A Very Groovy Double Feature: A Ganache On The Street Report

September 5, 2017 Author: John Amenta

Saturday night August 26th The Pint (or one half at least, more on that later) attended another double featurepalooza hosted by Connecticut Cult Classics at The Strand Theater in Seymour, CT. If you are a listener of our podcast or radio show, you have heard us gush over these events and interview the head of CT Cult Classics, “Scary” Larry Dwyer several times. These mostly bi monthly shows have become a staple on my very sad and empty social calendar, and are looked forward to greatly.

The night began with a text I will not soon forget. Sir Jon was not going to attend the event, and his description of “Even Pepto can’t help me” has haunted me since. Was it just heartburn? Did number two suddenly become the rarely seen number three? I was too afraid to ask, so I wished him luck and said a few prayers for his toilet bowl. Lloyd, better known to show listeners as “The Manster” arrived at my house and we were off to pickup CT Cult veteran Tony, enveloped in his usual brand of stoic silence. We stopped at a burger joint to fuel our bodies, as these events typically last 5 hours between films, trailers, and “Scary” Larry doing his best Jerry Lewis impersonation emceeing the event. Do not be daunted by the length though ( a phrase I have never used before) as the evening is packed with nothing but fun and laughs.

The films lined up for the night were the Sam Raimi classics Evil Dead 2 (1987) and it’s sequel Army Of Darkness (1992). I knew the tiny Strand would be crowded this night, as there was no Lady Terminator on this bill, oh no, these are two bona fide horror legends, and I was right. As we approached the theater, we passed a pair of twentysomething ladies, both attired in summer dresses, one with a giant flower tucked in her hair. Lloyd leaned to me to let me know that flower girl hocked a giant loogie onto the idyllic sidewalk of quaint downtown Seymour. I then knew this was going to be a gnarly night. We arrived to a longer line than usual, and there I left Lloyd and Tony to wait in that queue, I got right in with my special powers of access, as The Pint are sponsors of these events through 2017 and hopefully beyond. I worked hard to get the lonely and sad looks on my comrades faces out of my mind as I left them in the dust, and managed to get over it fairly quickly. Heading into the The Strand is always a treat, as it brings me back to the days of growing up, and hitting mostly small, mom and pop owned theaters with 1 or 2 screens. It in ways reminds me of the Middletown Movie Theater in Middletown, CT where I grew up and saw most of the films that molded me into geekdom. After the hallway leading to the ticket booth there is a small lobby area and a small snack bar. The snack bar, much like the first Death Star is fully operational and even better, cheap. The Knights Of Columbus run the theater and man the counter with a smile on their faces. If you want a hot pretzel with cheese or a hamburger go back to your highfalutin multiplex. Bottled soda and a good variety of boxed candy are available here, as well as hot popcorn, and all at a fraction of the cost of most cinemas.

We found our seats and I got up to say hi to Larry, fighting through the crowds of horror fans trying to get a word with him. Now that I think about it, he was standing near the bathroom, that may have just been the line. In either case we chatted for a bit and I went to the stage and screen area where Matt Wilson was slinging his merchandise. Who is Matt? Matt is a member of the CT Cult Crew who designs and sells prints for each show, featuring imagery related to the theme of the films being shown. I had corresponded with Matt through Facebook after the last show to see if he had any prints left, as I forgot to get one. We talked a bit, and I picked up my two posters, which by the way are only $5 each. Along with the incredible ticket price of $10 for two films and the previously mentioned cheap snacks, this is a packed night out at bargain prices. One more thing about Matt. He makes gift bundles for each show, including items that he creates and centered around one or both of the films shown. Buttons, keychains and other fun geeky knick knacks. These are distributed between the films, and they are part of the ticket price. This is an above and beyond service, and one of my favorite things about these events. I also met our recent radio guests Christine Caprilozzi who along with her husband Rob run the most excellent horror centric web site Horror News Network. They were there to enjoy the show and promote their other venture, Connecticut HorrorFest, a daylong con held in Danbury on September 16th (tickets available at the link, so uh,go there and get them), as well as help out at the ticket booth. After saying hi to recent radio guest and game designer extraordinaire  James Carpio and Steven Christina from Super Retro Throwback Reviews, another podcast that sponsors the CT Cult, I was ready for the festivities to truly begin.

