Turkey Day 2020

We may have just set a record with this year’s Turkey Day, at least when it comes to attendance. Once again, with the pandemic raging on, we were force to hold our Turkey Day marathon online, through a streaming service. This time though, we opened it up to everyone if they wanted to join in. And I think we had around 20+ people in the screening throughout most of the day. So for that, I think it was a great success. We did have a few glitches in the beginning, but thankfully my technical staff (aka Jason Coffman) was able to help me fix the problem and from there on went on with very little issues.

Now because the streaming format I was using, if you logged in without signing in, it assigned you a name starting with Anonymous, followed by an animal, such as Bull or Panther. So it was a little difficult to tell who was actually in there for most of the day. From what we could figure out, these are the nutters that decided to spend the day with me watching some of the finest in Cinematic Shipwrecks: Aaron AuBuchon, Raul Benitez, Andrew Bochte, Scott Bradley, Dave Canfield, Aaron Christensen, Jason Coffman, Brian Fukala, Matt Harding, Rick Hayden, Lori & Chris Kuchta, Bryan Martinez, Gary McGuire, Ryan, Jen, & Thorin Olson, Tim Palace, Gavin Schmitt, Bryan Senn, Shai, and Kristin Wicks. If you were there and I missed you, I do apologize. I also asked everyone to send me a selfie of themselves so we can have another collage photo of the attendees. After posting it a few times, these are the ones we got. Now isn’t that a lovely bunch of movie nerds?

Now, let’s get to the important part… THE MOVIES!

She Demons (1958) – How can you go wrong with a mad Nazi scientist doing experiments on jungle women? The answer… you can’t! Especially when it was made in the ’50s. Director Richard E. Cunha gives us a tale of a handful of shipwreck survivors that wash up on an uncharted island. But before you can say Gilligan, something evil is lurking in the jungle. And to make it worse, one of the survivors is a spoiled rich woman who is about to learn a few things in life.

The makeup for the title characters is cheesy, but fun. But the real entertainment is when we meet Col. Karl Osler, brought to life by Rudolph Anders, as the doctor that is apparently infatuated with blonde women with long necks. He’s trying to cure his wife whose face was hideously burned by lava, but not by skin transplants or anything but by draining the human essences out of them and injecting that into his wife. Granted, the women then turn into the title creatures, but only for a few days. Uh… right.

The dialogue between “der Doktor” and our hero, Tod Griffin, is worth the time alone, not to mention the little barbs between Griffin and his upscale passenger, played by tall, blonde, and lovely Irish McCalla . Very dated in the story and the language, but a hell of a good time.

Destination Inner Space (1966) – I came across this one for the first time earlier this year and new it would have to have a spot in the next Turkey Day marathon. And I was right. It was a perfect fit. Now, the creature in here is probably one of best looking designs and fabrication in all of these Creature from the Black Lagoon rip-offs, and holds up damn well throughout the running time. They even designed the suit to have a huge back to hide the air tank! Now that is smart.

While the creature is amazing and shouldn’t be scoffed at, the reason this fits into Turkey Day is the dialogue. Like a lot of movies from that era, things were a bit different than now, especially how these guys would talk to women. Sexist? Demeaning? Just a tad. So while it is humorous, it does show far we’ve come!

Another sub-plot that was typical in these weren’t just the sexist banter between the male and female characters, but we have a good old fashion cockfight between two of the men in here, trying to prove the other one is a coward from their past in the navy. Then, to make it even MORE entertaining, you throw in all the science talk, of how much food supply there is underwater, and what we can do to save mankind, and on and on. So much damn fun.

And… if you needed a little bit more to tip the scale… James Hong is in it!

Werewolf of Woodstock (1974) – This is a made-for-TV movie that I honestly don’t remember seeing back in the day, which is strange, because I watched a lot of TV as a kid and this is something I would have been all over! And while I thought this might be a snoozer out of the titles I chose, I was dead wrong, and was a favorite among the viewers.

Apparently, back in the ’70s, you didn’t need a curse, a bite from a wolf, or even a full moon to turn into a werewolf. Nope. All you needed was just to be standing on the stage where Woodstock had taken place and get electrocuted. Yes sir… that will do it. This grumpy old man who hates hippies gets even more angry once he turns into a wolf, at any given time, and terrorizes some hippies that are staying in a shack near the Woodstock stage. He also is able to change out of his PJs into some more suitable werewolf attire, before storming out of the house. I mean, you do want to look your best while attacking those damn hippies, right?

