By Jared Bowen
|From the left: Superfan Generoso Fierro, Mark Anastasio and Jesse Hassinger|
It's an understatement to say that Mark Anastasio knows horror movies. His office at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, where he is the assistant program manager, is crammed with more movie posters and action figures than office supplies. This guy knows horror movies the way Ted Williams knew hitting and Stephen Hawking knows physics.
So what makes a great horror movie? To Anastasio, it's a pretty specific formula. “It has to be made from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. That’s step one," Anastasio says. "Step two is that either Tom Savini or Rob Bottin should have done the makeup effects and special effects for it. And step three is that it needs to have been directed by John Carpenter.”
This connoisure of cinematic gore is one of two men responsible for the lineup at the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Annual Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, a 12-hour sensory overload of live music, psychic readings, popcorn and — of course — plenty of blood and guts on the big screen.
“It’s a really great endurance test for horror film fans,” says Anastasio. “Half the fun I have is going around at like 9 a.m., seeing what the status of the place is. Seeing who’s still here… what the smells are like. Our projectionist one year equated it to an actual crypt. It gets funky.”
The funk starts at the Coolidge Corner Theater this Saturday at midnight and it doesn’t stop until noon on Halloween Day. Hundreds of horror movie geeks, film buffs and curiosity seekers will pack into the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. Some will stay for a movie or two and maybe a laugh. A few will be in it to win it, enduring six feature films ranging from the campy to the terrifying.
If you’re hoping to hear a preview of all of the films that you can expect to see on the big screen, well... “I can definitely talk about two of them,” says program manager Jesse Hassinger. Jesse is a refugee of Los Angeles who fled back to Boston to become the Coolidge Theatre’s lead programmer. He shares Mark’s facial hair and his enthusiasm for this year’s line-up, especially Saturday night’s double-feature.
“This year there’s a movie called House, which is a 1977 Japanese film, that just got… well, I don’t know if 'rediscovered' is the right word… but ‘rediscovered’ by Janus Films. It’s a crazy, wild, insane movie that is equal parts Japanese pop and LSD trip.”
The second part of the double-feature is the 1980s horror classic Re-Animator, which isn’t just celebrating Halloween, but a birthday as well.
“This is the 25th Anniversary year,” Jesse says. “It’s definitely a horror movie classic—HP Lovecraft influenced. It has a great mix of humor and gore goes to extremes on both sides.”
So, which title is the bigger draw? The subtitled, LCD-trip Japanese Pop, or the Cult Classic celebrating it’s big 25? According to Jesse, it’s neither.
“I think the biggest draw are the four films that we’re not advertising.”
Mark agrees, “The dawn hours… and maybe even close to 9AM… yeah, there’s gonna be shear brutality. I challenge you to come to this thing and stay until noon. I’ll be there at noon the next day and if you’re there shaking my hand, you are a true horror movie fan.”
And if that’s still not enough for you, “We do have a ghost that’s rumored to live in the theater,” says Jesse. “So, maybe we will hear from that ghost this year."
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