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)

Obviously, I have been in the middle of just trying to smash through all of the previously existent old quizzes for Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and lo and behold just in time for Halloween, Dennis has provided us with a new one so I don’t have to pretend it’s 2012 or 2005 or what have you for this one. Let’s go ahead and dive right in.

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

Quite unforgivably, I haven’t seen Major League yet despite baseball being my favorite movie sport (being not born in America, my favorite sport in general is football… World Cup football, not Super Bowl football). Bull Durham is one of the reasons baseball is such the case and so Nuke wins by default, but also that character is a douchebag so I need to see Major League soon so I can change my answer. Team Crash all the way.

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

Oh hey and just in the middle of my diving into the beautiful new Shout! Blu-Ray set (I expect that’s why this question is here). I want to say it’s the sleeping bag death in The New Blood, but that seems like the easiest answer so I will go with that one shot in Friday the 13th Part 2‘s climax where Ginny gets in that random cabin and you see Jason running towards her through a window in the background. Or really the whole sequence because what she finds and uses when she gets into the next room is also awesome. Spoilers for that YouTube clip.

3) Henry Hull or Oliver Reed?

This is kind of an unfair question, not only because Oliver Reed in general is so obviously a superior actor with more longevity but also because Reed’s alcoholic ass is like… the ideal actor to have play a werewolf (given that “who was the better werewolf is the REAL question I think is being asked here?”). I mean my answer is still Reed’s imposing masculinity (even if Curse of the Werewolf is slightly worse overall than Werewolf of London) but I want to give Hull love for playing a real awful son of a bitch even before his character became a werewolf.

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

Wide release, it’s Tenet, a fact of which I am quite ashamed of (not because of the movie, it’s great but this is the worst fucking time to go to theaters) and it will definitely remain Tenet for the time being.

(In terms of not “wide release” but “used access to a movie theater that is obviously not being used to watch something”, my last movie proper was Survival Skills as part of watching of the Nightstream film festival programs).

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

For the first question, I don’t know too many movie castings of baseball biopics that I like to begin with but it is not faint praise to say Chadwick Boseman was extraordinary as Jackie Robinson in 42.

For the second question (and damn you for disqualifying tv because The Simpsons and Curb Your Enthusiasm have some excellent ones), I’m only thinking of Derek Jeter getting shot by Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys which is only the latest in a long line of hate crimes by that Boston Bastard and it totally suits him to play a piece of shit cop who shoots a black man.

6) D.B. Sweeney or Ray Liotta?

Don’t care for both as actors in general, but once again the real question here is “Who was the better Shoeless Joe?” and that’s definitely Sweeney in Eight Men Out.

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?

Believe it or not, no. In fact, I’ve been taking this time to watch or rewatch more existentially draining pictures and it doesn’t make me feel bad to watch those (movies that make me uncomfortable, my pause is extended no matter when the fuck they exist). Whatever’s happening is happening and I do what I can to help and outside of that, I watch what I want.

Meanwhile, I did try to watch Justified for the first time and while I’m sure it’s gonna be my jam… I made the mistake of trying it this past June and decided that “nah, this opening scene is not for me right now”.

8) The Natural (1984)– yes or no?

Yes, though that movie is way too weird for what it’s trying to be.

9) Peter Cushing or Colin Clive?

Peter Cushing. Better Dr. Frankenstein and better actor without even fucking trying. I don’t even have to second guess this.

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.

The first two Meet the Parents movies (so also Meet the Fockers). It was good for pretending I was an adult when I was 8 and 12 but once I rewatched them as an adult, I was just like “get the fuck outta here”.

11) Greatest single performance in horror movie history.

Boris Karloff’s two-film arc as the Monster in Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein, full of humanity and confusion and tragedy and all that jazz while being this big scary brute. It is exactly the sort of performance that earns our fascination and identification with the movie monsters and honestly just thinking about the way he says “We belong dead” gets me chills.

12) Ingrid Pitt or the Collinson Twins?

I have never seen Twins of Evil or any of the movies the Collinson Twins have been in so Ingrid Pitt wins by default.

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

Lake Mungo since it’s the most recent horror movie discovery I’ve made and it’s genuinely shattering as an experience: even without the verisimilitude of its mockumentary presentation, it is equal parts chilling and heartwrenching.

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

Eight Men Out didn’t make back its budget so I’ll go with that one.

15) William Bendix or Leslie Nielsen?

This is tough. Nielsen has lower lows (barring that I haven’t seen Bendix’s infamous Babe Ruth biopic) but his umpire performance in The Naked Gun is much funnier to me than Bendix’s otherwise charming turn in Kill the Umpire so I guess I’ll give it to Nielsen.

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

The Music Box is in fact open right now and nope, I’m good.

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

Svengoolie, as I prove to be thankful that even before I moved to Chicago, Phoenix was receiving him at the time when I was in undergrad.

18) The Sentinel (1977)—yes or no?

Haven’t seen it but I have been interested since I was a teenager.

19) Second-favorite Ron Shelton movie.

