Recap: Exhumed Films' 24-Hour Horror-thon VIII - PART 2

By: Heather Seebach

This past weekend, cult-film enthusiasts Exhumed Films held their annual 24-Hour Horror-thon at the International House Philadelphia. This event runs from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday, screening non-stop 35mm horror films and trailers! This is only my second-time attending the event, but the first time I was able to stay from beginning to end (thanks to my late arrival last year). I'm proud to say I stayed awake for all FIFTEEEN films, save for the occasional nodding off for a few minutes. And what an impressive line-up it was!

As always with the Horror-thon, the titles are kept secret until they show up on-screen. We were given hints, however, which I will list below with each blurb. Overall, this was another stellar Horror-thon with a diverse blend of cult favorites and little-seen gems, all in glorious 35mm!


The Clue: "Infamous and brutal 1970s gore/exploitation film that lives up (or down?) to its reputation as one of the sleaziest, most disturbing films of all time."

The Movie: The Last House on Dead End Street (1977, d: Roger Watkins)

Apparently a lot of the Exhumed audience hated this one which surprises me! I suppose that's because it's not a so-bad-its-good laugh riot like most other screened films? This one is a pseudo-documentary-style horror flick about a drug dealer who decides to make his mark on the world with snuff films. It's akin to later, gritty stuff like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Man Bites Dog. I was particularly reminded of the latter and, honestly, I prefer this one to MBD. There is no tongue-in-cheek "Feel bad about yourself for liking this evil person!" stuff, it's just nasty people being nasty. Yes, it can drag at times but its blackest, goriest, and creepiest moments are sure to leave a stain on your soul.


The Clue: "Ridiculously inept, anachronistic 'period piece' horror film from a divisive director folks tend to love or hate...or love to hate."

The Movie: Guru the Mad Monk (1970, d: Andy Milligan)

This is another film during which I grabbed a little nap but it's a wacky one set in the 15th century, where the titular mad monk uses a vampire lady and a hunchback (named Igor, obviously) to carry out nasty deeds for him. Aaaand something to do with a prison guard who wants to save his condemned-to-die girlfriend, who was accused of killing her miscarried gypsy-rape baby. Yeah - don't ask. All I remember from this 4AM screening is how flubbed lines were left in the movie (always good for a laugh), Guru the monk bitch-slapping someone, and how hands can easily be chopped off by lightly tapping one's wrists with an axe.


 The Clue: "Goofy, absurd, yet strangely charming 1970s creature feature."

The Movie: Bog (1983, d: Don Keeslar)

My short naps continued to fade in and out for this early-morning movie so all I can definitively tell you is it's about an aquatic monster that is awoken by redneck dynamite fishing. A scientist and the town sheriff battle the thing, along with victims' husbands. There are some really unintentionally-funny moments, often thanks to abrupt cutting between scenes or the really bad love scene. Good luck getting this song out of your head:


The Clue: "Gruesome, satirical horror/exploitation favorite."

The Movie: Mother's Day (1980, d: Charles Kaufman) 

I may have been slipping into a gradual slumber during the last two flicks but this one woke me right up! Mother's Day is a ton of fun, especially for a film with a rape scene in it! Three female college roommates get together to reminisce in Deep Barrows Wilderness Park but of course they are not alone. They are kidnapped by two sick young men and their psychotic mother. Produced by Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman and directed by his brother Charles, this film works so well because the victims are actually likable with backstory, and the villains don't take themselves too seriously. It's full of humor, and takes subtle satirical jabs at rapesploitation while setting up camp for itself in that subgenre. Too many memorable scenes to name - just a fun, fun movie.


The Clue: "Clever and enjoyable supernatural 'sequel-in-name-only' that may actually bit a biy better than the original."

