The Rebane Exhibit Report

As I reported a few days ago, on Saturday the 22nd, myself, along with Aaron Christensen, Dave Kosanke, and Gavin Schmitt, made the trip up to Merrill, Wisconsin for the Bill Rebane’s Hollywood Midwest: A Retrospective on Wisconsin’s First Feature Film Studio, an exhibit being held at the Merrill Historical Society, put on by Brandon Johnson. Because it opened at 9am and we wanted to be there right when it opened, it meant that I had to leave at 3am, drive into Chicago to pick up Aaron, then head north to pick up Dave, and then meet Gavin at the Museum as close to 9am as we could. We got there at 8:55am. Pretty good planning if I do say so myself!

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A Pilgrimage to Merrill WI, and then Insanity

This weekend, a few friends and I will be making a trip up to Merrill, Wisconsin, which is about a 5–6 hour drive for us. Why, may you ask? Because the Merrill Historical Society there is having a special Bill Rebane exhibit, which Mr. Rebane himself will be attending, possibly along with some other cast and crew from his films.

Bill Rebane, to those that don’t know, is probably most known for his film The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), but he had made quite a few other titles, such as The Alpha Incident, The Demons of Ludlow, Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake, and Blood Harvest, which even starred Tiny Tim. One of the things that set Rebane apart from most directors is that he made most of these films without leaving Wisconsin. In fact, in the town of Gleason, he created his own little film studio, called The Shooting Ranch, where he could film, edit, looping, everything else needed to make a film start to finish. Sure, some of his budgets were pretty low, but that doesn’t mean they are not entertaining.

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Midway Drive-In Horrorfest Next Weekend!

Now is your chance to see 4 classic horror films on the big screen, like they were meant to be! Not to mention seeing them in the company of other like-minded crazy horror fans! Next Saturday, on Sept. 24th, at the Midway Drive-in, located in Sterling, IL, they will be holding their annual Horrorfest, featuring some incredible titles: John Carpenter’s They Live (1988), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Pieces (1982), and Doctor. Butcher M.D. (1980)! Plus, the first 500 people that get there will get a free Doctor. Butcher M.D. Barf Bag, thanks to sponsor Severin Films!

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Scored to Death – The Documentary!

Back in 2016, a book came out called Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers, which I finally got around to reviewing in 2018. And then two years after that, in 2020, author J. Blake Fichera released a second volume, continuing his goal of bringing attention to these talented musicians who help enhance the scares and atmosphere in the movies we love. But now, Fichera is taking this one step further, by making a feature length documentary on these composers.

Scored to Death: The Dark Art of Scary Movie Music will be the first feature-length documentary that “explores the fascinating relationship between music and horror cinema.” Starting today, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign that will run through Halloween, hoping to raise the funds to make this project a reality. Production has already started, so fans of movie music need to make sure that it is able to continue.

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Why We Need to See Films in the Theater

Last night, I ventured into Chicago to the Music Box Theatre for The Creepshow, a Stephen King film festival, where they had a bunch of King movies being screened over 3 days. Friday night, they were screening the original The Shining (1980) and Doctor Sleep (2019), which I had originally planned to go but didn’t make it. Which kind of worked out for the best, since I heard it sold out early in the day. But I did go last night because they were screening Creepshow (1982), which happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. They were also screening 1408 (2007), and Christine (1983), which we planned on staying for as well.

When we (myself and my partner-in-crime for the evening, Brian Martinez) drove up to the theater, we could already see a huge line outside the theater. I lucked out in finding a parking space right in front of the theater. Any locals know just how lucky you are when that happens. In fact, we were so excited, I completely forgot to pay the parking meter. So, after over 30 years of coming into the city for movies and such, I ended up getting my first parking ticket! But back to the real story.

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Bill Rebane Exhibit

There’s a lot of independent filmmakers out there, even ones that worked for decades, continuingly cranking out feature after feature. But there’s a selected few that went past that and actually created their own functioning movie studio way outside of Hollywood. There were people like Larry Buchanan in Texas or Earl Owensby in North Carolina. Then was Bill Rebane, who created the Shooting Ranch in Gleason, Wisconsin, which was a complete movie studio, from a post-production, recording studios, to even having lodging for the actors to stay, not to mention its own restaurant. This was Rebane’s way of keeping production costs down for his movies, if he could keep all the expenses low by providing them all within the studio. Smart man.

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More Movie Events Galore!

With summer in full swing, that means that the Halloween season is not too far off. But in between now and then, there are a lot of different movie events happening that gives horror film lovers a chance to experience some titles in a way never before for some fans, on the big screen, either indoors or outdoors. There are older films here that might have been played and gone before you were born, or others that might not have ever played on the big screen before, going straight to video. No matter how great of a set-up you might have for your home theater, there still is nothing like experiencing seeing a film on the big screen. So below are some events that I know about, some of which are near the Chicago area, while others might be a bit further away. I know there are plenty more, so if you know of one, please post it in the comments so we can get a nice variety of cool events for fans to check out that might be closer to one of those.

Music Box Theatre – Chicago, IL
We’ve posted before on some of these events, but have added some more, and to remind you of the others!

July 6th – Job Bob’s Indoor Drive-in Geek Out: Screenings of The Brain (1988) starring David Gale of Re-Animator fame, and Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage (1988), with Joe Bob hanging out in the Music Box Lounge before and after each film, with exclusive merch for sale, as well as doing a meet-and-greet with autographs for ticket holders.

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Joe Bob at the Music Box

On Tuesday, July 5th, Joe Bob Briggs will be at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre for a double feature to get that grey matter between your ears working in overdrive! They will be screening The Brain (1988), which stars David Gale (Dr. Hill from Re-Animator) and a giant brain that flies around eating people! This one is a real hoot! After that will be a screening of Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage (1989), about a worm-like parasite that drugs his hosts to get them to help him get food, which of course, is brains!

Tickets are $25 and Joe Bob will be there hanging out in the Music Box Lounge before and after each film, as well as selling exclusive merchandise and doing a meet-and-greet with autographs for ticket holders. For all the information, head over to the Music Box website HERE!

Double Dose of Horror at the Midway Drive-In

I know everyone (or most everyone) reading this has seen the original Halloween (1978) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) before. Many times, before, I’m guessing. But have you seen it projected on a screen 90 feet across? Then now is your chance because next weekend, June 24th & 25th, they will be having a special double feature screening both of these classic horror films that were game changers for the genre.

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Monster Bash Celebrates Lugosi

If you are a fan of Bela Lugosi and anywhere near Canton, Ohio, then come August, you’ll have the chance to see 8 of Lugosi’s films on the big screen at The Palace Theatre. Taking place on August 12th & 13th, they will be screening 4 features each day, with a bonus feature Saturday night. There will be some dealers set up in the lobby as well, giving you time to wander around and do some monster shopping in between screenings! It’s not too often that you have the chance to see titles like this on a huge screen, like the original Dracula (1931) or Island of Lost Souls (1932), so if you are able to take advantage of it, I would highly recommend it. Such a better way to see and enjoy these films than on your TV.

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