Last weekend I attended B-Fest at Northwestern for the first time in my (previously unfulfilled) life. For the uninitiated, B-Fest is a 24-hour marathon of B-movies of all stripes. It’s an epic feat of endurance that feels like being punched in the face with explosions and bad acting for a day straight. In other words, a masochist’s best day ever.
A quick summary of the 2013 lineup follows. There may be spoilers, though I’m not sure why that would matter.
Breaker! Breaker! A little-known gem starring everyone’s favorite obnoxiously played-out internet legend, Chuck Norris. He follows his wayward younger brother/son/past self to the ramshackle outsider town of Texas City, California. This settlement is about as friendly to outsiders as its name would suggest, and its moonshine-brewing hubris gets it mowed down by a fleet of truckers. Also, the horse was Chuck all along.
The Wasp Woman I think maybe this was intended to be a thoughtful commentary on the pressures on women to maintain their perceived value to society through a perpetually youthful appearance, and oh who am I kidding it’s a lady who shoots herself full of bee Botox and turns into a giant employee-eating insect. In fairness, they kind of had it coming.
Steel Or, a relic of that brief shining time in the ’90s when Shaquille O’Neal was a bankable movie star. After the superweapons he developed in the military get out on the mean streets of Los Angeles (or St. Louis, or Texas City; the movie is not very clear on this point), he dresses up like a clumsier Robocop and goes on a quest to protect the world from sonic cannons, kids with eyepatches, and John Bender. Really, his grandmother’s attempts to make the perfect soufflé are the emotional core of the film.
Assorted shorts (with YouTube links!)
Comics and Kids You might be able to hear me yelling in this, but probably not!
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman Not precisely the cut we watched, which was more of a short film nonsensically assembled from bits of the movie.
The Wizard of Speed and Time Seriously great. Just watch.
Plan 9 from Outer Space I can’t even. There are no words. There is nothing I can say about this that hasn’t been said a million times before, and far more eloquently to boot.
Black Belt Jones Blaxploitation karate flick. Two great tastes that taste great together, etc., but I hit my wall and fell asleep on the stage about half an hour into it.
[During my slumber, I missed Sorority House Massacre and Galaxina entirely. I woke up halfway for parts of The Mole People, which is a bad movie to treat your subconscious to.]
Rhinestone Dolly Parton makes a bet with her sleazebag manager that she can turn some random schmuck from the NYC streets into a bona fide country singer in just two weeks. The target? Sylvester Stallone. This is not a joke. This is an actual thing that exists.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Another classic. Basically The Yellow Wallpaper with infidelity and radiation.
Beach Blanket Bingo I’m just going to bypass most of this movie’s story (what exists of it, anyway) to harp on a particular plot point. Apparently mermaids can just get legs whenever the hell they want now? No pain or bleeding or lost voice or anything? Ariel is going to be pissed. Hans Christian Andersen’s mermaid is still up there with the daughters of the air crying about your bratty kids. Life is so unfair.
Steele Justice This movie is why people hate the ’80s. A renegade ex-cop with an epic mullet and war PTSD uses the excuse of Vietnamese people killing each other to also kill Vietnamese people. In between, he has uncomfortable scenes with the daughter of his slain former partner. She’s supposedly a schoolgirl but is played by an actress who is clearly at least in her twenties and just wearing a lot of ruffles.
There were two movies left in the lineup at this point, but I couldn’t focus my eyes anymore and was worried about the ramifications of trying to hype myself up on more Mello Yello. I got a ride home and slept for eighteen hours straight with my attention-starved cat crawling on my face.
In short: holy shit, I want to do this again immediately.