B-Fest Diary 2008


A Good Cast is Worth Repeating:


As always, B-Fest is really about the people. We had a comparatively small crowd this year, but it was a fun crowd. I can’t describe the satisfaction I felt on Saturday and Sunday as I looked around the room and just drank in the camaraderie. It’s a great blessing to me.

First, my good old friend Jeff Witham, who flies in from Arizona each year and rents a big van so that I may abuse the hell out of his good nature. Why he puts up with me I’ll never know.

Joe Robin (who once ran the now sadly dormant Opposable Thumbs review site), like Jeff, lived up here once before moving away. They are both much missed. Joe now lives in Tennessee with his lovely wife Tina and their adorable daughter Katie. We’d been hoping Tina and Katie would make the trip (if not the Fest—once was enough for Tina), but it was not to be. I look forward to seeing them again sometime soon, though. However, Joe did bring back his cousin Nick and their friend Jesse for their (I think) second B-Fest. They are good guys both.

Jabootu contributor Chris Magyar (soon to grace these pages again) is the same fine fellow who brought Jabootu.net to life, thus making the site much easier for me to manage. He’s a hale companion as well. Sadly, his friend the beauteous and, dare I say, spunky Lodore (I’ll pay for that, I’m sure) was not able to make it this year. Hopefully next year.

Liz, aka Jabootu’s own Lianna Skywalker, came in for her yearly appearance with her husband Charles. I can’t imagine the show if they didn’t make it some year. As a bonus, they brought along their friends Scott and Timmy (the latter, name notwithstanding, a most charming young lady). Both had obviously been well-briefed, as they too treated me like a senile but affectionately-viewed uncle, rather than just the complete moron I surely would have otherwise seemed.


Julie and Tim Quandt, long-time friends (I knew Julie as the younger sister of a pal back in my high school days), came in from Iowa again. It’s always a pleasure.

Jabootu contributor Jessica Ritchey is another veteran campaigner in the B-Fest fields, and as always it was good to see her.

It was my very great pleasure to finally meet Steve Billips, proprietor of the now sadly defunct but much beloved Gangrene Widescreen website. (Rest assured, Joe and I applied what pressure we could to get Steve to take up the pen once more. And I assume he will, in some form or other. Nobody who writes that well can stay away from it permanently, I think.) Steve brought along his lady friend, the charming Leighann, who to my vast relief didn’t react with unmitigated horror to the entire B-Fest experience. Or, if she did, she hid it well.

Of course, there were several folks notable for their absence. Chris Holland of Stomp Tokyo had other commitments, and thus missed the show for the first time since he started attending back in the day (I think). Even so, Stomp Tokyo was a typically visible presence, due only partly to the traditional logoed glasses they give away at the Fest each year. Andrew Borntreger of Badmovies.org was also sadly not in attendance, although at least this year it wasn’t because he was in Iraq. Freeman Williams also couldn’t make it; I hope to see you in Texas this summer, my friend. And finally, much noted and mourned was the absence of Kirk and Patty Draut, who have made themselves much beloved in these parts in a very short amount of time. I’ll see you guys in July, hopefully, and everyone here hopes to see you next year.

Finally, a shout out to my co-worker Matt Hoffman, who wandered in for the first few movies, failed to find our group, and wisely choose to save his sanity with a quick exit. I’ll be working on getting him to stay longer next year. We also intend to drag along our fellow worker Tony Letrich. In pursuance of that goal, I’ve been watching old episodes of The A-Team, and taking notes on how they’d put sedatives in Mr. T’s cheeseburgers to get him onto an airplane.

It Approaches:

One unusual thing this year was that tickets did not sell out on the first day of sale. In fact, as far as I know, they never did. (If they did, it must have been at the check-in desk the day of the event.) It would be nice if we were permanently past that phase. In the past several years I’ve eaten a ton of spare tickets at $35 a pop, buying more than I needed for fear that I’d need more at the last minute. This year I had one extra; and that was only because I help out hopes until the last moment that Andrew Borntreger would find his duty calendar cleared up. It wasn’t to be, but I’d do the same next year.


