AN INTERVIEW WITH CINEGEEKS FOUNDER SCOTT McDEE
WOD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
McDEE: I've lived in the Phoenix area most of my life, I love movies, and I'm a total geek. (Hence the name "CineGeeks".) That should tell you everything you need to know.
WOD: What's your background in terms of doing something like this?
McDEE: I've been involved in Rocky Horror screenings since high school and I took over the local shadowcast a few years ago. After giving it a new name--Midnight Mayhem--finding a great home for it, and hosting an international Rocky Horror convention right here the Valley, not to mention being part of a few other Rocky-style showings like Clue and Hedwig & The Angry Inch, I kind of hit the wall with fishnets and lipstick, so I retired from actively running it. I'll always love it, but it was time to move on.
WOD: So the next move for you, then, was to start showing OTHER cult classics.
McDEE: Right. Rocky and a few other movies still get a lot of attention. But I wanted to give some love to some movies that are maybe less well known--either newer movies that are a bit quirky, or older movies that people have forgotten about. Or maybe not forgotten about, but that you just don't get a chance to see on the big screen anymore.
WOD: Ten years ago, no one was doing anything like this in the Valley. Now, there are at least three separate "revival" type film programs out here, plus occasional showings at Harkins and AMC of movies like Raiders, E.T. or Back to the Future. What's going to set CineGeeks apart?
McDEE: I think it'll be in both the movies we show and how we present them. We're really hoping to make it a fun and interactive experience. Not to say the others aren't. But I guess we just plan to have a little bit of "attitude"...kind of a sense of danger. But I totally wish all those other guys well, and don't see any reason we can't all coexist and be successful. It's a big valley.
WOD: So tell us about your inaugural film, FDR: AMERICAN BADASS.
McDEE: Well, I need to say upfront that it's a goddamned classic. I guess you could compare it to something like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, except this is so much cooler because it totally doesn't take itself seriously. You have Barry Bostwick--Brad Majors from Rocky Horror--as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And it turns out that World War II was really a fight against werewolves. So it's FDR versus Werewolf Hitler and Werewolf Hirohito. And it's just hilarious. It's low budget. It's silly, and you can tell they had a lot of fun making it.
WOD: It sounds pretty crazy. How did you hear about it?
McDEE: Well, anytime one of the original Rocky Horror actors sneezes, it becomes news in the Rocky fan community. So knowing Barry Bostwick was in it got everyone's attention. Plus, a member of the L.A. Rocky scene who's also a professional actor, Jesse Merlin, got cast in the film as Werewolf Hitler. So we were all dying to see it, because our friend was in it--one of "us" made it, you know? The filmmaker, Ross Patterson--who also made another so-awful-it's-great film, Poolboy, which I hope to show in the future--has become a friend to me and many other folks in the Rocky fan community. So really, it was just a matter of contacting him and working it out. We showed it at my Rocky convention last year, and it was a huge hit there. I've been wanting to show it again for a public audience ever since, so picking it as the opening film for CineGeeks was a no-brainer. And it's got such a great cast...I won't spoil who he plays, but Kevin Sorbo has a fantastic cameo. And FDR's two sidekicks are played by Ray Wise, who was in RoboCop, and starred in Twin Peaks as Laura Palmer's father, and a bunch of other stuff, and Bruce Magill, who played D-Day in Animal House--and just a few months after this, went on to be in Spielberg's Lincoln. Talk about a contrast! A buddy of mine is just tickled that in this film you get to see Brad Majors side by side with D-Day and Leland Palmer. That's Geek Nirvana. And I think that really sums up what CineGeeks is about. Showing you stuff you're just not going to see anywhere else--or showing you stuff in a way you won't see anywhere else.
WOD: Are you going to do Rocky-style shadowcasts?
McDEE: That's not a major part of the plan, no. There may be exceptions, so I won't rule it out; we may have a couple of things like that down the road. But I do totally encourage people to come in costume, dress up, participate, shout at the screen, whatever. In fact, I'm hoping my friend Justin will show up in his FDR costume, with his tricked-out, heavily armed wheelchair and all. But mostly we just want to show cool movies and have fun with them. It's not church. It's a party and we're there to have fun.
WOD: And what about the theatre? Is this a first for them?
McDEE: I think so. I know others have approached them in the past about doing various things there, but for one reason or another it didn't work out. But the manager, Mark, is totally "one of us". He gets it, and he's been great to work with. He's excited and looking forward to it. Hopefully, this will open some doors for other cool stuff to happen there over time.
WOD: Other than Poolboy, do you have anything else lined up for future screenings?
McDEE: We have a tentative schedule through the end of 2013, but I don't want to give anything away for obvious reasons. But it all depends on how well opening night does. If the freaks come out for FDR, we'll definitely be back for more.
WOD: Sounds like you're ready for a sellout.
McDEE: Let's not start sucking each other off yet, but I'm hoping.
WOD: How can people find out more, or buy tickets?
McDEE: We're working on a website, but for now, people can look us up at Facebook.com/CineGeeks, or email McDee@midnightmayhem.org. And please spread the word!
WOD: We wish you much luck and success and hope to catch up with you down the road!
McDEE: Danke. And come to the show, dammit!