PCR past banners
Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #238  (Vol. 5, No. 42)  This edition is for the week of October 11--17, 2004.

Book Review: "The Florida Night Sky" by Elinore DeWire
 by Will Moriaty
"Team America: World Police"
 by Mike Smith
Concert Review: THE PIXIES, w/The Thrills
  by Terence Nuzum
Fanzine Memoirs, Part 6, the Final Chapter....Desperate Housewives Score....TV Commercial Hall of Fame...Zombie 2004 Injection Remix
  by Vinnie Blesi
Professor Paul Bearer II: Post-Show Retrospective....Duran Duran New CD Release: "Astronaut"....Goodbye Rodney and Christopher....Rebecca McKinney
 by Andy Lalino
The Future is the Illustrious Five
 by Brandon Jones
The Lesbian Chronicles....Meanwhile, in the Batcave
 by Matt Drinnenberg
No Costume Needed....Good-Bye Cami....Oscar Note....Favorite Concerts....Meet The Beatles, Part 38
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR
Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Creature Feature/Professor Paul Bearer II: Post-Show Retrospective

I'm guessing most local Crazed Fanboys who grew up with Dr. Paul Bearer were on pins and needles last Saturday when the new Creature Feature debuted featuring "Professor Paul Bearer II", the nephew of DPB. Obviously when the attempt is made to resurrect the memory of such a well-loved pop culture figure, it can be a sensitive issue, which is what producer Jason Thomas no doubt encountered with DPB fans and himself (he's a professed fan as well). Regardless of your personal opinion of a re-imagining of Creature Feature, you have to hand it to Jason Thomas in that he accomplished his difficult goal. I'm sure it was a longshot convincing Channel 44 to devote precious airtime to what they may perceive as a "dated" concept, but I think enough love and talent was there radiating from Jason that they gave him the green light, and Jason/his team had their shot at beginning a new chapter in Tampa Bay's proud history of horror host television.

So what did you think? We all have our own opinions, and I'd like to share mine with you, being a veteran Creature Feature/DPB watcher from 1973 to the show's end in the '90s.

The Time Factor: One thing that worked against the PPBII segments was the surprisingly limited time Channel 44 devoted to them, which was obviously no fault of Jason Thomas and the team. I was expecting at least a full minute's worth of air time introducing the PPBII character at the beginning of the show, but it seemed like PPBII barely had time to say his name and introduce the first feature, the dismal "Critters 4" (more about that later...). I mean, you could have sneezed and missed some of the segments. Before cutting to commercial, poor PPBII had barely enough time to crack a pun and say "We'll be right back"! Now, I remember DPB's shtick extremely well, and in no way did PPBII have adequate time to perform real in-depth characterizations or humorous skits, akin to DPB's "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" or conversations with Spinjamin Bock. How does Channel 44 expect to endear this character to fans if it doesn't give him enough time to be a character?

Priorities: What Channel 44 must realize: Kids/fans are tuning in to see Professor Paul Bearer II and the new Creature Feature more so than the movies themselves. As a lifelong, die-hard horror and sci-fi fan who grew up watching Crea Fea, I can tell Channel 44 point blank that no fan wants to sit through "Critters 4".

An Introduction Would Have Been Nice: Why not start off with a half-hour tribute to Dr. Paul Bearer before Crea Fea aired? I mean, real young viewers probably have no idea who DPB was, so wouldn't it have been fitting to produce a show devoted to his memory, and at the end introduce the story of his nephew? That would have been really neat. Channel 44 must realize what a treasure they have in that character, and there are plenty of people still around who practically worship his memory (I'm guilty).

Better Movies: With ultimate authority as the keeper of the Dr. Paul Bearer database, I must say that the Crea Fea movie selections for month of October leave much to be desired. They're largely uninspired and insulting to true horror fans. "Critters 4"? "Aberration" (1997)? "Amityville: Dollhouse" (good titles that support my "1987" theory)? These are tough titles to endure. To be fair, the rest of the line-up includes (edited) "A Nightmare on Elm Street" sequels (which I won't watch because they're butchered) and "Humanoids from the Deep", but I'm not sure which version.

May I suggest more vintage titles: "Plan 9 from Outer Space", "It! The Terror from Beyond Space", "Attack of the Crab Monsters", "Slithis", or "Twisted Brain". If Channel 44 figures no one would watch older movie titles, I'd argue that fact, but if they go the more modern route, I'd recommend not broadcasting any horror films made after 1986. Some good choices would be: "Deadly Eyes", "Yor - Hunter from the Future", or "SynGenOr".

A good horror host show should be a marriage between excellently-chosen (not necessarily good) horror/cult/B-movie/sci-fi/fantasy films. Most movies from 1986 and previous fit the bill. 1987-now movies do not.

Good Make-Up & Costuming: Physically, PPBII looks very good and well made-up. With his appearance and voice (Nolan was right, he does talk faster than DPB - I should talk) he does kind of remind me of the original DPB.

Nice sets/Colorful backdrops: The sets were real nice-looking in the PPBII segments. In fact, the best part was the big treat of seeing the original Tenement Castle set (it was missing the fireplace, I believe). Did anyone notice Spinjamin Bock on the wall? I didn't see him. There was a pretty funny gag of PPBII going through a "secret door" and reappearing through a door right behind him.

Midgets?: What horror host show would be complete without a midget? The midget was funny, but I wish he had some cool horror make-up on. They did an amusing skit where PPBII kept getting his name wrong.

Props: In one cutaway, PPBII displayed a book by William Shakespeare that he claimed was his uncle's. At the time I wondered if this was an actual prop from the old days - I think it was.

Sounds: One of my favorite things was the famous "tune" (I don't know what else to call it) played in the background during the sequences. It seems to have been taken from the original shows and was a real treat to the ears!

Guest Appearances/Charity Events One of the great things about DPB was getting the opportunity to see him live as a kid in the various special appearances he made at charity events and other functions. PPBII should do the same thing to get his name out there.

Web Support: Sadly, not much about PPBII is available currently on the web. Channel 44 finally posted a picture/short bio of the character last week, but not much else. More fanfare is needed. There is enough history existing from the original DPB that PPBII should have a great foundation to work with.

I was under the impression that the show was going to feature segments from the original Crea Fea, I believe due to the Tampa Tribune article. I didn't notice any, at least on the debut show. That may be coming in future episodes. Very much looking forward to that.

Comments about the show would be greatly appreciated by Nolan, Ed, Lonnie, Will, and myself. If you'd like to see more of the new Creature Feature and Professor Paul Bearer II, please make sure you let Channel 44 know.

Duran Duran new CD release: "Astronaut"
Tuesday marked the North American release of the newly reunited Duran Duran, featuring all 5 original members: Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, and Roger Taylor. I'm unclear at this point if ex-Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, who was a member of Duran Duran from the early '90s to 2000 (their last CD being the excellent "Pop Trash"), is still with the band. The first single, which sounds awesome, is "(Reach up for the) Sunrise". Best Buy has it for a special price and includes an hour-long DVD. Did you pick up yours yet?

Goodbye Rodney and Christopher
In what's becoming an almost grim weekly event, we say goodbye to two outstanding entertainers: Rodney Dangerfield and Christopher Reeve. Rodney will always be considered one of the great one-liner comedians of all-time, his finest moment being the great 1985 comedy "Back to School". Chris Reeve was the ultimate "Superman" to all of us who grew up in the '70s, and had a distinguished career with films like "Deathtrap", John Carpenter's remake of "Village of the Damned", and "Somewhere in Time". To me, his great attitude about the condition he was in served as personal inspiration.

Rebecca McKinney
Some Pinellas County readers may have heard of a female Clearwater High School student who died recently after being struck by a vehicle on McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater after getting off her school bus. Her name was Rebecca McKinney, and she was a neighbor of ours, living about 8 houses down from us. She was only 16 when life was taken away from her, and an unfortunate event such as this really hits home when it's a person who lives in your neighborhood and someone you used to say "hi" to as they walked to and from school.

McMullen-Booth Road is one of the busiest in the county, and a debate has started on the location point of where Rebecca and the rest of the high school kids were dropped off, which is not at a stop light or crosswalk. Ironically enough, a pedestrian overpass is being built over McMullen-Booth Road near where Rebecca was struck, however it will not complete construction until next year.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the McKinney family, and may wisdom and common sense guide the forthcoming debate on school bus drop-off points.

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.