I first saw WATCH HORROR FILMS, KEEP AMERICA STRONG a few years back. And a week ago Sunday (wow, I'm really behind on my blog) they played it again at the Niles Film Museum. This is a new edit, as director Tom Wyrsch--now with four more films under his belt--went back and recut it mostly for pacing reasons. I have to say, the end product is very good. I liked it before, but I confess it did drag on with interview clip after interview clip (although when I saw it in 2009 I was also pressed to make it to another even so I had to split early, that could've contributed to my frustration.) Anyway, it was a treat to see it again, and I think it works much better now.
Tom Wyrsch was in attendance, and talked about the movie a bit (and raffled off some amazing prizes.) John Stanley was also supposed to be there, but he had an unspecified family emergency. Last year he was supposed to be there, too, but he was recovering from a heart attack. It's like he has been cursed to never be able to come back to Niles. Spooky!
Then us die-hards stayed for a screening of HOORAY FOR HORRORWOOD, a loving tribute to Forrest J. Ackerman, the man behind Famous Monsters of Filmland and a tireless (well, at least until he got too tired and passed away) advocate of the fun side of scary movies. And it's a fun if low-budget ride through the life, inspirations, and influence of a true American original.
Then for the truly, true die-hards we got the museum's own Michael Bonham's home video touring the Ackermansion and meeting Forry. I won't speculate how old this was, but he had quite a bit more hair back then (and I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning that). And it ends with footage of him buying a copy of HOORAY FOR HORRORWOOD...which we just saw. We're through the looking glass now, people!
Total Running Time: 162 minutes
My Total Minutes: 340,411