4:15am, ish The last ten minutes of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats: From what I saw, and what I heard people saying about it, despite the art film pace of this flick it went over really well. I'm pretty sure I saw almost all of the good stuff, but a movie that has a carnivorous demon-possessed bed as its monster, and then goes out of the way to show you the internal workings of the bed's digestive process, can't be all bad. I'll catch up with this one on Netflix.
4:25am Tarkan vs. The Vikings: Tim and I had an agreement that should one of us pass out and the other was still awake, the awake one would kick the sleeping one back to consciousness for this flick because we were both most looking forward to this out of all the movies this year. It's a Turkish flick (my first, incidentally) about a Hun Turk named Tarkan, and his two dogs, both of which are named Kurt. Tarkan is some kind of great folk hero and a good friend of Attila. Despite a strange statement that now he has two dogs, his invincibility has doubled (Can there be degrees of invincibility? Can you be just a little invincible?), Tarkan proves largely useless when the hordes of Tora the Viking attack Attila's fortress, kill Kurt the Elder, and kidnap Attila's daughter. The rest of the movie is a delirious three way chase between Tarkan and Kurt the Younger, the Vikings, and a third party of eeeevil Chinese who want...um...something. Kurt kills at least six times as many Vikings as Tarkan does, mostly realized by a stagehand throwing the poor dog at various actors and stuntmen from off camera. And there's the insane Viking pillage orgy where they throw a girl around on a big parachute like we all did in elementary school PE class, the fact that the Vikings' loincloths are very clearly bathmats belted to the actors' waists, and the Horrible Snake Pit of Awful Torturous Doom that is filled with at least twelve tiny garter snakes, and Kurt climbing out of a stone cell by turning the camera sideways and walking straight up the wall, and let's not forget the most ridiculous inflatable octopus in film history gently bobbing up from the deep to the tune of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”. I'm sure I've forgotten 80% of the insane things that happen in this movie. It's just wall to wall glorious creamy batshit crazy. Sadly the Mondo Macabro DVD is out of print, but I've heard tell you can stream a bunch of the Tarkan movies (yes, good readers, it's a franchise!) on Youtube. Kudos to Tim for taking me completely off guard with an Oglaff joke, yelling, “Bad falcon! Lazy!” when Tora tries to sic his falcon on a disobedient henchman. I don't think there's ever been a movie at B-Fest that I've looked forward to so much, and the movie actually wound up being even more awesome than I hoped.
5:55am Mutant Hunt: This one had been in my Netflix queue for a while. It was part of a list of 50 dumbest 80's VHS covers. I never got around to it at home. I didn't get around to most of it at B-Fest either, because it turns out it's a boring piece of shit. Nap.
7:15am Guru the Mad Monk: I was thrilled that we were going to see an Andy Milligan flick this year. It was one I didn't know that much about, and it turns out instead of the bizarre sleaze one thinks of when thinking of Milligan, it's just an assload of talking. And some more talking. And then there's a conversation. And then a monologue. And a vampire for some reason, and a visible light switch on the medieval castle, and a fuse box, and a goddamn Vespa parked behind a fence! But the fun parts are few and far between, and everyone had already been bored into a stupor by Mutant Hunt, and it just didn't work. Shame, and I hope the experiment is repeated in a better time slot with a different movie in the future. I think The Ghastly Ones would go over much better. But whatever you think about the flicks, the man behind them is infinitely more fascinating. Read his biography, The Ghastly One. You won't read many more disturbing, sickening, heart-breakingly tragic books than that, I promise you. Roses. Just roses.
8:25am The Brain From Planet Arous: One of the few flicks I'd seen before, at B-Fest 2004. It's a blast with a crowd, as John Agar devours the sets and his female costar's face with wild abandon. The “fissure of Rolando” bit didn't become quite the howling group joke it did last time, but this movie is a perfect storm of everything that is right and everything that is wrong with 1950's science fiction movies.
9:40am Stunt Rock: A combination drama/documentary about Australian stuntman Grant Page/concert video for crappy classic rock band Sorcery (and I resent everyone who called them metal, what they did wasn't even metal in the 70's), following the high of Brain From Planet Arous, this really kept the adrenaline going. Every time the combination magic show/concert of Sorcery or the plot of the drama part started to get on everyone's nerves, Page would do a shitload of death-defying stunts that made everyone even more angry that all that stuff is done with CGI these days. The phrase, “they don't make 'em like they used to” has never been more appropriate. The stuff this guy does is just insane.
11:40am Road House: This went over very well with the crowd, and I must say I had a lot of fun watching it here, but I think it would have either bored or annoyed the hell out of me had I watched it by myself. It just takes itself way too seriously, and the creepy orange mannequin Patrick Swayze bangs in his loft...I dunno, man. It just takes a very specific set of circumstances to make something like this fun. It's got way too much shitty romance dragging down the shitty action.
1:40pm Werewolf In A Girl's Dormitory: It would be more appropriate to call this flick Werewolf Sometimes In the Vicinity of A Girl's Dormitory. Looking at the schedule, I can't believe this played in the time slot they say. It seems like this one was in the overnight. Almost everyone had been worn out by the constant blasts of adrenaline for the last few hours, and many people passed out or left the theater. It was a very quiet showing, but for those who stuck around, we had a great time. Myself, Jacob, Gavin, and a few others were absolutely brutal to this flick. It went home in a cast with its feelings hurt really bad. There are several plots which fail to gel, a werewolf that barely shows up (and is never actually in the dormitory, but to the movie's credit has some pretty good makeup to show for it when it finally does appear), and it rounds off this year's running theme (THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME!) of cute dogs appearing in the movies (my favorite was the fluffy mutt who sleeps on Sorcery's soundboard when they're recording), which is way better than last year's rapetacular B-Fest That Hated Women theme. The dogs here are either nine and ten, or nine, ten and eleven. It's really hard to tell because there are supposed to be a bunch of wolves (once again conspicuously played by German shepherds), and it's hard to tell them apart to know just how many there are. Either way, my favorite riffing moment aside from To Catch A Yeti was during this flick, when the coroner pulls the sheet off the first victim to identify her. Jacob: “Oh yeah, I had my dick in her plenty of times!” Me: “And there's gonna be at least one more before she's in the ground!”
3:05pm Galaxy Invader: This was one of the first movies I reviewed when I started writing for the sadly defunct Tomb of Anubis. From what I gathered, I was one of the few who had seen it before, so I was really stoked to see the reaction everyone was going to have after sitting through 80 minutes of entertainingly dumb but sort of slow rednecks-chasing-shipwrecked-alien-through-the-woods action, only to see the splendiferous grandma-knocks-the-evil-drunk-off-the-cliff-that-wasn't-in-the-shot-a-second-ago-and-he-turns-into-a-goddamn-ragdoll scene that closes the flick. And people went nuts for it. Many of you know bits of this movie as the credits footage from the MST3K version of Pod People. It's not as much fun as some of Don Dohler's other stuff, but for being a couch-change-budget movie as all of his are, it's not too bad. Say what you want about the shortcomings of Dohler's filmography, all of his movies are clearly made with love by a guy who honestly enjoys what he does, and that feeling of passion you get from his stuff goes a long way toward redeeming their flaws.
4:30pm It Came From Beneath the Sea: This slot was originally supposed to be filled by Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, and although I enjoy this movie on its own terms, it's an incredibly disappointing consolation prize for even the worst Godzilla movie, let alone one that I think is loads of fun and terribly under-appreciated. I dozed on and off through most of the talking and woke up for the Ray Harryhausen FX at the end. Not an awful way to end things, but not as good as it should have been.
Every year it seems like less of an endurance test. Eating sandwiches and jerky and nuts and stuff with a minimum of junk food, and picking out a solid 4-hour block for a nap, does wonders for not being destroyed after the Fest. I hope some day to make it through the whole thing again, and it amazes me how people can do it with just a few cans of pop. I drink almost an entire 12-cup pot of coffee at work nearly every day just to function, so there's no way any non-lethal dose of caffeine would keep me up for 24 hours in a dark theater.
Now for the cleanup and the group photo, where I finally met the Reverend D.D. Come hang with us next year, dude! Then it was back to the hotel and off to the farewell supper. Despite the exhaustion, it's a lot easier to get everyone together for supper after the Fest than for breakfast the next morning, as everyone seems to have a different shove-off time. This year we went to a new place near the hotel called Portillo's. It's a kind of local chain place, I guess, where they do hot dogs and Italian beef and pasta and stuff. Nothing fancy, but it was good, and easily the cheapest place we ate the whole trip. The chocolate malt I had there was not only better than the one I had at Superdawg, but more than twice as big and significantly less expensive.
Aside from the simple joy of not feeling like I was on the verge of hallucinating from lack of sleep, the rested state I found myself in meant I could finally join El Santo and Juniper in going to the punk rock/b-movie bar Delilah's downtown for their traditional post-Fest tipple. It was a good time, although even in a cool bar, it's still virtually impossible to have a decent conversation. But we tried our damnedest, and discussed everything from the intricacies of socially awkward nerd love to jerking off a giant nutria man with your feet and getting covered in gallons of humanoid rodent bukkake. Come to think of it, interest in the latter may lead to the awkwardness of the former...
Once again, thanks to Tim, Fistula, Sean, El Santo, Juniper, Gavin, Jacob, Paul, Skip, Mike, the KO Brothers, and anyone I may have missed but who contributed to B-Fest 2012. And of course, special mentions to Chad Plambeck, who provided me with a copy of his End Of The World mockup paper (an overlooked case of them had recently been discovered, and they were originally handed out during both his and my first B-Fest in 2002 but I wasn't enough a part of the TEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAM to ask for one – one more bit of anniversary serendipity), and Dr. Megalemur, who took up the mantle of B-Fest Mixmaster from Tim with a mix CD that included a b-side (ha!) from my favorite band, Clutch. This really was a B-Fest anniversary dream come true. Good times spent with friends, decade-old destination goals and running jokes come to fruition, discovery of new places to go and new dishes to eat, great new stories to tell, and eight goddamn copies of Flesh to read. Yes, I got one more from the desk clerk along with my receipt for the hotel room. Tim said he had no more copies in his possession at B-Fest, and he told the truth.