Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Reviews, Role Playing Games

Random RPG Book Club- A Review

So like most people, I’m on Facebook. And like most people, I roll my eyes at the “where did that come from” advertising that Facebook throws at me. I guess data mining our information brings in enough money that they can throw any old advertisement at us. So imagine my surprise earlier this year when I saw an advertisement for something I might actually be interested in, a Random RPG Book Club. I looked at the comments and it appeared that this club had been going on for several years. Plus there were no “Wow this sucks” comments so I did some deeper digging.

A Massachusetts bookseller named Chris Korczak has a website at https://www.RpgRpgRpg.com. Besides having several roleplaying books available for regular sale, Chris runs a Random RPG Book Club. For $16.00 (which will include the shipping cost) he will send you two books from a large collection of random books he has in his store. On both the website and in the advertisement there were pictures of stacks of hardbound RPG books. There is an option for a once-a-month or once-a-week subscription. I’ve been wanting to build up my RPG book collection and this sounded like an interesting, and not too expensive, way to add to it. So I signed up for the monthly subscription. Here are my thoughts after the first three months.

Shipping:

In all three months, the books were bubble wrapped and placed in a sturdy cardboard container. When the books were shipped, a USPS tracking number was sent to me and I was able to track the progress. The first month (February), took a little bit longer than usual. But I believe this was the postal system still recovering from the holidays. The other two months it only took 7-9 days for the books to arrive.

Communication:

As mentioned above, an email with a tracking number is sent out when the books have shipped. Just before this happens a receipt was also emailed out for the next month’s order. I did email Chris once after the March order arrived (there wasn’t an issue, it was a question in general) and he responded pretty quickly. With the last shipment that arrived in April, there was a note from Chris hoping that the selection of books will inspire an RPG encounter.

Selection:

I will be commenting on the selection of books and leaving the content of the books for later reviews.

Selection delivered in February 2022.

I was very satisfied with my first month in the Random RPG Book Club. The package contained a hardbound book and a softbound module. Both books were for the D20 based Dungeons and Dragons version 3.5. The first was a hardbound book from Fantasy Flight Games, Legend & Lairs Mythic Races. I enjoyed looking through this book and could see a use for both fantasy and science fiction games. The second book was from Dark Portal Games (yea I had to Google the name of that company myself) which was pretty detailed. It was titled White Robes, Black Hearts: Enigma of the Arcanexus. I checked both books on Ebay and both books would have cost me well more than $8.00 a piece.

Selection delivered in March 2022.

As mentioned above, the March selection arrived quicker than February’s. When it arrived, I noticed that the box was much lighter than the previous month. Inside was two softbound books that when stacked on top of each other matched up to the White Robes, Black Hearts module that came last month. The first was Wilderness & Wasteland Scarred Lands by Sword & Story Studios (aka White Wolf Publishing). This is a sourcebook with various encounters for some various broken lands for the 3.5 D20 system. It could prove useful in reading and campaigns. The second was a little bit more confusing. The Pathfinder Player Companion: Dungeoneer’s Handbook, which wasn’t much of a handbook. It seemed like a magazine because it talked about the next issue that was ‘coming next month’. I might be able to get a few tidbits out of this… er… magazine? I doubt I would have picked up this “handbook” if I would have had the chance. I did check both items on ebay and they were more than $8.00 each.

Selection delivered in April 2022.

And recently the April package arrived with it’s random selection of books. When I first opened it up I was surprised to see a vampire book and a book of character sheets. Then upon closer inspection, it wasn’t character sheets, it was a single character sheet in an 18 page pamphlet. I’ve already ranted about a roleplaying game that had a six page character sheet, but this seemed to take things too far. Even in 2003 you could download free character sheets (or if you have a good Dungeon Master like I did) have the character sheet on a programed Excel worksheet. This product confused me. The Character Record Folio for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 was releasled by Green Ronin Publishing. When I checked ebay, it ranged between $5.00 and $19.00 dollars in availability and so far has been the most disappointing item from the Random RPG Book Club. The second softcover book was Vampire Hunter$ by Nightshift Games and instead of being a Dungeons and Dragons third-party supplement, it was a core rulebook. The concept sounded interesting and almost made up for the character sheet being included in the package. I’m certain that I’ll be able to use this for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge to learn the system. Ebay did have this book for more than $8.00.