Going in, the biggest fear was weather. I knew we’d been avoiding my yearly great worry, which involves the city getting hit with a ton of snow. That didn’t happen, but we knew going in it was going to be a quite cold weekend, with temps dipping down below zero. Not as bad as the insane stretch we got last year, luckily the week after B-Fest, when we stayed under minus twenty degrees (and periodically hit minus thirty-five to forty in overnight temps) for over a week, but pretty frigid nonetheless. Still and all, it was so cold that cars didn’t start, or that my water pipes froze, and those were my real concerns. All’s well that ends well.

As usual, I took advantage of my generous vacation allotment to take off both the week before and after the Fest. Forty years worth of accumulated crap again resisted my halfhearted efforts, but I did manage to make a couple of holes for people to sleep. Better luck next year. The pre-Fest week, as usual, was spent in a whirlwind of shopping for snacks and things. I also replaced the Tower o’ Snacks, as the old one threw a shoe and had to be shot. Sadly, the new one also immediately turned up lame. New strategy: Keep the drawer unit part, and buy one of those flat, wheeled dollies to move it around on. (Meanwhile, one of my cooler spigots broke, and it was dripping water onto the floor most of the show. So that’s something else to replace for next year.)

Most annoyingly, I learned the hard way that all the Hostess / Wonder retail shops in the area had shut down. This made finding the essential fruit pies a real pain. (And I never did find any of my favorites, the blueberry ones.) For some reason the first several gas stations I stopped at were all out of them. Finally, I found a batch of lemon, apple and chocolate ones at a 7-11, although they cost me three times what they would have at the old Hostess shops. At least they went. In the end, there was only one pie remaining, a lemon, and I gladly took that. Otherwise, I mainly stuck with my new favorite snack, dark chocolate Raisinets, although with the occasional, obligatory Nutty Bar.

(Also this year, I managed to bring enough Diet Cokes that Liz didn’t run out. That’s not an experience I wish to repeat.)

The biggest supply-related thrill I had, though, was when a guy, apparently conversant with the Tales of the fabled Tower o’ Snacks, came by and asked me if I had any Visine. I did indeed, in the top drawer with the first aid kit, throat spray, Tums, Tylenol, etc. Those supplies seldom get touched, but when you need ’em, they’re great to have on hand. The guy later gave me a ten spot just before we left, which was completely unnecessary. If he didn’t raid our stuff more aggressively this year, I hope he comes by and gets his money’s worth in 2009.

Assembling the Troops:

People started arriving the day before the show. Joe, Jesse and Nick drove in Thursday evening, and we were joined by (Techmaster) Paul and Holly Smith for our traditional pre-Fest dinner at Jameson’s Charhouse. Then the boys and we returned to my trailer, and waited for Jeff to arrive. As usual (and thank goodness), he had also rented a Grand Caravan. We watched The Giant Claw on its new DVD release, then hit the hay. I didn’t sleep overly well, but I’m old now, so that’s sort of par for the course.

Friday morning we all rose and gorged ourselves at the L & L Snackshop, the greatest breakfast place in the universe. Seriously, we all ate just a ton of food; when you order a ‘side’ of hashbrowns there, you get a huge platter of them, fresh cut and still steaming from the stove. They also have the best meats in the world, and know just how to cook them. Yum.


Eventually we staggered out and did some last minute shopping, although Jeff couldn’t find the energy drink he wanted. We found others of the same brand, so maybe the one flavor or mix or whatever he sought is regional or something. Ah, well, better hunting next year.

We returned home, and eventually Chris Magyar appeared in his own rental car. By then Steve Billips had been contacted, and as he was still on the road, we decided to just have him meet us down on the Northwestern campus. Joe and the boys went with Jeff in the Caravan (whose voluminous cargo area took *all* our gear), while I went with Chris, since he had never been a local. We headed to Superdawg for our traditional last meal.


