Saturday, October 26, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 26: Russell Cherrington

This summer, I had the pleasure of sitting in the Gwinnett Center’s screening room as Russell Cherrington told the story of finding a VHS containing the mythical director’s cut of Nightbreed behind some books in Clive Barker’s house to a spellbound (Hellbound?) crowd.  The long awaited emergence of the “Cabal Cut” has been, without a doubt, the biggest story in the horror world this year; and Russell is the man that made it happen.  An award winning film and music video director, he is the “restoration director” of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut.  With Scream Factory promising a highly anticipated DVD and Blu-ray release in 2014, there’s never been a better time to be a member of the Tribes of the Moon.  Everything is true. God's an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and today Mr. Cherrington has made the trip from Midian to Celluloid Central to tell us what Halloween means to him.

“When I was asked what Halloween means to me I had to think about it, simply because in England Halloween is just not as big a deal as it is for my American friends. Don’t get me wrong I love it as much as the next man. I love old school Universal Monsters, I love Hellraiser, and so much more.

But I have a confession to make; my Halloween film is going to have to be Carry on Screaming! It was one fateful night in my childhood, on Halloween, that everything changed.  I remember like yesterday the sight of Oddbod attacking the couple in the woods. How Oddbod Junior was created. I still smile at the thought of Kenneth Williams as the dead Doctor Orlando Watt bringing Rubbatiti back to life. All of this was carried out with such finesse and old school charm.

Thinking about it today, it was Fenella Fielding as the very sexy Valaria Watt trying to have her way with the many men crossing her path that made it fun. Her character is classic horror chick like Lily Munster and Morticia Adams, and a prototype Elvira if you will, that really made this film fun.

Jump forward 35 years.  Last year I decided to have a filmmaker night at my home on Halloween and I choose 2 movies to watch out of the 100’s if not 1000’s that I own. I choose Carry on Screaming and Hellraiser because they are the first things that come into my head when I think of Halloween.

Hellraiser is my 1987. It is, in my humble opinion, the single most important horror film of the 1980’s. It changed everything for me. The Monsters are twisted humans, bent into new forms on their journey to find pleasure in pain at the far side of human experience. The story of family dysfunction gives it a balance and a human drama to give the film heart.

Like any good horror film that is twisted at its core, the sex is powerful and is the heart of what motivates our femme fatale to commit murder and the un-godly act of reanimation. Blood is spilled, and the twist is epic. The Shakespearian dialogue of the order of the gash is epic and separates the Cenobites from the other Horror characters of that era of Horror.

This year I will be in America, the home of Halloween.  I intend to embrace the spirit of All Hallows Eve as I walk around the streets of San Francisco to celebrate Halloween with a screening of Nightbreed – The Cabal Cut.”

 5 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  5 more days ‘til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

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