True Life 2020

My Powdered Donut Phobia began April 17, 1976

Donuts? Doughnuts? Whatever. If they have powdered sugar on them, I find them deeply frightening.

“Frightening” might be a slight exaggeration.

I definitely find them deeply unsettling.

I definitely don’t eat them.

But I don’t break out in a cold sweat when I see them. Not anymore.

It all began when I was a very small child. I went over to a neighbor’s house and all the Big Kids were watching Dr. Paul Bearer’s Saturday afternoon Creature Feature double-feature on WTOG (Channel 44, St.Petersburg, FL) because that’s what you did on a Saturday afternoon if you lived in Southwest Florida in the 1970s.

I didn’t know what the movie was, I only knew that it was very scary and the one scene I saw was enough. It’s a shame I didn’t stick around because I’m sure I wouldn’t have been nearly as traumatized if I’d seen the whole movie.

Or any other scene in the movie.

Any scene at all.

The scene I saw involved scary alien women feeding a pair of boys poisoned powdered donuts and then eating their brains. At least I thought the women ate their brains. I saw the scary alien women preparing to cut the boy’s heads open and I took off running for home.


Later in life, I would recount this story to people but no one was able to figure out what the movie was. Media librarians. The MST3K gang. Film historians. Everyone thought it was vaguely familiar but no one could put their finger on it.

If only I remembered more details. Like it being Japanese, or involving a guy in a giant rubber turtle costume, because I’m pretty sure those details would have been very helpful. The kaiju tend to be the memorable parts of these movies for most people.

The movie that gave me a lifelong phobia about powdered donuts was none other than Gamera Vs Guiran.

The nice folks at Mystery Science Theater did, in fact, solve the mystery (and they aired the movie on their show in 1991, although that’s coincidental to my quest).


Thanks to the internet, I can pinpoint the day my powdered donut phobia began: April 17, 1976. That’s the date Gamera Vs. Guiran aired on Creature Feature, according to The Crazed Fanboy’s database.

I understand that powdered donuts are not, inherently, dangerous. Except when they are.

horror & scifi movies television

Snakehead Terror, revisited

Saturday night we returned to a simpler time, the time of Snakehead Terror. We enjoyed this gem when it debuted on SyFy (nee SciFi) in 2004. Would we enjoy it the second time around, nearly 10 years later?


This classic made-for-TV craptacular featured Bruce Boxleitner’s carefree feathered mane as the sheriff and supermodel-turned-actress Carol Alt as the wildlife biologist determined to save us all from the Terror Of Snakeheads.

Bonus: it was set in our neck of the woods.

Downside: we really have snakehead terror. That’s why it’s set in our neck of the woods.

Snakehead fish“Snakehead Fish” photo of SFU biology grad student Michael Beakesis copyright (c) 2012 by Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and made available under a Creative Commons license.

Simon Fraser University, being in Canada, isn’t in our neck of the woods, but that photo is both awesome and available on flickr. Since this movie was clearly shot in Canada and not the Mid-Atlantic, and both it and this blog are low-budget enterprises, that seems appropriate. (Unlike syfy, this blog is not a profit-seeking entity and use of that photo doesn’t mean SFU condones anything in this post).

Trivia: 12 of the 15 actors credited on the Snakehead Terror IMDB page have appeared in an episode of Supernatural (even William B. Davis, the cigarette smoking man from the X-Files).

An interesting thing about this movie (no, really, this is interesting) is how much more strictly the old Saturday Night Craptaculars adhered to a (slightly) more sophisticated B movie aesthetic. The filmmakers could display a small bit of flare that suggested they do in fact possess a basic level of competence even if the budget doesn’t allow them the time or financing to truly display it. Decent editing. No extended day-for-night scenes. A few extra minutes clearly used to set the key and fill lights properly (and/or to actually use a 3 point lighting set up). Actors mostly hitting their marks. A modicum of wardrobe continuity.

B-movies have never been slick or glitzy (if they were they wouldn’t be B-movies), but Bruce Boxleitner’s hair doesn’t style itself and someone had to teach Carol Alt how to convincingly pronounce all those biologist words.

No, really, she’s convincing. As a biologist, maybe not as an action-movie actress.

Trivia: I’m fairly certain there is a jar of pickled snakehead in our refrigerator. I’m quite certain Husband should think carefully before he considers feeding it to me.

We still haven’t visited the Calvert Marine Museum’s invasive species exhibit, Eco Invaders.

I was going to post more about the movie, but I’ve gotten distracted by the fact that Bad Company is back together and touring and they’re playing at the Calvert Marine Museum, which just seems weird on all kinds of levels. Maybe it’s a really nice venue. I understand the museum is nice, but it’s a small museum far outside any metropolitan area, so the announcement immediately brought this to mind:

But hey, since Bad Company has figured prominently on Supernatural a few times, it seems only appropriate to mention it here. I’m on my first cup of coffee so it makes perfect sense to me.

horror & scifi pop culture true life 2013

Powdered Donuts, redux

Thanks to Crazed Fan Boy I can now definitively state that my phobia about powdered donuts (doughnuts?) began on April 17, 1976.

I’m sure we will all sleep better knowing this.

You will most assuredly sleep better than I, because we’re about to watch Battledogs. On purpose.

horror & scifi movies

Witchslayer Gretl + Wyvern

Want your movie to seem amazing? Before you screen your flick, make your audience sit through the Shannon Doherty SyFy cheapie, Witchslayer Gretl.

How cheap? They apparently couldn’t even afford the second “e” in Gretel.

Witchslayer Gretl:

This movie, which obviously capitalizes on the spate of Hansel and Gretel movies that have been released recently, is so terrible it doesn’t deserve the label “craptacular.” It doesn’t even deserve the label “crap.” It doesn’t even deserve mocking.


If you watch that whole movie, you’ll need to watch Cats Puking to Techno to purge your soul:

Then you’ll feel terrible for laughing at cats puking up hairballs, but you’ll have forgotten about Witchslayer Gretl’s bad writing, directing, acting, makeup, sound mixing, art design, set design, sound design, costumes, and special effects.

The upside to Witchslayer Gretl is that anything you watch immediately afterwards will seem significantly better than it actually is.

We should have watched BloodRayne again to see just how much of a boost a movie can get from the pairing.

But we didn’t because, well, BloodRayne.

Instead, we watched Wyvern:

Wyvern is a fairly competent movie. Stupid, but competent. It stars That Guy Who Played Scully’s Dad on the X-Files and That Woman Who is on All Those Other Shows and That Guy Who is on All Those Other Shows and That Other Guy Who is on All Those Other Shows and That Guy Who Is in a Lot of Other Shows and Movies and Looks a Little Bit Like the Love Child of Harrison Ford and the Guy Who Plays Nathan on Eureka.

We recently re-watched Silent Hill. I didn’t remember it as great, but it was much worse than I remembered. Now that I’m reminded that we watched it as a double-feature with BloodRayne, that makes sense.

horror & scifi movies pop culture

Godzilla, King of Monsters! (1956)

In honor of Godzilla Wednesday, we’re watching Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956) tonight.

Godzilla Wednesday:

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! trailer: