Editor Ken: Profound apologies to Chad, who worried about the lateness of his piece–see the first sentence below–only to have me a) ask to hold it for B-Fest 2013, and b) then forget to post it. Still, with B-Fest 2013 occurring this weekend, it’s not a bad time to check out one man’s impression of the previous Fest.
Before we begin, I just wanted to apologize for the length of time this took to get into Ken’s hands. This was quite a different prospect from my usual TF and TwF write-ups, where I drive 25 minutes, watch movies, and go home. As such, it’s easily the longest thing I’ve written for this site to date, so be warned. Also, I’ve just been insanely busy this year, and my free time has shrunk to nil. I hope this proves to be worth the wait.
Greetings, Jabootuites! It is I, Jabootu’s unofficial Fest scribe, The Rev., here to regale you with a tale…a tale of Tae Kwon Do, yetis, wheatcakes, carnivorous beds, tequila, good times, good friends, and much more. What Jabootu films did I finally see, and what did I think of them? What B-Master did I meet for the first time? What article of GalaxyJane’s clothing filled me with envy? And how does the band Survivor fit into this tale?
Find out the answers to these queries and much, much more, as Mr. Ken Begg and the Dark Lord Jabootu, in association with myself, present:
Big Trouble in Little Chicago: The Rev. versus B-Fest 2012
Before I get started, an enormous tip of my non-existent hat to Ken himself. Without his generosity and willingness to put up with me me up, this trip never could have happened. My debt to him may never be repaid, but I’ll sure try my hardest. I can now embrace our 2012 apocalypse peacefully, knowing I made it to B-Fest at least once. Ken, from the bottom of my black heart, thank you very, very much.
DAY ONE: THE REV. HITS TOWN
I had to rise pretty early Thursday morning to make sure I had the suggested two hours to get through security and into my departure gate at DFW. The lady of the house is blessed with the ability to fall right back to sleep when awakened, but I didn’t want to make her keep hitting the snooze just because I was dawdling, so I got right out of bed and on my way. This proved to be a wise decision, as between a delay with the shuttle and the surprisingly long line of people leaving Dallas that morning, I didn’t have much time to spare before boarding.
My flight was uneventful, just the way I like them. I had gotten an aisle seat thanks to the lack of people on my particular flight and could stretch my legs a bit as I made my way into “The Talisman” by Stephen King and Peter Straub. A couple of hours later I was in Chicago.
I walked outside to a chilly gray day and waited for Ken. I realized only at this point that I had no idea what his car looked like. I was just hoping I’d see him as he drove by, or more likely, he’d see me. It occurred to me I should’ve gotten a phone number, although it turned out to be moot since Ken doesn’t have a cell phone. This is impressive, as even I eventually caved and got one. My wait went just long enough for me to get a tad worried when Ken materialized to my right and spooked me good.
Note to self: Ken is a ninja; do not cross him.
It turned out he’d been told by the flight tracker that my plane was coming in 30 minutes early, when in reality it was only about 10 minutes early. He’d ended up driving around and around looking for me, and was finally forced to park and come searching. If only he’d done another circuit…ah, well. I tossed my bag in his trunk and off we went.
A Breakfast to Remember
Soon, we arrived at a motel to pick up another Fest-goer. To my surprise, it was none other than Joe “Opposable Thumb Films” Bannerman! YES!! Check another B-Master off the list! I quickly grew to enjoy Joe’s dry wit and infectious laugh. I hope to hang with him again the next time I make it to B-Fest, if not sooner.
After this, we went to Ken’s B-Fest breakfast stop, L&L Snack Shop. I am here to tell you right now: Everything he says about that place is gloriously true. The food is absolutely delicious, the portions range from large to “Are you fucking kidding me?!” and the prices are too low to be called reasonable. I need to type this section very quickly, before I start drooling on the keyboard.
I was presented with two hefty slices of French toast, a fried egg and some bacon. I wanted a side of hash browns, and it turned out Ken did, too. Ken suggested we share an order. I was sure he knew what he was talking about, so I agreed. Sure enough, that plate of spuds was enormous, and I would never have finished them off, as tasty and impeccably cooked as they were. The French toast was heaven in my mouth; I have never eaten French toast that light and tender before. In keeping with their “no one goes hungry” business model, I got two eggs rather than one. Someone else got three. Where has this place been all my life?!
Yes, I know, Chicago. Shut up.
Oh, wait, I nearly forgot the free ham! Yes, as if all this wasn’t enough, everyone got free ham. No asking required, they just put it on everyone’s plate. Well, I’ll be damned if I turn down free ham. I’m from Iowa, so I think it’d be illegal even if I wanted to. Besides, this stuff would tempt the strictest vegan or Jew. As they say down here in Texas, it was “slap-yo-momma” scrumptious. It was sweet and oh-so-tender, and they’d laid it on the griddle for a few seconds to give it a little sear. OH MY SWEET JESUS. I’d have gladly paid for this incredible pork, and they just tossed it on there for free, because these people are hell-bent on making you start your day bloated but happy.
Editor Ken: This is what you get when you order pancakes and two eggs at the L&L. Seriously. Note the free ham. If ham had actually been ordered, the customer would have had a huge plate of the stuff.
My only let-downs, very minor ones I admit, were a lack of apple juice (although the cranberry was just fine) and my bacon being a bit crispier than I like* (which was neutralized by how tasty it was.) I was so satisfied with my breakfast that I felt like a criminal paying so little for it. L&L Snack Shop, I love you…but I’m glad you’re halfway across the country, because I’d be broke and morbidly obese if I lived near you.
[Editor Ken: Bacon too crispy?! What the fu$#@(&…]
Fortified for the rest of the day, we headed over to Ken’s homey trailer, where Ken proceeded to lambast himself for not cleaning up enough and repeatedly apologizing for the clutter. As a recovering pack rat, I understood, but as I told him, clutter’s one thing; filth is another. Yes, he has a whole mess of stuff, including a collection of Godzilla and Gamera figures that made me insanely jealous, but it wasn’t dirty or crawling with vermin, so it was all good. Well, except for King Ghidorah gashing my hand with his wing when I reached for Spacegodzilla. I see why Godzilla regularly kicks his ass; he’s kind of a douche.
When I dropped my bag into my room, I ran into possibly the greatest thing Ken owns: A big rubber Fiend without a Face that I instantly carted around with me and showed to everyone. It is a testament to my willpower and respect for Ken that he still has it in his home. I reeeeeeally want it.
Soon, we settled into cozy chairs (I rather selfishly took the couch) and decided to have a frank and earnest discussion about the world situation and our places in it. It was one of the best talks I’ve ever had, full of well-informed opinions and gentle, intelligent debate. I wish we’d recorded it so you could all hear it. We put the Algonquin Round Table to shame with our wit, insight, and incisiveness.
Heh. Like balls we did. We watched a shitty movie, of course.
As if my couch-claiming wasn’t enough, I had noticed Ken’s copy of Rock and Roll Nightmare amongst his collection and casually mentioned I had been meaning to finally see it. Into the DVD it went, with little argument from those gathered.
Rock and Roll Nightmare
I don’t think I need to tell you the plot as I’m sure you’ve seen it, or already read Ken’s review. I finally got to finish said review after all this time.
Briefly, Jon Mikl-Thor and his merry band of misfits go off to an old farm where people have been getting obliquely killed by mostly-immobile puppets pretending to be demons from hell. They make some terrible hair metal music, have a lot of very sofcore sex, and get bloodlessly picked off until only Thor remains. Then…the movie goes insane.
I am not as enamored of this movie as a lot of people seem to be. I understand that their crappy puppets and low budget precluded anything like gore, but there’s no blood at all and all the killing takes place off-screen. I was briefly hopeful when one disguised demon bit a chunk out of the manager’s shoulder, but absolutely no red stuff sprayed out. How that guy was walking around with no blood in him, I couldn’t tell you. The music is pretty bad. (Also, “The Tritonz”?? Yikes. Enuff Z’Nuff. Now, Thorkestra…that’s a band name.) The threadbare plot is very repetitive for the most part: Demons kill someone and possess them, possessee walks around and acts oddly but no one notices, repeat until everyone but Thor is dead. It’s got surprisingly nice cinematography, and Thor has some charisma that carries him through, but man…really not much good here.
