Every Other Day is Halloween Movie Review
Written by Steve Pattee
He introduced me to movies that shaped, you know, what I'm doing right now. – Steve Niles
Directed by C.W. Prather
2009, 90 minutes, Not rated
Dick Dyszel as himself
Leanna Chamish as herself
Jerry Moore II as himself
Eleanor Herman as herself
John Dimes as himself
Arch Campbell as himself
Tim Davis as himself
Jeff Krulik as himself
When I was a kid, I was a big fan of "The Captain 20 Show", a local program aimed at children. I don't remember much from the show except that I enjoyed it very much, up until I stopped watching — and I have no problem remembering that.
Captain 20 had a puppet friend named Chef Combo. Chef Combo was always good for a recipe or two that you didn't need your parents help with. One day he offered up the "Tan Bonanza", a drink for "…cowboys and kids." Part egg, part milk, part vanilla extract and a dash of nutmeg all went into this concoction and, even though it didn't sound appealing, I made it regardless because cowboys drank this. COWBOYS! Yeah, I almost threw up after drinking it and I never watched Captain 20 and his merry band of jerkfaces again.
It wasn't until decades later that I met Dick Dyszel, the man who was behind Captain 20, at a horror convention of all places. He wasn't there as the Captain, either, but rather another personality he was famous for in the DC area: Count Gore De Vol.
It seems every city has had its own horror host at one point or another. Washington's was the Count, and his show was "Creature Feature". I was just a tad too young to catch his show's first run, and I had no idea he had a rebirth from 1984 - 1987, so I missed that too. (In my defense, we had cable at that time, and I was watching "Up All Night" and Joe Bob Briggs. I don't even remember channel 20 being in our cable lineup). So, when I heard about Every Other Day is Halloween, my interest was piqued. A documentary about the guy that played Captain 20, Count Gore De Vol and Bozo the Clown? What Washington area native wouldn't want to see this?
Every Other Day is Halloween does a damn good job of covering Dick Dyszel's career from his start as DC's Bozo the Clown all the way up to the Count's third (and current) incarnation as the "Creature Feature" host (which now can be seen online here). Since growing up I only managed to see him as Captain 20, I had no idea of the impact and influence Dyszel had on the local station, WDCA, that he worked on. Apparently, he brought in pretty damn good ratings for the station. (Nor did I realize that the Captain 20 that I saw was Dyszel's second version of the same character.) The documentary packs a lot of history in its 90 minutes, and I didn't feel as if anything covering his career was left out.
The best thing about the documentary is the seemingly unlimited amount of access the filmmakers had to footage of Dyszel's long and varied career in the DC area. Couple that with some smart editing by director C.W. Prather, and Every Other Day is Halloween moves at a fast pace. Plus, there are some nuggets of gold to be found in the mix, like the Penthouse Pet guests Count Gore had on his show. Now that is something I wish I had caught when I was a kid.
The documentary suffers in one area, though, and that is the lack of conflict. There is no conflict of any kind to be found in the documentary. Dyszel does lightly mention a few of the disagreements he got into with the higher ups at Channel 20, but it's never really developed. I've met the Count at a few conventions, and he does strike me as a hell of a nice guy, but an opposing point of view of a documentary's subject is sometimes necessary to bring some needed spice to the feature.
The filmmakers tracked down quite a few people from Dyszel's past and present to share their experiences and the impact Dyszel had on their lives. The most recognizable outside of the DC area would probably 30 Days of Night creator Steve Niles and B-movie scream queen Leanna Chamish (Bounty, Vampire Sisters). But also included are Eleanor Herman (who met the Count when she was 14, and still works with him today, 30 years later), Jerry Moore II (Richmond, Virginia's horror host) and John Dimes (a familiar face on "Creature Feature").
Every Other Day is Halloween is a solid buy for those of us who grew up with Bozo the Clown, Captain 20 or Count Gore De Vol (or all three). It's a trip down memory lane for some and an enjoyable look into Dyszel's multi-faceted career for others. It's well worth a rent even if you are unfamiliar with Washington's famous horror host.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.