Chris and I were yakking in the car, and he instinctively turned at the direction of his rental vehicle’s yakking GPS device, which naturally and completely pointlessly took us onto the toll road. It didn’t save us any time, either, so the whole thing was rather dumb. Then when we eventually got to Superdawg, Jeff didn’t show up for a while. We feared he had followed us on the expressway and gotten lost (as I would have been), but luckily he had just missed a turn and showed up after a bit.

After fortifying ourselves for the ordeal ahead, we hit the road for the last leg of the journey. We arrived at Norris University Center just about 4:00, two hours early. We unloaded our gear (the already lamed Tower, three big coolers and two minis, a camp chair, our army cot we stick up on stage, etc.) and got it into the McCormick Auditorium, where Tim and Julie were already stationed, and had even saved us our normal bank of seats, which basically were five to six seats across in the first through third rows.


Jeff and I joined Julie and Tim in the first row, while Steve and Leignann grabbed the ones next to me when they arrived shortly before the show started. Chris, joined by his friend _____, took the aisle seats in the second row, with Liz’s crew taking the next four. (Liz herself mostly sat in the camp chair down by us, from which position we was closer to the stage, to us, and, most importantly, the Diet Coke cooler.) Joe, Nick and Jesse grabbed the third row seats.

And then it was 6:00 PM…


I’m too lazy to keep track anymore, especially as to what shorts they showed and when, but I think this is otherwise correct.

Warning!  Poster features much more killer octopus than movie does!

The first movie was Tentacles, an Italian killer octopus flick. I’d been pushing for a Jaws knock-off flick for years, but this is maybe the most boring of the bunch. Basically, they didn’t have the money or the expertise to make anything past a big rubber octopus head, which moved through the water in the wrong direction (octopi scoot backwards). That’s right, no tentacles reaching out of the water to snare people, which is quite extraordinarily lame. Basically boats and people would go in the drink, while the octopus seemed to be off in another movie altogether. The events are set in a not-very-convincing ‘Californian’ seaside town, which is naturally holding a big boating event. They imported a bunch of bored looking American stars, including Shelly Winters, John Huston, Bo Hopkins, Claude Akins and Henry Fonda (!), most of who probably shot their scenes in one day (Fonda particularly never leaves his character’s house), grabbed their paycheck and ran.


Highlights included the crowd getting hyped when the film has the hilarious bad taste to have the octopus opening the movie by eating a baby (offscreen, of course); the seemingly endless scene of a guy adjusting the knobs on his car radio; the scene with the very obese gentleman who we sadly see in a swimsuit; and who eventually gets eaten but only after a snorkeling friend of his jumps from the water and false scares us twice (I was hoping for a spring-loaded cat in a swim mask by that point, but sadly we didn’t get one). Joe had a good time with this one. When Winters appeared wearing an absurdly large cane hat, he referenced an old Saturday Night Live bit in which Norm McDonald, playing Burt Reynolds, annoyed Alex Trebeck by asserting that a similarly large foam hat he wore was “funny because it’s bigger than a normal hat.” However, his real triumph was making the snorkeling guy a running joke throughout the Fest. Whenever a movie tried to get scary, he’d say, “And the guy from Tentacles jumps out.”

Next was the old Universal flick Dracula’s Daughter, which oddly for this slot is a bit of a mood film. Even more oddly, the crowd actually stayed quiet enough so you could hear most of it. The hero is a psychiatrist (although he gets called in on all sorts of cases, like a severe case of anemia), and at one point posits the theory that the way to get someone to conquer an addition is to give them what they crave and hope they resist it. Chris Magyar and I loved this idea and it became our most consistent running joke. Whenever a monster showed up, for instance, one of us would go, “Here’s a potential victim for you to kill, but don’t… NO!… NO!… DON’T… STOP THAT…” Well, we thought it was funny, anyway.

