Sunday, March 15, 2009
The Horror at Midnight
When I was a kid in Martinsville, VA, the Rives Theater was my home away from home. It's where I first saw a huge number of the horror and science fiction movies that I've loved ever since. To my dismay, the theater closed a few years back, and given the state of the local economy (currently, the unemployment rate is 18%, and it was bad here even when the rest of the country wasn't in recession), I figured it was probably for good. The other theater in town, the Martin, vanished many years ago, and it just seemed the Rives was destined to go the same way. Happily, though, the Rives has reopened—both for movies and live music shows—and they're even showing midnight movies on the weekend. Last night, they ran Night of the Living Dead, so Mrs Death and I rode up from Greensboro, got with our friends, the Albaneses, and made a night of it, with dinner and a great late-night horror movie (not to mention a number of caches).
Back when I was about ten, Night of the Living Dead came to the local drive-in theater on a double-bill with Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster. I desperately wanted to see Ghidrah, but my mom and dad were leery of taking me because they'd heard Night of the Living Dead was mighty intense. So, one night in advance, they went to check it out. Well, sure enough, it freaked them out pretty good, and they told me I couldn't go. "I don't want to see Night of the Living Dead," I said (even though I kind of did). "I just want to see Ghidrah."
"You're not going anywhere near that drive-in theater!" was the response.
Evidently the proximity of flesh-eating zombies to Godzilla and friends was enough to make my folks fear for my sanity. I don't recall exactly when I got to see Night of the Living Dead for the first time, but I do remember that the TV spots for it were enough to give me nightmares. I probably should never have mentioned that way back when....
Anyhoo, a night at the old theater with a classic horror movie in the company of good friends was exactly what the doctor ordered. Coming soon, the Rives is showing A Clockwork Orange for one of the midnight features. Gonna have to go because I haven't seen it in years—even though at home it's very aptly the second feature on the videotape of our wedding.