Review – John Carpenter Film Festival



This week ECHG writer Adam Holtzapfel recaps the John Carpenter Film Festival that happened on February 10th at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont, PA.



On Saturday February 10th The John Carpenter Film Festival was held. Organized by ECHG founcer Michael Exler and The Hollywood Theater, this was a great event not to be missed.


The event had vendors selling everything from art to toys to enamel pins, and more! Food catered by SaludPGH which had a vegan menu consisting of pepper steak (seitan) empanadas along with jackfruit with rice and beans.


For those not familiar with The Hollywood Theater it is a throwback to a different era of a night at the movies. A one screen theater with plenty of room and a balcony made the experience a time warp for those of us old enough to remember the pre multiplex era. Much like the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, OH it is an independent theater meaning it thrives on donations and volunteers, as well as shows a diverse line up of films.





The line up of films was diverse and had a couple of welcomed surprises. Kicking off at 2pm and wrapping up around 11:30pm the theater was hopping all night. Hearing stories of Pittsburgh being hit and miss on what local horror fans will attend gave me the same feeling as being in Columbus (you know the there’s nothing horror related going on and then when there is no one shows up). It was great to see fans show up and keep the theater busy all evening. The area the theater is in also played to the fest goers as you have Vinyl Remains nearby as well as several food options.


My wife and I decided to make the three hour drive to the land of Romero and Heinz to catch the festival. We were impressed with the attendance, especially with the first film Dark Star. The rest of the day included The Thing, They Live, and Prince Of Darkness.


Dark Star is a 1974 comedy sci fi film that started off as a film class project. Written by Dan O’Bannon along with Carpenter you can see how O’Bannon took some of the scenes from this and reused them in Alien. While Dark Star did not age well it’s a must see for any Carpenter fan to see where he started and how had grown from film to film in his early years.


The Thing, we don’t really need to summarize this one other than if you haven’t seen it yet, then what the fuck is wrong with you?


They Live, this along with In The Mouth Of Madness are my two favorite Carpenter films. They Live has the best fight scene in cinema history and has really aged well.


Prince Of Darkness is definitely an underappreciated Carpenter film. Does opening a mysterious cylinder mean the end of the world? Watch and find out.


The Hollywood Theater is currently facing an uphill battle and you can help by signing this petition





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