Friday, September 16, 2011

2011 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama: Night One



Well, the fifth edition of the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama in Pennsylvania has become a part of history. It's time for a look back at this awesome event. First off I'd like to apologize for the length of this blog (as well as the one for Night Two). I had intended on taking a lot less photos of this year's show and spend more time simply sitting back and enjoying it. But I heard from a number of people who were looking forward to seeing another detailed recap and realized that this is the only real way to be able to remember almost everything that was projected onto the screen during the Monster-Rama. So...

If you don't know what the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama is, please check out my previous blog on it which gives all the details (Drive-In Super Monster-Rama 2011), or go to DVD Drive-In and the website for the Riverside Drive-In for more information. You can also check out my three part look back at the 2010 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama if you simply can't get enough of this stuff (2010 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama, 2010 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama: Part II, 2010 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama: Part III). In the meantime, here's a quick background sketch, just to give you a bit of information on the show:

Official advertisement for the 2011 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama

George Reis and DVD Drive-In partnered with the Riverside Drive-In in Vandergrift, PA five years ago to put on the first Drive-In Super Monster-Rama (which had a different name back then). The show includes eight classic horror movies from the 1960s and 70s spread out over two nights in early September (four on Friday night and four on Saturday night). While the movies are the main attraction of the show, there's actually a whole lot more entertainment that you get for your ten dollar admission price. Between the films there is a plethora of other drive-in material that might have been seen during a showing of these kinds of movies in the 60s and 70s: drive-in intermission ads, cartoons, short subjects and tons and tons of trailers for similar types of movies. By the time each night's program wraps up it is usually pushing 4:30 AM. Doing that for two nights in a row is quite a marathon. There's no shame in catching a few winks during the show--many people seem to have to do that in order to survive.



George Reis of DVD Drive-In,
the driving force behind the show

I should also mention that everything that gets projected up on the screen throughout the show is on 35mm film. In this day of digital projectors in theaters it's great to see a show like this where nothing is projected off of a DVD. Doing it this way takes a lot more money and effort on the part of the people running the show, but it is exactly what makes the whole thing something that's worth taking time off of work for and traveling a long distance to attend. I came from Massachusetts (catching a ride with a couple friends from New Hampshire), and others came from Florida, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nebraska and other places both near and far. You truly feel like you're watching an old-time drive-in horror show because it's all presented in exactly the same way it would have been back in the old days!

The Riverside Drive-In's projector

Just a little of the film that would be unspooled during the night

In addition to all the film-based entertainment there's also the simple fact that you're seeing this whole show in a real live, operating drive-in (in a time when there are fewer and fewer of them around anymore). In addition to the film-based entertainment there is also all kinds of drive-in food available at the snack bar, and tons of great DVDs, magazines, t-shirts and other goodies for sale at the snack bar from the good folks at Creepy Classics and Monster Bash. If you should feel the need to do something besides watching the screen you can get a bite to eat, peruse the stuff for sale or just hang out with fellow drive-in fans from around the country and chat.

The folks from Creepy Classics and some of their merchandise

The Riverside's extensive menu
And a couple special additions to the menu

Among the offerings were hot dogs (both regular and foot-long)...

...Hamburgers and cheeseburgers...

...And some other assorted meat-based delicacies!
(Don't be fooled--these definitely WEREN'T "Hot Fresh Sandwiches". Then again, I suppose the hands could be considered "knuckle sandwiches"!)

The Riverside even named their funnel cake "Bitey" in honor of the occasion!

While in the lobby you can also drop a few quarters on their vintage Evel Knievel and Lost World pinball machines!


This year marked the second in a row that I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Monster-Rama, after missing the first three. Last year I felt just a bit like an outsider. Many regular attendees have gotten to know each other and spend the pre-show time (as well as between the films) catching up and chatting about all things horror and drive-in. This time I actually knew a few people, and got to know a few more before the show was over. Someone I was excited to meet again and get to know better was the great blogger Max, The Drunken Severed Head. For someone who is a drunken maniac and who doesn't even have a body, Max really is a great guy! ...But don't tell him I said that, okay?

