by Susan Morse
Hampton Union, May 11, 2004[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON - The campy classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" struts onto the big screen Thursday, May 20, at the Lane Memorial Library, second in a series of "Basement Movie Night" films.
It will be followed by "Pink Floyd The Wall" on June 3 and Mel Brooks’ "Blazing Saddles" on June 17.
Adult Services Librarian Jeanne Gamage admits the films are "off the beaten track" kind of films. They were chosen by teenagers for teenagers, with help from librarian volunteer Mike Hawley, whose extensive home video collection includes "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" and "Killer Clowns from Outer Space."
Reference Librarian Marija Sanderling also volunteers her time on movie nights.
"It was a collaborative effort between the three of us because we’re always looking for ways to get folks into the library, particularly folks who don’t come too often, high school kids," Gamage said.
The movies are free, complete with popcorn. They are shown on an 80-inch screen in the basement of the library.
The idea came about this winter when two Winnacunnet High School students asked to show a movie in the library as part of an independent study class. Teens showed up for the old horror film "Army of Darkness." It gave Hawley the idea to revive a film series the library held last fall, which didn’t go over as well as librarians had hoped.
Hawley decided this time to let the audience choose the films. He gave the students who came to "Army of Darkness" a list of 20 films he considers fun, cult classics. The students chose four.
Last week an estimated nine people showed up for the series opener, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Gamage said the young audience, used to fast action, may have thought the film moved slowly.
The films in the series were made before most in the audience were born. All four had an "R" rating when released, said Hawley, yet are tame to today’s standards, showing no gore, sex or hard profanity.
"There’s more stuff on 'NYPD Blue’ Tuesday nights," he said.
For "Rocky Horror" next Thursday, librarians will welcome movie-goers who arrive in black garters and heels, de rigueur for fans, but not the customary rice and water throwing.
In July, the library is planning to expand movie night to include festival winners from Cannes and Sundance; to feature movies of a particular actor in August; and then prime audiences for the November presidential election by featuring "The Candidate" and other related films.
"Hopefully, we’ve gotten better at targeting people interested in this," said Gamage. "We found high school kids so responsible, so enthusiastic. We sort of lucked into that. Sometimes what you want to do works."