The Ohio Sci-Fi and Horror Marathons

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:16 pm 
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You know who you are. Anyone else also please comment, specifically including if you are new to marathons.

People who actually care seriously about the Ohio marathon are in charge of the programming.
From Joe's spiels at the event - and other comments - it is clear that movie choice is a less than exact science.
Choice reflects taste, personal favorites, balance, perhaps event themes, and probably most importantly, availability.
Still I'd like a reaction from people who live for marathons more than I.
It's easy to criticize. (Otherwise why would I be posting this?) but choice is, or should be, determined by real criteria.
Looking at the CWRU list, I see multiple entries that anyone who has been to marathons or who has watched SF movies with any frequency has seen multiple times. I am speaking of RepoMan, Dr. Strangeglove, Galaxy Quest, Ghost In The Shell. Personally I could add Man With the X-Ray Eyes (not anywhere as well known) and, I am sure, whatever they drag out to show as their surprises, most often very familiar oldies. They do fill out 30+ hours.
How do you feel about repeats? Columbus' style is very different, but I would be very interested in comments as to whether CWRU retro choice makes sense to others.
As a certified old fart, it could certainly be me. But somewhere more than half of the CWRU audience are long termers, or comparably nerdy.
Comments on choice?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:09 pm 
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Yeah, you're right: it's always a difficult decision on what mix of films to play. One of the few problems presented by any Marathon that lasts for decades is that part of the audience turns over, usually with younger members entering the fray. Which creates an inherent tension between the veterans who have seen the classics many times and the younger folks who have never seen, say, DR. STRANGELOVE or EVIL DEAD 2 or THE SHINING, especially in a theater.

I've been attending Marathons of several stripes since 1993, and yeah, there are times when repeats of some of the classics can seem especially repetitive. But there are also times when they can be invigorating experiences. When we showed PSYCHO (one of the most ubiquitous Horror films of all time) at the 2010 Horror Marathon, it received some of the warmest applause of the event. Same with THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS when it opened this year's Horrorthon. And when we showed BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, and ALIENS at SF32 in 2015, they were all warmly received. Part of that came from younger audience members, for whom this was their first time seeing any of these in a theater, if at all.

Ultimately, you just have to know your audience. The annual Philadelphia 24-Hour Horror Marathon sells out within an hour of tickets going on sale in August, their lineup is kept secret until each film hits the screen, and as the years have passed they've programmed increasingly obscure titles. But when we've attempted lineups that trend toward the more obscure, attendance has often dipped. As you point out, CWRU is an odd situation, in that it still has a strong contingent of veterans, with a decent chunk of the crowd always turning over due to the limited nature of the collegiate experience. I've been attending since 2001, and I'm not 100% sure that audience engagement has waned due to the lineups...probably more due to the shifting nature of film fandom in out society.

But as well, I always subscribe to the theory that even Marathons with less than optimal lineups are fun because of the unique communal experience. I thought that last year's Case lineup was fairly pedestrian, but I still had a great time because of the great setup of Strosacker Auditorium and the oddball timeline of the lineup (which is ALWAYS an attraction.)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:23 pm 
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Thanks for speaking to the question Joe. Anyone else?
Joe brought in specific experience to speak to the question, as I had hoped.
I noted a certain reticence about criticizing someone else's choices.
And he did rationalize enjoyment based on the experience, not the film choice, which unlike the rest of his thoughts does sort of avoid the question.

If the four films that I listed were not SO well known I could agree. But I really doubt that any of them, except perhaps Repo, will be new to anyone older than 15.
So it will be a retro experience, with the joy of old friends.
I should talk. I showed TREMORS to my non-SF oriented spouse last night. She enjoyed it.

Given the rest of the less than sterling lineup, it will be a little of an endurance test. But it's a MARATHON right?
I will be giving a prize to anyone who gets through three hours of Frau Im Monde, even starting at 9:35 AM. Any true cinephile should see it, but that doesn't describe the bulk of the population at a marathon, and wasn't sufficient for me the one evening that I tried to stay awake through it.