I did like those puppets, though. They were so cruddy they were kind of charming. Well, except for the little one-eyed phallic guys who puke semen. I’m sorry, but that’s exactly what it looked like; combined with their appearance, this was obviously intentional. My favorite was the odd snake-looking thing with arms that tried to jump on Thor at one point, but missed and knocked itself out. Sadly, that was its only appearance. I also liked the big Satan puppet a lot.
I finally know the secret of this movie’s ending. I think I actually felt my brain melt a little as I tried to make sense of the whole thing. That was a mistake. After I tried thinking about it, I just relaxed and enjoyed Thor “wrestling” with Satan. Hee hee! The ending helped redeem the whole thing a bit. I’m still not sure I’d purposely watch it again any time soon, but hey, at least it’s off the list.
After the movie, Ken went off to pick up another guest. Since I had picked the last movie, I felt it only fair that Joe do the honors this time. He did much better than I did. In fact, when Ken got back with Jeff, the fabled individual who had picked up everyone’s tab at T-Fest 2008, we gladly went back and started the movie again for him, despite being about halfway through at that point.
Another Jabootu movie down! Now, this is the kind of thing I hope for in a bad movie.
Again, I’m sure you know the plot, so I’ll be uncharacteristically brief. Joseph and his wife are attacked in their home. His wife is raped and murdered, and he’s shot and left in a wheelchair. He gets his old buddies from Vietnam together so they can slowly make their way to “Dutch,” the man behind it all, and get vengeance. Much walking around and much, much fighting ensues. Oh yeah, there’s a mysterious sniper picking the gang off one by one. The number of suspects leaves little doubt as to who’s doing it, especially when all the other ones end up dead.
Man, oh man, did this hit the spot after that last movie. It’s amazing that I can complain about repetitive plot in one movie, and yet not mind it in the next, even if it’s MORE repetitive. This movie’s first half is, “Find a team member, have a fight, follow newest addition to the next guy because he just happens to know where they are.” The second half is, “Find a thug, get in a fight, get the name of another thug, lose a member of the gang to the sniper.” Yet, somehow, it doesn’t get old. There’s just enough plot to string along the fight scenes, which were a lot more competent than I had expected. I’m not saying it’s Heroes of the East, or even Iron Fist Pillage, but it’s pretty damn amusing. Frankly, this movie’s universe seems like a fun one to live in, where EVERYONE knows some sort of martial arts, co-workers immediately run over to help you if you get jumped by a gang of guys, and fights break out anywhere, anytime.
Really, the only negative was Alan getting shot first. I liked that big lug. He was fun, with his car-dismantling and parking meter-tossing and monosyllabic delivery. He should’ve been a heavy in more movies. He and Bolo Yeung could’ve compared chest sizes before beating the crap out of each other. Oh, what could have been…
Joe needs you…to watch this movie.
Trailers and dinner
At this point, we all chatted as Ken ran a collection of trailers. I think it was called 42nd Street Lives, and was the fifth volume. It made a nice background to the conversation; sometimes we’d stop and check out whatever interesting movie was being showcased, and then go back to talking. We did at one point decide that Jeff needed to see the climactic rampage from, well, Rampage, aka “Turkish Rambo.” You know, the one that offended Kirk with its “rocket launcher.” It’s just as hilarious the second time around. FOOOMP!!!
We were to meet for dinner that night with a group of friends. I’m surprised any of us were hungry after breakfast, honestly. Ken had to make one last run, this time to pick up GalaxyJane. Yay, Mary! I am always happy to see her. She usually seems happy to see me, too, which I don’t get, but I’m not going to complain. The rest of us headed over to Jameson’s Charhouse.
I wish I could remember everyone there (I forgot my little pad) but I know that Paul, Friend of Jabootu, and his wife Holly were there. I also met Sally and Ian, who I believe to be friends of Paul and Holly.
Many of us got steaks, as you can I imagine from the name. Ken and Jeff chided me for not getting the biggest rib-eye I could, Ken being especially vicious in his mocking, all “girlie-ass bastard” this and “fuckin’ pussy” that. This may or may not have had to do with him introducing me to someone as “the guy that wins all the trivia contests.” Besides, after they told me it came with soup AND salad AND potato AND vegetable AND bread, I really couldn’t see packing away a pound and a half of steak as well. I made the right choice, although I guess I could have had leftover steak the next day. I did decide to go in with Mary on an order of oysters Rockefeller. I may not have, had they told us they were going to be kaiju-sized oysters. Our dismay quickly evaporated, because they were superb.
Hell, everything was quite good. The steak was a bit less pink than I like, but was seasoned and charred so well I didn’t even need steak sauce for it. The broccoli and potato were great, the bread was just about perfect, but the star of the show was the soup. A veggie-laden tomato basil broth, it was exquisite, with each spoonful bringing new flavors and textures. I could’ve downed a tureen of it. I really hope it’s available the next time I’m there. The pleasant conversation (well, mostly pleasant, KEN) helped the time fly by.
Eventually, we headed home for more talk and 42nd Street trailers, before finally turning in for the night. A big day was coming, after all.
DAY TWO: B-FEST AWAITS
Breakfast and the Tower
Well, it turned out I didn’t need more steak, because off we went to L&L for another hearty breakfast. I decided to get wheatcakes this time, partly because I’ve never had them, but mostly so I could tell Chelsea I’d had them. (She found it hilarious how Aunt May was always chiding Peter to eat his wheatcakes in the old Spider-Man comics. Her reaction to my having them was as funny as I’d hoped.) They were like big, dense pancakes. They weren’t as heavy on the stomach as you’d think, though. I went with sausage links this time, whose succulence and flavor nearly brought tears to my eyes, but I was a little sad to see the bacon that day had come out exactly as I like it. The free ham assuaged my pain.
After that, it was off to shop for the Tower of Snacks, which I finally beheld. I’m glad I did, because the poor thing went lame during the weekend and might have to be shot. It could’ve been my last chance to see it and sup from its mysterious contents. All kinds of horrible junk food went in, because why not? We got some jerky which I promptly forgot about, dash it all. I did pick up a box of Sixlets at the dollar store; I’d not had them in years. Ken was chagrined that we couldn’t find dark chocolate Raisinettes. I don’t blame him for that.
We returned home for a final R&R before heading out. Mary produced a movie she was very happy to show Ken. I now know why, but that knowledge came with a price…
Never Too Young to Die
If nothing else, this movie has a crazy cast: John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons, George Lazenby, and a special guest star who, for some unfathomable reason, isn’t listed in the opening credits (although they do show up in the closing.) I’m not going to spoil who it is, but if you’re like us, you’ll be delighted to see them, and will be unsurprised when they steal the couple of scenes they’re in. If you think you’re going to ever see this, don’t spoil it for yourself; it’s a very badly needed bit of sunshine amidst the dreck.
George Lazenby plays a secret agent who’s spying on a weirdly post-apoc gang of thugs with big plans to wipe out a lot of people by tampering with the nearby reservoir. He is unsurprisingly killed, as the opening scene was probably all they could afford to pay him for. His son, LANCE STARGROVE~!, who has his own theme song by the way, wants revenge. He teams up with another secret agent, played by Vanity, and they proceed to slowly but surely, and kind of by accident, put a stop to the gang’s scheme. They get a little help from Vanity’s secret agent club and LANCE STARGROVE~!’s nerdy friend, Cliff, who builds an “explosive laser” that acts like a flamethrower.
As you might imagine, putting a young John Stamos in the lead role doesn’t exactly lend credibility to LANCE STARGROVE~! being all competent and a powerful fighter and what-not, especially since he’s not very good at either. Vanity’s not much better as a secret agent, although that seems to be due more to how the character was written. She also isn’t much of an actress, although compared to Stamos, she comes off pretty well. She is very easy on the eyes, with a hell of an ass, I will give her that. Gene Simmons’ Ragnar…wow. I had seen him try to act before, but I hadn’t really seen him try to ham it up. He reeeeeeeeally needs to not do that. His character’s a low-rent Dr. Frank N. Furter (which I suppose makes sense considering the eventual revelation about him), and sometimes it’s amusing, but mostly it’s painful. At one point he does a full drag performance, singing and swishing around, and it’s scarring. He has a press-on nail he likes to stab people with (it even detaches in victims’ bodies) that I guess must be poisoned because I’m not sure it should instantly kill people the way it does.
