Movie A Day!: 100 Movies

100 movies. I hit 100 movies with The Gore Gore Girls, of all things. All these years of tracking films and I never manage to hit a milestone with a proper classic.


094 04/09 How To Make A Doll (1968) 2/5   Another dire Herschell Gordon Lewis comedy, this one about a hapless professor who uses a swanky computer to build sexy girls. 95% of the humour is derived from mugging like a silent picture, and since Lewis was gunning for a general release there are not even tits to look at. Add that to the usual incompetence and padding and this one ended up being charmless. Watch Weird Science instead since it does everything this one does, only better and with Bill Paxton.


095 04/11 I Sell Anything (1934) 2.5/5   Pat O’Brien stars as a loudmouth pawn shop auctioneer (?! I have no idea if that was a real thing or not) plotting a scam on the Manhattan bigwigs in this comedy. Not a terrible time killer, it’s not exceptional in anyway. Why it was included on the Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 9 set is a mystery since it’s not a pre-code film or edgy in anyway.

I give the Forbidden Hollywood Vol 9 DVD set a 3/5. Probably the weakest volume, with Cabin in the Cotton and Hell’s Highway being the best of the 5 pictures.


096 04/12 The Wizard of Gore (1970) 4/5   HG Lewis is back to the gore film with this one, and he goes all out. The story makes zero narrative sense, about a stage magician that creates horrifically gory illusions only for the participants to later be found dead suffering from the same wounds from the act. Is it hypnotism? Is it all a dream? Is it complete bullshit? All I know is it’s gleefully over the top and probably Lewis’s most accomplished film that completely delivers despite the terrible acting that ranges from the over-acting Montag the Magnificent (that actually fits the character) to no-acting from the rest of the cast. An absolute must see, it really is a great film and the gooey effects hold up pretty well.


097 04/13 Before Sunrise (1995) 4/5   Richard Linklater’s “Before Trilogy” is one of those wonderful things that will never happen again. I think, I haven’t seen the third picture yet, but it was nice reconnecting with this one. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star as two twenty somethings who meet on a train and spend a day together in Vienna. It’s all walking and talking, and it’s fun to hear what was on the minds of Generation X twenty years ago. I can’t think of a more intimate movie about falling in love. It’s pretty near perfect.


098 04/14 Incredibly Strange Film Show: Herschell Gordon Lewis (1988) 3/5 Biography of Lewis hosted by British presenter Jonathan Ross actually does a great job in catching up with the man and going over his career. There’s a better documentary that goes deeper, I’ll get to it later, but this one is fine for what it is.


099 04/14 Before Sunset (2004) 4.5/5   In which we catch up with Jesse and Celine nine years after the first film. To say more would ruin it, it’s even more perfect than the first film.


100 04/15 The Gore Gore Girls (1972)  3.5/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis’s final gore film before his comeback with Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat in 2002 plays like a bonkers The Thin Man, with a William Powell wannabe investigating brutal stripper murders with a sassy news reporter. Despite being played pretty light, this one has the most brutal in tone murders than any of his films which makes the whole thing a bit surreal. Not the greatest capper for the Godfather of Gore, but good enough.


101 04/15 This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! (1971) 2/5   HGL returns to the hillbilly’s selling White Lightning genre and it’s simply a bore. Comedy doesn’t work, the only pleasing thing is the country music which isn’t saying much.


102 04/15 Before Midnight (2013) 4/5   The final film of the “Before Trilogy” makes me hope it’s a Quadrilogy. To say more would ruin it, but it manages to capture the best intimacies of the previous films while expanding at the same time. 

I would give the whole Trilogy a 4/5. I’m biased, I’m the age of these characters and identify with most of the stuff they are going through. It makes the films play like parallel memories, and stirs the past in my muddled brain. The Criterion Blu-ray set is gorgeous.

As you can probably tell, I tried to burn through three boxsets this week. I still have a film to watch in that Shock & Gore Set. I’ll FINALLY finish it next week. HGL films are best watched when spread out as opposed to two a week like I’ve been doing. I watched the commentaries on the discs so some weeks I watched both films twice. I should of counted the commentaries. Someday I’ll figure this blog out. I still have to watch the extras on the Before Trilogy, so next week might be a little thin. Depends, I obviously am not planning this thing out in advance.

This week also sees the world closer to thermonuclear war than it’s been since the Cuban Missile Crises. Knowing my luck my last film will be a HGL commentary.

Hold your loved ones tight, dear readers.

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Movie A Day! Gruesome Night of Spanish Fly

Not much for news this week. Time seemed to drag and go by to quick to accomplish much at the same time. Now it’s daylight savings time Sunday and I already feel jet lagged so I’m keeping things short.


