This weekend, we did a highly impractical thing: We drove nearly 600 miles, round-trip, to watch our new movie, “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” in its natural element, the drive-in movie theater! We had to go from our home in Minneapolis, MN, to Jefferson, WI (just outside Madison), to get to the Hi-way 18 Outdoor Theater. Along with us on this adventure were our four Westies, Blanche, Keely, Ambrose, and Oliver. They truly had the right to be there, too, because all four dogs were associate producers of the movie!

Why would we do such a thing, you ask. Chris Mihm had continually teased us during filming about our heads being 90-feet-tall on the drive-in screen so I had to see for myself.

The pooches were angels the whole ride there and during the meet-and-greet before the movies started, and they drew in a lot of dog lovers as they sat alongside director Christopher R. Mihm and his “Zombie” stepson Michael Kaiser, pictured below.

Naturally, we brought our own camera then proceeded to forget to get any pictures of our own adventures. Grrrr. Ah well, one must live in the moment.

“Attack of the Moon Zombies” was the third in a triple feature following “Pirates of the Carribbean on Stranger Tides” and “Tron Legacy.” (Both only so-so movies in my opinion, despite their big-budgets, big-name-actors, and special effects-ladenness.) I was asked to make announcements over the P.A. system to remind people to drop by the snack bar to buy Mihmorabilia and DVDs of all his movies. I had to announce, following the almost totally CGI-based “Tron,” “And now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…” because of the absolutely low-tech, ’50s creature-feature quality of our movie. The fact that it started at nearly 2 a.m. didn’t help keep the crowds there, but a few diehards remained nevertheless (and all those LOVED the movie, by the way!). And a good number of people thought ahead and bought their own DVDs to watch at home after a good night’s sleep.

We’d been planning on staying the night in a camper trailer in Stephanie Mihm’s (Dr. Rutherford in the movie and Chris’s wife in real life) mother’s driveway, because she lives only about 45 minutes from the drive-in, but throughout the night we discovered that might not be a good idea. Keely and Oliver had begun spazzing over every new noise and every person who walked past the car. They almost never do that when in the car during the day, unless another dog or a squirrel passes by. Plus, I think Keely spotted some kind of night-rodent action near the car and stayed on high alert for hours. It was exhausting keeping them quiet. We finally learned the only way to shut up Oliver was to bribe him with popcorn.

Oliver, Blanche, Keely and Ambrose, associate producers and barkie dogs at the drive-in

Given this ongoing naughtiness of theirs, I knew we’d get no sleep in the trailer and the dogs would likely just disturb those trying to sleep in the house, so at nearly 4 a.m., we drove back the five hours to the Twin Cities. We took turns, so we’d each have had at least a small nap to sustain us.

One cool thing was that by the time we were leaving, ours was the only car left in the whole drive-in and a heavy fog had drifted in. I felt like we were in the midst of the mist from an old Universal Studios monster movie. More than a little cool-creepy. But driving home was treacherous to say the least. I’d counted more than a dozen dead deer along the freeway on the way there, and I was really worried one would dart out in the heavy fog so I’d stand zero chance of avoiding a collision. Luckily, we made it out unscathed, but two days later, my bio rhythms are still out of whack. I’m too old for operating on this little sleep!

But the experience was nevertheless infinitely worthwhile. The Hi-way 18 Outdoor Theater is a wonderfully maintained piece of Americana. For $8, you get to see three movies, they have great burgers and popcorn at the snack bar (and probably other stuff is yummy, too, but this was what I personally sampled), their staff was friendly and personable, AND they have WORKING SPEAKERS for you to hang on your car window!! Old school drive-in action at its best! Before the shows started, these speakers were playing awesome oldies music to put you in that nostalgic, 1950s mood. Part of a dying breed, this drive-in is a treasure and worth a trip if you’re ever in the Madison/Jefferson, WI, area in the summer.

You can emulate this experience at home by fashioning a screen from, say, a bed frame with a white sheet stretched across it, and projecting your own collection of Christopher R. Mihm DVDs onto it. Watching these lovingly made cheese-fests is best under the stars!

“Attack of the Moon Zombies” is available for just $10 at <www.sainteuphoria.com>. And, if you live in the Twin Cities and missed the May 25 premiere, you can catch it on Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m. at the recently renovated New Hope Cinema Grill. A mere $15 will get you in to see the greatest B-movie of our time, PLUS an all-you-can-eat salad bar/pizza/soda buffet! (Alcohol is also available for the grown-ups.) Bring the whole family! Advance tickets are available. Purchase yours NOW because there are only 150 seats available and the premiere sold out at the Heights Theater, with 400 seats.

Height Theater premiere lineup

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