Dr. Henryk Savaard’s Hair-Raising Home Run, Bloodcurdling At-Vampire-Bat, Field of Screams Baseball-Horror Movie Quiz (with a dugout assist from Savaard’s sinister sidekick, Doc Roberts)

Dennis Cozzalio of the Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule blog has posted another patented movie quiz, and as always, I’m excited to participate. Previous installments answering questions from Professor Hubert FarnsworthDavid HuxleyProfessor FateProfessor Russell JohnsonDr. SmithProfessor PeabodyProfessor Severus SnapeProfessor Ed AveryDr. Anton PhibesSister ClodaghProfessor Arthur ChippingMiss Jean BrodieProfessor Larry GopnickProfessor Dewey FinnMs. Elizabeth HalseyProfessor Abraham SetrakianMr. DadierProfessor AbronsiusProfessor MoriartyProfessor Birdman, Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, and Dean Vernon Wormer are also available. For those playing along with the Six Weeks of Halloween, don’t worry, Dr. Savaard has thoughtfully included plenty of horror movie questions, so let’s get to it:

The Movie Quiz

1) Ricky Vaughan or Nuke LaLoosh? (question courtesy of our main Maine monster, Patrick Robbins)

Ricky Vaughan. For whatever reason, I really enjoy Major League and watch it almost every year, whilst I’ve never really connected with Bull Durham. That said, I probably prefer Tim Robbins as an actor… but now I’m not answering the question asked.

2) Best moment in the Friday the 13th film series.

The few regular readers of this blog know that this is a near impossible question for me. For some inexplicable reason, I absolutely love this entire series. Even the bad entries, which is probably most of them. So yeah, I’m not going to give one answer here, but here’s a few that immediately come to mind:

  • Crispin Glover’s delightfully bizarre dance moves in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (actually, Glover’s entire performance and line deliveries, like “TED! HEY, TED, where the hell is the corkscrew?”)
  • The opening sequence of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, culminating in the Jason/James Bond parody. Actually, I could probably pick out a top 10 moments from this movie alone. Even dumb throwaway stuff like a child’s reading choice whilst sleeping at Camp Crystal Lake (sorry, Forrest Green). Actually, the fact that there are kids there at all is a great aspect of this movie (and, I think, it’s the only movie that does so).
Child at Camp Crystal Lake fell asleep whilst reading Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit...
  • To choose a totally off the wall moment from the most obscure Friday film, anything with Creighton Duke from Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, but particularly this exchange, which happens on a “Hard Copy” style TV show interview with the Bounty Hunter who specializes in Jason:

Robert Campbell: I’m going to say a couple of words to you and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your mind.

Creighton Duke: Okay.

Robert Campbell: Jason Voorhees.

Creighton Duke: That makes me think of a little girl in a pink dress sticking a hot dog through a doughnut.

Alright, we could do this all day, and I haven’t even gotten into the kills, some of which are very creative and fun to discuss.

3) Henry Hull or Oliver Reed?

Sometimes these movie quiz choice questions have a sorta hidden theme behind them, but I can’t really detect one here, and I’ve seen more Oliver Reed, so I think he wins by default.

4) What is the last movie you saw in a theater?

As answered in the previous movie quiz from May, the last movie I saw in the theater was The Invisible Man (which was great!), but it’s been a while. It may have been The Way Back (which I’m a little more mixed on). I saw them both on the same week, so I don’t remember which came first…

5) Best movie casting for a real-life baseball player, or best casting of a real-life baseball player in a movie.

My first thought was Bob Uecker as the announcer in Major League, and that’s probably the best choice. Unless you count Kurt Russel, who played in the minor leagues during the 70s before shifting gears into acting…

6) D.B. Sweeney or Ray Liotta?

Ray Liotta, mostly because Goodfellas, but he’s always good when he shows up, even in bad stuff…

7) Given that the fear factor in 2020 is already alarmingly high, is there a film or a genre which you would hesitate to revisit right now?