There are a couple of things I liked about the movie. I don’t think the story is meant to be set in the far-flung, post-apocalyptic future, since there’s no indication of such, but that doesn’t stop the gang from dressing like it and driving around in dune buggies and trikes. At one point, Ragnar says a computer screen image has a lovely shade of purple…despite a glaring lack of purple on said screen. The final fight, while completely lame, is exactly the kind of fight I’d expect John Stamos and Gene Simmons to have, and is kind of amusing in how pathetic it is. I like the dummy they toss off the reservoir at the end, because very obvious dummies being tossed off of high places always crack me up.
Ken said this’d make a good double feature with Prayer of the Rollerboys. For what it’s worth, he’s probably right. Don’t be surprised if this ends up on the site someday. Take that as an assessment of its quality.
The Final Approach
With that, we dragged the stricken Tower (what’s a horizontal tower called?) to Ken’s car, packed up our gear, and began our trek to the Fest. We stopped for some last-minute items since, you know, the Tower still had a few cubic centimeters of space left. We also got paper plates for the Plan Nine showing.
En route, we stopped at SuperDawg for a quick bite. It turned out that we were not the only Fest-bound visitors, although I didn’t catch any names. I had fully intended to get the namesake comestible, but as soon as Mary pointed out the Whoopskidawg, that idea fell by the wayside. A big “Romanian, Hungarian, Polish” sausage with onions and barbecue sauce? Yes, please.
I got some onion chips as well, hoping they’d be like the ones I regularly crave from the loosemeat joints back home. They weren’t, but they were still quite good. I wish I’d noticed my sausage came with fries, though. I ended up trying to share the onions with everyone around me. I also dropped the last bite of sausage right on my pants. I was not very happy about that until it was pointed out that it’d be dark in the auditorium most of the time. It was a good point. Who was I trying to impress, anyway? I contented myself with sucking down the last of my delicious chocolate malt as we headed back to the vehicles.
Soon, we had arrived at the campus. We lugged the gear up the hill and then to the front of the auditorium. Everything was arranged in and around our seats. I ended up between Jeff and a guy who knew Ken. I did not catch his name. Imagine that. I did get to meet Lianna, who wrote the companion piece to Ken’s on Battlefield Earth.
On our goings and comings, we met a guy named Tim. He later bestowed a bunch of B-Fest CDs on Mary, as she was new to the Fest. This ended up being a good thing, because with that gesture I realized who he was, and that if I followed him, I’d find people from the BMMB, who I had hoped to meet. Sure enough, he was the legendary TelstarMan, and after I finally bothered to introduce myself to them properly, I met a few of the gang.
According to my notes, they were: Osco Sean, Mudpuppy, Gingerness (aka Meg), Raven Nightdragon (I think – I had Raven Darkknight in my notes but that’s not a name I recognize), Brother Ragnarok (accompanied by “Hateface”), and BergerJacques. It was nice to put some names to these faces at last.
If there was anyone from the board I met and forgot to list, I am very sorry. It’s sort of my thing. I didn’t get to meet El Santo, so my B-Master count remains at four. Alas! As a bonus, TSM proceeded to thrust a stack of CDs at me. I hadn’t even thought to ask for some of my own, which turns out to be a good thing as that’s why I got them. Oh boy, a bunch of music to listen to! Score! I was sure to enjoy them on the flight home.
I came back to my group to find people writing movie quotes and such on the paper plates, so I joined in with a few of my own. I also did a quick sketch of Ken on a plate and made it look like a giant Jabootu penny. Lianna didn’t think much of it, commenting on the large chin I’d given Ken. Well, I never said I was Rock Baker. Anyway, it was a pen, so I couldn’t erase it when I saw what I’d done. (According to this article, I shouldn’t be erasing anyway, so HA!) Jeff thought it was super-keen, so there’s that.
Eventually, the lights dimmed. At this point, I realized I should’ve brought a penlight or something to see by; it was going to be hell trying to read what I wrote later. Ken chastised himself for not bringing some of his own, but hey, I’m the doofus who wanted to take notes in a darkened theater and didn’t bring a light…or a notebook, for that matter. Thankfully, Ken had saved my ass on that end.
The lights went out…and we were in for a metric fuck-ton of movies.
Best of the Best
For those that haven’t seen this, it’s basically The Karate Kid with Eric Roberts in the Ralph Macchio role, taekwondo in the karate role, James Earl Jones yelling at everyone, Chris Penn as a loudmouthed womanizing redneck, and an EEEEEEEEvil Korean guy with an eyepatch. So, yes, it is even better than its template, despite a lack of a song as great as “You’re the Best.”
Eric Roberts is a widower and single father who knows taekwondo. He must be really good, because he’s got a denim belt. I never even knew there was such a belt. Must be the super-secret belt you get after mastering 8th degree black. Sadly, he had to retire from competitive taekwondo due to a shoulder injury. Since that wouldn’t be much of a movie, he decides to try out for a team that’s going to face Korea’s for the World Taekwondo Championship or whatever. I guess no other countries even rate an invite.
Eric naturally makes the cut, along with Chris Penn, a Korean guy with a tragic past that involves a dead brother and an ice cream cone, some weedy white guy who’s a Buddhist, and a guido from Detroit (that’s about all we learn of him.) A good chunk of the movie details the five training hard as James Earl Jones yells at them. JEJ also brings in Dr. Wade to talk to them about their feelings and how they’re good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like them. Dr. Wade turns out to be a pretty blonde woman. This leads to the classic, “You’re a GIRL!!” moment that we’ve only seen 2.6 million times before.
The team also watches some footage of the Korean team and their amazing training regimen, which they fail to even come close to matching. Eric’s kid gets hit by a car and put into a Movie Coma, which means he wakes up pretty quickly, with no discernible brain damage. JEJ won’t let Eric go see him because training is all. Eric quits, even though JEJ tells him he’s not going to be let back on the team. Eric returns after making sure his kid’s all right, and his teammates stand by him and he’s back on the team. Way to stand firm, James.
The Korean guy reveals that he knows a kick variant of the Dim Mak and nearly kills the Buddhist guy. Finally, they face the Koreans. The Buddhist and the guido get beaten, the former particularly badly. Chris Penn wins in sudden death overtime against his guy. Eric’s shoulder gets reinjured, but he has his teammates pop things back into place, and he wins with only three limbs, because, hey, so did the Karate Kid. Finally, Good Korean takes on Eyepatch, who IN A COMPLETELY SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS was revealed as the guy that killed his brother, and also forced him to drop a perfectly good ice cream cone.
They have a good match. Eventually, Good Korean has Eyepatch on the ropes, but stops just short of Dim Mak-ing the guy and ends up losing by a point or two, thereby giving him the moral victory, if nothing else. The Koreans give their medals to the Americans during the award ceremony, and our two nations never had any problems again ever, at least until the Koreans tried to get their medals back.
This provided a rollicking good start to B-Fest. I love martial arts films of all types, and this is a rather good Karate Kid manqué. I like that it had taekwondo as the featured martial art, because I used to take classes in it in my younger days and you really don’t see it too much in movies. The terms and techniques used match up to what I learned, so it seems pretty authentic. Eric Roberts really gives his all in this; probably one of his better performances.
Really, the acting all around is not too bad, which is a nice surprise for this sort of movie, which usually just worries about the fighting. The plot’s pretty standard, but the fights are well-done. I like that, despite everyone using the same martial art, each main competitor has subtle differences in how they use it. For example, Korean Guy is very clean, crisp and smooth in his actions, whereas Penn uses a more straightforward, brutal version with less finesse and more socking people in the face.
Even the overblown moments in this movie were a treat. Remember the ice cream cone I mentioned when Korean Guy’s brother was killed? I mentioned it because they show the HELL out of that moment: replays, slow-motion of it falling and splatting on the ground, everything.
They even bring it full circle during a stop at a gas station with a big sign that simply says, “EAT.” Korean Guy sees a boy drop his ice cream cone (which gave them another excuse to show that footage again), but the kid’s sibling gives him some of his own cone, and Korean Guy gently smiles, and it’s so touching and WHAT THE HELL DOES IT ALL MEAN!?! Why did that make him smile? If anything, wouldn’t being reminded of how great older siblings can be make him feel worse? Did they really think there was something profound in all this? I don’t know, but it’s so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. See? Even the bad stuff is pretty great. If I had a seal of approval, I’d give it to this movie.
While this definitely fired everyone up, I kind of wish this movie had appeared later in the Fest, because I think it would’ve been a good wake-up call to everyone during the wee hours. Also, my crowning moment of B-Fest glory would’ve come later on. You see, during a training montage, they played a song that was, shall we say, somewhat similar to a certain song by the band Survivor.
