From Grand to Grindhouse

By Christopher Wood on August 31, 2010


Traditionally snubbed by Hollywood artistes and not often backed by the major studios, horror films have carved out a bloody niche for themselves on the badlands of mainstream cinema. So it makes sense that The Grand Cinema will begin making screen space for this oft-overlooked genre with a new monthly series.

Says Executive Director Philip Cowan, "We spend a lot of time ... trying to bring films to Tacoma that would not otherwise play here. To me, that's one of the best definitions of independent film."

Where else will you possibly come across a gruesome Italian-made schlockfest like The Beyond, or, as we call it in the States, L'aldia - E tu vivrai nel terrore? In stomach-churning detail, director Lucio Fulci shows viewers what happens when you mistakenly build your hotel right over a portal to hell. The aftermath includes, in the words of Beyond distributorsGrindhouse Releasing, "chunk-blowing chain-whippings, sulfuric acid meltdowns, flesh-eating tarantulas," and worst of all, horrid dubbing of foreign actors.

Subtitles distract from the gore anyway.

The Grand will unleash an uncut 35mm print of this carnage Sept. 3 and 4 at 9:09 p.m., with a matinee on Sept. 5 at 4 p.m. Reps from horror magazine Fangoria will also dish out trivia and prizes.

A cult shocker scheduled every month, Cowan believes, should shake up the community's conception of fringe cinema - and of the theater itself.

"Independent films aren't just British period piece films or Scandinavian girls with dragon tattoos," explains Cowan. "If we can attract an audience who maybe has never been to the Grand, I'm all for that. Maybe they'll come back to see a French film another time."

Get a taste of this weekend's mayhem by checking out the Beyond trailer below, and visit