...0r, "How I Was Transformed by Aliens into a Giant Crab."
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
(That's a dickens of an opening!)
But it fits the subject of this post, a review of the 25th Ohio Science Fiction Marathon held in Columbus, Ohio. A post that might have been titled "A Tale of Two Audiences".
WARNING: RANTING AHEAD! (or, a head ranting!)
Back in April, the Voodoo Queen and I went to this classic sci-fi movie extravaganza, excited at the prospect of seeing movie star Patricia Neal speaking after a screening of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. (No italics or quotation marks when naming that film, no sirree-- only all caps will do.) Well, we enjoyed the film (natch), and we enjoyed seeing and listening to Ms. Neal-- more on that later-- and those factors alone made it one of the best events of the year for us. There was a fun costume contest! And all kindsa free goodies!
Yet I doubt we'll go back in the future. Why? Because an invasion by strange beings nearly ruined it!
You see, maybe 25% of the crowd were aliens themselves. Now, despite the science fiction theme of the 24 hour film fest, I don't mean beings from another world. No, I mean aliens in the sense of foreigners, because maybe a quarter of the audience were expatriates from the country of Moronica.
That's right: Morons. You've heard of The Ugly American? Well, Moronica was founded by them. Throughout the entire film fest, these obnoxious, oblivious Morons spewed and yapped and snorted and made it hard for the majority of the audience to lose themselves in the stories on the screen. And if one out of a dozen or more of their comments got a laugh, (and the odds favored them that a few would be funny, since they never shut up), then that just encouraged them to practice their uninvited commentary. ("I'm as good as MST3K!")
Which was a shame. We had our hopes up for a great time when we got there. The marathon noon-to-noon event was housed in a renovated vintage neighborhood theater, the Drexel, a pretty reminder of what theaters once were. Part of the the theater had been made into a small cafe, which offered more foods choices than the usual snacks for sale in the beautiful, old-fashioned snack bar off the lobby. The poster frames had all been filled with pictures of Ms. Neal, a classy touch in honor of their special guest.
The entire lineup of films was a well-chosen mix of new and old, serious and schlocky, domestic and foreign. (Even a documentary!) Supplemented with drive-in snack bar films, cartoons, trailers, and even some sci-fi-oriented nudie films, it was feast for one's head.
This was the lineup of fantastic flickers:
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (the real strain was hearing the films through the gabby geeks)
BIG MAN JAPAN
STRANGER FROM VENUS
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
The marathon was hosted by a genial and cheerful man named Bruce, and he got complaints early on about the chattering anthropoids who were inserting themselves into the film soundtrack. He gamely tried, after the first film, to get the rude dudes and dudettes to resist being socially oblivious. It helped some, for a while, but after the next film he suggested that people only "snark" instead of "snork" (or make clever cracks instead of stupid ones.) Of course, that just encouraged the doltish Joe Blowhards, because everyone who shouts at a movie thinks they're funny. (They just don't get it that other people might not want want supplementary "entertainment", even if it is funny once in a while.) It may be politically incorrect to say so, but Morons should have their own theaters to go to. And give 'em their own fountains, too-- they tend to drool a lot! Eewwwww!
They were two groups of people nattering and braying behind me and Jane (one group being that subspecies of Moron who constantly asks questions about the movie to their friends).
One Moronic couple behind us, Mike Rocephalic and Anna Cephalic, would sometimes shout "HAW HAW" at the top of their lungs to show how cleverly they could put down the campy old movies they were superior to. Clearly, these folks were half-delegates to the Wit Convention.
During an intermission, I saw Mr. Rocephalic in the lobby and begged him to quiet down, and he said, in a whine, "What about [here he named other nitwits on the other side of the theater]-- they're doin' it too?!"
I knew then all hope was lost. Seems the crew of crudely crowing creeps knew each other and were competing for the distinction of "Top Moron".
RELATED LINKS: The Ohio Sci-Fi Marathon has a forum, and in this thread, originally titled "Jerk-a-thon 2008" until altered (apparently) by a moderator, other people complain about the Morons.
In this thread at The Classic Horror Film Board, a "Misterbeaumont" relates that Morons have haunted the Drexel theater in the past. Do they have a large community of Morons in Columbus?
Coming in Part Two: Seeing Patricia Neal,
how the Morons dissed her, and lots more photos!