Downtown Abbey: Killumbus Horror Meetup and Double Feature

Abernathy Miller, Columbus Alive

"If you don't like what you see in the first movie, I suggest you leave before the second movie," said director Scott Schirmer. With the audience gathered for his screening of "found." and "Headless" this was more of a dare than a warning.

On a balmy afternoon in a dark theater, I spent several hours watching merciless violence and extreme gore with my horror-hound brethren at Killumbus Horror's double-feature at the Gateway Film Center. Both the booze and the blood were flowing, making for the perfect gruesome twosome.

The tables populating the upstairs lounge at the Gateway were covered in candy eyeballs and ceramic skulls. As I grabbed a drink from the bar, I overheard two members of the Killumbus Horror Facebook group debating whether or not "Hellraiser" was scary. "Dude, Pinhead sucks. Period." one said. I wanted to correct him (duh, "Hellraiser" is one of my favorite horror franchises), but I decided to leave it alone. You can't argue Clive Barker with a non-believer.

If it's a little awkward to see so many people you know only from Facebook IRL at once, just add alcohol. After a few cocktails, the conversations started to flow.

I chatted up a woman in a hand-painted "Babadook" T-shirt about the most extreme horror movies I'd ever seen, and she chimed in with her favorite scenes for each. She told me she had seen both movies at random horror-cons, and that "Headless" is a fictional horror film that occurs in "found." that was only made because fans demanded it - and started a crowd-funding campaign to finance its production.

After a few more cocktails and some movie swag raffles, Killumbus Horror group founder Bridget Oliver ushered us into a mid-sized theater for the screening where Schirmer warned us about the leaving before the second film. As if any of us were going to be the pansy-ass who left during the goriest film. But Schirmer was right about the divisive nature of the two films: do you like your horror tense and calculated, or a battering ram of blood and guts?

Several hours, drinks and sets of eyeballs later, I was very proud of myself and my iron-clad stomach for staying the whole time. Everyone reconvened back in the lounge to recant what we just witnessed. "Did you see when he …" and "I can't believe they showed his whole …" echoed throughout the crowd. The eyeball candy suddenly seemed less appealing.

I went to the Gateway to see blood and guts but left with a laundry list of movie suggestions and a solid buzz: If that isn't the best way to spend a Saturday, I don't know what is.