Conclusion:

The primary reason for participating in a random book club where you don’t know what is coming is the anticipation of what may be in the box. I’ve purchased the Star Trek themed mystery boxes before at conventions. The boxes that have 35-40 dollars worth of merchandise inside for $20. Sure, most of the items were things that I had or didn’t need, but there was usually an item or two that was really kewl. I even ended up with an autograph out of one. But my friends and I would open them up as a group and trade items between each other. The Random RPG Book Club is a similar concept. What will be in the May box? I’ll be sticking with the subscription for another month or two to find out. The photos in the advertisement gave me the impression that there would be a couple more hardbound books arriving. But as long as I don’t get any more character sheets then I should be satisfied.

I’ll keep this blog informed as well as reviewing some of the books that I’ve obtained.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Horror, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 30: Dark Conspiracy

Dark Conspiracy 1st Edition is the last of the games that was gifted to me last year that I’m going to use in this challenge. I decided to use this game for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge since I actually had the books on my shelf. I prefer the dead-tree versions when learning new systems.

In the early 1990’s the cyberpunk genre was the new “it factor” for roleplaying games. When something becomes popular a lot of publishers try to release their own take on the genre. This would also make it a very crowded market trying to stand out on the local gaming store shelves. Dark Conspiracy was GDW’s entry that tried to combine both cyberpunk and horror elements. Think Johnny Mnenomic meets X-Files meets Judge Dredd. I remember seeing ads and books for Dark Conspiracy, but the gaming group I was involved in had already elected to go with the Cyperpunk RPG. So I never picked up any of the books.

It is the early 90’s in this alternate history, my gaming buddies have decided that Dark Conspiracy is our next campaign and I need to sit down and make a character for play. Let’s see what the main rulebook can tell me about creating a character.

So the first thing is that the game has a two page worksheet that you fill in before you transfer everything over to your character sheet. Hold on, I’ve got to scan in a copy of this as well. OK now I’ve got one printed out let’s fill it in.

Items 1-4 are basic. Name (Dale Laslo), Gender (male), Nationality (American) and Native Languages (English). The worksheet even guides you to page numbers if needed. For item 5 we are rolling for basic attributes. These are Strength, Constitution, Agility, Intelligence, Education, Charisma and Empathy. The last one you roll a 1d6-1. The remaining attributes roll 2d6-2 and anything that comes up zero gets a re-roll. Once I have these scores determined, if they are less than 33 I can add points to any attribute (nothing above 10). I ended up rolling 41 points for attributes so what I rolled stands. I could have done point allocation, but that would have only been with 36 points so I’m glad that I rolled.

So you start the character creation at the age of 17. Before you turned this age you earned four background skills selected from a list. It also listed the controlling attribute which helped in deciding which skills to take. You gain more skills by doing four years at a career. The career term also gains you a contact, secondary activities and money. Once you’ve finished a term, you can elect to do another one (or roll a certain number if you want to be random) and continue on. If you have a lot of terms, your age can rise to the point where it affects your attributes. This way if you wanted to play an aged professor when the game starts, you can do so. Also a term can be four years at a college if you elected to do so. With the attributes I rolled for Laslo, I didn’t think he would get into college so he signed up for the US Army and got into one of the elite corps. Where he stayed for three terms (12 years). Earning three military contacts (two foreign). I wrote down his various skills or attribute bonuses. From here we were able to generate the character’s initiative, age, base hit capacity (aka hit points), weight (yes there was a formula to follow), load (how much the character could carry), throw range and unarmed combat damage. The worksheet states that we need to generate our base hit numbers for ranged combat, but the book did not have that in the same order. I had to go track this down elsewhere, and I was unable to find it. The index had nothing on base hit numbers. Screw it, I’ll leave it blank for now.

