Apr 18

Pychotronic Film’s Move to Television

Old TelevisionI created another page on Psychotronic Review for Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I’m sure that many of you remember when I wrote about the show here (that article is included on the new page). In that article, I talk about how I think that the show is ultimately what led me to be a writer. And even more than that, it affected how I behave.

I don’t work in corporate environments anymore. The main reason is that they won’t have me. It seems these days that after putting you through days of interviews with dozens of people, they decide to hire you. But first they must get a criminal background check on you, a credit check, a drug test, two juggling tests (balls and then clubs), a 5 minute stand-up routine at a local comedy club, and one to five pints of blood (depending upon the needs of upper management). I’ve never gotten club juggling down, sad to say.

I’m a Bad Boy

But the bigger issue is that I do act a lot like Carl Kolchak. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Oh sure, I have my depressive periods. And I’ve been fighting like hell with a major one over the last month. But if I’m in a good mood, I am the most arrogant person. But not without cause. It’s pretty cool that most of the people I work with now are both smart and creative. But in the corporate world, I could run circles around those people. And I don’t think I hid my own feelings to myself.

As I wrote of Kolchak: “his pluses just barely offset his minuses.” So I totally understand why employers often wanted to get rid of me and hated the fact that they needed me. It’s a bit of a rush, to be honest — to know that your employer wants to fire you but that their entire IT infrastructure would fall apart without you. As if I would ever let that happen! But it is fun to be someone’s mixed blessing.

Psychotronic Television

As I put up the page for Kolchak: The Night Stalker, it occurred to me that I was once again adding a page for a television show. Out of 16 pages, 3 of them are for television series. And actually, that makes a lot of sense. Because by the time of my generation, the B-film had gone away. I went to plenty of double features when I was young — but always at specialty theaters. First run films showed trailers and then the feature.

(Note: this always bothered me. It bothered me even more on VHS tapes, “And now our feature presentation.” No! Now your only presentation! I don’t consider ads for coming films a presentation. But a Looney Tunes cartoon and a short B-picture, sure. Then you get to say, “And now our feature presentation.” Otherwise, don’t try to con me.)

As a result, psychotronic film really went to television. That was even more true once cable came around and all these stations needed content. You all know Mystery Science Theater 3000. It never would have been a national thing had it not been that Comedy Central had just started and the idea of two hours of cheap programming was just too much to pass up on.

Star Trek

But think about it: the original Star Trek? That’s totally psychotronic! You doubt me? Watch:

Look at Roger Corman: he started in the movies but he moved increasingly to television. So none of this is too surprising. Of course, now producers have the best of both worlds. They can shoot feature films, get them distributed if they are lucky, otherwise release then on DVD, and license them to cable. A good example of that is District 13.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say other than that you should watch more psychotronic films and spend more time over at Psychotronic Review. But I know many of you are, and I appreciate that.

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