Special Report: Mondo Movie Night #7 – By Jordan Garren

Blake MonahanHello
and welcome to another edition of my exhaustive coverage of the Mondo
Movie Night events held at the Endless Mountains Theater in Scranton,
PA. For this most recent Mondo Movie Night, Doctor Zombie MD managed to
snag the original 35MM filmstrip for Tobe Hooper’s notorious classic,
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the film
(or its sequels and remake for that matter), but I was still pumped up
for an evening of contests and movie heckling. My girlfriend Tara and I
got to the theater pretty early so we stopped next door at K-Mart to
kill a little time and get batteries for our cameras. (Yes, that’s
right, Tara has started bringing her own digital camera and she even
has her own Mondo Movie Night t-shirt. You know you have the perfect
girl when she takes a very active interest in what you do…. ::sigh::
… could I love her more?)

After a slight credit card debacle with the customer ahead of us in
line, Tara and I eventually were able to purchase our stuff and head
back over to the theater. Once inside, we found a good-sized group of
people crowded around Doc Zombie’s swag table, which led to a
double-dose of shock on my part. First of all, Doc Zombie was at the
theater early and had pretty much everything set up for the evening’s
events. Secondly, I discovered that Doc Zombie now has a new squeeze
named Heather (a.k.a. Bunnicula). After the shock wore off I purchased
a copy of Circle of Iron and wandered around a bit and chatted with
other Mondo Movie fans and fellow Spookydudes Street Team members. One
really cool thing about this event is that it’s helped me find people
with similar interests in film, and I’ve made a few Mondo Movie buddies
over the past year. People from all walks of life, and all shapes and
sizes attend, and we all get along great because we all share a deep
love of cult movies. (See? There’s yet another reason why you should
attend Mondo Movie Night!)

Blake and Heather with a Luchadore
Eventually everyone marched into the theater, while Doc Zombie finished
a few last minute preparations. Armed with a megaphone and a mexican
wrestler sidekick, he marched up front and commenced two chaotic
contests. The first was a contest in which audience members had to give
the names of two people in the cult film industry. Then Doc Zombie’s
boy wonder, Brandon Wunder (pun actually not intended) had to connect
the two names together (sort of like a "six degrees of seperation
challenge"). The contest was scrapped however because most of the
people in the audience weren’t going with the flow, so Doc Zombie
skipped straight to the horror trivia contest. I got up front for the
first time in quite a while along with a few other regular contestants
and… well… I lost! I could blame my loss on Doc Zombie (usually if
someone gets a question wrong, it carries over to the next person. Well
not this time!), but in reality, it was my own fault that I couldn’t
remember what film the following quote came from: "Now, is my sh*t
together, or is my sh*t together?!" (The answer of course is From Dusk
Til Dawn. Many thanks to Doc Zombie for clearing that up for me!)

As I returned to my seat, I was a little bitter at losing because I
knew the answers to the two previous questions, but I have since gotten
over it after two weeks of intensive therapy. (And just for the court’s
records, the two trivia questions I mention are: "Who directed
Re-Animator?" and "This horror film from the early 80’s was directed by
George Romero and written by Stephen King." Stuart Gordon and Creepshow
were the answers! Damn it, any real horror fan knows that!). Next up
was the Scream Queen Contest, however Doc Zombie decided to change it
to a ‘Scream King Contest’ and had three guys come up in front of the
audience. (Tara was livid by the way because she was really looking
forward to screaming for prizes.) This change of pace went over pretty
well actually, and the three contestants put on a damn good show if I
do say so myself. The guy I thought would definitely win (he gave the
girliest scream out of the three in my opinion) actually lost out, but
that’s because half the audience decided to not participate! (For the
love of God people, just clap your friggin’ hands for a few seconds in
order to vote for who you think the winner should be! Is that asking so
much?!) With that contest out of the way, there was only one more
planned, and boy was it a doozy.

