| On Saturday, October 15th, I attended an event called "It Came From The Drive-In... Horror On The Boulevard". This event was a 2 day event that took place at the historic Boulevard Drive-In in Kansas City, Kansas and was put on by Timothy Sweeten. The purpose of the event was to show some classic horror films on a drive-in screen and it blew up from there. It grew to include vendor booths, horror celebs, bands, food vendors, costume contests, a scream queen contest, a horror themed tattoo contest, and a good time that was had by all, myself included.
I first heard about Horror On The Boulevard. through my friend, director Tom Berdinski of The Italian Zombie Movie series. He asked me if I was going to be attending this event called Horror On The Boulevard that he was going to be a guest at, my response was "What?!? This is going on in KC and I am hearing about from a Michigander?!? Of course I will be there!". The selling point at first was to see Tom and the ladies of Midnite Mausoleum in a rare occurrence when they were in my area for a change. Normally, I only get to see them when I attend conventions in Indiana and Ohio, so getting to hang out with them close to home was just icing on the cake.
This was not the last time I heard about Horror On The Boulevard leading up to the event. The next time I heard about it was a couple of weeks later at an event I attended called Crypticon KC, in which Timothy Sweeten had a booth set up next to my friends from DeadLantern.com's World Famous Splattercast who were there selling their independent film, Outpost Doom. I noticed a flyer for Horror On The Boulevard on his table and asked him for more info on it and made the connection that this was the same event Tom had told me about a few weeks prior! This built my excitement for the event even more. From then on, I saw promotion for Horror On The Boulevard on Facebook and The Pitch at almost every turn. Let's just say this, Timothy knows how to promote.
Finally the time came to attend the event. My girlfriend and I arrived at the drive-in and saw that the cost to get in was done in a unique way, however, not unheard of. It was 20 dollars PER CAR LOAD not per person as I was expecting. This meant that attendees could stuff their cars full of people just like they could in the old days of the drive-in and get in for one flat rate. I loved this little detail, and though I am not really old enough to have lived through the glory days of drive-in culture, I do have a certain fondness for the nostalgia that a drive-in brings to people's lives. Sadly, this culture is dying out, but people like Timothy Sweeten and the staff of the Boulevard Drive-In are working to keep it alive, and if the turnout for Horror On The Boulevard is any indication, they are doing a great job.
Upon entering the drive-in we found ourselves a spot to park to get a good view for the upcoming films. We then walked around the vendor area and ran into old friends as well as new friends that I made at Crypticon. The layout was set up so that the booths all surrounded the snack bar area with the horror celebs and food vendors in the front and other vendors on the side and back of the snack bar. I went inside the snack bar and noticed all the history of the drive-in on display in an almost museum-like fashion including a marker to show how high flood waters have gotten in the area.
An announcement is made letting everyone know that the band, The Haunted Creepys, were about to play. I made my way to the stage and took in the music which was a really fun blend of punk rock and horror related lyrics with the members all dressed in hooded robes while cobwebs draped over their instruments, which included, to my delight, a Farfisa organ. Later on in the night, Ari Lehman's band, First Jason took the stage and rocked out with his specially made Key-chete, a key-tar in the shape of Jason Voorhee's trademark machete. First Jason puts on a great show and Ari Lehman displays a technical proficiency that was not expecting, but thoroughly enjoyed.
Next up, the first film ran, the 1980 slasher classic, Friday The 13th starring Ari Lehman. I won't review this film here, but I will let the fact that I have a tattoo of Jason Voorhees mask with 2 bloody machetes as a skull and crossbones speak for my thoughts on the film.
Between each of the films were various contests including a horror themed tattoo contest, which I spontaneously entered and rightfully lost to a man who had all of the Universal Monsters covering his entire upper arm. There was also a costume contest that was won by the Red Dragon, a 7-8 foot tall robed dragon costume. It was pretty amazing to see.
The next film was another favorite of mine, A Nightmare On Elm Street starring Robert Englund. Again, I am not going to review the film, but I will let the fact that I own the box set of the entire series speak for my thoughts on the film.
I used the time between each film to gather up interviews from Timothy Sweeten, Marlena Midnite and Robyn Graves from Midnite Mausoleum, and Tom Berdinski from The Italian Zombie Movie series and The Giant Rubber Monster Movie for the audio review which will be posted on my podcast, Slugcast. It was also during this time that I ran into actor Noah Whitmore from Evil Dead: The Musical which I reviewed on this very site! So, when you are done reading this, go check out that review as well.
The final film of the night was Army Of Darkness starring Bruce Campbell. Once again, I will not review this film, but I will let the fact that I went as Ash from Army Of Darkness for Halloween a few years ago speak for my thoughts on the film.
Overall the night was a very fun collection of films, people and events that I hope will continue to be an annual event at the Boulevard Drive-In that will attract like-minded people to help keep the drive-in culture alive. I personally can't wait to attend next year.
For more info, go to BoulevardDrivein.com, or search for Horror On The Boulevard on Facebook.
Matt Brown, Slugcast