Zombies, Lesbian Vampires and Mexican Wrestlers..Oh My!
Having grown up nurtured by Dr. Creep on Shock Theater, fighting sleep while watching the dusk to dawn horror fests at the Captain Kidd and Belmont Drive-In Theaters and relishing the peculiarities found at the bottom of bargain bins full of obscure DVDs, I felt an immediate understanding of what he is trying to create with the Independent Shadow Cinema. Andy himself is quite an accomplished aficionado within the world of the weird, having worked with Dr. Creep, being one of the people behind the annual Horrorama charity film festival and directing six of his own horror genre films, including The Mutilation Man, The Atrocity Circle and Black Sun.
While other people may look down their collective noses at people like us for being drawn towards entertainment that they would deem sophomorically disgusting or visual training manuals for psychopaths, we know that those kind of people are eaten first by the zombie hordes, usually in a humorous manner, thus stripping them not only of their flesh, but also their self deluded decorum.
What Andy Copp is trying to bring to the screen, as well as to the darkened streets of Dayton, is a world unseen by the masses. A world of the uncanny, the unbridled, the uninhibited. A world shown is a series of stroboscopic scenes splashed with copious amounts of arterial red. With the Independent Shadow Cinema, Andy is trying to breathe life into the self indulgently dying corpse of local cinema and allowing it, for a moment, to live within the minds of an audience hungering for visions of the weird and wonderful.
J.T.: I guess the first question would be: What was the impetus to start the Independent Shadow Cinema?
Andy: Well, the idea came out of me wanting to do the old school midnight movies that I grew up going to. The ones like Flicker Palace had years ago and Page Manor had back in my college days. There hasn’t been anything like that in a long time and back in the nineties, I worked at the Neon Movies as one of the managers back before the switchover and I brought in a lot of movies from Hong Kong and things like that and they were really successful. I realized that there was an audience for it here in town, but there was nothing catering to that right now and there hasn’t been since I had done it in the nineties. I’m also one of the guys that run Horrorama (Horrorama is a charity movie marathon that has been active since 1997) and we have a dedicated audience here in town that comes to that event every year. Since I had worked with Englewood Cinema with Horrorama, I approached Mike who runs things there and presented the idea of running underground midnight movies and he said, “Well, let’s try to do this then” and so we went ahead and launched it. So we went for it, trying to bring more interesting movies that you’re not going to see anywhere else, like the old midnight pulp movie shows, and to give the people something interesting to do on Friday nights.
J.T.: Are you targeting more of the grind house/horror show genre?
Andy: A little bit. Right now, what I’m doing is I’m bringing in a lot of the really obscure, indie/underground stuff, but the people who are interested in that type of thing are also going to be interested in the grind house/exploitation films and people who like that are going to like the stuff that we’re currently playing. The stuff that we’re playing right now is pretty obscure and relatively unknown, but definitely, that’s the crowd we’re going for.
J.T.: What do you have coming up for the next show?
Andy: On Friday, we have a movie that was made in 2000 called Meatmarket and it’s a zombie flick…actually, it’s a really wild zombie flick. It’s got everything. It’s got zombies, lesbian vampires, Mexican wrestlers and things blowing up. It’s a movie that aims to please. It was made in Canada for just under $2,000. It’s incredibly low budget, but you wouldn’t know that by watching it because the production values are really high. That’s the kind of stuff that we’ve been showing: the stuff that’s made for peanuts, but that are incredibly ambitious.
J.T.: What’s the main message that you want to get out?
Andy: That we’re here and that we’re doing something different. In Dayton, there’s always this grumbling that there’s nothing interesting going on; “Oh, Dayton doesn’t have anything cool or different!” but here we are on Friday nights with these kick ass, interesting movies that you probably haven’t heard of that are definitely satisfying. For five bucks, you can see some wicked ass movie that will leave you feeling satisfied. Also, the way I have structured it, there’s always a free movie, a second feature, and I never say what it is so it’s always going to be a surprise. So, from 11:30pm until 2:30am, you get two crazy movies for five bucks.
J.T.: Now, with most people’s experiences of midnight movies is limited to Rocky Horror Picture Show, are there people that show up with a certain amount of misconceptions?
Andy: Right! This isn’t Mystery Science Theater 3K or Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m not inviting people to come and yell and throw things and make fun of these films…that’s not our thing. This is to come and appreciate something unusual and have a good time. I don’t want this to be Troll 2. These are genuinely interesting movies, so if people are coming to make fun of them, I’m not so interested in them being there, but if they are there to find something that they have never seen or experienced, then those are the people we are looking for. Also, with the more people that we can get to come out, the more crazier and bigger movies that we’ll be able to bring in. There’s a whole world of these types of movies that just don’t make it to Dayton. The Gateway in Columbus plays new movies like this every Saturday night. If we raised our audience numbers, we’d be able to get movies like Hobo With A Shotgun or The Troll Hunter…we just can’t afford those right now.
The next Independent Shadow Cinema event is scheduled for Friday June 17th at 11:00pm at the Englewood Cinemas, 320 West National Rd, Englewood, Ohio and will feature the zombie movie Meatmarket along with an as yet to be announced second feature.