Convention Memories: The Bill Rebane Film Festival 2005

Rebane fest posterBack on our old site, there is probably close to a hundred different convention reports, or film fests, and whatnot. I used to post on those religiously, but after doing so many, it started to become tiresome because a lot of them started to sound the same. As well as some of the shows becoming more and more overpriced autograph shows, it was getting even hard to not be negative all the time. There are a ton of photos posted of many different celebrities that we’ve seen over the years. I thought about bringing them over to the new site, but haven’t completely decided on that just yet. But there are a few that I will be bringing over, such as this one, mainly because this is quite different than most of the conventions and film fests that I’ve been do over the last 20 years. Hope you enjoy!

I don’t remember the exact date, but it was early in 2005, but I remember calling my good friend Eric Ott with some exciting news. I had known Eric for maybe 10 years, and had never known anybody that was a bigger fan of the work on Wisconsin filmmaker Bill Rebane than him. Most notably for making The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), but Rebane had directed about 10 films throughout his career. Eric was always on the lookout for VHS tapes of his movies, as well as posters, and any other material from his work, even scoring some 16mm prints over the years. So when I read online that in Madison, Wisconsin, there was going to be an actual Bill Rebane Film Festival, and that Mr. Rebane himself was going to be there, I quickly called Eric to tell him that no matter what he had planned on May 7th, he was going to have to cancel it. Because we were going to make a road trip up to Madison for this.

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Turkey Day 2008

Now in the 6th year of holding my annual Turkey Day marathon, AC and I took another fistful of films considered to be turkeys, B-movies, MST-fodder, or just a waste of time.  But not for us.  As crazy as we might be, we find quite a bit of enjoyment out of watching these films, where the filmmakers were really trying to their best to make a good film.  Granted, most of them missed the mark when it comes to being good.  But is it entertaining?  That is the true test of a film, turkey or not.  So let’s venture forth and see what fun we got ourselves into this year.  From a couple of alien invasion films, Tiny Tim as a clown, Hammer’s sci-fi epic, or a low budget film from good old Michigan, we had our work cut out for us this year.  Let’s begin.

EyeCreatures2The Eye Creatures (1965) – Larry Buchanan was a filmmaker that makes Roger Corman look like he had bigger budgets than James Cameron.  He was making his little films in his home state of Texas, and usually turning a profit.  Sure, he may not have made high quality films, but the ones that he made, made money.  And in the film business, that is the only way to continue to making films.  He had made a deal with American International Pictures to remake their film Invasion of the Saucer Men.  Of course, with a much lower budget, and in color.  But it didn’t stop him from giving them, and us, The Eye Creatures.  This was so successful, that he went on to remake 3 more titles from the AIP catalog.

Starring John Ashley, the film pretty much follows the original, except the creatures themselves.  Where in the original, the creature designs were well-crafted and thought out by Paul Blaisdell.  But here, we have guys in suits that look like the Michelin Man’s 2nd cousin.  There are a couple of scenes where there are several of the alien creatures attacking, moving very slowing and waving their arms.  But if you look closely, you will see that only a couple of the closer aliens had full body suits on, while some others just have their head and shoulders covered, the rest of their bodies covered in black.  Pretty damn funny that nobody caught that.

But none the less, Ashley gives it his all, like he always did.  And it’s a fun movie with the definite feel of the ‘50s movies that it was based on.  There is a lot of the silly humor in here, with both some main characters, and the whole subplot of a couple of military guards that like to use the radars to spy on the kids making out in lovers lane.  Lucky for us, the film did get an actual DVD release, so many can enjoy it for years to come.

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