Using my final equipment allowance, I allocated weapons, armor, tools, ammo and transport for this character and called it good. I think I did right on the equipment. I’m definitely noticing a lack of help on starting equipment in most games.

Dale Laslow came out of school thinking that he wouldn’t be able to get into any college or university. He signed up for the US Army, and to his surprise he was accepted into the Rangers. He spent 12 years serving the country in various hotspots around the world before an injury forced him out of the service. Wondering what he was going to do with his life a friend looked him up and inquired if he wanted to join his mercenary squad. They had just been hired to provide some protection for an unusual group of investigators.

Afterthoughts:

Trying to find a character sheet for this system was next to impossible. I ended up trying to scan in the sheet from the book. If the image looks a little warped, that’s because I couldn’t get the pages flat against the scanner.

While the character worksheet to assist in the creation of the character was very helpful, it still needed some polishing. There should be more page number references to easily find things.

Without knowing what was planned with “fellow players” and gamemaster, it was kind of hard to see myself playing this game. I didn’t get a chance to dive too deep into the actual system rules so these are just numbers on paper. It looks like there was a lot of thought put into the world-building for this game, but I don’t see myself playing it at this time.

Additional Notes:

One of the things I love about the RPG.net forums is the vast amount of knowledge available. Practically every game has had someone who knows about it and can give some feedback on it. When I posted my Technoir character yesterday, one of the posters stated that this was the first game that they had not heard about. So I was able to introduce someone to a new game.

Coming Up Next:

Tiny Dungeons 2nd Edition

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Horror, Role Playing Games

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 22: Werewolf The Apocalypse

So I really debated about using this next game in my 2022 Character Creation Challenge. Werewolf The Apocalypse was published by White Wolf Games in 1991 and was part of the World of Darkness series. I recall playing the table top version of Vampire The Masquerade with my regular gaming group. I even found the character sheet from that game in my book of characters that I had somehow kept all these years. I don’t know if the system never appealed to me after playing VtM or if I’ve just never found werewolves interesting. That last part may come from the original Universal Pictures werewolf films. Every time Larry Talbot whined about being a werewolf, I wanted to turn it into a drinking game. When the World of Darkness LARP was popular in the 90’s, I recall a roommate that really liked the werewolf side. This book was one of the many gifts I received last year so having the physical book in my hands made it more of a candidate for the challenge. I always figured that if I still wasn’t impressed after creating a character, I could put the book in the trade pile.

I don’t recall anything about the game system from the Vampire campaign. So I’ll be going back into this set of rules without any preconceived notions. The universe background sounds interesting. Werewolves are trying to keep a balance to prevent the planet from being destroyed in an apocalypse (hence the reason why the name is in the title of the game).

So this character, what breed is he out of three choices? This guy is going to be Homid (human raised). While he seemed a little wild while young, he never knew that he was a werewolf until his body started changing. Next is your Auspice, or what phase of the moon you were born under. There are five choices. I still don’t know what these mean in the form of character creation. I selected Ahroun because I can at least understand what fighters are. Next is to select one of the 13 tribes (no, not the 13 tribes in Battlestar Galactica). There was a little bit more descriptions for this selection, so I chose Get of Fenris.

Ah, finally, we are onto the Attributes. They are Physical (Strength, Dexterity and Stamina), Social (Charisma, Manipulation and Appearance) and Mental (Perception, Intelligence and Wits). Each Attribute gets one free dot, then you select a primary attribute, a secondary attribute and a tertiary attribute. These get 7, 5 or 3 dots that you get to spend in each category. Since my guy is going to be tough, Physical will be the primary followed by Mental then Social. I fill like I’m taking a test by filling in all of these little circles.

