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Prepare to be scared 

The Psychotronic Film Society honors ghosts, ghouls and zombies with 12-hour horror movie marathon.

Scary movies have always had a special place in the hearts of filmmakers and audiences. Even in the earliest days of cinema, tales of supernatural terror quickly rose to the forefront; the silent movie classic Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens was made in 1922 and released in the America in 1929.

The genre expanded through the golden age of the silver screen, making Dracula, Frankenstein and other movie monsters the faces of the country’s collective childhood terror. Over the years, the ranks of the fear–inducing characters grew, and Norman Bates, Jason Voorhies, Michael Myers (Halloween, not Wayne’s World) and Freddy Krueger all became household names.

“While there are many people out there who simply cannot stand the notion of watching a scary film, on some fundamental level, the adrenalin rush that comes from being frightened is a turn–on to most folks,” explains Jim Reed, the founder and Artistic Director of the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah.

What better time to celebrate the long–standing tradition than on Halloween?

This Sunday, the Psychotronic Film Society and 6th Sense World are teaming up to serve a heaping helping of zombies, ghosts, monsters and psychopaths. Per the PFS mission to rediscover lesser–known–but–awesome movies, the selections aren’t necessarily the standard Halloween choices that will be ubiquitous on cable all week.

From forgotten classics to obscure contemporary fare, the series contains some gems with which even the most dedicated of fans might not be familiar.

“When I curate a special event such as this, I try to showcase a variety of smaller sub–genres,” says Reed. “we start off the day with an eerie and ultra–obscure art–house picture (Carnival of Souls), followed by a bona fide classic many critics call the finest ‘haunted house’ movie ever made (the original 1963 version of The Haunting), and then things start to take a weird turn.”

Several of the films showing later in the day are cult classics that might be familiar to connoisseurs, but Reed has gone out of his way to find director’s cuts of those films that were given awkward edits before being released in America.

Think 12 hours is too much? There are some diehard horror fans that will definitely try and survive the full 12 hours of murder and mayhem.

“There are several people who are planning to make all six,” says Reed. “Those that do will get a concentrated master class in the history and evolution of the contemporary horror film, post–1960.”

However, for those with busy schedules, the event is designed so that you can stop by and catch a movie at any time during the day.

The marathon’s closing film, The Signal, which was shot in Atlanta, is the most contemporary of any of the selections (released in 2007), but it may be the most surprising too.

“While there are scenes which may be hard for some folks to take, in its totality, I think The Signal is one of the most interesting, unpredictable and thought–provoking horror films I’ve ever seen,” Reed says.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch a movie at Muse yet, you’re missing out on what is fast becoming one of the premier spots to catch films that haven’t made it to local screens – plus candy and soda are only $1. Take that, movie theater.

For all the details, check out more info on the day’s offerings:

12–Hour Horror Movie Marathon

When: Sunday, Oct. 31, noon–midnight

Where: Muse Arts Warehouse, 703-D Louisville Rd.

Cost: $7/film, or $32 for a full–day pass

Info: www.psychotronicfilmsavannah.org

Noon – Carnival of Souls (USA, 1961) Little–known favorite of cult film fanatics tells the tale of a woman who survives a car accident and starts a new life, but is haunted by a shadowy figure and an abandoned carnival. It was a big influence on legendary director George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

2 p.m. – The Haunting (USA, 1963) Forget the cheesy remake, this tale of terror involves a doctor researching the supernatural who takes a team of assistants into the Hill House, well–known for its history of violent incidents.

4 p.m. – City of the Living Dead (US/Italy, 1980) After a priest commits suicide, the gates of Hell open and the dead rise from their graves to kill the living. Two couples have to get the gates closed before there’s no one left to stop the zombies. One of the goriest movies of its time, and filmed here in Savannah.

6 p.m. – Profundo Rosso (Italy, 1975) Italian master of suspense Dario Argento (Suspiria, Phenomena) crafted this thrilling story (also known as Deep Red) about a psychic and an investigative reporter who team up to solve the murder of a musician. The killer is out to make sure questions about the murder are never answered.

8 p.m. – Tourist Trap (USA, 1979) After their car breaks down near an old roadside attraction, a group of teenagers are tortured by a psychopath with the power to control the mannequins who keep him company. Stephen King said it’s his all–time favorite horror movie!

10 p.m. – The Signal (USA, 2007) An allegorical tale about the power of media to mutate normal people into killers, The Signal was made a few years ago by several Georgia filmmakers. When a mysterious frequency begins transmitting to all the cell phones, televisions and radio, a psychotic rampage ensues.

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Patrick Rodgers

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