Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons, Movies, MST3K, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

#RPGaDay2021 Day 8: Stream

Day 8: Stream

Inspiration can come from a wide variety of sources. The original source can be very good work, or it can be a bad one with a good idea, just poorly delivered. An example of this is the 2000 film, Battlefield Earth. Yes this disaster of a film actually inspired a story idea for me. It was being shown on a channel after midnight (probably the only way to really watch this box office bomb) and I didn’t need to get up in the morning so I decided to see if the rumors of how bad this movie was true. Let me just say, it’s very true. But the ending made me think, what would happen to a series of conquered worlds if the occupying aliens suddenly found their source of power and transportation gone?

So I love watching various science-fiction, fantasy and horror TV shows and movies. Both the good and the bad kind. If a show is too bad, I can elect to not watch it. There is plenty of other shows to move onto. But where can you find these shows? I have lots of memories in the 80’s and 90’s visiting the local video rental store. When I went with my family, I was always trying to find the weirdest, oddest film to watch. Often I was over ruled since my siblings usually wanted to watch something from Disney or other main-stream films. So later when I lived on my own, I had to be lucky to catch the show on a time it was aired (such as Battlefield Earth listed above) or I had to buy a VHS tape (later DVD). This had two issues, if it wasn’t a money maker, it may not have had a lot of media releases. When they were found, they were either really expensive, or really cheap in the discount bin. If cost wasn’t too big of a factor, what would I do with the media afterwards. I don’t mind buying DVDs of Star Trek or other favorites that I would enjoy watching at any time. But would I really want to watch Hell Comes to Frogtown again and again?

Luckily the internet came to our rescue. The rise of streaming services has given some of these diamond in the rough films a home where you can give them a view. So I thought I’d share where I’ve found some of my more unusual films. Yes there is a large variety on Netflix, Hulu or Paramount+. However these services are like cable channels. They only hold the rights to some films for so long (unless they are originals specifically for the streaming service). I’ve discovered that some of the streaming services like Amazon Prime, Pluto TV and Tubi have held some interesting titles. I’ve been able to watch some of the films in the Darkstalker series (boy that was cheesy). You can also find shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000, Creature Features, Elvira and more where they re-show off-kilter films (sometimes by adding comedy in the process).

Another amazing service for films and different documentaries has been plain old YouTube. As I type out this blog post, I’ve been watching episodes of Timeline (where they are building a medieval castle and exploring the life of ordinary people who built them).

I’ve also added apps on my Smart TV for Xumo, Crackle, Ruko TV and others, but I don’t get a chance to get into those as often. But you can find a cheesy 80’s sword and sorcery film that may give you an idea for your next Dungeons and Dragons game.

Final Thoughts:

I suspect that fifteen years ago this topic wouldn’t have come up in an #RPGaDAY style challenge. At least not one that would have inspired discussion on streaming services. I wonder if this single suggestion was used to gather links on possible streaming sources for other’s to explore?

RPGaDay 2021 chart
The RPGaDay 2021 chart
Posted in: Horror, Horror Hosts, Movies, Science Fiction, TV Review

Creature Features 50th Anniversary

I was very happy to complete the Character Creation Challenge last month. It was an actual challenge that I didn’t know if I could complete. And there were a few days I was wondering if I would make the deadline. It took up quite a bit of time just to make sure I didn’t miss a day. One of the things that ended up getting pushed off to the side was the other blog entries that were not related to the challenge, but I wanted to post. I was able to sneak in a review of Wonder Woman 1984, but there were several other subjects that I wanted to cover. Here is one of my catch up posts that would have been posted last month.

Creature Features 1970's
Creature Features then…
Creature Features 2020's
…and Creature Features now.

I enjoy watching classic and cheesy horror films. From the Universal Classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy to the British studio that released the Hammer Horrors. Some of these horror films can also be quite cheesy and funny such as Killer Klowns from Outer Space (boy that’s a lively one). I’m not big into the mega-slashers or the buckets of blood films. If you have to rely on too much splatter-gore special effects to make up for bad writing, it tends to turn me off. But even the smallest film with a shoe-string budget can be enjoyable if done the right way.