Next was Barbarella. I mentioned to someone some time ago (Andy Borntreger?) that I had never seen this film, and was told I had to watch it. Whoever told me that was wrong. It’s not because I loathe Jane Fonda, either, although I’ll admit she had a nice pair of boobs, which she and her creepy husband/director Roger Vadim share with us, and was in particular wonderfully convincing in appearing not to have a single thought in her head (or her life, for that matter) throughout the picture. Watching this, I came to the conclusion that she made it solely to strike at her estranged actor father. On the tech side, they kept having projection problems during the famous orgasm machine sequence, which drew a few catcalls from those somewhat more engaged than I by the movie. And for what it’s worth, there was a lot of laughing over the fact that one character was named Duran Duran, although this is where the band got its name. In any case, I’ve seen more than a few of the European camp films from this period, including Bava’s Danger Diabolik, and on the whole they leave me cold. (I like the similarly exaggerated West German krimi genre, though.) I find them just too smug for the room, and the overreliance on outrageous set design does little for me. Notably, I was largely alone in my then group of friends for not particularly liking Flash Gordon when it came out, and the two films are amazingly alike. Dino DeLaurentiis produced both, and must have had a lot of input, considering how akin they were. If nothing else, I scratched Barbarella off my list, and will never have to watch it again. If it shows up again someday at the Fest, it will provide a welcome opportunity to take a nap.

Around midnight we of course got Plan 9 from Outer Space, the most audience-participation heavy film every year. I tried to sleep through this, but only managed to for maybe half the movie. This year included a nice moment when attendees marched across the stage and left roses before the screen during the funeral of the character played by Maila “Vampira” Nurmi. Ms. Nurmi just passed away but a week or two ago. It was a touching tribute from folks who for all their heckling really do love these movies with a passion. Rest in peace, ma’am. If I remember correctly, it was following this that Steve and Leighann repaired from Norris to grab some actual sleep at a motel they’d booked.

The next movie was Black Sampson, which was great because you can NEVER go wrong with a blaxploitation film at B-Fest. BS is a big dude in (what else) a dashiki who of course tries to keep eeeeevil white gangsters out of his neighborhood. This one didn’t have as familiar a cast as most, but the chief villain was played by the always welcome William “Big Bill” Smith, who unsurprisingly shows up at B-Fest a lot (Invasion of the Bee Girls, Dr. Minx, etc.) One character’s high voice led to a lot of amusing Chris Tucker jokes. For himself, BS uses a big African tribal staff as a weapon—at least when he doesn’t drop it, which happens a lot—and perplexed me by having a lion at his nightclub which never once takes part in the action. I mean, what the hell? If a villain has a piranha tank, you’d have him drop somebody into it, right? Same thing. Otherwise this was pretty great stuff, though, and another movie I’d never seen.

Zardoz is a great B-Fest movie, having last played here in 1999, but having already seen the similarly formless Barbarella, I decided to sack out while the sacking was good. I slept through most of the movie, but was up while there was maybe 20 minutes left. Even that was annoying. What a retarded, pretentious mess. Still, if you ever wanted to see Sean Connery in a diaper, here’s your chance.

The Magic Sword is a kiddie sword and sorcery flick made by Bert I. Gordon, and hence filled with unconvincing but highly fun giant creatures. A patently unhappy Basil Rathbone is the villain, and his snobby disdain for the proceedings was presumably none to taxing to portray. The hero, meanwhile, is a bland schlub who only beats everyone because he’s been given hilariously monty magic items, especially his sword and shield, which do about anything the script requires at anytime. Meanwhile, he has six sidekicks who die throughout the movie (but all happily and nonsensically return to life before the fadeout), all of whom are hilariously broad ethnic stereotypes: Irish guy, French guy, Scottish guy, etc. On the whole I was pretty entertained by this, but the beat up old print was often saturated one color, and the scope presentation had the projector squeezing the film so that all the characters looked like those deformed character toys they make in Japan. Too bad, but I still liked it. The film includes a woman who turns into a panther, making it one of several movies this year to feature big cats.

