Horror festival Splatterflix hits Durham’s Carolina Theatre Friday Sept. 30 and runs through Sunday Oct. 2, 2016. A celebration of horror flicks, Splatterflix features a lineup of 13 films curated from the 70s and 80s, arguably the horror genre’s pinnacle.
Originally, Splatterflix was merely a horror-themed weekend. As Jim Carl, Senior Director at The Carolina Theatre of Durham explained, the Retro series typically features counter-programming in October, with titles like “Little Monsters.” Most theatres show the staples, but Carl thought “I’d love to do a weekend of horror films.”
Yet fans have “The Prowler” to thank in large part for the epic weekend of horror. “It’s the film that started the series,” Carl stated. “I’d wanted to show it for more than a decade, and Bill Lustig, director of ‘Maniac’ and ‘Maniac Cop,’ had just obtained the rights.” Jim secured the rights to screen “The Prowler,” and it became the seed that blossomed into Splatterflix.
In creating programming blocks, Carl found he had enough room from 12-13 titles, and the spectrum was intended to be much larger. To narrow the scope, first he cut out everything from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Next he nixed sci-fi. “I wanted to showcase films I’d never shown before,” Carl elucidated, speaking on the diverse programming. “‘An American Werewolf in London,’ is recognizable and has great imagery,” he elaborated. But for each “Halloween” there’s a “Humanoids from the Deep”; the blockbusters and b-flicks are given equal appreciation.
There’s a pleasant mix of staples. “Halloween,” “An American Werewolf in London,” “Fright Night,” and “Maximum Overdrive” are among the blockbuster titles, but there’s a strong showing of b-movie awesomeness like “C.H.U.D.,” ‘The Prowler,” and “Humanoids from the Deep.” Notably, “Exorcist II: The Heretic” screens at Splatterflix. It’s an unusual, but welcome, choice. As Carl explained, “I figure when you get into October, if you want to see the original ‘The Exorcist’ you’ll be able to see in a screening at a theatre with ease. But how many opportunities will you have to see ‘Exorcist II’ on the big screen?”
Lately, “Exorcist II” has seen a resurgence in popularity, much like “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” Like “Halloween III,” “Exorcist II” remains a polarizing film. Also bearing similarities to the “Season of the Witch” experience, it’s a rather enjoyable movie especially if you ignore that it’s related to its predecessor.
Splatterflix is a wonderful opportunity to experience a variety of 70s and 80s horror fare, from the classic to the cult classic. Our top picks (excluding the more well-known titles): “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” “Exorcist II,” “The Prowler,” and “C.H.U.D.” Really, you can’t go wrong with any the Splatterflix entries, and what better way to experience both a familiar favorite or new flick than on the big screen.
Join me in spending a weekend encompassed in darkness gobbling down buttery popcorn, Twizzlers, and delightful horror flicks. Check out the full lineup, below and snag your tix! Hopefully Splatterflix (with your support fellow Triangle area film buffs) can bloom into an annual event.