One of the most talked-about KGO show was this two-hour tribute to dummy deaths in films. Co-hosted by Howard S. Berger and Kevin Marr (aka The Flying Macioste Brothers), we took a deep dive into the world of dummy deaths in films. We watched over 60 clips from movies in every genre, covering over 100 years of cinema from the first filmed Dummy Death (1903’s THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY) to a modern death scene with the most expensive dummies ever killed (2007’s DEATH PROOF.)
I hosted the show dressed as the TV Commentator from DAWN OF THE DEAD. There’s a great scene where he calls everyone “dummies”. (I didn’t expect people to know, so I showed the clip.)
The show’s guest speakers were full of great stories. Actor Matt Mitler (who previously delighted the crowd at KGO: Werewolves with footage of his Werewolf transformation in Deadtime Stories) showed some dummy death footage from The Mutilator. Matt presented me with a poster from the film!
Actor Kevin Scullin (who’d previously delighted the crowd playing opposite Vincent Price in a scene from The Importance of Being Ernest, using the LP “Co-Star with Vincent Price”) talked about being replaced by a dummy during his death scenes in Dead Mate.
Howard and Kevin continued the parade of Dummy Deaths, showing some dazzling clips from On The Waterfront, Warriors of the Wasteland, Rollercoaster, Catch-22, Death Wish 4 and a hilarious industrial training film titled Will You Be Here Tomorrow? While the film’s intended message is “practice safety on the factory floor” the real message is “stay in school, kids!”
Later, KGO producer Jay Stern looked at Religious symbolism in 1928’s Joan of Arc, comparing the religious statues of the Catholic Church to the dummy immolation at the stake. We also looked at how the use of Dummy Deaths in the Monkees’ HEAD works as a critique of the false, manufactured band. And then we saw a robot blow-up a chick’s head in Chopping Mall. Always a crowd pleaser.
Soon it was time for a cupcake break. Lisa Beebe’s dummy death cupcakes were a big hit. Each cupcake featured a dead body, which could be a person, an animal, or sometimes just a decapitated head. What I loved about this dessert is that it’s interactive, each person could make-up the backstory of how the dummy died – whether they were thrown from the roof of a cut in half by an airplane propeller.
During our break, we called our super-special guest, a living legend in the world of dummy deaths – TOM SAVINI! Little did Tom know that I was dressed as a character from Dawn of the Dead. I should’ve mentioned that.
Next up, Director Matthew Glasson talked about the secrets of crafting a dummy death scene. He showed one of the most creative dummy deaths of the night by showing a clip from his short THE FAMILY TIE. After we watched he broke down the special effects process, talking about the set-backs and success of low-budget dummy-making.
When asked about his influences in dummy deaths, Matthew showed a clip from Fulci’s DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING, which led to another discussion of the religious implications of dummy deaths. I can’t paraphrase it properly, but it explored Gnosticism and the spark of life, and other smart-talk.
Then it was back to the slaughter, as we watched even more explosive dummy deaths from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Scanners, The Fury, Deadly Friend, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Bad Taste (Peter Jackson’s first film) and Maniac.
The show (and the cupcakes) were reviewed on this blog
Photos of Dummy Death Cupcakes