Saturday, October 13, 2012

HORROR HOST BOB WILKINS DVD RETROSPECTIVE

"The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features" is the newest feature-length DVD release from November Fire Recordings. Over a year in the making, the film is promoted as a video scrapbook of Northern California's popular TV personality and horror host Bob Wilkins. Between 1966 and 1981 Wilkins hosted over 1,200 shows and played over 1,800 films on his Sacramento and Oakland TV shows.

The press sheet explains more:

"A long run for a horror host is nothing too exciting, but a host who saved much of his history on film and on paper is unique. VCRs were not around and popular until the mid 1970ʼs, making the collection of Bob Wilkins and the access we had to the material a pleasant slice of classic horror host history. Running for close to ten years in the sixth largest television market in the country proved to make Wilkins one of the most influential hosts on TV. His “Creature Features” show was the seed for a small army of artists, writers, and filmmakers, including a young George Lucas.

Across the country the internet has seen a resurgence of the popularity of the horror host, including a large array of syndicated hosts all camping up the frights on Saturday nights. Not only are we hoping the “monster kids” from the San Francisco Bay Area will enjoy this little slice of nostalgia, but that the modern horror host connoisseur will find it an enlightening bit of history. “The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features” has all the right stuff to give you that Halloween night feeling that so many of us love to recapture.

THE COMPLETE BOB WILKINS CREATURE FEATURES
• From 1966 to 1981, over 1,200 Shows and 1,800 Movies, each and every one covered in this film!
• Take a trip through 16 years across three stations of Bob Wilkinsʼ wit and of course the horror films.
• Archival Interviews with: Christopher Lee • John Carradine • Donald Sutherland • John Belushi • John Landis • William Marshall

• 87 minutes - Widescreen - Color - Standard Definition - Region Free DVD

KCRA Ch. 3 (Sacramento) 1966 - 1970 KTVU Ch. 2 (Oakland) 1971 - 1979 KTXL Ch. 40 (Sacramento) 1970 - 1981

Bob Wilkins (April 11, 1932 – January 7, 2009) was a beloved Northern California television personality best known for his long run as a horror host. His singularly unique approach to the films and his hosting style was a simple extension of his wit and charming personality. This film covers the dates and titles of his weekly horror shows on KCRA 3, KTXL 40, and KTVU 2 with vintage interviews of Bob Wilkins, clips from his shows, film trailers, commercials, stills, posters, and audio recordings. A video scrapbook, you definitely will not catch it all on a single viewing.

November Fire is a creative outlet conceived by Strephon Taylor, and it was born from a long road of business and art adventures. Beginning primarily as a t-shirt design art house, we carry patches, DVDs, CDs, masks, stickers, and horror accessories as well. Our goal is to cater to like-minded individuals with a dark sense of style and fun. If you dig horror, Halloween, and/or antiestablishment themes you have found some common ground in November Fire. November Fire Recordings is the newest branch of the company, and “The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features” marks our seventh DVD (our fifth documentary), alongside our catalog of five music CDs."

I found the DVD well done, entertaining, and the character of Bob Wilkins and his ubiquitous cigar can't help but to be amusing. Fans I'm sure will be pleased, but aside from being able to view material from one of the many popular horror hosts of the time, it's difficult to relate completely if you weren't a fan of the region where it was shown. For instance, I love Zach but I relate more to Elvira, Seymour and Jeeper's Keeper because I experienced them "in their element". Informative but rather distracting was the ticker-tape banner running at the bottom of the screen throughout nearly the entire film that chronologically listed each movie Wilkins hosted and on which date. Of interest, though, was to see how many double features he ran. That, I'm sure was a treat for Monster Kids who could never get enough of their favorite ghouls and vampires.

Overall, a good effort by someone who obviously is a dedicated fan, and a worthy tribute to the memory of Mr. Wilkins, who was just one of the many characters that filled our weekend nights with fun and frights.

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