Evil Jim (evil_jim) wrote,
Evil Jim

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B-Cool, B-Ware, B-There; B-Fest 2006

B-Fest 2006 was the third I've attended. I know the routine by now but I'm always in for a few surprises. I go stud; meaning, I don't look at the movie schedule at all before or during B-Fest. I enjoy the suspense of not knowing what we are about to watch until the moment it appears on screen. This keeps me hungry for more & prevents ruining the next ten hours by dreading Superbabies. sacredspud has already done a fine job f documenting the journey to & from Chicago's Northwestern University's Norris Center McCormick Auditorium with matt_wiliam, henrietta1, Tim & his fiancée Jessica so I will dispense with the details & get on to the movies!

I vaguely remember Superman IV: The Quest for Peace from either the theater during its initial release, television, or both. As mentioned before I always go stud but I overheard someone from another group mention Superman as the first film. I was very surprised by this as I recalled the films in the franchise to be quite good. But then, it's been at least 10 years since I've seen any of them. Boy have the times changed! Most of the special effects were pretty bad, especially for when it was created. It would be forgivable for a TV special but not a major motion picture.

I was hoping it would be the one where some man-made tainted Kryptonite turns Superman into an Evil bastard but it was another that I gradually recalled to be ridiculous in premise & worse in plot: Superman seeks to rid the world of nuclear weapons (a valid & growing concern during the mid-eighties) &, having rounded them all up in a convenient, gigantic steel fishing net, hurls them into the sun. Promising businessman & arms dealer Lex Luthor foresees profit margins falling &, from a strand of S-Man's hair stolen from the Metropolis museum, clones an evil brother to kill him. Powers: pretty much like Superman except that he's hot (in temperature I mean.... Well, I suppose in appearance too.) Weakness: darkness. Look out, it's a reverse-vampire made of Solarbonite!

So, um... yeah. I actually don't remember how it ends -- which should be warned as a common theme throughout the rest of this post -- but I assure you that the bad guys are defeated, Superman saves the day & has his way with Lois over & again & ereases her memory after each time.

When we showed our tickets before entering the auditorium I sucked the air out of the room with a gasp of glee when I saw the piles of 3-D glasses on the table. I was so excited I wore them for most of the evening (which was probably not a good idea since before the film I mostly wore them atop my head & oil from my hair blurred the lenses.) The film: Creature From the Black Lagoon. Indeed I was excited. So much so that for a while I forgot how incredibly dull the movie actually was. It's like fishing: a few moments of excitement punctuated by long stretches of boredom. I tried to watch the entire film, I honestly did, but during a particularly lengthy period of underwhelming non-action the long drive & rest of the day finally caught up to me & I dozed for about 10 to 20 minutes. I did enjoy the 3-D effects, tho', & anxiously awaited any scene where they would shine, being mainly those underwater with a lot of fish. Yes, I did the whole waiving-the-hand-in-front-of-me trying to catch things in midair. Cheesy, but when the hell else am I going to be able to do this again? Being originally in 3-D, the creators were sure to add several in-your-face shots wherever appropriate. During one particular moment with a rather ugly fish someone a few rows back shouted "Holy mackerel!" to which Colin & I replied in unison "Oh my cod!" Thank you Mike. Oh, & I did the whole "It's like I can touch you!!!" thing at least twice.

I got to sing my favourite Blue Oyster Cult song a few times during Godzilla (1998). It was pretty bad but not as unwatchable as I had feared (tho' for films like this subsequent viewings usually get worse with each one.) This woke me up considerably & I was able to keep going for the next few films.

The most notable give-aways during the raffle for door prizes were four legal bootleg copies of The Wizard of Speed & Time movie. The winners all seemed very excited & I was glad that someone had remembered to donate some as I had forgotten mine at home.

The Wizard of Speed & Time short always precedes the centerpiece of B-Fest & I have heard rumor that Mr. Jittlov himself has donated the print we watch (tho' I've heard no substantial evidence to the fact.) It is played & received with much audience participation & excitement & is a great way to give people another wind to continue with more movies. Rather than rewind the film in the conventional way they just fed it back into the camera & we watched it again... backward!

Plan 9 From Outer Space I've said it all before. Ed Wood + paper plates + sleep deprivation = hilarity for all.