With nary a pause, I began to sing the refrain in time to the music. More and more people joined in with each verse, which culminated in what might have been every damn person in the theater singing, as loudly as they could, “And he’s watching us all with the EYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…OF THE TIGER!!!” I have to tell you, I felt like Andy Dufresne standing in the rain. It was pure magic. If I never have another Fest moment like that…I’ll always have this one.
Chants: I thought everyone might appreciate it if I had some stats for B-Fest, the way I’ve taken to doing with T-Fest and T(ween)-Fest. Chanting quickly became a running theme through the Fest, and no doubt has been for some time.
“TEAM!” JEJ makes a BIG deal about the team, how everything’s for the team, how you do not let down the team, how you would die for the team. So, this was chanted during quieter moments with said team discussing things with each other, and sometimes during their victories.
“U-S-A!” This one should be obvious.
“KO-RE-A!” I guess everyone wanted to be fair to both sides. Most of these were probably due to Eyepatch.
“ICE CREAM!” This was used during the scenes with the cones, of course, and also when Korean Guy was fighting for his brother, and maybe his lost ice cream cone as well.
Slide Whistle Guy: According to Ken, this person’s been a fixture of B-Fest for some time. I don’t know who he is; perhaps he is a mystery to all, save himself. However, he punctuates certain moments throughout the Fest with his trusty slide whistle. I have to tell you, his comic timing is pretty much impeccable. Furthermore, he knows not to wear out his welcome, something I may have had trouble with after my moment of glory. SWG showed me the error of my ways and I soon relaxed, to everyone’s great relief I’m sure.
Chris Penn is shot down by a woman in a bar: Down-whistle!
Eric Roberts is told his kid is in a coma: Down-whistle!
Oh, dear. Yes, it’s another Jabootu movie off the list, but if it was as horrible as I’d heard, or as painful as the Ted V. Mikel movies I’ve already seen, this was going to hurt.
Sure enough, it was and it did.
I’m sure we know the story, so in brief: John Carradine and his hunchback assistant build a cyborg to man space missions. Naturally, it goes kill-crazy. Carradine’s solution: build another one to chase down and bring back the first. The late, luscious Tura Satana and her switchblade-wielding associate try to steal the plans, or the doctor, or the cyborg…they didn’t seem too focused for secret agents, honestly. Some crappy cop and his lovely girlfriend try to stop the madness, and eventually it ends with our heroes triumphant and everyone else dead.
Holy crap. This is easily one of the most horribly-paced movies I’ve ever seen. There is waaaaaay too much talking and not nearly enough killer cyborg. Not that the killer cyborg stuff is much better, but at least the Astro-Zombie doesn’t prattle on like a ninny. Hell, they even manage to ruin the mad science by having Carradine ramble on about the mundane tasks he has to do, which we then get to watch in excruciatingly minute detail. Get to the brain transfers already, you bastards! Even dear, sweet Mary lost her patience, yelling out, “Will – you – SHUT – UP!!!” Sadly, they did not.
There are a few roses poking from the manure. Tura Satana looks mighty fine in the two dresses she keeps switching between throughout the movie, her henchman Juan gets shot by guys in four different movies, and there’s a wonderfully terrible fake head tossed about at one point. I’m happy to see Carradine, even in a nothing role like this. The Astro-Zombie costumes are hilariously stupid-looking. Unfortunately, there’s not enough stuff like this to really make it worth watching. What is it about Mikel and his ability to make such boring-ass movies? It’s some kind of horrible gift, I guess.
“DAY! NIGHT!” I’m guessing I don’t need to explain this to bad movie watchers. This would become more prominent during a later movie…
“READ IT!” As the girlfriend read some notes, she kept pausing so she and the main “character” could discuss it at length. We just wanted her to read the damn thing so we could get this awful movie over with.
“ZOM-BIE!” At some point, people started asking for their favorite character to show up after a lengthy absence. The chant also cropped up near the end, this time to cheer on the cyborgs as they brought this wretched film to a much-wished-for end.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
To Catch a Yeti
To set this up: before this movie started, the organizers put up the above still, and the time the movie would start. Unlike some of the movies, which just got a brief notice before they started it, they left this up for many minutes. Further, the beastie was clearly an utterly hideous puppet, and designed in such a way that screamed, “HORRIBLE KIDS’ MOVIE AHOY!!!” Clearly, they were giving people time to leave or fall asleep. Those of us who did neither were fools.
A big-game hunter and his very short assistant try to catch a yeti (hey, I said the title!) for a horrid spoiled rich kid. The yeti escapes by skiing down the mountain on his big ol’ feet. I could accept that, but not the fact that it tucks its arms in like an Olympic skier and sometimes even pretends it has ski poles. That’s just going too far, movie.
The yeti hides in the tent of a couple of mountain climbers. You know, your typical yuppies that recreationally scale the goddamn Himalayas (without proper equipment, no less.) Incidentally, I didn’t know the Himalayas had so many pine trees. One guy inadvertently brings the yeti home, his daughter falls in love with it, “wacky” hijinks try desperately to ensue but fail miserably.
Eventually the movie takes a weird, dark turn with the hunter holding the girl’s parents in a cabin at rifle-point, and the girl digging pit traps outside to catch him and his assistant in. The yeti eventually gets home, skiing uphill to meet a suddenly-appearing second yeti, and the rotten kid is left to die in a snowdrift. No, seriously.
I have to tell you, this yeti is possibly the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen in a kids’ movie. I think it’s even uglier than Badi or Nukie, if that tells you anything. Mix a Mogwai and a Tauntan, give it a rat tail and huge human-like teeth, and ta-da! At least it doesn’t talk in an annoying high-pitched voice. I suppose I should be referring to it as a “he.” The movie makes sure we know it’s a he with this charming exchange:
Dad: “How do you know it’s a boy?”
Daughter: “I looked.”
Thanks for the nightmares, movie.
The movie is just a crappy version of E.T., more or less. I didn’t know anybody in this movie save Meat Loaf Aday, who plays the hunter with a huge fur coat. He gives the movie a better performance than it deserves, and actually comes off as a ruthless, amoral bastard who will do anything to deliver his quarry to his employer.
He even manages to do it with few histrionics, remaining fairly low-key and threatening throughout, a far cry from his role in Bloodrayne. (By the way, whether it was Eva or Ken, thank you SO much for that “It’s a ham-pire!” line. It is one of my all-time favorites on this site.) The one time he goes over the top is when the TSA is hassling him at the airport, and he picks up a lucky charm and yells, “What, do you think my rabbit’s foot is loaded?!” Then he screams and runs around. Frankly, I think we’ve all had the urge to behave like that at the airport nowadays. No one else is particularly embarrassing, but neither are they particularly memorable.
The one thing that stands out in this movie are the dark moments in the script, which makes the movie seem like it was written by two separate people. I mean, this is a movie featuring a cat-sized Yeti with anime eyes and giant feet it skies around the Himalayas on, one in which the yeti spends time eating ice cream, sitting in refrigerators, and riding skateboards in Central Park. A girl spends a long time in a refrigerated truck, shivering and talking about how she’s frozen, yet is immediately dandy once she gets out.
Yet, this is also a movie with the above-mentioned scene with the hostages and pit traps. Earlier, the horrid rich kid electrocutes the maid after cutting the power (funny how only her vacuum was affected by that), and his parents fret about having to hire yet another maid because the kid’s whacked about a half-dozen already. Jesus. The kid later abuses the yeti with a Nerf gun and loud music…then grabs a riding crop, a shotgun and a Russian hat and talks about how he wants the daughter for himself after she absconds with the yeti.
As the movie progresses, Meat Loaf gets more and more fed up with the kid and becomes increasingly threatening toward him, which kind of skews our loyalties. Finally, he tosses the kid head-first out of a car and into a deep snowdrift, where he’s left, feet kicking wildly. As a final touch, his parents seem pretty unconcerned about his disappearance into the Canadian wilderness, and in fact are about to go off on a sunny vacation as the movie ends with the kid still stuck in the snowdrift.
Despite all this, it’s hard to feel sorry for the little monster. In fact, every other character that verbally or physically assaulted him during the running time immediately won the crowd’s undying approval, especially the girl smacking him with a shovel. Even characters the crowd didn’t care about or particularly like before were given this accolade after doing so.
