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12 Hours of Terror RETURNS!

The poster read “the blood is back“. And they’re right. It was finally that time again… Time for 12 hours of Terror. I’ve been a regular at this film festival since it’s inception, and it’s fair to say that I’m a fan. The selections are consistently excellent, the promotion is fun, always including a secret movie to keep you guessing… and quite frankly, it’s a good crowd of people too. I see a lot of the same folks  year after year, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re not all jerks. You’re not gonna get a drunk Juggalo screaming behind you at 12 hours of terror the way that I did at Cybertronic Spree. A lot of my friends attend this, and I’m usually reasonably confident that just showing up, I’m going to have somebody to sit with. But even if I don’t, that doesn’t matter. Because we’re all here to have a good time. I’ve met interesting folks at the show, include The chef dude with the mohawk who regaled me with stories about Texas chainsaw to being his favorite of the movies, or the guys that I gushed with about getting to see Nightmare on elm Street for the very first time on the big screen.

I got in and secured my seat with some of my crew. Mark and Jenny made it, but Jennifer and Chris we’re gonna be absent this year. I was gonna miss them as well as Bree. On the other hand, I was delighted to see that wolf child had made it in, and Jason was sitting just a couple rows back… Ready to make dumb comments through the entire night. Dave came out and announced the plans for the evening. The secret come with play fifth, and dinner break would be after the third movie.

“We’ve got a new sponsor this year, Citizen Pie… And they have provided pizza for dinner tonight. A lot of pizza. However, I know there’s some of you out there who could pretty much eat an entire pizza by yourself… We’ve got a lot, but we don’t have that much!“.

I don’t know about you, but I feel personally attacked. I grinned and gave him a thumbs up at the “I know there’s some of you who could eat an entire pizza” line… On the other hand, it’s 12 hours of terror, and nobody wants to be that guy. I didn’t think he had much to worry about, and I was right. The food line went quick, and it wasn’t long before they started realizing they had way more leftovers than anticipated. At that point. It was all you can eat… And let’s be honest guys, I take all you can eat as a challenge rather than a description.

The evening started off with Graduation Day. It’s a movie I’ve never seen before, although that may have something to do with the trauma distributing. I don’t hate trauma, but I’m not gonna go out of my way for them. On the other hand, this, like killer nerd – which I was talking about earlier in the wasteland post, was more distributed by trauma than actually made by them. Indeed, my buddy Mark got his film Suburban Legends : Life on Rainbow Road distributed by Troma as well… and considering I’m in that movie…(And also consider considering that Lloyd filmed a cameo for me when Madeline and I were doing The Backyard Zombie Movie) I should probably ease up on the smack talk.

Graduation Day is an interesting little slasher with some surprisingly good kills. I got myself really drawn in and enjoying the movie… And I will straight up admit, they got me in the end. I did not figure out who the killer was, and the misdirects totally worked on me.

They followed that up with Carrie. This is the original version, and one that I’ve really only discovered recently. It’s always been on my radar… Even as far back as my first meeting with William Katt… but I’ve never gotten around to actually watching it until a DVD copy fell into my hands from the dollar tree, along with a fortunately timed retrospective on the production booth podcast. Still, that’s only been about a year… So it was still reasonably fresh in my mind. But I’ve gotten over the initial shock and was able to settle in and just kind of enjoy it for what it is. It definately gets me in the mood to follow it up later this week though, with both the remake and the musical!

The next film up was The Mist. For some reason, I keep mistaking The Mist for The Fog… And I embarrass my little myself a little bit in line while I was discussing the film. Someone had to correct me and point out that I was actually thinking of the fog and that changed things retroactively for me. This is one of the cool things about 12 Hours of Terror though. Mark and I were discussing what influences we saw in it and I pointed out the Lovecraft influences I saw in the monsters. The guy in line ahead of us pointed out that it’s a dead on description from the book, and totally a Lovecraft kind of creature. 

On the other hand, the ending of this is so grim, it’s such a downer that I was a little upset. Seriously, don’t send me out to dinner with the sads! Also, the most unrealistic part of The Mist isn’t the monsters… It’s that the pharmacy still has a comic book spinner rack!

I took my first of many plates of fleet pizza upstairs. There’s a sort of lounge in the upper areas of the capital, and I knew they’d be sitting up there. I also knew a lot of people wouldn’t be flocking up there… It’s not the sort of place they think of. A young man in a mystery science theater 3000 shirts that down next to me and we discussed the new season of MST3K over at the gizmoplex. He’s really enjoying it, and was telling me all about the new host that’s sharing time with Jonah.  This is one of those things that I have long observed about convention life. It’s that you can walk up to anybody there and just start talking to them. We all broadcast our favorite fandom‘s on our T-shirts or our costumes, and the very fact that we’re there tells you that we’re safe to talk to you about those things. It’s something that my daughter has been discovering and leaning into more and more, and I really love that. 12 hours of terror is much the same thing. Indeed, even standing in line for the bathroom… it’s Cleveland.

“If worse comes to worse,“ one person announced “I am perfectly willing to go into the sink.“

“Come on man, this isn’t an Indians game!“

“Man, if we were back at the old municipal stadium… You just go behind a girder… in fact, you’d probably already be sitting there.’

“I don’t know, you’d probably see a few fewer murders at an Indians game… I’m not saying none… Just fewer.“.

 By the time I made it back into the auditorium, they just switched  From competitive pizza tossing on the big screen, two commercials for showbiz pizza – a competitor to Chuck E. Cheese back in the day. It got our hopes up that perhaps the secret film would be something like Willys Wonderland.

