Friday rolled around, and I wanted to make sure Mal got some shopping done just for her, so Fistual met up with us at TJ Maxx, and then we went into Chicago proper to hit a few more clothing stores. It wasn’t long before we needed to head back to the hotel to prepare, with just enough time to stock up on supplies before heading to McCormick auditorium.
Pumaman - Tim and Sean missed most of the Fest due to sickness, which is a damn shame. I mentally poured out a 40 as the very Telstar-esque alien ship floated across the screen. The version of this that played on MST3K was edited for a very good reason. Everything missing from the Brains’ version is boring crap with the glorious exception of some very overworked rear-projection FX showing Cobris using his helicopter to ram Pumaman mid-flight! That beautiful three seconds was well worth the 90 minutes of pain. I like to believe Cobris uses the gold mind control mask to force his henchmen to read the Twilight books so he has someone to talk about them with.
Top Dog - I believe I was the only person in the theater who enjoyed this movie in a totally unironic manner. I could sit and watch it on my own and still glean plenty of enjoyment out of it. I remember seeing this when it debuted on video when I was a kid and liking it then, and that may have something to do with it. Chuck Norris’s first screen appearance was greeted with massive cheering. He also happened to be waking up from a hangover to a shrill telephone and winced just as the audience cheered. Priceless. It also helps that briards - the breed of dog Norris teams up with here - are absolutely adorable. Especially when they’re stealing the Pope’s scarf.
Mama Dracula - Wow. Just…wow. Had this been discovered in our high school movie night days, during the formative period of my group’s cinemasochist journey, it definitely would have wound up being awarded classic status, like Microwave Massacre, or the post-formative but honorary classic Psychos In Love. It’s a bizarre horror comedy with Erzsebet Bathory, her poof vampire henchmen, a goofy mute chauffer who doubles as the nanny/cook/housekeeper, a crazy mad scientist who looks a good deal like Thomas Dolby, and a plethora of glorious WTF moments, like a little girl with the unique anti-vampire weapon of panties with a cross on the crotch and the Star of David on the ass, and a random shark that pops out of the moat with a sign reading “Happy Birthday!” in its mouth. This one also featured this year's first bare breasts, at exactly 10:00 p.m. CST. Along with the mind-boggling WTFery, just like all those other obscure 80’s horror comedy greats, there are some moments of true comic brilliance. Most notable is this amazing extended sight gag involving the vampire twins and the scientist, resulting in the human freaking out because he thinks he’s the one casting no reflection, when in fact there’s no mirror there at all! I have no idea how they got the money, but Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher plays Countess Bathory! Whether it was directed that she do it intentionally, or whether the Oscar was a fluke, her performance here is awful. She constantly mispronounces words, enunciating the T in “castle” for example. It’s the Wajnberg brothers as the vampire twins who really steal this show. It’s a shame they didn’t go on to big things. This is one of those movies you really wish had a good DVD with commentary so you could figure out just how the hell it got made and what went on behind the scenes. The creative and production process behind movies like this fascinates me, and as far as I can tell, is one of the most unexplored topics in cinema history.
Wizard of Speed and Time - Nerd calisthenics! You know the drill. Get on that stage and stomp, motherfucker!
Plan 9 - This one scared us a little out of the gate because it was for some reason preceded by the Em Gee Film Library logo this year. Dodged a short by this much. I dozed through a good chunk of this, being by now more than familiar with it. The person or persons who do the stencil portrait plates (which are becoming one of my favorite things about B-Fest in recent years) did a really cool glow-in-the-dark Ed Wood one this year. They also did a very touching tribute to Hecubus, B-Fest stalwart and BMMB member, who died in 2010. You will be sorely missed, Rick. I wish I’d known you better. My heart goes out to all his friends and family.