This is my fifth favorite horror host show which is another gem from the decade I lived in the 80's. It's also an under the radar gem, it's not a show that was particularly overlooked it did have popularity at the time but as time went on it's been forgotten, but not by horror fans like me.
Jim Hendricks whom is sadly no longer with us is just hilarious as Commander USA with that colorful Superman like outfit. He sort of reminds me a bit and looks a little like actor Denis Fania as he has that mustache with that dry wisecracking New Yorker laid back wit to him. He just has some of the best lines, there quirkiness and a bit of smart assness to them sometimes. He's an unusual guy there are a few things that he might say and do that seem random or off the wall, which sort of fits with his character as he's someone that beats to a different drummer but also the nature of this show.
Though I really like some of the guest that he always has whom are just as colorful and random as he is. From an American sushi chief, a botanist that swings on a vine, an envoirmentalist whom wears flowers, a leaperchn, the list goes on, they are just people you have to see to believe.
This show doesn't fall into the conventional horror host standards and setting where it would usually take place in some part of a dark castle or mansion and the host is part of the community of darkness as some warlock, witch, ghoul, etc. This show didn't fall into those conventions which to me is the show's strength. From the fact our host is a super hero (well sort of, I have no idea if he saved anyone) and the setting takes place in a sub level room of a shopping mall.
I really like the set it's a bizarre but at the same time kind of cool set; you have some old horror or sci-fi movie posters in places as well as some random things like some dear head hanging and whatever is on the desk for the week. Though to me the things that really stand out are the chair he uses to watch the film, which is a barber chair. And I really like what he does to summon up the screen, he clams it's a radiation shield and to open it up he uses a kazoo, I guess it's sound activated. And we see the screen technology which looks like part of a set for an old sci-fi TV series let alone his remote which is those bulk TV remotes from the 1960s, it's such an odd mix but that's what makes it all the funnier. This set has become one of my ideas for my private movie cave.
I even like the selection of films that he brings out which is just a corn a copula of B movie goodness or badness depending on the movie.
Some of the film were one's I honestly never heard about and in fact some never even came to VHS (probably for good reason) which I always found interesting because it just makes each episode a surprise; some of those bad B movies you might now recognize as an episode of "MST 3000" or "Rifftrax". Even when the film was bad it was just great to see the clips for Commander USA on the break segments which is really the big reason I watch the show.
However, there were several really good horror and B movies he delivered like "Super Inframan", "C.H.U.D". Even had "Friday the 13th 1, 2, and 3 though it's too bad he didn't get to do a big marathon on the franchise, that would have been awesome but at the time not all the sequels came out so oh well.
So, if your looking for another vintage horror host show this is one to fly off to.
As for Jim Hendricks/Commander USA we'll never forget you and what you brought to the horror and cult film community, you did it your way and you succeeded; for that we salute you.
Rating: 4 stars