Now we have abilities, which are basically talents, skills and knowledge that your character has. You choose which one of the three categories are primary (earns 13 dots), secondary (earns 9 dots) and tertiary (earns 5 dots). At this phase, I can only place 3 dots max in any item. I filled in my test… er… ability scores.

In the Advantages, there are also three categories, but they look different than the Attributes and Abilities. Some of the Advantages have scores (Renown), then there are backgrounds and gifts. The “checklist” didn’t go into a lot of detail where the other items had something. There were a lot of “see pg XX” items listed. Ugh. I tried to fill in what I could from what was found.

Finally there are 15 bonus points that you can spend everywhere, but certain items cost more than others (raising an attribute cost more than raising a background). I filled these in. Oh, and I guess I should come up with a name. Hans Brulker was born and raised in Germany. While his parents were killed when he was young, he didn’t know his true nature until an “Uncle” found him just after he noticed that changes were happening to him. Changes that were not explained in school. This “Uncle” told him about his true nature and brought him into the pack.

Afterthoughts:

I do want to give the writers some kudos for quoting a song lyric from bands like Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke, Black Sabbath, The Cure and others. I’ve seen a few publications where they have used quotes from popular culture. It helps me understand the context they are trying to get across.

Having the chapter before character creation with a quick look into the system is also a really big help for new players. Even in the 90’s there were lots of games that didn’t explain the core system very well.

I can see where there were a few editing mistakes “See traits pg. XX” that should have been caught before printing.

While I’ve got a little better appreciation for the game after going through the character creation process. I don’t think that I’ll be playing this game or homebrewing for it. I’m not aware of anyone who still plays the White Wolf table top roleplaying games.

Additional Notes:

I had a chance to talk about the Character Creation Challenge at a local gaming store today. Several of the people thought it was a good idea. I’m still amazed at the number of posts on the RPG.net forums and using the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag.

Coming Up Next:

Merc

Posted in: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Comic Books, Conventions, Cosplay, Doctor Who, Dune, Fan Club, Horror, Horror Hosts, Humor, James Bond, Movies, MST3K, Music, No One Lives Forever, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Spy-Fi, Star Trek, Star Wars, TV Review, Video Game, Website

2021 is in the rear view, now onto 2022

So another year has come and gone and I am glad. While 2021 was not as bad as the year that shall not be named, it wasn’t the easiest. There are still some challenges in this world that I really hope that our society can come together to get past. I’m still trying to focus on the positives of the past year.

==Role Playing Games==

2021 started out with the first #CharacterCreationChallenge. Amazingly enough I was able to knock out 31 characters in 31 days. I loved reading all of the different responses that the other participants and even made a few new friends along the way. I’m looking forward to the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

There was also the #RPGaDAY2021 Challenge during the month of August. I really had a struggle with this one, but I was glad that I had participated in it.

I also had a chance to finally play an online Star Trek Adventures game. We have a second session in our “one-shot” planned very soon. The kewl thing is, the game was announced with less than a 24 hour start time. I was able to use my Star Trek Adventures entry in the Character Creation Challenge to quickly drop into the game. Playing on just Zoom is difficult, but doable.

I also had some friends get me into an online Starfinder game that lasted several months (with 1-2 sessions per month). It was interesting, but it really turned me off using Fantasy Grounds as an online platform. It’s an app instead of a browser based system and it is a resource hog like nothing else. Even the players with high end computers were having issues. Unfortunately real life caused the game to end after a few months. The Starfinder system is ok, but a bit crunchy to what I’m use to. The Pathfinder in space mentality didn’t really appeal to me either. I know I was gaming more for the company than I was for the system and universe.

I still want to get into a D&D 5th edition game or a regular Star Trek Adventure game. I’d also prefer to get back together with gaming in person, but with the way the variants are running wild, I’m not certain that will happen any time soon. I’m open to an online game if the schedules can be worked out (the same old problems).