I have to say, even in the realm of kids’ movies, this thing is pretty putrid. We’re talking near-Theodore Rex levels of pain here. Avoid it at all costs…or sleep through it, like Mary did, smart gal that she is.
“ICE CREAM!” A holdover from the first movie, this came up a couple of times since the yeti likes ice cream. (Incidentally, yetis dislike hot dogs.)
“MEAT!” At one point, there’s a refrigerated truck with this one word on it.
“MEAT LOAF!” Any time he yelled at, threatened, or abused the horrific boy. It also cropped up when he went crazy at the airport.
“USA!” For some reason, this started up when the girl hit the boy with a shovel.
“TSA!” This popped up, naturally enough, during the airport scene when they question Meat Loaf and his dwarf assistant.
“END!” It wasn’t so much a chant as pretty much everyone just screaming it at the screen near the denouement.
Slide Whistle Guy:
There’s a pie on the floor (no idea why it’s down there); we pan up to the family, then down, and the pie’s gone because it turns out yetis also like pie: Down-whistle!
The parents wonder where their daughter is, but don’t seem to care about her well-being: Up-whistle!
Meat Loaf tells a lame joke and we immediately cut to another scene: Up-whistle!
Raffle/Wizard of Speed and Time
As they do, the organizers had a raffle with all kinds of nifty stuff, like DVD collections and novelizations. There were some really sweet things I would’ve loved to win, but I have very bad luck with drawings, so I wasn’t surprised that I never had my number called, despite the large amount of prizes and redraws due to numbers not being claimed on. Ken and I joked about holding our thumbs over our numbers (mine was “8”) and try to pass them off as other numbers that were called. Still, we had a few people get lucky, as Sally, Jeff and Lianna all had their numbers called. Good for them.
Then a bunch of people ran up to the stage to run along with the Wizard of Speed and Time. I did not, because no one else in my group was going up. I guess newbies are supposed to, but fellow B-Fest virgin Mary wasn’t going to do it, and I wanted company, so I also stayed put. This year, they played it backwards, upside down, and double speed; normally; and upside down and backwards.
DAY THREE: B-FEST MARCHES ON
Plan Nine from Outer Space
I think we all know about this movie, and that it’s wonderful, so I’ll just move on to the theater goings-on.
Before we could start, it turned out they didn’t have the film that they usually show; something to do with their former and/or current distributors, I believe. They did have a DVD lined up, at least, but the veteran attendees grumbled into their beards about those dang kids and how they’re always on their lawns blasting their Katy Perrys and their Linkin Parks and how much better B-Fest was in the days of Ronald Reagan and apple pie. I think that’s what they we’re saying; I don’t pay attention to old fogeys.
As mentioned above, people tend to write/draw on their plates prior to tossing them. I noted a few that caught my attention:
A stamp company had a few flying around with stamps on them. I snagged the ones that had tributes to the late Tony Curtis and Ross Hagen. There was also one with Criswell, although it said “Fake Criswell,” and a Stephen Colbert one that said “Wicker Americans” (a reference to the chanting of “Wicker! Rattan!” whenever we see the porch furniture.)
A nice sketch of Meat Loaf, with the words, “That yeti is mine,” beneath it.
“The Best Actor in The Astro-Zombies” with a drawing of the clock from the lab. I really liked that one, although it’s kind of mean to Carradine and Satana. Not so much to the others.
A drawing of a scoreboard showing: Tarkan 28, Vikings 3. This unfortunately blew an upcoming movie for me; at least it was funny.
Then there were the ones done by either eight-year-olds or pathetically unoriginal bastards. I didn’t see any kids that age, so I guess that narrows it down. They just had words like “Dick” or “Fat” on them. Frankly, they should’ve saved the ink, not to mention their few remaining brain cells.
So, yeah, I was aware of the plate thing. I was not aware, however, that the people of B-Fest (perhaps others as well around the world) have their own list of things to say during the movie. It’s a less prop-heavy version of what they do during showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. For example, every time Tor shows up, everyone shouts, “Tor!” It’s quite fun.
It would be even more fun if certain dickweeds would follow the rule about no Chinet™ plates. You’d be surprised how much they can sting if they catch you in the face or the back of the neck after a long flight across a theater. Despite the peaceful nature of B-Fest, I’d have been happy to start some violence with whoever brought those damn things. Seriously, you need to be slapped around like you owe somebody money. Quit that shit.
“USA!” Chanted during the discussion of our warlike culture’s bombs, and again when Eros gets socked in the kisser.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
Avenging Disco Godfather
Rudy Ray Moore, as the titular character, tries to stop the drug trade in his neighborhood when he’s not running the hottest disco club in the area.
This was my first Rudy Ray Moore movie. It was probably not the best place to start, since it’s not along the lines of his more famous offerings. We start with a disco-riffic opening full of horrible clothes and roller skating and Moore exhorting the crowd to, “Put your weight on it!” Pretty standard blaxplotation/discplotation stuff here.
Then the movie becomes serious, with people having their brains fried by angel dust (which would put it right at home with the drug scare films of the 1930s), the hero becoming a bit of a monster to bring down the drug trade, and a pretty downbeat ending. It’s really kind of schizophrenic. There’s also very little comedy, which I really didn’t expect since, you know, Rudy Ray Moore. About the only humorous part I remember is where Rudy invades the drug lord’s base of operations and runs into a guy who looks like Abobo from Double Dragon. Rudy gets a big wrench from somewhere and throws it right at Abobo’s head, only to watch it bounce off with no apparent effect. Rudy’s reaction: a disbelieving, “God-damn.”
The hallucinations experienced by the drug victims are pretty interesting, especially since they all feature the same weird-ass old voodoo woman running around and cackling in them. I don’t know if she’s a representation of the dust itself or what, but she looks like the sister of the toothless old woman in that King Solomon’s Mines remake with Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone. She also sticks out like RuPaul at a Dimmu Borgir concert.
Speaking of which, there’s also a bunch of people praying around one victim in particular during the whole movie; of course, they take the credit when she finally snaps out of it. That’s all well and good for them, but what about all the other angel dust victims in the clinic? Did they go pray for them next? I get the feeling they did not. Not cool. They really needed to put their weight on it.
I didn’t find this all that great, as you may have gathered. Its inability to hold my attention manifested as my first instance of head-bobbing, dozing off and then jerking awake as I desperately fought off my natural inclinations so I could continue my report. I’ve since seen a clip from Dolemite, and I have a feeling I’d enjoy that and the other better-known Moore offerings. This one just wasn’t for me.
“TURN IT UP!” The sound level was down when it started, so…
“OOO OOO!” Shouted out during the opening disco sequence. Hopefully you can figure out how this sounds.
“ATTACK THE WACK!” This became a rallying cry for the forces of the anti-drug coalition, and we quickly joined in.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
People wander into a ruined old mansion and get eaten by a bed. Eventually the bed is destroyed. The end.
So, I finally saw it. I’m still not sure what to think. It’s not anywhere close to the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it may be the oddest. It’s definitely a, “What were they thinking/smoking when they came up with this?” situation. Despite the premise, it’s pretty much played straight. People scream and struggle and get dissolved in the bed’s mysteriously acid-filled mattress interior (except for the one woman who manages to sleep through the whole thing, possibly the most unbelievable part of the movie.)
The story of how the bed came to be echoes old fairy tales and all their misery and downbeat endings, and I rather liked that part. However, there are a couple of winks throughout that would indicate they were aware of how silly this whole thing was. A flashback shows a group of swingers getting eaten all at once, and at one point the bed draws in a victim’s purse to help itself to a bottle of antacid.
The movie’s segments are titled things like “Breakfast” and “The Just Desserts.” Also, the bed is noisy. It is snoring when we first see it, and it yawns and smacks its nonexistent lips as it “wakes up.” It grumbles when its…well, not stomach, but anyway…is upset, and when “Lunch” takes her clothes off, it starts moaning like a pervert. I’d question how she missed that, but she’s also the victim that sleeps through her dissolution, so apparently we have a winner for Most Unobservant Person in Movie History, should that ever be an actual award. These moments are few and far between, though. It may have been intentionally kept serious for the most part, or they just might not have known, or cared, to keep the mood consistent. It’s a testament to the movie that I’m not quite sure which guess is correct.
The acting is truly terrible. The “hero,” a spirit trapped in a painting who can only watch helplessly as people die (until the very end where he’s instrumental to the bed’s destruction) is as wooden as the painting’s frame. The victims tend to look mildly inconvenienced, at best, that they’re being eaten by a bed.
