B-Fest 2016: Not Just a Knitting Marathon.

And now, it is time for the main event, I thought to myself, my mind still on wrestling even as my belly filled with Ethiopian food.

Scott piled the lot of us into his caravan and we found our way to Northwestern University and a parking space. We grabbed the essentials, be it pillows, change of clothes, coolers of snacks and drinks, and in my case, knitting.

To give a little context, since B-Fest 2007, there was something I at least brought to the fest to knit. Believe it or not, I can knit and watch a movie at the same time. Come to think of it, at either the 2007 or 2008 B-Fest, I was making a sweater.

This time around, I took pastel scrap yarn for a purely garter stitch blanket. I needed the never ending project, a use for yarn that once belong to a friend of a friend’s coworker…well, yarn just ends up in my apartment and I can’t spin yarn into gold, but I can do blankets. I was also greeted by Natasha, who had both a red velvet cake loaf as well as a green notebook. While this blog is over seven months old, I swear, I took notes during the movies. I didn’t add composite drawings as I did my undergraduate Art History course notes (mind you, this was well before the days of iPads-think closer to zip disks), but I jotted enough down to jog my memory of basics and quips.

Notebook and the start of the blanket


Let me note that the following are the movies that I stayed awake for. Some were just too cheesy from the title and synopsis to be anything other than an excuse to nap. Let this be a lesson, never judge by title or synopsis. Entertainingly bad can be just bad. I say this as an owner of “The Thirst” on DVD. On to the movies!

“Adventures of Hercules” 6:00-7:35pm

I have few words beyond cue the Hulk jokes. Lou Ferrigno plays the title role and I’ll give it this-he does look like a Hercules. I had a feeling that the Twelve Labors of myth were going to be fudged if not omitted….and I was right.

In this version, Herc starts adventuring and battling. Notably, he did so with amazons, and an Amazon Queen. In the myth, he ends up marrying her, but in the movie he kills her along with Medusa at one point. I am pretty certain the warrior, Perseus did that, but what do I know? I also don’t remember so many robots, especially in a universe where science was deemed chaotic. However, the highlight was the cheese-tacular laser light effects. It was needed as the acting was awful.

It didn’t quite go into Pink Floyd-esque light show madness at this point…..

Well, that derailed quickly…..


“Caltiki: The Immortal Monster” 7:35-9:00pm

Caltiki is a blobish terry cloth monster. This particular film opus is “loosely based”on a Mexican legend. I’m wondering how loose this is, probably the caliber of a cheap towel. A group of archaeologists stumble on the monster while exploring a cave. One man is killed, and his colleague driven insane and disfigured. I’m curious if the creator of Two-Face combed this movie for inspiration. A sample of the monster is taken from the cave and that sample later regenerates into another blob monster. Hilarity ensues.

I love older sci fi movies, and I like the creativity employed in lieu of the CGI effects that came later, but all the same I don’t really want to see this movie rebooted for the modern era.

“Americathon 1998” 9:00-10:30pm

This is a contender for my fest favorite. John Ritter stars as the philandering president of the United States, more or less reprising his character on “Three’s Company” only a lot less of a lovable doofus due to power, which played a part in America going completely broke to a point where people are living in cars that no longer run. The adviser plots against him with foreign powers and there is an evil corporation run by India to contend with. How do you save the country? With a telethon hosted by a washed up actor with performances from outrageously bad rockers to plucky kids that biked to get there all the while keeping reporters, mistresses and the American public happy as the money collects. Ritter, as I mentioned before, was reprising “Three’s Company” to a slightly darker level, but all in all, it was good political satire, even if it’s a possible future given our present election.


At least it wasn’t sponsored by Trump University


“Calling Dr. Death” 10:30-11:45pm

Good grief, I needed that energy drink….

Time for some film noir starring Lon Cheney and arguably one of the most beautiful film stars of the 1930s and beyond, Patricia Morison. I was looking forward to this film and had a feeling that I was going to have to make a tough choice between this and Americathon 1998 as my fest favorite. Little did I know…..

Lon Cheney stars as a doctor who has a very pretty wife who cheats on him and a much better looking assistant, Stella, played by Morison. Now, if it were me, I’d serve the wife with divorce papers and run off with Stella. However, there wouldn’t be much of a movie if logic were present.

Logic was not at all present. When the wife’s cheating ways land her in the morgue, the worst drug fueled investigation follows.

