Movie A Day!: Extra Oscar Lounge!

Another tough week of struggle out here in the west. Weather seems to be torturing us into death by being both too cold and then warm in the same day. I’ve felt like I’ve been coming down with a cold for the past two weeks. I think it’s the barometric pressure kicking my head in. I’m ready for winter to end.


056 02/26 The Extra Girl (1923) 2.5/5   Mabel Normand stars in this Mack Sennett comedy about a young woman who wins a contest to go to Hollywood for a chance to be a star after her rural parents refuse to allow her to marry her mechanic boyfriend. Lots of intrigue, not many laughs in this silent feature. Mabel was an incredible talent but this one doesn’t give her too much to do despite a plot that goes all over the place and allows her to do a bunch of stuff. It just never really works out aside for the chase sequence with the loose lion.


057 02-26 89th Academy Awards (2017) 3.5/5   The night we have all been waiting for! The one where the starving artists we enjoy on the big screen are finally fed via airdrops of food! It really is a beautiful sight, millionaires enjoying Jr. Mints. they really are just like us!. This one ended up being pretty good. Show moved about as quick as these things can, only one of the bits (tour bus) went on too long and there was an epic fuck up with the best picture award going to La La Land instead of Moonlight, so that was fun. I had no horse in the race so nothing stuck in my craw or had me orgasmic in delight. It was just a mostly nice show and Jimmy Kimmel did a good enough job as the host that I wouldn’t mind seeing him do it again.


058 02/28 Gilmore Girls Season 5 (2005) 3/5  I’ve reached the part in the series where old is new and I’m hitting the episodes I missed the first go round. This season was a let down from previous ones. Lorelai finally gets with Luke, and the writers do a thing where they turn Luke from the greatest guy/only decent guy on the show to a rage-aholic asshole. Rory is still in college and is now interested in Logan, a rich kid prick and it all makes the season a bit insufferable compared to the heady joys of season 3. It’s still good though since the performances and writing continues to stay true to the characters (aside from Luke), and while the Gilmores are floundering it gives space for Kirk and Lane to steal the show.


059 03/01 Color Me Blood Red (1965) 3/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis wraps up the “Blood Trilogy” with this one, a comedy about a bonkers painter who discovers that blood is the perfect colour of red and gets inspired. It’s basically a rip-off of the superior in every way Roger Corman film Bucket Of Blood (which is probably more famous for being the one that wrapped production in time for Corman to crank out the cult classic Little Shop Of Horrors over the 2 day weekend before he had to return the rental equipment), only on the cheap and with more gore effects. This one suffers from the typical Lewis corner cutting. Rather than stop the camera and doing a second set-up, he’ll do things like let it run while a second actor gets ready and then pan and focus to shoot them and it just slows the film down to a crawl. Which is saying something when the film is about 70 minutes long. There’s a reason why he’s considered a hack, and it already starts to show in this one. That said, it’s still fun, and I always watch it since it’s billed as the third film in the trilogy so my mental illness dictates that I have to watch it after Two Thousand Maniacs.

The weird thing watching the Blood Trilogy in this day and age is how chaste they are. I don’t think a single swear is uttered and despite Lewis and Friedman coming from the Nudie Cutie circuit there is no explicit nudity. There’s just buckets of gore all over the place. It’s probably what saved them from the censor to some degree. Still a fun watch even if they are dated, and Two Thousand Maniacs really is a classic. After Color Me Blood Red Lewis and Friedman will split up, but both will keep on making films on their own.


060 03/03 The Night Bird (1977) 2.5/5   The Night Bird is the hot underground disco club that was built for sex. This one was an odd hardcore title in that it plays like Saturday Night Fever meets Mean Streets. The first half is actually pretty good but it falls apart in the end. It sets up an emotionally cracking lead that never plays out, instead you get a never ending orgy sequence that is cut with disco dancing. The quality of this one is first rate so it’s a bummer it never gels into something more.


061 03/04 Something Weird (1967) 3/5
062 03/04 A Hot Night at the Go Go Lounge! (1966)2/5
An odd pair of Herschell Gordon Lewis cheapies. Something Weird is exactly as titled. A guy is electrocuted and ends up with psychic powers, joins a witch that tricks him… there’s murders as well… a guy gets attacked by his bed sheet… and I’m out. You can’t describe it. It’s a comedy, it’s a murder story, it’s psychic flim flam and an LSD scare film all at once. You have to see it to believe it. The craziest thing is it’s actually pretty accomplished in form compared to most of Lewis’s films.

A Hot Night at the Go Go Lounge! is a nudie short in which the first half seems to be footage from other films and the last half featuring surprisingly plain topless dancers. More of a curio as opposed to something worth seeking out.

I try to mix up what I watch, to find a balance, but I’m finding that the weeks are getting away from me so I end up not getting anything in other than genre films. I might have to take a time out to feed my brain.

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Movie A Day!: Blood Face

After a week of sunny skies and spring temperatures, today finds the sky back to the gloomy grey that is Edmonton in the winter. Perfect weather for hermit-ting up with movies and other things to distract from the political climate.

This post is a real mess theme wise. Friends who followed my Snapchat during the horror movie challenge will know that one of the greatest boxsets of all time arrived on my door step near the end, SHOCK AND GORE: THE FILMS OF HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS. After staring at it for months and frankly being intimidated by it, I finally broke down and cracked that sucker open. My plan was to watch one disc a week. Then the February pack from Vinegar Syndrome showed up three weeks early. And I’m still watching the Oscar best picture nominations. So your stuck with classy films, gore films from one of the worst directors of all times, and porno from one of the hardcore masters who literally helped create the porn industry.

This blog may be a psychiatric profile of a cry for help.


042 02/12 59th Annual Grammy Awards (2017) 3/5   I don’t know why I watch these but I always find a reason to. Ends up this year was pretty good. Katy Perry debuted a new song that’s actually kind of a clever protest, Lady Gaga performed metal with Metallica (my excuse to watch this years awards, her halftime show at the Superbowl was amazing) and aside from a dead mic on Hetfield, she rocked. Lady Gaga may be the the legendary performer of this generation. She can sing anything and do so convincingly. The real highlight though was oldie rappers A Tribe Called Quest who performed as an assault unit, attacking Trump (President Agent Orange, as dubbed by guest Busta Rhymes) and it was exhilarating. Oh, and Beyonce did a really artistic performance piece on black womanhood. I think. So yeah, despite all this fun, it still managed to feel like it would never end.


043 02/12 Blood Feast (1963) 4/5   Exploitation legends Herschell Gordon Lewis and David Friedman invented the splatter genre with this one. The effects are primitive at best, the acting not so great and while people always say Ed Wood Jr. was the worst director of all time, I think Lewis fits the crown better since there is a unenthusiastic workman like feel to Lewis compared to the glee in a Wood Jr. picture. That said, it’s an irresistible picture. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve watched it, but I love it more each time. People joke about the effects, but they really aren’t that bad compared to the regular make-up. The grey hair on younger actors looks like they rubbed a bar of soap on their heads. That’s far more unforgivable than creating a more than decent tongue being yanked out of a girls head effect. I like to think so anyway. This one is a must see (along with the other films in the “Blood Trilogy”, I’ll get to those later) for anyone with an interest in horror history.

scum_of_earth_poster_01
044 02/13 Scum of the Earth (1963) 3.5/5   1963 was a pretty big year for Herschell Gordon Lewis. Not only did he invent the gore film, he was one of the first to put out a film that would be known as “Roughies”. Roughies were the horrible children of the “Nudie Cuties”, instead of wholesome nudist camps full of nubile innocents, roughies were more urban and had pervos creeping on and corrupting women. This one was about a porno photography outfit that hoodwinks High School girls into being models before getting them to shoot nude and then blackmailing them to do hardcore. It’s very innocent despite that description since actual porno wouldn’t be shot for nearly a decade and the brief nudity in the picture is actually sort of tasteful with the real rough stuff happening off camera. Shot in black and white it actually looks classier than it is, and ends up being one of Lewis’s more accomplished pictures. Sexploitation would keep on pushing after this one, Lewis would mostly drift into gore (which based on his final film, the hardcore Black Love, is a very good thing…). Well worth checking out as it doesn’t have some of the pacing issues Lewis’s films tend to have.


