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Howl out to horror movie buffs

Jonny Aaron launches a movie night this Friday that will give you the chills
Jonny Aaron at his job as a projectionist at the Hollywood 3 Cinema in Pitt Meadows. He plans to host a monthly midnight screening of horror movies

Jonny Aaron roams the dark space at the top of Hollywood 3 Cinema Monday and Tuesday nights. He passes the projection graveyard of old machine parts on his way to wheel the film through what look like giant sewing spindles. Aaron meticulously threads reels of film through pulleys to start the movies against the clicking sound of films in progress. The effort goes undetected by the moviegoers below. He moves fast so that the chain on his black skinny jeans jingles.

Aaron launches his newest side project, Horrorshow, at the Harris Road theatre in Pitt Meadows this Friday night for any horror movie junkie looking for a fix. The soon-to-be monthly movie night only screens horror movies. The first is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead at midnight.

“I’ve been an avid fan of anything creepy since I was really little,” said Aaron, who is also the lead singer in The Bone Daddies and works at a local skate shop. “There’s something about horror you can’t find in other films. It’s that mix of terror, but it’s still safe. You can escape the reality and do something else for a while.”

Aaron was first hooked on horror when he saw King Kong at age seven or eight.

“I instantly fell in love with it,” said Aaron, who talks as if there’s no time for him to express the thoughts racing through his mind. “It just made my little nerd heart swell. From there I started reading all the horror comic books, watching the films, just getting my hands on anything I could find.”

It was a mission that sometimes proved difficult for Aaron, who had to get things passed two very religious parents. Even though they themselves were fans of the classic black-and-whites such as Godzilla, they tried to censor Aaron’s exposure to newer, more graphic films.

But an eight-year-old Aaron found a loophole. Whenever it was time for grade-school students to order their books from the popular Scholastic book publisher, Aaron roved the catalogues for all the horror graphic novels.

“To my parents, I was reading,” he said, now 26. “So they were fine with that.”

His monthly movie night has been in the works since he noticed a similar idea at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver last summer. He’s been looking for a local venue for such an event ever since.

He applied to work at the Hollywood 3 Cinema as a part-time projectionist with an ulterior motive last December. A few months later, he decided to run the idea by the owner, Rahim Manji, who loved it.

Then he began promoting through posters and word-of-mouth. The Facebook page lists 55 attendees for the event and more than 100 group members who can weigh in on which movie they want to see.

“My top three would be the Evil Dead trilogy, Night of the Living Dead, and 28 Days Later,” said Aaron.

His tall, wiry frame can barely contain his enthusiasm. “There’s just something about all those zombie movies where you can watch the mental breakdown of these characters and an average receptionist can become the hero while a big shot executive falls early. It’s a study of human will.”

Attendees at this Friday’s screening will enter the theatre to the drum and bass sounds of local DJ 2 Def. Comedian Fiq Ahmed performs a brief comedy routine before the main feature.

Aaron plans to have different local acts perform before each movie, sometimes giving away prizes such as comic books and movie passes in a raffle.

He says there’s a local market for his event judging by the Facebook page and his conversations with others.  He’s seen interest in people of all ages, but warns that most movies he screens will have an R rating. This Friday he’s hoping to fill the 140-seat theatre.

“I’m getting a lot of positive response for it,” said Aaron in a hat that conceals a head of black hair, half dyed green. “People’s faces just light up and they get it like I get it.”

• For more, visit the Horrowshow Facebook Page.