It was a dark and stormy night, when I showed my invitation to the “Dead and Dying Horror Picture Show Stars” madla opening night dinner. Held every 13th year, I felt quite honored to be an invited guest. My first assignment for the e-mag, MML’M, I was reassured that the actors, (even the dead ones) would be in attendance, not the characters they portrayed. An old school advent.
To be on the safe side, my voluminous purse contained cloves of garlic, a cross, mirror, and small gun loaded with silver bullets. My escort for the evening was my friend, Constantine, once an exorcist for the Church. I wasn’t scared, really. Or was I really scared?
The highlight this year was a panel-lead discussion and showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The audience was encouraged to participate during the movie and the discussion. Only, we were to fling things at the screen, not at the panel. This was the only nod to new style horror, post-Psycho (the original). An old school event.
The invitation had indicated “Proper attire required.” What was proper attire for an opening night madla like this: Jane from Rocky Horror, mixed with Lucretia from the Adams family, and the Bride of Frankenstein’s hairdo? I decided on somewhere in the middle, wearing all black: black beret, LBD (with not too much neck showing), black nylons, and black platform shoes. Constantine in his usual low-key style was going to wear a red satin-lined cape until I persuaded him not to favour one genre over another. His black turtleneck sweater, black jacket, black jeans and converse struck a more neutral, but hopefully not to causal note. He even forgo wearing his contacts – he had threated to get a set with a pair with an evil look – with his gold, John Lennon glasses. Neither of us wore anything silver.
The site of the convention was specular. You would not recognize it’s primary function as . . . (top secret – sworn to silence – if I told you, you’d have to kill me). Small tables, light by red candles, the puddling wax resembling blood. Menus were hand-lettered in Gothic font. A golden wine cooler accompanied every table, an expensive bottle of champagne huddled down into the ice.
The wait staff (all actors, I hoped) represented extras from various horror films. Quietly taking drink then food orders, the service was impeccable, each server creeping up to the table so silently, it was if they simply manifested. And, the food absolutely divine (wrong choice of words there). Appetizers of cheese in the shape of spiders on a cobweb of spun sugar, or soup served from a bubbling caldron. Choices for main course were various types of raw to bloody red meat. There were nods to non-red meat eaters with fish and vegan offerings. Dessert of at least 13 kinds of cheesecake and pie was brought around on carts draped in black linen. I whispered in the ear of our server, and a huge bowl of ice cream appeared with two spoons.
An Alfred Hitchcock impersonator (rumored to be Anthony Hopkins) asked us to join him in the adjacent theatre for the movie and discussion. The film was fractiously animated by audience participation (supplied with the necessary props as they entered the theatre), even though everyone was in evening dress, rather than in costume. I participated fully, from the rice on, mimicking the lines I knew. We even did “Time Warp” twice so that everyone had a chance to dance in the wide aisles.
The panel discussion was lively, moderated by Lon Chaney, the 4th. Intelligent questions from the audience, enjoyable banter between the panelists. A scholar, Ed Wood, make-up artist and Howard Stern all behaved in quite a gentlemanly manner. The movie and the speakers got a standing ovation that lasted 13 minutes.
I was sorry the event had ended. During the film and discussion Constantine and I did see some neck nibbling, and “pawing,” but most attendees were aficionados and people involved in the horror film industry more intent on the on-stage happenings to bother to do a vampire or werewolf with their companions in public. On emerging, we both held back screaming, “I’m alive!!!, I’m alive!!!!!”
As we walked back to my place to dissect the evening, the clouds rolled on to other dark nights, revealing a lovely large full moon. Staying for a few nights on my couch, Constantine promised to go over drafts of my story. I think I was more nervous of my first contribution than the fact panelist, Ed Wood, had been dead for almost forty years. Johnny Depp stepping in?
As I reached into my purse for the keys, I felt an envelope. Black, with my name in gold letters. It was an invitation for myself and my friend to attend the convention for all 13 nights, commencing at mid-night tomorrow which was by now today.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Tale Weaver Nine: Dark and Stormy Night
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For a list of the audience props see http://www.rockyhorror.com/participation/proplist.php or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSveMOO4X54
For audience costumes see http://www.rockyhorror.com
If you are unfamiliar with the movie, “The Virgin’s Guide” is available at http://www.rockyhorror.com/participation/virgins.php
For imagines and more, just bing/google “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I know the words and moves to Time Warp, by the way