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Thrillema brings horror for Valentine’s

Love campy horror films? This film screening series is just what you need

3 min read
caption Thrillema volunteers Jess Smallwood and Mark Palermo hold up copies of their favorite horror movies.
Stephen Wentzell
caption Thrillema volunteers Jess Smallwood and Mark Palermo hold up copies of their favourite horror movies.
Stephen Wentzell

The Thrillema is bringing back a cult classic film for a screening just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Filmed in Sydney Mines in 1981, My Bloody Valentine is the first film lined up for the Thrillema’s 2017 series. The screening is Monday at the Museum of Natural History.

“There’s still a lot of local industry professionals who live here who worked on the film so we wanted to continue to show [films] that have ties to Nova Scotia,” says volunteer Jess Smallwood.

The Thrillema, created in 2007 by a group of film buffs, plays classic horror movies for free or by donation roughly once a month throughout the year.

“We just love these movies and we want to share them with people,” says Mark Palermo, a Thrillema volunteer. He co-wrote the 2011 horror flick, Detention.

“To me, it’s like inviting people into your basement to watch a Blu-Ray with you,” he says. “It’s completely done out of love. It’s not a business.”

The Thrillema was created by Jason Eisener and Adam Perry, who began screening films at the now-closed Dartmouth Empire 6 Theatre.

The screening series was resurrected four years ago, with help from local Strange Adventures Comix & Curiosities, which provides the funds for the venue and film rights. The local business also distributes tickets and donates door prizes.

Aaron Burke, a local horror comic illustrator, has been helping the Thrillema by creating movie posters, as well as Valentine cards that will be available at Monday’s screening.

Smallwood notes that the film selection process can be “on the fly” sometimes, and suggestions are welcome for upcoming screenings.

Smallwood, a NSCAD graduate and producer of the 2016 short film Nightcall, dreams of one day hosting a “Thrillemafest” — a three-day film festival highlighting genre films that do not receive a wide release in theatres.

While funding would be a necessary component to organize the festival, Smallwood hopes that the group could get the ball rolling by this fall.

“My grandfather would take me to a lot of movies growing up, films my parents wouldn’t let me see,” she says. “I just love sitting in the theatre and not being able to take my eyes away from the screen [because] of what is happening.”

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About the author

Stephen Wentzell

Stephen Wentzell is an ambitious and resilient investigative writer from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has been a journalist for a third of his life....

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