063 03/06 The Gruesome Twosome (1967) 2.5/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis attempts a horror comedy that is baffling in its ineptitude. The first 5-10 minutes is made up with a bit with two Styrofoam wig display head puppets discussing matters to set up the plot. The only reason is to shamelessly pad the run time to 70 minutes since the film fell short in editing. Once the film begins it barely improves. A wacky old woman wig maker who talks to her stuffed wild cat Napoleon has a drooling idiot son that she gets to scalp young college girls for her wigs. The gore is the only reason to watch this, despite being crappy and actually looking worse in spots compared to Lewis’s earlier pictures (The beheading by electric night bit being the exception). This is one of those films that you have to wonder why it exists since it’s not the worst plot in the world but the planning and execution of it is so piss-poor. Take out the comedic wackiness that doesn’t work and play up a Psycho rip with the boy and his mother and you would have something. As is, it’s a bonkers curio more than anything.


064 03/09 A Taste of Blood (1967) 2/5  Another HGL opus, this one see’s him doing an update on Dracula. A smarmy business man gets a mysterious shipment of blood-laced brandy, becomes a vampire and learns that he is an heir to Dracula himself. He’s then tasked with killing of the heirs of Van Helsing and all the other people responsible for killing the original Dracula in the book. It’s not a bad plot, it’s the execution that is horrendous. The usual HGL cheapness shines through, bad set-ups, ine-take acting, things out of focus, but it’s the pacing that really kills this one. Extraneous scenes go on forever, eating up the screen time to a glacial paced two hours. On top of all this, Lewis cut back on the gore so there’s no payoffs. Yet despite all that, it’s not his worst film.


065 03/10 Gilmore Girls Season 6 (2006) 3/5   This season improved over the last in that it felt like they pushed the characters ahead instead of spinning the wheels like the last one. That said, instead of just making Luke unlikable they also made pretty near every other character infuriating in their actions. Which is either brilliant writing in that it fits their patterns as established, or an unfair challenging of the audience’s patience. Main plot is Rory and Lorelai dealing with the end of last season blow out and Luke having a life changing revelation. Which are interesting plot points for sure, but had me tearing out what little hair I have left when watching them make one bad decision after another. Jess comes back for a couple of episodes and ends up being the voice of reason. Who would have thought? After all that, I’m curious to see how they wrap it all up in the next and last season.


066 03/10 The Night of the Spanish Fly (1976) 2/5   This one was the co-feature on the DVD with The Night Bird (reviewed last post) and was certainly the weaker of the two. Go-Go Wieners have been unknowingly laced with a potent spanish fly that causes the hot dog loving women of a metropolis to become overwhelmed with desire! It’s a fun plot to type out but the execution kills it with a jokey annoying voice-over setting up and rambling over uninspired sex scenes with a mostly unknown cast. I found it plodding and uninspired.

With this post I’m halfway though the Herschell Gordon Lewis boxset. I might take a time out and spend the week back in Silent Movie Land with the Mack Sennett set since My plan was to watch one disc (two films) from the HGL and spend the rest of the week watching the silents. I’m not getting in the time to do that, and I feel like I need to give my brain a break from genre films. Especially when the next pack of filth from Vinegar Syndrome is on it’s way. So maybe next post will be a little different?

Don’t hold your breath….

Movie A Day!: 2000 Mountain Moonshine Slaves!

Another week of existing! This one is a short post. All the Oscar noms I planned to watch got watched last blog and this week saw me catching up on other things. The week was also a real pain in the ass. Why does everything have to seem so hard?

The day of this post sees the passing of Bill Paxton. One of those actors who was great in everything he did. Probably best known as James Cammeron’s scene stealing dependable  in Aliens and Titanic,  I recommend checking out his directorial debut Frailty, as well as A Simple Plan and Near Dark as they are my favourites. And Fish Heads, of course. I already miss him.

This adds up to this one being short and sleazy. Blame Vinegar Syndrome and Arrow Video. At least one of the films is a bonafide masterpiece.


053 02/19 The Love Slaves (1976) 3/5   A drug dealing syndicate is snatching up women to hypnotize into love slave assassins and detective John Leslie is on the case. Not a bad hardcore feature from Bob Chinn, it never really fully embraces its sleaziness and doesn’t convince as a drama so it ends up a little flat compared to others in the genre.


054 02/20 Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) 4.5/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis follows up Blood Feast with his masterpiece, Two Thousand Maniacs! A group of Yankees get roped into the centennial celebrations of the southern town Pleasant Valley. It’s a rip on Brigadoon of all things, with the southerners wanting vengeance for Northern atrocities committed during the Civil War. It’s a gleeful mess of a film, with the infamous “Barrel Roll” scene being the height of ridiculous for any splatter film in the genre. An absolute must see.