Max-The Drunken Severed Head and Monster Dad

This year's show also featured the first real, bona fide, big-time celebrity attendee too. The legendary Tom Savini (actor, director, make up and special effects wizard) was there as a fellow patron enjoying all the big screen entertainment. He even took advantage of the Riverside's offer and camped out on the grounds. While it was extremely cool to see Mr. Savini walking around the place and enjoying the show, most of us tried to respect his privacy as much as possible. A few people did get to interact with him and it seemed like he was cool with that, but he was there as a paying customer and not a celebrity guest. One of the most interesting non-movie moments of the first night came early on. Not long after we parked our car and started mingling with other patrons we heard a rapid snapping sound. Looking toward the direction the sound was coming from we saw Tom Savini in front of his car cracking a bull whip! ...Guess he wanted to keep a low profile.

Now it's time to take a look at what the scene looked like at the drive-in, as well as exactly what was projected on the Riverside's screen on Friday night. The featured films were: "Black Sabbath", "The Last Man on Earth", "Castle of Blood" and "Island of the Doomed". And away we go...

Warning: The following segment contains many, many scenes of pure drive-in gold. The management of this theater is not responsible for any drowsiness or eye strain that may occur from the viewing of this material...

The Riverside's marquee, with the first night's movies listed

The other side of the Riverside's sign

The back of the Riverside's screen,
as seen while we waited for the gates to open

The crowd swells with drive-in movie fans mingling before the show

A few people in the front row fashioned their own "drizzle guards"--
Thankfully, there were only two short periods of rain the first night

Another look at the early crowd

Creepy Classics was crowded with customers both early and late

And, finally, it was time for the show to start!
After the the National Anthem and America the Beautiful, the classic PIC drive-in ad was shown

And this lovely lady was part of the first of many trailers we would see throughout the night,
this one being for the film...

...SUSPIRIA


BLACK SUNDAY


TERROR CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE

THE MURDER CLINIC

Another look for THE MURDER CLINIC

Great horror imagery for the movie...

THE PSYCHIC


SCHIZOID

...Which came with this warning

THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH


Two different looks from the trailer for
SOMETHING CREEPING IN THE DARK

NEXT!
Which is also known as..

THE NEXT VICTIM

THE RAH RAH GIRLS



Three different looks at the title from the trailer for
PARANOIA!

...Which was rated "X" upon its release

The first short subject of the night was The Pink Panther in...

PSST PINK
And now it was time for the first feature film of the night--a beautiful print of:
BLACK SABBATH

Starring Boris Karloff...

...and that creepy dead old lady from the segment THE DROP OF WATER!

Here's host Boris Karloff introducing the second segment, THE TELEPHONE

And here's Boris starring in the third segment, THE WURDALAK

BLACK SABBATH was followed by the first intermission of the night


Treats advertised in the intermission included Popcorn...

...Soda...

...Ice Cream...

...And that suggestive Hot Dog jumping into the Bun!

Not to mention delicious BBQ Sandwiches
(which was about the only thing the Riverside didn't have)...

...Pizza...

...and Hot Coffee

Time for some more trailers!

How about a Double Feature?

A "Master Suspense Thrill Show!" featuring:
THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS
and
THE MANSTER

Other trailers included:
THE EMBALMER

CASTLE OF EVIL
(Not to be confused with the third film of the night CASTLE OF BLOOD)

THE GHOST

HOUSE OF 1000 DOLLS

And BLOOD OF DRACULA'S CASTLE
(Also not to be confused with CASTLE OF BLOOD)

No, this wasn't the end of the show--
In fact, it was just the beginning of the second film:

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
Which provided us with one of the biggest surprises of the night (along with Tom Savini's whip-cracking):

Instead of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH,
the title on this particular print was THE DAMNED WALK AT MIDNIGHT

But it still had Vincent Price of course!

After "The Last Man on Earth" we were treated to a second lengthy intermission

...Which featured this guy in...

...A psychedelic Snack Bar ad

Pretty abstract, huh?

And then it was time for even more trailers!

