The King of Rock and Roll features prominently in Bubba Ho-Tep, the inaugural film of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s first locally curated film series, Terror Tuesday. It begins this Tuesday at the theater chain's Tempe location.
To be clear, the protagonist of this unbelievable movie is an Elvis Presley impersonator, played masterfully by horror film icon Bruce Campbell. He resides in a Texas rest home with Jack (Ossie Davis), who believes he is President John F. Kennedy. They team up to battle an ancient mummy who is killing off their fellow residents.
Victor Moreno, who local film buffs know as the host of AZ Cult Classics, believes that the critically acclaimed 2002 horror-comedy hybrid is the perfect introduction to a genre that is misunderstood by the general public.
“It was a deliberate choice,” Moreno says. “It’s a good gateway drug into [director] Don Coscarelli’s movies. It’s weird and kind of a horror movie, but the horror comes from getting old and losing yourself.”
Blood and gore will obviously be part of the films that Moreno selects, but Terror Tuesday is not meant to be a rundown of the greatest hits of horror, nor a showcase of extreme cinematic violence. He wants audiences unfamiliar with the genre to become personally invested in his selections.
This month’s screening of Bubba Ho-Tep is sold out, so Moreno is definitely onto something. The series will continue on the third Tuesday of every month at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Tempe for as long as it remains sustainable.
There is already a strong interest for Moreno’s pick for September. Return of the Living Dead is not just a zombie movie but a stylish commentary on the punk scene of the 1980s. October will feature the 1977 Japanese film Hausu, known as House in North America. The bizarre movie revolves around seven students staying in a home that is trying to kill them in peculiar ways.
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Moreno, who frequented video stores growing up, is also a familiar face to patrons of the local locations of the Austin-based movie theater chain. When the cinephile isn’t introducing local shark diver and conservationist The Klute at local screenings of the summer blockbuster The Meg, he is showing schlocky direct-to-video movies for their Video Vortex series.
While Terror Tuesday is an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema concept, the films Moreno selects are exclusive to the Tempe market. To give the modems of college-age binge-watchers a rest, film props will occasionally be on display to add to the filmgoing experience. Additionally, prizes from local businesses like Zia Records will be given away. For example, concert promoter Stateside Presents provided two tickets to Campbell’s upcoming appearance at The Van Buren on Monday, November 19, for the Terror Tuesday series launch.
“All I can tell people is to come down and be surprised,” Moreno says. “Half of the fun is seeing the movie. The other half is just showing up and not knowing what you are going to experience.”