I was next surprised by the appearance of The Blue Bird, a famous fiasco that resulted from the first attempt to make an American / Soviet co-production. Big stars like Liz Taylor and Jane Fonda (again) went to Mother Russia to make the movie, during which Fonda no doubt let the natives know how lucky they were to live in a Worker’s Paradise rather than the U.S. A teeny tiny Patsy Kensit got the Pia Zadora role of the little girl, and her gigantic blue eyes made her look like an anime character. She came a long way before delivering one of the most memorable nude scenes in film history opposite Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2. The funniest part of the movie is when a bunch of household items ranging from fire to water to a dog and cat to milk to a loaf of bread and a sugar bowl and other stuff all got turned either into slumming American stars (Cicely Tyson as the cat, etc.) or a Russian ballet star who presumably showed up only because The State ‘requested’ they do so. This went on and on and you thought everything would get this treatment: “I’m the Broken Hinge your Grandfather keeps in his junk drawer!” “I’m an Old Ketchup Package!” “I’m a Shoe Lace!” “I’m some Twine!” “I’m that Old Lock that you no longer have a key for!” “I’m your Fireplace Poker!” Jessica joined us for this one, excited beyond measure, having read of the endless travails behind the production as detailed in hilarious details by the Medved Brothers in one of their bad movie books. Taylor plays a variety of characters and basically sucks at all of them. There were a bunch of kind of creepy scenes where people just a bit too affectionate with the kiddie stars, and the whole thing remained true to the mordant soul of Russia by basically being hilariously downbeat for a children’s film. Fabulously awful. I have this on DVD somewhere, so I’ll have to dig it out and give it a review.

Next was Marijuana, a would-be with-it documentary about weed that tried to be so fair as to whether MJ is totally cool or a social disaster waiting to happen that the whole thing was an incomprehensible muddle. In order to draw in the kids, it is hosted by Sonny Bono looking just like Ringo Starr (or Ringo Starr looking just like Sonny Bono), who sits on the corner of a desk clad in a satin Nehru jacket with matching slacks and shows up in-between faked dramatic scenes and phony on-the-street interviews to further confuse us as to what the film’s point of view was meant to be.

The Mummy’s Hand is the first of Universal’s Kharis the Mummy movies, following the earlier The Mummy, whose own titular character Im-ho-tep (played by Boris Karloff) only wore the traditional bandages for one scene. This for me was pretty fun stuff; in nothing else, they are nice and short. Familiar character actors like an inevitably villainous George Zucco and an amiable Cecil “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” Kelloway are on hand. This introduced all the mythology the rest of the series used, including the Tanna Leaves from which the fluid is brewed that keeps and mobile Kharis alive. Throughout all four Kharis movies, which are very junky but fun, they kept warming not to give him too much, or he’d become an indestructible super-menace. I guess the warnings took, because this never happened. Here this had both Chris and I periodically saying, “Here’s a big bowl of Tanna Leaf fluid, Kharis, but don’t drink… NO!… NO!… DON’T… STOP THAT…”

The Undying Monster is a weird one, because I hadn’t seen it since I was a little kid, and then it came out on DVD about a month ago with two other films by the same director. I rented it, and thus saw it for the first time in about thirty-plus years, and then it played here. Go figure. The film is a fun if creaky Old Dark House flick with about literally 10 total seconds of monster action. It was an attempt by Columbia to cash in on Universal’s popular monster movies, but they were too conservative to go all out. Having just seen this, I ran downstairs to grab a slice of pizza. Hot food, yum.

Xanadu proved to be one of those films that while lame in the extreme when watched by yourself, is extremely fun with a large and belligerent crowd. Olivia Newton-John is seriously cute, Gene Kelly is Gene Kelly (even here), and Michael “Megaforce” Beck is entirely lame as the default romantic protagonist with then a stylishly long hair helmet. Needless to say, they don’t even try to get the mythology right; there are nine muses, but they are all different races (I tried to figure out if the Asian one was Elato or Carriope), they all seem to dabble in all the Arts, and Zeus is voiced by a patently British sounding Wilfred Hyde White. Most of the familiar songs, generally by ELO, appear early in the going, making the rest even more obnoxious. Still, as a prime example of ’80s camp, it played exceedingly well. By the way, the lead character is a painter stuck painting copies of record cover art when he wants to, as far as I could tell, instead paint original record cover art. In any case, he actually opens a gigantic and completely moronic disco called, inevitably, Xanadu. (Film reviewed by Jessica Ritchey here [sorry about the missing pictures, we’re working on it], and here’s my side piece…just scroll down.)

