First published by The Edinburgh Reporter, November 29 2010.
10pm: Catch 27 bus to @CameoCinema
10.14pm: Make twitter vow that I’ll only travel after 10pm from now on. It’s much quicker.
10.30pm: Observe crowd whilst waiting for friends to arrive. Some have pillows. Others have piles of Tupperware filled with pasta. I have a sandwich and a can of energy drink. Feel under prepared.
11pm: They start ripping tickets. Auditorium smells a bit dodgy, but nobody complains (loudly) as we’re all far too well brung up.
11.24pm: Matt Palmer, who has been trying to organize an all night horror fest in Edinburgh for six years, gives a brief speech to introduce:
11.35pm: We kick off with Return of the Living Dead
11.37pm: James Karen as Frank establishes himself as one of the best comic actors I’ve never heard of ever to grace the silver screen. IMDB tells me he was good pals with Robert Ludlum.
12.01am: Burt and Ernie (Clu Gulager and Don Calfa) are also fantastic.
12.20am: Was that a zombie midget?!
12.45am: Those zombies have tricked an awful lot of police officers and paramedics into losing their brains…
01.00am: Officially one of my new favourite films.
01.10am: Trailer shown for Beyond The Gate. We don’t really get much information other than things do or do not happen BEYOND THE GATE.
01.13am: Trailer for Pranks, a film whose tagline is, “when the kidding stops, the killing starts!”
01.16am: Trailer for Burnt Offerings, whose cast includes Oliver Reed and Bette Davis.
01.20am: Second film, the nearly seasonal Black Christmas.
01.25am: Margot Kidder provides an excellent insult in the form of, “you’re a real gold plated whore, mom!”
02.15am: Central character Jess (Olivia Hussey) receives the least romantic proposal ever from a man who just destroyed a grand piano in a fit of pique. Somehow she resists the temptation of succumbing to, “I’m leaving the conservatory and we’re getting married!” Must have a heart of stone.
02.30am: Several miserable looking children turn up to do some caroling, which conveniently means that Jess is unable to hear a violent murder taking place upstairs. None of the audience joins in. With the caroling, not the murdering.
02.40am: Jess and her only remaining chum with a pulse have a chat involving the revelation “Do you realize this is the only door or window in this house that’s locked?” D’oh. No wonder there’s a psychopath in the attic. Safety first, ladies.
03.20am: Unexpected free raffle is drawn by a Santa who looks suspiciously like a hobo crossed with Ian Hoey. Before leaving the stage he says, “remember, if you hear a rustling in the middle of the night, outside or under your bed… it’s probably me. That’s my time for kissing.” Consider yourselves warned.
03.29am: Third showing is Basket Case.
03.30am: The film is broken!
03.37am: The film is fixed!
03.39am: A man has a bit of an overreaction to someone switching a light on: “OH GOD NO! I’ve got a gun! I’ll SHOOT!” Unfortunately for him it’s the tiniest gun you’ve ever seen. He dies.
03.40am: This film contains some of the most compellingly awful acting and wigs I have ever seen. And I’ve done pantomime. With an amateur dramatics society.
04.05am: Dr Kutter is like some kind of deranged Nigella Lawson look-alike.
04.15am: Main character has a flashback during which they have put boot step sound FX over his dad walking in bare feet.
04.30: Can’t get past the claymation, Harryhausen inspired monster. It’s beyond bad. I love it.
05.20am: More trailers for things we aren’t watching tonight – Deep Red, The Curse, and Autopsy. That last one sounds great actually: “SHE, is the girl… who knows more about death, than about LOVE. And HE is the man…. Who teaches her about BOTH.” What I particularly like is that the lead actress is called Mimsy Farmer. Parents can be hilariously cruel.
05.31am: It’s time for Dario Argento’s Suspiria. No, that isn’t a word invented by Peter Andre.
05.35am: Soundtrack to this is so intense that I can’t feel my ears anymore.
05.55am: Apparently German pubs consist entirely of men in lederhosen doing that thigh-slapping dance. Isn’t racial stereotyping fun?
06.20am: An unexplained psychiatrist is sage-like. Although nobody is clear on why he suddenly appeared in the narrative like that. Is it tiredness, or was there a deleted scene somewhere? We may never know.
06.45am: OMG, CRAPPY BAT PUPPET ATTACK!!!
06.55am: “I know,” says the main character, “I could find out where the bad guys go at night by counting their footsteps.” Well Susan, that’s one option. Or, you could stay in bed. Just saying.
06.56am: She’s off to count the footsteps. In wildly impractical shoes, I might add. They’re nice, but heels like that are going to make a hell of a racket on those floorboards.
06.57am: Guy sitting next to me is out cold and snoring gently. Apparently the tension of whether Susan’s shoes give her away isn’t suspenseful enough for some folk.
07.12am: Lots of people left after Susperia – cinema practically empty now. Come on people, there’s only one more to go!
07.15am: Random trailers highlight – Shockwaves, in which a team of underwater Jimmy Saville clones terrorise a Katie Holmes lookalike. It stars Peter Cushing.
07.20am: Last film! It’s called From Beyond and is based on a short story by H.P.Lovecraft. We await tentacles.
07:50am: “That doesn’t explain how Pretorius died, or what happened to his head!”
08.00am: Tentacle! Coming out his head! Told you!
08.20: Thought we’d had the end there, but it was a false alarm.
08.30am: Definitely gooiest film of the night.
08.40am: It is done. The boldest and bravest emerge into the Sunday morning snow, better people for having journeyed through this night of horror together.
08.55: And so to bed – to sleep, perchance to dream; of zombies, witches, evil twins, and serial killers. See you next time.