I’m obviously not scared of horror movies, seeing as though I’m in the final stages of The Six Weeks of Halloween, during which I’ve watched nothing but horror movies (and related TV). However, I will say that I was probably leaning more towards the lighter side of the genre. I certainly wasn’t seeking to fill out gaps represented by films like Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom or A Serbian Film, so there’s two things I was hesitant to watch. But then, I’ve always been hesitant to watch them (as evidenced by the fact that I have not seen them).

8) The Natural (1984)– yes or no?

Yes. Always yes to these movie quiz “yes or no” questions, but I do know that for some reason, The Natural has strident anti-fans. I do genuinely enjoy the movie, though I have not seen it in ages.

9) Peter Cushing or Colin Clive?

As Dr. Frankenstein? Colin Clive! As a general actor? Peter Cushing, who has a much larger filmography. Or, at least, I’ve seen much more of him and I always like seeing him show up in things.

10) What’s the lamest water-cooler hit you can think of? Of course, define “lamest” however you will, but for “water-cooler hit” Dr. Savaard is thinking about something zeitgeist-y, something everyone was talking about the weekend it opened and beyond, something everyone seemingly had to see—The Other Side of Midnight residing at #1 in 1977 for two weeks is not what the professor has in mind.

Despite the long description, I’m not entirely sure how to answer this movie quiz question, but maybe Avatar? It was certainly very zeitgeist-y at the time, and one of the most successful movies of all time, but it’s largely vanished from the cultural conversation (its most frequent contribution in the cultural conversation these days is whether or not it’s still relevant, which is kinda funny). While the movie itself is very pretty and well made, the story is derivative and rather trite, such that it’s not surprising that no one really cares about it. But who knows, maybe when Avatar 2 comes out in 2030, things will change. I suspect I’ll still think of it as lame though.

11) Greatest single performance in horror movie history.

Such questions are impossible, so I’ll just go with the first thing I think of, which is Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II.

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II

It’s certainly the best physical performance. I’m sure someone can find some dramatic performance that is more meaninful or something, but I dunno, I think Bruce at least warrants conversation here.

12) Ingrid Pitt or the Collinson Twins?

I guess Ingrid Pitt because I’ve seen her in things, but I will say that Twins of Evil sounds like a hoot, so there’s room for change if I ever catch up with that.

13) Name one lesser-known horror film that you think everyone should see. State your reason.

Detention. It’s a movie that few have seen, but it’s a great movie that I’ve sung praises of before:

It’s a movie for the information-overloaded internet and texting generation (you could consider me on the outside of that, I think, but not so far outside that I can’t appreciate what this movie is going for). Referential, manic, kinetic, goofy, this thing makes Scott Pilgrim look like an Ozu film. Smash cuts, whip pans, excessive cross-cutting, flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, on-screen text, and did I mention how referential this movie is?

14) Do the same for an underseen or underappreciated baseball movie.

Baseball movies aren’t exactly the most prized films out there, so the pickins of underseen/underappreciated are slim. But maybe Knuckleball! fits the bill. It’s a documentary, so I’m guessing it’s underseen, and it’s great baseball content that’s actually about baseball, and not some dramatic personal arc or something (which a lot of baseball movies are actually about).

15) William Bendix or Leslie Nielsen?

I have to go with Leslie Nielsen for nostalgic reasons, and while I’m not super familiar with his more dramatic roles, he’s such an incredible straight man in 80s comedies that I have to go with him. Bendix is great though, and I enjoy his noir flicks. I have’t seen Hitchcock’s Lifeboat, but I guess I should have, because several folks mentioned in these questions seem to have starred in it!

16) Would you go back to a theater this weekend if one reopened near you?

I don’t know, maybe? Theaters were open for a few weeks there, before they closed again, but I wasn’t really in a rush. From what I can tell, movie theaters aren’t as bad as some other social options out there and there hasn’t been any real evidence of super-spreader events at movie theaters (it’s more restaurants in that boat)… so maybe? I mean, there’s not much playing these days, which I gather is more why they’re closed than anything else.

