Special Report: Mondo Movie Night #6 – By Jordan Garren and Blake Monahan

Jordan Garren and Doug SakmannOnly one phrase comes to mind when describing the events that took place before Mondo Movie Night #6 began: Total Chaos! For a while now, things have gone pretty smoothly not only for myself, but for Doc Zombie. Well that wasn’t the case for this most recent event. I managed to get a cold mere days before I was to attend Mondo Movie Night #6, and had it not been for the massive doses of Nyquil and Dayquil, I probably would’ve been in bed that fateful Saturday night. With my cold firmly held in check by the aforementioned miracle drugs, I ventured southwards to Scranton and picked up Tara (who for once actually ate something before the show so that we could get there on time! Women are truly incredible creatures. You think you’ve learned everything about their habits, wants, needs, etc. and yet they can still surprise you after all these years!). Even better, we got to the theater at 8:30 in order to meet the director and some cast and crew members of the evening’s film, Punk Rock Holocaust. Once we were inside though, I soon discovered that things weren’t going as planned.

Apparently Doc Zombie and the special guests for the evening were stuck in traffic and desperately trying to get to the theater on time. On top of that, the film was being shown via DVD and no one at the theater was entirely sure of how to use the digital projector! (Side Note: Said digital projector is property of a local church, not the theater. Therefore the theater staff is not well versed with this advanced movie technology.) Yes, things surely looked grim for this show but fear not! Doc Zombie, director Doug Sakmann and the others arrived a little after nine o’clock and by that time, the digital projector was up and running too. To keep the audience temporarily sated, the projectionist played a deleted scene (or easter egg?) from the DVD in which two punk rockers engage in a human tug-of-war. This involves having huge fishing hooks skewered into the backs of two people. Then ropes or wires are attached to said hooks and each person runs and pulls in the opposite direction. It’s probably one of the most shocking and disturbing things I’ve ever seen and that’s mostly because it was all real! My buddy Jay Malecki who I invited to the show was sitting next to me with his eyes and mouth wide open. Once he regained his composure, he turned to me and said, “I hope the entire movie isn’t like that.” But I could make no such guarantee, for Punk Rock Holocaust was as new to me as it was to him.

With that said, I must warn each and every person out there that Punk Rock Holocaust is a bad movie. It was shot on a very low budget (roughly $50,000) on digital video, during the 2003 Vans Warped Tour. The fact that the movie takes place during the actual tour, complete with a large number of punk and ska bands participating, helps bolster its production value and also makes for some great music. The film also has some cool looking comic book edits in between scenes, but they lose their novelty very quickly. On top of that, there is a huge body count that supposedly, nay, definitely surpasses the first eight Friday the 13th films. I tried to tally up the number of kills, but I lost count of the dead bodies after the first ten minutes of the movie! Unfortunately, the film suffers a lot from its unintelligible storyline. A “news reporter” is covering the Warped Tour and notices that a lot of deaths are occuring. As she tries to unravel the identity of the killer and his motives during long and boring scenes full of expository dialogue, the film’s slasher goes on a rampage and wipes out crowds of fans and musicians. There are a few fun and imaginative deaths in the movie, but the mass murdering gets old pretty fast.

As the film begins to wind down, we learn that Belial (Lloyd Kaufman!), an evil record executive that is actually the devil. Apparently a
past punk band didn’t quite work out so they were excised from the record label, but the rockers came back as vengeful zombies… or something. Their plan is to wipe out all of Belial’s bands and become the only punk band left in the world…. or something. Dammit, make sense you god forsaken movie! By the end of the film, there’s a one-on-one swordfight between the demonic rocker (armed with a zombie sword?!) and the film’s cute reporter protagonist. Good triumphs over evil, and they all lived happily ever after, blah blah blah, amen. Ok, I’m being a little unfair towards this movie; I did have fun watching and heckling it. It’s almost in the “so bad it’s good” category (which includes rockin’ b-films and cult favorites like Rock N’ Roll Nightmare, Monster Dog, and Shock ‘Em Dead) but falters just enough to remain in the “so bad it’s bad” category. My friend Jay got so fed up with the film that he actually left the theater before Punk Rock Holocaust even ended! He had seen enough blood and low budget carnage for one night and decided it was time to escape from the madness that is Mondo Movie Night! Bwahahaha! In the meantime, the rest of the audience stood our ground and finished watching the movie in its entirety.

