It came from the Drive-In ... "Horror on the Boulevard" is looking to be this year's hot ticket event for horror fans. For two nights — this Friday, October 14, and Saturday, October 15 — the Boulevard Drive-In (1051 Merriam) will be your source for terror. On the big screen, they're showing slasher classics Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, along with the horror comedy favorite, Army of Darkness. There are also vendors, bands like the Haunted Creepys and First Jason (featuring Ari Lehman, who portrayed the masked killer as a child), as well as autographs from the likes of Allan Kayser of Night of the Creeps. And, really, all of that is just the tip of the iceberg. We spoke by e-mail with event organizer Timothy Sweeten about how the ball got rolling on the whole shebang.
The Pitch: Where did the idea for Horror on the Boulevard come from? Was it something that'd been done before, or something new?
The idea started with myself and Brian Neal, grandson of the owner and operator of the Boulevard Drive-In, Wes Neal. It all kind of started with me posting on the Drive-In's Facebook page, asking if they were going to show any horror movies this year. They had shown a few in years past like Lucio Fulci's Zombie but hadn't got much response, so there were no plans to do a horror night or weekend this year. That's when I came into the picture and offered up my help as promoter for it. I was a goth/industrial DJ and concert promoter here in KC for the better part of 15 years and had booked many bands in that time. I told Brian that the whole event just needed the right promo behind it, and it could be huge. Promoting a horror weekend is a breeze compared to dealing with bands and fickle music fans. A few days after posting my offer to help out, Brian messaged me saying he wanted to take me up on my offer, and hence the birth of Horror on the Boulevard.
It seems that this went from a simple movie marathon to something bigger. Was this part of the plan from the start?
Well, it kind of started out as an idea of something that could be bigger, but I had no idea that it would take on a life of its own like it has. So many people have have shown interest and came aboard to help us — it's crazy when you think about it. The whole thing has just blown up and has grown a little every day since we started the initial plans. We had no idea it would get so much interest, but I think in the back of my mind, I always knew it would. Once the cast of Midnite Mausoleum agreed to come down from Iowa, the whole thing really took on a new feel and energy, I had wanted them to be involved from its conception, so when they finally confirmed they would be here, it was the icing on the cake for me. Within weeks, I came up with the name Horror on the Boulevard, and we met with our movie broker, designed a flier and stared booking vendors and guest. It all started to just snowball from there, and here we are today with this massive event taking place. It has become its own Frankenstein's monster, in a manner of speaking!
You have vendors, people signing autographs, bands, etc. Who contacted you, and to whom did you reach out?
It's been a mix of people contacting us and me contacing others. I started e-mailing the girls at Midnite Mausoleum months ago now, and I've worked very hard to get them to come — they were genuinely interested in being involved. Marlena Midnite and Robyn Graves are such sweet girls, and I love their show, them plus their director Blake Powell have all been of huge support to Horror on the Boulevard. Making posters, promoting it on Facebook and running weekly ads on Midnite Mausoleum — I owe them many thanks for their time and efforts. I really wanted this to be an event with not just local vendors and guest but folks from the Midwest in general.
We invited a lot of people. Some couldn't make it, and others have jumped at the chance. I also used to work for Wes Grimm of Grimms Tattoo in Westport many years ago, so I asked if he wanted to get involved, and he immediately said, "Sure." Others like Ari Bavel offered their time. I've known Gil Bavel (Ari's brother) for years, so Gil has been a huge supporter and help from the start. Allan Kayser from Night of the Creeps lives here in KC . His handler, Eric Kuhl, offered up his time, as well, and has also been of great help to us.
Joel Sanderson with Basement Sublet of Horror out of Lawrence couldn't do the event himself but was able to put me in contact with KC's own Uncle Roy Hoggins from Stink-O-Rama. I personally contacted Faith Evangeline of Evil Pawn Jewelry and the guys over at Monsters Are Good Designs. Most the others are folks who contacted us and/or offered up their services to us, like the Haunted Creepys and the guys from More Horror Than Horror — they just wanted to be part of the event. Also Chazz Demoss with KC Crypticon was/has been a huge help and supporter for us, as well. Local make-up artist Marc Manley with Zombie's Got Talent, as well as my old goth partner Brandon Mohn — I owe them all mucho thanks, too! The last few weeks have just been crazy for me and Horror on the Boulevard. New people are wanting to be involved every day. I know that I'm probably forgetting to mention some people, but I do want to thank everyone involved!
There was a poll on Facebook to determine what movies folks wanted to see. How'd that factor in to what movies are being shown?
Facebook has been a really important tool with this event for us. Yes, we did a vote on what movies folks wanted us to try and get. It was a big factor! The top 10 movies got turned into our movie broker John Shipp. We are really trying to get movies that the fans want to see. We really need to appeal to a wide variety of people from horror fans, zombie fans and vampire freaks to entire families, kids, punks, metalheads, goths and average joes of all sorts — everybody! We really just want to please as many people and cover as many genres as we possibly can. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but we think most will go away from the event with a smile on their face. We do intend to make this an annual event, if all goes accordingly.
What are you personally most excited about?
Personally, I'm most excited about the whole thing in general: working with all my friends (new and old) to make this an amazing event for all! But I will admit that meeting Marlena Midnite from Midnite Mausoleum is very high on my list!
The cost of $20 a carload seems pretty cheap, but I imagine you'll still be checking trunks, right?
Nah, $20 a carload includes trunks! If you got the gonads enough to sneak in the trunk of a car, the more power to ya! Then again, I won't be working the gate personally, so who knows what they might do? It's not that much of a concern to me. People should want to support this and be honest if they want it to be a yearly event, in my opinion.