Chills and thrills — there could have been some great Halloween horror movies showing in the Capital Region during the 1980s.
All folks needed was a little imagination. “Candy Apple Zombies,” “When Skeletons Attack,” “Vampire Bus Vixen” and “Freddy’s Niskayuna Nightmare” were just four on local screens.
Schenectady’s Sarah Zuckerman starred in and directed the candy apple scenes, shot on location in the basement of her parents’ Wendell Avenue residence. Zuckerman played a sassy “Mouseketeer” who persuaded her teenaged friends to hang out at home on Halloween 1982 — and forget about trick-or-treating on the streets. The odd mix of characters included a plaid man, baseball player, cheerleader and devil. Candy apples were among homemade snacks Sarah served.
Arianne Shean, 5, and her brother Jonathan, 7, were principals in the “Skeleton” story. The kids encountered living bone men in the haunted section of the Schenectady Museum around Halloween 1980. Among the special effects were open coffins in an abandoned mine shaft. And a ghost or three.
In South Colonie in 1986, legendary vampiric vixen Linda Guzzo drove her students crazy — by driving her school bus dressed as a black-cloaked, black-tressed mistress of the night. Nobody ever questioned Linda’s immunity to sunlight; most vampires spend daylight hours inside black boxes, not yellow ones.
Disfigured slasher Freddy Krueger was one of the movies’ main maniacs during the 1980s’ “Nightmare on Elm Street” series. Freddy turned up at Niskayuna High School in 1988, and brought both a screaming teen and a werewolf to class. Freddy was played by Chris Eades, whose interpretation of old Fred did not include the melted face. Co-stars Kirstin Wulf screamed and Michael Palma howled.
Other films on the imaginary playlist included the 1986 “From Beyond,” which starred Della Jane Fish of Rotterdam as a balloon creature who haunts a department store. “Dear Devil” appeared in 1985, with young Elizabeth VanBrocklin of Broadalbin as the title character. Sarah Harrienger’s signature Halloween role came in the 1987 bicycle flick “Gears of a Clown.”
All the scenes are in repeats — in the outer limits of performers’ autumn memories.
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Categories: Life and Arts