Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope


On September 6th Tim and I headed for Vandergrift, Pennsylvania to attend Drive-In Super Monster-Rama, an event that features 8 classic drive-in horror movies over two nights. This would be our 3rd Monster-Rama, and we’d be meeting up with friends from Maryland and Nebraska to enjoy these excellent film prints.

This is part three of my trip diary, in which we begin to question our commitment to Sparkle Motion.

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It’s difficult to assign a running gag, but Tim did just that by showing us the animated GIF of a cephalopod scurrying across the sea floor under the caption “NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE”. As Tim explained, “That octopus has places to be, and it’s not here.”

This spoke to us increasingly as the first night of movies splashed over the drive-in screen.

It all started innocently with Vincent Price getting his murder on.

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Theatre of Blood

“To be fair, I would follow Diana Rigg into an obvious death trap.”

Vincent Price plays Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor who jumped out of a window after being snubbed by a prestigious circle of theater critics. He washes up (heh) in a hobo camp and, with the help of his smelly new friends and a dude we’re not supposed to recognize as his daughter in disguise (Diana Rigg in a mustache is still gorgeous) — with said assistance, Lionheart exacts grisly vengeance on the critics.

The murders are Shakespearean set pieces, making this often feel like leftovers from “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” with its Biblical plagues theme. Price is in peak form here, a delight to watch as he over-acts with appropriate abandon. Diana Rigg makes the most of a relatively minor role, selling the character relationship with gazes filled with admiration and adoration.

I always enjoy Robert Morley, and (despite disagreement in our ranks) I think he’s particularly fun here. I have an affection for roles that call for the extravagant speech patterns and mannerisms of the cinematic homosexual so prevalent before the 1980s. Morley sets his teeth so firmly into this part that he nearly upstages Price during his own murder. It’s delicious fun!

I think we all enjoyed this one, and it saw the first appearance of the proclamation “The twins of evil!” in honor of a film that we knew we would be seeing the following night. In my defense I have reasons to hate miniature French poodles, even if Robert Morley is carrying them.

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I know what you’re wondering. Yes! Tom Savini was there. We didn’t bother him, because he was there to see movies not doughy nerds.

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Horror House/Haunted House of Horror

“Hey, let’s go back to the murder scene!”

I’d been looking forward to “Horror House” as it stars Frankie Avalon. Avalon is most associated with the series of beach movies he made with Annette Funicello, but he’s appeared in action, suspense, and drama films as well. So a proto-slasher flick — I figured, why not?

Because, as it turns out, the script is terrible.

Avalon’s role is to convince everybody not to behave sensibly, and he’s given absolute no reason to do this. Perhaps his insanely yellow sweater did the thinking. At any rate everyone runs around uselessly until the mystery comes to an abrupt and rather silly end.

I believe we chanted “nope, nope, nope” a few times during “Theatre of Blood”, but here’s where we began saying it with more conviction. Should the jealous ex-boyfriend go to the haunted house to find his lighter? Nope, nope, nope, nope. Do we even care who the killer is? Nope, nope, nope, nope.

We’d all seen much worse, so spirits were still relatively high. Plus there were movies to buy from the Creepy Classics guys and a lot of pizza burgers to eat (when not stuffing our faces with Jessica’s Gorgo cake).

Restocked and refueled, we prepared for the second half of the night’s program.

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Equinox

“Hi, I’m Ranger Totally-Lord-Satan”

I’m told that “Equinox” started life as a student film, which certainly explains why much of its running time feels like padding. There’s some rather nice stop-motion work here and there, but other than the hilarity of a park ranger named Asmodeus (“nope, nope, nope”) a lot of it was just more aimless running around. We’d seen that already, and with better production values.

Being three hours past my normal bedtime, after a very busy day, I passed the hell out some time before whatever was happening onscreen resolved. Not to fear, though; “Equinox” is available in a Criterion edition, a copy of which I’d purchased only a few hours earlier.

I’m genuinely curious to see it while I’m conscious. I do love me some stop-motion monsters.

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Son of Blob

“ERMAHGERD! BLERB!”

Once upon a time, Larry Hagman directed a sequel to the beloved and uniquely American horror film “The Blob”. I love the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama, and I appreciate the hard work that the organizers and drive-in staff put into it. That said, ending a night of films with “Son of Blob” is tantamount to serving stale graham crackers for dessert.

It’s like two different movies. There’s the short but awesome special effects one about the blob eating everybody, and then there’s the really long comedy with no discernible sense of humor.

Jessica and Scott scooted back to Monroeville like an octopus that has things to do. The rest of us stayed because apparently we hate ourselves. Also, blob.

Damn you, Larry Hagman!

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It was around 5:00 am when we packed up and scuttled down the road to the motel. We were tired but ready to do it again the next night, by which time we thought we might wake up.

2 thoughts on “Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope

    • Oh, man. I’d forgotten that!

      It especially hurt to see such a crap haircutting scene after the one in “Theatre of Blood”. Even “Eight Legged Freaks” managed a decent barbershop scene, but “Son of Blob”?

      Nope, nope, nope…

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