A young couple of younger members of the California police department are there to do some research about these concerts, one played by a young Michael Parks. Just like he became known for, Parks takes his sweet time in delivering his lines, all while wearing this multi-colored knit hat. Him and his partner start to realize there is more than some wild animal out there attacking people, though nobody believes their crazy ideas. Not sure why though, since turning into a werewolf after being electrocuted seems pretty plausible to me.

And if you still think it isn’t worth your time, ask yourself when is the last time you saw a werewolf steal and drive a dune buggy? Didn’t think so. Also watch for actress Belinda Balaski, a few years before she would meet another werewolf, one in a little bit more impressive getup than a rubber pull-over mask here.

I don’t believe this one was ever released on VHS or any other format, but if you can find a copy, it’s a pretty fun movie, once again, with the right group of fellow film fans.

Attack of the Super Monsters (1982) – This film was another first for our Turkey Day Marathons, having a title that was partially animated. Well, actually this film had regular animation, stop-motion animation, and good old fashion Kaiju fun with guys in dinosaur suits crashing through scale model cities. I have to give kudos to the ones that designed the buildings and the vehicles for Team Gemini, the group of heroes that do battle with the monsters. Pretty damn impressive.

According the long intro that seems to set up the movie, t seems that dinosaurs have been living under the Earth all of these years, growing smarter and smarter, even developing super powers like laser eyes and mind control, while some of them developing a hatred for humans. In fact, the leader, Tyraneous, wants to DESTROY THE HUMANS! You know this because every time he comes on screen, he tells us that. And they cut to him quite a bit. And each time, it made me laugh.

This was originally a series of shorts that were combined into one feature length movie. Which means, every 20 minutes or so, we have a big battle, the two main characters combine their strength (but only for a very short time before they will injure themselves) and defeat the main monster. And then we do it all over again. Aaannnd again. But no matter what, the creativity used to design the monsters and the sets they are busting through makes this a lot of fun. Perfect film for the whole family.

Creatures from the Abyss (1994) – Now this little gem is definitely not for the whole family, mainly due to the gore, nudity, and sex. Also known simply as Plankton, this wonderful maritime drama deals with a group of friends get stranded out at sea in the middle of the night, in the middle of a rainstorm, before they come across what looks like a deserted boat. As they investigate, it seems to be a floating marine lab of some sort, with a lot of strange science equipment even stranger specimens. The more they look around, the more hidden secrets they start to uncover, including that they are far from being alone on this vessel.

Even stranger is some of the décor of the rest of the boat, from a talking wall clock that is right out of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, or a erotic talking shower that seems very out of place! But as the youngsters start drinking and eating some fish they find in the kitchen (note to self: not the best of ideas), one of them (the smart one) starts to figure out what might have been going on at this little floating science lab.

Like any good Turkey Day movie, you need a good monsters and this film delivers that and more, from some stop-animation, balls-out crazy looking creatures, some over the top-gore that will remind you of those cheap ’80s SOV gore flicks, not to mention some gratuitous female flesh, and some of the craziest dialogue ever to be dubbed into English, that will give you a headache with all the face-palming you’re going to be doing. This is one amazing picture.

The Love Butcher (1975) – This was our last and bonus feature for the day. Wasn’t sure if anybody was going to be around, but I should have known better! Actor James Lemp must have had a field day when he was cast for the main role here. Not because of any thoughts of winning an Oscar, but because he gets to play so many different characters all in one movie! Caleb is a neighborhood gardener that seems a bit… off. It doesn’t take us too long to figure out who the person he is talking to in his little shed is either. As young women start to turn up murdered in gory ways by strange and unusual instruments, the police and a reporter try to piece together just who could be committing these heinous acts!

This one just reeks of the era it was made in, from the clothes, the attitude, and everything else in between. Once again, the dialogue, while very dated as well, is so much fun. The real star here is Lemp, playing Caleb, Lester, and all the different disguises they come with. The internal hatred Lester has for women for some reason is shocking that he’s gotten through life this far. Maybe it is from wearing those coke-bottle glasses that Caleb wears! Those would be enough to drive anybody nuts!

With a few plot twists, interesting murders, there is more than enough to keep any Turkey Day fan’s attention for 90 minutes.

Thus concludes our Turkey Day Marathon 2020. We’re not sure what the future holds for our next Turkey Day event. With the turnout like it was, even if things do get back to normal in the world, I’m thinking we may have to figure out how to go back to our old way of doing it, but also keeping the online presentation going as well. I’ve got 6 months to figure it out, so we’ll see.

But thanks to everyone that logged in and stayed with us through the films. Even if you were only to catch a couple flicks, I appreciate the support, and hope you had a good time. Though from the feedback I’ve received, I think everyone did.

See you in 6 months for Turkey Day in May 2021!

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