Movie A Day 2017! 20-27: Clever Lemmy

After a year of no exercise, I did one part of my old regime yesterday and now I can hardly walk. Isn’t this stuff supposed to make you feel better? Why is it always misery to work out? I wish I had the bug that sees people looking forward to getting up at 6am to go for a run. I have always found exercise a chore. Even gym class in school was something to endure so you could do something fun like watch a movie or listen to music. I’m going to try to stick with it. I have to improve. Based on the news week we just had the future is going to see us needing to shit in holes and figuring out how to turn furniture into weapons. I’m not ready.

Here’s what I watched last week.


020 01/22 A Clever Dummy (1917) 3/5   Ben Turpin stars in this one as a janitor trying to impress a lady so he pretends to be an experimental mechanical man made for the vaudeville circuit. This one was pretty good, most notable for allowing Turpin to shine in the lead. Turpin portrays a robot brilliantly in this one (more accurately he’s a clockwork man) and it ends with a great chase. Worth checking out since most people are probably like me and mostly know Turpin as an extra in other people’s films, if they know of him at all.


021 01/22 Doug Stanhope: Beer Hall Putsch (2013) 4/5   Stanhope isn’t for everyone, but he is for me. Dark, cynical stand up on here that resonates with some truth when it’s not being silly. If you’re a fan you’ll love it. If not, there are better starting points. (Before Turning The Gun On Himself from 2012 would get my vote.)


01/22 Dr. Mario (1990) NES 2.5/5   Once Tetris became all the rage everyone and their dog started putting out puzzle games to capitalize. This was one of Nintendo’s entries. Dr. Mario chucks pills into a jar of viruses and you have to match up the colours to make them disappear. I suck at it so I’m rating it low. It’s actually a fun and novel challenge, I’m being a miserable prick about it.


022 01/22 Hearts and Flowers (1919) 3/5   Another comedy with Fred Sterling chasing after Louise Fazenda after thinking she’s going to get an inheritance. What sets this one apart is a sequence where Sterling’s jilted girl dresses as a man and goes for Louise herself. A fun play on gender that was a bit surprising.


023 01/23 Gilmore Girls Season 3 (2003) 4/5   Another season of my girls! This one finds Rory stressed with graduation, figuring out college and boy trouble out her ass. Dean and Jess come to a head in a fantastic brawl that sadly did not result in both of their deaths. Lorelai bounced back from Max by dating a coffee shop entrepreneur who might be the limpest dick yet to cross her boyfriend-path. The highlight of the season again goes to Lane and her pursuit of rock stardom and a non-Korean boyfriend under her oppressive mothers regime. This season also hosted one of the finest episodes of the series; They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? Which sees Lorelai rope Rory into a endurance dance contest in an attempt to dethrone Kirk as champion. It’s brilliant and like the episode of Dean and Jess’s fight really shows how great the writing on this could be by incorporating 3 plots lines into one show and making them all work. It’s tight stuff and makes it worth watching.


024 01/24 Down on the Farm (1920) 3/5   Ambitious slapstick with the usual formula of a guy pursuing a girl in the hopes of a payoff. Mack Sennett seemed to really love that one. The real joy in this film though is in the farm dog that does some genuinely clever tricks like fill a bucket of feed and then take it to some pigs, and later saves a toddler from falling in a river. If it wasn’t for that dog I would have rated it lower. I really hope they didn’t beat that dog to teach it those tricks.

025 01/26 Don’t Weaken! (1920) 3/5   A newly rich barkeep hosts a boxing match to give a fresh dance teacher the once over. Pretty typical slapstick for the era, this one give Fred Sterling a chance to do some great physical work but aside from that there’s not much elevating this one from the norm.


026 01/28 Marc Maron: Thinky Pain (2013) 4/5   Maron’s podcast is so good that it’s easy to forget how great a stand up comedian he is. This one was great. All of his stand up is great. Deep neurosis on display, I really have to watch his TV series.


027 01/29 Lemmy (2010) 4/5   Documentary on the metal legend does a good job of showing the man behind the myth. I found it kinda sad. Off the road Lemmy comes off as mostly lonely, knocking around LA with not much purpose. Put a bass guitar in his hand and he’s one of the Gods. Worth checking out if you have any interest.

I’m never going to finish the Mack Sennett silent film set I’m going through. It’s taking me a minimum 2 nights to watch a 20 minute film. I watch them when I go to bed. It could be the most exciting film ever, but the pleasant soundtracks on these films put me to sleep. It’s really screwing up my viewings! So expect more next time.

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Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 4

Last week was the Presidential inauguration and I found it to be such a massive cluster fuck that I totally forgot to post this, the last of my Scary Movie Challenge list.The day that this posts is also the Bell “let’s Talk” day on Twitter, where every tweet using the hashtag  results in a $.05 donation to mental health initiatives. A large part of my mental health coping is watching movies.

I’m not sure if watching this many movies in one month helps your mental heath.

080 10/25 Leviathan (1989) Blu-ray 3/5   If I remember right this one came out the same year as The Abyss and was pretty much completely forgotten. The case claims it’s “Alien underwater!” and it really wants to be that. Sadly it’s just a really well done monster movie. No classic, but worth a watch.

