Continuing Education

Enrichment Instructors

Featured Enrichment Instructor: Fred Hopkinsschlock cinema North Seattle Continuing Education

Syndicated columnist, host of Professor Fred's Movie Marvels, monster musician in the band Ramshackle, and a lawyer - what doesn't Fred Hopkins do? We interviewed Prof. Fred to learn more about this multifaceted B-movie connoisseur.

How did you become interested in the worst movies ever made?

In 1970 when I transferred from Occidental to UW, with two others we formed the Vintage American Cinema Society. We set out to show the best classic films, but we ended up not getting the film we wanted. We ordered Bullets or Ballots, a very popular Humphrey Bogart cult movie, but instead we received Ghost of Frankenstein with Bella Lugosi and Lon Chaney. We went “oh no, this is awful” but the movie filled the place. We realized then there was a greater appetite for bad movies than good movies, and no one was serving that.

You have been a lawyer (traffic ticket attorney) for over 30 years. Are there more similarities between law and B-movies than we might realize? 

Yes. Absolutely. Especially when you’re doing traffic law like I do. People have crazy stories. A lot of times in court I feel like I’m trapped in a B-movie. It’s a lot fun.

Just what is it about these movies from the 1950s and 60s (early 70s)? How do more recent B movies compare?

It was a more innocent era for movies, so they’re a lot more fun, and everyone can have a good time. Movies like Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine are terrible but people just love it. You can really laugh at them. Once you get into current b-movies like in Redbox or Netflix, they are more violent and offensive and just not as fun – it’s more about making money.

What can students expect in your Schlock Cinema class?

We’ll always show challenging and extremely rare 1950s movies. I try to show the rarest movies we can get. We’ll engage in discussion about the movie, and we can expect to get some good insight because we really analyze them. I have an inside view into the movies, as I’ve met and interviewed so many involved. In the 6th class session, I’ll bring in someone from Hollywood; in the past, I’ve brought in the assistant director for Jaws III. I get a lot from the students and their insights and excitement.