ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
Certain rules govern almost all libraries: be quiet, don’t mar the pages and absolutely no food or drinks on the premises. But a small group of patrons wait until after hours, lock themselves in the back room of the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library, eat popcorn, drink soda and loudly scoff as they watch bad movies.
They even (gasp) throw popcorn at the screen when the dialogue becomes so wretched that scathing comments are simply not punishment enough.
“It’s really a lot of fun and the one chance to throw popcorn in the library,” said Shawn Heaton, adult services manager. “We host Snarky Cinema after hours for a reason. We turn up the volume and have a good time.”
Snarky Cinema is similar to “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” a television series that features characters watching bad movies (that were actually produced) and adding their own running sarcastic commentary. When beginning this club in January, Heaton and his co-worker, Lauren McPike, chose one of the episodes so that attendees would understand their interactive role.
“We were talking about how people in their twenties and early thirties think the library is just a place for kids or older people,” said McPike, teen librarian. “We wanted to attract this age group. My friends and I love MST3K (Mystery Science Theatre 3000) so we thought this would be a lot of fun.”
Choosing really horrible movies provides plenty of opportunity for attendees to unleash some zingers. Playing off one another, the jokes can really start to snowball. These screenings are only for those 18 and over so that no one has to worry about the appropriateness of their comments.
“We choose laughably bad movies or those that have a cult following,” said McPike. “And then we make unholy fun of them.”
“The best part is that the movies are so awful,” said Heaton. “We pick the worst ones we can get our hands on.”
Sample titles so far include “The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies,” “Troll II” and “Surf Nazis Must Die.”
Although the group began with pretty good attendance, as the weather has warmed, numbers have suffered a little. Also, library officials have decided the timing may not be the best for working adults. Screenings have been hosted on Friday nights at 5 p.m., but will move to Saturdays in July.
“I’m a fan,” said Montie Manning, library director. “I used to watch that and “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” on my little TV. Of all the libraries I’ve worked at, this is the best staff. They work well together and come up with great programs.”
Getting Together features clubs, organizations and social groups from the area each Monday in The Herald Bulletin.
What: Snarky Cinema
Where: Alexandria-Monroe Public Library, 117 E. Church St.
Who: 18 and older, any residency
Next Screening: June 22 at 5 p.m. (library doors are locked at 5 p.m., so attendees should arrive early)
Movie: “Drop Dead Gorgeous”
Cost: None — library card not required
Included: Free popcorn and soda