Coffy I had heard about before & knew only that it was a Blacksploitation film from years past & that the theme song was on an early B-Fest CD. I was a bit surprised to learn that the lead character was a woman & even moreso that this film was being shown at all since it was used not that long ago. The rest was pretty much what you'd expect from a nurse/vigilante heroine in the 70's. Pretty violent & pointless. I stepped out to stretch my legs & make my first live LJ post. I intended to see the rest but the credits were rolling by the time I returned.

However, I was just in time for the short Knights on Bikes which consisted of a brief vignette of a knight in armor & his bike. The bike is worthy of note because it appeared to be authentic (tho' it probably wasn't) & predated the modern by perhaps a century. It consisted of a yolk-shaped wooden frame & pedals directly attached to the front wheel -- no chain. The story? Um... The knight is having lunch atop a large rock &... um. Stuff happens. A chase ensues. His bike breaks. It was entertaining; just trust me.

I saw quite a bit of Gas but I still walked out about three quarters of the way through to get some fresh air... Or maybe I dozed. I don't remember. The whole film felt like it was written by some bitter hippies trying to get back at The Man for making their way of life difficult. A government project accidentally releases a poisonous gas into the atmosphere which kills everyone over 25. All that's left are the young'ns who pretty much make a good time of it all. A group of friends decide to go on a road trip (presumably to see the Oracle who's signs are posted along the highway as if it's the new Wall Drug. ("Find the Answer / See the Oracle.) They meet some others along the way who... I'm really not interested in finishing this synopsis. I'll end by revealing the best bit which was that they finally do reach the Oracle & it is just a big rock painted with the following: "There is no answer, but keep searching! :) ~ The Oracle"

Tromeo & Juliet is another fucked up steaming pile of whatsit from Troma that just should not be. I don't understand how or why these awful abominations keep being made, sold & actually bought. They revel in disturbing scatological humour, mutation & gross dismemberment & aren't enjoyable at all in any way. I swear, if any more of these shit-bombs show up at future B-Fests I'm walking out for the entire film.

Evidently I missed out on an interesting softcore porn short while I was updating my journal, but I made it back in time for You Are What You Eat. These little artsy films are great because they don't need a plot to be entertaining. This one primarily consisted of a very weird (yet strangely attractive) lady harassing a young man. I remember a particular scene where he is walking down a long alley & she keeps coming up to him, speaking mockingly to him, getting in his way, throwing leaves & all sorts of generally annoying stuff while he keeps walking along ignoring her.

The third short is thought to be called Rap by others in my group, but no conclusive proof has been found yet. It dealt with gender roles & reminded me strongly of last year's Masculine or Feminine, who's title I recited loudly at key parts throughout.

Graffiti Bridge was Prince's musical contribution to the fest lineup. Evidently dealing with rival nightclub owners, I slept through most of it. Unless they're early in the show, musicals, particularly those like this that are essentially 90 minute music videos, aren't easily endurable. If you're not really into it you get bored during the song/dance numbers & go find something else to do. I did.

Earth Girls Are Easy was a pleasant surprise. I had been wanting to see it for years but never expected to see it here. I fell in love with Gina Davis all over again & vowed to buy it on DVD when next I can.

With four films left to go it was time for breakfast break. I updated my journal, had some of the healthy food I brought with & hung out with some of the rest of our party. We found the suggestion sheets where you can write down titles for other movies you'd like to see at future B-Fests so I wrote down several legitimate movies along with a few I made up like "The Allmighty Zot!" "Digger Dan II" & a couple others I can't at the moment recall but I assure you they were clever.

Rhinestone Cowboy was another musical but with less music than Graffiti Bridge. To win a bet with her slimy manager Country singer Dolly Parton has to turn NY cabbie Sylvester Stallone into a proper C/W singer & win over an audience with a song in two weeks. Or not. I unrolled my blanket & pillow down on the stage & slept wearing earplugs after about two thirds of it (which seems to be my limit for movies I can't get into.) I did catch the end & Stallone's big musical number & was dismayed to have to watch him sing two more before the freaking movie was over.

The best part of Cobra Woman was before I even knew what it was. The movie started with only half of it on screen, the camera being angled improperly. The credits were rolling & since I was still on stage recovering from Rhinestone I went over to the edge of the picture, pretended to grab hold & pulled as hard as I could. It worked! & I dragged the picture back to the center of the screen. People seemed to enjoy that.

