Olympia’s All Night Horror movie fest lived up to the hype and more!
Sorry that it’s taken me so long to get this review down, I stayed up for 27 hours Saturday into Sunday and I am just now feeling right.
We’ve been pushing All Freakin’ Night pretty hard on the website recently, so I don’t think that I really need to go into too much exposition on the event. Briefly, it’s an all night horror movie fest in Olympia featuring five classic horror films projected in 35mm starting at midnight and ending at about 8am that morning. The goal is to make it all freakin’ night, but that’s a hell of a lot harder than you’d think. Adam and I showed up to play Saturday night, and gave it our all, here is the story.
Saturday night was miserable weather-wise. It was raining sideways and cold as hell, but that didn’t deter several die hard horror fans from lining up in the elements to secure the best seats and get ready for the night. The festival uses a first come first serve numbered wrist band system which holds a place for you in line so the folks that showed up early could see the fruits of their labor. Since we showed up early, Adam and I secured numbers 32 & 33 which got us in the theater with the second wave of people.
Rolling solo to a festival just isn’t the way to go. The more friends the merrier and thankfully we had one other player on our team. Anthony Dluzak from Tacoma’s premier horror movie series Friday Night Frights joined us in our sweet ass front and center balcony seats and helped us set up base camp. Anthony had done All Freakin’ Night a couple times in the past so he knew how to play the game, bringing a bevvy of snacks and drinks that put my Hot Tamales and gummy worms to shame. See, that’s another cool thing about the fest, as long as you’re not a dumbass and bring in booze or weed, they don’t care what food you take into the theater with you. Adam was a resourceful packer too, opting for the healthier fare of fruit, bagel sandwiches and yerba tea.
But that’s enough exposition.
The crowd turnout was pretty decent as we started the night, I would say that 65% of the house was full and folks were pumped to start the show. Hosts Ian and Tori Bracken did not disappoint taking the stage as a blood covered mad scientist and a hot-as-fuck nun (Tori was the nun FYI). The stage was dressed with all sorts of monsters, tombstones and even an organ player! They got us all psyched up and the show began.
The night kicked off with Fulci’s The Beyond. This was one that I had never had the chance to see on the big screen and was pretty stoked for – the audience was with me. To this date, I have never sat in a theater with such a lively audience, I can safely say that at times it bordered on annoying, but looking back who gave a shit. The print that they had was in fair shape and probably the best of the night. Some of the comments were priceless and some of the obnoxious drunks just made you want to punch a fucking hole in the wall and send them to the beyond.
Thankfully as the end credits rolled on The Beyond so did a majority of the douchebags. The section of the balcony that we were in was packed with teens drunk off their asses that had hit the wall as the night hit 2am.
Q: the Winged Serpent screened after some giveaways on the stage and this was another one that I looked forward to checking out. The print was pretty red and dropped out in a couple spots, but the projectionist in house was on his shit. Q is a great creature feature that plays fast and embodied an early 80’s horror flick. By the end of Q, the audience had thinned out even more and it was Red Bull-thirty.
Shock Waves seemed to be the title that got the least amount of audience participation to that point. It was a slow moving underwater-Nazi-zombie film that was pretty formulaic survival fare and seemed to be the shortest of all the films. Starring a very aged John Carradine (this was the third Carradine that we would see that night) and a gaunt Peter Cushing, Shock Waves was gore free and relatively action free, but it was still a pretty fun movie.
After the film, the hosts treated us to a Worst-Dead-Baby joke contest. The winning joke was just too gnarly to put in this write up – even though I really want to.
The fourth movie that Adam and I would see that night was Who Can Kill a Child. Watching this thing at 5am was something that I will never forget. This was an intense movie. Adam, Anthony, and I are parents, and pretty damn good ones at that so a film about killing kids isn’t our bag of chronic and based on the title, it sounded like we weren’t gonna get away from this one without some kiddie-carnage. A pregnant wife and her husband who are on vacation decide to rent an boat and sail to a remote island for a weekend getaway. Once they reach the island they realize there is not an adult to be found – that’s because the kids have gone crazy for some reason and killed them all. In one particular scene, the children hoist up a dying old man and turn him into a human pinata using a scythe in place of a stick. I was definitely disturbed by this film, but it’s worth a watch to those without kids and a stronger constitution.
By the end of Child, only the truly hardcore were left in the house. The crowd had thinned substantially and the sun had started to come up. Re-Animator was the final film of the fest, and it is a movie that I have seen multiple times.
It was at this point that we had to tap out.
As I mentioned before, I am a parent and my youngest child is only a year old, and the previous day he had me up at 6:15 – which meant by that point
I had been up for 24 hours. Plus I still had to drive from Olympia to Kirkland tweeked out on Adderall and sugar and not quite sure if my right eye was fully functional.
Anthony was the last man standing of our group, it had taken him three years but he was finally going to make it All Freakin’ Night. As Adam and I collected and sifted through the carnage of our all night candy/health food binge I was struck by a sense of failure. Yes, I had seen the final movie many times and I was dog ass tired, but it was All Freakin’ Night and as the name implies, the goal is to last the entire time. We were standing on the precipice of the crowning achievement in Washington horror movie festivals and we decided to walk back down the trail in favor of safety and sleep.
Next year will be different.
Next year I’m gonna make it All Freakin’ Night.