THE WEEKEND OF TERROR PART VIII
by Stefan Posthuma
Every year, in the great Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam, a
couple of hundred freaks assemble and watch horror movies all
night long. They start at midnight and at around 8 am, the doors
of the Tuschinski open and a horde of red-eyed, staggering
zombies emerges, shielding their eyes from the morning sunshine,
heading for their crypts to spend the day asleep, only to return
to the place of Doom the following night.
It was crowded again this year, and it struck me to see a lot of
metalheads, it seems that these guys have a preference for the
Now there are three shows at the same time, so you can pick what
kind of movie you like too see. I started off with 'Two evil
eyes' by George A. Romero and Dario Argento. These are two gore-
masters who know how to splatter some guts around so I sat back
and expected the limbs to fly around the screen. Hhmmm... After
the first half hour of the first film (it turned out to be two
short Edgar Allan Poe stories) nobody had been sawed in two yet
or something so I shifted a little uneasy in my chair and started
to wonder if they put in the right film. But everybody that knows
Poe also knows that the real stuff is at the very end of the
movie and it got a bit splattery. The first story was about an
older woman and a young doctor who murder the rich husband. The
husband comes back to life though and kills the woman while
screaming about 'the others'. The doctor flees with the money and
gets wacked by 'the others'. A bit strange and not very exciting.
The second story was a bit better, called 'The black cat'. It's
about a photographer who likes to take pictures of horrible
crimes. It starts with a variation of 'The pit and the pendulum'
where a woman has been cut in two halves by a swinging and slowly
descending blade. Anyway, this guy has a girlfriend who adopts
this black cat which seems to have something against our morbid
friend. The cat becomes an obsession for the poor man and
ultimately, he slaughters the cat and the girlfriend. To cover up
his foul deed, he immures the girl behind a set of bookshelves.
After a while, the cops find out and discover her rotting corpse,
half-eaten by a couple of rabid cats. The guy freaks and dies
after massacring some cops. Nice one.
The other shows were 'Nightmare on Elm street 5' (I saw that one
already in Manchester, it tends to get a bit repetative) and
'Blood feast'. This last one was part of a series about a
director called Hershell Gordon Lewis who did a couple of
extreme-splatter low-budget flicks around the sixties. Not very
interesting so I won't mention the others.
Now the audience coming to this kind of festivals is a bit odd.
Loud cheers could be heard everytime blood flowed and assorted
items where thrown across the theatre. Also, some people wore
hockey-masks and had strangely formed fingers.
The second film was a LOT more interesting. Now what is a film
by Tim Burton (the director of Batman & Beetlejuice) doing on a
horror-festival? Well, I read some stuff about this movie and I
decided to watch it. Also, the other show was 'Night of the
living dead 1990' by Tom Savini and produced by George A. Romero.
This one I already saw in the States. A must for those that
haven't seen the original or those that want to see it again in
color and with the 1990 state of make-up effects.
Anyway, I went to see 'Edward Scissorhands'. The name might
imply a Freddy Krueger ripoff who roams the streets cutting
people to bits with his scissor hands. Well, the opposite is
It's about a guy who lives in an old castle on top of a hill
next to a little town. He has been created by an old inventor
(played by Vincent Price) who died before he could finish him. He
is human except for the scissors and blades he has for hands.
One day, the local Avon-saleswoman ventures up to the castle.
She comes into a garden filled with wondrously shaped bushes,
apparently cut by and exceptionally gifted gardener. She meets
Edward and is a bit spooked at first, but soon finds out he's
very shy and gentle. She takes pity on his loneliness and strange
handicap and asks him to stay with her family for a while.
So he does and becomes the new exciting thing for the little
town. He does peoples' gardens, cuts their hair and trims their
dogs and everybody likes him.
So far so good if it wasn't for good old love. He becomes a bit
infatuated with the daughter of the Avon-woman who has a rather
rude boyfriend. This despicable dude starts to make life
difficult for Edward and bad things happen.
This much about the story. It sounds a bit strange and I must
admit it is, but this film is truly a wonderful piece of artwork.
