Friday, October 13, 2017

Commander USA Groovie Movies - Trick Or Treats 1982

Commander USA's Groovie Movies is an American movie showcase series that ran weekend afternoons on the USA Network. The show premiered January 5, 1985, and ran through 1989. It was hosted by Jim Hendricks as "Commander USA", a wacky but slightly seedy blue-collar comic book superhero with many catchphrases like "Soaring super hero! Legion of Decency - Retired", "Holy cats!", "Keep your nose in the wind... and your tail to yourself...", "Always a Brideshead, never revisited", "Suffering catfish!" and "Sure!". The show originally ran double features of horror and science fiction movies on Saturday afternoons, then later a single feature on Sunday afternoons. Later movies on the show tended to be Mexican wrestling films or heavily edited violent films from Japan.

Commander USA's show originated from a secret headquarters located under a New Jersey shopping mall. He was almost always enthusiastic about the films he showed, whether it was a "gem" like Inframan, Blood Beast Horror, or any other number of Grade-Z celluloid oddities. He was often joined on the program by either his agent (Barry Kluger) or "Lefty", a hand puppet created by drawing a face on his right hand with cigar ash. Over the course of a show, Lefty's face would inevitably get smeared or washed off, but the Commander would always redraw it with his unlit cigar. In all, more than 200 episodes were produced.

I loved watching the Commander over the weekends, one of my favorite horror hosts. I actually saw the first 3 "Friday the 13th" movies (which scared the crap out of me) for the first time on his show. In this video he hosts the 1982 film Trick or Treats, which I wrote about here during 2012's Halloween countdown. Since that post the film has been released to DVD (which I have) and Blu-ray by Code Red which are both oop and can be pricy if you can find a copy, they sell for $50 to $60 on ebay. Many websites label it as a horror film but according to the commentary on the DVD it was actually supposed to be a comedy. You can read more about the film at the link I posted above.

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