The Movie: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987, d: Bruce Pittman)

Speaking of fun movies, we got a one-two punch with Mother's Day followed by this! I was particularly delighted Hello Mary Lou was on the Horror-thon roster because I've been wanting to revisit it and confirm a scene that I once thought was from a Nightmare on Elm Street film. It did not occur to me before how much this one kinda has a Nightmare vibe to it - especially that freaky fucking rocking horse! Anyway, this sequel (unrelated though it may be) is awesome as hell, with gore abound, clever kills, and a villainess I want to be when I grow up!


The Clue: "Obscure, gory 1908s slasher film."

The Movie: Blood Rage (aka Nightmare at Shadow Woods, 1987, d: John Grissmer)

For me, this was possibly the stand-out gem of the marathon just because it was completely new to me - and SO much fun! There are countless big laughs - some intentional, some not. It's a rare treat (for me) to find a slasher film where I look forward to each kill and they deliver every. damn. time. Hands and heads are lopped off with hilarious results. One guy even orgasms when he dies. It's great. As the hammy killer and his innocent twin brother, Mark Soper played both roles so well that I didn't even know it was the same actor until the final scene! "That is NOT cranberry sauce!" is my new favorite catchphrase. Bonus: Ted Raimi is in this movie.


The Clue: "Totally awesome, totally creepy 'Animals Attack' movie"

The Movie: Kingdom of the Spiders (1977, d: John 'Bud' Cardos)

While not a bad movie, this one felt the looooongest to me, by far. Perhaps it's because it was the penultimate film in this loooong marathon, but most likely it's because it's kinda boring. The tarantulas are not even a remote threat until 3/4 into the film! Prior to that, it's Shatner trying to get in a woman's pants and dead cows. That's it. Eventually, we get to enjoy Shat doing what he does best - chew scenery, but gaaaawd, it dragged for a while there. The highlight of the film: Woody Strode's on-screen wife blowing her own fingers off trying to shoot a spider. Lowlight: Watching a shit-ton of real tarantulas be crushed for a movie. Not cool.


The Clue: "Zombie movie fan favorite that should be a fun film to finish the festival."

The Movie: Night of the Creeps (1986, d: Fred Dekker)

I imagine some audience members might've let out a groan at such a "familiar" title - or bailed out early for the same reason - but c'mon, it's Night of the fucking Creeps! It's AWESOME! I stayed and enjoyed every moment as if it were the first time. The humor, the gore, the genre references - never get old! What other film has a serial killer, zombies, aliens, and parasitic brain slugs?! And Tom fucking Atkins, of course! Would you believe, I still discovered something I never noticed before - the fact that the black cat is named Gordon, much like all the other characters named for horror directors. That particular one - and the meaning behind it (cat dead, details later....) - somehow passed me by previously!

In between all these glorious 35mm films, we were treated to many, many trailers and a few other bumpers. Here the ones I thought to write down (not even all of them):

Seven, Cat People, The Last Starfighter, Jason Goes to Hell, Explorers, Army of Darkness, various Godzilla and King Kong flicks, Planet of the Vampires, Day of the Triffids, Invaders from Mars, Misery, Carrie, The Shining, Dead Zone, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Demon Knight, In The Mouth of Madness, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Night Breed, Munsters Go Home, The Last Man on Earth, Man's Best Friends, The Haunted Palace, Masque of the Red Death, Horror of Dracula, Curse of the Werewolf, Warlock, The Wraith, Species, Starship Troopers, Child's Play 2, Brainscan, The Baby, The Creeping Flesh, The Beast Within, The Sadist, The Toxic Avenger, The Mutilator, Carnival of Blood, The Devil's Rain, The Manitou, Grave of the Vampire, Eaten Alive, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and TCM, Wacko, The Creeper, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Frogs, Dracula's Dog, Beastmaster, The Nest, Empire of the Ants, Dead Alive, Return of the Living Dead, Cemetary Man, Night of the Living Dead '90, Demons. House by the Cemetary, and oh my god, did anybody out there actually read this whole list??

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