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For Chris Alo and Tad Leger, organizers of last Saturday’s Hudson Horror Show film festival in Poughkeepsie, New York, it all came down to wanting to do justice to the movies they loved. And not wanting to see another DVD projection at a film festival ever again.
“There’s no point in going to one of these shows and seeing a movie off DVD,” Alo says. “Everybody has DVD players, Surround sound and big-screen TVs now. If it’s not on film, we’re not going to do it. I went to a certain festival that will remain nameless. The promoter told me the films were going to be mostly off 35mm, and then when I get there, I found out that the guy who booked the three-day festival and didn’t have a single print. Everything was DVD projections. That’s what really pushed me over the edge to say, ‘I have to do my own thing, because this is horrible.’ ”
And so, the Hudson Horror Show (see the official website here) was born. What helped make it all possible was the fact that Alo’s good friend and fellow horror fanatic Leger is a graphic designer for Grindhouse Releasing, a distributor with the rights to several classic exploitation movie prints. And so, the first Hudson Horror Show was presented last spring.
“As I was working with [Grindhouse], I started forwarding the list of 35mm prints they own to other people, because they’re constantly booking prints,” Leger recalls. “I talked to those guys and asked whether I could get some of these prints if I could find a place to show them. They said, “Absolutely, just pay the FedEx and you can have them, otherwise free of charge.” That was a big incentive to get Hudson Horror going, because we already had a connection to get the prints.”
The original Hudson Horror Show boasted such fright flicks as Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE, PIECES and the all-time Sam Raimi classic, THE EVIL DEAD. This past Saturday, the show returned to Poughkeepsie for another rousing success. This time around, the bill included CANNIBAL FEROX, THE GATES OF HELL, DEMONS, EVIL DEAD II and the viewer’s-choice selection (voted by fans on-line), John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. Those plus numerous vintage trailers, all on glorious 35mm. “I’d rather see a beat-up film print than a video projection, because it’s just not the same,” Leger says. “You really get the feeling for how it was when these films originally played in theaters, and just seeing movies like DEMONS and EVIL DEAD II—which are so much fun—with a crowd, that’s double the entertainment.”
The packed house on hand for more than 12 hours of nonstop horror was certainly a testament to the level of entertainment on display. In addition to the features, there was a costume contest, a special horrific short intro by local filmmaker Glen Baisley and special appearances by area horror authors such as Dr. Kim Paffenroth (GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD, VALLEY OF THE DEAD). The event was such a success that Alo indicates a third Hudson Horror Show is on the horizon, perhaps in May. He also seemed to suggest that, to complete the trifecta, he might seek out ARMY OF DARKNESS to exhibit next time. Which, most of the folks on hand last Saturday would no doubt agree, would be more than groovy.
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