The Daily Gamecock

Greg Sestero brings two cults to The Nick: fans of The Room and Miracle Valley

<p>Greg Sestero at a meet and greet before the movie, at The Nickelodeon Theatre.</p>
Greg Sestero at a meet and greet before the movie, at The Nickelodeon Theatre.

For those who know The Room, “An Evening Inside The Room with Greg Sestero” went exactly how one would imagine. This double feature event, hosted last week by The Nickelodeon Theatre, had it all; spoons were thrown, “Hai” was shouted and Sestero brought first-hand references to several crazy Wiseau experiences. 

Greg Sestero is a writer, actor and film maker from California, who at around 25 starred in ‘the greatest bad movie ever made.’ The Room, now a cult classic and viral hit, is a movie from the early 2000s that was so bad it spawned a fanatic following. Ever since its bizarre take off, its virality and popularity have spawned generations of memes, communities and events – with Sestero eventually writing a book called “The Disaster Artist.”

This book is a first-hand account of his experience being a main character in The Room. Now a NYTimes best seller, the book spawned the Oscar nominated movie, “The Disaster Artist.”

Sestero set up the event with The Nick to show an advanced sneak preview of Miracle Valley, his directorial debut horror film. Columbia was one of only five cities where the film had an advance screening, as the movie is slated for release in 2022.

“It was really exciting to be back out there with a crowd and getting to show them a horror film in October. It's just a great reward. Because I think horror films especially should be meant to be seen with the crowd and in great venues,” said Sestero. 

Sestero wrote, directed, produced and starred in this film about a photographer on a search for the perfect shot, who stumbles upon a dangerous cult. 

He has purposefully kept details and clips of the movie secret, because he said he appreciates keeping movies a secret for the element of surprise and pure experience.

“If you liked The Room and you liked The Disaster Artist, you know, I wrote and directed this film, and I always keep my audience in mind, and I think, get some friends together and enjoy it, because it's going to be a wild ride. And as always, you know, it's gonna be an over the top crazy experience and I hope everyone enjoys it,” Sestero said on what to think of Miracle Valley.

The double feature was the first sold-out event showing at The Nick since re-opening, with fans turning up in long lines to get a signature before the showing. 

An attending couple, Chad Allen and Kelly Kilgore, are big fans of The Room and actually watched The Room as their second ever date over the summer. 

“I'm pretty sure the first time... I just watched it by myself in my dorm and I was like 'this is amazing,'” Allen said on his first time watching The Room, who has now seen it several times and is a longtime fan. 

Allen represents just one member of the large community of fans for the hilarious cinematic experience of this movie.  

Due to the nature of The Room, it is not necessarily a movie where just anyone shows up to catch some entertainment. The greater majority there were certainly big fans of the cult classic, and once the film started this became incredibly apparent. 

The audience had the energy and zeal of a once in a decade, high-budget Marvel movie like Avengers: Endgame. People clapped for minutes on end and applauded every mention of the name Tommy Wiseau or Greg Sestero. The showing was a non-stop audience riot, with people having scenes memorized and a constant back and forth between screen and audience.

Cult traditions for the movie happened non-stop, such as throwing spoons at the screen when a spoon is shown on screen or shouting “go, go, go” over the unbelievably long cut scenes of the San Francisco Bridge. 

Much to the audiences’ appreciation, Sestero provided many first-hand experiences during the pre-film Q&A, such as an impression of Tommy Wiseau explaining his nudity in the film or comedic anecdotes about how during the first ever showing of the movie, Sestero walked out and overheard a conversation about how his fellow walkouts felt they had become impotent after viewing the sex scenes. 

The perfect explanation to both the event and the movie was expressed by Sestero in the Q&A, being “it's like an alien delivered a VHS tape and we’re trying to decipher it” amongst explaining how he never thought this movie would take off, but now, looking back almost 20 years later, he can’t believe the success, love and pureness of cinematic fan appreciation he has experienced from it.