045 02/14 Lion (2016) 3.5   A young Indian boy gets lost and ends up adopted by Nicole Kidman’s terrible haircut that is a perfect representation of Australia in this Oscar pick. I quite enjoyed this one in that it sticks with telling the kids true story without getting too over the top with the melodramatics (I think) and without the “Forrest Gump-Ness” of Slumdog Millionaire. Don’t think it was best of the year stuff though.


046 02/14 Carving Magic (1959) 4/5   This one is an industrial short about a guy hosting a dinner party and wows his dickhead friend with his turkey carving prowess. Why would I watch a carving instructional film? It’s on the Blood Feast blu-ray as an extra! It features Blood Feast star William Kerwin as the guy who learns how to carve, but more interesting is that Harvey Korman plays the dickhead friend, this being his first film role. I love Harvey Korman! Go watch Blazing Saddles again and see what I mean! This one was also legit educational, I think I might be able to carve a turkey properly now!


047 02/15 Moonlight (2016) 4/5   This one is about a kid growing up and navigating himself through Black Miami culture. I really liked this one in that it’s the kind of film that is usually made about white people in that it didn’t have any black genre trappings despite dealing with lower income/gang/drug culture. Dead solid performances that ring true in that they are frustrating to watch. There’s no hand holding the audience. I wouldn’t mind if this one won.


048 02/15 Slaughterhouse (1987) 3/5   1987 seems a bit late to try to pull a rip on Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but when it’s as fun as this one, why not give it a go? A bunch of cool kids decide to hold a party in a foreclosed slaughterhouse. Unbeknownst to them, the owner and his deranged son (who talks in pig-squeals) have decided to kill the people who fucked him over business wise. It’s all an excuse for some typical 80’s slasher mayhem and it delivers which is all you can ask.


049 02/17 Arrival (2016) 4/5   I really enjoyed this one. I had heard it compared to Contact (another one I really enjoyed) but Arrival really is it’s own thing. Aliens have come down and language specialist Amy Adams has to figure out how to communicate with them. It leads to a thoughtful Sci-Fi that is actually pretty rare in these days of action blockbusters. Good stuff, I wouldn’t mind if it won Best Picture.

050 02/17 Parochial Passion Princess (1975) 2.5/5  Depraved hardcore short from Alex deRenzy about a teen prostitute. No one does sleaze like deRenzy, you have to give him credit.


051 02/18 La La Land (2016) 4/5   Hollywood finally does a traditional musical. That’s how this one is billed. The opening number had me cringing since it was so modern Broadway in style, thankfully the film settles down and ends up being really good, and yes, pretty traditional. I don’t think it works quite as well as it wants to- it never reaches the insane dancing fever pitch of the classics- but it’s welcome all the same.


052 02/18 Babyface (1977) 4/5   Feature length film by Alex deRenzy about a guy who gets shanghaied into working in a brothel owned by women for women clients. One of the sleaziest films I’ve seen, it practically is checking off a list of triggers for things deemed politically incorrect and will make you feel squeamish watching it. It’s also done with so much showmanship and glee that it’s hard to be mad about it. deRenzy was a master at this stuff and this one was one is no exception.

So which one should win best picture? I honestly don’t know. None of them wowed me. None of them are bad films, more a case of none of them feeling particularity exceptional or memorable. The only one that really feels like a broken thumb is Hacksaw Ridge, and that’s due to the first half being so schmaltzy. The second half in the war is brilliantly over the top. If I had to pick one I’d go with Moonlight since it’s the only one that didn’t have something in it that made question the filmmakers choice, with Arrival, La La Land and Manchester By The Sea following. Yet despite that, I think I enjoyed Hidden Figures best but found the film technically problematic. It looks like this years Oscars will be mostly blah for me since I don’t have a horse in the race that I really  want to see win. It’s not the first time, and wont be the last.

Which is okay, I got more terrible movies and Gilmore Girls to keep me company.

Until next time.