All Night Horror Madness 2

Article by Alistair Roy | 06 Apr 2011

Ever since Jesus rolled back that rock all those years ago and scared the shit out of some Romans, people have loved a sequel. And what better way to celebrate His return from the dead this Easter than back-to-back horror films, courtesy of All Night Horror Madness 2.

To get things going, Stuart Gordon offers his own take on the resurrection story with Re-animator (1985). Based on HP Lovecraft’s unholy living dead tale, it sees bat-shit genius Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) find a soul mate in fellow medical student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott). The macabre twosome share a calling to bring the dead back to life and, like all great double acts, they have each other’s backs when the re-animated prove less than grateful. Cue Chuckle Brothers’ horror slapstick as the two saw, slice and bludgeon the mutated back to their maker. With trademark prosthetic gore and deadpan acting, Gordon shows us it’s okay to laugh at decapitation.

Like Stuart Gordon, Dario Argento has survived from the original All Night Horror Madness. For his second coming, The Cameo presents the horror master’s last undisputed masterpiece Opera (1987). Loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera story, the film follows a masked madman as he stalks opera starlet Betty (Cristina Marsillach) who’s about to get her big break in a lavish version of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth. Pre smartphone, the killer creates snuff-theatre by capturing Betty, taping pins to her eyelids, and forcing her to watch his elaborately staged murder moneyshots of her friends and loved ones. If you thought Black Swan was messed up, you ain’t seen nothin’.

While Argento brings high culture to the horror film in Opera, Brian Yuzna (Re-animator’s producer) drags the upper-crust of Beverly Hills into the gutter in his feverish brain-melter Society (1989). Billy (Baywatch's diminutive hunk Billy Warlock) feels different from the rest of his WASP family and he’s having strange urges towards his blond-bombshell sister with extremely flexible hips. Like an episode of the The OC directed by David Cronenberg and scripted by Karl Marx, it’s a riotous mix of 90210 bland beauties, bombastic body horror and class satire. Its debauched coming-out ball finale, with effects courtesy of Screaming Mad George, is worth the price of admission alone.

Director Paul Morrissey addresses the glaring lack of sex scenes in Mary Shelley’s original with Flesh for Frankenstein (1973). Barron Frankenstein (played by blue-steel Udo Kier) and his servant, Otto, plan to create a super-race by hewing together the most attractive body parts from cadavers to create a Dolce & Gabbana Adam and Eve. All the Baron needs is a George Clooney head for his Adam and some scented candles to set the mood. A trash-gore classic, Morrissey puts Kenneth Branagh’s efforts to shame.

Before Peter Jackson got all epic and bluescreen, there was Braindead (1992). Here he tackles Tolkien’s lesser known story of a son coping with a zombie mum who embarks on a killing streak after being bitten by a rat-monkey. Said son, Lionel, does the decent thing and tries to sweep zombies under the carpet. But there’s only so much a basement can hold, and soon Lionel finds he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Braindead's shoe string budget proves far better at dealing with exposed intestines, ripped out spinal cords, severed heads and disembodied limbs than any CGI could render. And Jackson’s mother / son showdown is up there with Simba looking down from the cliff as one of the most enduring moments of cinematic familial tragedy.

To find your seat with the congregation, get down to the Cameo at 10pm on 23 April to enjoy these classic horror movies (three of which are screening from original 35mm prints) shown with some vintage horror trailers. There's even a raffle. Praise the Lord.