Larry (left) interviewing acclaimed director George Romero (right)
When I was a kid, there were three certainties in my life: there was always music playing or being played in my house, there were always overflowing bookshelves and stacks of books in nearly every room and almost every Saturday night, I would be at the drive-in with my mom and dad.
Growing up, my parents never had much money; we never went on a vacation, never owned a house, never had a new car, etc. but there was always music, books and movies. When it comes to movies, I vividly remember spending almost every weekend in the back seat of my dad’s ’74 Plymouth Valiant at the Candlelite-Pix drive-in in Bridgeport watching double features that included horror gems Blood Beach, Mother’s Day and Don’t Answer the Phone.
It’s amazing to me that nearly forty years later, these memories are still so bright. I can still smell the fried chicken that my mother would often make the day before for us to take and eat cold in the car at the drive-in. I can still hear the creaking of the rusty chains on the swing set as I played in the drive-in’s little playground while waiting for it to get dark enough for the movies to start and I can still feel the light sting on my face as my mother threw her hand from the passenger seat to the back seat to try and cover my eyes when a naughty camp counselor disrobed during Friday the 13th.
These experiences marked the beginning of my love of film, and horror in particular. Fast forward to the present day and my love of films is as strong as ever. There are differences, of course. Local drive-ins showing horror double-features are long gone; my kids will probably never get to experience that particular brand of awesomeness. Video stores with hundreds of colorful VHS covers depicting our favorite slashers have long since shut their doors and many of today’s youth will never know the joys of wandering through the horror section agonizing over which six movies you want to rent that night.
About six years ago I started writing for Horror News Network, who puts on the annual CT HorrorFest convention. In July of 2016, we were trying to come up with new ways to promote the next CT HorrorFest and I decided to show a double feature at the Strand Theater in Seymour, CT. I figured that we might draw a decent-sized group of folks in our target demographic by showing The Lost Boys and Fright Night and we could use this platform to market CT HorrorFest.
What came of that one night was not something that I expected; some of that old magic that I used to feel at those drive-in double-features crept into present day. People began emailing me and contacting me on Facebook to thank me for helping them to see a few of their favorite films that they never got to see on the big screen. So then I figured maybe people would want to see a double feature of Creepshow and Christine? The response was staggering and Connecticut Cult Classics was born.
Movies really are magic.
- Larry Dwyer
Larry Dwyer is the founder of Connecticut Cult Classics. He is a writer for Horror News Network and helps organize the annual CT HorrorFest.