Sunday, June 2, 2019


The Night Creature Features Died (2018) d. John Stanley (USA) (105 min)

While not technically a film, this collection of the between-movie, in-studio high jinks of the last four episodes of Creature Features (hosted by Stanley, who invites his predecessor Bob Wilkins back for the final episode) is feature-length and does represent the gateway drug for many a Bay Area Monster Kid. While supremely silly and low-tech, it’s also deeply nostalgic and reverential toward a generation of horror fans who grew up (without growing up) watching their favorite fright flicks glued to Oakland-based KTVU Channel 2 on Saturday nights (and sometimes Fridays!) from Jan. 9, 1971 to Sept. 1, 1984.

Guests for the final four episodes include effects man Chris Walas (whose eye-popping work on Gremlins was just hitting theaters while he was prepping for Enemy Mine), Trista Stanley (John’s daughter) reciting original horror poetry, busy character man Harry Dean Stanton (pitching Repo Man and Paris, Texas), author Harry Harrison (Make Room! Make Room!, The Stainless Steel Rat series), film historian William K. Everson (Classics of the Horror Film), Bela Lugosi biographer Robert Cremer (The Man Behind the Cape), columnist George Blumenson, a showcase of Sgt. Rock comic book artist Russ Heath, local Bay Area actor Jon De Cles (playing Edgar Allan Poe), and, of course, belly dancers!

Films screened on the last four episodes (discussed but not shown):

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
Battle Beyond the Sun (1962), Roger Corman’s re-editing of the 1959 Russian sci-fi effort Nebo Zove (The Sky Calls)
Mystery on Monster Island (1980)
Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973)

There’s also a 10-minute sizzle reel of Stanley’s highlights on the show and various promo spots featuring the likes of Chuck Norris, Doug McLure, Richard Roundtree, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Sheen, Leonard Maltin, Charlton Heston, Mamie Von Doren, Leonard Nimoy, Ray Bradbury, Anthony Perkins, Rodney Dangerfield, Frank Gorshin, William Shatner, the Hee Haw ladies, Karl Malden, Hoyt Axton, Angus Scrimm, Don Coscarelli, and Robert Bloch.

Although it’s undeniably geared toward a specific audience, anyone who grew up during that simpler time of truly independent television programming will appreciate and admire what Wilkins and Stanley were doing, tongues firmly planted in cheeks. It may not be high art, but it’s certainly high tribute to the show itself, the fans who loved it, and an era of pre-VHS home entertainment, where your friendly neighborhood horror host was the one true guide to a world of terror and titillation. A perfect companion piece to the Creature Features documentary, Watch Horror Films - Keep America Strong!

The Night Creature Features Died is available now on DVD through Stanley’s Creatures at Large website and can be ordered HERE:

or you can stream it at:



  1. I grew watching Big Chuck and Houlighan (later Little John), The Ghoulardi and Super Host. My weekends were pretty packed with goofy horror movie hosts. That is probably why I grew up to be such a horror movie fan!

    Even now, at 54, my favorite weekend past time centers around frozen pizzas, horror films and all the jokes we can come up with.

    1. There is a great documentary called AMERICAN SCARY about the history of the horror host, which highlights Wilkins, Stanley, Big Chuck, Ghoulardi, Count Gore De Vol, Mr. Lobo, and many, many more. I think it was streaming on Netflix for a while, and I'm sure you can find it somewhere. Well worth checking out!

      There is nothing like Sharing the Scare with Fellow Fiends. Glad to hear that tradition is still alive and well in your house as well!

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