Movie A Day!: Witchtrap Champions!

More movies! Past week was an absolute bitch at work with our customer base being even more clueless and challenging than normal. When you have conversations explaining to people that the “Forrest Green” they say they purchased last month was actually called “Meadow Green” and that is why I was quoting them the wrong product, it does your fucking brain in.

So no fake deep thoughts to intro this one. Here’s the shitty movies I watched last week.


077 03/26 Witchtrap (1989) 3/5   At first glance all this film seems to have going for it scream queen supreme Linnea Quigley, as depicted on the poster. It’s actually a not bad haunted house type deal about a group of investigators trying to ghost-bust a house so it can become a bed and breakfast. Quigley has a minor role as a para-investigator that looks after all the tech, which has to be one of the only “smart” roles in her career. She still has to show her tits in a shower scene though, such is the life of a scream queen. Anyway, it’s pretty good but has a major problem. They mucked up the sound when filming so all the dialogue and sound effects are looped in post, and not very well. I’ve seen Italian dubbed films with tighter synch than this, and it makes for distracted viewing since everything sounds separate from the action. Which is a shame since aside from that it’s quite accomplished.

078 03/28 The Book of Joe (1984) 3/5  Student short film by the director of Witchtrap, Kevin Tenney is a little gem of a film about a defence lawyer who has to represent a man claiming to be the returning Jesus Christ. It manages to not be corny or preachy despite having a pro-faith lean. Included on the Blu-ray due to having many of the same actors as Witchtrap, it’s a neat addition.


079 03/30 Big City Blues (1932) 2.5/5   Pre-Code film from Warners finds a hick arriving in New York to set the town on fire and ends up getting burned. Probably most notable today for Humphrey Bogart having a small unbilled part. That’s kind of the problem with this one, lead Eric Linden as the hick is so completely overshadowed by co-star Joan Blondell (who gets top billing, just look at the poster) and everyone else that it’s hard to root for him since he’s such a unlikable, naive milksop. It ends up being serviceable at best.


080 03/31 Black Mass (2015) 2.5/5   Johnny Depp stars in the true story of Whitey Bulger, psychopath crime boss of South Boston. Depp does a pretty good job in this one, compared to the cartoon-like roles he’s been playing recently. That said, it’s not a very good movie in that despite being a true story it hits all the crime beats these pictures usually do without offering anything new and holy shit do actors love to mangle those Boston accents. I left this one thinking a documentary would have been better.


081 03/31 Boiling Desires (1987) 2/5   You have to hand it to porn jobber Carlos Tobalina for hiring four stars and managing to make an entire film out of the one-note plot of a couple of girls in which one hasn’t had sex yet and they’re all excited to have her have sex. It’s not a good movie, but you have to hand it to him.


082 04/01 The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 (2014) 3.5/5   Finally getting around to these. Problem I had is I barely remember the first two films, so most of this one was me going “Oh, right!” as plots came forward in my hazy brain. This one mostly revolves around Katniss mooning about for Pita while becoming a reluctant leader of the revolution. It’s good, though kind of sad since I think this is the last film Philip Seymour Hoffman did before passing he’s just so goddamned good. I think that’s why these pictures work. The love triangle stuff is lost on me since I find both the guys (Pita and whoever the other one is, so forgettable I can’t recall his name) so useless, the rest of the cast is so strong that it allows you to kind of forget about it and makes the rest of the film work.

083 04/02 Love Champions (1985) 2/5   The second Tobalina feature on the disc with boiling Desires, it has an even thinner plot than the first one, more hacked together and ends in another poorly shot orgy. Pretty much worthless as everyone in this picture have been in better movies.

Speaking of adult. I learned this morning on the passing of Radley Metzger. If anyone is wondering why I’m bothering with “shitty old porn”, I would advise them to have a peek at Metzger’s filmography. In the early days when it looked like porno-chic might actually go mainstream, it was largely due to filmmakers like Metzger. Getting his start in euro-softcore, under the pseudonym of Henry Paris  Metzger was one of the filmmakers that seemed on the cusp of making hardcore legit. The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an absolute masterpiece, period, and is highly recommended. Metzger will never get the credit as a filmmaker that he deserves, and he will never be forgotten. I also highly recommend The Rialto Report site or anyone with even a passing interest in adult, or a damn fine story since porn history is full of bonkers stories and the podcasts are great.