081 10/25 Evilspeak (1981) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This is my favourite of the anti-Satan scare films of the early 80’s. A kid who’s being bullied at military academy finds a Satanic text and starts inputting it into his Apple II, awakening all sorts of evil stuff. Clint Howard is great in the roll of the kid, and the film gets totally nuts. Makes me want to track down Mazes & Monsters, the other great scare film from the era. It was also nice to watch this uncut on Blu-ray. My previous viewing was via a bootleg download that had the scenes cut during the Video Nasties period inserted but sourced from a bad VHS looking copy. Funnily enough, most of the cut footage was the goofy Satanic text on the Apple II as opposed to violence.

082 10/25 Attack of the Puppet People (1958) DVR 2.5/5   If your movie has something to do with people shrinking or growing into giants, odds are that Bert I Gordon is behind it. This one was too goofy to really enjoy. A weirdo doll maker is shrinking people into dolls for companionship. They never really “attack” either, and there’s a drive-in scene that showing Gordon’s The Amazing Colossal Man which is a massively superior film to this one and reminding the audience of that doesn’t help matters.

083 10/26 Cat People (1982) Blu-ray 3/5   It’s not as good as the original, but it’s not the worst thing either. It’s a case of style over substance, and it mostly works. I would rate it higher but it has some pacing issues. Gorgeous soundtrack though.

084 10/26 The Dark Half (1993) Blu-ray 2.5/5   George Romero tackles another Stephen King story and it’s just too much of a good thing. Basic story is a writer decides to “kill off” his more popular pseudonym, only to have the pseidonym manifest and start killing people. It’s not a bad idea, and the book is great. At 2 hours it makes for a plodding movie.

085 10/26 Bereavement (2010) Blu-ray 3/5   I forgot I had watched this one before. Not a bad movie that gets pretty crazy, about a madman that kidnaps a kid. I just found out this is actually a prequel to Malevolence so I guess I should track that one down.

086 10/26 Burnt Offerings (1976) DVR 4/5   This one is supposedly one of Stephen Kings favourite movies and you can certainly see aspects of The Shining in it. A family rents a house for the summer and starts to become affected. This one a really good, mainly due to Oliver Reed being so intense through out. The rest of the cast with Karen Black and Bette Davis were great too, but man Reed is shithouse bonkers in his intensity. Worth it just for Reed’s performance, with the movie being equally interesting.

087 10/27 The Believers (1987) Blu-ray 2.5/5  I had memories of this one being hot stuff and controversial on release but it ends up being a pretty boring thriller. Martin Sheen is a police psychologist who gets mixed up investigating Voodoo crimes in New York. Some neat ideas and fine acting but it never really adds up to much.

088 10/27 Mazes and Monsters (1982) YouTube 2/5   Evilspeak had me craving this one and I should have left it alone. I recall it being great, but it’s just plodding and stupid. Tom Hanks and his friends get way to into Dungeons and Dragons and the result is boring.

089 10/28 Deathrow Gameshow (1987) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Goofy comedy that doesn’t work as a comedy or a horror film where convicts compete for pardons. It’s over the top in 80’s smarm and is more annoying than good.

090 10/28 Nightmare Sisters (1988) Blu-ray 3.5/5   A trio a sorority girls become succubi after playing around with a crystal ball. It’s painfully bad in the acting department, but the trio is played by Scream Queens Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer, and they turn into naked succubi which makes it all worthwhile. It ends up being a lot of fun.

091 10/28 Hobgoblins (1988) Blu-ray 2/5   Not as bad as Troll 2 as far as Gremlins rip-offs go, but it ain’t very good. When you can’t do better than Ghoulies as a horror comedy, you know you’re in trouble.

092 10/28 Pretty Maids All In A Row DVR 2/5   Rock Hudson stars in this thriller about a series of high school girl murders. Except the majority of the film is about a high school boy with boner problems. This one is supposed to be a black comedy but it never really worked and worse, felt like it would never end. Written and produced by Gene Roddenberry. Gene’s better in space.

093 10/28 Murder Weapon (1989) Blu 3/5

094 10/29 Deadly Embrace (1989) Blu 2/5   A pair of erotic thrillers, meaning “Skinimax” type fair in which women with big hair really get off on kissing guys bellies. Both star Linnea Quigley with “Murder Weapon” about a pair of mob daughters getting out of an asylum being the better of the two mainly due to how insanely gory it gets in the latter half. “Deadly Embrace” sounded like more of the same but sadly it’s just a mediocre skin flick about a neglected wife who hires a pool boy. It’s boring.

095 10/29 The Exorcist (1973) (Theatrical Cut) Blu-ray 5/5   First time watching the original version in years and it still holds up as one of the greatest films ever made. It’s genuinely spooky, of course, but what’s equally impressive is the craft behind it. The score, sound design, acting, shots, editing, all in perfect harmony.

096 10/29 The Doctor & The Devils (1985) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This one is a retelling of the story of “Burke and Hare” legendary grave robbers turned murderers who sold bodies to the London Medical College. This one was really well done. It’s shot more like a drama as opposed to a comedic horror film that the story usually gets. Really worth checking out.

097 10/29 The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) blu-ray 2.5/5   This one isn’t actually one of the worst films ever made, as it’s routinely championed to be. It is a mess though. Adding a bunch of unnecessary psychic mumbo-jumbo to the story doesn’t help. It’s full of ambition and big ideas, it just never actually works. I think this is at least my 3rd time seeing it, and I have to admit it didn’t drive me crazy like it did previously. That said, why Martin Scorsese thinks it’s so great is still a mystery.

