Streaming media, on-demand services, Hulu, Netflix, and everything else have sapped our collective wills to actually go to a movie theater, especially if there’s no 3-D wizardry involved. As with so many other media that have now shifted to the digital realm, that means less of a communal experience around seeing a new film.
That’s a little sad in the context of schlocky, B-grade horror films. These forgotten, good/bad gorefests are, thanks to technology, more accessible than ever. But with sound coming out of your MacBook speakers and nobody around except your cat to commiserate, you’re missing out on the full experience. What is a gross-out scene without a group of other people’s gags and gasps of pure revulsion? Without a disembowelment magnified to the size of a building wall?
Fortunately you can get your fix of unsung, alternately terrible and amazing horror fare, along with other real-live humans who love it, this Sunday at Cinema Paradiso. The event, dubbed Splatter-Rama, is a monthly double-feature at the historic Fort Lauderdale theater brought to you by Radio-Active Records and fun-time cultural promoter Mark Pollack.
Starting at 7 p.m., the program offers a double feature for just $8. Up first is Blood Feast, a 1963 flick by Herschell Gordon Lewis whose plot loosely centers on a murderous Egyptian caterer who offers up body parts in his spread. By many accounts, it’s as awful as it sounds, but if you’re taking it totally seriously, you’re missing the point. This one may require a strong stomach, though — it’s considered the first salaciously gory “splatter film,” and though its special effects are quaint by today’s standards, blood and guts abound.
Up second on the roster is the 1985 work Return of the Living Dead which, by contrast, veers more obviously to the comedy side of the spectrum. It follows a group of teens trying to fight off a zombie invasion in their town, but there’s an added side of exploitation-movie awesome. Playing to its time, the teens are — gasp! — punk rockers, and the soundtrack is one of the best ever of the genre, featuring bands like the Cramps, TSOL, and the Damned.
Unsurprisingly given the brains behind the event, there’s a live music element, too. During intermission between the films, catch the first-ever set by new local act Armaggedon Man, which, if you’re over 25 at least, features members of defunct South Florida quasi-legends you might remember, like AC Cobra and the Groovenics.
Throughout it all, On the Slide food truck and Munch Cakes will serve up horror-themed concessions, and you’re encouraged to bring DVDs and even tapes to swap. Yes, there’s a full bar too, so nobody’s really expecting you to stay quiet and polite. All the better, considering the cinematic fare.