ANDREA BEESLEY-BROWN, better known around her Arizona haunts as MIDNITE MOVIE MAMACITA, is the B Movie Nation’s official Southwest Representative. We were email pals for years before she invited me to her show (at the now sadly defunct Chandler Cinemas) in April of 2008. In person she is extremely gracious and sweet – you’d never know that beneath this Nice ‘n’ Pretty Gal veneer beats the hipster heart of a hardcore gorehound! She also arranged the coolest birthday cake I have ever had – in the shape of a fez! It was a testament both to her warmth as a person and to her incredibly creative nature. As an innovative and talented hostess/programmer, she has single-handedly brought Cult Movie Cool to the Southwest. Now MMM is taking her act on the road. We caught up with this Drive-In Diva of the Desert recently to find out what she has in store for Cactus Country and beyond…
Will the Thrill: How did Midnite Movie Mamacita get started?
MMM: Well, I’ve had an interest in strange cinema for a while, but my first foray in to event hosting was after I met the Russ Meyer ladies a the Necronomicon Convention in 2005. After chatting to Siouxzan Perry, their manager I revealed that I would love to bring the ladies out to Phoenix for a show. From there it was all on. I figured that I would need some sort of moniker to give myself as the hostess for these events, so I cam up with the Midnite Movie Mamacita. From then on out and I’ve been doing shows as the Midnite Movie Mamacita. Just over 3 years and going strong!
Andrea (Midnite Mamacita), Monica Tiki Goddess and Will the Thrill, The Drift Lounge, Scottsdale AZ
Co-hosting a screening of “Terror of Mechagodzilla,” Chandler Cinemas, 4/08
Thrill: What are the ideal types of movies you like to present?
MMM: Hmmm that’s tough! I am pretty fond of the staples of the genres, the bigger name cult titles (Fulci, Meyer, Metzger, Bava etc.). After doing this for a few years, I’ve realized that to break even you have to play titles that are recognizable to fans of the genres (Horror, Exploitation, Giallo, Blaxploitation, Sexploitation). However, I have a soft spot for the bizarre, forgotten treasures of the various genres. It’s always such a special feeling when you find a something on 35mm or video that has never been released on DVD and then being able to share that with new people, giving it a new a new life, that’s what its all about!
Thrill: You’re from New Zealand – what kind of exposure did you get to these types of films growing up?
MMM: Pretty minimal. As a kid, it was the standard fare of Grease, Star Wars, with a dash of Sid & Marty Krofft thrown in. In my late teens I started attending the Incredibly Strange Film Festival, put on by my programming mentor Ant Timpson. With one of the largest genre archives of 35mm film he would put on these fantastic 2 week festivals loaded with exploitation and more. It completely blew my mind and was an annual event that my friends and I would look forward to. That was the main exposure and from then on out my appetite kept growing.
Thrill: How tough is it selling these movies to a modern Southwest audience?
MMM: It’s definitely not easy. I have been absolutely blessed with the support of the local media, which has really helped my cause, but even with all the coverage I receive it is a tough road. The city is really spread out and the most common complaint or inhabitant that people site as to why they don’t come out is because of the distance. I was based in the East Valley for the past 2 years and it was often times a struggle to get people to make the trip. So I have tried to stay on top of innovative programming and making it more than just watching a movie. It’s a communal atmosphere where like-minded individuals can come together to see these films on the big screen, the way they were meant to be seen!
Thrill: What’s your ideal career move?
MMM: My ideal career move is to have my own permanent venue that can be a revival house, as well as home for independent, low-budget features, shorts etc. I would love to have a place that the community supports and can rely on for showing films that cannot be found at the multiplex. I would also love to get more in to the distribution and preservation of lost 35mm titles. Films that are not currently available on DVD, transferring them to digital so that they can be shared with the masses!