Sunday, March 28, 2010

Creature Features Still Exist

I got to grow up in an interesting time. A time before infomericals. A time when there were many independent channels that weren't owned by conglomerates like FOX, CW, ABC, NBC or CBS. A time where TV didn't really know what to do with itself and had to come up with programming to fill the time slots. Yes, late night creature features (usually on Friday or Saturday nights) were around long before I was born but I think they really grew in popularity in the early eighties.

The concept was simple really. Have a host or hostess with a crazy backstory (usually a "good" monster of some type) show  a classic horror movie. Now the movie didn't really matter. It could be a classic like Night of the Living Dead or Halloween or it could be something campy like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or a typical monster/horror film (Food of the Gods being one I clearly remember). As long as the hosts had a cheap set with minimal production value and tons of passion for what they were doing it was always perfect. It was a magical time for a kid. No school the next day and you could stay up as late as you wanted watching TV and eating popcorn until you got so tired you'd literally pass out on your sleeping bag (all good creature features for a kid required laying on the floor with sleeping bags and pillows at the ready. No bed for me, no sir!).

I still remember staying up until 11:30 on Friday nights to watch Chamber Theater on channel 13 with The Keeper. The Keeper was this creepy, crotchety old guy who introduced the films and usually had some segue in between commercials to either have some fun with the film or have some type of skit involving him or other characters.

 On Saturday's I remember usually watching channel 50 and usually there were re-runs of Sanford and Son or Hogan's Heroes that usually then lead to an hour of Tales From The Darkside (which as a kid was one of the creepiest intro's of all time. As an adult, it's pretty silly. "Ooooh a Darkside a place like here but not as brightly lit.....scary")

and finally Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
What I really liked about Elvira was her wits (yes, I said wits with a W. Joke intended) and the fact that she made fun of herself and the bad movies she hosted. She was a smart character and not just somebody who introduced the movie, but somebody who became a part of the event. The Elvira character was so popular she went on to do many commercials (usually during Halloween) and be in a few feature films as well.

But as time went on, it seemed that much like Drive Ins and UHF, creature features seemed to become extinct (at least in my area) but I found solace in a TV show that followed a similar premise but tended to be more interactive with the film (in making fun of it) and was more sci-fi based. Enter Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Anyway, let me get to the point of this post. For the past few weeks, I've been watching the Retro TV channel and I found a creature feature on Saturday nights. Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive In fills what I've been looking for in a creature feature. So, if you're like me and enjoy B-horror films and the people who enjoy putting on the make-up and hosting the films then this might be a good show worth checking out.
Here's a link to Wolfman Mac's website. Enjoy!

PS. More Redskins stuff coming up tomorrow including News and Notes, the IIWII Consensus Pick for 2010 and maybe even another meaningless mock draft.

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