Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama

Well, it's finally happened.  The line-up for this year's edition of the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama has been announced!  What is the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama you ask?  Well if you don't know then here's some background information.

2011 Drive-In Super Monster-Rama marquee
A great retro-styled teaser ad for this year's show from
Nostalgic Drive-In Theater Newspaper Ads

Now in it's 6th year, the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama is simply one of the greatest retro-drive-in shows around.  Over the course of two nights (the Friday and Saturday after Labor Day in September) a total of EIGHT classic drive-in movies from the 1960s and 70s are shown on the big screen at the Riverside Drive-In in North Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.  That's four movies each night!  The show is put on by DVD Drive-In's George Reis--the driving force behind the show.  Admission is only ten dollars per person per night (that's only $2.50 per movie if you're counting!).  You can conserve even more money by taking advantage of the Riverside's offer to camp out at the drive-in for another ten bucks per night!  The Riverside Drive-In has been a great host for this show throughout its run.  They usually close for the season after the Labor Day weekend.  By making themselves available for this mega-show they get a chance to remain open for one last weekend of nostalgic drive-in fun.

So what exactly makes this show so special?  Well if the eight horror movies over two nights aren't enough there are many other reasons as well.  First off, George Reis acquires only 35mm film prints for the show.  It would be a LOT easier and more cost effective to simply throw a movie into a DVD player and project that onto the screen.  Any real movie fan can appreciate how much better it is to know that what you are watching is not only something that would have been seen at a dusk-to-dawn drive-in shock fest back in the 1960s or 70s, but also that it is being projected on the screen in the same way that it would have back then as well.

The Riverside's projector

And some of the 35mm film ready to roll

Here's the list of movies that will be featured at this year's show:

NIGHT ONE--Friday September 7th 

Horror House (1969)

Equinox (1970)

Son of Blob (1972)

NIGHT TWO--Saturday September 8th

Raw Meat (1973)

Psychomania (1973)

As if all that weren't enough, the movies aren't the only thing that you'll see up on the Riverside's giant screen at a Drive-In Super Monster-Rama show.  In addition to those eight films there are also tons of great trailers for all kinds of horror, exploitation and monster movies from around the same period.  Plus there are also many classic drive-in intermission ads before and after the features.  And there are always a few short subjects between the movies too (past shows have had Three Stooges shorts and cartoons like The Pink Panther and Mr. Magoo--just to name a few).  It's two nights (and early mornings) chock full of all kinds of celluloid entertainment.  And of course all of these elements are also projected on the screen via 35mm film stock, just like the main features!

Here are just a few of the trailers from last year's show:

And some images from the intermission ads:

And one of the shorts from last year

Being an active drive-in means that the Riverside also has an extensive snack bar menu filled with all kinds of great drive-in food choices (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, french fries, popcorn, candy, soda, and on and on...).  Just check out their menu to see it all:

There are always a few surprise items on the menu too!
The snack bar also features a couple great old pinball machines!

Still not convinced that  the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama is for you?  Well, if you're a fan of drive-ins and these kinds of movies then it really is about as good as it gets.  You get to enjoy all this great nostalgic drive-in fun at an actual operating drive-in and mingle with other fans who have come from all over the country to experience it.  Not only that, but the good folks from Creepy Classics and Monster Bash also set up shop in the snack bar with boxes and boxes filled with hundreds of DVDs for sale.  They also have t-shirts, posters, magazines, books, toys and other wares available.

Of course just being able to watch these kinds of movies in an actual drive-in setting is pretty special in itself--especially these days.  Drive-ins are becoming more and more rare every year.  The steady and unfortunate decline that has been occurring for decades is now about to be sped up due to Hollywood's move to replace film-based movies with digital versions.  It's not a huge problem for the big megaplexes, but for small independent theaters (including drive-ins) the cost of buying one of the new digital projectors to be able to show these movies--not to mention retrofitting the projection booth to accommodate the new technology--is prohibitive.  Many of these places barely get by as it is, and they will simply have to close if they can't afford to follow Hollywood's orders.  There are a couple of very important reasons to make the effort to get to the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama this year if you've always wanted to go but have never been able to make it in the past.  First off--and to be blunt--the Riverside Drive-In might not even be open next year.  As far as I know they haven't made a decision yet as to whether they will go digital or not.  If they don't then 2012 will most likely be the Riverside's last season.  Even if they do manage to find a way to afford the digital upgrade, the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama could still be in its final year there.  This is because of the fact that the show uses 35mm film prints for all of its movies, trailers, shorts and drive-in intermission ads.  If remaining drive-ins are forced to go digital the Monster-Rama will not be able to find a home.  I certainly hope to see a seventh Drive-In Super Monster-Rama in 2013, but it's far from a certainty at this point.

For more on the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama and a closer look at what it's all about, here are my previous blogs looking at the 2010 and 2011 editions of the show:


  1. Hey Glen! just discovered your Monster Dad Blog, like it a lot. Thought your Monster Dad banner could use a "fresh'ning-up" though, but there's no link to email you, so sending it here - removed the white background and gave your letters a ghoulish glow. Here you go!

    1. Hey Anthony, Thanks for the kind words and thanks even more for the re-worked banner! As you can see its already up on the blog. I hate to say it, but I'm not very handy at all with computer stuff like making graphics. I took a very strange path to manage to get the old banner put together (possibly a future blog topic?). It was the best I could manage at the time and I'm glad to have something better than that as the first thing people will see when they visit Monster Dad! Thanks again.