There were several new additions to my role-playing game collection. Between purchases and donations from friends I’ve been able to add to my gaming shelf. I also took advantage of several PDF sales. Instead of listing them all here, I’m planning to save them for my Character Creation Challenge entries. I also added to my dice collection including a special die.

==Video Games==

I’m still playing my old standbys of No One Lives Forever and Tron 2.0. However thanks to a gift card for GameStop (actually ThinkGeek) I was able to pick up a few other video games that I’m looking forward to trying out. I’ve been playing Balder’s Gate and it’s been… interesting. I think I might be playing it wrong.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order has been good so far, but I think my daughter is enjoying it more than I am.

==Movies==

Even though it came out the year before, I had the chance to see Wonder Woman 1984 and I enjoyed it. I wished I could have seen it in the theater. 2021 was also the 25th Anniversary of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

Through streaming I was able to enjoy Black Widow and Godzilla vs Kong (wish I could have seen this in the theater).

Finally getting back into the theater I was able to enjoy watching the latest James Bond movie. We finally saw the sci-fi epic Dune and loved watching the new Ghostbusters film. I still want to watch the latest Matrix movie, Spiderman movie and The King’s Man while they are in the theaters.

I’ve also watched a ton of cheesy sci-fi, fantasy and horror films on streaming services. Some were good, some were not so good.

==Television==

Creature Features held it’s 50th Anniversary. During the summer I had my photo aired on a segment of Svengoolie and my kid’s artwork promoted on Creature Features.

Netflix’s Army of the Dead was a good adventure. Amazon’s The Tomorrow War was interesting to watch. Ice Road was also interesting, but probably not a repeat watch. The Wheel of Time didn’t catch my attention at first, but slowly got a little better. I never read the books so I don’t know how it compares. I really enjoyed Foundation after I was worried how the books were going to translate to the screen. Invasion was an interesting concept, but starts out really slow. I’m glad I stuck with it. I need to finish Y: The Last Man and I’m really disappointed that we will only get one season of Cowboy Bebop.

Thank you What We Do In The Shadows, Archer and South Park for being funny. Crossed Swords was a challenge, but I was able to get into it. I’ve really enjoyed the animated Disenchantment series on Netflix. It was also good to see Animaniacs again.

On the Star Trek front, Star Trek: Prodigy has been interesting. I’ve also been enjoying Star Trek: Discovery as well. I really think that Star Trek: Lower Decks has knocked it out of the park. I am really looking forward to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. I wish there was more Short Treks. Wil Wheaton’s after show “The Ready Room” has been very enjoyable and informative.

Disney+ brought us several good entries for 2021. The Muppet’s Haunted Mansion was really, really good. I really wish that they would give us more Muppets Now. WandaVision and Loki were really good from the Marvel entries. Falcon and the Winter Soldier was ok. I haven’t seen the Hawkeye series yet but plan to sit down and watch it. I really liked the What If!?! series. On the Star Wars side, The Mandalorian continued to be great. Visions was ok, but I wish I hadn’t binged it since it probably would have been better in smaller doses. The Bad Batch was also enjoyable. There has only been one episode of The Book of Boba Fett so I’ll be watching to see where this goes.

Because I missed a lot of Doctor Who episodes while I was studying for college, I spent part of the year catching up. Not only was I able to complete this task, I was able to watch the latest season as it aired. I’m looking forward to the New Years Day special.

2022 will finally get us the third season of The Orville and I’m really looking forward to the next season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

==Books and Comics==

I really enjoyed the Star Trek: Picard novel, Last Best Hope. There are several other books that I’ve been reading on my kindle and in dead tree format. I’ve been trying to read The Dying Earth series by Jack Vance as well but I haven’t completed them.

The War of the Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars comic series was good, but frustrating. I really wish that they had a better system to follow the flow of the story that spans across several publications. I felt like a few times I was re-treading over the same ground.

The Mirror Universe stories and Star Trek Year Five was really good from IDW Publishing. I’m looking forward to reading more of these stories.

