Getting to L.A. in the first place was a trip and a half... that seemed like half a trip. We can thank the phenomenal driving of my work-buddy Dan for THAT.
NO problem finding either the theatre or our hotel, either--and plenty of time to wander Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip.
Now, DAN will tell you that "Sushi-Q" is a good place to eat. Because HE got a superb combo platter. ME? I got something a little bit more expensive--but when I order the "ten pieces sushi, chef's choice," I was kinda sorta expecting ten different TYPES of sushi. NOT five gray pieces, three red pieces, two pink ones and a shrimp. Call it the brown paper wrapper platter.
We hardly had to go INSIDE any of the tourist attractions to be entertained... Jason, Freddy, Pinhead, Michael, Batman, Spider-Man and Snow White were all cavorting outside Graumann's Chinese... but I was far more intrigued by a series of hot dog vendors. Smelled delicious--I was tempted--and then here comes one of them RUNNING down the street with her cart. And yep--they WERE being pursued. The cops ultimately confiscated all the carts and stationed an ARMED GUARD to stand watch over them. And I'll never know what that was all about.
Couldn't see a movie--ticket prices notwithstanding, everything interesting was either too long or sold out.
Scientology, Scientology, Scientology. Seemingly on EVERY corner. I would have peeked inside to look at some of their wares, but you just can't do that without some hovering "tour guide" trying to recruit you.
Could have seen a preview of the stage adaptation of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. But it started too late. Of course, the Walk of Fame was free for the taking--found most of my favorites but missed Jerry Lewis somehow.
Insanity trying to find parking near our hotel. So we gave up on the idea of catching an hour's worth of rest before heading to the theatre. Just went straight over.
Had the pleasure of meeting the special guests before the AMERICAN SCARY screening--I was especially pleased to make the acquaintance of Mr. Lobo. Also met Sarah--Queen of Trash, Crematia Mortem, Malena (from Fox 13 Nights of Fright), Curtis Armstrong and Patricia Tallman (Dan knows THAT will make his daughter jealous).
I know, I know... SO HOW'S THE MOVIE?
Personally, I thought it succeeded admirably in exactly what it set out to do--to rekindle interest in the horror-hosting phenomena to an audience that has NOT experienced it first hand (it may be ABOUT us, but it wasn't made FOR us, after all). Our own Professor Griffin is, indeed, "extensively featured," and justifiably so--he provides a massive amount of background info and atmosphere as only he can... the film also relies heavily on the memories of Goulfinger, Lobo and a most welcome Halloween Jack. Excellent contemporary interviews with Zacherley, Big Chuck & Little John, and original Svengoolie Jerry G. Bishop (I was, of course, disappointed that my personal inspiration, Rich Koz, the former Son of Svengoolie, did not participate--but it wasn't because John and Sandy didn't try). And a HUGE trump card--the most generous supply of Ernie Anderson material available--it really seems as if Ernie himself had participated in the documentary.
We get The Ghoul and Son of Ghoul without any of the behind-the-scenes controversy--and that's a major point: AMERICAN SCARY does not deal with any bones of contention. The film is intended to teach newcomers about what it was like to HAVE these hosts on the air--where they came from, how they entertained their viewers, and why they seemed to drop out of sight--NOT what went on when the set was switched off. As Sandy Clark remarked, "HORROR HOST CONFIDENTIAL would be an entirely different movie."
There is, of course, a lot more to the film, and I doubt I could provide you with a comprehensive listing of everyone who's visible in it. But they tried to include everybody who participated--and that includes the last-minute material people sent in, as well (yes, Zombie Cheerleader, you are THERE--and we even get a very nice glimpse of Penny Dreadful!). Some of us are there for only about ten seconds (myself included), but that's no complaint. I look at it this way--I don't have the contents of everybody's interviews. But since I had something to say about Bob Wilkins, and they had some Bob Wilkins interview footage to focus on, that's why that comment of mine made it in. I went on to talk about the Son of Svengoolie. See above--he did NOT participate. And then I went on to talk about my own show. And the film does not focus on how we (the currently active HHU hosts) do our OWN shows, but on what inspired us to create them in the first place. So that's perfectly fair, and I'm happy to have been a part of AMERICAN SCARY. I believe that if it gets the distribution it deserves, then it can only do good for the cause.
Afterwards? Greetings again all around, burgers and drinks with John and Sandy, an Oliver Stone sighting in the outdoor plaza of the Arclight Cinemas (I didn't approach him, but I gave him a "I know who YOU are" smile and nod, which he returned--though I really don't think he knows who I am...)--and a parking place waiting for us right in front of our hotel!
Yeah--I had fun. And I recommend AMERICAN SCARY.
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