Amid a New Wave soundtrack, girls sporting side ponytails and neon, ruffled prom dresses walked into the parking lot of an old Circuit City on Sunset Boulevard on Saturday night in what amounted to a flashback to the '80s.
The premises had been transformed into a "Pretty in Pink" prom-themed movie event and an impromptu homage to filmmaker John Hughes, the man who gave a voice to the teen generation of the 1980s and who died of a heart attack last week.
The Hollywood "Almost Free" Outdoor Cinema screened the 1986 film, which explores love and the cruelty of high school cliques. The event drew about 250 moviegoers decked out in '80s-style clothes or dressed like Hughes' film characters, including a "Breakfast Club" John Bender look-a-like.
"Unfortunately, it turned into an untimely tribute, but it [was] a great screening event," said the organizer, Ryan Reiter.
Some fans also signed a memorial wall dedicated to Hughes, where they wrote their favorite movie quotes and memories. "He really gave teens a voice that they didn't have," Reiter said. "His movies are still great. There's still a lot of things that resonate with the teens of today."
Dave Johnson, 43, of Los Angeles, identified with Hughes' geeky characters, in particular those played by Anthony Michael Hall, who always was the underdog in Hughes' films.
"John Hughes hasn't been making movies lately, but one could only hope to be remembered the way he was for his movies," Johnson said.
In a fluorescent, blue vintage prom dress bought at a Goodwill store, Angie Dingman, 36, echoed the sentiment. She recalled her time as a popular high school cheerleader and honor student in the '80s and how she identified with Molly Ringwald's character, Claire, in another of Hughes' teen flicks, "The Breakfast Club."
"I didn't feel pretty," she said. "I was a part of that popular group but always felt a bit like an outsider."
Teens who grew up on Hughes' movies, like her, are most influenced by his films, she said.
"You feel like you could relate to so many characters," Dingman said. "No matter what movie you watched, you could see yourself in them. He left behind a great legacy and some great movies."
The night also saw a prom queen. Alicia Kreutzkampf, 32, of Los Angeles, in a replica of the handmade prom dress Ringwald's character, Andie, wore in "Pretty in Pink," took the title. (And a Duckie impersonator mimicked Jon Cryer's moves to win the dance-off.)
The summer series, which shows B movies and cult classics, premiered in the Southland on July 25 and will run weekly until Aug. 29.