Some people go fishing or hunting. Others follow bands from venue to venue or travel to support sport teams.
My friends and I gather to watch horror movies in their native environment — a drive-in!
I’ve written at length about last fall’s trip to Drive–In Super Monster–Rama 2012 in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania (~30 minutes from Pittsburgh). This year, George Reis and Riverside Drive-In added a horror marathon for the spring. April Ghouls “Drive-In” Monster-Rama 2013 was a 2-night/8-movie festival, featuring movies from the 1980s on the first night and from the 1970s on the second.
I’ll get to the films in a later post, but for now I want to write about the social aspect of the event. Spending time with friends who share our affection for these movies is a good part of what keeps us going back to sit outside of our cars in the cold and rain.
Tim, Scott, and I attended our first Drive-In Super Monster-Rama in 2010. Our mutual friend Chad had found a blurb about it online and told us all about it. He was unable to make it out to Vandergrift that year, but we went as advance scouts. We all knew each other from a B-movie forum and had met several times at Northwestern’s 24-hour film festival, B-Fest.
For April Ghouls, our group’s body count had grown to 9 — our original trio plus veterans Jessica, Chad, and Mike and newcomers Dave, Hilary, and Rob — (10 if you count the 3-legged dog). That’s a good number of folks to get moving in any particular direction, and for the most part we didn’t try. Outside of Riverside Drive-In itself, the only time all of us were together was for dinner at the roadhouse just before the second night of movies.
The rest of the time, we bounced around in smaller groups. On Friday several of us went to the Monroeville Mall (the mall featured in George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”) to check out the zombie museum. For unexplored reasons, it shares space with a 9-hole mini-golf course. Tim had brought along his Telstar putter, so Chad, Mike, and I joined him in a round while Scott and Jessica browsed the museum and small store. By the 9th hole I could even keep the ball on the green. (Tim won, but only 2 strokes separated first and last place. I thereby claim moral victory as the chronicler of the game.)
Saturday saw six of us descend on Reads Ink, a house in Vandergrift converted into a 3-story used book store. It’s a neat shop, but we were all feeling frugal and the dog couldn’t come in so we only stayed about a half an hour.
Oh yeah. I keep teasing you with the dog.
His name is Bandit, and he is missing a back leg because of reasons. Dave told me, but there was an adorable 3-legged Pomeranian in front of me so I didn’t really hear the explanation. It sounded like “Well, his previous owner–“, at which point my brain replaced everything with “D’awwwww, puppy!” Bandit spent time with Hilary in the car, seeking refuge from the cold, and he spent time in Dave’s lap, contentedly ignoring the movies.
It wasn’t until I was home that I realized we were all just like that dog. We might not be like others, but we’re happy just to be ourselves in the company of friends.
Until it’s too cold, at which point we hide under blankets.