And with that, I will leave you for another week.

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!: 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.

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.

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.

Beginning with Failure. Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 1

2017. I think it’s safe to say that in the large scheme of things 2016 was a pretty rough year. It seemed to be the death of everything, our culture, our politics, the literal world. Things feel hopeless. I need to do something with my brain other than think about the BIG STUFF. At least until I’m able to dedicate time to actually do something about the state of the big stuff.

I’ve decided to restart my “Movie A Day” list. Let’s see if I make it past May before quitting. I am making no promises. The ultimate goal is to watch 365 new movies a year. As I get older, the odds of that happening become less and less. Still, movies are fun right? I’ll also be including TV Shows and whatever the fuck else I feel like writing about. I’ll try to stay away from current events.

New films will be in RED.

To start, I’m going to recap the scary movie challenge from 2016. Here’s the first bit.

Don’t worry, I don’t plan all these posts to be this long, just the scary movie catch-ups.

001 01/10 Evils Of The Night (1985) Blu-ray 2.5/5  Aliens are draining teenagers of their blood! This one is literally T&A and blood, with the emphasis on the former. There’s so much T&A that porn star Amber Lynn is cast in a bit part. Main cast of alien vampires is Tina Louise and Julie Newmar being lead by ancient John Carradine. It’s not very good, it’s more fun bad. Looks great though. (That is the Millennium Falcon you are seeing on the poster. Not featured in the film, sadly.)

002 01/10 Count Dracula’s Great Love (1973) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Paul Naschy is Dracula in this Spanish production. Typical “Dracula Needs Virgin Blood to Resurrect his girl” stuff, but it’s really well done with an atmosphere that reminded me of the Hammer Studio films. Gothic romance with some nice gore, lots to recommend and the Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray has it looking great.

003 01/10 Horror House on Highway Five (1985) Blu-ray 3/5   A killer in a Nixon mask, weird Nazi rocket science and students being hunted down. It barely makes sense, it might not make sense. It’s pretty much the definition of low budget psycho-tronic slasher. Vinegar Syndrome Blu looks good with some nice special features.

004 01/10 Salem’s Lot (1979) Blu-ray 4/5   I thought I had seen this one, but I was thinking of the Rob Lowe remake. Or I dreamed it. Anyways, this was excellent. It’s been way too long since I read the book to be able to tell how close it was, but it was fine all the same. Aside from some awkward edits where the commercial breaks are you wouldn’t think this was made for TV. A great balance of suspense and horror, with a fantastic cast. James Mason is always great to watch and Geoffrey Lewis steals every scene he’s in while Tobe Hooper keeps things moving. Recommended.

005 02/10 Hellbent (1988) Blu-ray 2.5/5   A punk rock deal with the devil for stardom film. By Richard Casey who directed “Horror House on Highway 5”, this one is more silly action/drama than horror. Good music, decent performances help but it’s still a near no-budget offering. The Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray looks great.

006 02/10 Doctor Butcher M.D. (1980) Blu-ray 4/5   A mad Doctor is doing terrible experiments in this Times Square classic. It’s more “Cannibal Holocaust” than “Mad Doctor” in that it’s a jungle picture, but boy does it deliver. Loved it, sleazy gory fun that you know you want. The blu-ray of this from Severin is spotless and feature packed, I’ll watch all those after the challenge. (UPDATE: The special features were as solid as I suspected)

007 02/10 Zombie Holocaust (1980) Blu-ray 3.5/5   The original film that turned into “Doctor Butcher”. It’s fine and while not much different, I liked the add-on bits to Doctor Butcher. Looks good on blu, but you can tell that Doctor Butcher got all the restoration love.

008 02/10 Carnival Of Souls (1962) Blu-ray 4/5   A woman survives a car accident to discover her life falling apart. Few films capture the nightmare life dreamscape as well as this one. It’s one of the few films where “less is more” actually works. I think this was my third time watching it, and it just keeps getting better. The Criterion blu-ray is definitive.

