Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jason watches WATCH HORROR FILMS: KEEP AMERICA STRONG, Watches horror films, keeps America strong.

I haven't been to the Niles Film Museum in a couple of weeks, what with Docfest. But I had to be there last Sunday for this. Not just the documentary about Creature Features, but for the opening act--Ernie Fosselius and his cult classic HARDWARE WARS, George Lucas's personal favorite Star Wars parody. I remember this as a kid, and if you haven't seen it you should just go get the DVD (you can also see it on YouTube, but it should be seen in the best possible format. Big screen is ideal, DVD is second best). I'm now awesome enough to have seen it on the big screen now. And I have to say, for all the times I've seen it previously, I never caught that the C3-PO parody (who was dressed as the Tin Woodsman from THE WIZARD OF OZ) was called 4Q2 (i.e., "Fork" You, Too). Sneaky, Ernie, Sneaky. Oh yeah, and Ernie Fosselius was there to talk about the film, tell stories about how he made it and how everyone told him all the fans would hate him and he'd never work again (well, he wasn't already, so what the hell). And he told about his career in sound effects editing, which included working on SPACEBALLS, which actually stole several gags from another (unproduced) script he had written. He was pretty awesome to meet.

Then the other big celebrity was John Stanley. I didn't grow up in the Bay Area, so I didn't know about Creature Features with Bob Wilkins and later with Stanley until I saw the documentary AMERICAN SCARY about late night local TV horror hosts across the country. Creature Features was the Bay Area one, and it was hosted by the "normal guys" (meaning they weren't ghouls or vampires, not that they were particularly normal). This movie gave me a crash course, and now I wanna see more. Bob Wilkins (who passed away from Alzheimers just in the past year) and his extremely dry sense of humor and ubiquitous cigar. John Stanley and his encyclopedic knowledge (he started out by writing letters to Bob correcting him or adding interesting facts about the movies, which Bob would read on the air). Eventually when Bob retired John was a natural replacement and filled time with cheesy "mini-movies" before the feature. And the guest interviews they got were pretty unique, including Boris Karloff(!), Christopher Lee, Ernie Fosselius (again!), and an extremely young Penn and Teller (why'd you ever trim that Jew-fro, Teller?)

Sadly, I had to leave with about 15 minutes left to get to the city for a 7:00 show at Docfest. So now I have to follow up and get the DVD and anything else about Creature Features.
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