A homeless vigilante blows away scumbags with his trusty firearm in “Hobo With a Shotgun,” a 2011 flick starring Rutger Hauer. The movie may be a little jarring, but it’s part of tonight’s “soft” opening at The Royale, a new retro-styled movie house in downtown Mesa that will screen cult classics and B-grade films.
The theater is the latest home for Andrea Beesley-Brown, better known to local fans of schlock cinema as the Midnite Movie Mamacita. After years of screening low-budget and grindhouse flicks in venues in Phoenix, Chandler and Tempe, The Royale is a place Beesley-Brown can finally call her own.
“The goal was always to build enough of a following to build our own venue. I’ve always wanted to have my own place, and now it’s kind of awesome to be able to do something (I’m) passionate about and that (I) enjoy so much,” she says.
She and a crew have spent the past eight weeks bringing the theater — housed in a former furniture store on Main Street — up to snuff, erecting walls to hold movie screens and building platforms to accommodate moveable seating.
“We’ll do a grand opening in a few weeks, but we just want to open the doors and start showing movies,” says Beesley-Brown. “We’ll keep working on things like touch-up painting and getting the window displays all set up. After this weekend, we’ll have a better idea of what we need to do, and then it will just be fine-tuning.”
“Hobo With a Shotgun,” rated R, originated from a fake movie trailer created to play before “Grindhouse,” the 2007 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez homage to exploitation cinema. 2010’s “Machete,” starring Danny Trejo and Jessica Alba, was a similar spoof made into a feature-length film with over the top violence and gore.
Despite the brutal nature of some of its movies, the Royale will be a friendly place, says Beesley-Brown, with a snack bar that sells classic candy and drinks.
“We want it to be comfortable and fun. We kind of want (our patrons) to feel they’ve gone back in time, to get that bit of nostalgia and retro kind of feel.”
And that name — The Royale?
“We wanted something fun and classy, but something that people would kind of recognize, a reference. It’s from a line in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ” says Beesley-Brown.
The Royale — with cheese (Get it? No? See “Pulp Fiction,” if not) — is at 108 W. Main St., Mesa. “Hobo With a Shotgun” plays at 8 p.m. today. Dress like a drifter for the Hobo Costume Contest, and you could win two passes to the 2012 International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, a $300 value, according to Beesley-Brown. “The Room” screens at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $6 at www.brownpapertickets.com
For more information, call (480) 649-0040 or visit www.theroyaleaz.com
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or firstname.lastname@example.org