The chili eating contest
Four brave souls signed a disclaimer before the show began to be in the
evening’s Chili Eating Contest. Their mission: To eat as much (cold)
chili as possible form a massive can of Stagg Chili without vomiting.
Right as the contest began, I rushed out of my seat and sat in the
front in order to get some pictures of the most voracious and
courageous people I’ve ever seen. In the end, James O’Meara (fellow
Spookydudes street team leader and Mondo Movie-phile) won the day by
nearly finishing his gallon can of chili. His prize for stomaching the
vile Stagg concoction was an awesome Leatherface action figure that was
signed by Gunnar Hansen. (Congrats Jimmy! You surely earned that
prize!) With the festivities completed, everyone kicked back and
relaxed to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the big screen. Now as
I said earlier, I don’t think much of this highly regarded horror
classic. In my opinion, it’s boring, amateurish, and it’s a total fluke
that TCM has retained such high popularity over the years. And the real
kicker is that so many people believe that the movie is a true account
of an honest-to-goodness multiple murder involving a chainsaw! Looks
like I’m going to have to reveal the "hidden truth."

There was never a Texas Chainsaw Massacre and there is no Leatherface,
but there was a timid looking fellow named Ed Gein who once lived in
Plainfield, Wisconsin. "Weird Eddie" started out as a grave robber that
was obsessed with the female anatomy, but he eventually turned to
murder to continue his weird flesh and organ fetish. When Ed Gein was
finally brought to justice by the local authorities, they found a
veritable house of horrors. Human bones and skulls adorned some of the
furniture, he had a refrigerator full of human organs, and most notably
he had made several masks and "clothing" fashioned from human skin.
That my friends, is the true story (and you can read more of the
intimate details at House of Horrors.com),
but it has been borrowed from and used as a template for several well
known films including Psycho (Ed Gein supposedly kept the corpse of his
overbearing mother in the house) and Silence of the Lambs (Does
"Buffalo Bill" ring a bell?). But let’s get back to the film at hand
shall we?

The winner!
Texas Chainsaw Massacre revolves around a group of friends that are
assailed by a crazed family of cannibals on the back roads of Texas.
Each person in the group is killed off (including probably the most
detestable handicapped person in film history) except for one girl who
manages to escape her captors. In the film’s defense, there are some
pretty cool moments of mayhem, but for a film with the word "massacre"
in the title, the proceedings are fairly bloodless. What Tobe Hooper
effectively does with this film is this: He forces everyone who watches
it to use their imagination and fill in the blanks, because anything
you can probably imagine is probably worse that what they could have
shown on the screen. However that still doesn’t change my mind and I
still think TCM is still very boring and poorly shot. (The film
actually looked worse on the theatrical screen than it did at home on
my T.V.) Anyway, during the film we had a great group of hecklers
sitting nearby and it made the going a lot easier. They were cracking
hilarious jokes, one after another until disaster struck. About twenty
or thirty minutes into the movie, the filmstrip apparently caught on
fire!

After the screen went entirely blank, Doc Zombie casually rose from his
seat, and then ran like hell out of the theater once he reached the
aisle. Moments later he returned with an armful of DVDs and started
tossing them out into the crowd, while shouting something about the ten
thousand dollars he’d have to pay the owners of the filmstrip. Luckily
for him, the projectionist got the film up and running again, and
everything went smoothly from that point on. (Though to this day, I’m
still wondering if any real damage was done to the TCM filmstrip, and
if Doc Zombie had to pay for it.) An hour or so later, the film finally
ended (how many shots of the full moon does a movie need?!) and
everybody cleared out. There was a party after the show, but Tara and I
didn’t attend because of the sheer fatigue caused by Texas Chainsaw
Massacre’s boredom factor. (I can only imagine how much hate mail I’m
going to get for saying that.) So another successful Mondo Movie Night
is in the bag despite a few technical problems and I’m looking forward
to the next one. Right now it’s rumored that Mondo Movie Night #8 will
showcase Jim Van Bebber’s The Manson Family but I’m still waiting for
the official word. To keep up to date on upcoming and current Mondo
Movie Night events, visit Spookydudes.com.