Tin Cup is the only other Ron Shelton I’ve seen (besides the afore-mentioned Bull Durham), but I have been interested in White Men Can’t Jump for decades (a childhood friend had it as his favorite movie and also Stanley Kubrick had it as one of his favorite movies, so no better two people to recommend it).

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

Absolutely. I don’t see how it hurts anyone to let them know what they are going into and allow them to decide on what they want to watch based on that. As someone who rejects presentism in his approach to art, I’m happy to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in assuming they understand how times have changed and contexts (the latter of which disclaimers could totally do well to educate others on) but that doesn’t mean we have to eschew basic consideration of others and what they would be uncomfortable with. Anybody who would have a problem with disclaimers is being a snowflake.

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

I have no idea how we are determining what’s a National League and what’s an American League baseball movie but I guess A League of Their Own will be NL and Bull Durham will be AL.

22) What was the last horror film you saw?

Hour of the Wolf tonight in an attempt to dig through all the Ingmar Bergman. How fortunate that I got to this one in October.

23) Geena Davis or Tatum O’Neal?

Ohhhhhhh this one is very hard. I think O’Neal is the better overall actor (or at least she was in her childhood) and I love her turn in The Bad News Bears (since the angle to this question is their baseball movies, for sure) but Geena Davis in A League of Their Own is a scene-stealer even up against Tom Hanks of all actors and her movie is also comfort for me in a way that The Bad News Bears isn’t (… yet) so Davis takes this one.

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? 

Obviously I like that it gives folks a chance to watch a movie as it’s meant to be seen and let’s you and your friends pool together for a movie night. But what I really don’t like (other than the fact any gathering in public is a risk, even with your friends) is how it removes the opportunity for a legitimate communal response to a movie the way that only a full theater with others watching something for the first time could provide. 10 buddies that you personally know what they like or are into is not going to match up with the pleasant surprise and the real influence of 40 or 50 strangers in the shadows that are live and near you that you know nothing about and will probably never encounter again… it’s made even the shittiest movies feel like a shared experience.

25) Name the scariest performance in a baseball movie.

The only possible contender to this that I can think of is Robert De Niro in The Fan.

26) Second-favorite Jack Arnold movie.

The Incredible Shrinking Man, second to Creature from the Black Lagoon.

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

  1. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)
  2. Ride Your Wave (Yuasa Masaaki)
  3. Tenet (Christopher Nolan)
  4. Emma. (Autumn de Wilde)
  5. The Fall (Jonathan Glazer)

So it’s not a particularly bad top five considering the year. But it’s also just sad that I haven’t encountered a true five-star movie this year yet. Maybe First Cow could get a curve later.

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

  1. Five friends and I joining in for a 24 hour marathon of weird genre films in my living room last month as our last time together before I moved up here to Chicago (The movies were – in order of playing – Hercules in New York, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Wizard of Speed and Time, Tremors, Dolls, The Creeping Terror, The Last Dragon, Crippled Avengers, The Room, Flash Gordon, The Gong Show Movie, Troll 2, Miami Connection, and King Kong). Shout out to Josh (yes, that Josh), K.C., Houston (whose last name I realize I don’t know), A.N., and V.P.
  2. Watching and interacting via kosmi streaming and text with my friend L.C. in the middle of the night with a random comfort blanket watch of Pokémon Detective Pikachu as they became a deep believer of the power of the CGI Pikachu’s cuteness (we have added friends to later kosmi watches – Shout out F.G., A.Y., and C.B. – that were fun as well but nothing beats the sudden whim of the Pikachu, baybee!)
  3. Watching Mad Max: Fury Road at the Swap Shop Drive-In and just gushing with J.A.B. over how fucking perfect that is and how awesome it feels to watch it while sitting in a fucking car.

Close honorable mention(s):
– Seeing The Color Out of Space at midnight at the Coral Gables Art Cinema in January and the unspoken sense of ceremony to it all as Josh (yes, that Josh again!) brought his brother, many of my friends decided on the spot to just attend as well (and a few others I just ran into there), the same J.A.B. above introduced the film, and I even ran into all of which I think the film mostly lived up to in its cosmic horror atmosphere even despite the areas where it disappointed me.
– Watching Satantango‘s new 4K release (which is reminding me to order that on Blu-Ray) just before the pandemic hit. Just taking 3 seatings in one day to really settle in that 9 hour dive and feeling everybody else around me sink into the movie as well (and from what it sounded like, I was the only attendee at that screening who saw the movie before).
– Breaking out my new 3D home setup by watching the 2009 My Bloody Valentine remake and having a ball with the ridiculous gore effects in my face.

Does not qualify but would probably be number two if it did:
Watching the Oscars at the crowded-ass Metrograph Theater with my homies J.D. and G.C. and feeling the entire building fucking rumble with every win that Parasite got up until Best Picture made us fear that nobody was walking out the door alive. I swear that moment was more hype than any New Year’s celebration I’ve ever been to.

Forgive me for going overboard with my answers here but it reminds me that it’s not just watching movies that gets me in love with them. It’s the act of watching movies.

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