098 10/30 The Exorcist III (1990) Blu-ray 4/5   This is one that I never found that great but really clicked with it on this viewing. George C. Scott takes the role of Detective from the first film, this time investigating the murders of the “Gemini Killer”. This one ditches the psychic stuff and concentrates more on the nature of evil. It’s also hilarious while being scary.

099 10/30 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Better than the Renny Harlin re-shoot, but it still doesn’t work. This one follows the story of Father Merrin that is mentioned in the original film, but they change the entire thing for reasons unknown. It’s interesting, but ends up being too muddled to work.

100 10/30 The Puppet Masters (1994) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Another retelling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This one switches things up a bit by concentrating on a government agency trying to figure out and contain the invasion. Think “The X-Files” only with Donald Sutherland. It works, though it plays more like an action film that a horror.

101 10/30 Darkman (1990) Blu-ray 4/5   Mix-up the best traits of the Universal Monsters and slam them into a pulpy superhero story and you get another winner from Sam Raimi. Raimi nails this stuff with style and humour and the cast featuring Liam Neeson and Francis McDormand manage to pull this one off.

102 10/30 The Conjuring 2 (2016) Digital 3.5/5   I’m a big fan of the first one so I was looking forward to this one. It’s good, and I found it to be pretty spooky. Only problem is they go too big in the second half so it loses a bit of its charm. That said, it’s still a fun journey.

 

103 10/31 The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976) Youtube 2/5   After hearing about this one for years I finally gave it a watch. I have zero nostalgia for Paul or the 70’s, so my interest was only out of the cult/campy aspects. It’s simply bad. Painful skits, painful jokes, Kiss rock and are hilarious and yeah, it all adds up to being weird. It’s still not any good.

104 10/31 The Initiation (1984) Blu-ray 3/5   The latest from Arrow arrived in my mailbox so I gave it a spin. It’s an okay slasher but nothing special despite one of the most convoluted plots I’ve encountered yet. An amnesiac college girl is being stalked by a killer from her past, only it’s way more complicated.

And that is it. I broke 100 films in the 2016 challenge, the “winner” was 149. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Movie A Day 2017! 16-19: Kung Fu Gaming

It’s been quite the 48 hours as of this posting. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States and started signing bills guaranteed to make the lives of poor people poorer. The next day an entire gender of people with a good side serving of the other gender of people marched against Trump in protest in what might be the largest protest march in history. I wasn’t able to attend my local one. Another missed opportunity I am hoping to rectify in the future. It’s a good thing I don’t really believe in karma. If karma is real, I’m screwed.

Here’s the movie watching I’ve been doing.


01/15 The Last of Us (2013) 3.5/5   Fuck it, I’M REVIEWING EVERYTHING! Video games included! I won’t count it towards my total though. This one is a PS4 exclusive, and details the story of Joel, a single dad who is navigating his way through a zombie-like apocalypse. The story is centred around the relationship he has with Ellie, a teenager who may hold a key to a cure. It’s a horror game so there’s a lot of sneaking around taking out enemies both human and “Clicker” (the name they give the fast running zombies, like in THE WALKING DEAD, they never call them “Zombies”). It’s a lot of fun (and a pain in the ass), sneaking about killing things and people; ever pushing forward though broken cities and reclaimed earth. It’s a beautiful destruction to wander about in, and the story is a good one too which helps to hold your interest. The only real problem with the game is the “survivor” aspect. You kill some stuff then you spend twice as much time completely searching the area you cleared out scavenging for parts. It felt like 90% of the game was wandering around looking for things (see picture above of my actual game play) so you can craft items you will need for the next batch of things you have to kill. It ruins the momentum of the story. It’s a real problem with games like this that try to be “Cinematic” (UNCHARTED has the same problem, and is from the same studio). They just don’t work in the end. All sense of urgency goes away when you have to crawl around looking for bits of cloth or whatever. That said, it’s still fun to have a go at. Others think it’s one of the greatest games ever. I think it’s pretty good.


016  01/16 The Young Dragons (1974) 2.5/5   This one is notable for being John Woo’s feature directing debut and for having fight choreography by none other than Jackie Chan! Some of Woo’s trademarks are already on show; the cool pans, zooms and slow motion; the antagonist as hero. The action is all kung fu despite the plot being about gun smuggling betrayals and what not. That’s the only real problem with the picture, all the ingredients are there to make a great movie and it just never adds up to much. The fights are merely serviceable despite being performed and shot well and the rest of it isn’t very interesting. The only thing really going for it is it’s John Woo’s first feature film. I’m glad I’ve seen it but I doubt I’ll watch it again.


017 01/18 43rd People’s Choice Awards (2017) 1/5   I got roped into watching this one. The last group of human beings that should be allowed to vote for artists to be rewarded for their craft is “The People”. Case in point: Fifth Harmony was voted “Group of the year.” A quartet (?) of girls that are basically the Spice Girls but wiped of all identity and personality into blank girl slates, perfect for the empty Kardashian generation. It’s proven again and again, “The People” are too stupid to vote.


018 01/21 The Shaolin Plot (1977) 4/5   An evil prince is scouring the land collecting kung fu manuals by hook or by crook. Well, mostly with devastating kung fu with his miserable band of baddies. This move was awesome. Completely off the charts old school style kung fu, ridiculous blood and gore, a true epic to be discovered.


01/21 Super Mario Land (1989) Game Boy
01/21 Allyway (1989) Game Boy
01/21 Golf (1989) Game Boy
I’ve been slowly going through all the Mario games. The ones I have access to anyway. These ones were first timers for me since I never owned a Game Boy. Ends up Super Mario Land is one of the best Mario games I’ve played! The levels are interesting, there’s weird shooting levels to break up the platforming, I loved it! I prefer it to the North American Super Mario 2. Great stuff.


