Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fandom Love: Saturday Nightmares

One thing you pick up working for a science fiction publisher is the extent to which fans are fascinated by their own fandom. That certainly appears to be the case for horror fans as well. While it might be met with indulgent shrugs by the mere mortals of the world, true devotees will eagerly scarf up Michael Stever’s Saturday Nightmares (trailer here), a short documentary behind-the-scenes look at the eponymous horror expo held at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre earlier this year. Now available on DVD in time for Halloween, true fans (you know who you are) can catch a special screening tonight with John Carpenter’s The Thing at the Chelsea Cinema.

Though Carpenter’s name is dropped several times in Saturday, most notably by his ex-wife Adrienne Barbeau, the film’s touchstone figure and guest of honor is unquestionable George A. Romero, the horror auteur best known for the Living Dead franchise. After Romero and Barbeau (who appeared Romero’s Creepshow), probably the most recognizable Saturday guest would be actor-director-make-up artist Tom Savini whose host of horror credits include Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake, which he helmed.

Most of the other featured horror heroes would probably be considered fan favorites, like Ken Foree and Joe Pilato, both best remembered for their roles in Dawn. The one non-Romero related ringer of the program is Louise Robey, who appeared in the Friday the 13th television series that was completely unrelated to the slasher movie franchise.

Stever gives us the requisite scenes of the set-up process, which will probably make anyone who has worked a lot of trade shows nauseous. We get a bit of footage of the gory cos play and some candid footage of several of the invited guests. Some of the expo stars were gracious enough to do sit-downs with the filmmaker, including Barbeau who comes across remarkably down to earth (and evidently travels entourage-less). Surprisingly, based on his remarks to the audience, we also learn Foree could have a future in talk radio.

If nothing else, Saturday is an effective commercial for the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, the grand old single screen movie palace where the horror expo was held. Slightly decrepit in a lush Hammer Films kind of way, it was definitely an appropriate spot for the horror movie love-in.

Those who live and breathe horror films will appreciate some of the insights to be gleaned into Romero’s work from the interviews and panel discussion excerpts. However, if you didn’t get the genre before, you won’t get it now. For fans though, the double bill with Carpenter’s The Thing should be a very cool show. They screen together tonight (10/23) at the Chelsea Cinema, while DVDs of Saturday are currently available through the film’s website.