Let's not lose our heads, kiddies: The Halloween Roundup is back! And as your faithful Mausoleum Master, I wracked my brains--and when that didn't work, I wracked the brains of a drifter I lured into my unmarked van--and out popped this year's Roundup, a salute to the post-Vietnam, pre-digital, big-haired '80s, with all kinds of stuff trickling down. Everything was awesome and the New Wave gagged everyone with a spoon--and at the movies, nothing was sacred--unless you were making a big-time Hollywood picture, with Ark-Raiders, Star-Warriors, or a pack of John Hughes brats.
But down there in the basement, the horror film hissed like a 'gator, the outer limits of bad behavior meeting the boundless audacity of Special Makeup Effects. So square those big shoulders, mousse up and bug out, because it's Halloween all day, and the '80s all the way (after a kinder, gentler kid matinee).
11:00 am: Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Proud to have successfully digitized hair, Pixar luxuriates in a free-flowing, bouncing romp through that most basic of childhood fears: the Thing in the dark. Except this time it's John Goodman in Gentle-Giant mode, with Billy Crystal talking out of the corner of his mouth--and Mary Gibbs as Boo, the voice-talent highlight of this candy-colored clown of a movie.
1:00 pm: Mr. Vampire (1985)
A goofy Hong Kong hodgepodge of ghosts, follow-the-bouncing-vampires, wire-fu action and slapstick comedy, sprinkled with obscure (for most of us) references to various folk-myths and practices. A movie that all but demands you watch it dubbed, if only to add one more layer of foolishness. An early-afternoon oddity you won't soon forget.
3:00 pm: The Changeling (1980)
Along with Uzumaki (2000), a Japanese exercise in gothic-surrealism, The Changeling is a Roundup perennial, a solid ghost story that features George C. Scott tortured by guilt (not a stretch for the Big Man) and drawn into his new home's past sins. Worth it just for the rubber-ball scene.
5:00 pm Near Dark (1987)
Well, the '80s really begin with this one, Kathryn Bigelow's almost-comic gore-fest that asks the question, "Are there vampires in 'Real America'?" You may not want to know the answer, but you'll get one from Lance Henricksen, Bill Paxton, and the rest of their a-hootin'-and-a-bloodsuckin' clan.
7:00 Eating Raoul (1982)
I'll admit I haven't seen this one since the actual '80s, so its satire may not travel as well as I'm hoping, especially as it enters John Waters territory: '50s camp sensibility paired with '80s alternate sexuality. Hmm. We shall see.
9:00 pm Dead and Buried (1981)
With James Farentino and Jack Albertson starring, one might fear we're in TV-movie territory. But if you remember the heyday of TV movies, you should fear not--and just enjoy being afraid of this small-town-with-a-secret. Although Dead and Buried is another one I haven't seen in years, it promises a twist or two as the body-count rises.
11:00 pm The Fly (1986)
Along with Les yeux sans visage (1960), one of the true masterpieces of "medical horror." Serving as a metaphor for AIDS, cancer, genetics as an industry, abortion rights, what-have-you, David Cronenberg's movie forces us to watch the changes any of these can force upon the body and soul. Audacious, funny, heart-breaking, sickening, The Fly takes us past midnight with a buzz no one wants.
Fall-back options (in case of damaged discs):
From Beyond (1986): Stuart Gordon's follow-up to 1985's Re-Animator.
The Shining (1980): Stanley Kubrick's Gothic meditation on the disintegration of the nuclear family, with a fire-ax.
Angel Heart (1987): Alan Parker drifts along the bayou with Mickey Rourke, joined by a decidedly de-Cosby-fied Lisa Bonet and Robert DeNiro eating a hard-boiled egg. Things, I don't have to tell you, get weird.
And I may have a few copies of last year's Roundup CD, free to our valued patrons and crammed like a doomed goose with spooky tunes to keep you doing the boneyard watusi all night long. See you Saturday, boos and ghouls! (Heh-heh-heh!)
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