The historic Cinema Paradiso movie house opened its doors to throngs of blood-thirsty horror buffs, freaks, and geeks for the first ever Splatter-Rama. This Sunday night monthly is hosted by Radio-Active Records and Blindspot Productions. And though this is a new event, the ghouls and ghosts of Fort Lauderdale turned out in full effect. There were beers aplenty, and everyone was hungry, hungry for brains, of course. The double feature opened with the 1963 B-movie classic Blood Feast
. With adult bevvies and snacks in hand, these horror fans hunkered down in preparation for the best the worst can offer.
Without giving too much away -- ya know, in case you're dying to catch this flick between now and say, never -- the "plot," or really the series of theatrically events presented by director and Godfather of Gore Herschell Gordon Lewis, revolves around the ancient Egyptian Goddess Ishtar's sacrificial "blood feast" (See what they did there? Blood Feast?). In it, a maniacal serial murderer and caterer, with killer eyebrows, terrorizes a retro-Miami neighborhood.
Sexy young ladies are slaughtered by the dozens, showcasing all the blood, guts, and terrifying acting one could stomach. "Give yourself up to the goddess," Fuad Ramses chants as he flogs another unfortunate victim, and the rest, as they say, is pure movie magic.
In between screenings, inside the theater, local act Armageddon Man served up a fright of their own. The quintet burst right out of the gate with a scream that was filled with all the madness and insanity of one of Lewis' victims.
Lead singer Tim Moffat torpedoed from one corner of the patio to another, forcibly serenading bewildered audience members, knocking over -- some full, some empty -- beer bottles and votive candles, which, to everyone's pleasure, turned out to be one hell of a messy, interpretive table dance. "That song was about science," Moffat tenderly explained between tunes, "If you didn't get it, you're not smart." Between cheers and whistles from the audience, we can assume that they got it.
The crowd egged Moffat on as his bandmates kept up the tempo, even when his mic was thrashed from its connecting cable and all sound was cut off. The Armageddon Men didn't let it phase them. At one point, so thrilled with the turnout and the insanity, a member of Cinema Paradiso's staff rushed Moffat and, just short of shoving the bottle down his gullet, poured a sizable shot of Skol vodka in his mouth. The singer downed it happily.
Toward the end of the jam sesh, a motley crew of hardcore metal-heads congregated around the band. They surrounded one another in a "circle of trust." Well, that is, if you could imagine trusting your soul in the hands of over 100 people who payed 7 bucks each to sit in a movie theater and watch, albeit fictitious, but none-the-less, human beings being torn limb-from-limb, tortured, and maimed.
Food trucks were on site for those who could handle a stomach full of tacos, sliders, cupcakes, and ice cream before Splatter-Rama's feature presentation of The Return of the Living Dead
, a cult classic and, one could argue, the originator of zombie fear and the term "BRAINSSSS!" The film is as debaucherous and risque as it is hilariously unbelievable, full quotes perfect for any occasion. Our favorite: "You think this is a fuckin' costume?" And then there's when Suicide, says to the rag-tag group of teens, "This is a way of life." What we really learned from this film last night though is that the living dead eat brains because it helps them with the pain of death. Now that right there, folks, is some deeply existential shit.
The laughing and random shouting from a packed house made for a comfortably tense atmosphere. Sure, the full liquor bar helped us relax, but as soon as the popcorn machine ran dry and the credits rolled, we became busy obsessing over the next Splatter-Rama.
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