In an attempt to make up for bumming everybody out with The Mist, Dave had scheduled Jason X next. Jason X is a fun time, and possibly one of my favorite Jason movies of all time. I broke one of my normal rules about eating during a horror movie. That never ends well for me, but I’m already familiar with this film and it’s kills, so I didn’t feel too worried about my imagination getting out of hand. Besides, at this point, I had a platefull of half a pizza. Props to Citizen pie by the way… My company used them to cater a job out in Cleveland a few months ago as well, and I really dig what they do. That’s good pepperoni, and a very nice crossed. Just the consistency of dough that I like.

 I grabbed posters for the new film Run Sweetheart Run, as well as candy from the table to Netflix it set up. I also noted that the future video was selling stuff here. I almost wonder if more of a dealer‘s room might be a nice thing for this show. I grabbed a shirt from a few years ago that they discounted down to five dollars, and really thought about grabbing one of the trailer compilations future video was doing. In addition to their own original movies, they were selling a trailer compilation of all the movies from the first 10 years at 12 hours of terror. It’s an inspired move, and they sold out before the end of the evening, helping to make my choice for me.

Finally it was time for the reveal for the surprise screening. When we opened on closed circuit camera monitors of chaos in the streets, Mark venture to guess coat diary of the dead?“ i’ll be honest. I’m not a big fan of Romero’s second zombie zombie trilogy. I did watch land of the dead, thinking that it was a direct sequel to the Donna the dead remake actually, and it just didn’t do anything for me. I settled in, because well I don’t necessarily object to a screening of diary of the dead, this is indeed probably the only way that I would watch the movie.

But it doesn’t feel right. The camera panned down to a monkey. All of a sudden I found myself wondering… Wait… Is that Cesar? Is this one of the planet of the apes prequel’s? All of a sudden, I want a diary of the dead back. I know it’s heresy, but honestly, I have absolutely no interest in any of the planet of the apes films. Then again, this was all feeling very familiar. Increasingly familiar at the animal rights activists broke into the lab to free the animals. I suddenly had an inkling… One that was confirmed as soon as the lead scientist spoke.

“They’re all infected!“

With what?“


28 days later. Yes PLEASE.

I like 28 days later. I even have it at home on a VHS tape. But I’m pretty sure I recall call originally watching it back in the days when I was staying home with my first daughter. We watched a lot of zombie back then, baby Maddie enjoyed the bright colors and all the red on the screen. There’s just one problem. The ending. Dude wakes up after getting shot, and he’s in an old house with Selena and Hannah, sewing together a large banner and every bit of fabric they can find to spell out the words hello giant letters on the ground. A plane flies by, hopefully seeing the message, and realizing that there are survivors. But… That’s not how this movie ends. I’m sure that’s not how this movie ends. I’ve seen it half a dozen times… And that’s not right! 

Mark and Jen were no help. It was actually their first time seeing the movie. I twisted behind me to try and get an opinion out of Jason. He shook his shoulders and admitted it been too long since he seen the film. The young woman in the row ahead of us, sing me freak out and wonder if I was crazy pulled some information up on her phone to show me. The movie had it originally had three different endings, and the doubt downer ending that I remembered, where dude died from his wounds and Selena and Hannah walk off sadly into the sunset is indeed one of the ultimate endings. It’s one on my videotape, but not the one presented tonight. Fascinating. It’s a gag the producers had set up ages ago for the original screenings, but here we are, Over two decades later, and they’re still getting me. You have to love that kind of stuff.

Demon Knight was Up Next. My buddy Mike insists we saw this movie in the theater,Though I still feel like it was a rental. In any event, it’s one of those movies where it’s been so long since I’ve seen it, it was like watching a new film. They rolled Crypt keeper bits on the screen  during the intermission before the film rolled. It opens with a typical slasher scene, which turns out to be a movie the Crypt Keeper was supposedly directing. Meta, before meta was a thing!  I completely forgotten that John Lara cat is in the opening bit, and that was fun in a bit sell. But the thing with Demon Knight is, unlike Bordello of Blood, which features very recognizable Dennis Miller, Demon Knight is filled with actors that I just didn’t know… Certainly not at the time. I am familiar with Billy Zane and William Sandler now. And quite frankly, I should’ve understood who Dick Miller was back then, but I’m ashamed to say I do. Demon Knight comes from a time before Jada Pinkett became Jada Pinkett Smith, and one of the worst people in Hollywood. But at the end of the day, this is one of the movies that I really needed to revisit as an adult. A lot of it comes off very different now with 40 year old eyes instead of 20 year old ones, and I appreciate it that way.

One of the big problems with 12 hours of terror, is that it’s rarely actually 12 hours. In fact I don’t know that it’s ever been 12 hours. But this one in particular was especially egregious considering that we already passed 12 1/2 hours by the time we finished Demon Knight. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was spent. Despite really liking what I was seeing with Demon Knight, at the same time I was still kind of falling asleep at points. That’s what happens when you start to push 50. So it is with great regret that I ended up bailing on the last film… Bride of Reanimator. It’s still relatively safe to do, I know for a fact that it’s streaming on Tubi right now, so I can get to it when I’m not quite as exhausted.

Though I am a little bummed out for fitting the opportunity to actually watch it on the big screen. Still, I cannot even begin to express my delight in the fact that 12 hours Manage to return to Cleveland on the other side of the lock downs. Seasons Bleedings is returning as well for another round of seasonal horror! It’s a shorter festival than 12 hours, and may actually be a bit more manageable, but still an absolutely good time. My friends and I will be hitting that up in a month and a half and if you’re in the northeastern Ohio area that first weekend of December, you should absolutely come out!


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