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How many years have you worked in the Movie Theatre Industry and how did you first become involved?
I started in the industry as an usher at the Lakeside 5 Cinemas in Santa Rosa, CA in February of 1990.


What’s the best part of your Job?  Do you have any memorable experiences that you would like to share?
One of my most memorable experiences is a more recent one. As part of our CULT series (mentioned below) we hosted a horror themed film festival in Santa Rosa. We had many great genre film makers in attendance, John Landis, Rick Baker, William Lustig, Heather Langenkamp and Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. A boy around 13 years old was a huge Freddy fan. We were able to introduce him to Robert where he got a picture and autograph. After, he came up to me with tears in his eyes, thanked me profusely and said this was the greatest moment of his life. Yes, he was young, but to be a part of something so profoundly emotional to a guest was humbling. I’ll always remember that moment.


What is your fondest movie theatre memory?
I remember watching Misery opening night with an audience. It was a fun crowd. The scene with Kathy Bates holding a sledge hammer, looming over James Kahn came up. When Annie Wilkes brings the sledge hammer down, everyone in the audience bent forward screaming, grabbing their ankles. It was hilarious and scary at the same time. The perfect reminder about why watching films in a movie theatre is superior. That communal sense of sharing an experience cannot be achieved anywhere else.

How old were you when you went to your first movie? Do you remember the theatre and the city?
I must have been 4 years old. I vaguely remember seeing Superman with my father in 1978. Probably would have been in the San Mateo area. 

What is your favorite movie of all time? What is it about this movie that stands out for you?
Heat (1995) Great acting, great music, great story. Love this movie!

Do you have any industry related hobbies or experiences? Please explain.
I curate and host a repertory film series in Santa Rosa called the Roxy CULT Film Series. I introduce each show, talk about the films a little and just have fun with the audience. We screen horror, Sci-Fi and comedies from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. It’s really become a fun event every other week. I’ve met many awesome film fans and we’ve become a family. A truly gratifying, yet unexpected perk.

Do you have any special interests that you would like to share?
I enjoy B horror movies. When out of the theatres you might find me hiking around Sonoma County’s Park systems.

What does being a member of NATO of CA/NV mean to you?
Being a member of NATO CA/NV is having the support of dedicated people that love this industry. Knowing our interests are being watched from behind the scenes is quite comforting.


Of all the resources that the Association offers (seminars, scholarships, email advisories, etc.) which is most useful for you?
I suppose the email advisories are my number one. Quick and easy and to the point. However, scholarships are important as are the seminars.

 

Curator of the Roxy CULT Film series Neil Pearlmutter, Producer Michael C. Gross and Steve Jaxon from KSRO radio in Santa Rosa.

 

Actress Barbara Crampton of 80’s Horror film fame.

 

Director William Lustig with Neil Pearlmutter

 

CULT Film Series fan Michael won 1st place in last year’s Halloween costume contest as “The Greatest America Hero.”

“Amazon Women on the Moon” is his favorite. As a kid, Neil Pearlmutter used to go to the video store and pick up crazy odd films that his parents had no idea he was watching. He says that the movie is hysterical and it’s even better now. His wife thinks he has a very immature sense of humor.

 

Neil Pearlmutter has a fascination with “B” Horror movies from the 80’s, maybe because his parents brought him along to movies they went to see including horror movies that scarred him as a child…in a good way…in a way that kept him thinking about them, or maybe because he loves the technical aspects and campiness of “B” Horror movies. It engulfed him and he eventually created a cult group in October of 2012. It’s called “Cult Film Series at Roxy 14” and it’s become much more surprising and rewarding to him than anyone could have ever expected.

 

Mr. Pearlmutter delineates Horror cultists as a wonderful kind of people. They are caring, supportive, non-judging, and unsurprised by any secret you may be hiding from the world. “They’re well adjusted people”, he comments. Interesting, why you wonder? Well, Mr. Pearlmutter continues, “It probably has something to do with the aspects of the genre.” Although, he adds that Horror cultists stick their noses up in the air at Comedy and Sci-Fi cultists who do the same to Horror cultists, and yet somehow they all get along within the Roxy 14 house. Actually, they more than just get along, they’ve become family.

 

Mr. Pearlmutter looks forward to seeing his cult family bi-monthly (sometimes 3 times if a month has 5 weeks) over the movies, over the popcorn, maybe even over the special guests. There are people who share their lives with each other and open up for the first time. This group is invested in each other and Mr. Pearlmutter knows everyone. He stands at the door to greet the attendees as they all walk in and they schmooze, catch each other up on what’s transpired since the last cult night. Mr. Pearlmutter mentions Michael with special affection, “I know all about his job, his church, and his mom.” He goes on to say, “I’m his biggest fan” he says, “He came in 1st place for our Halloween costume contest. He dressed up as ‘The Greatest American Hero’”. Apparently, Michael is known to dress up for each specific movie that’s being shown. It adds some color to an already festive night and knowing how much it means to Michael and the rest of the gang it makes Mr. Pearlmutter appreciate the film nights that much more.

Michael appeared in the contest 2 Halloweens ago but didn’t win 1st prize (which could be something like a signed one sheet poster of “Annabelle”). He dressed up as Gene Wilder’s “Willy Wonka”, NOT Johnny Depp’s. That’s the other thing about the community, they have a Facebook page of 1,000 plus followers that’s brimming with communication and comments (https://www.facebook.com/Roxy14CULT/). You’ll probably find people trashing a remake that’s announced such as “Big Trouble, Little China”. Mr. Pearlmutter says, “You wouldn’t want to see a remake of “The Wizard of Oz”, would you? Sure there’ve been prequels and sequels but no remakes!” You’ll also find people selling Freddy Kruger merchandise and the like.

 

Before each screening, Mr. Pearlmutter gets up and likes to present fun facts of the film and “tries to keep his spiel short”. He asks if there are newcomers and welcomes them. There’s a professional Hollywood background actor who sometimes gives a behind the scenes comment about her experience working on the film such as, “I was an extra in ‘Howard the Duck’ and I remember Leah Thompson was really nice to me!’” After the double feature, people congregate outside for a few minutes before going home to patiently or impatiently await the next cult gathering.

 

Mr. Pearlmutter has scheduled special guests such as Producer Michael C. Gross of “Ghostbusters” and “Heavy Metal” who visited twice, William Katt from “The Greatest American Hero”, and Barbara Crampton of 80’s Horror film fame, who happens to live in the area as well. He invites the special guests out and buys them a great meal and introduces them to some local wine. Producer Michael C. Gross passed away a year and a half ago. Mr. Pearlmutter announced it to the group and like a family, the group reminisced about him and posted pictures. Grieving together “was a cathartic thing”, he mentioned.

 

The Cult in Cult Film Series seemed to be so unoriginal. After some thought, Mr. Pearlmutter made CULT an acronym for Classic Underground Lost Treasures. The Cult Film Series is as unique as it is meaningful. The bonded community’s next gathering is May 4th showing “Natural Born Killers” and “True Romance” for only $10. There’s a Cult Film Series banner on the Roxy 14 in Santa Rosa’s website (http://www.sregmovies.com/loc_roxy14) where you can click on the schedule and be provided with more information.