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Rants and Raves: Thrill-O-Rama!

FilmOut’s 12-Hour Horror Marathon

Above: "Eyes of Laura Mars"

Celebrate Halloween early with FilmOut's 12-hour horror marathon, Thrill-O-Rama this Saturday noon to midnight at the Birch North Park Theater.

A 12-hour horror marathon is my idea of a great time. FilmOut programmer Michael McQuiggan continues to bring horror to San Diego with a collection of 1970s horror classics (okay a couple slip in at 1980). Here's your chance to see some fun horror films on the big screen. It's also a chance to see the original versions of John Carpenter's "The Fog" as well as "Black Christmas." I hope you'll join me on Saturday so we'll get more events like this in the future. You can come for individual films or stay -- like me -- for all six. Here are the trailers.

First up is John Carpenter's "The Fog" (1980) featuring his sexy wife Adrienne Barbeau as a husky-voiced late night DJ who notices something odd about the fog creeping in. This was remade badly in 2005.

Next up is Dan Curtis' "Burnt Offerings" (1976) starring Oliver Reed and Karen Black. This is rarely screened but it's from "Dark Shadows'" Curtis and that afternoon horror TV show is getting a remake with Johnny Depp. Here's the trailer with great cheesy 70s ad copy. It sounds quite similar to the Edgar Wright faux trailer "Don't" that was in "Grindhouse."

Then Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones star in the high fashion thriller "Eyes of Laura Mars" (1978). Dunaway is a fashion photographer whose Helmut Newton-like pics end up mirroring real crime scenes.

Fittingly, this fashion thriller is followed by Brian DePalma's "Dressed to Kill" (1980), which was promoted as "The latest fashion in murder." The film defies logic but then most of DePalma's do but it has so much style to burn that it's hard to ignore. When I was working for a local TV station and had the horrible job of censoring films for TV, one of the things I was forced to cut out was the scene in the cab where Angie Dickinson has sex with a stranger. You don't see anything but you hear her having an orgasm. That had to go. Her murder scene could remain intact but God forbid something as "obscene" as a woman enjoying sex remains in the film for viewers to see. I digress, so here's the trailer.

Another film that recently was remade gets showcased here: "Black Christmas" (1974) and remade very badly in 2006. The film stars the wonderful Olivia Hussey (an actress criminally underused in films) and Keir Dullea. The ads had the best tagline: "If this film doesn't make your skin crawl then it's on too tight." Here's a lengthy trailer for it.

And finally, Dario Argento's spaghetti horror classic, "Suspiria" (1977). This was Argento at his peak -- a wild fever dream of of boldly exploding colors and over the top violent set pieces. If you have never seen this film on the big screen, you must!

And for additional fun, check out the podcast by the San Diego-based Monster Island Resort in which host Miguel Rodriguez interviews Michael McQuiggan and San Diego Asian Film Festival's Extreme Programmer Phil Lorenzo about horror. Hope to see you at Thrill-O-Rama!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 8, 2011 at 10:41 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

I remember watching Argento's SUSPIRIA back in 1977 in a dingy downtown theater where they would have triple features. I went with two friends and they were screening DAMIEN--OMEN II, SUSPIRIA and a third feature. At one point one of my friends turned to the other and said, "there's nothing scary in this movie" when something POPS out at Jessica Harper and my friend reacts by nearly jumping ten feet out of his seat!!! LOL LOL LOL A little rickety, but it has its scary moments!

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | October 9, 2011 at 11:59 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Plus Suspiria is just gorgeous to look at. Thanks for that movie memory. I love those.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 9, 2011 at 8:04 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

The only film I had not seen on the list was BLACK CHRISTMAS so I was glad to finally see it after so many years. Either I confused it with another film or my friend who told me about it back in '74 or '75 was lying to me, but he said it was about a guy in a Santa suit going around stabbing people.

Obviously influenced by PSYCHO, but not a bad film in itself. Certainly, though, it is better than its recent bloody remake. The cast is interesting although only Kidder gives good performance. Dullea, immortalized in 2001, is practically forgettable in this one with a bad post-Beatle haircut and a turtle-neck to match!

I noticed a couple of Hitchcockian touches: 1) the lead female (brunette this time) acting against common sense; 2) the woman opening her mouth to a phone ring and cut to the next scene.

I also noticed a Kubrickian touch: large rooms with little furniture and stoic charicatures in two scenes with Dullea.

A side note as to Bob Clark's intentions with the abortion subplot of a subplot. It was a cheap-shot on his part to bring this social/moral/ethical touchy subject for the mere purpose of vilyfying a character (Peter) and manipulating the audience, who then turns out to be a red herring. In 1985, a book was published entitled SMART WOMEN, FOOLISH CHOICES by Connell Cowan & Melvyn Kinder where they wrote a chapter on the "pseudo liberated male." Writer-director Clark revealed his true self almost ten years later with the sexist PORKY'S (1982) and a NOT funny, tactless and tasteless scene that was intended to be humorous on the KKK, which I remember Siskel & Ebert denouncing.

The "liberated male" part of Clark was all show.

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | October 10, 2011 at 2:17 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Bob Clark did direct another Christmas themed but not horror film: A CHRISTMAS STORY. The film your friend told you about is probably the 1980 CHRISTMAS EVIL/YOU BETTER WATCH OUT, which is about a guy in a Santa suit stabbing people.

Thanks for the comments.

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Avatar for user 'PaulVoorhies'

PaulVoorhies | October 10, 2011 at 8:22 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Black Christmas--perhaps my favorite slasher of all-time-- backed with Argento's Suspiria!! I'd just show up for the last 2 showings; it's my dream horror line-up that I'd love to see on the big screen.

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