055 02/22 Moonshine Mountain (1964) 2/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis does a hicksploitation with this one. A country singer travels to the mountains to get a feel for “real folk music”, gets all twisted up in moonshining shenanigans. It’s an absolute mess of a film that’s tonally flat out does not work. The southerners are all hick stereotypes and appear to be played for laughs. One of the girls characteristics is being sexually abused to the point that she’s practically mute, which is NOT funny, but not really depicted seriously either (despite a resolve near the end). Then there’s the bit in the last 3rd where shit is going down with the crooked sheriff that features a federal agent getting stomped to death and his body dumped in a still that is better fit for Two Thousand Maniacs since there is zero humour about it and despite editing is brutal to watch. None of it works with the usual Lewis knack of bad takes and stiff performances. With no gore or sleaze to heighten it, it ends up as a real patience tester of a failed comedy. If it’s supposed to be a comedy, Lewis says in the extras that he was asked to make a rip-off of Thunder Road, the moonshine hit with Robert Mitchum. This does not resemble that film at all.

That’s it for this week. I don’t have much to say. Last night a friend I haven’t seen in years do to a falling out contacted me out of the blue in separate straights wanting to borrow money. I don’t have it to give him. I don’t owe him anything, but it leaves a mixed, bad feeling of guilt and other things.

The world gets exhausting.

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.

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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.

Movie a Day! : 024-034 – The End of January

Howdy film fans! Welcome back to the blog! 10 big films in this one to finish off the month of January. Don’t be scared, the comments are as short as ever so it wont take you all day to read. I figured since at this point my movie watching dipped I would compile more films in here. My movie watching continues to be rather slow, so I’m thinking by next week we should all be caught up.

Let’s get on with it, here’s the last films I watched in January!

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024 01-24 Cover Girl (1944) 2.5/5
B-Level Musical starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. It’s well done and notable for being more serious and psychological than a typical musical, but it kind of plods along as well. Many of the numbers with Kelly will be sort of revisited later (and done to perfection) in “Singing in the Rain”. The standout number is of course a Gene Kelly ballet featuring him confronting a spectral image of himself, and dancing both parts. Also notable for Phil Silvers in a supporting roll as a song and dance man.

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025 01-25 Hayseed Romance (1935) 2/5
026 01-25 Tars & Stripes (1935) 2/5
027 01-25 The E-Flat Man (1935) 2/5
These are 3 more of Buster Keaton’s sound films for Educational, and none of them are very notable so I don’t have much to say. The best gags in each of them where done better in his silent pictures.

028 01-25 The Timid Young Man (1935) 3.5/5
Just when I’m ready to write off the rest of Keaton’s sound shorts, Mack Sennett shows up to produce and direct one and saves the day. So far this is the best one yet, with some more inspired gags and a big push in the pacing. So i guess I’ll watch disc 2.

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029 01-25 The Act of Killing (2012) 4/5
This is the type of documentary that sits beside “Shoah” and has a depressing chat. It’s not pleasant by any means, but still a brilliant, disturbing and fascinating film. It tells the tale of the mass killings that happened in Indonesia in 1965 by having the military enforcers responsible re-enact their crimes in different film styles. Watch it.

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030 01-26 Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) 3.5/5
Pretty damned fine documentary by Something Weird Video on HG Lewis. Lewis is notorious in film for two reasons; introducing extreme gore to the “Nudie Cutie” exploitation circuit, and being horrendously cheap and borderline inept at making movies. This doc  pretty much sticks to the films as opposed to personal stories, with lots of interviews and clips, including some fun outtakes. I thought it odd that they skipped some titles, but ends up they’re on the hour or so of outtakes. Also included on the disc is a pretty fun additional short film. Basically, if you ever wondered about Lewis and the invention of the gore film, this is $20 very well spent.

031 01-26 Hot Night at the Go-Go Lounge (?) 2.5/57
This is the short featured on the “Godfather of Gore” disc, a nudie running about 10 minutes featuring a couple of topless dancers dancing for a handful of guys in a basement made to look like a club. So rare I can’t find a release date for the thing (I’m guessing 1964), it’s pretty fun in the wacky dumb way these things typically are. Notable for an extended version of “The Monkey” and a pretty good twerk. I think, I might not know what twerking is.

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032 01-28 Tonight and Every Night (1945) 2.5/5
Another Rita Hayworth musical, this one telling the true story of a music hall show in Britain that never missed a performance during the blitz. Surprisingly serious in tone for a musical, and not as “Rah-RAH!” on the propaganda front as you would suspect. Hayworth is absolutely gorgeous to watch in this one, but the end result with a forced romance is a little flat.

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033 01-29 Lord of the Flies (1963) 4/5
The first adaptation of the William Golding’s book continues to the best one. Natural acting kids, all shot on location, it feels as much like a documentary than it does a fiction.

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034 01-31 Gilda (1946) 4/5
This one is a really well done film noir starring Glenn Ford as a down on his luck schlub trying to escape the memory of a woman, and Rita Hayworth as the woman. Beautifully filmed with a plot that isn’t afraid to take it’s time to tell it’s story. Rita’s striptease doesn’t hurt the film either.

So my final totals for January are as follows:

34 Watched, 29 First Timers, 0 In Theaters.

So off to a strong start in the challenge. With the ongoing cancer dad situation though. we’ll have to see if I can keep the numbers up. Suspense! Let me know if 10 films is too much. I plan once caught up to do a “Weekly” round up.

The End