By Ansharah Shakil, October 24 2023—
Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) has been one of Calgary’s most celebrated international and independent film festivals for 20 years. The 11th CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival is coming up this November, and the main festival will occur in April, but before that, the 12-hour Halloween Horror Movie Marathon will be taking place Oct. 28 at Globe Cinema. Brennan Tilley, one of the lead programmers for CUFF, shared his anticipation for the festival’s annual Halloween event.
“I’m most excited to see who makes it to the end,” he said. “That’s always the treat, is seeing if we can crack a hundred people that can watch seven movies in a row, but we’re expecting it to be a packed house.”
The marathon consists of seven movies from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Attending the entire thing from start to finish is a tall order, but Tilley encouraged people to do so if they were able.
“Just so they can say they did it,” he joked. “I [also] think that [the films] all play off of each other well and it’s a unique experience that is a lot different than just trying to watch horror films yourself.”
As he noted, being at the cinema for 12 hours leads to people getting hungry, so this year’s festival, along with holding a costume contest, will have concession treats such as a five a.m. Halloween-themed cereal breakfast, a burger run during the costume contest and themed beer.
Most of the marathon’s selections are older movies from the height of horror releases, like a 4K version of The Wicker Man for its 50th anniversary, which creates a sense of nostalgia and fondness for audiences. The night starts, however, with Joe Lynch’s 2023 Suitable Flesh.
“We only charge around $20 for this marathon and people pay $20 to go to one movie sometimes now, so we like to start it off with a new horror movie,” Tilley said. “You can see it in a packed house, really enjoy it and if you decide to stay, then it’s a good night. Then [we’ve got] something like Slumber Party Massacre 2, that kind of classic eighties slasher that we know the audience likes at four in the morning.”
Tilley stressed that attending the entire marathon from start to finish was not necessary — it’s completely possible to drop in and drop out for whatever movies you want to see. The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and the thrilling selection of movies offered.
“People love [the marathon], and that’s important in its own way, [to be] putting on things that people really enjoy and contributing to that cultural landscape in Calgary,” he said. “People want to go to cool things, and having something that can be replicated so that they can tell people about it next year, tell people about the ones they’ve been to before, it really fosters an appreciation for coming out to these types of things. I think people get too comfortable watching at home, and they need to remember what it’s like to watch certain types of movies in a crowd, and that’s what I would say this event does, is contribute to that collective experience of watching horror films.”
View the full selection of movies offered at the marathon on the CUFF website.