Doctor Who, James Bond and The Orville was other comics I had been pulling from my local store.

==Cosplay and Conventions==

I was able to add the Admiral Picard uniform to my collection. I had a chance to wear this at FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention. It was the only con I attended in the year. Hopefully 2022 will be better convention wise. I’d love to get an Admiral Vance uniform from Star Trek: Discovery or a Monster Maroon from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However those are long term goals.

==Live Events==

Thanks to 103.1 The Wave, we were able to take the family to Lagoon. With the vaccines helping out, we’ve been able to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance and the live Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time Bubble Tour. I’ve already got several concerts and events planned for 2022. The Beyond Van Gogh experience was probably the closest I’ll ever get to a holodeck experience. The Egyptian exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah was very enjoyable.

I was also interviewed on the radio for the Star Trek Day 2021. That was an interesting experience. But also not the first time I’ve been interviewed on the TV, Radio or even print.

Our Seventh Fleet and USS Ticonderoga meetings and events have been able to get back in person. This was a very good thing as we are a close knit Star Trek family. We’ve been able to grow and succeed because we get together and see each other’s smiling faces.

==Website==

I was able to get some photo albums online and I’ve added to them as I’ve found more photos. I’ve been able to keep to a regular schedule of several blog posts per week (counting the Star Trek Quotes listings). I should do more gaming articles and reviews of things I’ve watched/read/enjoyed. However, I still need to get some of the other sections of my website filled out. I’m a little upset with myself that I haven’t gotten more of the website completed. This will be a goal for 2022.

It’s good to have goals. I think I’m going to spend 2022 trying to achieve more of them.

Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Role Playing Games

More power of gaming

I love the feel and weight of a RPG book in my hands.

I’ve been a participant on the RPG.net forums for quite some time now. It is a very good place where you can go and talk about almost any role playing game (alive or dead) or any other geeky subjects. Last year I participated in a Secret Satan (a play on words for Secret Santa) where I received a copy of Mutant Crawl Classics and several general books about RPG playing.

This year I signed up to participate again and my Secret Satan gift arrived. It was Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. I flipped through it briefly before sitting down to write this post and I’m already starting to get ideas for a homebrewed campaign. I’ve never had a chance to play in a Ravenloft campaign yet, but I know a group of friends who have been playing for quite some time.

My contribution to the gift exchange has been sent and the elves at Amazon have reported that it was delivered. I haven’t received any confirmation from my victim that they have received it. In this day an age of porch pirates (!@#$%^&) I hope it was picked up by it’s intended recipient.

I love how this online community has been a great place for gamers. I’m looking forward to participating in this program again next season. Thank you for my copy of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft.

Update: A second book arrived the next day from the Secret Satan. The Curse of Strahd is what I found in the box. I’ve attached the photo below. Thank you again Secret Satan.

Good evening…
Posted in: Horror, Role Playing Games

Character sheets from past games: Vampire The Masquerade

With it being October, I thought I’d post a character sheet from my Book of Characters that is appropriate to Halloween and horror. The same group at Comics Utah that I played DC Superheroes, Doctor Who and Cyberpunk with also delved into a campaign for Vampire The Masquerade. For this game I created a human investigative reporter, Arthur Squire.

Arthur Squire was a reporter following up on strange stories he had heard about regarding an underground society. This society ended up being a clan of vampires. The equipment hand written on the back included camera, a special sleeping bag (I don’t recall why it was special), a camcorder, a cassette recorder and ear phones. If I recall correctly Squire had the habit of dropping listening bugs. Squire had planted one on a vampire that had hired him to track down someone.

This character never became a vampire. I don’t recall wanting him to become a vampire. I know that some of the other players wanted to be embraced. A few years later I participated in a few LARP games with a local Camarilla fan club. But I found paper and dice RPGs more enjoyable.

I’ll be getting more character sheets scanned and posted soon.

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.

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