Monday, October 29, 2012

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for a Creature Features show

This is one of only four complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features shows that has survived. As explained by local historical documentarian Tom Wyrsch, Bob Wilkins would go in Thursday night and tape his segments. Then when they played Saturday night, they would switch from tape for his segments to 16 mm film for the movie. Then during the next week the tapes were always recorded over. Bob Wilkins saved four of the tapes, and gave them to Wyrsch. This is the second one he has put back together with the movie (the first one, THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US) played at Niles a couple of years ago. And he's got two more to go.

But first, we got to see Ernie Fosselius' PLAN 9.1 FROM OUTER SPACE. A short PLAN 9 remake/spoof (although how do you spoof something that is practically a mockery of itself?) with puppets. Excellent. And if you want the movie (with the bonus feature of Ed Wood's original PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE) it's available on his website (where you can also get his HARDWARE WARS, PORKLIPS NOW, and Disasterous Shorts DVD's.)

And finally, the feature, TARGET EARTH. Oooh, this was pretty bad. A woman wakes up after trying to overdose on sleeping pills. She finds she's the only person left in (the unnamed) town. Or almost. She meets a few others, and they whole up in an apartment trying to figure out what happened. Meanwhile, the Army is trying to figure out the same thing. Turns out what happened was an invasion...of robots...from Venus! (probably?) Or, to be more precise, an invasion of the crappiest looking robot in the history of cinema. I mean, it was really, really bad.

But that's not the point. The point is to enjoy the vintage commercials and Bob Wilkins' dry humor (my favorite bit, after the first commercial break when all that has happened is the woman walked around the empty town, Bob promises the film is about to pick up "just a little bit.") And then there's the interviews. He interviewed a guy who built an actual robot (of course, this was the 70's so not particularly sophisticated, but much better than the robots in the movie.) And later he interviewed Bruce Hyde. Who's Bruce Hyde? Well, obviously he's the guy who played Kevin Riley on two episodes of the first season of Star Trek. He actually talks rather candidly about leaving show business (or at least L.A.) because he didn't like what it was doing to him.

Oh, and one final note, John Stanley (who took over Creature Features after Bob left) was supposed to be there for the show, but he was recovering from a mild heart attack. The word is that he's okay, but all of us at Niles and all your fans around the Bay Area wish you a speedy recovery, John.

Total Running Time (estimated): 120 minutes
My Total Minutes: 301,708

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