Overall, Punk Rock Holocaust is a decent effort in filmmaking but is really lacking in the plot department. If you have the urge to see this flick (it is available on an All-Region DVD), then I have to tell you about my favorite parts of the movie! (Besides the end credits…. just kidding!) There’s a scene where a trio of zombie slashers go toe-to-toe with a punk group called the Phenomenauts. Both sides have a fire-fight with some cool looking sci-fi props, which then leads to a chase scene where the Phenomenauts drive off in their futuristic-looking van with the slashers in hot pursuit via skateboards! The finale of the chase takes place in a junk yard where the van is completely decimated by some explosives and a wrecking ball! (Doug Sakmann got to operate the crane himself and actually did destroy the Phenomenauts old van!) There’s also another hilarious and memorable segment that is a shot-for-shot recreation of Jason Voorhees’ arrival in Times Square, as seen in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan! After the film ended, Doug Sakmann jumped up on stage and had a quick Q&A session with the remaining crowd. (A good chunk of people had left before and after Punk Rock Holocaust was over with… can’t imagine why.) Doug is a great guy and energetically answered the few questions that were thrown at him. He gave some great information about the making of the film and told us how most of the effects were done. (The gallons of blood seen in the film were made from Karo Syrup and red food coloring… but what about all the “human flesh and guts” that were being chewed on by the zombies and cannibalistic goths?! What was that stuff made from?!)

You’re also probably wondering how Doug managed to shoot the movie during the Warped Tour and get so many bands into the film. Well one of the stars of the film is Kevin Lyman who happens to be the coordinator for the Vans Warped Tour. Because of Kevin, Doug was able to get more than two dozen bands into the film, including Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies, Less Than Jake, The Dropkick Murphies, Pennywise, and Tsunami Bomb. And for the twisted individuals who are interested, a sequel to Punk Rock Holocaust is in the works. Doug Sakmann and his crew are shooting several ten minute shorts and will make them available online first. After that, the shorts will be edited together with some additional footage and Punk Rock Holocaust 2 (Electric Boogaloo) will be born. Anyway, once I strolled out of the theater, I got to meet and greet Doug and maged to get a few photos with him. I also managed to get an autograph from him and one of the film’s co-stars. (I recall that he was a tall fellow…. if I could only read his signature… I’d post his name here! Sorry kind sir, but I’m bad with names!) I also went against my better judgement and bought a DVD of Punk Rock Holocaust…. probably due to the pang of guilt I felt for making fun of Doug’s movie so viciously the entire night. Doug, if you’re reading this, please forgive me!

Doug SakmannAfter pictures were taken and everything was packed up, everyone went into downtown Scranton to a place called Test Patterns. I led a car load of people to the correct avenue, but we just couldn’t seem to find the right building (Due to an incorrect address on the flyer we were given! DOH!). After circling the block twice, we finally just parked on a deserted street and walked down Adams Avenue. It turns out that Test Patterns isn’t a jazzy club but well… it’s a building…. err… an art gallery that could definitely use a facelift. (Ah hell, a complete renovation is in order for this place!) I’m not much of a partier but I decided that damn it, I should stick around for a bit… but where the hell was all the smoke in the room coming from?! Eventually someone announced that the band was ready in the basement, so a group of us filed downstairs into the mildew-scented cellar to listen to some tunes from “Lugosi’s Morphine.” This is when I discovered the source of all the smoke. The band had a smoke machine going and it was obviously too big and too powerful for the designated area! After a good fifteen minutes or so, the smoke had filled the entire basement and I couldn’t see the band or most of the people standing around me. As I said, I’m not much of a party animal, but I truly had a blast watching a few drunkards doing some fake moshing and hopping around in front of the band as the goth-rock blared! It was a very surreal twenty minutes I have to say and it felt like I had just wandered onto the set of a new Punk Rock Holocaust movie! Sadly I had to leave the party because my girlfriend Tara had work in the morning. After bidding farewell to my fellow Mondo Movie-teers, Doc Zombie, his gal Carrie (who just turned 24! Happy Belated Birthday Carrie!), and a few others it was time to hit the road. My departure from Test Patterns was delayed though because a group stoners wandered in!

