Recap: Exhumed Films' 24-Hour Horrorthon IX

By: Heather Seebach

This past weekend, cult-film enthusiasts Exhumed Films held their ninth annual 24-Hour Horrorthon at the International House Philadelphia. This event runs from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday, screening non-stop 35mm horror films and trailers! The titles, as always, are kept secret until they appear on-screen, and the attendees are given a list of clues at the start of the event. This was my third Horrorthon and this was the most I've stayed awake for one so far! A whopping FOURTEEN films in total! This year's line-up was my favorite to date - just a really fun blend! I had seen a few of them already but I still enjoyed re-watching those (or having a chance to go get food). Here is my recap of the event:


The Clue: "Gruesome, insane Hong Kong horror comedy"

The Answer: We're Going to Eat You (1980, d: Tsui Hark)

 This one was screened first because the matting had to be changed (it was presented in Scope) but wow, what an opener! This nutty Hong Kong martial arts film is mostly slapstick fun with a healthy serving of cannibal horror. A hero called Agent 999 faces off with masked killers and weird townsfolk in this VERY crowd-pleasing comedy! I was surprised how legitimately funny this one is! This was easily among the MVPs of this year's Horrorthon - no joke, seek it out!

Trailer Break: Preview of the upcoming Garagehouse Pictures Blu-ray release, Trailer Trauma which included some brilliant, rare trailers including Death Bed, The Hex Massacre, Don't Open Till Christmas, Savage Weekend, Mean Frank and Crazy Tony, Wacko, and Hysterical. My personal favorites of the bunch were revenge thriller Dark Sunday (with the tagline, "This should have been a love story") and Dawn of the Mummy, which begs the question: "Egypt... a nice place to visit...but would you want to DIE there?!"


The Clue: "Totally awesome action/horror/sci-fi amalgam"

The Answer: Silent Rage (1982, d: Michael Miller)

Some films really can be summed up with a ridiculous over-simplification, and for this movie, it's: Chuck Norris vs. Michael Myers. That is really all you need to know. Some Frankenstein-esque doctors re-animate a homicidal nutcase who then goes on a rampage and only Walker Texas Ranger can stop him! Did I mention the psycho-killer dons a jumpsuit and cannot be killed? Silent Rage is a corny but fun mash-up, and worth every moment to see Chuck Norris battle a slasher movie villain.

 Trailer Break: Previews included Land of the Minotaur, Terror, and Highway to Hell.


The Clue: "Giant Monster Movie"

The Answer: Godzilla 1985 (1984, d: R.J. Kizer and Koji Hashimoto)

As I am not a huge fan of kaiju films (and we were quite hungry), I dipped out during this movie so I cannot give a review but basically it's a heavily re-edited American adaptation of the Japanese film, The Return of Godzilla (1984) with some additional footage and Raymond Burr in the lead. Before the movie, Exhumed also showed Marv Newland's 1969 animated short, Bambi Meets Godzilla, which interestingly enough, screened before this feature when it was in theaters back in 1985! 

 Trailer Break: Instead of trailers, they showed part of the 1974 sports documentary, O.J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose produced by George Romero (!!). While sports doc's do not generally interest me, this one was a treat if only to hear Howard Cosell say that O.J. "can kill you with a headfake, he can kill you with the swiftness of his legs..." etc. We should not laugh but we did. A lot.


The Clue: "Innovative, intellectual horror classic from a genre legend"

The Answer: Martin (1977, d: George A. Romero)

Romero wasn't all about zombies - his vampire tale was an interesting take on the sub-genre. It's about a young man with blood-drinking urges who may or may not be the Nosferatu his family says he is. He goes to live with his superstitious old cousin in Pittsburgh and falls for a local woman. This marked the first collaboration between George Romero and Tom Savini, both of whom play roles on-screen, as well. It's a moody, thoughtful tale and John Amplas is fantastic in the titular role.

Trailer Break: A selection of zombie-themed trailers including Day of the Dead, Shock Waves, Zombie Island Massacre, and Horror of the Zombies


The Clue: "Horror anthology featuring works by influential genre filmmakers"

The Answer: Shock Value: The Movie (2015, d: Dan O'Bannon, John Carpenter, Terence Winkless, and Charles Adair)

 While this one is probably the low-point of the Horrorthon based on sheer entertainment value, it's a rare treat and of great historical significance for genre film fans. It's a new compilation of the earliest works of Dan O'Bannon, John Carpenter, and others who started making movies at the University of Southern California. It includes "Blood Bath" and "Good Morning, Dan", two fascinating and occasionally tedious student films from O'Bannon, plus Carpenter's own "Captain Voyeur." Some of these films you would not even know were from the 60s and 70s - they fooled a few of us in the audience. The final segment, Judson's Release (wherein O'Bannon plays the stalker) is considered the inspiration for Halloween and many other horror films that followed. Evidently it was marked the birth of the babysitter, killer POV, and "the call is coming from inside the house" cliches. It's all really interesting, rare material and I recommend you read more about it here.

