Dear readers as some of you may know I have chronic insomnia and have had for many years. It's totally useless as I don't live the life of an actual full time writer. Even if I did I probably still wouldn't sleep, but at least it would look more acceptable as a social construct. Instead I am an office bound daywalker. I am frequently exhausted yet not sleepy and it affects my health in a delightfully depressing number of ways. There's no cure so far and I have tried EVERYTHING, even greater amounts of cowbell.
The one time, the only time, this affliction is useful to me is during ANHM. I can do all night marathons standing on my head - or I could if I could in fact stand on my own head. I can do all night movie marathons while sitting in a comfortable chair. However this year there had been too many sleepless nights in a row to handle it and I bottled out after three movies. I am gutted (figuratively) that I could not make it to the end, but here is my post on the first 3/5 or 3/4 as it turned out.
As always these movies are OLD but I will SPOIL THE HELL OUT OF THEM. !!!spoilers spoilers spoilers!!! Deal with it.
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
House lights down for Night of the Creeps, which I think was my favourite of the evening. After a brief interim on the unexplained disgruntled ugly baby/alopecia struck Ewok spaceship we shifted to quintessential 1959 All-American college campus where being a cop is somehow a crappy job. A cop. An official officer of the law protecting the neighbourhood with a decent pension is somehow rubbish. It's all 'gee that's swell Dooley' until the space slugs and axe murderers shatter our drive-date macking. Cut to 1986 - holy technicolour swag, it's rush week! Hang on, why is everyone dressed like Forever 21 clad punters on the lash in Sauchiehall Street? Smart Casual, sweater swag on parade.
Aryan Prince of Douches Frat Master Brad(ster) requests that the lads dump a corpse on the lawn of another local Frat to get in with the cool kids. Because nothing says 'they're our rivals' like a rotting flesh doorstep hangover. The boys break into the secret science lab essentially because JC is awesome. And psychic. And has a total deathwish. Gadzooks its the frozen body of that 50s frat guy who dated that 50's blonde cheerleader after she decided that her 50's high school sweetheart should hit the skids because 'cops are rubbish' - in the 50s! He twitches. They bolt. 50s jock murders forgetful scientist and sets off to his ex G-friends place - Cynthia's Sorority house! Meanwhile the lads have a row, but make up and really cement their actual friendship.
Soon we're grateful for the zombie slug murder because it's led to the introduction of the best character ever, aged Detective Cameron aka Tom Atkins (50's cheerleader ex sweetheart!! From the 50s!) And he is a magnificent hard drinking vintage detective novella reading tersely spoken 12 gauge toting duster wearing cawp's cawp. THRILL ME DETECTIVE!
What goes on from here is the discovery of the space slugs, how to kill them, Det Cam's double kill of his ex-sweetheart's zombie axe murderer, JC's last heroic act (totes emosh, srly, Y U no film main hero JC?!) and the top notch eventual frat bus zombie critical mass explosion liberally sprinkled with some excellent jokes and one liners from almost everyone.
Detective Cameron: I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here.
Sorority Sister: What's the bad news?
Detective Cameron: They're dead.
How did it end? I'm not sure. Some slugs escaped into the cemetery, but a space ship showed up searching for them. It's been slug central for 30 years guys - did you use Bing Maps to get here?
Where to begin... IN THE GALL BLADDER OBVIOUSLY. I had never before seen the Andy Warhol WTAFscape that is F 4 F (4evz). This film is... bizarre. It lives and dies on the performance of Udo Kier as Baron Frankenstein. Weirder than the odd collection of accents - Serbian farm worker 1 to Serbian farm worker to 2 "Hey man, we grew up together... in the Serbian Bronx apparently!" it also has weird pacing, and a premise which involves a quest to create the ideal subservient Serbian zombie baby. Say that five times fast.
The weirdest thing by far about this movie is its attitude and understanding of sex. I don’t know whether that is on purpose – alluding to the fact the Baron appears to have married his sister and while there is an odd level of begrudging respect between the two of them there appears to be no physical love but they do have two ghoulish kids, who may have been created in the lab or by some dark practice? (Other than the incest which is obvs NBD back in the Baron toting days of yore). Armpits and knees are paid particularly noisy sexual attention often while ignoring actual naked genitals which are right there. And of course there is the infamous gall bladder consummation.
"To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life... in the gall bladder!"
The set design of this is very luxe and coveted laboratory from the times when actual science would have seemed like the work of the gods/devils to the lowly peasants.
Otto, played by Arno Juerging, the wild-eyed Kevin Eldon of the group, is an obedient enough freakish man servant, but provokes you into shouting ‘no Otto, you’re doing it wrong!’ every time his creepy shudder inducing tongue begins flickering. Baroness von Eyebrowsareforthelowborne is completely at home bossing the staff about and making oddly paced non-sequitur statement questions which sound a lot like ‘ello, ello, ello, what’s gaun on ‘ere then?’ The rest of the cast including Bronx Serbian Nicolas the Stable boy and the beady ghoul twins are pretty emotionless in complete contrast to the flushed maniacal Baron. This movie lives and eventually after a really lengthy death scene, literally dies on his performance.
“You've put an end to my work! The medical profession would love to claim my achievement as part of their own and call it a giant stride forward of medicine. But they can't. It is a giant stride forward for me!” and thus we should just wrap things up cos it’s all downhill from here. His blazing gallbladder lustful mad scientist aristocrat is a twisted joy to behold. Oh, what about the plot? Well, what about it!
The Tourist Trap
After spending about half of this going ‘is that Midge from That 70’s Show?’ I mostly enjoyed Tourist Trap. It’s too long and only really works if you are freaked out by masks and mannequins though. Also I felt the ‘twists’ were signposted several miles earlier than the Slausen Oasis. I know others didn't feel this way as I overheard some other ANHM-goers discussing how much they liked and how surprised they were by the reveals, but sadly for me - much like the movie Pieces ‘it’s exactly what I think it is’. It took too long to ‘get’ all of our victims and the pay-off was wearing thin by the time it arrived. I think I wanted it be much, much scarier than it actually was, and I think just a few good edits might have done it. Crazy Davey Slausen is amusing in a ‘would you plaster my face? I’d plaster my face. I'd plaster of Paris my face so hard’ kind of way. Also I kept thinking about how all the mannequins were Canadian because they talked and laughed like Terrance and Philip.
The final vision of Molly driving all her dead mannequin pals away on a Jeep day trip is pretty good - If only they ended it with her being completely broken and telling them they’d ‘still have a nice holiday together’.
It was at this point in the night my resolve gave out. I couldn't go on even though I was really keen to see Street Trash in 35mm. We packed up and made a dash for it. Took ages to get a cab but I think my brain may have imploded if we hadn't booked it then. I'm still recovering today.
So now all that remains is the wait for our vote results and ANHM 9 and a half in March! Again a really great night put on by people who really enjoy doing it and care about the film experience. Cheers to ANHM, the Grosvenor, and all the other ANHM fans who make it fun by being nice people and sharing the experience.
Hail to the gore!