My favorite’s the guy who gets part of his forelimbs dissolved, leaving skeletal hands (that somehow stay together) poking from fleshy stumps (that do not bleed), and manages to convey all the distress of a man who’s under heavy sedation. A different victim moans in what can only be described as a sexual manner while being killed. Her death actually manages to take longer than Kurt’s did in The Brain/Head That Wouldn’t Die.
I’m not sure I can call it a good movie, since it’s pretty unengaging when the bed’s not eating people, yet it’s a movie that’ll hold your attention while you wonder what the hell is going on and what could possibly come next. It’s one of those movies those of us in this particular niche of movie-watching should see once. Maybe just the once, though.
I think the lack of coherent participation from the masses indicates just how thoroughly this one sucked us in with its weirdness.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
Tarkan vs. The Vikings
You’ve all read Ken’s review, I’m sure, so to sum up: Tarkan and his faithful dog-wolf (dolf? wog?) fight a bunch of ridiculous-looking Vikings, a “Chinese” double agent, and a big rubber octopus to save a princess. Man, did Lianna love that octopus. She about had a fit, she was laughing so hard. Admittedly, it is pretty sweet.
Anyway, that’s one more Jabootu film off the list. I have to tell you, this is one you NEED to see. It is utterly stupendous in all the wrong ways. The Vikings wear some of the worst wigs and fake moustaches I’ve ever seen, along with bathmats and toilet covers as loincloths. I know it’s been said before, but seriously, it looks like they skinned some Muppets to make their garb. My first reaction: “Cookie Monster, NOOOO!!”
It does help Tarkan look manlier, since his bathmat is brown. He kind of needs the help, since he looks like a feather-haired Corey Feldman. The woman playing Lotus is so not Chinese, which Ken made very, very sure we were all aware of throughout the running time. She is hot, however, and likes to prance around in little or no clothing, so they could’ve said she was an Eskimo for all I cared.
Kurt and Kurt (very creative naming, Tarkan…even worse, my understanding is that “Kurt” is Turkish for “wolf”!) are even less convincing as wolves. They’re obviously some kind of German shepherd mix. However, I will not bag on the Kurts, particularly Kurt Jr., because they are super adorable, and also awesome. Kurt Jr., in fact, is the true hero of this movie. Forget that lump Tarkan; half the time he’s getting captured or tricked or drugged or shot with arrows.
Once Kurt Jr. finishes weeping for his father (which is a scream), he becomes an engine of vengeful destruction. No one lays a blow on Kurt the entire movie. The one time they manage to capture the beast (conveniently done off-screen – I have a feeling he just did it to lull them into a false sense of security), he defies the laws of physics and dog-wolf physiology to climb out of a very steep pit, at full run no less!
I’m pretty sure Kurt killed as many foes as our supposed protagonist, and wouldn’t be surprised to learn he bagged more. He gladly helps his “master” face the wrath of the giant octopus, and saves Tarkan’s ass at least twice. Hell, he takes out the treacherous Lotus ALL BY HIS DAMN SELF while Tarkan is trussed up and hanging over a snake pit. Even the Vikings know where the true danger lies: while they’re more than happy to take a chance on battling Tarkan, many of them take one look at Kurt barreling toward them and run the hell away.
In fact, several of them leap off of castle walls and cliffs in their desperation, preferring to take their chances with gravity and solid stone rather than face the god-like power of the cutest killing machine ever. Screw Tarkan; this movie should have been called Kurt vs. the World, since Tarkan is clearly the Robin to Kurt’s Batman. Kurt should have had his own series of movies chronicling his badassery. There is no justice, I tell you.
“KURT!” Lianna and I started this up as he climbed out of the pit, and it was taken up by the crowd. As well it should, because Kurt is magnificent. It cropped up a couple more times as we neared the end.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
I had fewer notes on this movie than any other. A total of two, in fact, and one of those just said, “Bleh.” Part of it could be that this was the second time I commenced the head-bobbing. I will say, though, that it took me forever to figure out that I had done so during this movie, because it hadn’t seemed like I had missed anything. That’s how slow and sparse the plot is. For further proof, note the totals at the bottom of this section.
It’s the near future, and there are some cyborgs with extendible arms and malfunctioning morality meters that are on the loose. An unscrupulous businessman has discovered a popular designer drug makes the cyborgs all homicidal, so naturally he wants to test-run them in town to see if he can sell them to world leaders as super-soldiers. Like you do. This drug also makes the cyborgs break down physically, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. The company that built them is trying to get the cyborgs back, the hero and his cohorts are trying to destroy them and save the city, and that’s about it for plot.
Right off the bat, there are no mutants in this movie. The malfunctioning cyborgs may have arms that can stretch out, and as they break down due to the effects of the drug they kind of get melty, but I’ll be damned if I count that. It’s Cyborg Hunt, bottom line. The cyborgs are supposed to be superhumanly strong and agile and fast.
However, not only can our former Special Forces protagonist take them down, so can random yahoos he gets to help him out. Hell, they even defeat the super-secret ultra-cyborg at the end, although admittedly that takes some doing. None of the characters are remotely interesting, the plot drags, the movie is constantly ripping off Blade Runner, and the fight scenes are poorly choreographed and manage to be as boring as everything else.
The only thing I can think of as a positive are the prosthetics used for the melting cyborgs. Those look like they cost some money…maybe all the money they had, frankly. I hope the make-up people went on to better things. There’s also the extendible arm effects, which are hilarious, but since prosthetic arms never seem to look right (hell, even Candyman’s hook arm was twice as long as his other one, and that movie had a budget that wasn’t made up of spare change) I’m inclined to let it slide. I also found myself wondering if the young woman who briefly shows up dressed as a Nazi was the same one that played the Cretin with the Hitler moustache in Class of Nuke ‘em High. It really looked like her. Anyone happen to know for sure?
Overall, I can think of no reason to bother with this. I don’t think I’d have liked it any better even if I’d managed to stay fully awake and aware.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
Guru the Mad Monk
There’s a monk who likes to kill people and blackmail young women into being his sex toys and abuse his hunchback (not a euphemism.) That’s pretty much it.
So, this was my first Andy Milligan movie. It was…something. It is definitely not the worst move I’ve seen, but it’s pretty slow and listless and filled with waaaay too much talking. More than once, people shouted out, “WORDS!” in a very bored tone of voice, if that tells you anything.
Oh, sure, Guru kills peoples sometimes, and makes all kinds of skeevy plans by himself and with his blood-loving witch-buddy, but he’s not overly bright, considering all the things he does in the course of the movie that he’s certainly not going to be able to keep under wraps. I guess he’s too mad to care about consequences.
I do like that he has a hunchback in his unwilling employ, though. In fact, the hunchback ends up being the Kurt for this movie, although he’s not nearly as successful at playing hero, and ends up quite dead. The mayhem is enthusiastic, with stabbings, a decapitation, nails to the eyes, and hand-choppings; too bad they’re all pretty terrible. In fact, the hand-chopping is the worst I’ve ever seen, by far.
The only reason to watch this is to discover what people in the land of “Mortavia” do and do not have. They do not have any sort of European accent, which is unusual enough. In fact, they sound like they’re from the Midwest.
However, they do have modern machined scissors, electric light switches and wiring, churches that look like they’re sitting in a New York neighborhood, and white motor scooters. These items can clearly (and brother, do I mean clearly) seen throughout the movie, and oh, did we howl at each one. Sadly, the movie lacks any action, or indeed a point, so ultimately it’s probably not worth the effort, as hilarious as those mistakes are.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
The Brain from Planet Arous
You probably have seen this, or at least have read the reviews from that old “Brain-athon” roundtable the B-Masters had many moons ago. So, you probably know that it features an evil space brain possessing John Agar to conquer the world, and a good space brain possessing John Agar’s fiancée’s dog to save the world. I’d read the reviews, too, but hadn’t seen it before, so now I could finally knock it off the list.
Ah, yeah, that’s the stuff. This was what I needed to get me awake again after those last two. It’s got a good pace, nice moments of acting and cinematography, a wonderfully evil villain, and a couple of surprisingly nasty moments to shake things up.
Despite those painful-looking contacts, Agar seems to be enjoying himself, especially when he blows stuff up or when he’s roughly making out with Joyce Meadows. Whatever floats your boat, John. I also love the finale with Agar swinging an ax at a brain-shaped balloon trying to hit it in the Fissure of Rolando (very convenient that the alien brain’s built just like a human brain, eh?) There’s just a lot of fun to be had with this one. If you’ve somehow let this pass you by, as I had done, rectify that very soon. You won’t be disappointed.