Trailer Break: Previews included Popcorn, Monster Squad, Kiss of the Tarantula, Psycho from Texas, Centerfold Girls, and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf


The Clue: "Cool Halloween-themed fan favorite from the 1980s"

The Answer: Night of the Demons (1988, d: Kevin Tenney)

 Another crowd-pleaser, albeit one many had probably seen already. This fun Halloween flick was flipping horror tropes on their head and having a great time doing it. As a special bonus for Horrorthoner's, writer/producer Joe Augustyn was in attendance for a Q&A. He talked about how Linnea Quigley's infamous "nip-stick" scene was not written quite like that, and Joe expressed his opinion of the Night remake with a disgusted groan and, "No comment!" He said the inspirations for his script were The Exorcist and Friday the 13th. He said the Evil Dead similarities were not intentional as "it came out around the same time" but I gotta call bullshit on that - 1981 vs 1988?? Regardless, a very fun movie perfect for this time of year, and a nice bonus having Joe there.

Trailer Break: Basket Case idea what else, I was in the bathroom, whoops! 


The Clue: "Strange, funny, and slightly disturbing monster movie that serves as an allegory for addiction"

The Answer: Brain Damage (1988, d: Frank Henenlotter)

Very possibly my favorite Henenlotter film (I really need to re-visit Frankenhooker), this one is just too much fun! A man wakes to find a creepy talking parasite has latched onto his brain and keeps him addicted to its "juice." While he gets high, the creature - known as Aylmer - attacks and eats people's brains. This one is schlocky, gory, and so funny, particularly little Aylmwer, whose brilliant voice comes courtesy of Philly native and horror host, Zacherle!

Trailer Break: Previews included Horror Hotel, The Tenant, and The Toolbox Murders. 


The Clue: "Surreal, cerebral science fiction film with a dash of good old-fashioned monster movie thrown into the mix"

The Answer: Altered States (1980, d: Ken Russell)

 I'd seen this one before so this was a dinner break. For the better anyway - as I recall, this is a long, sleepy sort of a film and I may not have survived the rest if I stayed for this head-trip.

Trailer Break: Previews included Shock Treatment, Asylum, The Psychopath, and House of Psychotic Women


The Clue: "Bizarro sci-fi satire/schlockfest starring a who's who of cult movie icons"

The Answer: TerrorVision (1986, d: Ted Nicolaou)

Trailer Break: Previews included Mark of the Devil and Mark of the Witch

MOVIE #10:

The Clue: "Stylish, gory, and underseen shocker that feels like a Euro-horror film, even though it was produced in the US"

The Answer: The Witch (1982, d: James W. Roberson)

 I had not even hear of this one before which is criminal because it's quite good! As the clue suggests, it feels like an Italian giallo film and the kills/gore are fantastic! I was a bit sleepy during parts of this so I am eagerly looking forward to watching it again.

Trailer Break: Previews included The Burning, Don't Go In the House, Slumber Party Massacre, and Mountaintop Motel Massacre.

MOVIE #11:

The Clue: "Infamous, goofy 1960s B-grade monster movie"

The Answer: The Horror of Party Beach (1964, d: Del Tenney)

Amazingly I was awake for almost all of this very old, very corny film that became infamous thanks in part to MST3K. 

Trailer Break: Previews included Andy Warhol's Dracula, Scream Blacula Scream, The Mad Doctor of Blood Island, and Lair of the White Worm. There was also a screening of a godawful short called Saint Frankenstein which I only had to endure a few minutes of between spoonfuls of free Count Chocula courtesy of the Exhumed folks.

MOVIE #12:

The Clue: "Quite simply one of the best vampire movies of all time"

The Answer: Near Dark (1987, d: Kathryn Bigelow)

Seen it. Loved it. Can't complain about watching it again. The film is so good I stayed in my seat and wide awake despite having seen it already. Just a great vampire flick full of bad-ass moments and characters (that bar scene, guhhhh)!

MOVIE #13:

The Clue: "Non-traditional 'Animals Attack' movie filling the traditional Horror-thon 'Animals Attack' timeslot"

The Answer: Piranha II: The Spawning (1981, d: James Cameron & Ovidio G. Assonitis)

MOVIE #14:

The Clue: "Wacky horror comedy which, shockingly, we have only screened once before over the curse of eighteen years."

The Answer: Army of Darkness (1992, d: Sam Raimi)

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