Monstercade welcomes ‘movie masochists’ for Dinner and a Bad Movie night
Everyone enjoys going to the movies, but not everyone enjoys the movie. At a bar in Winston-Salem, bad movies are redeemed and celebrated. The intention is to bring people together to escape their day-to-day and collectively enjoy a horrible and poorly produced film.
“Ever since I was a child I was obsessed with these bad VHS covers,” said the owner of Monstercade Carlos Bocanegra.
When he grew up in the ‘80s, he said it was “an amazing thing” to go to a video store and browse the movie covers. His motto was simply “the worse cover that they had, the better it was for me.”
“I was obsessed with finding terrible cover or terrible synopsis for movies that would either scare me or kind of interest me when I was a little kid.”
Bocanegra hopes to recreate this feeling with a little something called, Dinner and a Bad Movie, held every Tuesday at his bar located at 204 W. Acadia Ave.
After accruing a large collection of these bad movies, the long-time Winston-Salem native decided to put them to good use. He started a movie club called Cinenema (aptly named for “shitty movies”) in 2011. For three years, he said he went around and showed off all the most terrible films he had collected over the years.
“We tried different formats for showing bad films,” he said. “I think [Dinner and a Bad Movie] is a very specialized-type thing.” He said that people who think they have seen “shitty films, really have not seen the depths of dumpster diving that you could actually go to with these films.”
With coordination from the beer garden behind Monstercade, Bocanegra said food trucks often come and whoever is there will be serving dinner for moviegoers that come to the bar. Recently, the Bahtmobile was at the bar and the bad movie shown was called For Your Height Only by Eddie Nicart.
The night is co-hosted by Bocanegra’s “right-hand” Rachel Roberts. Roberts said she started co-hosting the movie night because of her “wild obsession” with Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.
Roberts said Monstercade is not your typical bar. “Not at all. We show shit-ass movies that are fantastic.” She said Bocanegra has “unlimited knowledge of shitty movies,” and she has an unlimited appreciation for said movies. This makes the pair perfect to host such a night.
Roberts said she enjoys this movie night because she likes having a “community of nerds.” She said in Winston, it’s nice to have “a place where you can talk shit and geek out” about movies. “It’s legitimately really nice to be able to cut loose in the middle of the week and say some dumb shit in front of people,” she said. “And like, everyone’s on board.”
Roberts said people who come out to dinner and a bad movie end up building a community through it. “Especially because it’s such a small space,” she said. “You just can’t help but build community through it.”
Bocanegra said he hopes that this movie night will expose the mainstream to appreciate bad movies. He also hopes people can find their own personal bad movie, inside joke and bond at the Monstercade for Dinner and a Bad Movie.
I recently attended the screening of No Holds Barred, directed by Thomas J. Wright with dinner served by J&J’s Chicken across the street. Roberts introduced the film by disclosing that the script was allegedly rewritten by Hulk Hogan (aka Terry Bollea) and Vince McMahon in three days after a nonstop cocaine bender. Hogan played Rip ‘Em Rip, the nice-guy wrestler that is the “hero” of the movie. I have to say, brother, it was probably the most awful and problematic movies I have ever seen. Did I laugh my ass off? You damn right I did. Bocanegra said he welcomes “movie masochists” and lovers of camp and kitsch from far and wide to come out and expose themselves to some truly garbage films.
The next Dinner and a Bad Movie night to catch is Roberts’s solo venture (because Bocanegra will be out of town) as host for the more mainstream bad movie, Mars Attacks! with dinner by Slappy’s Chicken on Feb. 13, right in time for Valentine’s Day. Every Tuesday following will be designated Dinner and a Bad Movie night. Check out the Monstercade’s social media(@monstercadebar) to be notified of the dinner choices and movie picks for the future.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.