Chants: “A-GAR!!” Whenever he started macking on his lady, this chant took form.
“KURT!” Yes, this dog was Kurt, too. When he attacks Agar, this started up.
“U-S-A!” This popped up when Agar blows up the plane in front of the delegates.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
An actress pretending to be a reporter interviews a real-life stuntman. We also watch a lot of music performances from a band called Sorcery. Despite the occasional actor playing a role, it’s mostly a straight documentary on the stuntman and the band.
I’m not sure who thought this thing up, but I want to thank them for introducing me to Sorcery. If Ronnie James Dio (may he rest in peace) had decided to make a GWAR-type performance band, it would have been Sorcery. Okay, the music would’ve been better. I don’t say this to bag on Sorcery, because their music isn’t too bad for ‘80s hair metal, but come on, it’s Ronnie James Dio. He kicked a hell of a lot of ass. I like to think he’s in some sort of Valhallan afterlife right now, locking swords with demons and Vikings whilst bellowing about riding tigers in midnight seas. The world is a less rockin’place without you, Ronnie.
Okay, so Sorcery’s stage show features a Merlin-esque wizard fighting the Devil. Maybe just a devil, I’m not sure. I’d like to think the Prince of Darkness would do better against a mortal magician. Anyway, there’s pyrotechnics and large flame bursts and smoke bombs and lighting effects and pretty good costumes and make-up for these two, around which the band plays. These two are very into their roles, especially devil-guy. I liked him. I seriously want to know how I’ve never heard of Sorcery, and why they aren’t more famous. I can only guess it’s because not enough people saw them live, which is a shame because now I’ll never get to do the same. I also want to know why no one told the guitar player that he has hair like an Afghan hound; or, if they did, why he didn’t do something about it.
The movie makes some “why bother?” excuse for how Grant Page, the stuntman, knows the band, so that in between Sorcery sets we get to listen to him talk about stunt work, as well as watch some of his more insane stunts. The boy likes being set on fire, I have to say. He shows up for a couple of Sorcery performances in between his supposed work on I believe is a made-up movie they created to provide an excuse for some of the stunt work. He even gets a fake date with the fake reporter after she finishes reporting on the fake movie, although to be fair he performs a pretty hairy-looking high-wire act to get her attention beforehand.
As you can probably tell, there’s no plot here, which is a pretty big problem. I mean, the band’s fun to watch, the stunts are great, but when either of those things aren’t on screen, we have no reason to give a rat’s ass about anything. Grant Page seems a quite affable guy, and Sorcery’s fun, but this weird attempt at a docu-movie just kind of collapses around itself. It’s worth checking out for the stunts and rock, but you might want to lean on the fast-forward.
Chants: “ROCK!” Whenever Sorcery took the stage.
“STUNTS!” Whenever the stuntman did stunts. Kind of obvious, really.
Slide Whistle Guy: Grant sets a record for sliding down a 310-foot rope that’s over a large cliff: Loooong down-whistle!
A tai-chi-wielding, peacenik bouncer cleans up a small Missouri town of its eeeeee-vil rich guy and his goons, and bangs Dr. Kelly Lynch in the process. Nice work if you can get it.
What can I say about the late Patrick Swayze’s magnum opus that hasn’t already been said? This has become a modern cult classic, and as such I assume we’re all familiar with it. It’s one of those movies that is pretty bad, but in just the right way that makes it fun. There are hilariously bad lines; acting that’s all over the map, albeit usually poor; a ridiculous plot with holes and improbabilities galore; and a “love scene” that seems more rapey than lovey, as Swayze hauls Lynch up and smashes and grinds her into a brick wall.
Yet, the bad lines are eminently quotable; the bad acting is entertainingly so, and the leads, regardless of talent, have plenty of charisma to see them through; the plot’s so retarded you can’t take it too seriously; and I’m sticking with my opinion of Swayze and Lynch getting it on, but there are much worse people to see partially naked than these two, and she seems to like it, so fair play to them. It’s one of those movies that’s more than the sum of its parts, and is just a real good time. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all this, as I am certain you’ve all seen it at least twice.
An odd moment happened during this: a “download update” notice popped up during the showing. I guess it was from the computer that was running the disc. The crowd decided they should do it, and when they elected not to, a chorus of “awwww”s and boos erupted. Movie geeks are so silly.
This movie got everyone awake and ready for the final haul towards the finish, as you can tell from the stats below. It’s interesting that two ’80s martial arts/action movies were the ones that got the biggest positive reactions from the crowd. Only Plan 9 and Tarkan got anywhere close to them. Considering the disparate ages in attendees, it can’t just be nostalgia from children of the ‘80s that explains it, either. Obviously there’s something special at work here.
Gee Davey, you think it was….Jabootu?
Chants: “MUR-DER!” This started up after Swayze whacks two guys near the end, when he has the lead bad guy at his mercy, and then restarted after said bad guy gets shot to pieces. That last one then led right into a chant of…
“U-S-A!” We had a quite a few other instances as well: after Dalton wins the fight in the parking lot; when the monster truck rolls through the parking lot; when Swayze moons said truck; following a car exploding; and after that guy gets his throat ripped out.
“PO-LAR BEAR!” If I have to tell you when this happened, you should be ashamed. For the official record, though, it was right after the classic line, “A polar bear fell on me.”
“SWAY-ZE!” This was belted out when Dalton and the doctor started going at it for a second time; when he tackled the guy off the motorcycle prior to the big throat-ripping fight, and, in a wonderful moment, through a good chunk of the end credits. He also got big cheers during his first appearance. Wherever he is, I hope he’s happy about the joy he brought us.
Slide Whistle Guy: “Do you know who that is? Dalton”: Up-whistle!
Terry Funk leaves the bar in a huff: Down-whistle!
The lead bad guy beats a flunky to the ground: Down-whistle!
Elliott and Swayze lock hands in a manly fashion: Down-whistle! (I guess he was one of those wanting a kiss here instead of a manly hand-clasp; yes, there were quite a few of them.)
Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory
There’s a werewolf in a girl’s dormitory. Duh.
What? What more do you want from me? Can’t you go read Ken’s review?
This really should’ve been played earlier, because it is slow going. I was not helped by having seen it before. In fact, my third and final bout of head-bobbing occurred during this one, and for longer periods than before.
The movie goes for mystery, but things drag too much in between the fitful bursts of mayhem. Sure, there’s some pretty interesting things being hinted at, but we don’t get to see them. There’s too much talking and not enough werewolf. It also doesn’t take much work to figure out the werewolf’s identity. It’s just a formulaic monster-on-the-rampage movie that never rises above its brethren, and in fact doesn’t even seem to try. There’s not much more to say, really.
I don’t know if the organizers planned this, but this movie also featured a big, German Shepherd-y dog that was immediately dubbed “Kurt.” I have a feeling this is just one of those odd coincidental running elements fest-goers are used to, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Even better, we get dogs standing in for wolves again! Hooray for inadvertent themes!
“KURT!” Sure, it’s not really him, but good enough.
Slide Whistle Guy:
The teacher meets our main girl, but she soon walks away from him: Down-whistle!
Girl: “Where are you going?” Crowd member: “To bone some more girls”: Up-whistle!
The Galaxy Invader
An invader from elsewhere in the galaxy comes to Earth, loses a doodad, gets hassled by rednecks, kills a few of them, gets his doodad back, and leaves. Oh yeah, there’s a scientist and his students trying to communicate with the alien, but they don’t matter much. Roll credits.
I’ve been aware of Don Dohler and his movies for many years, but unless I’m mistaken, this was the first one of his I’ve watched. There’s not much to say about it, sadly. It’s more boring than bad, terrible actors notwithstanding. The movie gives us an alien determined to recover his…thing…seriously, what is that supposed to be? The power source for his ride home? A portable navigation device? His favorite snow globe? A collectible belt buckle? (Maybe he’s from Space Texas.)
Anyway, we’ve got an alien ready to rampage, and we spend way too much time watching the town rednecks plot to sell the doohickey and the alien for lots of money, or drink beer, or abuse their families, or wander in the woods. Occasionally, they shoot their guns at the alien and each other, but not nearly often enough. Why must low-budget monster flicks do this? We don’t give a crap about these yahoos, unless they’re eating lasers! I was told there would be a Galaxy Invader, movie, and you’re not living up to that. You’re giving me The Hooterville Follies, and that is NOT what I signed up for.
