Author: DeLapp, Bill
Date published: January 26, 2011
Journal code: SYNT
For moviegoers with a taste for lopped-off limbs, damsels in scream mode and pig-masked wackos brandishing chain saws, the cinematic seven-pack on display Saturday, Jan. 29, at Eastwood's Palace Theatre, 2384 James St., will serve up quite the sanguine slaughterhouse. The event has been dubbed in some press releases as the Salt City Horror Fest and in other publicity material as the third annual Jeff and Vinny's Birthday Horror Bash (in honor of Jeff Meyer, the guru behind the Brew & View 35mm movie series, and his buddy Vinny Pascarella, who can sometimes be glimpsed swapping out movie posters at Regal's Carousel Cinema 17). Yet by any other name this maniacal marathon is a dubious rose that would still smell as sweet.
The fest offers a combo of drive-in fare plus music from local rockers, a formula that the Brew & View folks previously employed with great success during the annual tributes to late fright-film fan Shaun Luu, but that salute came to an end last June after a six-year run. So this movie blastoff is the next best thing, and it also gives The New Times a chance to publish some psychotronic production stills, too.
The action starts at noon with Terror of Godzilla, with our fire-breathing monster masher battling a robotic whatzit. This 1975 entry would be the last in the long-running Japanese series until the Big G was revived for his 30th anniversary in 1985. Then hide the kiddies for the rare screening of the R-rated Humongous (1:30 p.m.), a 1982 Canadian knockoff of Friday the 13th, and Motel Hell (3 p.m.), a surprisingly well-produced 1980 slasher treat involving a demented farmer (1950s western star Rory Calhoun, of all people) who uses the old Sweeney Todd method for creating yummy sausage links.
From 5 to 8 p.m. musicmakers take center stage at the Palace. Starkweather, Ebony Sorrow, Cowards and East of the Wall will all be on hand to blow the roof off the joint.
Then movies return for the rest of the night, kicking off at 8 p.m. with Troll 2, the 1990 in-name-only "sequel" to the 1986 original that has actually earned a cult reputation for its considerable awfulness. A bona fide classic thriller follows, however, at 9:30 p.m. The 1974 version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is still one of the most influential horror flicks ever created, a film that is as simple and as terrifying as its title suggests-and yes, that's John Laroquette handling the opening narration!
Next comes what is perhaps the bell-bottomed decade's most notorious slice-and-dice endeavor: 1972's Last House on the Left (11:15 p.m.), an early effort from eventual Scream auteur Wes Craven that is actually a grindhouse version of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring. Yet this grisly tale of rape and revenge was so shocking for local mainstream audiences that it was yanked from the Westhill Theater after only two days-then came back to play at area drive-ins for the rest of the decade. Wrapping the night is 1987's Blood Diner, a cannibal comedy from female director Jackie Kong who dishes out the gory mayhem with her loose remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis' infamous 1963 cheapie Blood Feast. The Palace's concession stand will probably be closed by the time Blood Diner unspools.
Admission to the all-day Salt City Horror Fest is $15 for adults, $10 for students. For those wishing to only check out the bands, $10 will be charged. For details, call 436-4723.