Alleyway is basically the Atari 2600 game Super Breakout, but on the Game Boy. Why is it on my Mario list? Mario jumps into the space ship thing at the start, so it’s a Mario appearance. The game is simple: you control a paddle like in “Pong” and have to bounce a ball against a wall, breaking all the bricks. Why they needed to give this premise a Sci-Fi theme, I have no idea. It’s always had one though. Check out the Atari box cover.


Anyway, it’s actually a great game and I was surprised at how playable it is with a D-Pad compared to the paddle. A paddle is better, but it works.


Golf also featured Mario so it counted to. One of the worst golf games I’ve ever played, it can go fuck itself.


019 01/21 Her Torpedoed Love (1917) 2.5/5   Ford Sterling vehicle where he plays a scheming butler out to get an inheritance. Pretty typical slapstick vehicle that isn’t very interesting until the chase at the end. (To readers unfamiliar with slapstick, there’s always a chase at the end…)

Video games, kung fu movies and slapstick. Not the worst way to distract from this traumatizing week. I’m playing with formatting, trying to make this thing look a little better with my limited skills as a writer so please feel free to let me know what is and isn’t working. Wont you?

Movie A Day 2017! 09-15: Golden Globes Girls

It’s inauguration week in the USA! What new horrors will 2017 release after the never-ending popular culture death knell that was 2016? Who cares! It’s movies we’re about here on the rarely read Movie A Day blog! Here’s what I tucked into this past week.

009 01/08 The 74th Golden Globe Awards (2017) 2/5   This show is only ever as good as it’s host, which means it was terrible since Jimmy Fallon is pretty much unwatchable. The real take away for me though is how completely out of touch I am with the modern day movie business. It’s crazy. I haven’t heard of 80% of the movies and shows up for these awards. Some movie blog writer, eh?

010 01/08 Come Deadly (1973) 2.5/5   This one was maybe the scuzziest film yet out of the Bizarre Art boxset. A murderer is on the loose, raping and strangling theatre folk. I can’t help but think someone saw a giallo, decided to make a hardcore version for a hundred bucks and this was the result. It doesn’t work as a suspense or a porn, but the theatre troupe “Hey guys, let’s make a movie!” no budget feel has its charms.

011 01/08 Mania (1971) 2/5   This one decides to show up “Come Deadly” by cutting the rape aspect and instead having the murders happen after consensual sex scenes, the features an incest subplot to keep everything gross and scuzzy. A strict headmistress and her son are running a boarding school for troubled girls and the girls are getting killed. Tries to set up a red herring despite showing the face of the murderer during the second killing. Ugly stuff that’s a bit too inept to be sleazy fun like “Come Deadly”.

012 01/10 Gilmore Girls Season 2 (2002) 3.5/5   Running the series before watching the Netflix update. This one finds the series getting a more serious tone as Rory discovers the joys of boy trouble as brooding “Jess” is introduced and Lorelai continues to be mostly self absorbed. The show is so well written it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Sean Gunn as the ever annoying “Kirk” is really starting to stand out. That said, all the men prospects for the girls are insufferable dip-shits. I’ve basically turned into their dad where “No man is good enough for my girls!”.

013 01/11 Daughters of Darkness (1975) 2.5/5   The weirdness continues with this one. A young writer rents a room from a Satanist hippy chick and gets enthralled by Satanic forces. Sort of. This is one of those old porns that are so cheap and bad while being so ambitious that it goes around the corner and ends up being pretty good.

014 01/13 The Unholy Child (1973) 2/5   The Bizarre Art Theatre set comes to a close with this one. A Navy man returns home to find himself stalked by a mysterious man. Flat out boring porn offering that never delivers outside of how awful it is.

This boxset is easily one of the weirder things I’ve watched. The appeal is there for nobody. The porn “action” is atrocious, the acting terrible, the plots are horrible, and the look is cheaper than dirt. They have a “Hey gang, let’s make a porn film!” vibe which makes zero sense. It all adds up to being pretty fascinating stuff. My only complaint with the set is there’s no notes, no explanation, you put the disc in and it starts playing. I want to know more! Where do these come from? Why do they exist? Who thought they were a good idea? You guys didn’t even hear about the Bigfoot one, I watched it before Jan 1st.


015 01/14 Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (2011) 4/5   Harryhausen is easily the most influential special effects man in the history of film, having perfected stop-motion animation. This documentary is the perfect round up of Ray’s career featuring himself and others talking about his films and process. It’s packed with clips both from the films and behind the scenes. If there’s any complaint it’s that it nearly all professional and doesn’t get much into his private life. Which may be fitting for a man whose life was largely spent alone with models. Great stuff, another must watch for film fans. The Arrow Academy disc I’m watching is feature packed. 

I’m at 15 films on Jan 15th, not bad! As new readers can see, I cheat a bit. Obviously the Golden Globes isn’t a movie. It is fucking long though so I count it. TV series get counted as a film when I watch a season. DEAL WITH IT!

Know a film friend with time on their hands? Any comments, shares, tweets etc are appreciated.

Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 3

The world continues to be scary, but not as scary as the past. Last October anyway when I ventured deep into the scary movie cannon and really started to binge hard. Join me, wont you?

054 10/20 Microwave Massacre (1983) Blu-ray 3/5   Call it low expectations, but this one is pretty good. Stand up legend Jackie Vernon stars as a man who’s so sick of his wife’s fancy microwave meals that he eats her. It’s played for laughs, but there’s few laughs to be found. It’s cheap, the acting is terrible, the gore is lousier than Herschel Gordon Lewis but it manages to work. This is one I would of skipped in the VHS era but it managed to surprise me.

055 10/20 Slugs (1988) Blu-ray 3/5   Another one from the VHS era I would of skipped, and another case of low expectations. Surprisingly they play this one pretty straight considering the stupid plot of slugs attacking an American small town. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to unseat Jaws or anything, more of a case of it’s not completely shit.

056 10/20 The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971) Blu-ray 3/5   Pretty typical giallo that focuses more on police procedure than the actual murders. The plot is the typical convoluted “Who done it?” thing, this time trying to find the “Park Killer”. That said, it’s good enough to keep you interested.

057 10/20 Vamp (1986) Blu-ray 3/5   A couple of frat boys looking for strippers stumble upon a club full of VAMPIRES! I had forgotten all about this one having not seen it since the VHS debut. It’s not bad. Grace Jones manages to pull off a silent performance, it’s garish in the 80’s look and it’s fun despite being a bit shit.

058 10/21 Dracula Bites The Big Apple (1979) Blu-ray 3/5   Short film from the director of Vamp is basically a mini-version of “Love At First Bite.” It’s fun and at 20 minutes, better than “Love at First Bite.”

059 10/21 Dead-End Drive-In (1988) Blu-ray 3/5   This one is more of a Mad Max style Ozploitation than a proper horror. People love this one but it left me a bit flat. Youths are corralled into a Drive-In Prison camp. If it didn’t have such good action set pieces I would have given it only 2.5/5. UPDATE: The Arrow blu-ray of this one is fantastic with a couple of shorts: The Stuntmen and Hospitals Don’t Burn that are both amazing!

060 10/21 Basket Case 2 (1990) Blu-ray 2/5   Continues right where the last one left off, this one finds the brothers being cared for in a home for freaks. It’s lacking all the charm that the first one had, and the make-up is terrible for the most part. It’s played mostly for laughs, only it’s not funny.

061 10/21 Basket Case 3: The Progeny (1991) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Continues right were part two left off, and finds the gang of freaks on a road trip to visit a Doctor to help with the birth of Belial’s child. It sucked, but it’s better that the second one. Skip these and watch the original cult classic. I give that one a 4 out of 5.

062 10/21 The Vampire (1957) DVD 3/5   A Doctor accidentally takes pills derived from vampire bats and becomes a Dracula. This is a typical cheap 50’s monster film, which means I enjoyed it and am probably rating it higher than I should. It had everything I look for in a cheap 50’s monster film: terrible monster make-up, incredibly stupid scientific explanations and a plot that moves briskly.

063 10/21 Fright Night (1985) Blu-ray 4.5/5   Loved this one in 1985, still love it today. Easily one of the best films of the 80’s. I continue to have no interest in the remake.

064 10/22 In The Mouth of Madness (1995) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Revisited this one and I still find it mostly boring. Carpenter does Lovecraft to a degree, only its more silly than scary and oh so serious.

065 10/22 The Green Inferno (2013) Blu-ray 4/5   Eli Roth does his take on the cannibal picture. This one seemed to get hated on by pretty much everyone but I don’t know why. It’s as good as any other cannibal picture (so your taste may vary…) only without the gross animal cruelty. I thought this one was just fine and one of the better ones.

066 10/22 The Cat and the Canary (1939) DVR 3.5/5   A group of heirs must spend the night in a haunted house in order to see who gets the inheritance of their deceased uncle. Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard star in this horror comedy, and they are perfect in it. The film manages to balance the spooks and the laughs. I might have to check out more Bob Hope films.

067 10/22 Knock Knock (2015) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Eli Roth updates “Little Miss Innocence” (though Chris Warfield gets zero credit since they technically remade “Death Game”). Two girls show up in the rain and torture a dad who has the house to himself while his family is away. I really liked this one. Roth goes subtle (which in Roth terms means no gore) with this one and allow Keanu Reeves to do some character work. It get’s a little over the top plot wise in the third act, but not enough to ruin the film.

068 10/22 The Witch (2015) download 4/5   A pilgrim family is banished from their town and must contend with the woods. I really enjoyed this one. It plays out like a drama with a rather slow burn and skips the typical jump scares and horseshit you typically get in modern horror. It makes for a spooky film that can stick with you.

069 10/23 The Blob (1988) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This remake amps up the gore but otherwise stays pretty true to the original. As updates goes, this one is not only pretty good but might be better than the original.

070 10/23 Hardware (1990) Blu 3.5/5   In a “Mad Max “like apocalyptic future a scavenger brings his girlfriend home a robot head that ends up being a military robot that terrorizes her in her apartment. It is at it’s bone a Terminator knockoff, but it’s done with such style and flair that it mostly holds up as it’s own thing. The problem is the small scale ends up compromising it.

071 10/23 Street Trash (1987) Blu-ray 3/5

072 10/23 Street Trash (short film) Blu-ray 3/5   A liquor store owner starts selling contraband hooch to the homeless that causes them to literally melt. The only thing missing from this one is the “Troma” label in that it’s plot is just an excuse for every gross out gag in the book. Which is fine by me. I just found it a little tedious between the gross outs.