GORGO
(Which as you can see below is "Incredibly Realistic!"
and "Like Nothing You've Seen Before!")



Wait for it...
MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN

NIGHT OF THE EAGLE

Another Double Feature, this one featuring:
BRAINSTORM
and
THE WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE

DEVILS OF DARKNESS

ISLAND OF TERROR
(Not to be confused with the fourth film of the night ISLAND OF THE DOOMED)

THE PROJECTED MAN

And NIGHTMARE IN WAX,
which is both Diabolical and Weird!




Before the third film started we were treated to The Three Stooges in
MUTTS TO YOU

Moe, Larry and Curly
(Not necessarily in that order)


My biggest blunder of the night was missing the title screen for the third feature:
CASTLE OF BLOOD
(But at least I got this cool skull image)

The Snack Bar remained open right up until the start of the fourth movie,
so I made one last food run during the final intermission

This place gets people from ALL over!

Did I mention that it was the final intermission of the night?

This hep-cat knows how to snack in style!

And, did I mention that it was the final intermission of the night?

One Minute Until Showtime!
(Actually, it was one minute till yet more trailers)

Uh, did I happen to mention that this was the final intermission of the night?

The last batch of trailers started with
THE MILLION EYES OF SU-MURU

A BULLET FOR PRETTY BOY

HELL'S BELLES

These trailers were for Mature Audiences
(I had to excuse myself for a while)

THE CYCLE SAVAGES

COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE
(Which would be one of Saturday's feature films)



DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN
(Another of Saturday's movies)




And Vincent Price, again, in
MADHOUSE

One final intermission ad before...

SHOWTIME!


And the final flick of the night (for those who could stay awake):
ISLAND OF THE DOOMED


After "Island of the Doomed" ended the lights came up, people finished up their conversations with fellow attendees and headed home, bleary-eyed, at about 4:30 to try to rest up for night two! All of the movie prints were beautiful and generally appeared to look practically brand new! George noted that the crowd for Friday's show appeared to be a record for a first night. The Drive-In Super Monster-Rama has built up quite a nice reputation and is indeed becoming a big draw in its fifth year!


This photo is out of order, but I just thought that this shot of the end of "Castle of Blood" was a perfect way to end this look at night one of the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama


UPDATE: My look at the second night of the show is now up. See what the rest of the Monster-Rama had to offer:

9 comments:

  1. Ah, man please tell me you got a shot of the wild baby blood disclaimer from Grave of the Vampire from the second night!

    All apologies that we didn't get a chance to hook up. We drove all the way to Pittsburgh, met up with friends, and our car stayed in the hotel parking lot all weekend (-meaning no Nebraska plates.) Fear not, definitely returning. This thing was just incredible.

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  2. this is great! thanks!

    i am amazed at the movie titles for the trailers. i have never heard of a whole bunch of them! nice to be surprised!

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  3. Someday I'll get myself to go down there, but it would really help persuade me to travel 12 hours if the movies were a bit harder to come by on disc. I was going to go with Mark to the Savage Cinema/Zombiethon at the end of the month, but it has been cancelled. Now I don't know WHAT to do with myself. :(

    - Isaac

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  4. @Isaac: That's very understandable about the DVD availability thing, but (as I'm sure Mark would agree) whether they're available on disc or not, it's a completely different experience to be able to see these movies on 35mm on the big screen like they were meant to be seen!
    @W.B.: I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet too. There's always next year though, right? I edited the blog to include Nebraska though!

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  5. I was there and also took pictures and I also missed the "Castle of Blood" title. You were not alone!

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  6. Monster movies in 35mm, pinball machines, Pink Panther and Three Stooges shorts and those great old corny Intermission commercials with the animated sodas and hot dogs! I had a great time just reading the blog and seeing the pics, it must have a total blast to actually be there.

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  7. I envy you lot getting a chance to see these classic Vinnie pics as they should. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. We're still irritated that we couldn't make it this year. Well, at least we were there in spirit -- that's our RAH RAH GIRLS trailer!

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  9. You're so lucky for being able to go! It looks like it's awesome & that you had a blast.

    I loved the movies they were showing.

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