When 11:45 rolled around, I figured that it was time to channel my disappointment into a nap. I’d seen “The Wizard of Speed and Time” as well as “Plan 9 from Outer Space” more than a few times, and I had tossed my share of paper plates. I also skipped “The Human Tornado” and the “Garbage Pail Kids Movie.” I owned Cabbage Patch Kids as a child, repudiated the Garbage Pail Kids proudly, state as such at the risk of my goth card and walk in on the tail end in time for “Blood Mania” thankful that I did not walk in on the tail end of an awful scene in “Street Trash” as I did in 2007. That still gives me the creeps every now and then.

“Blood Mania” 5:05-6:40am

I walked in on another bad noir, and this time, I didn’t have the benefit of looking at Patricia Morison. Thank you again Natasha for the red velvet cake loaf. It was a help as  I was babbling in my notebook at this point. Blood Mania is about two sisters that want their rich father’s estate and while one is sweet and innocent, the other schemes and blackmails a doctor to drug everyone using sex and drugs. The movie itself was a bad drug trip, one that shouldn’t have been filmed. The only discovery more horrifying than the many plot holes and shitty twists was the realization that I own a copy of this movie thanks to my buying a number of random European horror compilation DVDs for cheap. You get what you pay for sometimes.

“Moon Zero Two” 6:40-8:25 am.

When I think of Hammer Films, I think of melodramatic Gothic horror, decrepit castles and stories very loosely based on classic literature. At some point, Hammer decided to branch into sci-fi. Well, they certainly kept up with the risque smut featured in the horror movies, but I wasn’t 100% on board with this stowaway space odyssey. I ended up napping through part of it.

“Low Blow” 8:25-10:05am

Oh, cheesy action movies, I love you so. This movie centers around Joe Wong, a former cop that now works as a bounty hunter with a long suffering big haired secretary in the nastiest dump of an office. The only thing junkier is the car he keeps crashing in minor bumps. This loveable scrapper specializes in stopping purse snatchers and petty crooks until a rich man approaches him to discreetly rescue his daughter from a cult. A series of misadventure and fight scenes follow. I really enjoyed this, and after Calling Dr. Death, Americathon 1998 had competition for the fest favorite. It had some cheesy running gags, including the messy office, Wong’s love of circus peanuts and bad parking. The best part was a scene involving rotweiler puppies. Puppies tend to cure everything, and this movie needed it at times.

“The Fifth Musketeer” 10:30am-12:30pm

I smelled the handlebar mustache ride cracks a mile away….I might have made one at some point, but I was a little sleep deprived. Overall, it was a fun swashbuckling adventure with a little costume porn and a pretty good performance by Alan Hale. If you need fodder for your Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, the dungeon escapes and sword fighting is pretty to fun. Be mindful of too many jokes involving how you critically fumbled your attack rolls, however.

“Roar” 1:05-2:55pm

A man creates an animal sanctuary in his jungle house….his large jungle house. He needs a sizable house as many cats live there. Lions, tigers and panthers roll, frolick and act like giant adorable kitties.

I spent a good chunk of this movie squeeing over the kitties on the big screen. Now, the man’s family came to the sanctuary not knowing all of the residents. Hilarity and kitty action ensue.

Let me note that giant cats are still cats and they love to play. They also hunt and eat. Kitty will eat you.

For those of you that are reading this and didn’t hear my squealing over kitty cuteness, I am going to declare Roar the fest favorite.



I was unable to find this movie on Amazon as it sold out after the fest.




“Kansas City Bomber” 2:55-4:40pm

A roller derby movie starring Raquel Welch as a skater trying to make it on the professional roller derby circuit while trying to be a mom to a young daughter raised by her grandmother that believes she should marry a nice man instead. Welch opts to have an affair with a team owner that skeezes on her and her drunk rival skater.

I couldn’t help bur notice that there was limited padding for a roller derby team engaging in wrestling moves. I have half a mind to screen this to friends in derby to find any further errors.

“The Super Inframan” 4:40-6:00pm

Toho, you are the greatest. No kaiju this year, but we have super science, aliens and a hero that gains super powers in time to save the day from an evil alien queen in an outlandish getup that I swear that I will cosplay!


More lasers!


So many awesome monsters!


My fantasy cosplay


The fest wrapped up at 6:00 and laughing, tired and sore, we cleaned up our trash and other belongings and make our way to the cars and to Portobellos for dinner. We also stop at a grocery store and for the first time I try green river soda.


A Chicago treasure with real sugar


I should have bought more for the trip home. As it turned out, weather precluded my flight from taking off Sunday. After many delays and hours in O’Hare, I book a nearby hotel and squeeze my way into a Monday afternoon flight, which got delayed a few minutes. I get to New York to find that my airport shuttle was delayed due to bad weather, but I make it to Grand Central and a late train back to New Haven. It was almost one in the morning when I get back home.

I cannot wait until B-Fest 2017. I only hope the weather holds up and I can acquire more Green River.


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