Time Warp Drive-In: Shocktober 

See Bruce Campbell whip out his boom stick, just in time for Halloween.

October is prime time for the Time Warp Drive-In. The four films curators Mike McCarthy and Matt Martin have chosen represent the best of the self-aware, gonzo horror films of the past 30 years.

Sam Raimi's classic Army of Darkness, the third installment in the Evil Dead trilogy, is something of a career high even for the guy who made Spider-Man. Bruce Campbell's buffoonish hero Ash picks up where he was left at the end of Evil Dead 2: transported back in time to the Dark Ages. After fast talking his way out of execution by the locals (whom he calls "primitive screwheads"), the everyman is enlisted to retrieve the fabled Necronomicon and end the demon scourge. Naturally, he screws up and unleashes the titular army of undead warriors, which he must then defeat with cheeky one liners and a chainsaw hand.

click to enlarge Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness
  • Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness

Speaking of chainsaws, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 will also be featured in the Shocktober lineup. Tobe Hopper returned to the film that made him famous in 1986 with the Golan/Globus-produced Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Leatherface and his mutant redneck family return, but this time instead of viscreal hick horror, there are dashes of slapstick and gallons of blood. Hopper pioneered not only the verite horror movie, but also the kind of self-aware comic horror that has become an integral part of the genre.

The third Shocktober film is House of 1,000 Corpses, rock-star-turned-horror-director Rob Zombie's directoral debut. The now legendary 2003 gore fest is not the greatest movie ever made, but it's proof that stylish violence will always keep the seats filled.

Finally, From Dusk Til Dawn rolls at midnight. For my money, this is Robert Rodriguez's masterpiece. Written by Quentin Tarantino, the characters (one of whom is played by Tarantino, in his best acting role) are unusually well developed for a vampire blood fest. The acting firepower rivals the onscreen gunplay, with George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek, Tom Savini, and Cheech Marin mixing it up in a Mexican vampire nest. Stay late for this minor classic of the 1990s.

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