009 10/03 Black Sabbath (American Version)(1963) Blu-ray 3/5   First time watching this one after loving the Italian version last challenge. It’s good, but doesn’t compare. It’s missing the mood and style. Swapping around the stories is one thing, editing them is another. THE TELEPHONE becomes a clunky supernatural thriller instead of a proto-giallo, and none of the stories benefit from the music replacement which is jokey compared to the original. It’s also missing the fantastic Karloff closer! Italian version is a solid 4 stars.

010 10/03 Cat In The Brain (1990) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Lucio Fulci directs this one and stars as himself. Playing a director who fears he is losing his mind after making so many gory horror films, this one is pretty much a non-stop greatest hits of gore scenes. There’s not much else to say, I’m giving it a higher rating than it probably deserves, but I had fun with it and it delivered the gory goods.

011 10/04 Blue Sunshine (1977) Blu-ray 3.5/5   People are losing their hair and going on murderous rampages! It’s way better than that sentence makes it sound. An LSD based thriller more than all out horror, it manages to work really well. Zalman King of “Red Shoe Diaries” infamy is the star, and he’s not a great leading man but gets the job done. This is the second film I’ve seen him star in, and he just doesn’t have much personality but still manages to be pretty good. Weird. Anyway, the new blu-ray from Filmcentrix is gorgeous and packed with extras. If you buy it from their site you get all sorts of physical goodies. This is their first dip into non-porn (they previously did amazing work restoring “Opening Of Misty Beethoven” and “Barbara Broadcast” on blu-ray under their home banner of Distribpix) and it shows the same care and attention. I wish they would be more prolific, but it’s a one man show and that one man is doing the big work. I’ll watch the extras after the challenge. (UPDATE: The extras were fantastic.)

012 10/05 Planet of the Vampires (1965) Blu-ray 4/5   Mario Bava does sci-fi, at least for the first 15 minutes or so. A pair of spaceships are investigating a distress signal on a planet. Once in orbit, they’re forced to land, get hit with “space madness” and find that they’re very bodies are at risk of being taken over. Clearly an inspiration for “Alien”, Bava makes this cheapie work by pouring on the colours and atmosphere to create a genuinely creepy suspense film. I really need to pick up more Bava, every film of his I’ve seen is a gem.

013 10/05 The Sinful Dwarf (1973) Bluray 3/5   Olaf the dwarf and his mom run a boarding house that fronts for a sex slave and heroin ring. This Danish film is as grimy and sleazy as it’s reputation has absolutely earned. Reminded me a bit of “Blood Sucking Freaks”, only not as fun and with none of the crazy over the top gore. Still a sleazy trip to take, the hardcore inserts make it even more gruelling. Good stuff though in that it successfully does what it was aiming for. For Eurotrash/sleaze fans only, everyone else will want to stay away.

014 10/06 Hillbilly’s In A Haunted House (1967) DVR 1.5/5   A couple of country singers on the way to a jamboree in Nashville stop over night at a haunted house. Only it’s not a haunted house, it’s a secret base for spies. Ferlin Husky and the country folk have the personality of grass growing and old horror stars John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr. and Basil Rathbone can’t elevate the material. One whole star is given to the fact that Merle Haggard gets to perform two songs. Otherwise this one was a piece of shit.

015 10/07 Village of the Damned (1995) Blu-ray 3/5   John Carpenter updates the 1960 classic. Tells the same story and over does it a bit in typical remake fashion. Christopher Reeves is good as the lead, my main problem were the kids. The acting was fine, but why dress them the same as the 60’s version if you’re not doing a period picture? Anyway, it’s not the worst thing Carpenter has done and good enough to keep you entertained for 90 minutes.

016 10/07 Tenebrae (1982) Blu-ray 3.5/5   An American writer doing press in Rome gets involved with murders when a maniac starts to copy his book. I enjoyed this one. Argento is doing a giallo as opposed to the supernatural stuff I’m more familiar with and the film really works. The only thing I didn’t care for was the music. Too 80’s synth that I thought cheapened the production instead of enhancing it.

