October at the Trylon: Scream Queens


Scene from “Suspiria.” Courtesy of Synapse Films.

Jane Skjonsby, Staff Writer

This October, the Trylon cinema in Minneapolis featured a Halloween movie series called “Scream Queens.” 

“Though many horror films are rightfully maligned for their inherent misogyny, the genre has also provided strong roles for women,” their website reads. “The leads in these films defined the genre and redefined who could be the hero of a horror movie. From facing demonic possession to staring down a slasher, these horror icons made careers out of charisma and killer pipes.”

I attended a few of the movies shown including “Suspiria” (1977), “The Return of the Living Dead” (1985) and “Night of the Demons” (1988), and here are my reviews.


Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” is a bizarre, technicolor nightmare. From the opening scene, something in this cinematic universe feels off. The film uses bizarre, colorful sets with repeating patterns, along with bold colors and lights throughout to convey a sense of incoming terror. The soundtrack was expertly crafted by the Italian progressive-rock band Goblin and adds so much tension throughout the film.

When young American dancer Suzy Bannion arrives at a prestigious German ballet academy, she comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of gruesome murders. The plot line and acting are a bit ridiculous but it’s the cinematography that makes this movie wonderful. Every shot is gorgeous and spooky. It’s an absolute trip and one of my new favorite horror movies now.

“The Return of the Living Dead” 

“They’re back from the grave and ready to party!” reads the promotional movie poster for this classic 1985 zombie flick. 

Set in Louisville, Kentucky, this comedy horror flick tells the story of how a medical supply warehouse owner, his two employees, a mortician friend and a group of teenage punks deal with the accidental release of unkillable, brain-hungry zombies onto the city. This movie features Linnea Quigley, a fan-favorite horror movie actress, often referred to as the “Scream Queen” for her roles in low budget horror movies from the 1980s and ‘90s like “Night of the Demons” (1988), “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama” (1988) and “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” (1988). 

It’s easy to understand why this movie is a cult classic. It’s campy, funny and quotable. The zombies themselves look so grotesque and unreal that it’s comical. 

The movie’s soundtrack is also notable for punk music fans. Several Los Angeles-based deathrock and punk rock bands from the 1980s are featured throughout the film. 

The movie did well at the box office and gained an instant cult following, prompting four sequels. 

“Night of the Demons” 

“Night of the Demons” is another angst-ridden Linnea Quigley classic. If you can look past the questionable dialogue and atrocious acting, this slasher is a lot of fun.  

The movie is all about demonic infestation. It tells the story of ten high school students having a Halloween party at an abandoned mortuary. Their party turns into a nightmare when, after conducting a séance as a party game, they unleash the demon locked in the crematorium and hunts them down one by one. 

Despite things starting to go awry at the beginning of the night, the teens agree that the party must go on.

“Eat a bowl of f**k. I’m here to party!” exclaimed the party-fiend, mullet-head character Stooge. 

Like “The Return of the Living Dead” and other Linnea Quigley films, this movie has a massive cult following online and also prompted many sequels in the years following its release. My favorite part was the very last scene with the grumpy old man character introduced briefly at the beginning of the movie, credited as “Ol’ Freak.” He unknowingly eats a slice of his wife’s apple pie she had made using the apples he had packed with razor blades for unsuspecting trick or treaters. A gory and insane death scene ensues that leaves the viewer puzzled as to why the director would throw in such a bizarre mini subplot. 

If you missed the earlier showings in the Scream Queens series, you can still catch a showing of “Road Games” (1981) and “Prom Night” (1980) this weekend. Some of the films shown are also available for streaming.

“Road Games” is an Australian thriller directed by Richard Franklin and starring Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis. The movie follows a truck driver and hitchhiker traveling across Australia tracking down a serial killer butchering women and dumping their dismembered bodies along empty highways.

 “Prom Night” is a Canadian slasher film directed by Paul Lynch, written by William Gray and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen. The plot follows a group of high school seniors who are targeted at their prom by a masked killer seeking vengeance for the accidental death of a young girl six years earlier. If “Halloween” (1978) and “Carrie” (1976) had a baby, it would be “Prom Night.” It’s a heavily stylized slasher featuring glamorous late-seventies hair and disco fashion. 

 Check out the Trylon’s website trylon.org for screening times and tickets. 

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