073 10/23 The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) DVR 3/5   Roman Polanski does a Hammer Horror send up that largely left me flat. I didn’t find that the gags held up and it couldn’t seem to find it’s footing between broad spoof comedy and something more subtle.

074 10/23 Possession (1981) DVR 3.5/5   This one starts off more as a drama about a marriage unraveling in one of the most brutally portrayed ways I’ve seen. Then in the second half it gets completely fucked up. To say any more is to ruin it, just trust me, this is absolutely a horror film.

075 10/24 Sugar Hill (1974) Blu-ray 3/5   A woman recruits a voodoo zombie army to get back at the gangsters that murdered her boyfriend. Probably one of the more gonzo blaxploitation epics you’ll find. I didn’t think it held up as well on this second viewing, but that may be due to my first viewing taking place in a bar full of drunken film fans. That said, the plot is irresistible.

076 10/24 Blacula (1972) Blu-ray 4/5   It’s easy to write this one off as simply a “Black Dracula” movie, but it’s actually one of the better contemporary versions of the Dracula myths that helps it to transcend its exploitation bases. It ends up being a ton of fun.

077 10/24 Tentacles (1977) Blu-ray 2/5   I’m fine with a Jaws rip-off, and I can get by with cheap effects. There is no excuse though for horrendous plotting, stunt casting – I’m sure Henry Fonda didn’t spend more than a day on set – extraneous scenes that do nothing and worst off all, setting up a joke with no punchline. I hated this one. I’m only giving it two stars out of respect for Fonda, John Huston and Shelley Winters.

078 10/24 Dark Water (2002) Blu-ray 3/5   This one arrived yesterday fresh from Arrow Video so I thought I would spin it. Everything great about J-Horror is here, stylish atmosphere, creepy sound design and a unique ghost story. It just all leaves me flat.

079 10/25 Scream Blacula Scream (1973) Blu-ray 3.5/5   The sequel sees the good count resurrected by voodoo. It was fine for what it was but I prefer the original.

79 films and still not done! It was an epic challenge for me, so there will be one more post next week provided the internet isn’t abolished.

Movie A Day 2017! 1-8: HyperNormalisation of Uranus

The planet hasn’t burst into flames so it looks like I’ll get a start to the old movie blog. That’s a bit negative, let’s try to have fun this year, eh?

Friends, this one is smut heavy. I’m going though a boxset of sketchy 70’s horror-porn and whelp, you’re stuck with the terrible results. Things should get a little more mainstream in the future. A little anyways.

Here’s what I watched the first week of January. I kicked it off with a bang.

001 01/01 The Big T.N.T Show (1966) 3/5   This one is the follow-up to the legendary “The T.A.M.I Show”. “T.A.M.I” was the to be the start of a series of mega-concert films and was taped at the end of 1964. Featuring The Rolling Stones, James Brown, The Beach Boys and others in a concert that frankly is so amazing to watch it’s exhausting. Rights to the film went off the rails (Chuck Berry demanded cash money up front and left them cash poor), the plan to have teens vote on acts for the next film never happened and the idea died with “The Big T.N.T Show”. It’s a real mash-up with The Byrds and The Loving Spoonful sharing the stage with Ray Charles and Ike & Tina Turner. It grinds to a halt with Donovan and melts your mind with Joan Biaz joining Phil Spector to sing blue-eyed soul classic “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. It can’t compete with the non-stop legendary acts of the first film, but as a snap-shot of popular music in 1965 it’s still worth a look. That said “The T.A.M.I Show” is an absolute must see.

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002 01/01 Turn On With Kelly Nichols (1984) 2/5   In the early days of hardcore pornographers were able to skirt the censorship laws by putting out “Educational” films with explicit footage. They were nicknamed “White Coaters” and by 1972 with the release of “Deep Throat” the genre was pretty much dead. The old ones are kind of dopey fun, mainly due to the very serious narration. Sadly none of that fun is found in this one, made a decade after the genre was dead and near the end of the film era of porno chic which was sliding into shot on video tape. It’s simply boring and no amount of star power or goofy narration can save it despite being technically well made.

003 01/02 The Sorceress (1974) 2/5   A woman pretends to be psychic as a front to service guys in this early hardcore feature. Nothing real great to offer, it’s sleazy and only notable for the shock ending.

004 01/02 The Scorpion (1975) 1.5/5   A nervous woman goes in search of her sister who has gone missing and has ties to a mysterious cult. My description is a billion times better than the film which is just a lazy series of horrendous hardcore scenes full of people in bad wigs.

005 01/03 Dr. Sexual & Mr. Hyde (1971) 2/5   A mad scientist makes a concoction that turns people horny. This one started out completely bonkers crazy and I thought I was watching one of the great, lost, underground films. Then the hardcore kicked in after about 10 minutes and it became dull, dull, dull. Those first 10 minutes or so though, man, amazing lo-fi stuff.

006 01/04 Rites of Uranus (1975) 2.5/5   A young woman gets roped into the Cult of Uranus, where a voice projects out of a horn jammed into a decorative plate hung on a wall and they stick candles in your bottom. You really can’t make up how bonkers these crappy early hardcore features are.

007 01/06 Waltz of the Bat (1972) 2.5/5   The Bat stole power from The Bee and survives by roping young women under his spell. It’s near the hundred year mark so the Bee has to sleep with the Bat and get her power back or she’ll turn to dust. You really can’t make this shit up. This one was actually lots of fun when it came to plot movement. The actual hardcore is as dire as the other films mentioned here.

