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Eegah! Museum attacked by 50-foot prehistoric triffid from valley of Gwangi

RALEIGH - What happens when worlds collide? What hides in the valley of Gwangi? How tall is the 50-foot woman? And what exactly is a triffid? Or a theremin? If you know the answer to any of these questions, you've got a head start on the Natural Horror Picture Show's 100th Anniversary Celebration and Trivia Contest, coming to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh on Friday, May 1 at 7 pm. Free.

It started as a marketing concept and turned into a spine tingling ritual with a cult following. The Natural Horror Picture Show, braaaaaaiiin-child of Museum marketeers Jeff Williford and Steve Popson, has been a unique First Friday attraction since the Museum opened its new building in April 2000. "The new Museum had a 270-seat movie theater," says Popson. "It was cool and all, but we knew we couldn't fill that many seats showing a nature film. 'Godzilla vs. Mothra' on the other hand ."

Now, on the evening of its 100th show, you can try to Name That Movie Clip, watch winning entries from the Homemade B-Movie Trailer Contest, then compare them to some of the worst movie trailers ever. All in a really big theater.

Over the years, the Picture Show has featured flicks ranging from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" to "Bride of Frankenstein" to "2001: A Space Odyssey." Mix in live local bands, liquid and solid refreshments, and undead trivia with cool prizes (including King Kong Ding Dongs and Living Dead BBQ Sauce). Add in a pinch of Skip "AV Geek" Elsheimer and his mind-boggling collection of 22,000 recycled and digitized school film strips. It's been a recipe guaranteed to please the entire family.

The Museum stays open from 5 pm till 9 pm on the first Friday of every month. Arrive early and wander through eye-catching exhibits highlighting the natural beauty of North Carolina, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live music from Starmount. Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30 pm) for Patricia Savage, whose show "Landscapes and Blossoms" appears in the Nature Art Gallery through May 31. All exhibited art is for sale.

The Museum of Natural Sciences is located in downtown Raleigh at 11 West Jones Street. Parking is available on the street and in surface lots along Wilmington and Edenton streets. For more information, contact Steve Popson at 919.733.7450 x379.