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Showing posts from April, 2019

USA Up All Night, or Why I Watch B-Movies

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Even before I knew I was a film buff, I watched USA Up All Night, which ran from 1989 to 1998 for over 900 episodes on USA Network, learning more about B Movies than I probably ever needed to know as a teenager. I would enthusiastically tune in most Friday and Saturday nights to watch Rhonda Shear or Gilbert Gottfried screen a particular doozy of a b-movie. Before commercial breaks and between the films, they provided humorous commentary on the films and performed in skits. A notable one with Gilbert Gottfried involved him contending for the position of the fifth Ramone.

The films on the show varied in quality and classic status, but many of them were movies that would not have had so prominent a platform on other networks during the time period. Many became cult classics. These films included much of the Troma catalog, including The Toxic Avenger (1984) and Class of Nuke 'Em High (1989). Both of these movies blew my mind as I was unprepared for the low budget film making, levels…

Fears at the Door

Fear felt different when I was a child.

I remember cowering under the covers once after someone knocked on the door in the middle of the night. I could hear faint adult voices. I think I remember my father telling him that he could not stay here. I stayed under the covers shaking with fear.

Another childhood instance of fear occurred when my uncle first told me the urban legend of "The Killer in the Backseat," where a woman driving on a dark road late at night is annoyed by a truck behind her flashing its lights. She stops at a gas station to get away from her pursuer and finds out that there was a man in her back seat with a knife. The person in the truck was only trying to warn her. Of course, certain details of this story are obviously apocryphal, but it serves its purpose of cautioning people to look in the back seat. I still always do when I get in the car. As a child, this story was very scary to me, and I took it at face value.

Another time I felt true fear was when m…