player. I had been to the Music Box before for this same movie, so it wasn't that big of a deal to miss it.
But we did get there in time to catch the screening of PULSE, which sounded interesting. But after a few minutes into the movie, I realized that I had seen this already. Years ago, I had gotten a bootleg video tape copy of it. And after a few more minutes of the movie, I realized why I had forgotten it. Because NOTHING HAPPENS! I was more amazed at the critical raves the movie seemed to have gotten. Me personally, while it did have a couple of creepy moments, for the most part I thought it was very slow, really didn't have a story, and really didn't make sense. Maybe I'm just getting tired of these Japanese horror movies.
But after that, was something that every horror fan should hope to have the opportunity to witness. And that is to see the THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON in 3-D. We had been to the Music Box before to see this in 3-D, but it was on the small screen there, so this was a even bigger and better treat. It's just amazing how great the 3-D effects are for this movie. Plus, I never remembered just how funny this movie was. The dialog in there is just classic. If you get this chance for yourself, don't pass it up. You won't regret it.
Next up was a very rare screening....DEATH LINE (aka RAW MEAT). And there to introduce the movie was the director Gary Sherman. He talked briefly about the movie before it started. Now this film is not a very fast paced movie. And it's not really a straight out horror movie. Yea, there is a cannibal living down in the subways in London. But there is also a very sad story there. And not to mention a very humorous portrayal of a local police inspector, played wonderfully by Donald Pleasance, who is investigating the missing people reports from the 'tube' station. After the film, Sherman got up to talk more about the movie and to answer some questions. He also talked about DEAD & BURIED (a personal favorite of mine) and POLTERGEIST 3.
After the Q&A, they had a surprise entry in the lineup. Rusty and & company had gotten an advance print of Don Coscarelli's entry in the new Masters of Horrors series, INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD. This was a nice little surprise, and was a nice addition to the lineup. If this episode is any indication on the rest of the series, us horror fans are in for a treat.
The next movie was George Romero's THE CRAZIES. As much as I liked that movie, I had seen it before at one of Rusty's earlier film festivals. Plus my stomach was needing something a little bit more than popcorn. After having some awesome Thai food, we got back in time to catch the Bur-LIX Carnival of Horrors, put on by our good friend Jill from Lix. They had a table set up in the lobby, selling their usual awesome t-shirts, DVDs and the other cool stuff they have. Andrew was there helping here out for the marathon...or was he really helping???
Our plan next was to go out to our van and crash for a couple of hours during AFTERMATH and SCANNERS. We had seen AFTERMATH when it first hit the bootleg market years ago. While I think it's very well done, it's not one that I'd really want to watch more than once. And as for SCANNERS, as much as I do enjoy the movie, I thought this would be a great time to get some downtime. The only problem is that during AFTERMATH, we spent that time out in the lobby talking with other fans and just hanging out. Then once SCANNERS started, I was too wide awake to even think about sleep. So we plopped ourselves down in the theater for some exploding heads. Okay, just one exploding head. It obviously had been quite some time since I had watched this movie from beginning to end. I had always thought of this movie as a bit slow paced. But I think that was back in the day when I was more interested in the special effects in the movie than the actual story. So sitting here again watching it, and not thinking it was slow paced at all. In fact, the film has a great story and some wonderful acting (especially from Michael Ironside).
The next film showing is one of my favorites, that I actually remember seeing on the original release. And that was RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. What a riot. I don't think you can find a more perfect film, in my opinion. It's got the gore, the humor, the music, everything a horror fan could want. And it even had running zombies....20 years before that remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD....
I slightly remember the next film. At this point, while my brain was still wide awake, my body was telling me otherwise. So after about 10 minutes into Lamberto Bava's DEMONS, I was out like a light. I woke up just in time to see the credits. We went outside in the lobby to talk and wake up. Even went outside in the early morning to get some fresh air, hoping that will wake us up. We would peek back in the theater every now and then to see parts of 2000 MANIACS, but mainly stayed out in the lobby.
And then we made a tough decision. I felt pretty awake, and was pretty sure I could stay awake for the next 2 films (THE HOWLING and NEAR DARK). But I thought that if I did that, I don't know if I was going to be able to make the drive home without falling asleep. So, we decided it would be best to leave while we still could. I do regret staying for the last two films, but as it was, I still had a little problem staying awake on the hour drive home.
But overall, I think that Rusty Nails has really outdone himself with this little marathon party. Obviously he is putting these shows on because of his love of the genre as well, and he has done a great job each time. It was also nice to see quite a few people throughout the whole marathon. I had figured it would be crowded in the evening, but it had a nice crowd from when we got there up until we left. So kudos to you, Rusty for putting on one hell of a party for us horror fans. And if and when you do it again, we'll be there once again to support you.
Gary Sherman and promoter extraordinaire Rusty Nails