Stan Winston (creator of the Alien) has done a masterpiece of
Edward's makeup. The scissorhands are brilliantly constructed.
The styling of the movie is quite different. From the gray, dull
castle to the brightly pastel-coloured town. Edward wears black
with a pale, white face and black hair while the townspeople
wear flamboyant colors and live in single-coloured houses. Sounds
a bit dumb, but it looks great, believe me. Also, there is a lot
of humour in this film but it gets rather dramatic at the end. No
horror-movie. Just one guy dies (guess who) and this one is a
P.G. for sure. Great movie! (Only what the heck is it doing at a
So, after the second movie it's about 3:30 am. Sleep is starting
to make itself known, the stomach is becoming empty and fluids
are needed. So a crusade to the bar is made and one returns with
loadsa food and drink, only to be treated to the next film,
Frank Henenlotter is the director of cultmovies 'Basketcase' and
'Brain Damage'. Rather disturbing films. So I was prepared for
some interesting stuff.
This one was about a strange lad who's girlfriend gets chopped
to bits by a rampant lawnmower. He steals her head and keeps it
refrigerated in the garage. He finds a way to create her anew and
goes hunting for fine body parts. So he invents some super-crack
and organizes an orgy with six hookers. In the thick of things,
when everybody is undressed the six hookers explode and our
friend is left in a room filled with body parts and other gore.
He takes things back in a sack and his refrigerator is filled to
the rim. He does some work in his garage and after a thunderstorm
his girlfriend is ALIVE! But she doesn't behave quite like she
used to and acts like a rabid hooker who's clients explodes
during the deed.
Nuts enough for you? Yeah, this is true absurd-sick-humour
splatter! Good fun this one.
Right. The last movie is the hardest. Staying awake is difficult
but we shall not sleep!
"Hardware" is a debut by Richard Stanley. This is a post-nuclear
techno-shocker based on the SHOK! comic. After the holocaust the
world exists of a hard-core scrapmetal constructed world in which
people stay alive with remnants of technology from the past
civilisation. Interstellair Soldier Mose Maxter finds this robot-
head for his girlfriend who makes sculptures from scrapmetal. She
incorporates the head into one of her sculptures and life goes on
until the head turns out to be from a high-tech militairy killer-
robot. This thing manages to reconstruct itself and then the shit
hits the rusty fan. After a LOT of trouble, it is destroyed.
The strong thing about this movie is the crowdedness of the sets
with machinery and other hardware. It brings back memories of
Aliens and Bladerunner really. Pretty good stuff.
So then it is 8:30 and we emerge from the cinema and hit the
sack as soon as we come home. We wake up around 6 in the evening,
have some dinner (or breakfast) and hang around until it is time
to head for the cinema again. (During the last two movies they
showed Highlander 2 and Halloween 5. Highlander 2 is supposed to
be nice and Halloween 5 is yet another Halloween movie)
-- The next day --
Cheerfully we enter the cinema and find ourselves some good
seats for "The Guardian", a film directed by William Friedkin
(the guy who did 'The Exorcist').
This one is about a homicidal tree that has a rather attractive
woman as Guardian. Trees have their needs, and this one needs
babies. Now the woman acts as a babysitter and abducts the babies
she nurses and sacrifices them to the tree. The true nature of
the tree gets revealed when the woman is chased by a couple of
thugs. She flees into the tree and the guys get slaughtered by
the tree and the wolves that always show up when things get
Kate and Phil both have jobs and when Kate gets pregnant they
decide to get a nurse. They choose a nice young lady who promptly
falls of her bicycle and dies. Her replacement turns out to be a
nice and attractive young woman who is called Camilla. She takes
good care of the young lad until the neighbour who has an eye on
her follows her into the wood where she has sex with the tree.
The guy freaks out and gets killed by wolves in his own house.
When a parent of one of the missing babies contacts the young
couple Phil starts getting suspicious and they find out about the
true intents of the lovely Camilla. It all ends rather messy when
Phil attacks the tree with a chainsaw and stuff but good fun
During 'The Guardian', they showed 'Excorist III'. I talked to
some people who saw it and it is supposed to be quite good.
