Maybe I haven’t been making myself entirely clear, or perhaps not enough interest is being generated, but for some reason, the number of Mondo Movie Night patrons has lessened in recent months. There hasn’t been a packed house since “Evil Dead II” was featured on the big screen and I can’t imagine why. Mondo Movie Night has always been fun and a very welcome respite from the dreck that Hollywood has been cranking out lately. The event’s coordinator Doctor Zombie MD has also noticed this troubling trend and thinks that perhaps Mondo Movie Night is happening too often. He may change his mind after the next two events, which I’ll reveal more about later, but assure you they’re definitely worth coming to. For now, let me tell you about the most recent Mondo Movie Night in all of it’s glory.
For the first time in seemingly forever I had an entire weekend off from work (well… except for Friday morning), so I decided to spend three fun-filled days at my girlfriend Tara’s house. Sadly Tara had to work every morning, but on a much happier note, her father and I had a blast. The two of us spent the earlier part of Saturday afternoon doing some DVD shopping at Best Buy and Circuit City. (Truly the best bonding experience for two movie fanatics like us!) Once Tara got home (and chided us for going on a DVD expedition without her) we all sat down and watched a few movies together (including “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”) until 9:15 P.M., when Tara and I departed for Endless Mountain Cinema. We managed to arrive about a half hour early, giving me the chance to chill out with Doc Zombie and some of the hardcore Mondo Movie Night fans.
For some reason, the theater management decided to hold this event at the dreaded theater number 8, the relatively small theater that’s located at the far end of the building. (Was this done to keep us somewhat odd folk separated from the normal mainstream moviegoer?!) Doc Zombie stood outside of theater number 8 and peddled his wares, including: An assortment of Blue Underground DVDs (including titles like “Mark of the Devil,” “Circle of Iron,” and “Killer Nun”), DVD-Rs, back issues of Fangoria magazine, pins, necklaces, toys, and more! He also told some of us about his dealings with Blue Underground DVD President William Lustig and Troma’s President, Lloyd Kaufman and how much money it cost to have “The Beyond” shipped to Scranton. (Roughly $160.00!) Eventually 10:30 came around and everyone began taking their seats. Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, the number of people attending was pretty disappointing considering how much work was being put into the promotion. But that didn’t stop all of us from having a good time!
To kick things off, Doc Zombie called all willing “scream queens” to the front of the theater. Tara went up as usual and screamed her heart out (any louder and I’m sure my glasses would’ve shattered). However, she ended up losing out to a girl who managed to scream a milli-octave higher. It was a pretty damn close call but the crowd had spoken and all of the screamers returned to their seats. Next up, Doctor Zombie asked us audience members if anyone wanted to participate in a quick round of horror trivia. Never one to turn down a challenge such as this, I volunteered, as did two other regular contestants. Only the three of us had the courage to get up front and answer questions (one of which is a staff member of Scranton’s ROCK 107 radio station.), though I did try to coax others into coming up front with us, assuring them that the questions would be easy. (When Doc Zombie doesn’t prepare questions ahead of time, he almost always loses out!)
Now with that said, I won the contest (Question: Rudy Ray Moore plays a character named “Dolemite” in a film of the same name. What was the title of the sequel?!” The Answer [of course]: “The Human Tornado!” I really hate to gloat, but I can’t help but revel in every small victory I achieve.) My prize for having a limited knowledge of Blaxploitation films was a very cool “Devil’s Rejects” poster. (For those of you who aren’t in the loop, “The Devils Rejects” is the much anticipated sequel to Rob Zombie’s “House of 1,000 Corpses.”) Anyway after I took my seat, Doc Zombie announced that Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond” was about to be screened. I’ve only seen this film twice before and didn’t recall much, except for my favorite scene involving a supernatural tarantula attack. The film looked and sounded fantastic up there on the big screen because it had been fully remastered thanks to the efforts of Quentin Tarantino and the folks at Grindhouse Releasing (Bob Murawski and Sage Stallone…. son of… ah hell… I think you can figure that out for yourself!).
Before the movie actually kicked into gear, a variety of trailers were showcased for other “grindhouse” films including “The Evil Dead,” “Cannibal Ferox” (a.k.a. “Let Them Die Slowly”), and the crowd favorite… “Massacre, Mafia Style!” That trailer alone truly made the night magical and the audience loved it! The film trailer consisted of two mafioso-looking guys walking through an office building and murdering every single human being in sight! It was so utterly funny and ridiculous and really pumped everyone up for the feature film! One can only hope that Doctor Zombie can one day get a hold of this film for a future Mondo Movie Night. Once the trailers ended, Lucio Fulci’s unintelligible and highly gory “The Beyond” took center stage. For the uninitiated, the film’s err… plot revolves around a Louisiana motel (the aptly named Seven Doors Motel) that is inherited by a young woman named Liza Merril. Little does Liza know that her newly acquired inheritance is actually built over one of the Seven Doors to Hell!
