Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jason goes to Niles for a Creature Features show

Ah, one of my favorite Halloween in Niles traditions, at least when they do it.

For those who didn't grow up in the Bay Area (like me,) Bob Wilkins was an iconic late-night horror TV host. And he was famous for not dressing up as a monster, but being the "regular guy" who made fun of the movies (if they were bad. If not, he actually praised them honestly.) and interviewed stars, did interesting segments around the commercial breaks, etc.

Only 4 complete episodes of his show exist, as most of the tapes for his segments were handed to the news department after they aired so they could tape news segments over them. Tom Wyrsch, local historical documentarian, has retrieved them and compiled them into complete shows, with the movie, Bob Wilkins segments, and vintage commercials inserted in the appropriate places. And a couple of Sundays ago, we saw the last of the four, there will never be more.

Oh, and as an extra treat, John Stanley was there. He's the guy who took over the show when Bob retired.

So, as for the movie. X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES (1963) is one of the good ones (although it was shown as a double feature with some awful trash they didn't play, which makes it kind of confusing at the end when Bob Wilkins says, "See, I told you it was bad.") Roger Corman directed this, with Ray Milland starring as a Dr. James Xavier who develops a formula to give himself x-ray vision. At first it's great for his career as a surgeon, but it leads to some problems when his colleagues try to get him to stop and he kills one of them. On the run, he resurfaces as a carnival sideshow act, a psychic who can see what's in people's pockets and the like. But that becomes problematic when his manager (Mr. Warmth himself, Don Rickles) starts exploiting him as a healer. So Xavier is on the run again with his girlfriend who has tracked him down. This time to Vegas to make a little money at blackjack. He just needs enough to continue his research. Oh yeah, did I mention that his x-ray formula is also kind of fucking up his brain? That's kind of important. Obviously, things won't end well. Except for the audience, the audience gets a great little treat.

Total Running Time: 126 minutes
My Total Minutes: 407,323
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