I hope that my negativity doesn't deter anyone from coming up. Look at the lineup. It is as diverse as any that I have ever seen.
And looks like they won't try to sneak in any Star Trek.

Joe. Be sure to bring up a statement about the Columbus Thon so that I can pass it on to the MC to announce.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:16 pm 
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pogo wrote:
If the four films that I listed were not SO well known I could agree. But I really doubt that any of them, except perhaps Repo, will be new to anyone older than 15.


That is not how it works.

A few years ago with Bruce and Joe showed 2001, I could tell that a decent percentage of the audience had never seen it before. Same with Blade Runner. And many other classics. (And this is from a sample made up of an audience of an actual sci-fi marathon.)

Personally, I never saw The Shining until I was in my mid-30's. Same with Forbidden Planet. And I have still never seen a tiny little movie called Titanic. (Despite enjoying every James Cameron movie I've seen.)

Once you start making a list of "classics", it won't be hard to walk into any random movie theater with a few people in it and finding all sorts of folks who haven't seen tons of movies on your list.

I'm sure if Bruce and Joe showed ET this year it would be new to 10-30% of the audience.

It's the classics that get people's attention anyways. Whenever friends ask me what movies are playing at the marathon this year, I always lead with the names they'd recognize. (Which doesn't mean they've seen all those movies, but at least they've heard of them and know their reputation.)

Movies like Aliens and Evil Dead and whatever are the whole reason folks are fans of sci-fi and horror in the first place. Gotta play the good stuff.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:48 pm 
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cleazer,
Okay. But I hope that I made it clear that it wasn't just that the films were classics or well known, but that they are
SO well known and frequently played.
Still, you seem to prize quality and familiarity, perhaps for the few, over the choice of new or at least not so well known films for the many.
You or I, or better yet Bruce, Joe or David, could list multiple quality films that are well known but just not played that much.

So perhaps I am being selfish, but I might not travel a distance to see this high a proportion of standards. But that's me.

Q. Are you making the two hour drive to Cleveburg?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:40 pm 
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I've been attending marathons since 1989. I'm 40 now, and my brother and I will be making the drive up for Case this year.

I'll be honest in that too many obscure films can be a major pushback for me. I'll attend a marathon pretty much regardless of the line-up, but I'm more excited about "old friends" than obscure films that I may not enjoy.

Of the four you listed, I've only actually seen Repo Man once (despite being at two different marathons that played it), and it's been over a decade since I saw Galaxy Quest. I'm psyched for both of them, and Galaxy Quest is one of the ones I was using as a reason to push my wife into letting me bring my daughter. (Alas, finances and common sense trumped my interest, so Mira must wait for another Marathon.) I haven't ever actually watched Ghost in the Shell, and I'd be looking forward to it if we were going to stay that long, and I can't remember the last time I saw X, The Man With the X-Ray Eyes. The only one you're listing that I've seen countless times is Dr. Strangelove, and honestly, I love that movie so much, I'm totally fine with seeing it again.

Looking at the rest of the CWRU line-up? I'm not thrilled about Red Dawn, just because I've never been a huge fan. World Without End, Big Hero 6, and Idiocracy I am entirely down for. And Frau im Mond? Well, I love classic silent films, and Fritz Lang, but I just don't think I can manage a three hour one.

Deep Blue Sea I'm indifferent about, but I don't think I've ever actually watched before, and we're probably going to leave after Surprise 2, so I'll miss Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner 2049 and Spider-Man.

But yeah, I like seeing "old friends" at the marathon, usually more than I like the films I'm less familiar with. And it's much easier to sell a casual friend on the idea of attending with movies they've heard of.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:56 pm 
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Deep Blue Sea is a great little guilty pleasure movie.

Nothing great but pretty darn watchable and it's always been fun enough to keep my attention for 2 hours whenever I come across it on tv.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:00 pm 
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Aaron,
Say hi. I know that I have met you, but my rusty brain cells can't conjure up a visual image.
I'm the guy with long hair with the fruit fetish, throwing them from the stage.
See ya Friday.
Pogo (Gary)

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