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Scared, Stiff 

Going to 12 Hours of Terror? Read our survival guide first

The word "marathon" stems from an ancient battle that took place not far from Athens (the one in Greece). A jubilant messenger ran 25 miles nonstop to announce a military victory. Then he dropped dead. This weekend, the Capitol Theatre gets back to the term's death roots with its 12 Hours of Terror scary-movie marathon.

The half-day blood-and-guts blowout kicks off at 10 p.m. Saturday with a screening of the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street and continues with, among other faves, the alien-zombie cult film Night of the Creeps, the creepy killer doll movie Child's Play, Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, the minimalist indie chiller Splinter, and the recently wrapped The Dead Matter, a vampire flick created by the same folks responsible for the Chesterland-based goth-ambiance band Midnight Syndicate.

Tickets for the event are $30, $25 in advance through Cleveland Cinemas.

I've attended marathons like this before. My ex-girlfriend encouraged me, since she knew I'd be too tired to bother her afterward. If you're actually dating someone, tell them you've been abducted by a UFO or something. He or she will lose all respect if you tell them you spent half a day watching monster movies with other dateless nerds.

Once that business is out of the way, you can prep for the fest with our 12 Hours of Terror Survival Guide.

Eat, Drink, and Be Scary

The Capitol will be serving alcohol until 1:45 a.m. (so no one under 18 is allowed in). After a sleepless night, there'll be a break for breakfast. Other marathons often allow fans to bring their own food, but Cleveland Cinemas' David Huffman says they've decided against it since the concession stand will be open all night

Quality of Life and Death

You can bring blankets, pillows, Snuggies — whatever makes you comfortable for a long night of movie watching. But the usual rules of etiquette apply: no laptops, no cells, no cornhole in the aisles. The Capitol will also open a Coward's Corner, a room that will show cartoons and sitcoms for all the scaredy-cats.

Don't Go Into the Light!

I've seen audience members whip out laser pointers and use them to paint the screen with glowing mustaches (on guys) and nipples (on girls) at other marathons. One day an enterprising "artist" will do the same thing and receive state funding for his video art. But laser pointers are a no-no at 12 Hours of Terror, so leave them at home.

Tom Servo Phone HomeCleveland Cinemas regularly hosts call-and-response screenings of cult films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room, where audience participation is not only allowed, it's encouraged since it makes the movies better. But Huffman says that 12 Hours of Terror is for quieter crowds. "It's not Mystery Science Theater 3000," he says. "The movies are there to be seen. We actually want people to be scared by the movies."

The Smell of FearOne vivid memory I took away from all those marathons I've attended is the funky scent of an auditorium after five or so hours of sitting in one place. Huffman says they're prepared for this on Saturday with door prizes, which will be raffled off all night long. Up for grabs: toothbrushes and deodorant. Because there's nothing scarier than a theater full of smelly geeks.Send feedback to film@clevescene.com.

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More by Charles Cassady Jr.

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