HUDSON HORROR SHOW takes place twice a year at the Empire South Hills 8 (formerly Silver Cinemas) in Poughkeepsie, NY, and is one of the best film fests on the East Coast. Their lineups are always solid, and there’s always a lot of vendors, cool giveaways & trivia contests. As an added bonus, they also show surprise 35mm trailer reels before each of the day’s films. The show is run smoothly, the crowd is always well-behaved, and it just keeps getting better and better!
I first attended the show back in December of 2011 for their amazing DECEMBER TO DISMEMBER lineup, which included WEREWOLF VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMAN, a MYSTERY MOVIE, Lucio Fulci’s THE BEYOND, ROLLING THUNDER, the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (a rare print with the Bryanston logo at the beginning!), and SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT!
It was a really fun night and I was immediately hooked! After being a bystander, I began joining in on the festivities by giving away cool prizes during trivia contests between films during the next two shows. And now, I sit before you, a proud sponsor of one of the greatest 35mm film fests on the East coast!
At this point, I consider myself a veteran of the film festival circuit in every respect. With that said, please allow me to shower you with knowledge if you are attending Hudson Horror Show (or a similar event) for the first time. If you’re in a rush, watch the following video to get brushed up on the basics, but please do take the time to go over the rest of my tips/suggestions as well!
SURVIVAL TIP #1: PRE-ORDER YOUR TICKETS!
This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you are seriously planning on attending this event, buy your tickets on the web ASAP, because THE SHOW WILL SELL OUT! In the rare event that there are leftover tickets at the door, they will sell super fast and on a first come, first serve basis! So again, pre-order your tickets ahead of time at www.hudsonhorror.com!
Also, since the event now projects movies simultaneously on two screens, make sure you get tickets to the same theater your friends will be in! If you choose the wrong one, you’ll be S.O.L. unless you can find someone to swap with you in line!
SURVIVAL TIP #2: PLAN OUT YOUR TRIP!
Yeah I know, just call me “Captain Obvious,” but you won’t believe how often simple stuff like this is overlooked. After you’ve secured your Hudson Horror Show tickets, plan out your driving route and carpool with friends if you’re dragging some along. If you have a GPS, then you’re already set to go!
Here’s the theater’s address in case you need to set it on your GPS, or print out some driving instructions: Empire South Hills 8, 1895 S Rd. Poughkeepsie, NY, 12601.
Also, let it be known that the theater is located behind the mall when you pull into the parking lot. It took me a while to figure that out back in 2011! (Don’t laugh; it could have happened TO YOU had I not said anything!)
SURVIVAL TIP #3: BRING ENOUGH CASH!
Bring plenty of cash with you, for gas, snacks, and mostly for the vendors! There are people selling action figures, collectibles, posters, DVDs, Blu-rays, bootlegs, comic books, artwork, etc. at this film fest (it’s like a mini-convention!), so bring a stack of cash with you. Also, they typically sell official Hudson Horror Show t-shirts at the door, so I repeat: Bring lots of money!
Also, in between breaks, I highly suggest taking all the stuff that you’ve won or bought out to your vehicle. That way nothing will get lost, forgotten, or stepped on!
SURVIVAL TIP #4: GET PLENTY OF SLEEP, BATHE, AND ARRIVE EARLY!
This is an all day film festival, featuring five to six feature-length films. Along with the 35mm trailer reels, that adds up to at least twelve hours, so don’t be the dude that’s snoring early on in the show: Get some rest the night before! (Especially if you have a long drive like I do.)
Also, another obvious thing, but grab a shower, brush your teeth, and put on some deodorant before you cram yourself into the theater with the rest of us. The people around you should be experiencing the awesomeness of the show; not your body odor or halitosis.
Be sure to arrive early because the seating is always first come, first serve, and bring something along (a light jacket, blanket, pillow, etc.) to leave on your seat in order to save your spot!
SURVIVAL TIP #5: MEDICATE YOURSELF!
If you’ve got a cold or your allergies are acting up, TAKE SOMETHING FOR IT! We don’t want to hear you cough, sneeze, and sniffle during the show! Also, feel free to medicate yourself with alcohol, (I’ve been known to sneak a bit o’ rum into my soda) just don’t get loud and rowdy or you will get booted out.
And take into consideration that you’ll be living off of “theater food” all day, so also consider bringing something to combat heartburn, indigestion, or (God help you) diarrhea! Consider putting some Tums or Pepto Bismol in the car, just in case.
SURVIVAL TIP #6: TURN OFF YOUR PHONES & DON’T TALK!
Another obvious tip: Turn off your phone (or at least the volume) and keep it in your pocket (or purse) where it belongs. Also, don’t talk during the movie or try to riff on it. Doing any of this will arouse anger among the hardcore cult movie fans surrounding you. Your first warning will be polite, but your second one probably won’t be. If you persist in being a jackass, you will get kicked out of the theater.
SURVIVAL TIP #7: USE THE BATHROOM DURING EACH BREAK!
Sometimes nature calls, and you have to answer, but try to avoid that by using the bathroom during each scheduled break. It’s a pain to have to get up and let you by while I’m watching some 35mm grindhouse goodness! Also, and this strictly applies to the menfolk who attend, if a urinal is “Out of Order,” please do not use it. Doing so could result in minor flooding, resulting in a small sea of urine spreading across the men’s room floor. While this is mostly harmless, I can assure you that driving home with piss-scented shoes at the end of the night is not as fun as it sounds.
SURVIVAL TIP #8: BRUSH UP ON YOUR MOVIE KNOWLEDGE!
There are giveaways and trivia contests between each film, so do a bit of research about the night’s films, just in case a trivia question about them pops up! (Side note: This only applies to the newbies, because the hardcore Hudson Horror fans are almost impossible to stump.)
SURVIVAL TIP #9: GO WITH THE FLOW!
If during a movie, someone dies in a horrifying manner, or a girl takes off her top, or you’re startled by a cheap jump scare, then feel free to cheer, shout, clap, and laugh along with the rest of your fellow moviegoers! This form of audience participation is perfectly acceptable!
SURVIVAL TIP #10: CAFFEINATE YOURSELF FOR THE RIDE HOME OR GET A HOTEL ROOM
Though you may be feeling pretty energetic after the show is over, it’s best not to take chances on your trip home. Make sure to grab a coffee or energy drink for your return trip. If you have a lengthy journey ahead, consider staying in a hotel for the night. There are a ton of places to (figuratively) crash at within a few miles from the theater. Here’s a list of them for your convenience!
Follow some, or all of these tips, and you should have a great time at Hudson Horror Show, or any other film fest you attend! Thanks for reading; hopefully I’ll see you at the next one!