My Weekend On Mars Day 1……….
or rather in Mars. Pennsylvania that is.
This past weekend I jumped in my Toyota Prius (great on gas) and drove a little over 500 kms to the Monster Bash. It’s a celebration of classic horror films that for the most part seems to focus on the Universal Monsters and the men behind the masks. Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney and company.
I have attended this in the past but it had been a few years and this trip was very much like my previous visits. It’s a small festival that has a very family oriented feel and you won’t find yourself standing in some line for hours to meet a celebrity. People like Julie Adams of Black Lagoon fame.
The people who run the event and their volunteers are extremely friendly and make you feel welcome which will lead me back again in the future to be sure.
Between spending my dollars in the vendor rooms (more movies and posters) and hitting a few local shops I did my best to attend as many of the events that were available to me such as………
An interview and question period with Laurie Mitchell. Here’s a lady who reminisced about working in features from Some Like It Hot and the famous cast to doing her best to speak kindly of Zsa Zsa Gabor while co starring with her on The Queen of Outer Space. She also had nice things to say about the legendary Kirk Douglas from her time on set with him in 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Next up was sitting in and watching an Italian “classic” Caltiki, The Immortal Monster. It’s films like these that are so much fun to watch with a crowd. It’s a Blob wanna be. The blob in question looks like my old bath robe rolled up and soaked in oil. The dubbing is hilarious. We get tonka toy tanks that are right out of a Toho film and cursed Mayan ruins thrown in for good measure. No doubt it’s a guilty pleasure.
The highlight of the day was to sit in and watch from 1934, The Black Cat. A wonderful film that gets better with each viewing. Karloff and Lugosi in their prime. Karloff is deliciously wicked and it features one of Bela’s best roles. What made the show even better was that film historian William Gregory Mank was on hand to discuss the film and it’s storied production for the better part of an hour. He offed a very insightful breakdown of it’s inception and how it came to be. If you haven’t read a film book from Mr. Mank you are missing out on someone who loves film history and really brings the past to life. I would highly recommend his book on Karloff and Lugosi and how their careers played out. Probably my favorite film history book and it’s on two actors I never hear enough about.
Later in the evening I sat in and listened to the “Bash Band” do a number of familiar tunes. They covered songs by Orbison and the Beatles and then had cult star from Eegah fame Arch Hall Jr. join in on lead guitar and vocals. He did a nice rendition of Ricky Nelson’s Traveling Man after talking about his friendship with the late star.
To close the evening I sat in on the late night Mexican horror feature, Invasion of the Vampires. Once again it’s the dubbing that can make these so much fun. Especially in a room with about another 100 or so people who share a love for these black and white imports.
Check back tomorrow for Day 2 events. It includes a visit to McDougal’s House of Horrors.