Ever since Forrest J. Ackerman published his first issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland (and likely long before), horror movie fandom has been characterized by sincere, goofy camaraderie. It’s easy to see why; monsters, slashers, and rubber-suited aliens have long been ostracized by “respectable” film critics, effectively leaving them up for adoption by those who see their sleazy charms. Curatorship, and connecting with those with similar taste, is as much a part of horror fandom as monsters. (Okay, the monsters are pretty important too).
It is in this spirit that friend of the Hassle Jack Schneider has organized the Horror Film Club (or HFC), which has been screening scare films in alternative venues around Boston since 2008. The HFC’s latest double bill is dubbed “CARN-EVIL,” and will present a double dose of theme-park-themed fun at Anthony’s Function Hall in Somerville. Admission is FREE, and the event will be catered by Somerville’s own Cuisine En Locale. Is that somehow not enough for you? Read on for details on the films?
First up is THE FUNHOUSE (1981), directed by horror maestro Tobe Hooper. Tobe was in something of a transitional period at the time; he’d already made his mark on the underground with 1974’s seminal TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, and he was still a year away from his Spielberg-guided mainstream breakthrough in POLTERGEIST. FUNHOUSE presents the best of both worlds, with the colorful sheen afforded by a (relatively) higher budget underscored by a baseline of genuinely aberrant carny weirdness. It’s got deformed mutants, promiscuous fortune tellers, evil clowns, and more – in short, it’s everything you want in a carnival horror movie.
Speaking of clowns (it should go without saying that coulrophobes should steer clear of this event), the second film is the 1988 cult classic KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, a film instantly familiar to anyone who ever spent time chuckling at the titles in the horror section of their local video store. Unlike many of those films, however, KLOWNS delivers on its outrageous title in spades, filled to the brim with terrifically realized makeup effects and every clown-based visual pun imaginable (cotton candy, balloon animals, and even shadow puppets all become murder weapons). The key to the fun is the perfectly stupid script from special effects mavericks Steven, Charles, and Edward Chiodo; which takes the Klowns just seriously enough, without having any illusions about what the film actually is. And hey, that theme song by the Dickies is pretty badass.
HFC presents: CARN-EVIL
THE FUNHOUSE (1981) dir. Tobe Hooper
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988) dir. Stephen Chiodo
Saturday, 3/22, 7:00 PM
Anthony’s Function Hall (156 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143)