The decade of the 1980s was the slasher film heyday, and the third edition of The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, running October 11th–18th with screenings and events across Brooklyn, New York, takes a fond, bloody look back at that classic era of horror movies with its 80s Slash-A-Thon. This series includes a 35th anniversary screening of cult classic Sleepaway Camp, along with the New York book launch for celebrated horror journalist Michael Gingold’s Ad Nauseam. Fans of the golden age of made-for-TV horror movies will be pleased to learn that this beloved genre will also receive special recognition. This edition will be BHFF’s largest ever, with loads of captivating world, North American, U.S., and East Coast premieres in addition to its retro offerings.
Following are BHFF’s official descriptions of its 80s Slash-A-Thon features and its other special retro events.
USA | 1981 | 91 Minutes | Dir. Tony Maylam
The rare slasher movie that features a “final boy,” this exceedingly mean-spirited and nihilistic knockout has everything you need from a stalk-and-kill body count movie. There’s an overnight kids’ camp in the woods, a young Holly Hunter and an even younger Jason Alexander, and what’s arguably the gnarliest sequence in slasher history: a ferocious and brutal multi-victim slaughter set on a raft and powered by bloody shears.
USA | 1981 | 96 Min | Dir. Tobe Hooper
In between The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, the iconic Tobe Hooper made this sorely underrated gem. Set largely within a seedy carnival, Hooper’s addition to the ’80s slasher canon has inventive circus-influenced murder scenes, sure, but its coolest contribution to the slice-and-dice subgenre is its killer, a deformed madman who sports a Frankenstein’s monster mask and, when that mask is off, is basically a human tarantula with luscious blonde locks.
My Bloody Valentine
Canada | 1981 | 90 Min | Dir. George Mihalka
In terms of slashers taking place around holidays, My Bloody Valentine comes second to only Halloween. The best Canadian slasher of all time, it’s a masterful blend of small-town whodunit paranoia and cavernous underground terror, with a crazed miner and his trusty pickaxe shredding through numerous victims after a local Valentine’s Day dance gets reinstated. Tough love, indeed.
Sleepaway Camp (35th Anniversary Screening)
USA | 1983 | 84 Min | Dir. Robert Hiltzik
If you’ve never seen Sleepaway Camp before, you’re in for something special. To be more specific, we mean one of the most shocking endings in not only horror movie history, but cinema in general. Up until this classic slasher’s humdinger finale, it also happens to be an excellent and delightfully twisted murder mystery about a summer camp where kids are meeting the bad ends of knives, beehives, and hot curling irons.
Michael Gingold's Ad Nauseam NY Book Launch
Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s, a 1984 Publishing title presented by Toronto-based horror periodical Rue Morgue and edited by former Rue Morgue editor-in-chief Dave Alexander, will highlight a golden age of horror movie ads. The 248-page, full-color, hardbound book features more than 450 rare, vintage ads culled from Gingold's personal archive. Growing up in the '80s, the future Fangoria writer and editor would carefully cut out ads he saw in local newspapers, leaving him with a collection tracing horror movie history via both blockbusters and obscurities.
Tying into our ‘80s Slash-A-Thon, our programmer-at-large, Michael Gingold will introduce each of the four marathon films with a special slideshow presentation of the upcoming book.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies presents
Big Scares on the Small Screen: A Brief History of the Made for TV Horror Film with instructor Amanda Reyes
Although rarely held in high regard by critics, the made for television horror film remains an intriguing artifact of network programming. Any subgenre was up for grabs, and the output was disparate, vast, and surprisingly subversive, often producing a collective memory (or trauma, depending) shared by millions of viewers. Join us for a retrospective on the golden age of the telefilm and beyond. This event will be hosted by Amanda Reyes, editor and co-author of Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium: 1964-1999.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international educational community that offers classes in horror film history and theory in London, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as hosting special events worldwide.
Joseph Perry is one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast (whenitwascool.com/up-hill-both-ways-podcast/) and Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast (decadesofhorror.com/category/classicera/). He also writes for the retro pop culture website That’s Not Current (thatsnotcurrent.com), Diabolique Magazine (diaboliquemagazine.com), Gruesome Magazine (gruesomemagazine.com), Scream Magazine (screamhorrormag.com), Ghastly Grinning (ghastlygrinning.com), and several other print and online film critique and pop culture magazines.
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