I grew up watching Joe Bob Briggs on Monster-Vision with my older sister. It’s thanks to her and Joe Bob that I discovered Return of the Living Dead, one of my favorite movies of all time, as well as legendary scream queen Linnea Quigley. Recently, thanks to Jessie Seitz, the director of the indie horror film Devotion, I was able to attend a Linnea Quigley double feature (which was also the world premiere of Devotion) with Linnea in attendance. Here is what my night was like.
After a long and tiring day at work, I headed home and prepared for the almost hour-long drive to Champaign, Illinois for the event. I grabbed my Linnea Blu-ray’s and was on my way. After arriving at the historic Art Theatre, upon exiting my car and heading to the toward to door, I was greeted by Victor Bonacore, one of the stars of Devotion (as well as its editor. He was also the man behind the excellent Diary of a Deadbeat, a documentary on Jim VanBebber). We spent a while chatting about the film and the horror genre in general and I was introduced to Jadie Marie, one of the stars of Devotion as well as Tobi Rice, one of the producers who also appears in the film.
While waiting for it to be showtime, I caught my first glimpse of Linnea, exiting a local tattoo shop. I was instantly star-struck. Here was a woman I have been a fan of for a long as I could remember. I wanted nothing more than to approach her and tell her how much ROTLD meant to be me but I figured there would be time for that later, so I let her enjoy her time to herself before the show. Little did I know that shortly before the show, I would be introduced to Linnea by Jessie Seitz and was able to tell her that she was one of my favorite actresses and ROTLD was my all time favorite film. I then was able to get my picture taken with the cast and crew of Devotion, which was a really cool moment. Once we finished up, it was 10 minutes to showtime so I headed into the theatre.
First up was Return of the Living Dead, which was preceded by a Q & A with Linnea about the film. It was really fun to hear her talk about what it was like shooting the film and the fact that she never thought it would have the following that it does today. She was incredibly humble. After the Q & A was over, it was time for ROTLD to start. I spent the entire runtime with the biggest smile on my face. It was a close as I would ever come to seeing it again for the first time. I noticed things I have never noticed before and it was an experience I will cherish as long as I live.
Once ROTLD ended, the crowd thundered with applause. It was now time for a brief Q & A with Linnea about her part in Devotion, followed by the world premiere. I was nervous for Jessie, as the film is fairly left of center. My worries were unwarranted. The crown spent the entire screening transfixed and silent. Once the film was over, it was followed up with another round of thunderous applause. The audience absolutely loved it. Being my third opportunity to see the film, I was able to pick up on more of what was going on and the film still left me with an anxious and uneasy feeling.
After the screening, my friend Michele and I were able to meet Linnea one on one and get pictures taken. I told Linnea about how my first viewing of ROTLD was on Monster-Vision and how I finally saw it years later on VHS at the age of 12 and wasn’t aware of her onscreen strip tease until then. We laughed as we talked about what my mother would have said about it. Linnea then signed my Blu-rays of Return of the Living Dead, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Nightmare Sisters, and Witchtrap, all free of charge. I then headed home, still in awe of the night’s events, unable to believe that my lifelong dream of meeting Linnea had come true. Thank you so much, Jessie for the opportunity!