Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could keep “The Milpitas Monster” down for long.
After a three-year hiatus, creator Robert L. Burrill says everything looks good for a 47th anniversary screening of the low-budget cult classic on Monday, Oct. 30, at the Century 20 Great Mall in Milpitas. And keeping with tradition, there’ll be a 4 p.m. dinner at Outback Steakhouse before the 7 p.m. show, with a special Monster Menu created for the occasion.
Burill plans to honor four people who kept things rolling to bring back the in-person screening: Milpitas Historical Society President Bill Hare, Almaden Lions International Club Peter Herrera, Milpitas Rotary President Paul Ellis and Jathin Ullal of Milpitas-based Saygo. Iconic Bay Area cheerleader Krazy George Henderson — who has a small role in the movie — will be honored, too, and will lead the crowd in a “Milpitas Monster” cheer.
“The Milpitas Monster” was first released May 21, 1976, directed by Burrill — an art and photography teacher at Milpitas High School — and relied on high school students, fellow teachers, parents and other community members to get made. It’s about a mutant creature, resembling a giant fly covered by garbage, and was a commentary on the environmental crisis brewing at the time. Legendary voice actor Paul Frees does the narration, and San Jose’s own Robert Berry did the music.
There are only 155 tickets available for Monday’s screening, and you can get them at milpitasmonster.com. And yes, Burrill’s already thinking about the Monster’s 50th birthday coming up in 2026.
WILL THIS FLICK FLY?: While we’re hanging out at the Cineplex, Steve Dini has some movie news of his own. The former Pioneer High School drama teacher co-wrote a screenplay with Joren Christensen called “The Great Turkey Town Miracle,” and the faith-based, family film is being released through an independent, Lama Entertainment, at select theaters Nov. 10.
The movie is about a former radio DJ who is hired by a homeless shelter to procure 4,000 frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving and how he miraculously manages the quest. That part of the plot was actually based on a “miracle” witnessed by Dini, who was tasked with finding turkeys for a San Jose homeless shelter to distribute for the holiday but was only able to get a few hundred. You’ll have to see the movie to find out what ended up happening.
“I have a part so now I’ve been in radio as well as being on TV and the stage,” noted Dini, who was in San Jose this month directing Oklahoma! for Pioneer’s Glue Factory. “Does this make me the king of ‘most’ media?”
Maybe not a king, but Duke Dini doesn’t sound bad.
CULTURAL CONNECTIONS: Author Elizabeth Partridge will be in San Jose on Nov. 4 to talk about her new book for young readers, “Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adam’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration.” Partridge, the goddaughter of Dorothea Lange, has written a dozen books for younger readers, and this one has won awards including the 2023 California Book Awards gold medal for juvenile fiction and the American Library Association’s Robert F. Sibert Medal as the most distinguished informational book for children.
Partridge will talk about the book with moderator Yuki Nishimura, a manager in the Silicon Valley Human Rights Watch Development Office, at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose at 535 N. Fifth Street. The 10 a.m. program is a collaboration between the museum and the Commonwealth Club of California and is part of the Commonwealth Club’s Creating Citizens civic education initiative. Tickets, which include museum admission, are available at www.commonwealthclub.org/events.