DTH: How many are you showing this year?
JC: We have 15 films this year.
DTH: What do you think separates '70s and '80s horror films from the rest of horror culture or recent horror movies?
JC: They’re the best of all time. Everybody agrees so.
DTH: What makes them the best, exactly?
JC: I mean, if you take a look at movie history, the 1970s and early '80s are considered the “golden age” of horror movies. It’s (a) very well-known and researched topic. The golden age of horror movies happened in the late '70s and early '80s. The slasher boom happened during this same time period. Most of the films that are considered the big classics today happened during this time period. I mean — "Alien," "Friday the 13th," "Halloween," "Nightmare on Elm Street" — on and on and on. Obviously there were classics before that, such as "Psycho" and the original Universal monster movies, like "Dracula." But you have to remember that up until the mid 1970s, horror for most people was defined as “gothic.” If you look at the horror movies that came out from the 1920s to the mid 1970s, what you had was a lot of gothic — the woman in distress, the castle on a hill, Dracula, people running around in capes. A lot of them were set in the 1800s. There were very few horror films that became very popular that were set in modern day or current location. They were gothic — at least the popular ones were. It wasn’t until the mid 1970s with films like "The Exorcist," "Carrie," "The Omen" that horror went away from being gothic to actually having something to say about modern-day culture in America. Also the MPAA system didn’t come into play until the late 1960s, so many of the horror films from the '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s were heavily censored. They had much they weren’t allowed to do. But starting in the 1970s all that went away when the MPAA was created, and movies could be rated. And for the first time, many of the mainstream Hollywood films could be violent, could show gore, should have something to say.
DTH: That’s so interesting; I’ve never really thought about that.
JC: Oh yeah. If you think about it, the 1970s were the first time that horror movies were able to branch out and become something different.
DTH: What’s your favorite movie that is going to be in this series?
JC: I would probably say my personal favorite is "The Mutilator." It’s from 1984. It was actually filmed here in North Carolina in Atlantic Beach. It was mostly a North Carolina production. It was one of the slasher films that came out toward the end of the slasher era. The slasher era really took off between 1980 to 1982, '83. It’s toward the end of it, but it’s one of the better ones. Out of sheer coincidence, it’s going to be a cast reunion. So many of the cast and crew that worked on "The Mutilator" still live in this area. Not necessarily in North Carolina, but on the east coast — say from Georgia up to Virginia. The director, the special effects artist, the lead girl — also known as the “final girl" — and the guy that played the killer are all going to be here on Saturday having a cast reunion, talking to the audience and just having a good time.
DTH: What other film festivals and series do you do throughout the year?
JC: We only produce two festivals at the Carolina Theatre, and by produce, I mean it’s something that we do ourselves. We invest in it, we founded it, we select the movies, we pay the cost, we take the risk. And the two festivals that we produce are the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Nevermore Horror Film Festival in February. We’ve produced the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for 22 years, and we’ve produced Nevermore Horror Film Festival for 19 years. If you come to either of those festivals, you’re seeing brand new movies that haven’t been released in theaters yet. In addition to that, we produce many series, which can run just as long as a festival, sometimes even longer. Series are comprised of classics coming back to the big screen. We produce the Splatterflix series, which is obviously horror films from the '70s and '80s. We produce the Anime-Magic in March, and that’s nothing but classic animated films. Anything from Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki, to hits like "Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown," "The Secret of NIMH," "An American Tail," "The Nightmare Before Christmas." It’s all the big classics, animated or anime, back on the big screen. There’s about eight of them.
DTH: How many people are you expecting to come out this year?
JC: Last year we had 2,000 people come out. This year I’m hoping to get 3,000.
DTH: Anything else you’d want to add?
JC: As we mentioned, it’s all '70s and '80s horror films, but we do have a sense of humor. Instead of everything just being gore, on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., we are doing a free family screening of an old Don Knotts film called "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken."