off, let me start by saying that all events accounted for in this piece
are derived strictly from memory. So if there are any inaccuracies, allow
me to apologize in advance. I do not intend to mislead you, Fair Reader.
And in that respect, I do not intend to step on any toes of fellow B-Fest
attendees I happened to meet during my travels.
arrived at Chicago O’Hare in the early evening. Quaking with
anticipation, I immediately called my host, Ken Begg, to come and pick me
up. Ken was quick to crush my enthusiasm by asking me
to hang out at the airport an hour longer to await Apostic’s arrival (so
Ken would only have to make one trip, you see). Sure Ken, I spent all this
money to fly to Chicago and loiter about the airport. Sounds grand, buddy.
carefully researched Apostic’s arrival gate (turned out to be at the
other end of the airport, naturally) and made my way down there. Seated
comfortably, I began to get a little nervous when the plane finally pulled
into the terminal. What if Apostic’s appearance had changed dramatically
since last year? What if I didn’t recognize him, and he, in turn,
didn’t recognize me?! What if we walked right by each other?! What if we
all got lost in the bustling metropolis that is Chicago?! I got even more
nervous when it seemed that everyone had deboarded, yet still no sign of
Apostic! I knew it! He walked right by me!
alas, Apostic did eventually appear, and I did, in fact, recognize him. We
greeted each other (“Er….umm….John? No…no..it’s Joe, right?”),
chatted a bit, then I called our host once again and requested he bring
the chariot along. Ken then had the audacity to ask that we stay the night
at the airport. You see, Chris “Stomp Tokyo” Holland and Chris
“Diary of a Tuber” Magyar were to arrive early Friday morning and,
once again, imagine the petrol that could be spared! ***
line had to be drawn somewhere. I put my foot down and demanded that Ken
pick us up tonight. No ifs, ands, or buts. And if he didn’t, well then,
I would be forced to…uh…well…become very annoyed. ***
after my stern insistence, Ken finally picked us up and we were off to
Chez Begg. Upon arrival, Apostic and I dropped off our bags, and then we
immediately set off to grab some dinner – Ken’s treat! Though “Big
Stan’s Oil Change and Salad Bar” will never be at the top of my list
for fine dining, surprisingly, their selection proved quite diverse.
Unfortunately, Ken would only let us order off the 99 cent Super Value
Menu. *** Nevertheless, the food was great.
company, however, proved even better than the food. I always enjoy
interacting with those with cinematic
tastes similar to my own. What made it even better was the fact that both
Apostic and Ken are living, breathing, bad film encyclopedias. It
would’ve been quite easy to feel ashamed about my lack of b-movie
knowledge in comparison with those two, but I found myself more awed than
dinner and dessert, we returned to Ken’s and chatted some more.
Naturally, it didn’t take long before we popped in a movie. Since
Apostic had yet to see Manos: The
Hands of Fate (Well, you know, “Manos”), our first choice was a
no-brainer. Fortunately, I happened to have the MST3K version. Heaven
forbid we watch this piece of trash in its original form.
Manos, it was Ken’s turn to
pick a movie. Being that both Apostic and I had manipulated Ken into
forsaking much-needed sleep, he decided that in retribution we were going
to watch Fabio:
A Time For Romance. I honestly can’t add anything that wasn’t
already thoroughly discussed by Ken. After Fabio’s bare-chested
exploits, it was Apostic’s turn to drive the VCR.
Fabio was good (dammit, you know what I mean!), Apostic has my vote for
most inspired film of the evening – perhaps of my entire stay. His
Men of the Lost Planet. I cannot recommend this movie
enough. Ken knocked off about halfway through Vampires,
but Apostic and I decided to go the extra mile and watch “just one more
movie.” It was my turn, so I tossed in my 30th anniversary
edition of the “Ultraman” TV show. I love Ultraman, but Apostic seemed
merely to tolerate it.
2:30 in the morning we finally decided to call it a night. Andrew
Borntreger, of Badmovies.org, had called earlier and warned us of his
impending arrival, but sleep deprivation was taking over, and we decided
to catch some winks before his imminent arrival. Being that it was
Andrew, we would
have to sleep with one eye open.
was approximately four-thirty when the inevitable knock of Ssgt.
Borntreger awoke me from my slumber. Blurry-eyed and frazzled, I opened
the door to the blistering cold air outside and let the road-weary Marine
in. I was still half-asleep (with “anime hair," apparently) but
managed to catch the main points of Andrew’s bizarre and incredible
journey from Atlanta to Chicago – a tale of incest, hillbillies, and a
lack of transmission fluid. What made the anecdote even stranger was
Andrew’s hypothesis that said hillbillies might have, in fact, been
related to our host. Somewhere during this timeframe both Ken and Apostic
roused from their respective sleeping chambers to greet Andrew as well.
But being that it is was five in the morning, everyone soon turned back
a.m. came mighty damn fast. Ken, dependable as the dawn, was up and out to
the airport to pick up the next batch of arrivals. I felt pretty bad about
Ken’s lack of sleep.***
Kenmobile soon returned with Kurt vonRoeschlaub
and his pal, Mike “Don’t Call Me Bakula” Burke. I met Kurt the
along with his wife, Diana. Diana was pregnant, so by the time
BF2K1 swung around they had a healthy baby girl named Claire. Babies and
movie theaters usually don’t mix. Babies and movie theaters that run 24
hours of cinematic slop never mix, so Diana stayed home to play the
responsible parent. Not that Kurt isn’t responsible. Mike struck me as a
fairly responsible guy as well, but I don’t think he has a baby.
where was I?
yes, Kurt and Mike. After dispensing with the pleasantries, Andrew had to
leave and run around town in search of medicaments for his ailing
automobile. Kurt, Mike, Apostic and I remained at the ranch. Movies were
this is the part where things get a little hazy. Almost everything
you’ve read preceding this was written
weeks ago, when the events were still fresh in my mind. It’s now been
quite a while, and I’m struggling to remember the exact details. Again,
to those in attendance, bear with me regarding any inconsistencies that
might be brought forth.
memory serves, we watched the last episode of my “Ultraman” cassette,
Mutiny, and an old black and white film which featured midgets,
zombies, and a well-greased Mexican wrestler who liked to show up
unexpectedly at night in the bedrooms of strange men. I also subjected
Mike to the “Love Will Keep Us Together” number from Sextette.
Ken asked that we turn it off when Andrew was around. Apparently, they
struck a deal that if Andrew didn’t have to see Mae West, Ken wouldn’t
be tortured by the amorous Jar-Jar Binks. You don’t want to know.
thereafter, we packed all the cars with the wide variety of junk food Ken
had bought. We then packed ourselves into said cars and headed for
Superdawg. It was there we – you guessed it – ate hot dogs. Some of us
ate tamales and were disappointed because of it. Helpful hint: The
restaurant isn’t called “Supertamale” for a reason. After our
exquisite meal - and a chance meeting with that guy from A
Christmas Story (“I like The
Wizard of Oz!”) - we were off to B-Fest!
arrived on campus, unpacked our stuff (believe you me, there was a lot of stuff), then Andrew and I went to find a parking spot. We
had to drive around for quite a while, finally settling for a space where
we may or may not be towed. (I bet that added a sprinkling of excitement
to Andrew’s B-Fest experience.)
we parked, made our way back to the world-famous Norris University Center,
and were immediately greeted inside by none other than Jar Jar Binks!
Well, a life-size cutout of Jar Jar Binks; complete with a balloon caption
which read: “Meesa love B-Fest!” This was quite funny, considering
Andrew’s affection for the loveable Star Wars comic relief. Ironically,
none of the other Cabal members
were responsible for Jar Jar’s attendance.
Jar Jar, we soon met up with the rest of our party:
Mitchell: Wildly popular OTF contributor whose fighting technique,
apparently, is unbeatable. Until this momentous occasion, Skip and I had
only corresponded via e-mail. Upon meeting him in person, I must admit
that he was nothing like I imagined. As a matter of fact, I don’t know
how I imagined him. He was just this intangible personality who wrote
lengthy movie reviews for the site. Now that I can put a face with the
persona, well, I guess nothing has changed; beside the fact that I now
know what he looks like. What’s my damn point here?
Skip’s pal and a fellow bad movie aficionado. Both intelligent and
funny, I pondered the notion as to why she hung around with the likes of
Skip. Kidding! Though out interaction was brief, I thoroughly enjoyed
chatting with her over a cup of coffee. And she was sporting a cool
Skip’s wife. To be honest, I didn’t get to talk to George very much.
This was unfortunate for she seemed quite swell. In retrospect, I’m
willing to bet my limited interaction was intentional on Skip’s part,
for he didn’t want anyone catching on to the Haitian Love Spell he had
all the introductions out of the way, two surly girls welcomed us to
B-Fest and we were off!
A young teen is wrongfully incarcerated and
forced to deal with unruly inmates. At one point, one of the more
psychotic jailbirds chirped: “I’m having a baby!” which thus became
the battle cry for the remainder of the weekend.
Jesus, in the form of a Vaudevillian, comes to the Old West to break into
showbiz. No, I didn’t get it either. Weird, pretentious and hilarious
– both intentionally and inadvertently. Reminded me of Jodorowsky’s El
Topo. Directed by Robert Downey, Sr. and starring Herve Villechaize!
Lots of fun.
Blood of Dracula:
Much too similar to Reform School
Girl, except this time the heroine falls victim to a spell that turns
her into a vampire. Alas, the vampire action was few and far between. As a
matter of fact, anything
resembling action was few and far between. However, the musical number,
“Puppy Love,” was a big hit. It featured choreography similar to that
in Flashdance, except the
dancers bounced couch cushions off one another. OK, so it was nothing like
Jones and the Casino of Gold:
A classic example of blaxploitation at its finest. The titular Jones
battles a drug cartel in Hong Kong. Though the movie itself was a riot,
the most fun came from anticipating what Cleopatra was going to wear next.
Her choice of apparel, at times, truly defined courageous fashion. And
what would blaxploitation be without Norman Fell?
Just as scary as last year.
Wizard of Speed and Time:
Just as scary as last year.
9 from Outer Space:
Just as dull as last year. Fear of being decapitated by a paper plate
added a little excitement, though.
Blah, blah, blah…last year.
A big lizard runs amok in England. Seen it before, and didn’t like it
then. Since it was almost two in the morning, I decided to catch some
winks. Review available here.
of the Colossal Beast:
Replace big, crazy lizard with big, crazy man. Replace England with
the States. Mmmm…sleep…
awoke to some rather surreal pornographic cartoons. Funny for a minute or
two, but got rather old rather quick.
of the Bee Girls: This was a good one. Psychotic bee women kill
unsuspecting men during intercourse. All right, so it doesn’t make a
damn lick of sense. The movie was great anyway. Lots of gratuitous nudity
for those who are into that kinda stuff.
I had never seen this, and had every intention of checking it out. Sadly,
I passed out about a quarter of the way in. Think Mad
Max on roller skates. Oh, and add a glowing ball of some sort. The
strangest part, however, was my sleeping. Normal people drift off to
sleep. Normally, this is how I do it as well. This time my brain decided
to shut down instantly, thus causing my head to drop and bang violently
against the back of the chair. Ouch.
in the Streets:
The rebellious youth of the ‘60’s take a stand against The Man. They
sing. They dance. They go wild in the streets. Unfortunately, the
projectionists went a little wild themselves. The film was inadvertently
shown upside-down, backwards, and in Swahili. Chris Holland and I decided
it was a good time to grab a little breakfast.
Hypnotism! Blood-curdling monsters from the deep! Delicious chicken of the
sea! I think I slept through this one too. Jeez! Next year I need to go to
bed early the day before.
& His Pals:
Reminiscent of Blood Diner, but
gorier and with even less of a budget. A couple of kooky cooks knock off
their patrons (amongst others) and serve them as the special of the day.
OK, but nothing to get too excited over.
I was told that I really needed to pay attention to this movie, and dammit,
I tried. But, once again, I
dozed back off. I did catch an ominous voiceover and something about a
giant eye. Or did I dream that?
So let me get this straight: Marijuana and
communism are bad? I guess Marxist hippies are basically screwed.
Has Risen From the Grave:
Stop! Hammer time! Pretty standard fare. Christopher Lee wreaks havoc as
the legendary vampire. Hammer films really aren’t my cup of tea,
especially when I’m dog-tired. Not exactly a thrill-a-minute.
There’s an island full of monsters. One of said monsters is, of course,
a giant moth. Said moth is friends with two pint-sized women who speak in
high-pitch unison. Capitalist swine abduct said women and take them back
to the Big City. Mothra soon follows, kicking all sorts of ass along the
way. I have yet to understand what the big deal is in regard to giant
monster movies. They just don’t do
it for me. Being sponsored by Stomp Tokyo, this is probably sacrilege.
after Mothra flew off into the sunset, the curtains closed and the lights
came up revealing an auditorium full of bewildered people with that
“deer caught in the headlights” look about them.
all pitched in to help clean up the mess of paper plates and half-dead
bodies strewn randomly about the floor. Once everything was neat and tidy,
everybody packed into cars and headed either to House of Ken or House of
Ken’s Mom. I opted Ken’s house, for then I could scrummage through the
couch cushions for loose change with little to no guilt involved. ***
the day of my arrival to Chicago, I had been slowly getting sick. By the
time we got back from B-Fest I felt pretty much like shit. The next couple
days were a blur of conversation, a few movies, and an unhealthy
smattering of snack food. I eat more Hostess at B-Fest than I do the whole
all was said and done, Ken was gracious enough to drive me back to the
airport. Another B-Fest down in the history books. Despite feeling like
crap, I had a great time. The festival itself is always a blast, but
nothing compares to hanging out with my fellow geeks.
I mean “geek” in the most affectionate way possible.
denotes a blatant lie, or a series of them.
-- Copyright © 2001 by J. Bannerman
Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension