I arrived at Chicago O'Hare early Friday afternoon, with a bag containing all my trip
essentials, and a slip of paper with Ken "Jabootu" Begg's phone number. I immediately went from the
terminal to a pay phone, hence to get the ball rolling. Upon dialing the number, I was
immediately greeted by the dreaded automated voice of AT&T, "We're sorry, the
number you have reached - # # # - # # # # - is being checked for technical problems.
Please try again - later." Being that I knew absolutely nobody in Chicago, and
having banked all my travel accommodations/transportation/etc. with Jabootu, my reaction
was a slightly more profane version of:
So, being the trooper that I am, I meandered about the airport for a while,
periodically trying Ken's number. Finally, about twenty minutes later, I thankfully got
through. Come to find out, the phone was merely busy - and AT&T was, in fact, full of
Twenty minutes later, Ken arrived in his svelte blue chariot, and we were off to La
Casa de Begg. Upon entering his abode, I was greeted by Andrew of BadMovies.org, Al and Rob of Oh, the Humanity!, Apostic
from B-Notes, as
well as several representatives from the Nation of Jabootu - including Ken (naturally),
Sue, Jeff, and the vonRoeschlaubs (who, I was repeatedly informed, are with child). Rock
'n Roll Nightmare played on the television (and oh yes, I will own that film).
Ken followed this masterpiece with a little number from the film Sextette, starring
(amongst others) Timothy Dalton (when he was a nobody - as opposed to the huge star he is
today) and an approximately 90 year old, yet vibrant as ever, Mae West. Their
interpretation of Captain and Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" will be a
cherished memory for some time to come. Ken and I then piled back into the Begg-Mobile,
and returned to O'Hare to pick up yet another of Jabootu's minions - message board
regular, Joel Mathis (who presented Ken with a DVD of Dennis Rodman's Simon Sez -
which was very thoughtful, I think).
Back at the ranch, the rest of the gang were now engrossed in Ticks (Alfonso
Ribeiro!). After this (thankfully) ended, we loaded up three cars full of people and
coolers (which, in turn, were chock-full of luscious junk food - compliments of our most
gracious host), and headed towards Northwestern University.
We pulled in front of the Norris University Center and
began unpacking the loot. Did I mention it was cold in Chicago? Well, let me tell you - it
was. After unloading the cars, we heaved everything inside, and waited in line for the
tickets to go on sale and auditorium to open so we can commence the mad dash inside to get
the best seats possible. Ticket lines opened (Twenty bucks! Ouch!), and Ken charged into
the theater, securing the front/left corner of the room. As it was later explained to me,
this was the first year Ken didn't get the traditional front row seats. Must be some kind
of communist plot.
Soon thereafter, the guys from Stomp
Tokyo arrived: Scott and Chris, Chris "Diary of a Tuber"
Magyar, Jeff "FilmBoy"
Stanford, and Dr. Freex from The Bad Movie Report. After all the various pleasantries and
salutations were out of the way, we finally got
to the crux of our mutual endeavor - the dang movies!
After the introductory greeting from Matt Bradford, the proprietor of B-Fest, we kicked
it into high gear with:
Somebody's murdered - Daddy-O sings a song.
False accusations are made - Daddy-O sings a song.
A fat, sweaty, bald guy in a toga gets a massage - Daddy-O sings a song.
The real culprits are apprehended - Daddy-O threatens to sing another song.
Invasion of the Saucermen
A flying saucer lands in the proximity of Inspiration Point/Lover's Lane/or whatever
the heck they call it in this film. Aliens wreak havoc along the countryside with their
hypodermic needle fingers. Teenagers, law enforcers, the army, and the Riddler try to stop
them. An old guy who owns the property threatens the teen "smoochers" with his
shotgun at various intervals. (Who, by the way, owns a pretty plush pad for being a
backwoods redneck.) The aliens are eventually thwarted, and the hillbilly threatens the
smoochers once again - hilarity ensues.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes
A short, scrawny Charlton Heston wanna-be attempts find the real Heston, fondle Nova,
and elude apes and evil telepaths at the same time. This particular pic wins the
"Worst Print of the Night" award. Grainy, scratched, and presumably soaked in a
red dye. Be on the lookout for the humming ladder - a classic! I wonder if that idiot ever
figured out that he was on Earth?
House on Haunted Hill
I am convinced that this was a diabolical plot conceived by Dr. Freex to torture me. We
had argued on the quality of this film
previously (I claimed it sucked, he (futilely)
attempted to prove otherwise). Somehow, he tricked those poor people at B-Fest into
screening it. He's evil, I tellya - EVIL!
Short: The Wizard of Speed and Time
A B-Fest staple, complete with audience participation. A guy in a green robe (with
stars) runs around the country, makes silly faces, and provides an unreliable means of
public transportation. Just when you think it can't get any better, he breaks into song
and a possible precursor to Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer." Good stuff - very
popular among Fest veterans.
Plan 9 From Outer Space
The Ed Wood classic - shown every year around midnight. The audience ate it up. I could
have done without it, personally, but who am I to stand in the way of tradition?
Dracula 1972 A.D.
Dracula is resurrected in the "modern day" 1970's by Sting, and terrorizes a
group of hip teeny-boppers. Kind of slow, but picks up towards the end when Peter Cushing
gets hot on Drac's trail - and the Shaft-like "wa-kit-cha, wa-kit-cha" music
Goodness gravy! Nothing could have prepared me for this! Hands down, this is the worst
film I've seen in a very long time - perhaps ever. Mild irritation turned into rabid, screaming loathing by the end, "End!
Damn you! END!" Sabu, the hero, and his gang of incompetent white scientists, attempt
to figure out the mystery of the Burning Rock. Meanwhile, elephants (via a seemingly
endless supply of stock footage) walk around, get washed, get tied up, and walk around
some more. If ever you should see this film gracing your local video store shelf - destroy
it immediately! Take it off the shelf, hurl it (preferably with tremendous force)
to the ground, and mercilessly stomp the remaining pieces. I'm not kidding. Frigging destroy
Some midgets fight over a pillow and a chair. When inquiring about the point of this
little darling of cinema, I was informed, simply, that, "It's French."
Short: Tomb It May Concern
A midget (just can't enough of 'em!) and a color-blind explorer discover two mummies
within the catacombs of an ancient Egyptian tomb. The explorer wanders off to continue the
excavation, leaving the midget in charge of keeping an eye on the two
mummies - with specific directions not to douse the mummies with the sacred water (which,
conveniently, is located right between them). Can you guess what happens next? If you
said: the midget splashes water on the mummies - you get the kewpie doll. As it turns out,
the mummies are actually belly dancers, and the homelier of the two honors us with a full
performance - while the midget gawks and makes funny faces. Yup, it's a tried and true
fact, short people are funny. *yawn* The explorer returns to find laughter and mirth
induced by the wacky antics of his small colleague. The midget then hooks up with the
homely dancer, and the explorer is set up with the other (who is dark-skinned - but that's
OK, because, as they've previously explained, the explorer is color-blind). Funny? Sorta,
but not in the way intended. Offensive? You bet. Highlights include bad vaudevillian jokes
and plumber's crack.
Jean-Claude Van Damme's attempt to out-Street Fight Street Fighter, this time
with the help of Roger Moore. The story revolves around a big martial arts tournament; the
combatants spanning from around the globe. Each nationality is stereotyped: the Scottish
fighter has flaming red hair and a kilt, the Brazilian hops around like a monkey - you get
the picture. Though it was entertaining, I've seen it before, and decided this was an
opportune moment to catch some sleep. Even if I hadn't already seen it, common sense
dictates that Van Damme will win - is there any doubt? Highlights include Jean-Claude
dressed up as a sad clown. Kinda poetic.
Creature From the Haunted Sea
Slept some more. At various points I woke up to the yelling of, "Mango!" Of
which I assumed was either a character, or Carmen Miranda making a surprise appearance.
Came to find out later, I didn't miss much.
Short: What is Communism?
In a nutshell: Communism - BAD! Democracy - GOOD! Add a little propaganda, some
misplaced patriotism, a heapin' helpin' of BS - stir briskly, bake and serve.
It Came From Outer Space (in 3-D!)
I didn't realize that the 3-D effect was achieved by almost completely blacking out the
right glass lens. Because of this, intertwined with the movie's rather slow start, I dozed
Son of Blob
Larry Hagman, Burgess Meredith and Dick Van Patten team up to take on the titular
oozing ball of destruction. Actually, the fearsome threesome only provide cameos. Lots of
fun. The coup de grace being a THE END?! finish. Directed by Hagman, the IMDB lists this as: "The film
A short film featuring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Lugosi plays a doctor, who
disfigures Karloff's face in order to blackmail him into killing off some of Bela's
adversaries (or else he'll be scarred for life). Even though I yelled out,
"Nevermore!" at various instances throughout the film, it didn't help in
adhering it to the Poe classic. Forgettable.
Joe Friday, from "Dragnet", plays a Rod Serling-esque character who gives us
a "What if?" scenario where a typical man, with a typical life, in a typical
house, with a typical family suddenly wakes up to discover that his town had been overrun
with - *cue ominous trumpet fanfare* - COMMUNISTS! Entertaining, but at the same time,
Robert Vaughan plays a...*ahem*..."teenage" caveman in this Roger Corman
classic. Scott, from Stomp Tokyo,
summed it up best by saying, "Leave it to Corman to make the first prehistoric legal
thriller." That Scott, what a card!
Five Million Years to Earth (aka Quatermass and the Pit)
Ain't nothing like a stuffy British movie to put me right to sleep.
"Slime people got..small fingers.." Oops, sorry. An airplane pilot lands in
L.A. to refuel, only to discover that it has been invaded by - say it with me, folks -
SLIME PEOPLE! Easy pickins for comic quips and random tom-foolery.
Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Russ Meyer tells the provocative story of a threesome of buxom women who drive fast
cars, talk tough, break into random dancing, and are not afraid to whoop some tail.
Interestingly, the projectionist misframed the first quarter of the film, causing the actress's heads to be cut off. So,
essentially, what we had were these enormous breasts conversing amongst each other. Though
this might've been annoying in any other director's picture, for a Russ Meyer film, it
seemed rather fitting. It just cut right to the point.
After Faster, Pussycat! finished, the house lights came on revealing a worn and
haggard crowd of B-movie enthusiasts. The Jabootu Party, all 20 some odd of us, helped
clean up the various wrappers, cups, paper plates (lots of paper plates), etc. We
then decided to head back to Ken's mother's house, where the majority of us would be
staying, and order some pizza, drink alcohol, and converse. (Note to self: Next year, do not
joke that Ken's Mom doesn't allow alcohol in the house. I was nearly strangled for that
half-baked attempt at humor.)
So, we packed up the cars with both the junk food receptacles and ourselves, and headed
home. Upon arriving at Mrs. Begg's, everyone got comfortable - some in the kitchen, some
in the living room. The festivities revolved around drinking, talking, and basically
having a good ole time. Ken took orders for food (His treat! The man is a saint!),
and the party turned into a game of Ten Little Indians as we talked well into the
night - every once in a while, someone would succumb to their sleep deprivation, and
disappear into a dark recess of the house to pass out. It was almost 2 before us die-hards
decided to call it a night.
The next morning was a tornado of good-byes, coffee and David Hasselhoff's Starcrash.
(Dave, you never fail to amaze me.) We also snuck in one last peek at Mae West in Sextette.
All in all, this was the most fun I had in a long time. The event itself was a blast,
and you couldn't ask for a nicer group of folks. It will be take some extraordinary
circumstances for me to miss next year, and I sincerely hope that everyone else I met will
make a triumphant return in 2001.
Thanks again, Ken!
Don't want to take my word for it? Check out these musings from other
The Bad Movie
Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension
Oh, the Humanity!