The Creature Walks Among Us – the third, final and least of the Creature of the Black Lagoon movies. Fun for me, still, but I wondered what the youngins’ in the audience thought of them scheduling four Universal-type horror films (including Undying Monster) from the ’30s through the ’50s. Four of anything at B-Fest is a tricky business, and lots of people just don’t dig those older movies. This one featured a great cast of ’50s sci-fi actors, though, like Rex Reason and Jeff “The Giant Claw” Morrow. By the way, the poster is a stone cold con: neither the cast nor the Creature ever get anywhere near a city.

Next was an excruciating ‘short’ that must have lasted 20 minutes. A whispering/hissing narrator who I wanted to kill watches as one kid calls other kids to his tree house with by playing a clarinet, whereupon we watch the kids read war comics (mostly fake, but amusingly including an issue of Sgt. Rock with a clearly anti-war message) and we are then told—via the whispering—that they are now being brainwashed into becoming killers for the government. The whole thing (finally) ends with a raid on some younger kids’ sand castles, which the older, now killbot-like boys destroy with M-80s…which looked frankly awesome! I can’t describe how painful this was with its endless whispering narration and its ten-second ‘message’ that gets strung out for like 20 minutes. Gaak. Like the very worst, most smug episodes of M*A*S*H*, this is the sort of thing that can actually turn the anti-war into the anti-anti-war.

Lone Wolf McQuade: When the ordered print of Empire of the Ants turned out to be damaged, they got this instead. It’s the best of Chuck Norris’ movies, save only Code of Silence. It’s basically shot exactly like a Spaghetti Western, and is very fun. I remember seeing this when it came out, and I wasn’t disappointed by a second look. Getting David Carradine to play the villain was such a coup that they were contractually obligated to not (technically) have Norris beat him in hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, sexy Barbara Carrera is the heroine caught between the two men, while Norris’ daughter falls into peril with ridiculous ease. I missed some of this because Jeff and I started moving gear back into the Caravan while the sun was still out, but even so, it’s just great stuff. It’s everything you love about cheesy ’80s action films.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla Oddly, I don’t think I’d ever seen this. Not a great Godzilla movie by any means—and I was so tired I kept momentarily nodding off, but only during the Godzilla parts!—but fun nonetheless. This one had gorilla aliens trying to take over the Earth, and lots of bad would-be spy action, and other filler. Meanwhile, the Godzilla featured here is the kiddie one with the big Bambi eyes, although because he’s in a Japanese kiddie film, he sprays blood in geysers when he’s attacked. The film does contain one terrific shot, where Godzilla is on a rampage, and ends up confronted by another Godzilla, and we realize the ‘bad’ one is actually Mechagodzilla in disguise. Godzilla tended to evince lame new ‘powers’ every movie during this period (as when he flew [!!] in vs. the Smog Monster), and here he can turn magnetic. Whatever, dude. After the show I spoke with Wyatt, who had run the previous year’s B-Fest, and he noted that Toho has recently made prints of about all of the Godzilla movies commercially available, so getting one each year should now be no problem. Let me cast my vote for Son of Godzilla, or Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.

After the Apocalypse:


Anyway, that ended the show. We cleaned up fairly quickly, since Jeff and I had already stowed a lot of the gear (with Steve’s help). To my relief, everybody’s cars started up, and we caravanned back to Paul and Holly’s house for the annual pizza party.