There are several shows that help me find some of these classics and clunker horror/science-fiction films. The one I wanted to talk about today is Creature Features from the San Fransisco bay area which just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of it’s first showing. I had discovered this show sometime in 2018 on the show’s YouTube channel and quickly added it to my Saturday night TV lineup.

This is a “horror host” show that was popular in the 70’s and continues today. Television stations would receive batches of films that they could air that were real clunkers. What certain stations in different cities did to attract an audience is to have an employee of the station dress up in a costume come up with a punny name and be the host for some of these z-grade movies. Even if the movie was a bomb, audiences would tune in to check out the host. Sometimes skits and parody songs would be performed while others hosts had interviews and trivia. Everyone had their own spin on the idea which helped made them unique. I head learned about these “horror hosts” from a wonderful documentary called American Scary. Creature Features has had three runs. The first by host Bob Wilkins, the second by host John Stanley and the current run that started in 2016 with Vincent Van Dahl, Mr. Livingston and Tangella.

On January 9, 2021, Creature Features aired a 50th Anniversary Special of the original Creature Features hosted by Bob Wilkins. A special tribute to Wilkins was shown along with the first film from that night “The Horror of Party Beach”. Van Dahl interviewed John Stanley and director Tom Wyrsch. There were several old interviews shown from Bob Shaw who was one of the producers of the original show. They even had the outro from Bob Wilkins to wrap things up. As for The Horror of Party Beach, let’s just say that it was bad enough that I kept expecting the heckling robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to show up to make fun of the film. The creatures that menaced the teenagers looked like they had hot dogs hanging out of their mouths. Yea it was gloriously bad. And probably not one I’d watch again.

If you get a chance, check out the Creature Features YouTube channel. I watch it on the YouTube app on my television. They air the show live online every Saturday and they have past shows available as well. Besides showing the classics (that they can afford to show) they have also shown some recent fan films (somehow they got a foreign Star Trek fan film) and small budget studio releases that they were able to get their hands on. The variety has been very interesting. I also like the interview format that they have. 99% of the guests have been very entertaining to listen to ranging from actors, special effects artists, cosplayers and more.

Congratulations to Creature Features for reaching a 50th Anniversary. I hope you guys can continue to bring us many cheesy horror and science-fiction films for many years to come.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Movies, Website

The end of 2020 and prepping for 2021

So It Begins meme

Yay the end of 2020 is here. There were a lot of weird and bad things that happened this past year, but you don’t need me to tell you that. It wasn’t all bad, but I think I’ll be one of the many people who use 2020 as a swear word.

There were several movies that came out this year that I wish I could have seen in the theater. I really loved how cute the Scoob! movie was. Bill & Ted Face The Music was another really good movie that I wish I could have seen in the theater. I know that Wonder Woman 84 is out, but I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. I’m really sad that several movies that was scheduled for theatrical release in 2020 were delayed. When they come out (and hopefully in theaters) I am looking forward to seeing the epic SF movie Dune, the new James Bond flick called No Time To Die, The King’s Man (as part of the Kingsman series), Black Widow, Godzilla vs King Kong, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and more. Yes, I miss going to theaters.

So starting tomorrow, January 1st, I will be participating in the 31 day Character Creation Challenge. So there will be a new blog post at least once a day. This will be a marathon on several levels. I’m curious on how this will turn out. As I’ve been finding more and more homebrew creations, I plan to post them online. Eventually I want to start making new creations that will be featured on this website. I’ve been gathering photos for my online photo album and they should be up fairly soon. This will include my meeting a variety of famous people and kewl things that I have seen. Plus I’ll be continuing to flesh out this website. Time seems to be the constant struggle with all of the things I have on my plate.

But in all I know that 2021 will be a much better year. I plan to make my contributions towards that goal.