The alien looks like a walking rutabaga and wears something from the Chewbacca line of body bandoliers. It’s more intimidating than Trumpy, I suppose, but not much more believable. I’d be more scared of Beulah.
Unless you’re a Dohler completist, I’m not really sure you need to see this one. Make sure you’ve got a rowdy group if you do.
“U-S-A!” It came out after the dad slaps his daughter, and following the scientist’s complaint that the alien is being “lassoed by a bunch of rednecks.”
“OU-TER SPACE!” This was a thank-you for the alien killing off a particularly unlikable character named Custer.
“GRAND-MA!” The ineffectual wife of the main redneck, who has been letting him slap everyone else around and basically be a giant dickhead, FINALLY does something. Granted, what she does is throw an incredibly weak-ass shot with the butt of a shotgun at her husband, which is shown three times from different angles, and then throws a dummy off a small cliff that kinda-sorta looks like her husband if you squint and smash your head with a hammer, but we’ll take what we can get. I assume she was called “Grandma” due to her age, as there aren’t any grandchildren in the family that I recall.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
It Came From Beneath the Sea
An enormous pentapus attacks ships, and later San Francisco. A romantic triangle of a professor, a lady professor, and a sailor try to kill it.
I kind of wish we’d had something more slam-bang to end things with. I mean, there’s some wonderful Harryhausen monster mayhem, but as is often the case, it’s the non-monster stuff that drags things down. The acting is not bad, but it just feels like the plot is marking time until they can afford to show more monster footage. Even though the love triangle is done pretty well, it’s not what we’re interested in, and a lot more time is spent on it than necessary. Once again, we need a little less conservation and a little more action.
Still, the pentapus is pretty wonderful, with its unrelenting attacks on humanity and desire to eat us all. The first assault on the boat lets us see just how damn big this thing is, and it’s pretty damn big. We’re talking Megashark vs. Giant Octopus big here. The demolition of the Golden Gate Bridge is rightly a classic scene of monster-induced renovation, but I think my favorite part is when the ‘pus sends an arm slamming down onto a crowd of fleeing extras and then drags them back, ostensibly to feed on. That’s pretty brutal. As is often the case, I feel bad when humanity slays the beastie, not only because it’s our fault he’s the way he is in the first place, but because he’s the most interesting character present.
Slide Whistle Guy: n/a
With that, B-Fest came to a close. We dragged ourselves out of the theater, packed up the vehicles, and made our way back to Ken’s place. We dropped off everything, then headed out to Paul and Holly’s place for Chicago-style pizza and conversation. Also Black Dynamite, which I only caught part of. That part was enough to convince me I need to see it immediately. On the way in, Jeff stopped at a liquor store and got some tequila. He paid a hell of a lot for it, so I assumed it’d be pretty damn good. Mary and I got some beer. I do not remember what it was; something Mary picked out, I think. I do remember liking it. The temperature had dropped that evening, which was good because it helped perk us up.
The pizza was pretty damn good, although I’m not happy about the pepperoni going too fast for me to grab a slice. While everything else about the pizza – cheese, sauce, crust – was fantastic, I was not a fan of the sausage. It wasn’t terrible, just kind of a letdown compared to the rest of the pie. It didn’t have a lot of spice or flavor, I found. The makers chose to put it on in large discs rather than crumbled up, which wouldn’t be a bad idea with better sausage. Next time, they just need to order more pepperoni, I think.
I was able to sample Jeff’s tequila. MY GOD. No joke: I spent nearly two minutes just enjoying the fragrance of it. It was amazing. Then I finally took a drink, and I have to tell you, I’ve never had a smoother sip of tequila in my life. It went down like silk, with a pleasant heat and no burn at all. I sipped it slow, and savored every moment. I told Mary she had to try it, and she did, and she agreed it was stupendous. I resolved to remember the name of this magical tequila; sadly, I took “Reposito” to be the name, and it was not. Jeff, please tell us what this was. I need to have this again sometime, and I’ll gladly save up for it.
I just need to add that Sally, as tiny and adorable as she is, is even more adorable when she’s a bit drunk. I wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home with me.
Eventually, goodbyes were said, and we went back to Ken’s for some much-needed shut-eye. At this point, Mary revealed that she had adult-sized footie pajamas with rocket ships on them. HOLY SHIT. I had no idea they made those. I fondly remember the ones I had as a youth. I find myself wondering how I’d look in a set of my own…
DAY FOUR: ALL GOOD THINGS…
Everyone was up in the morning, and slowly but surely got their things together and took the Ken Express to the airport. We all made our goodbyes, and I made one more heartfelt thanks to Ken as I headed to my flight.
On the way home, I decided to check out this year’s B-Fest soundtrack since it made sense to. It ended up being one of my overall favorites among the collection of CDs I got. I mean, among the tracks we’ve got The Aquabats, Dokken, Jackie Chan (yes, that Jackie Chan), the theme song from Yor’s World, the Gamera song, Miyarabi’s prayer to King Seesar from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, AND Ray Charles and Clint Eastwood singing together?? How the hell do you not love that? Answer: YOU DON’T.
So, I touched down without incident, and then found out that I’d managed to leave an interior light on in my car and had to get a jump from the parking lot attendants, who actually had a handy little device just for such an occasion. Seriously, if the worst part of this weekend was that (and a few terrible movies), I could safely conclude that the last few days were pretty damn great. I arrived safely home, and then started on what would become a months-long odyssey to get this all written up and delivered to Ken.
Man, that was a lot of movies to sit through. I am unsure how people manage it year after year. I feel like I need a break before doing it again. That said, I do hope to do it again sometime. I’d also like to get the write-up done a hell of a lot quicker…which shouldn’t be hard.
A few favorites (and not-so-favorites):
FAVORITE MOVIE: While I think the crowd had the best time with Best of the Best and Road House (and who wouldn’t?), and The Brain from Planet Arous was fun, I have to say that Tarkan vs. the Vikings was an absolute riot. I was completely tickled throughout the whole thing, and can unabashedly recommend it to everyone reading this. I’m not just saying this because I’m scared of Kurt coming for me, either. I’m hoping to inflict it on the girls at some point soon; I’m guessing Ken’ll be my best bet with that since it’s not cheap nowadays.
LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE: This one is tough. Death Bed is pretty terrible, but it’s utterly hypnotic in how goddamn insane it is. We had several that were highly boring, with The Astro-Zombies, Guru the Mad Monk, Mutant Hunt and The Galaxy Invader topping that list. While any of those could be winners, I have to say that To Catch a Yeti just sucked so badly it outclassed them all.
The other four at least had things to distract you, be it inept murders and Tura Satana, inept murders and modern conveniences in “medieval Europe,” inept fight scenes and surprisingly decent special effects, or…hmmm, I don’t have much for Galaxy Invader. Well, it killed off the biggest assholes in the movie, at least. However, it wasn’t actively hurtful. Yeti was sheer pain. I will be forever grateful to Meat Loaf for giving it his all, but it was too much for him, the poor bastard.
FAVORITE CHANTS: “ICE CREAM!” was probably the funniest, while “SWAY-ZE!” was pretty touching.
FAVORITE WHISTLES: Probably the two during Best of the Best. The first one caught me completely off-guard, and the second one was probably the best-timed. Honestly, though, that guy knows his stuff; they were all great.
BEST EATS: L&L Snack Shop. About as flawless a breakfast as you’re likely to ever have, and inexpensive to boot.
BEST BEVERAGE: I love me some root beer, which Ken had in abundance, but the tequila was a game-changer. I’m serious, I MUST know what that was.
BEST SURPRISE: Meeting Joe Bannerman, followed closely by the receipt of all those B-Fest CDs.
WORST SURPRISE: Mary inflicting Never Too Young to Die on us. Don’t let her sweet exterior fool you; there’s a reason she’s good friends with Ken…
With that, I think I can finally wrap this monstrosity up. Thanks as always to Ken for putting my ramblings up on his site, and thanks as always to anyone who managed to make it all the way through one of my write-ups. Hopefully I’ll see you at a future B-Fest, if not sooner (like T-Fest).
Speaking of which, I need to get my T(ween)-Fest 2012 write-up started. I don’t think it’ll take nearly as long as this one did. I just hope I remember the movies.
No rest for the wicked, as they say…