Last night, I ventured into Chicago to the Music Box Theatre for The Creepshow, a Stephen King film festival, where they had a bunch of King movies being screened over 3 days. Friday night, they were screening the original The Shining (1980) and Doctor Sleep (2019), which I had originally planned to go but didn’t make it. Which kind of worked out for the best, since I heard it sold out early in the day. But I did go last night because they were screening Creepshow (1982), which happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. They were also screening 1408 (2007), and Christine (1983), which we planned on staying for as well.
When we (myself and my partner-in-crime for the evening, Brian Martinez) drove up to the theater, we could already see a huge line outside the theater. I lucked out in finding a parking space right in front of the theater. Any locals know just how lucky you are when that happens. In fact, we were so excited, I completely forgot to pay the parking meter. So, after over 30 years of coming into the city for movies and such, I ended up getting my first parking ticket! But back to the real story.
I can’t remember the last time I had saw Creepshow on the big screen, but it had been quite a while. Normally, because I’m becoming more and more of a grumpy old horror fan, seeing films in a crowded theaters gets on my nerves more and more because people don’t know how to act in one. They would be constantly talking to each other or saying what is going to happen to their friends, or who that is on the screen, sometimes not even trying to whisper, instead of just being quiet and watching the damn movie!
Much to my surprise, not only was everyone well behaved during the screening, but it also brought back a lot of memories watching this film, with a packed house, showing me once again how well-crafted this picture really is. People were laughing at the right moments, jumping at others, and squirming in their seats when E.G. Marshall was having his “bug problem”. Even some of the more subtle moments of humor, the audience got it and responded. Such as when Hal Holbrook’s character is about to finally get rid of his annoying wife and can’t help but start smirking and trying to hide his joy, the audience snickered laughed with him.
Last night reminded me of the communal aspect of cinema, and how, when the audience is just right, we all become one while watching what is happening on the screen. It made me feel like I was sitting in the theater back in 1982 when the film first came out. This played at the theater I worked at, so I got to see it several times during that initial run, getting to watch the audience respond to the different parts of the movie, laughing at times, and jumping at other times. I felt that again last night. It made me proud to be a movie fan, and even more proud to be a horror fan.
To make the night even better, makeup effects guru Greg Nicotero was there to do a brief introduction to the film and a Q&A afterwards. While he didn’t work on the original film, he was on the set documenting a lot of what was going on. But of course, it is because of him that we now have the Creepshow series currently playing. Nicotero is one of those true fans of the genre and is like a little kid (just like us) when it comes to all things scary. Granted, I’m still jealous as hell that he owns one of the original crates from my favorite episode of the film. One of these days . . .
Speaking of the crate, there was even a great looking replica of that prop in the lobby of the theater! Kudos to the Music Box and The Loser’s Club for making this event happen. There were a few vendors set up in the lobby and lounge, and a ton of fans roaming around throughout the evening. It was so great seeing that many fans come out to support such events, and is so important that we, as fans, continue to support the Music Box and other venues that take the time to create and host them.
I went to an advance screening of Barbarian (loved it!) last night and I was glad to see it in a full theater, mostly to hear the chatter afterwards about what people thought of it. The one weird thing is that the guy next to me was laughing during all the parts that I found genuinely scary. Maybe that’s how he deals with fear.
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