Perth Playhouse of Horrors!!!

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The Playhouse played a big part in my childhood and adolescence.  When my family moved to Perth when I was just five, my friends mum would take us to kid screening's over the summer. 

The 80's were a great time for child-friendly blockbusters and it was during screenings of films like Back to the Future, E.T. and Return of the Jedi that I fell in love with movies.  Perth Playhouse was also the first place I was allowed to go unaccompanied by an adult, and I loved it.  I lived in Oakbank and could get the No. 7 bus straight to Mill Street, which is why my folks felt ok with me and my pals taking an excursion there every Saturday afternoon.  To be honest, I didn’t even particularly care what was on, going to the cinema just made me feel like an adult.  Even if I was watching ‘Honey I Blew Up the Baby’ or ‘Mr Nanny’!

I'm sure the younger viewers are shocked, not by the blood and guts, but by the sheer size of the cordless and mobile phones on show.  They are huge!

So when Perth Playhouse announced a season of my favourite film genre, Horror, I ordered my tickets before you could say Candyman... Candyman... Candyman!  I was gutted that had I missed a screening of "Nightmare On Elm Street".  However, I managed to catch another Wes Craven belter, the deliciously post-modern slasher, "Scream".  I'd somehow managed to miss "Scream" at the cinema the first time around but it subsequently became one of my favourite mainstream scary movies.

Playhouse of Horrors screens a gruesome offering on the first Friday of every month.  I'm pleased to see that the venue will be screen 2 which is one of my favourites, it isn't the biggest but it has really comfy seats that are perfect for sinking into if the chills get too intense.  It's been a few years since I'd seen "Scream" on DVD, so when I settle in with my girlfriend and the pre-credit sequence begins I'm pleased that it still retains its ability to scare.  Gore-wise, it is fairly tame stuff, but Wes Craven knew what he was doing behind the camera and he ramps the tension up from the get-go.  The film also acts as a great insight into life in the 90's.  I'm sure the younger viewers are shocked, not by the blood and guts, but by the sheer size of the cordless and mobile phones on show.  They are huge!

For a teen slasher, the flick has astoundingly high production values and the performances are way better than fans of genre filmmaking are used to.  Courtney Cox, Rose Magowan and David Arquette are all pretty solid and Henry Winkler, a.k.a "The Fonz", provides an amazing cameo, that should have, if there was any justice in this world, relaunched his career.  Mathew Lillard, whose performance I hated the first time I saw it, is, in retrospect, pretty damn good.  He strikes just the right balance between hilarious and creepy.  Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich just don't do it for me I'm afraid.  Campbell would probably be out of her depth on the set of  "Neighbours" and Ulrich emo's it up like a pound shop Johnny Depp.  

The real star of the show though is the smart as a whip script by Kevin Williamson of Dawsons Creek fame, that manages to be self-referential and ironic without sacrificing suspense and chills.  Better still, Williamson clearly knows his horror movies and the movie is jam-packed with sneaky little references that reward repeat viewings.  The film really brought the horror genre back from the dead in the mid-nineties and it's a great addition to the Playhouse of Horrors season.  Only three films left now and they are all stone-cold classics.  Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", Raimi's "Evil Dead" and Joe Dante's "Gremlins".  Cannae wait!

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