There’s a certain magic in Salem, Massachusetts come All Hallows’ Eve. It may not be the girls in capes, or the homeless folk mumbling in dark alleys, but they’ve at least got the right idea. They can confirm what it’s all about: channeling the inner beast. Pulling out the most untapped and scary version of yourself and celebrating it, in all of it’s weird glory.
Some of our favorite movies do the same thing. So it was fitting that we found our way into the nation’s haunted capital for a comedy/horror show. Our hosts for the evening? A collective of friendly filmmakers lead by director Kevin James. (And maybe a ghoul or two.)
That was our main event this past Monday. I’m ecstatic to offer a bit of feedback and some highlights. But first thing’s first, my lovelies. We are hungry men.
Following a speedy post-work pick-up in Milford, we headed out to our spooky destination. Our freak flags raised high and Dunkin coffees in hand, AJ furiously weaved through rush hour traffic while Spencer dizzily decided dining options. Thanks to a suggestion from sister Paige, an easy choice was made.
Victoria Station, located a rough 10 minute walk from Cinema Salem, gave us all we wanted and more!
Dinner was served by a light-spirited waitress who made us feel really at home. AJ tends to ask questions of quality in the form of “What’s your favorite item on the menu?” If we have a theme in mind, he corners them to a specific category. The waitress was overjoyed and assisted in selecting our appetizer buffet. She is head over heels about the nacho chicken, so we just had to try it.
We enjoyed nachos with chicken ($16), haddock tacos ($9) and a cup of clam chowder ($5). The chowder could have been a little warmer, but it tasted pretty good. Let’s get to the highlights, my friends. Enjoy, we did. Enjoy, love, savor and nearly beg for more, is the real truth. Juicy, delicious, not-greasy, shredded chicken that was seasoned with perfection. The nachos, due to their introduction were annihilated as they were placed on the table. There are very few foods that entirely silence the two of us, or AJ to be specific, but nachos are usually a sure bet. Please look closely at the picture, click it to enlarge, to see the crisp cheese smothered onto the plate which we were sure to carve off with our butter knifes, leaving not a morsel behind.
Now, the main event, The Haddock Tacos. Before we discuss the taste, seasonings, etc., let’s talk about the plating. They were a sight to be seen, simple and elegant food love displayed on a white plate – joined together on their white square home leaned so tenderly on each other. The fish was not fried or battered. It seemed to be freshly pan cooked delivering a moist, flaky deliciousness that all of the other accoutrements simply accented. Lastly, the piece of fish was so large that the flour tortilla didn’t close. The tacos have a permanent place in AJ’s heart and will definitely be thought of when the town of Salem is mentioned.
Decorated in the style of the world-famous train station noted by famous singer Johnny Cash and historian Tom Blake, Victoria Station in Salem, Massachusetts was the 99th location of the once famous chain to open its doors. Location number 100 never opened, and currently Salem is the last remaining Victoria Station in the US. The interior is mostly open, but quaint with plenty of glass, beautiful historic rail road antiques and raised dining areas trimmed with wrought iron that make anyone feel the warmth of passing back into time.
For the walk back to the theatre, we treated ourselves to fancy hot drinks from Jaho Coffee & Tea (across from Bunghole’s Liquors). Coconut Chai Latte was the highlight and we learned that they serve some pretty cool lunch options. Next time we’re looking for something light, Jaho’s the place.
Then it was off to the movies! AJ flung his scarf over his shoulder like a golden era diva, strapped on his evening gloves, tapped his ruby-red slippers and welcomed the press. Once the spots from the camera lights faded, we adjusted our eyes and sank into our seats. On with the show!
We were there to see Kevin James’ previously touted The Creed, but this premiere also celebrated a handful of other local shorts. The entire presentation clocked in at about an hour and a half and ranged from the creepy to the campy with a couple of scare-tastic music videos in the mix.
The Bynars “Every Little Thing You Love” (10 mins, Jean-Paul Disciscio)
A surprisingly effects heavy short form music video with narrative. Its cast was charming (even the bad guys), and its story was oddly sweet. Horror and Sci Fi nerds found much to gush over with this one (we especially dug the Clockwork Orange reference and cartoony filming techniques). As for the music? Delightfully airy and atmospheric. Check it out:
Crappy Pasta (3 mins, Ryan Murphy)
The most consistent laughs of the evening were courtesy of our good friend Ryan Murphy. It’s quick, but in its three minute running time, it manages to parody a plethora of horror tropes in signature snappy fashion. Spencer’s always loved this video, but crowd response made it ever better.
And, of course, the movie of the hour: The Creed. (24 mins, Kevin James)
Spencer donated to this project when Kevin and co. started their Indiegogo campaign sometime in April. It was a handful of familiar faces and a few new ones. The result? The next step in every one of their careers.
The quality was there. The acting, the pace, the premise, the surprise sentimentality. But beyond that, the promotion and selling of the project. The pitch. It’s taking these guys to the next level. We were thoroughly amused and proud to see such collective talent band together and make something good. And we can’t wait for the rest of the world to see it.