The big screwup this year came when I asked Paul for a Gino’s Pizza (the best in the world) menu, and ended up with one for Jake’s by mistake, and didn’t notice as I phoned an order in. Then I went to Gino’s, and when they didn’t have my order, I re-issued it. Of course, we ended up with duplicate orders from each place, and with about 15 extra pounds of pizza. Still, there was one year we had nine entire deep dish pizzas left over, so aside from wasting some money, it was hardly a disaster. Other than that, we yakked (Chris and Liz and I had the wonderful sort of political discussion where whenever we disagreed, and we did quite often between the three of us, nobody accused the other guy of being a racist or some crap like that. I love you guys.) Meanwhile, the guys in the living room called up old SNL bits and the like from the Internet and watched them on Paul’s mammoth TV set. A good enough time was had by all that we didn’t break up until about 2:30 A.M.


Jesse and Steve and Leighann opted for hotel rooms, Julie and Tim stayed with relatives, and the rest stayed at either my place or Paul & Holly’s. Since it was a smallish crew, we were not packed, although St. Jeff slept on a cot in my kitchen since we brought Jessica with us. Jeff was driving her to the airport in the morning, and it made more sense that way. I went with them, and Joe and Nick slept in a bit, then they picked up Jesse and eventually we all met (sans Steve and Leighann, who headed back home) at Ritzy’s for the traditional Sunday breakfast. Again, looking over the table, I felt deep satisfaction over the way B-Fest has allowed me to gather with so many friends every year. It really is my favorite time of year now, along with T-Fest in Texas.

Jeff returned to the airport following breakfast, while Joe, Nick and Jesse hit the road for the drive back to Kentucky. Tim and Julie moved on as well. And so I, Liz and the Gang, Chris all joined Paul and Holly back at their place for a last hurrah. This involved watching Night of the Lepus, with which Liz was especially thrilled. Then it was there turn to start their return drive, taking some spare pizza with them. That finally left only me and Chris. We watched the somewhat goofy Latitude Zero, and then Chris had to get to the airport. Since I had ridden in with Jeff, he dropped me home on the way. And thus another B-Fest was in the books.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who joined us this year, and hope we see each and every one of you in 2009, if not in Texas this summer.

Liz’s typically hilarious rundown of this year’s film slate can be found here.

  • Food

    Reading this made me jealous. Y’all had a blast!
    We need a West Coast B-Fest.

  • Jay

    I’ve been thinking the same thing, Food, & trying to figure out a way to put something like that together. SoCal b-movie freaks need some love, too.

    A West Fest!

  • You have blasphemed against Barbarella for the last time!

    …Uh, unless you do so again. But then that will be the last! C’mon, the movie even mocks the hippies you hate so much: “A weapon? Why would anybody ever need a weapon?” Jane Fonda was not Ho Chi Minh; you must…let go of your hatred. She was just like the rest of the hippies; she just happened to be a famous one who was able to go over there and spout her hippie nonsense. She and the hippies were wrong about a lot of things, but not about Nixon lying to America.

    Unless…you support Nixon too? Goddamn, that’s too much for me.

    She’s so hot in Barbarella, hot I say! Isn’t that what really matters?

  • All I can say is, you really don’t know much about Jane Fonda. And I didn’t say I hated her, I said I loathed her. There’s a difference.

    In any case, my feelings for her had nothing to do with why I didn’t like Barbarella (or Blue Bird, for that matter). It’s just a bad movie, and not in a good way. Fonda was in several good movies, and some enjoyably bad ones (Hurry Sundown being the prime example). Not everything is about politics. In fact, most things aren’t.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I wish I could’ve seen The Magic Sword on a big screen. I have an unrepentant love of that dopey movie. I think it’s mostly due to the dragon. What I wouldn’t give to have that prop…

    So another B-Fest comes and goes, and sounds like a lot of fun that I once again missed out on. *sigh*
    At least there’s T-Fest…and then, in ’09, I swear to Jabootu I’m making it to the big daddy.

  • “What I wouldn’t give to have that prop…”

    Good grief, Rev, what would you do with it? It’s as big as a garage.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I’d have an extra-large shed built for it, and I’d go out and have mock battles with it. (No fire-breathing though; last thing I need is to stumble and end up in the burn ward. Or incinerate the shed I built for it.)

