BY JULIA CIRIGNANO
Halloween may be over but the Hudson Horror Show is gearing up for 12-hours of horror and cult 35-mm films on Saturday, December 3, 2016, from noon to midnight at Empire South Hills 8 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Now in its sixth year, Chris Alo founded the Hudson Horror Show in 2010. At that time, he planned to host only one show, but because of its enormous success, he has continued programing and hosting this biennial event ever since.
For these movie marathons, people come from all over the Northeast to attend them. Each event is a 12-hour movie marathon where Alo chooses six films to show — five announced movies and one surprise feature. People are also drawn to this event because of the wonderful reputation that the local vendors at the show have acquired, selling a variety of horror-themed merchandise and more.
In an interview with Limelight Magazine, Alo introduced us to a boy destined to be hosting horror movie marathons.
“I was the first guy to get two VCRs and now I’m the first guy to get a surround sound system,” Alo said. “I was always the guy who was having my friends over to watch movies. Having access to all the different versions of film, I would hunt out rare and obscure movies and trailers. I have always been a big fan of horror and sci-fi so I was always the guy who was presenting movies to my friends.”
As the years went on, Alo’s love for both the genres of horror and sci-fi and his passion for 35-mm screenings grew. He attended many 35-mm movie screenings with his wife Denise McGuigan and one day she said to him, ‘Wow, you enjoy this so much, why don’t you try putting on your own show?’”
Along with the support of his wife, Alo had a friend who has greatly helped him on his journey.
“I had a friend [Tad Leger] who worked for Grindhouse Releasing and specialized in re-releasing films on 35-mm,” Alo said. “So we got together and we put the first show together, thinking that we’ll do it this one time and never do it again, but it was a huge success and here we are 20 shows later.”
Alo is very passionate about screening movies off 35-mm. He finds this type of movie projection very special and nostalgic and many people agree with him.
“I’m an old guy and I’m a nostalgic guy,” Alo began. “I like collecting old comic books and old toys and old posters. So to me, seeing these movies the way they were meant to be seen is very much a nostalgic thing. It’s like playing a record. It might not have the crystal clear sound of a CD. It might have the occasional hop or scratch but the whole thing of putting a record on a turntable and lifting the arm all adds to the experience and the charm of it and to me it’s the same thing as showing movies the way they were meant to be seen off 35-mm film with tons of old school 35-mm drive-in trailers before each movie.”
Since the first Hudson Horror Show which took place on May 22, 2010, this event has grown and evolved. Part of the event’s continued success is due to their endurance. In 2010, 35-mm screenings were more popular but as many theaters stopped screening in this format, the Hudson Horror Show became a bigger commodity.
“So now, us showing movies exclusively off 35-mm film has definitely grown to mean much more than it did,” Alo said.
Two more changes have also taken place over the past six years which has greatly influenced the Hudson Horror Show. Although the shows are usually hosted at Empire South Hills 8, Alo has also partnered with Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY, where he occasionally hosts shows. With more accessibility to theaters due to his reputation, Alo has been able to expand his events more and more as the years go on.
“When we started we were in one theater but we’ve grown so popular over the past six years that we actually are in two rooms now in the same theater now,” Alo said, “What we have now is two separate festivals running at the same time and we alternate the schedule.”
This year’s Hudson Horror takes place on December 3rd at Empire South Hills 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY. The films which have already been announced are I Spit On Your Grave (1978), Robocop (1987), The Howling, Death Race 2000, and The Hitcher (1986). There will also be a screening of a sixth surprise film.
These six films will be shown in theaters #1 and #6. Get your tickets soon because theater #6 is already sold out! Both rooms will be playing the same movies just in a different order. You can check out the schedule HERE.
“The lineup I think is really good,” Alo said. “I’m biased but I think some of the lineups in the past were not as strong as this one.”
Along with the announced lineup, Alo spoke about the mystery movie.
“We have a great horror mystery movie,” he said. “I can’t say much about it but it’s definitely a fan favorite.”
Alo talked about the way in which he chooses the films for each event. He said that he likes to focus on variety so there is something for everyone to enjoy whether you prefer the funny horror movie, serious horror movie, sci-fi horror movie, etc.
“I think that’s kind of our niche,” Alo explained. “Other people will program a show where they’re running five zombie movies in a row or five Friday the 13th movies in a row but I think mixing it up makes it more interesting because there will be something for everyone.”
Alo spoke about the struggle he faces when trying to choose movies and then finding them. For instance, he talks about two movies that he hasn’t been able to find which are both fan favorites and a Limelight Magazine favorite.
“I absolutely love the Death Wish movies,” Alo said. “The problem, which is a problem that always plagues us, is we don’t know anybody who has 35-mm film prints of the [first two] Death Wish movies, but if we could find them we would definitely love to run them.”
Along with the movie screenings, there will be many local vendors at the show who will be selling a variety of merchandise available to anyone even if you don’t buy a ticket to see the movies.
“We will have about 20 vendors,” Alo said. “The way the theater is set up we have like a double lobby. There’s an outside lobby and an inside lobby. So we fill up both lobby areas with about 20 vendor tables and they sell all sorts of merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, magnets, comic books, action figures, homemade art, art prints, homemade horror related keychains, CDs, Blu-rays, just all sorts of stuff.”
Along with running these successful movie marathons, Alo has also been a successful magazine and newspaper writer for the past fourteen years. He has written for magazine such as Hit Parader, Circus, Metal Maniacs, and Metal Edge, and interviewed many hard rock bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot, Disturbed, Rush and Judas Priest.
“I interview bands, do concert photography, and do concert reviews, mostly for heavy metal bands,” Alo said.
Although many of the magazines that Alo has written for are unfortunately no longer published because the internet put them out of business, Alo still writes.
“Now I write for More Sugar Magazine, which is a local entertainment newspaper,” he said. “There is also a magazine in South America that I write for called Roadie Crew.”
Tickets for the December 3rd Hudson Horror Show are just $38.00 in advance and can be purchased HERE.