I watched much, much less of Cobra Woman than any other film. There is a whole genre of 50's movies that feature a chimp as a main character & this repels me even more than films with the words "Love" or "Actually" in the title. Apparently chimps were comic gold during the 50's & were exploited to no end by those filmmakers who felt the novelty of a semi-intelligent pet in their feature would make them an instant hit. The only way to loose my attention quicker is to add the word "Troma."

I woke in time for the ending of Cobra to confuse the hell out of me before the next three shorts:

People Soup was entertaining but only for about the last three minutes. A boy is randomly mixing food items & condiments & pretending it's an experiment. (Seemingly to see just how quickly his mom will explode once she sees the mess in the kitchen.) He convinces his brother to test it, who turns into a chicken, then back again with another taste. The boy tries it & turns into a sheepdog. Bleagh. Wretched.

Fossils are Interesting No they aren't.
I didn't want to plagiarize Colin but there just isn't a better way to describe this short.

Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies was wretched, awful, horrible & unendurable. I am unfond of human larvae as it is without someone forcibly attempting to make them cute & funny & this only made it worse. I don't know where to begin so I won't even bother trying to summarize it. But I will mention that it was entertaining listening to the audience recoil in horror at every antic that would thrill & delight a 5-year-old. Much like last year's 3 Ninjas movie. It rained the entire weekend so about 30 minutes in I left to get my umbrella from the car & drop off my backpack & bedroll since there was only one film left.

I unfortunately didn't miss the rest of Superbabies but this made sure I would be there for the encore showing of The Wizard of Speed & Time short. It was a much needed morale & adrenaline boost & if they had shown this after every movie I wouldn't have needed sleep for the entire weekend. This time I ran down on stage with everyone else (actually one of the first as & got front & center) to lay down & stomp away while pretending to run with the Wizard. It's a lot more tiring than it seems & I was glad my knee had healed sufficiently so as not to cause myself injury. No backwards this time & when it was over I was wide awake & ready for the final & grand finale of the Fest.

The original 1933 KING KONG was by far the best movie of the entire festival. It didn't belong there but I sure as hell wouldn't complain. I'm really, really happy that I got to see it this way for the first time in its entirety. It was great & an excellent way to end the misery. Much better than last year's Electric Bugaloo. (Bleargh!)

The first (& possibly the last) time I saw King Kong must have been more than twenty years ago. I remember watching it in the basement with my father on the old 10 inch Samsung that rested on his workbench. (I don't know why in the basement rather than someplace more comfortable but Mom must've been watching something on the living room TV.) I asked how they made Kong move like that & Dad explained it to me. I already knew a little bit about stop-motion animation at the time so it made sense, but I didn't know very much more about special effects. I thought the Kong model was a 1/1 scale.

If you haven't figured it out already I enjoyed the film tremendously. I even had a little impromptu fun on stage. In an early scene Kong battles a dinosaur. It's a terrific fight & I saw an opportunity so I ran down in front of the screen & watched the match intensely, hovering right next to the contestants. When Kong finally knocked down & pinned the dinosaur for the last time I flung myself down on my hands & knees, watched closely & then slapped the mat, er, floor three times. Kong rose & roared; I stood, gesticulated triumphantly to indicate Kong as the winner & still champion, & returned to my seat. Colin asked if I had seen the movie before & I told him not recently. Regardless, he said I timed it perfectly.

After the last movie we cleaned up, sorted through the paper plates we wanted to keep & headed out for real food on the way to Tim's. I found some plates with phone numbers from girls I'm going to call when I figure out what the local area code is, & we scrounged an extra B-Fest cup for Colin.

A special thanks to sacredspud for making his coverage of the event so thorough, thus helping immensely with my own chronology. Otherwise this entry would be a lot shorter. And Especially to Tim for letting us crash upon his spacious floor & helping to cook a salubrious breakfast with Jessica & Sarah.

Speaking of crash, I've been at this for a while & nearly 3,000 words. Tiring indeed. I haven't written at length regularly in quite a while & I'm trying to get back at it in hopes it will stir other creative juices. I'm glad I got all of this out at once. It's a good start.

Coming up next: the reason why I've been asking some of you which weekends you have free.

And now, the crashing!

- E V I L O U T -
Tags: b-fest, movies, weekend

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