“Popcorn & Candy: Creature Teacher”
DCist’s highly subjective and hardly comprehensive guide to the most interesting movies playing around town in the coming week.
SILVERDOCS is over, but the AFI just can’t quit the documentaries. While they’re returning to the retrospectives that were running before the festival interrupted, they’re featuring limited runs of three documentaries as their prime offerings over the next week. Included among those is the fantastic 1984 documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk, a film that formed the basis of much of last year’s excellent biopic Milk, and is even more moving than Van Sant’s narrative version. And on Saturday, the theater is hosting the world premiere of a documentary on a local legend: Dick Dyszel, (aka Bozo the Clown, aka Captain 20, aka Count Gore De Vol).
If you grew up in the D.C. area in the 70s or the 80s, chances are you’re familiar with at least one of those aliases. Dyszel got his start on local television on WDCA 20 as one of the many Bozos across the country, before moving on to long stints as children’s programming host Captain 20 and, perhaps most famously, asCreature Feature host Count Gore De Vol (a subject DCist has looked into before). It was in this last incarnation that he had the most impact, serving as the gatekeeper to classic horror movies for a generation of Washingtonians, and becoming one of the most well-known horror hosts in the country short of Elvira. Always one to push boundaries and stay close to the cutting edge, Dyszel resurrected the Count a decade after his television run had ended to become the first host of a streaming web program, an online show that continues to this day. Director C.W. Prather’s documentary charts Dyszel’s career, from clown to count, and features interviews with other famous horror hosts, and commentary from local fixtures like Arch Campbell and Jeff Krulik (director of the iconic Heavy Metal Parking Lot). Krulik will also be on hand at Saturday’s premiere to moderate a Q&A with Prather and Dyszel after the screening.