Saturday, May 4, 2024



Last weekend was the April Ghouls version of George and Gene’s Drive-In Monster-rama. This year there wasn’t binding theme for the weekend it was just balls to the wall horror for the first night and Scifi the second. As my brother Joe and I have done since 2020 we have been in the rows enjoying the selections.

As we do every time we go we get there early and spend time talking to the friends we made there, which is pretty much everyone. More and more the weekends are becoming old home week as we see the same faces over and over again.  It’s a semi annual family reunion.

As is typical for us, Joe and I only made through the first two films.  Despite wanting to see MESSIAH OF EVIL and THE CHILDREN, the fact that we stay 25 minutes from the Riverside makes it tough to stay  for three or for films without losing the next day to sleeping in. I could complain that they could shorten the pre-fest screening or in between material but seeing those goodies are just as fun as the features.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD assumes that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was based on a true incident and that the zombies were created by chemicals and that they were locked up in containers which ended up shipped to a medical supply warehouse. One container is breached and the gas and a zombie escape bringing the dead back to life.

Dan O'Bannon who wrote ALIEN and DARK STAR turns the Romero zombies on their ear with a brilliant horror comedy. Allowing that the logic of some of what happens makes no real sense even on its own terms, RETURN just takes things into the realm of well done horror comedy.  It's  a film that works because O'Bannon gives us characters we like.  For example James Karen and Thom Matthews were so good they brought the actors back in the films that followed.

Seeing the film on the drive-in screen was a blast- in part because the first time I saw the film on opening night, the projectionist spliced the first reel into the print the wrong way so it played upside down and backwards. I always wanted to see the film projected the right way. Also  I enjoyed it because the film is just so much fun.

DEATHDREAM is a film I've seen dozens of times over the years. The story of a grieving mother who wills her dead son back to life, it's a creepy film that leaves the viewer deeply bothered. Moving like the wind its the story of a situation that goes from bad to worse and destroys a family because one member won't accept the truth that one member is gone.

My mother hated the film and how it made her feel...and despite that she still would watch it again and again because it's just that good.

I should say that the restoration by Blue Underground is fantastic and the film has never looked this good before

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