My First ThrillVille Experience

I finally made it to a Thrillville event last night. I hope it’s not my last time. Thrillville, for those who are not in the know and didn’t bother to click that link, is a series of B movies, live music, contests, and prizes staged regularly at the Cerrito or Parkway. I attended a pre-Halloween double-bill of House of Frankenstein and Bride of Dracula. No cinematic masterpieces need apply.

When I arrived at the Cerrito a good half an hour before the 7:30 start time (most ThrillVille’s start at 9:15, but this was a double bill), the theater was already filling up. The crowd’s size impressed me. I couldn’t help thinking about the recent cutting back of the Cerrito Classics series because of poor attendance. I guess bad old movies draw more people than good ones.

Before the show officially started, and with the lights still up, we got to watch episodes of The Monkees and The Munsters (courtesy of DVDs) on the big screen.

Speakeasy Theaters Programmer and Publicist Will Viharo MC’d the show as “Will the Thrill,” assisted by his wife, Monica, “the Tiki Goddess.” I won’t attempt to describe their costumes. Let’s just say that his included a fez and a very large martini glass.

Will, Monica, TV monster movie host Mr. Lobo, and his assistant, the Queen of Trash ran contests, gave away gifts, and generally cracked wise before each movie. Mr. Lobo and the Queen ran the most ambitious game, which required two volunteers from the audience to turn two other volunteers from the audience into mummies. Their only tools? Rolls of toilet paper. Will and Monica handled the lottery of ticket stub numbers and some embarrassingly easy trivia games. (I won a DVD of the 1954 BBC version of 1984.)

The musical quintet Project Pimento performed before the second feature, marking only the second time I’ve ever heard a theremin performed live. The group’s sound was ’60s-style bossa nova, not my favorite type of music, but fun. They started off with the theme song from Barbarella, and closed their set with the Star Trek theme, including the lyrics written and wisely discarded before the show ever aired.

I’ll tell you about the movies a little later.