So then it is time for another action movie, 'Predator II'. I
LOVED the original and was a bit sceptic about this one since it
wasn't directed by John Mctiernan and didn't star Schwarzenegger
but it turned out to be rather good. It is set in 1997 where
gangs slaughter each other in Los Angeles and the police is a bit
helpless. Danny Glover plays a tough cop who is a bit puzzled by
all the dead badguys that hang around the place, skinless. When
this mysterious killer also starts to wack police, he decides
that it is time to stop this dude. Easier said than done of
course and it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears before the
job is done. Good action and loadsa effects to keep you
interested. Stephen Hopkins (Nightmare 5) did the directing and
our good buddy Stan Winston is once more responsible for the
brilliant effects and 'Predator' creature-creation. This one is
certainly worth watching.
The bad thing about a festival like this with hundreds of people
there is the fact that if you are unlucky, you have to sit on the
floor and watch the movie. So moving from one cinema to the other
is not such a good idea so we decided to stay put. But during
'Predator 2' there was a one-time-only showing of 'Henry,
portrait of a serial killer'. I mean 'Predator 2' will be in
regular cinemas too, but Henry won't. And Henry is a very good
film so I have heard so I'm sorry I didn't get to see this one.
Same goes for the next one, 'Meet the Feebles' by Peter Jackson.
Insiders will immediately recognise the name and think of the
amazing 'Bad Taste', the ultimate in absurd-gore movies. So I was
a bit sorry for not watching 'Meet the Feebles' which is a sort
of splatter-muppet movie which is an orgy of murdering and
copulating muppets that will insult even the most hardened
But the 'surprise movie' made up for this. They kept us ignorant
about it, but I have connections and knew which one was going to
be shown, 'Silence of the Lambs'.
This one is a terrifying psychological thriller by Jonathan
Demme starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.
Jodie Foster plays a rookie Fed who has to interview a
psychiatrist who has gone nuts and eats people for fun (he is
called Hannibal the Cannibal). He is locked up in a ward for the
criminally insane along with some more freaky criminals. Soon,
she finds out that he knows more about another serial killer who
is still on the loose. This one has the nasty habit to remove
pieces of skin from his victims. Later on, it turns out that he
uses this skin to saw a 'dress' that will turn him into a woman.
A bit disturbing, I admit.
Hannibal is prepared to tell things in return for personal
information from Jodie and soon he has dug deep into her psyche,
revealing her innermost secrets and fears. But she perseveres and
finds out the identity of the other killer and ends up in the
house where he dwells and keeps his victims.
Now this is a very gripping and tense movie, and the part by
Anthony Hopkins who plays Hannibal is a devastating one. He is
like the devil on earth, deviously intelligent, charming, even a
bit funny but lethally dangerous. Certainly worth watching, you
can't miss it!!
After 'Silence of the Lambs' I relaxed, had some Coke and soon
the next movie came up, 'Maniac Cop II'.
This one is yet another roaming killer movie. The Maniac Cop is
a large, disfigured and silent character who slaughters people as
easy as we swat a fly. Not much to say about it really, the MC
roams the streets, murdering and killing and in the end he is
stopped and just when you think it is all over something happens
that makes 'Maniac Cop III' a good candidate for the next Weekend
of Terror. Yawn.
Right. I dragged myself to the station and woke up in Oss, and
slept and slept and slept....
To conclude this, the top three of movies I thought best:
1) Edward Scissorhands
2) Silence of the Lambs
3) The Guardian
Finally I would like to mention the fact that it really wasn't a
horror-weekend. More like a thriller-weekend. I mean what
happened to the good old times with 'Re-Animator' and
'Hellraiser'? What happened to Stuard Gordon? (He is the director
of Re-Animator who once stated in an interview that he would
continue making the goriest movies possible)
I mean 'Edward Scissorhands' and 'Silcene of the Lambs' are very
good films but they don't qualify as 'horror'. Closest came
'Frankenhooker', but this one was too absurd to be taken
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