    Who knows, maybe I could make a movie with it…or at least a YouTube video.
    “The Reverend and the Dragon,” coming soon to a monitor near you!

  • Not having seen the movie in well over a decade, what made Patsy Kensit’s scene in LW2 so memorable?

  • turkish spock

    Sounds like it was a good B-Fest this year. Kinda makes me wish I’d gone this year.

    I’m actually with you on Barbarella, and I LIKE European camp. Barbarella’s so flatly-directed and uninvolving that it does very little for me. It’s like it had the life art-directed out of it. Danger: Diabolik does the same thing much better, I think.

    And what’s up with David Hemmings’ huge billing on that Barbarella poster? Doesn’t he have a glorified cameo in the actual movie? I know he was pretty hot after Blow Up, but I also know that his output immediately following Blow Up was kinda not so hot.

  • B-Fest was fun once again, not as great as last year, but loads better than two years ago, when a lame lineup and excessive heat nearly drove me insane. I agree that four old b&w movies are too many, particularly scheduling two of them back-to-back. All four are relatively entertaining–much more so than XANADU or THE BLUE BIRD–but I think a more varied menu is best. I was surprised that there were fewer ’80s or later films schedule…well, actually MCQUADE (a brilliant choice for B-Fest) wasn’t scheduled, and XANADU is barely ’80s.

    Thanks for letting me relive it through your writeup, Ken.

  • I’m glad you had a great time at B-fest, this year. With things back in order, my goal is to definitely be there next year!

  • Capt. Nemo

    You forgot to mention that Sonny Bono was doing the movie Marijuana with his eyes total glazed over.

    The rumor is that Sonny was high during filming.

  • I can’t say I appreciate being told I don’t know about something that I have done research on, but whatever. I had a follow up post, but I guess anybody alive in the 70s doesn’t want to hear about it from anyone who wasn’t, so forget about it.

    “I’ve said a lot of off-the-wall things in my life. All I can say about that is I was naive and utterly wrong.”-Jane Fonda

  • Ericb

    I wish Toho would give Anguirus a break and let him be effective once in a while. He was my favorite Toho monster when I was a kid … I guess I identified with him a bit as a fellow loser.

  • The title of my latest blog post sums it up: Darn It! I missed B-Fest again!

    I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God is my witness, I’ll never miss B-Fest again.

  • “J.R.” Jenks? Like that guy on Dallas? What sort of phony-baloney name is that?

  • Dan Coyle

    I would say my politics are about a 180 from Ken’s, and I normally find Jane Fonda exceedingly dull, and Barbarella was a spectacular waste of time. It’s a movie that you just watch clips of on YouTube, not actually sit through. Just my .02.

    I just got back from Rambo today; I don’t know if you’d want to subject yourself to it Mr. Begg but it’s a… visceral experience.

  • Oh, I Begg your pardon!

    It’s good to catch up with an old friend.

    Very very good.

    Very very old.

  • Jeff Witham

    “I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God is my witness, I’ll never miss B-Fest again.” – J.R.

    J.R. – can I pick who you get to kill?



  • sandra

    Personally, I found ZARDOZ a lot more boring than TENTACLES, which was at least not pretentious (and that baby-eating scene creeped me out). I’m not surprised that you slept through ZARDOZ, as it was clearly made by people who knew nothing about the sf/fantasy genre, and cared even less. They always reinvent the wheel. I’m a little surprised at all the big budget Hollywood films on this year’s list. Maybe next year you can get some genre classics like SPIDER BABY or TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE on the program.

  • Tim Lehnerer

    Awww, no mention of this year’s CD? I’m hurt. Also, very vain.

  • The legendary TelStar is right, of course. Another brilliant music collection, as always. Sorry, sir! Please mark my lapse up to that post B-Fest fugue.

  • you have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  • joeybot

    Wow, a conservative fat guy who basically spends his time making fun of bad movies? Yeah, you seem like a winner.