Shock Around the Clock

A day of frightening fun ensues at Salt City Horror Fest.

Image provided by MoreISO via Thinkstock

The 11th annual Salt City Horror Fest promises a grisly grab bag for gorehounds, with filmmakers and performers delivering behind-the-scenes dish, memorabilia from movie vendors and eight freaky flicks presented in vintage 35mm prints. (Yes, the movies that still have reel-change marks every 15 minutes.)

The daylong blowout, again programmed by Jeffrey Meyer, takes place Saturday, April 16, from noon until around 3 a.m. at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, 2384 James St.

Along with poster giveaways, autograph sessions and raffles, this year’s festival will also feature its own IPA beer, created by local brewer Michael Mintier with a design by local artist C.M. Bucko. Only 100 limited-edition bottles will be available, although Mintier has also created root and birch beers for designated drivers.

The action literally commences at high noon with The Warriors (R; 90 minutes), director Walter Hill’s kinetic comic-book urban thriller about Manhattan street gangs in rumble mode during the pre-Giuliani era. Actor David Harris, who portrays the character Cochise, will introduce the iconic 1979 B-movie, which features plenty of bone-crunching mayhem presented with Hill’s dynamic flair.

Next comes a double bill featuring actor John Amplas: Midnight (R; 91 minutes), director John Russo’s 1982 shocker about warped weirdness in the woods, and Martin (R; 95 minutes), writer-director George Romero’s strange 1977 tale of a creepy young man (Amplas) with vampiric tendencies. Amplas and Russo will handle question-answer sessions following their movies.

Capping the afternoon session is The Burbs (PG; 101 minutes), director Joe Dante’s frantic 1989 satire on suburbia involving Tom Hanks as a resident who gets paranoid about his wacky neighbors. Horror Fest’s 35mm print actually comes from the Joe Dante and Jon Davison Collection at the Academy Film Archive in Hollywood.

Following a dinner break, the evening screenings start with The Shining (R; 144 minutes). Director Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of horror novelist Stephen King’s page-turner concerns murder and madness at an isolated hotel in the wintry Rocky Mountains. King had mixed feelings about the final product. While the often crazed turns by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall may prove exhausting for some viewers, Kubrick’s controlled chilliness is evident in every frame of this unique thriller. Local comedian Alex Bidwell will introduce The Shining, which should provide him with plenty of funny fodder.

Next up is one of Kubrick’s favorite movies: Rosemary’s Baby (R; 136 minutes), director Roman Polanski’s acclaimed 1968 adaptation of author Ira Levin’s bestseller from the previous year. Everything goes right in this scare package involving Satanism in the Big Apple, with waifish Mia Farrow as the movie’s emotional center (during filming she was served divorce papers by then-hubby Frank Sinatra) and top performances from a supporting cast that includes Oscar-winner Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes and Maurice Evans. (Look fast for producer William Castle’s amusing cameo at a phone booth.) Jed Levin, Ira’s son, will go down memory lane as he introduces the movie.

The night starts winding down with Event Horizon (R; 95 minutes), director Paul W.S. Anderson’s lavish 1997 sci-fi epic about the horrific stuff that astronauts encounter during a rescue mission for a missing spacecraft. Anderson has style to burn in this underrated widescreen adventure. And 1990’s Nightbreed (R; 102 minutes), a perversely entertaining monster movie from writer-director Clive Barker, has a fervent cult following that will likely stay up all night just to see it on the big screen.

The Salt City Horror Fest runs Saturday, April 16, at the Palace Theatre, 2384 James St.

Tickets are $21.50 in advance, $25 at the door. For information, call 463-9240.

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