008 01/07 HyperNormalisation (2016) 4.5/5   This is more of a visual essay than a documentary but it’s an absolute must see if you’re curious how we’ve ended up in this terrible part of history where facts don’t matter and our reality is a fiction. It’s maddening, it’s scary and it’s essential viewing despite being 2.5 hours long. WATCH IT!

Honestly can’t express enough how good HyperNormalisation is. It really feels like mandatory viewing at this point. Then again I’ve become obsessed with all the awful in the world so I’m most likely biased.

I realize in getting this started that I picked a bad time to start this thing. I’m going through a porn boxset (final disc starts next week), watching a TV series, and plan to catch up on some other series I never finished watching last year before getting back to my regular movie watching. I try to include poster art and what not, but most of these weren’t even on IMDB until Vinegar Syndrome put them out, much less have movie posters. You’re going to have to stick it out. It’s worth it. I promise!*

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*I don’t actually promise.

Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 2

Here’s the next bit from the Scary Movie Challenge to hold you until I get my first week of watching done. From simpler times, when all the terror in the world wouldn’t prevent me from watching 4 different versions of the same crappy movie.

 

027 10/11 Dementia 13 (1963) DVR 3.5/5   Francis Ford Coppola made his writing/directing debut with this one. I think. I know he did some stuff prior but I think this is his first as writer/director. Anyway, it’s basically a “Psycho” rip with a “Who Done It?” smashed into it. Which sounds bad, but is actually really well done considering it was produced on the cheap with Roger Corman. Coppola squeezes every penny out of the budget, the film has style and totally works.

028 10/11 Nekromantik 2 (1991) Blu-ray 3/5   Follow up to the first one find Rob’s corpse being stolen by a Monica, another necrophile. She ends up meeting Mark, a voice over actor for porn films, and gets torn between him and the corpse. So it’s really a love story. This one is much more polished than the first film, but I found it a little draggy in parts, and plain silly in others. When you have two characters go to a movie, then show a bunch of the movie they are watching, it seems like filler. That said, Buttgereit is making a legitimate film that manages to rise above its exploitation aspects.

029 10/12 The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) DVR 2/5   Teenagers have a hot rod club (played by the “Hot Rod Gang” which is a shitty rip-off of the Bowery Boys, only a bunch of privileged pricks instead of poverty row scamps.) and like to dance to one song. There’s no ghost, there’s no dragstrip, there’s only one shown drag race. The only cool thing is the re-use of monster costumes from other AIP movies and the tall girl with glasses.

030 10/13 The Beast With A Million Eyes (1955) DVR 2/5   A less ambitious “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” type thing, with an invisible invader trying to control a ranch family. For a no-budget 50’s horror it’s not the worst thing you will see, it just never really gets going and plods along. Also: there’s no “Beast With A Million Eyes”. Most notable for being one of if not the first film Roger Corman had a hand at directing.

031 10/13 Schramm (1993) Blu-ray 2.5/5   The final film in the “SEX MURDER ART: THE FILMS OF JORG BUTTGEREIT”, this one left me flat. It’s got a great premise: the life of a serial killer as glimpsed in his final moments alive. The problem is that it’s missing the disturbing gore found in Buttgereit’s other films like “Nekromantik”, and has nothing to fill the space. So it just kind flops out and doesn’t do much. Maybe I had high expectations thinking this would be the most messed up film of them all.

032 10/14 Bone Tomahawk (2015) Blu-ray 4/5   Kurt Russell leads this one, a weird western about a group of men searching for townsfolk that have been taken by natives. It plays like “The Searchers” but with lots of spook. If it doesn’t sound like a horror, trust me, it is. Recommended, I loved this one.

033 10/14 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986) Blu-ray 5/5   One of the greatest movies ever made.

034 10/15 Operation: Titian (1963) Blu-ray 2/5   A murder mystery based around a copy of a Titian painting as opposed to a horror. How this ends up being a film called “Blood Bath” is beyond me. Anyway, this one feels longer than the run time. Pretty much says it all, eh?

035 10/15 Shocker (1989) Blu-ray 3/5   No one is going to mistake this one as one of Wes Craven’s best but I’ve always liked it. Mitch Pileggi eats the scenery like there’s no tomorrow as the killer, and the idea of an electricity based killer is fun. It has a few pacing issues, but on the whole it works.

036 10/15 Swamp Thing (1982) Blu-ray 3/5   As an adaptation of the comic book it’s pretty terrible. As a monster movie is pretty fun. Not the best film Craven ever made, but not a bad time either. Fun revisiting this one, I didn’t realize that David Hess (from Cravens infamous “Last House on the Left”) had a role in this one. That said, seek out the Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing if you want the real deal.

037 10/15 Thundercrack! (1975) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This one is an underground horror porno film that is so earnest it has to be played for laughs. It’s certainly original. Plays like a John Waters film in many ways, you get the feeling that the filmmakers thought this was their last chance to make their dream project. A dream project where people get stranded as a old dark house in a rainstorm, have bizarre sexual experiences, a guy marries an ape and it all invokes “Gone With The Wind”. Genuinely completely out to lunch, this one won’t be for everyone but if you have an appetite for strange this one should fill you up. UPDATE: More I think about this one, the more I love it. 

038 10/16 Portrait Of Terror (1965) Blu-ray 2.5/5   The first re-cut of “Operation: Titian” became this one. It’s still not much of a horror film but it is better than the first cut. That said, it’s still not very good.

