Shock Around the Clock Haunts Drexel Again

Hope Madden Hope Madden Shock Around the Clock Haunts Drexel AgainPhoto still from "The Innocents," via IMDb.
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October is here! Who’s itching for some scary movies, sleepless nights and horror nerd bonding? The Drexel Theatre has the cure for what ails you.

Shock Around the Clock, the 24-hour marathon of the macabre, returns to the Bexley theater Saturday, October 13 for a full day of horror movies, vintage trailers and general nuttiness (some of it caused by sleep deprivation).

“It really is more than just watching a bunch of features,” Says Bruce Bartoo, who’s been programming or co-programming a 24-hour marathon in Columbus for 30 years.

“Becoming part of this crazed gaggle of strangers who thrill, cringe, scream and chuckle together for 24 hours, wallow in the goofy joys and unexpected miseries — onscreen and off — and mutate into an odd community of twisted, but like, minds — a demented family of sorts — is an experience that can’t be replicated at home or in the hands of less qualified and less maniacal cinema overlords. Our dedicated regulars return from 10 to 15 states twice a year for this marathoid reunion.”

The years haven’t mellowed the crowd, says Bartoo’s co-programmer, Joe Neff. “In fact,” he says, “I’d say that our current crowd holds some of the most passionate horror fans that we’ve ever had.”

As is usually the case, Neff and Bartoo have sprinkled premieres into a larger mix of retro classics. They often look to the festival circuit to narrow down their search.

“We always cast a wide net in searching for premieres,” Neff says. “We try to balance what’s available with the desire for a nice mix of tone and mood. Films like Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse and Luz, which have both received very strong reviews this year, seem like a natural fit.”

A true premiere is always a good get, though.

Crystal Eyes, a delirious tribute to Italian horror films, has only played a few festivals but seems like it will be a great time with this audience,” Neff continues. “We contacted the filmmakers (Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montjano) directly, and they’ve been so gracious with us that this screening will now be the film’s U.S. premiere.”

For classics, the Shock lineup boasts a spate of films from the genre’s most notable directors, including John Carpenter, David Lynch, Dario Argento, plus a screening of Jack Clayton’s 1961 classic, The Innocents. Very high brow.

“Highbrow? Boy, you’re making us sound way more respectable than we are!” Neff laughs.

“But seriously, our crowd has always enjoyed a strong representation of some of the major names in the genre. We’ve wanted to play Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness for quite some time, and it seems to finally be having its moment being appreciated as an underrated gem. The new restoration of Argento’s Deep Red is drop-dead gorgeous, and also a title that we’ve never played. The Innocents is one of the great cinematic ghost stories. And Lynch’s Lost Highway easily fits our desire to stretch the boundaries of the genre — and it’s a great film to see on the big screen.”

Rounding out the program are a number of nostalgic 80s flicks.

“It’s kind of amazing that 80s Horror has had such staying power,” Neff says. “I think that as time passes, many of the films that were just part of the fabric back in the day are being re-appraised for their quality, and the decade in general is being rightly hailed as one of the strongest and most diverse in the history of screen terror.”

He sees other reasons for the era’s sustaining appeal.

“Subsequent generations appreciate the analog quality of the films, the wonderful practical effects,” he says. “And many 80s horror films dealt with risqué or transgressive subject matter in ways that went out of style in a lot of 90s and 00s mainstream horror, and which is only starting to creep back in today.”

Neff says to expect contests and prizes, 35mm trailers and shorts as well as footage paying tribute to 30 years of marathons.

In the end, Neff agrees with Bartoo on the biggest reason to attend.

“This is something different than just watching a few films,” he says. “The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd in this setting creates an atmosphere that is really one of a kind.”

Shock Around the Clock lineup:
Luz (Tilman Singer, 2018) American Premiere
Crystal Eyes (Ezequiel Endelman, Leandro Montejano, 2017) Midwest Premiere
Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse (Lukas Feigelfeld, 2018) Midwest Premiere
From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez, 1996)
Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997)
Deep Red (Dario Argento, 1975)
In the Mouth of Madness (John Carpenter, 1994)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
Terror Train (Roger Spottiswoode, 1980)
Pumpkinhead (Stan Winston, 1988)
Night of the Demons (Kevin Tenney, 1988)
Scream for Help (Michael Winner, 1984)

Shock Around the Clock invades the Drexel Bexley Theatre (2254 E. Main St.) at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 through 12 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. You can purchase tickets at the Drexel Theatre, Laughing Ogre Comics, and online.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her horror movie podcast, FRIGHT CLUB.

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