Dex Nichols loves bad movies. Cheap props, wooden dialogue and monsters with obvious zipper lines are the building blocks to a movie night at Nichols' home in McKinney. And for one night each month, he wants you to watch them with him.
Each month Nichols selects a bad movie or two, stocks up on drinks and snacks and opens his home to strangers who share the same appreciation of cinematic failures. On Bad Movie Night, unfamiliar faces become fast friends as they poke fun at bizarre films such as The Greasy Strangler or ultra low-budget horror fare like Suburban Sasquatch.
“Sometimes if there’s like bad weather, it could be as little as five people show up,” Nichols says. “Other nights it’ll be like 20 people, and we run out of chairs.”
The Bad Movie Nights started in February 2017 after Nichols attended a similar event. Nichols had long been a fan of Red Letter Media, the website known for humorous discussion and critique of all things cinema, and he wanted to possibly start his own YouTube channel to do the same. Seeing the success of local movie-watching parties pushed him to the next step.
A typical Bad Movie Night will involve guests arriving in the evening to jump in on some party games while grabbing a drink. Once everyone is present and ready, the first movie is fired up and all in attendance are encouraged to make jokes and point out the absurdities of the night’s entertainment. The overall experience is akin to viewing a midnight screening of The Room or The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
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Nichols regularly posts on Reddit about his Bad Movie Nights, typically hosted near the end of each month, through his username FullMetalPyramidHead. Anyone is free to reach out and secure a spot at Nichols’ home to take part in the festivities. There’s always an inherent risk with inviting strangers into your home, but so far Nichols hasn’t had any problems or concerns with the Reddit community that make it to his events. That’s not to say he doesn’t exercise some caution.
“I usually have them add me on Facebook, so I can look through there and make sure they’re not too creepy,” Nichols says. “But not everyone has Facebook, so sometimes I’ll just look through their Reddit profile.”
In the future, Nichols wants to commit full time to filmmaking — he has a few screenplays in different stages of development. But for now, his day job and planning movie nights take up a large portion of his time. In the meantime, Nichols is taking internet strangers and making them IRL friends.
“There’s a lot of regulars,” Nichols says. “I didn’t know them until they showed up, and now they’re pretty good friends. They show up to every one that they can, usually every one. Sometimes they might have to miss one or so. And then there’s always a good amount of new people at every one too.”