I returned to my seat to find another addition to our motley crew, Brian, friend of The Pint, Seymour local and mega supporter of the CT Cult shows. We settled in to hear Larry give his intros, and clapped as he said some really nice things about us and our show. I think Tony clapped, but he is so quiet I couldn’t hear it. The lights went down and the trailers began. No, these are not current trailers for the latest summer blockbusters. These are what can best be described as carny trailers, scratchy film, pops in the sound and mostly made in the 70’s. Films ranging from Z grade horror to Blaxploitation, Larry and his ace staff of programmers know how to pull a chuckle out of the audience. After a heaping handful of previews for fare such as Switchblade Sisters and Bad Lieutenant, I was ready to get my Ash on. Evil Dead 2, which I had not seen in quite a few years really holds up. I was amazed to notice something that I had not been keen to before, that the first half is played out almost like a silent movie. The amount of reliance on humor, Raimi’s camerawork and most importantly Bruce Campbell’s Olympic level physical comedy skills is incredible. Lloyd and I kept whispering back and forth and laughing at how much fun this was, as it had been a while since he had seen it too. I even saw Tony, an Evil Dead virgin chuckle a few times, although I never heard anything. As the film played out to it’s insane conclusion the audience clapped and cheered, and then in unison headed to the one  bathroom. Lloyd and I got up and spoke to Larry and a few other familiar faces, as we enjoyed intermission and refilled on snacks. The amount of camaraderie between these horror fans is akin to what I see often at the comic cons I go to, albeit with thankfully a lot less fat guys dressed like Deadpool.

Intermission ends and back to seats for raffle time. Raffle time? Yup! These folks at CT Cult give away awesome gift bags filled with DVDs, toys, books and much more based on your ticket number being pulled out of a bag by Larry’s adorable 6 year old daughter. Who’s favorite film is The Babadook. Really. Horror runs deep in that family. If your lucky you may even get some swag donated by those great guys at Pint O’ Comics. Alright, shameless plug over. So for your $10 ticket price you not only get all the previously mentioned stuff, but also a chance to win some really great prizes. Despite the fact that I greased Larry’s palms with an old VHS copy of Leprechaun In The Hood, I did not win anything, but seeing the excitement of the folks who did win was enough for me. As soon as the festivities ended, Army Of Darkness started after more oddball trailers. One was for a film called Shock Waves starring Sir Jon’s beloved Peter Cushing. I got misty eyed thinking of how Jon was hunched over a trash can, barfing his lungs out as I was having a great night. Again, the audience swooned and clapped as Ash spouted his legendary one liners and shot deadites in half with his boomstick. A great time had by all, applause erupted again as the film ended and despite the fun, we were ready for beddy, because it was after midnight and time to get home. I gathered up Lloyd and Tony, and we headed out, but not until we told Larry what a great show he had put on. Well, Lloyd and I did, because you know, Tony is really quiet.

The next night for a showing is Saturday October 21st, and the films are the very timely Halloween and Halloween 2. Oh, and not the Rob Zombie ones, the great ones from the mind of John Carpenter. Seriously, there was a 20 minute long dream sequence in Zombies’ H2. If you are a genre fan, a fan of a great night out or someone with a pulse you should quickly get to their website (link at top of article) and get tickets as this will probably sell out quickly, because well, you know, Lady Terminator is not on the bill. Also when you are on their site, Larry is letting the audience vote on the December event. Pick from 30 double feature bills which will be narrowed down through other votes until a winner is picked and announced at the October show. We hope to see you at the next Connecticut Cult Classics night and don’t forget to subscribe to us here at Pint O’ Comics!

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