12 Hours of Terror: Punk-rock zombies, killer worms and lusty South Seas witches highlight a Halloween horrorpalooza 

Splatter That Matters

Splatter That Matters

The children of Netflix and Hulu may have never known the wonders of the dusk-to-dawn horror show — the grisly trailers, the scratchy prints, the allure of cold pizza at 3 a.m. during the last battered reel of Seven Doors of Death. But the Scene is here to help. Along with The Belcourt, we present what we hope will be a new Halloween tradition (or at least reason to forgive this orgy of shameless self-promotion): 12 solid hours of gut-munching, bone-crunching, flesh-ripping, blood-dripping terror, starting noon this Sunday, Oct. 30 at The "Hellcourt."

With horror host and cover ghoul Dr. Gangrene as master of cemeteries, er, ceremonies, this spookshow offers a seven-film smorgasbord of cult faves, gruesome rediscoveries and jaw-dropping obscurities — all for $15 (with one bottomless tub of popcorn for any individual in full costume). There'll be vintage trailers, giveaways and other goodies between films — but the main attraction will be a marathon of shocking cinema with some of Music City's hardiest horror fans in attendance.

Below, some tombstone rubbings that will give you an inkling of what to expect:

NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (noon) Writer-director Fred Dekker's The Monster Squad (which screened a few weeks ago at The Belcourt as a midnight movie) has a loyal cult following, but his 1986 debut is better: a monster mash-up of alien invasion flicks and walking-dead movies, with a black-and-white prologue that tips its hat to schlockmeister William Castle. Extraterrestrial slugs (which bear a resemblance to Castle's Tingler) wreak havoc on a college town's Sorority Row, as nerdy teens and a gruff cop (scene-stealing Tom "Thrill Me!" Atkins) join forces to defeat the undead horde. Pay close attention to the character names, horror fans.

ABBY (1:45 p.m.) Before his death at age 30 in a helicopter crash, Louisville director William Girdler cranked out nine '70s exploitation films in just six years. This Exorcist "variation" (which caused Warner Bros' heads to spin until it was yanked from theaters) hit upon the masterstroke of combining two commercially viable genres — blaxploitation and demonic possession — into one strange brew. Carol Speed plays the devout marriage counselor turned eye-rolling nympho by a booty-calling Nigerian sex demon, with the Max von Sydow role going to William "Blacula" Marshall.

ANGUISH (3:30 p.m.) An unjustly forgotten 1987 shocker by Spanish writer-director Bigas Luna, who went on to make softcore sex comedies in the '90s with future superstar Javier Bardem (remember Golden Balls?) before finding arthouse respectability. Michael Lerner (who gave his own Coen Brothers star turn in Barton Fink) plays a mama's boy with a thing for eyes — shudder — who starts taking psychic orders from Mom (Poltergeist's Zelda Rubinstein). Then director Luna pulls the first of several nasty surprises — among them that you the viewer are the one in danger. This is not the time to get popcorn.

ZOMBIE (5:15 p.m.) The restored version of Italian splatter maestro Lucio Fulci's 1979 gore-a-thon, a grindhouse legend so over the top it was initially distributed with promotional barf bags. "We Are Going To Eat You!" screamed the ads, and the movie honors that pledge with hordes of ravenous ghouls menacing Mia Farrow's scantily clad sister and some of New York's Finest (tasting). Watch for the movie's most infamous scene, in which Fulci shows the world how his film compares to Jaws.

SQUIRM (7 p.m.) Before Don Scardino became a top director on Broadway (A Few Good Men) and TV (30 Rock), he starred in this 1976 triple-dog-dare gross-out endurance test. You'll never eat spaghetti again after director Jeff Lieberman unleashes hideous, wriggling, insatiable sandworms by the dumptruck-load on the inhabitants of a storm-stricken Georgia town. A walk through a dark house submerged in thousands of writhing worms is something not even fly-fishing will dislodge from your brain.

LADY TERMINATOR (8:50 p.m.) If you can only see one of these films — well, OK, you're a wuss, but you should still make it this one: a nutbrain masterpiece in which James Cameron and South Seas folklore couple to produce one butt-ugly baby. It's mullets vs. mall hair when a vengeful witch possesses a busty anthropologist and takes out the locals in a double-digit body count — whether by machine gun or the secret weapon tucked away in her bikini bottom. (Let's just say she'd make a formidable adversary for Thong Girl.) And the dialogue! Sample gem of tough-guy talk: "We've seen more dead bodies than you have eaten hot dogs, so shut up and eat!" See it now, thank us later.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (10:30 p.m.) The night closes with the late Dan O'Bannon's 1985 punk-rock apocalypse (and after Abby, the night's second cinematic assault on Louisville). Turns out George A, Romero was right about the dead rising; the only thing he got wrong, in O'Bannon's fast and funny homage, is the chance of containing them, as custodians accidentally let loose the plague anew. Oh, and these zombies talk — enough so that when they chow down on some paramedics, the hungry dead think to radio for backups.

Email arts@nashvillescene.com.

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