On Oct. 23 it was kept a secret until the last minute what the Putnam Theater at Keene State College would be screening, but as the film began and the screen revealed a doctor screaming in pain with his eyes exploding into blood; the audience knew what was in store for them.
Such was the scene that starts the 1985 horror film “H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator,” which was screened at the Putnam Theater’s KSC Film Society Archive Night, Thursday, Oct. 23.
Meghan Bouffard, KSC Film Society president, said, “We’ve done this before, where we find a film in the school’s archive. Because we don’t have the rights to it we can’t advertise for it.”
Thus, it was kept a mystery.
Before “Re-Animator” the Putnam also screened Tim Burton’s “Vincent,” an early film of Burton’s that utilized stop motion animation. Burton would later bring this technique to his popular film, “A Nightmare Before Christmas.”
“Vincent” is the story of an unruly child whose thoughts always venture into the macabre. The film features a rhyming narration given by Vincent Price, an old Hollywood horror film actor.
Audience member James Attridge said, “I had already seen ‘Vincent’ and that’s always a treat — good ole’ early Tim Burton.”
“Re-Animator” certainly fits within this horror tradition.
The film is the sad tale of one Herbert West and his quest to resurrect the dead.
When West transfers to a new medical school he meets and moves in with Dan Cain.
Cain is dating the daughter of the dean. All these people fall prey to Herbet’s twisted form of science.
The film contains plenty of blood and gore. Attridge further commented, “It was nice seeing a ridiculous horror film.”
“Re-Animator” also features some comedic scenes that blend horror and comedy.
One such scene is of a cat that comes back to life and terrorizes Herbert West. The audience chuckled at this scene.
Lauren Tiefenthaler added, “It was kind of gross, but still a little funny [sic].”
Horror films are a part of the culture that surrounds Halloween.
The Putnam adds to this tradition by catering their film schedule to the holiday.
“Re-Animator” and “Vincent” were an extra horror touch to their program that is already filled with horror films.
Every October the Putnam begins to screen more and more horror films in anticipation of Halloween. The past two weeks the Putnam has brought to campus such fright films as “Stage Fight” and “The Sacrament.” The Putnam will be showing a double feature of “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” starting Oct. 24.
Thursday, Oct. 30 will feature two programs at the Putnam. The first is an evening with filmmaker Richard Tuohy. This program will start at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
The second program of the night starts at 9:30 p.m. and is a double feature of the first two “Halloween” films. The double feature is two dollars for KSC students.
Finally, on Halloween night, the Redfern Arts Center will be playing “The Phantom of the Opera,” the 1925 classic starring Lon Chaney. It will be accompanied by live score played by The Alloy Orchestra.
Horror may not end in October though, as the Keene State Film Society will be trying to get a print of “Let The Right One In,” a 2008 Swedish vampire movie which was remade in 2010 in America as “Let Me In.”
Bouffard added, “We are trying to get more prints of films, but they have to be older because now nothing is being printed onto film.”
Joseph Jowett can be contacted at email@example.com