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AMERICAN SCARY (2006) ***

I missed out on the whole local television market Horror Movie Host craze but I always had a blast watching cable TV’s Joe Bob Briggs’ Drive-In Theater, Commander USA’s Groovy Movies, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Luckily, there are a lot of people who do remember the good old days of local horror movie hosts and they were kind enough to give their two cents worth on the phenomenon for this documentary.  You get to see interviews from such hosts like Vampira (the late Maila Nurmi, who was also in Plan 9 from Outer Space), Zacherle (who had a cameo in Frankenhooker), “Chilly” Billy Cardille (who had a small role in Night of the Living Dead), Count Gore De Vol, and many more.  The most time is spent on the reigning king of Cleveland horror hosts, Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson, father of director Paul Thomas Anderson).

 

Most of the interviews and old footage is great to see but I was a little disappointed by the film’s structure.  There is no strong narrative and a lot of the interviews ramble on too long.  I was particularly grieved to see that no time was spent on either Commander USA or Joe Bob (who are both interviewed at least), although I understand because they were nationally syndicated.  MST3K is also discussed (for about a minute that is) and die hard Misties will be glad to know that series creator Joel Hodgson is interviewed as well. 

 

While it may not be the final word on Horror Movie Hosts, American Scary sure is a lot of fun that makes for a brisk walk down memory lane to a simpler time where late night TV meant fun; not infomercials.

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