Continuing Education

Fred Hopkins

Fred Hopkins

I started my bad movie career in 1971, when I co-founded The Vintage American Cinema Society. Instead of showing the usual pop-oriented movies like "M.A.S.H." or "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid," we showed Fred Astaire in "Let's Dance" (with a live performance by a gaggle of tap dancing tots) and "The Ghost of Frankenstein," starring Bela Lugosi (with a live intro by "The Count," local TV horror host and legend, Joe Towey). To my discombobulated amazement, we drew huge crowds (and this was 9 years before the general public discovered Ed Wood!).

In the early '80s, local film historian, John Black, and I formed "The Backtrack Cinema Society" and showed "Plan 9 From Outer Space" at the now torn down Seattle Concert Theater and "Glen or Glenda" at Clifford's On Broadway. We continued showing almost 100 films at venues all over Seattle.

I was also appearing on The Dave Ross Show on KIRO Radio every few weeks doing "so-bad-they're-good!" movie reviews as "Captain Cassette" and "The Legend of Lost Films." During this same decade, I had a nationally syndicated column devoted to Grade Z films, called "Mondo Video" and additionally contributed film articles and interviews to national newspapers in N.Y., Florida, New Orleans, and Texas.

I also had almost weekly programs airing on Public Access TV, as well as co-starring in a local film called "The Rock'n'Roll Mobster Girls," (1988) which also starred Jim Rose. In the early '90s, I started appearing on The Pat Cashman Show on the radio every Friday morning doing "Fred Hopkins' Turgid Constipated Erotic Movie Reviews," again spotlighting the worst, most awful, and most fun movies of all time. I did this for about 10 years on KIRO FM; KOMO AM; and KJR FM.

This is my seventh year of teaching Schlock Cinema 101 and I have never had so much fun. Being with other discombooberated fans of Totally Awful Cinema and sharing the joy of watching these films and discussing them is a rare treat! I am not worthy!

Courses Taught

Schlock Cinema: The Long and Short of It

Our first entry is Tormented (1960), directed by the legendary Bert I. Gordon (AKA “Mr. B.I.G.” and still directing in his 90s!) and starring Richard Carlson (It Came From Outer Space) alongside Bert’s daughter, Susan Gordon. Unlike Gordon’s “Giant Monster” contributions like War of the Colossal Beast, Tormented is a warped ghost story masquerading as a morality tale and full of sleazy fun. Next is The She Beast (1966), starring Ian Ogilvy (Roger Moore’s replacement on The Saint TV series) and Barbara Steele (Black Sunday). The statuesque Steele gained fame as a “Giallo” queen (Italian crime stories sold as horror flicks). Sadly, she failed to reign in the States. Directed by Michael Reeves (The Conqueror Worm), you won’t find a more European-flavored film than this tale of a vengeful witch reborn after 200 years. Next we have The Oval Portrait (1972) (AKA Edgar Allen Poe’s One Minute Before Death [sic]), starring  Wanda Hendrix (Saddle Tramp) and Giselle McKenzie (The Match Game). Hendrix was the first wife of decorated-war-hero-turned-B-movie-actor, Audie Murphy. Based on a two-page Edgar Allan Poe story (note the correct spelling), the film’s tone is similar to Roger Corman’s earlier Poe films but nowhere near the quality. Another delivery from Mexico to Hollywood is Creature of the Walking Dead (1965) a decent Mexican film patched together with incoherent scenes shot at a low-rent Hollywood backlot with actors who weren’t even in the original film.  One more horror/schlock masterpiece from Jerry Warren (Attack of the Mayan Mummy). We finish with bizarre the World Without End (1956), starring Rod Taylor (The Birds) and Nancy Gates (The Search for Bridey Murphy) in a sci-fi/horror mash-up featuring astronauts vs. angry cavemen-like mutants. A genre unto itself!


For a more in-depth discussion of this class, please take a look at  The Beauty in the Bad: Why We Love Schlock Cinema.

And don't miss Professor Fred's Top 10 All Around, Best-Ever Schlock Films Under the Sun.

Th 7pm–9pm Jan 25Feb 22 (5 sessions) $79.00
On Campus: LB Bldg, Room 1131 (Main Campus, Map)
9600 College Way North Seattle WA 98103
Winter Quarter
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