17) Your favorite horror movie TV show/host, either running currently or one from the past.

Joe Bob Briggs‘ The Last Drive in is great and has been a boon during the whole lockdown period. I really enjoy his commentary (going back to his MonsterVision days) and I think that he’s demonstrated that there’s a market for this sort of thing, even on streaming services like Shudder. Given the intractable curation problems that streaming services have, I’d think that having some random (but entertaining and informative) hosts curate a selection of movies that’s available on a given streaming service would be a relatively cheap way to garner more viewership, especially as a way to surface back-catalog original stuff.

18) The Sentinel (1977)—yes or no?

Emphatic yes. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I remember it being weird and fascinating stuff.

19) Second-favorite Ron Shelton movie.

Bull Durham fits neatly here, with White Men Can’t Jump in the #1 slot.

20) Disclaimer warnings attached to  broadcasts of films like Gone With the Wind and Blazing Saddles— yes or no?

I generally think such things are unnecessary, but insofar as it means that we don’t just memory-hole the work in question and it remains widely available to watch, I guess I’m going to say yes (because the alternative is worse). Incidentally, this is something that a movie host could address in a more natural manner than some warning screen.

21) In the World Series of baseball movies, who are your NL and AL champs?

It’s Field of Dreams and the aforementioned Major League.

22) What was the last horror film you saw?

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, from the ScreamFactory boxed set with the “Fan Commentary” by Adam Green and Joe Lynch. The movie is one of the more reviled in the series, but I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s clearly flawed and the MPAA cuts are a bit obvious, but I still like some of the ideas, even if they’re not exactly executed well. Green and Lynch dole out some interesting info in the commentary, and as filmmakers themselves, they notice some of the nuts and bolts stuff that us normals don’t (in particular, they delve into the use of zooms in the film, some of which were clearly used to skirt MPAA restrictions)…

23) Geena Davis or Tatum O’Neal?

Geena Davis is the clear answer, though I think Tatum is great in Paper Moon.

24) AMC is now renting theaters for $100 – $350, promising a more “private,” catered party-movie experience. What do you like or dislike about this idea? 

If it keeps a meager revenue stream coming into movie theaters such that they won’t just disappear altogether, I’m all for it. I’ll also note that this was an option before the pandemic, though it may have been more expensive. I’ve definitely seen people book a theater for some sort of event, especially during off periods. My work did that for one morning during the week (presumably a down time for the theaters).

25) Name the scariest performance in a baseball movie.

Not so much scary and not a movie, but I just really want to mention The X-Files episode “The Unnatural” as it’s great and I guess it’s a little creepy at times, but also kinda goofy, in that weird mixture that only the X-Files can manage. I’m sure we can bend the movie quiz rules to account for this one, right?

26) Second-favorite Jack Arnold movie.

Revenge of the Creature, with the original film as my favorite… though he does have a few others that I’ve seen and enjoyed, I just like the Gill man.

27) What would be the top five films of 2020 you’ve seen so far?

In no particular order, top five so far:

28) What are your top three pandemic-restricted movie viewing experiences so far in this… unusual year?

The aforementioned The Last Drive In series on Shudder was a real boon that happened to roughly coincide with lockdown. As implied above, having a movie host kinda imbues a sense of community that was obviously otherwise absent during lockdown, so it was really nice to have something like that. After that, It’s really just watching fun movies. The Six Weeks of Halloween has been really fun. It always is, but especially this year. If I had to pick a third experience, maybe that weekend where The Old Guard and Palm Springs were both released? That was fun and reminded me of when this sort of thing would happen often (i.e. two good movies coming out at the same time). Sadly it’s not often in the age of streaming and no theaters…

Phew, that’s another movie quiz in the books. And actually, I think this might be the first movie quiz ever where I didn’t need to take a mulligan. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

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