The lead stoner stopped me and asked, “Is there free beer here?” ‘Nope! It’s bring your own beer tonight!’ “Oh……. uh, did anyone bring a keg?” ‘Not that I saw man, sorry.’ Then the stoners just sort of shuffled past Tara and I and probably started asking other people if free booze could be found on the premises. That simply had to be the wierdest close encounter of the stoner kind I have ever had! So that was my night folks! While things were bumpy for most of the evening, this Mondo Movie Night was definitely one of the more interesting ones thus far and was still a lot of fun. Doug Sakmann was a really great guest and didn’t seem to mind that a majority of the audience more or less hated Punk Rock Holocaust. He was in great spirits the entire time and I really wish I could’ve talked to him more. The party afterwards was fun too, however I think they should pick a new venue because Test Patterns is a bit small and cramped and as I said, the building needs some major work. With this hurdle cleared, Doc Zombie has something very special in store for everyone next month. The movie of choice will be (drum roll please)…… Tobe Hooper’s classic……….. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre! I know this movie draw a huge crowd, especially if Doc Zombie manages to snag one of the film’s stars to make an appearance. To find out what’s going on for the next Mondo Movie Night and other future events visit Spookydudes.com for more details! Hopefully I’ll see you there! Just look for the nerdy guy in the leather Giants coat, that’ll be me!

Seeing as how an intended inteview with Doctor Zombie MD didn’t quite pan out, he graciously offered the following written piece to give his own insight and point of view concerning the chaotic events revolving around Mondo Movie Night #6! In essence, this is the dark side of Mondo Movie Night!

Fear and Loathing on Mondo Movie Night
By: Blake Monahan

Allow me to preface this article by saying that Jordan had sent me a great interview this weekend. It was really well thought out and I liked the questions a lot. I had actually gotten to work on answering the questions quite early in the game and planned on shooting it out to “J-dogg” by Friday afternoon.But, as you will soon begin to see, when it comes to Mondo Movie Night, nothing…and I mean nothing, ever goes as planned.

The plan….ah yes, the plan…. Exactly what WAS the plan again?

In case you missed it, this past weekend we hosted the PA theatrical premiere of Punk Rock Holocaust. In addition to screening the film, we were joined by Doug Sakmann and others from PRH’s production company, Backseat Conceptions. To really make the event special, we planned a rock-and-roll after-party at our friend’s art gallery, Test Pattern, in downtown Scranton. The plan was to have two bands play and then I and a few others were going to evolve the event into a nice little dance party that would take us all into the drunken wee hours.

But you see nothing ever goes as planned.

What follows is a run down on the day, a veritable YOU ARE THERE. This is exactly what it is like just about every damn time I try and throw any kind of event. Kids, don’t try this at home:

10:00 AM : The Setup
Nate is the singer/guitarist for the Doses, one of the after-party bands. He is also my roommate and full time drinking buddy. He and I agreed the night before to get up at 10, as he has to go to the bank and I have to:

Go to meet the owner of the gallery at his job to:
get the gallery keys so that I can:
set up half the DJ equipment and then:
go back home for the rest and then:
finish setting up and do a sound check.

