Weirdly as a horror fan, John Carpenter was unknown territory for me, I had managed to miss all the monster movies (is The Fog a monster?) and Kurt Russell laden action he’d had to offer over the years. Halloween was nearly scrapped from the line up and that ultimate teen slasher movies absence was enough to make me wonder: “Do I really want to risk deep vein thrombosis for films I don’t even know?” But I’ve always liked turning up to a film when you don't know too much about it – you don’t know what to expect, a bonus in the horror genre. When Halloween was reinstated to the line-up, opening the night’s event, it was a done deal. Let’s see if I can survive 10 hours in a chair in a red velvet lined basement with my pal Pete as my trusty sidekick. Here is my Horror Movie Marathon Survival Guide...
Drink after The Witching Hour –Not that I have to be drunk to have a good time but it certainly make you more vocal as you and about 100 others cheer the classic lines Kurt Russell deals out from start to finish of Big Trouble in Little China. Unfortunately, the polite and very efficient lady at the Prince Charles’ basement bar told us: “The cinema didn’t apply for a late licence this time because last time all people bought was Red Bull and Coke.” So blame the people looking for caffeine-induced heart attacks before the 11pm alcohol curfew. By 3am our beer was flat but I was still alive and drinking - which was the main thing.
Rise from the Dead – Three films down and I feel like I’ve just escaped from New York myself. OK, so unlike Snake I’ve not trying to save the President of The United States, wrestling people in boxing rings or climbing up walls. I’ve just been sitting down, but for, like, ages. My lower back is not what it used to be. If I was survive this self inflicted entertainment marathon I was going to have to stand up! Everyone gets out of their chairs and heads towards the velvety red walls to, I guess to lean it out. Pete and I, having all the space in the world after bagging front row seats, shake it out, stretch a bit and do a teeny little lap from our seats, to the wall and back to our seats again. I feel like the film geek version of Mo Farah. Half way through the marathon and I think I'm going to make it to the end!
Sugar is your Fiend/Friend – Just as Kurt Russell in The Thing was finding it hard to know if his work colleagues were friend and foe, my love affair with my sugary truffles and beer was heading for danger. I stuffed my face with chocolate and was most certainly drunk by this point. The sheer surprise of seeing a dog’s head turn into a giant bloody teeth filled red oozing flower thing got me WAY over-excited. Thanks to my glucose guzzling and the sights on screen I was pulling faces and jumping up and down in my seat. Alas, the sugar rush could not last and while the film’s bright white Antarctic snow helped to keep me awake, I was certainly flagging towards the end of the exhilarating gore-fest and 80's special effects love letter that was The Thing. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Don’t Freeze to Death - About 5 films in, for unknown reasons (pirate spirits from The Fog) the temperature plummeted and I was as colder than a refrigerated corpse. The Fog had swept over me and there was no hope in sight. I longed for the blanket my friend had suggested I take from her house. I had to keep going! As They Live began I sat up straight wrapped my scarf around me and hid under my coat peering out from over the collar. They Live was funny, violent and kind of thought provoking come 6am in the morning. As I questioned society's ideals, two men pummelled each other on screen. Then hypothermia set in and I died. Or more accurately - I fell asleep. Oh the horror! I was enjoying that film and the odd contact lenses the love interest seemed to be wearing for no reason. Pete saw it all. Damn him. I woke up just in time for the explosion filled ending, then I clapped and whooped with the crowd, made my way out of the darkened basement screen and into the light. Oh yeah, it was morning, I had made it!
Along with my fellow horror movie geeks I took my position outside the doors of The Prince Charles Cinema for The John Carpenters All Nighter Survivors Photo. We had started the night shouting out a line from Big Trouble in Little China. “I know, there's a problem with your face.” At half seven in the morning, after staying up all night, there certainly was.
Squeamish Nicola attended an all-night JOHN CARPENTER MARATHON featuring; HALLOWEEN, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, THE FOG & THEY LIVE at The Prince Charles Cinema