039 10/16 It (1990) Blu-ray 3/5   I remember watching this when it originally aired and being disappointed. Probably due to having the book fresh in my mind. The book continues to be one of my all time favourites. I liked it more this time around. The first half works and Tim Curry is fantastic as Pennywise. The second half with the adults kind of falls apart in comparison, partly due to the TV budget. I’ll put money down that this one will be better than the new theatrical version coming out, opinion based on that one image of the clown they released.

040 10/16 Phantom of the Opera (1989) Blu-ray 2.5/5   I’m positive I saw this one back in the day but I had zero memory of it when watching it. I think I might of had this one confused with “Phantom of the Mall.” Anyway it’s not very good with it’s mostly straight retelling of the story with some past lives time travel nonsense thrown in. I watched this due to watching Wes Craven films earlier and thinking I should watch “Nightmare on Elm Street” but not feeling like it so I spun this one since it had Robert Englund in it. Should of stuck with Nightmare.

041 10/17 Blood Bath (1966) Blu-ray 3/5   The third version of “Operation: Titian” drops all talk of Titian and adds Sid Haig, beatniks and a vampire. Completely unrecognizable compared to the other two versions, Jack Hill did a pretty great job hacking this thing together.

042 10/17 The Hills Have Eyes (1977) Blu-ray 4/5   Wes Craven’s follow up film after the classic “Last House on the Left” (not counting the porno “Fireworks Woman”) might not be as grueling but it still completely works. The film is an examination of class warfare, with city folk getting attacked by desert mountain folk. It’s good, moves quickly and best of all, plays like a bonkers Rin-Tin-Tin movie.

043 10/17 The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009) Blu-ray 4/5   Revisited this one since I have the sequels to watch for the first time. Some hate this one, I think it’s a modern classic. It completely delivers on the premise of a human centipede. Maybe it’s a case of the film shouldn’t be watchable at all with such a ridiculous premise. Instead, you find yourself caught up in the craziness and end up genuinely caring about the centipede.

044 10/17 The Brood (1979) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Cronenberg goes for the psychological with this one starring Oliver Reed as a doctor who’s analysis treatments result in physical manifestations. I had completely forgotten how messed up this one gets in the latter half, having first watched it during the 2007 challenge. Good stuff.

045 10/17 The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011) Blu-ray 3.5/5   I’m in the minority with this one since I actually really liked it. It’s completely different from the first one. The first film is closer to a modern day monster movie. This one is basically “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” only Henry is into arts and craft centipede projects. Gorgeous in black and white, it’s only black and white for self censorship. The colour version on the blu-ray is one of the most relentlessly gory films I’ve seen. This one won’t be for everyone, but it works and delivers on it’s premise which is all I ask for from a film like this.

046 10/18 Track of the Vampire (1966) Blu-ray 2.5/5   A re-cut of the Jack Hill cut of “Blood Bath”. I think. Who the fuck knows anymore. Watch “Blood Bath” and forget about these other versions. UPDATE: The documentary in this set going through the history of all these versions is better than any of the final movies! A must watch for filmmaking fans!

047 10/18 The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence (2015) Blu-ray 3/5   This one goes for a lighter tone and just doesn’t work. Main problem is it plays it mostly safe in comparison to the previous two and can’t maintain the premise of creating a massive human centipede as a prison population solution. It’s neat that they go full meta by bringing back the stars from the previous two and the director starring as himself, but it’s not enough.

048 10/18 Eyes Without A Face (1960) Blu-ray 3.5/5   The groundbreaking French horror classic holds up just fine. A girls face is destroyed in a car crash so her surgeon father snatches girls to replace it. It plays much more classy than that description, and it’s surprisingly graphic, especially for 1960.

049 10/18 The Stuff (1985) Blu-ray 4/5   I hadn’t seen this one since the VHS days and it’s nice to see it holds up just fine today. A bonkers mash-up of “The Blob” with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” about an alien dessert. It should be terrible, but they pull it off. Or maybe it is terrible and I just don’t care? (Nah, it’s rad.)

050 10/19 The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (1971) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Pretty good Italian horror. Some guy is having a break down after his wife dies and starts finding duplicate women to abuse. Film stays on course and has enough mystery to keep you invested.

051 10/19 The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Another solid Italian horror. This one deals with a family curse that has come around on the 100 year mark. Like the previous film this one moves steadily and has a enough mystery to hold your interest.

052 10/19 Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988) Blu 3/5   I actually actively avoided this one for years, due to liking the original and thinking this one would be total garbage. It’s not the greatest film ever made, but it’s not total garbage either. It ends up being a fun horror comedy. Worth it just to watch George Clooney give a masterclass in product placement.

053 10/19 Crimes of Passion (1984) Blue 3.5/5   This one plays more like a 1930’s pre-code melodrama than the horror/thriller I thought it was going to be after all these years, but it’s creepy enough for me to count. Kathleen Turner is great as the hooker not necessarily with a heart of gold and Anthony Perkins steals every scene he’s in as a twisted street preacher trying to save her soul. What is more interesting though it that the film is really an examination of sex, love and the use of each as a weapon by couples in a relationship. Interesting stuff, and through the bonkers-eyes of Ken Russell it’s worth a viewing.

Ah, such fond memories! Will I ever find my tall girl in glasses? Will I ever be a part of a human centipede?

Who knows? 2017 is wide open folks. Let’s stay positive!

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