This would have been not really all that bad if the night before had not been Carrie (the original spookette)’s birthday. Due to a high volume of whiskey, beer, and god knows what. We got up at 11:45 AM, hung over!

11:45 AM
So okay, no big deal, we got up a little late. Loaded up half the equipment and headed to get the keys. We stopped and ate some Chinese food that I only later realized, when about to eat the leftovers, smelled like a back-alley and got my stomach in a terrible mood. We made all the running back and forth trips we needed to, back and forth across town so many times that I felt like a bus driver. The equipment was all ready to test just, flip it on and…Oh man. One of the PA speakers has a loose wire and we have no way to get it fixed. There is not even a screwdriver in the whole place to tray and rig it. Great!

3:00 PM
Deciding that the only thing we can do is have lopsided sound, I have to hurry back home and take a shower, get dressed, and get all of my records and cds together to DJ. Oh yeah, I have to be at the theater in an hour to meet the person that is hooking up the digital projector as the movie is only available on DVD. I want a beer but the guy is a Pastor and I don’t want to go up all smelling like Milwaukee’s Best. I try to call Doug to see what time he will arrive before I jump in the shower. I call twice; he doesn’t answer twice. I decide it is time for what we here at Spookydudes call a” power shower.” I grab two beers and a towel and head to the bathroom. I open them both. Sorry Pastor Ray!

Doug Sakmann with Jordan's girlfriend, Tara Speranzo4:00 PM – 5:10 PM
I get to Endless Mountains and Pastor Ray is not there. I wait for an hour and he still does not show. This will be great, I have to still pay for Doug’s hotel, grab some booze for him and get them some food. I have to do all this before seven, and I still have to go home and pack up the car with the DVD’s for the merchandise table. J.W., my main man at the theater, says he will take care of it and I know that he will because he is always 100% on top of things, but my stomach discomfort is starting to grow from mere indigestion to full on gut-rot.

6:45 PM
I finally talk to Doug and he tells me that they will be in around 8 p.m. Not bad, it will be close, because I need to be at the theater by 8:30, but not impossible. On a whim, I call the theater to make sure that the projector is hooked up.

It’s not!

Pastor Ray still has not made it. This will be awesome when a roomful of punkers riot when I tell them there is no movie. They claim that they have a plan and tell me not to worry.

I’m worried…..

8:30 PM
Doug and Co. finally show! I have sent Carrie and Nate to Endless Mountain to get the table set up and the guest list to the box office. I call them to see what is up and they tell me that the projector works, but it has no sound. I get several frantic calls from Carrie, and I have no answers, just a wait and see attitude. Luckily, Doug and all the Backseat Conception guys and gals turn out to be a great bunch. We have a few beers and laughs over pizza until it is time to leave for the show. Oh man, the beer is really killing my stomach. Or is it the projector? Doors are at 9:00 PM; it’s currently 8:55 and some of the guys are still eating. Sh*t!

9:10 PM
Finally, we are on the mountain! Doug loves the marquee that says welcome Doug Sakmann and I love the turn-out. One problem, nobody knows how to make the projector work… still! I am answering questions and running back and forth. Finally, a breathless theater employee informs me that the projector is indeed working, with sound….YES!

11:30 PM
The movie plays, Doug does a Q&A; all is well. It was a great screening, and the audience had a blast. Everyone is stoked for the after party, me included… I really need a beer and my stomach stopped hurting. However, as I have made quite clear, nothing ever goes according to plan with Mondo Movie Night. It’s probably not a good idea to recount the details of the after-party puclicly, as many of them are probably illegal, but I will tell you this: It involved drunkenness, a massive beer bong, a vodka filter, broken bottles, loud music, a public urination and a very wicked punch to the head to the offending urinator.
We don’t call it Mondo Movie Night for nothing!

Cheers! Hope to see you at a screening sometime soon!