Utah is known for many things but probably not for being a horror-film hotbed - at least not yet.
But that may change after "Tower of Terror," a month-long horror event/film festival that promises considerable shocks and surprises in store for patrons, sponsored by radio station KBER-FM, the Institute of Terror and the Tower Theatre"Utah may be the B-movie capital of the world. Just think of all the horror and science-fiction movies that have been filmed here," said Clyde Lewis, host of KBER's weekly "Ground Zero" program and one of the organizers. "That's what we're trying to capitalize on."
Lewis cites "Carnival of Souls," "Cujo" and "Planet of the Apes" as just three prominent examples.
The DJ-conspiracy theorist came up with the "Tower of Terror" idea, which will include a dozen horror films to be screened at the Tower Theatre, 876 E. 900 South. In addition, there will be guest appearances by famous movie monsters and Forrest J. Ackerman, noted horror historian and longtime editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.
Of the program's many highlights, Lewis is especially proud of including a pair of '60s horror director William Castle's most famous efforts, "The Tingler" and "13 Ghosts" - to be shown with their original gimmicks intact (electrified seats and 3-D glasses, respectively).
According to Lewis, the event/festival may become a yearly Utah tradition if the reaction is positive.
"We'd like to get some really big names in here, like Stephen King or Clive Barker. That would really put us on the map," he said.
Admission for each screening will be $6. Festival passes for the "Tower of Terror" are available from the Tower for $35.
Movies in the Tower of Terror Horror Film Festival include:
- "Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers" (1989) (midnight, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4): Locally filmed sequel to the "Halloween" slasher series, starring Donald Pleasence. Utah actor and stunt coordinator Don Shanks, who played "The Shape" in the film, will be at the Friday night screening. (He'll also appear at the Institute of Terror on Oct. 4.)
- "The Tingler" (1959) (9:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, Oct. 6-9): William Castle's thriller about brain parasites, which stars Vincent Price.
- "The Toxic Avenger" (1989) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 10-12): A new director's cut of the Troma Pictures cult comedy/horror flick, about a 98-pound weakling who becomes a toxic waste-mutated superhero. Producer Lloyd Kaufman - and the film's star "Toxie" - will appear at the Oct. 10 screening (and will be at the Institute of Terror Oct. 11).
- "Bloodsucking Freaks" (1978) (midnight, Oct. 11 and 12): Uncut version of this notoriously gory horror film, about an Off-Broadway theater that stages "snuff" entertainments for audiences. Lloyd Kaufman will "present" the Oct. 10 screening.
- "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 13-16): George A. Romero's black-and-white cult classic, which inspired two sequels and numerous knockoffs.
- "Addams Family Values" (1993) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 17): Sequel to the 1991 hit "The Addams Family." Actors Carel Struycken (Lurch) and John Franklin (Cousin Itt) will be on hand for the screening.
- "Frankenhooker" (1990) (midnight, Oct. 18 and 19): Gory comedic update of the Frankenstein story about a young scientist who cobbles together his creation with the head of his dead fiancee and body parts from streetwalkers.
- "13 Ghosts" (1960) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 20 and 21): Lighthearted haunted house thriller from director William Castle. Shown in 3-D.
- "She Lives By Night" (9:30 p.m., Oct. 22 and 23): Locally filmed vampire thriller from director Brett Hull.
- "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn" (1987) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 24-26): Slapstick-styled gory sequel to the 1982 cult film "The Evil Dead." Ackerman will introduce the Friday night screening and will appear Oct. 25 at the Institute of Terror.
- "Nosferatu the Vampyre" (1979) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 27 and 28): Werner Herzog's remake of the 1922 vampire classic, starring Isabel Adjani and Klaus Kinski. (In German, with English subtitles.)
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975) (9:30 p.m., Oct. 29-31; midnight, Oct. 31): Part comedy, part musical - the most popular U.S. cult film ever.