You see, back in 1927, a lynch mob entered the motel and marched into Room 36 (I only mention the room number because it’s a somewhat key point in several scenes) and dragged out it’s occupant, an alleged warlock. They took the innocent man down to the motel’s basement and beat him with chains, crucified him, and finished him off with quicklime (i.e. Some really acidic shizzle that eats off a good portion of the poor guy’s flesh!). And naturally, this is all accomplished right within the shadow of the seventh door to hell! Back in the present day, the hellish door beneath the motel is fully opened (by Joe the plumber) and all manner of evils begin creeping out. We get killer supernatural tarantulas that devour one character’s eyes, tongue, lips, and nose (Also note that director Lucio Fulci has a cameo before the tarantula attack as The Librarian!), a smattering of zombies during the film’s finale, and a whole lot of weirdness in general. As the film wraps up, most viewers will probably be horrified by the buckets of gore and fully perplexed by the ambiguous ending. I’ve seen the movie three times now, and I still don’t understand it! Watching “The Beyond” is like having a front row seat to one of the most grisly nightmares ever concocted by the human subconscious!
As always, us faithful moviegoers were free to heckle the film at will and we most surely did. The main items that were attacked were the film’s atrocious dialogue (probably a result of the bad dubbing) and the attempts at making things seem more (ahem) American. Case in point, there’s a sign hanging outside of a hospital’s morgue that says DO NOT ENTRY, but considering that the film is supposed to take place down South this may be more accurate than we know. Another thing that had us all cracking up was the dialogue being spouted by David Warbeck who played Dr. John McCabe. For some reason he had to continuously verify his position as a medical doctor during any situation! (“I’m a doctor!”) There’s also another flub on this guy’s account during
one of the final scenes in the basement of the motel. For some reason, as he’s speaking with Liza he suddenly says…. “Who the hell are you? Or else!” So the main running gag during the final minutes of the film revolved around people shouting “I’m a doctor” and “Or else” over and over again. (I even took it up a notch by combining the two bits of dialogue to create “I’m a doctor, or else!”)
As the film finished up and the lights came on, we all shuffled out of the theater and swarmed around Doc Zombie’s mini-store. Since I was completely broke at that point, Tara lent me cash for two quality DVD-R’s of “Monster Shark” (a.k.a. “Devil Fish”) and “Killer Crocodile.” I also got official word that I’m the “street team leader” of Doc Zombie’s Mondo Movie Night grass roots promotional campaign (damn that’s a mouthful). Pretty much, I and the rest of the street team must hang flyers at local businesses and take a photo to prove it. The photos will be uploaded onto the internet for all to see and provide said businesses with a little free advertising on the net!. There are plenty of cool perks to being part of our street team including free admission to all Mondo Movie Night events and a discount on Doc Zombie’s DVD-Rs! To become part of the team and get further details, e-mail the good doctor at email@example.com! Well with another successful Mondo Movie Night in the bag, I guess it’s time I share the next two events with you.
On Saturday, December 18th “you have the right to remain silent… forever!” Mondo Movie Night #5 is a double feature of “Maniac Cop” and “Maniac Cop II” and to further sweeten the deal, director William Lustig will be present for a Q&A session and an autograph signing. Mr. Lustig is also the President of Blue Underground DVD and will be announcing future BU releases! Tickets will be $10 at the door or pre-ordered and it all kicks off at 10 P.M.! If that doesn’t get your attention, then check this out: Friday, January 14th and Saturday, January 15th is the Troma Weekend! On Friday night at 10 P.M. you can catch a screening of “Tromeo and Juliet” and meet Troma President Lloyd Kaufman who will be on hand to teach a moviemaking class! On Saturday night, there will be a double feature screening of “The Toxic Avenger” and “Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV” presented by Lloyd Kaufman. Toxie, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., and possibly even Joe Fleishaker (a.k.a. Lardass!) will be running around to greet all of us Troma fans! (No word yet if any yummy-looking Tromettes will be there to hang all over us guys. Here’s hoping though!) You simply shouldn’t miss out on either event so make sure you mark those days off on your calendars and hopefully we’ll see you there at the next Mondo Movie Night!