Review B Movie Celebration

This past weekend I had the sincere pleasure of attending the 7th Annual B Movie Celebration at the Hollywood Blvd. Cinemas in Woodridge, Illinois. The B Movie Celebration ran for three days, Friday – Sunday and screened some fabulous classic films along with some brand new movies that definitely fit the B movie mold.

The B Movie Celebration was founded in 2007 by Franklin Indiana resident and genre producer, Bill Dever whose goal was to celebrate the diverse and artistically vital segment of cinema known as “B’s”. This years lineup included 68 films broken down to 26 feature films and 42 short films. Special guests on hand were B movie mavens Robert England, Jim Wynorski, Fred Olen Ray, Keven Tenney, Brett Kelly, and Andy Phelps.

Each special guest would introduce their films when screened (except for when the projectionist would start the next film too quickly and cut the introductions off). Robert Englund was on hand to introduce special screenings of A Nightmare On Elm Street on Friday night and Sunday, as well as sign autographs for literally thousands of fans who waited anxiously to see him.

Highlights of the festival included cult filmmaker Jim Wynorski on hand all weekend for special screenings of his films The Lost Empire (1985), Gila! (2012) which was produced by festival founder Bill Dever, and his magnum opus Chopping Mall (1986). Seeing another cult filmmaker Kevin Tenney introduce a midnight screening of one of his most beloved films, Witchboard (1986) was another high point of the fest.

Continuing with my favorite moments at the film fest was seeing another cult filmmaker, Fred Olen Ray introduce his film screenings which included Armed Response (1986) with live audio commentary from the back of the theater by Ray himself. Also on hand was Canadian director Brett Kelly to introduce his film My Fair Zombie (2013).

One of my favorite film screenings was the world premiere of the UK zombie thriller Zombie Resurrection (2013) with co-director Andy Phelps on hand all the way from England for the event. Other memorable films included The Demon’s Rook (2013), They Will Outlive Us All (2013), the first ever screening of Fred Olen Ray’s After Midnight (2014), The Giant Behmoth (1959), Skookum: The Hunt for Bigfoot (2014), and Grizzly (1976).

The B Movie Celebration was a wonderful event for fans of B movie cinema to gather, watch great films and chat with celebrity filmmakers all weekend long. It was such an intimate setting where rubbing elbows with cult filmmakers such as Wynorski, Ray, Tenney, and Kelly was rather commonplace and no big deal as these guys are fans of the genre first and foremost and love talking about their movies. Each and every special guest was gracious and inviting to any fan that wanted to chat. In my opinion, you can’t get a better atmosphere in which to enjoy these films than at the B Movie Celebration. It’s a world class event not to be missed, and only promises to get bigger and better with each coming year. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for next year.

A very special thank you to Bill Dever for his hospitality!
Myself and Zombie Resurrection co-director Andy Phelps

Myself and Zombie Resurrection co-director Andy Phelps