An enthusiastic crowd of sci-fi fans turned out to The Frida Cinema this past May the 4th for the second voyage of Starship Frida. The 12-hour all-night marathon showing 10 films from across the spectrum of the genre.
Upon arriving at this year’s event, passengers were given a tri-fold pamphlet that contained a map of planets that would be stamped throughout the evening for each film seen. All 10 films were represented, however, as most of the films played in pairs it made it difficult to watch more than 6. I’m not certain if anyone ran back and for between theaters to make sure they got credit for watching, at least part of, each movie. Also featured on the pamphlet was the evening’s menu which included special items like a really good grilled cheese.
The lobby was decorated with pseudo-tributes to sci-fi over the years including Plan 9 style pie-pan flying saucers, “Spaceballs” dangling from the ceiling and signs pointing the way to Tatooine, Qo’nos, and the Forbidden Zone. Out in front of the theater were a couple of games set up: a space ring toss and Tribble Cornhole.
For the previous editions of both Camp Frida and Starship Frida, Theater 2 was the main auditorium for the event. This time, due mostly to the recent upgrades The Frida has made to its stage and lighting, Theater 1 was this year’s Starship Frida while Theater 2 was labeled as Escape Pod.
One of the things I really liked this year, was that the night had a stronger storyline running throughout the night. The Starship Frida is regularly a freighter but one night a year they are required to take on a “cargo” of passengers, much to the dismay of the ship’s crew. The guys in charge are Captain Brett Moonlicker and his first mate, Number 2 portrayed by the Bomb’s Away Podcast hosts Jonathan Young and Tyler Rowe.
Since our journey was going to be 12 hours, they figured we might want some entertainment. Fortunately for us they had a stack of VHS tapes. In addition to the tapes they also had an item that so far was mystifying them, the Blur-ay. They hoped, by the end of the voyage, to have unlocked the secret of the Blur-ay.
The first movie of the night was Tim Burton‘s underappreciated all-star comedy tribute to 1950’s flying saucer movies, Mars Attacks, adapted from the classic Topps trading cards series. Overshadowed when it came out by Independence Day, released five months earlier same year, as well as suffering, somewhat, by audiences lack of familiarity with the trading card, the movie bombed. The audience on Friday, however, certainly enjoyed it. Personally, I have always enjoyed the film. It reminds me of the all-star disaster movies of the ’70s.
Following the first film, as the guys were dealing with a stowaway, the ship suddenly came under attack and was boarded by aliens from the AMC. Their mission was too crush the small indie guys. The AMC Aliens killed the stowaway, took Moonlicker and Number 2 into custody, and gave everyone the option of joining them in the Escape Pod for an alternate film.
The second movie slot was our first opportunity to choose between two films. Over in the Escape Pod, the aliens were showing Cloverfield, while in Starship Frida the film was the 1986 Disney movie Flight of the Navigator.
I opted to stay put for Flight of the Navigator, a movie I watched many times growing up but had never seen on it on the big screen. Most of the audience appeared to stay as well.
It had been awhile since I had seen it and I was happy to say, that for me, it held up well. A lot of my fellow passengers seemed to be really entertained by the ’80s-ness of it.
So instead, the third slot of the night was the time for people to make their choice between Star Wars and Star Trek. Two of the best films in each series were pitted against each other. The Empire Strikes Back was shown in Starship Frida and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was shown in the Escape Pod.
I love both franchises and I always think it’s silly that people talk about them as if they are in any way comparable. As much as I love Star Trek IV, I opted stay put. Particularly because I had a sense that this year’s screening of Empire would likely be just as “un-special” as last year’s screening of Star Wars. I was right and nostalgically happy with my choice.
Before the fourth movie slot, Jonathan and Tyler broke character to do a brief commercial for their Bombs Away Podcast and their upcoming film and live recording. This month, they are showing The Running Man on May 24th. This screening leads into a month of Schwarzenegger films at The Frida throughout the month of June. In anticipation of this, they announced that next film in Starship Frida would be Total Recall while Stargate would play in the Escape Pod.
This one was an easy decision as I’ve never been a fan of Stargate. Though to be fair, until more recently, I had a complicated relationship with Total Recall. When the movie was in production, I saw short behind the scenes promo that got me really excited about seeing it. Feeling impatient, I read not the original Phillip K Dick story, but the, noted in his own right, sci-fi author Piers Anthony written film novelization. I enjoyed the book quite a bit but felt terribly disappointed upon seeing the movie. I didn’t know at the time that the differences were primarily because Anthony was working from a much earlier version of the script. Since then, I’ve re-watched the movie with a more open mind and have found more enjoyable.
By the time the fifth movie slot of the night came around, you could tell it had reached the point where everyone is starting to get too tired. So naturally, this was the perfect time to pull out the psychedelic weirdness and nightmarish horror.
This was the one time where I considered switch theaters because I do love me some Event Horizon, however since I had never seen Barbarella, in its entirety, I decided to stay put and experience the 60s sexual insanity.
It wasn’t great but it had its moments. It also probably didn’t help that I may have dozed off a couple of times. So I guess I still have not seen it in its entirety. I’ll give it another try and see if I still fall asleep.
After somehow breaking free and defeating the AMC, Captain Moonlicker and Number 2 were happy to report that we were approaching our destination. But there was still enough time for one more movie. And they were excited to report that they had unlocked the secret of the Blur-ay. With that the final film began to play and the audience was quite excited to see that it was…
TRON is certainly a childhood favorite of mine and I’m always excited to see it. This felt like the perfect choice to cap off another amazing marathon at The Frida.
In addition to the 10 features, the night also included some pre-show clips and shorts including some Martian themed Looney Tunes. The colorized version of Georges Méliès‘ classic 1902 film A Trip to the Moon was also shown.
As has been the case with Frida marathons in the past, there was a special pin created for the event that could be purchased along with plenty of Starship Frida t-shirts.
I have been to all four Frida marathons, two Camp Fridas and two Starship Fridas. In my opinion, these events keep getting better with each one. I really liked having a continuing storyline throughout the event. This is something that was tried out last fall at Camp Frida and has been improved on here.
The film choices this year were great. The majority of the films were from the ’80s and ’90s with a couple from the ’70s and one each from the ’60s and 2000s. But the best part was that there were films I was not expecting, like Flight of the Navigator.
I can’t wait for this fall’s Camp Frida and then to hitch another ride on Captain Moonlicker’s Starship Frida
Other Upcoming Events
There are a number of events you should check out that are coming up at The Frida this month either presented by HorrorBuzz or some of our friends.
This Saturday HorrorBuzz and our friends at Midsummer Scream present a big screen presentation of director Josh Quillan‘s documentary, Epic Home Haunts. The film feature at look at legendary haunts, including Boot Hill (Irvine), Rotten Apple 907 (Burbank), Beware the Dark Realm (Santa Clarita), and Restless Souls Manor (Palmdale).
Horror Movie Night Presented by HorrorBuzz.com
The May edition of our monthly Horror Movie Night feature the Academy Award winning horror classic, The Exorcist. The film begins at 7:30pm but the fun starts with the latest edition of the HMN Video Pre-Show at 7pm. Included, in the pre-show, will be part 5 of our super secret bonus movie.
We will also be screening another short film from the HorrorBuzz Screaming Room, the official short film festival of Midsummer Scream. This time it is writer/director Christian Ackerman‘s The Summoners.
Along with our mothly Pumpkin Pack giveaway, we will also have the latest in our series of horror themed cocktails available: Holy Water!
Bombs Away Show the podcast that celebrates the Best of the Worst in cinema and The Grindbin Podcast the podcast the dives into Exploitation and Trash Cinema join forces to take on the futuristic game show action explosion that is Arnold Schwarzeneggers The Running Man.
This special one night only presentation of The Running Man will be followed by a live recording of the hilarious comedy podcast Bombs Away and their guests The Grindbin Podcast! First, sit back and experience the Stephen King story you didnt know was one as Arnold Schwarzenegger plays for his life in a dystopian future alternate 2019 game show. The cheese factor (and the one liners) are turned up to 11 with this film, all the way to the end credits theme song!
After the film, B-Movie comedy podcast Bombs Away joined by The Grindbin Podcast will be on hand to take the stage to dissect the film, and discuss it with YOU!, the audience, and theyre not stopping there!
Watchmen (Director’s Cut) May 30th at 7pm
Presented by Nostalgic Nebula
Nostalgic Nebula invites you to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the film adaption of Alan Moores 1987 limited comic series, Watchmen, with a meeting of masked vigilantes! Come dressed as your favorite costumed hero, and enjoy themed drinks and a tribute to Phillip Glasss Pruit Igoe and Prophesies by the Nostalgic Nebula Orchestra before the film.