017 10/08 Body Bags (1993) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Anthology film, original pitched for TV. John Carpenter directs two stories, Tobe Hooper gets one. All of them are actually really good. Carpenter is a fun horror host in the EC Comics tradition, none of the stories look extra cheap and all of the stories are packed with fun horror cameos from directors and what not. Good stuff.

018 10/08 Deadly Blessing (1981) Blu-ray 3/5   A religious community comes under suspicion after a tractor accident leaves a woman widowed. Wes Craven is doing some interesting stuff in this one, but the real highlight is the bathtub scene that will get reused to better results in Nightmare On Elm Street. Not a bad film by any means, just a case of Craven having done better.

019 10/09 Why Horror? (2014) Stolen 2/5   Documentary feature many horror legends and experts talking about why we crave horror films and what not. Except they don’t get as much time as filmmaker host Tal Zimmerman who makes this a personal film because he had a baby. I’m really starting to hate “documentaries” like this where the focus is the hosts journey. The only guy that can pull it off is Louis Theroux, and that’s because he’s perfected the art of stepping back to allow the subject to come through. This one annoyed the shit out of me. Who cares what John Carpenter or George Romero have to say when you can sit in an MRI and have your brain scanned while watching a movie. (Don’t get this Canadian stated on the MRI use in this one.) Skip it.

020 10/09 Sleepaway Camp (1983) Blu-ray 4/5   First time seeing this one. It’s a low budget “Friday The 13th” knock off, but a nasty little sucker where the kids get attacked instead of just the councillors. Also had a hell of a twist ending that plays perfectly. It rises above what it should be, which I doubt the sequels do.

021 10/09 Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) Blu-ray 3.5/5   All the “Who done it?” stuff from the first one is out the door and they aged up the campers for nudity. It sends this one straight to typical slasher land, but it’s a pretty good slasher for what it is with an interesting enough bent in that the killer is pretty much the protagonist which is unusual. I’m sure it will all fall apart in the third one.

022 10/09 Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989) Blu-ray 3/5   This one is another drop in quality. It’s not terrible, and I still like the killer as protagonist angle. It’s just a bit plodding and too cheap to stand up to the other two.

023 10/10 Witchboard (1986) Blu-ray 2.5/5   It’s exactly what you think it is. People dick around with a Ouija board, piss off an evil spirit and blah blah blah. It’s about as good as this type of film could be, which isn’t very memorable. I think my brain flagged this one as being better due to Tawny Kittan being in it, which would of been a big deal in 1986. Not so big a deal these days.

024 10/10 Dolls (1987) Blu-ray 3/5   A family gets stranded and stay in a house with a pair of old people who make dolls. They come alive and attack them. This one has a kid in the lead which never impresses me. The doll effects are good and it’s interesting, but it’s not on the level of the better Stuart Gordon pictures.

025 10/10 Night Of The Demons (1988) Blu-ray 3/5   I thought I had seen this one, but I had it mixed up with the Argento “Demons”. Anyway, this one wasn’t too bad. A gaggle of 80’s kids decide to party down in a mortuary only to awaken evil spirits since the mortuary is possessed. It starts out wanting to be “Return of the Living Dead’ mixed with “Evil Dead” and is kind of annoying, but once it gets going it’s pretty good.

026 10/10 Der Todesking (1990) Bluray 3.5/5   This is Buttgereit’s follow up to the notorious “Nekromantic”. This one is as much an art film as opposed to a horror like his prior film. That said, it still manages to get it’s hooks in you and be pretty disturbing. Seven episodes, one for each day of the week, on the theme of suicide, each bridged with imagery of a rotting corpse. So yeah, not a fun movie, but a good one.

Whelp, that’s the first 10 days of October for the challenge. Revisiting this I realize this is about the worst way to watch films in a critical manner. Films that are getting worse reviews than they deserve due to being watched alongside films that are probably not as good as I rate them. I’m rating films higher for being more interesting compared to the more standard fair. Oh well, it is what it is and I’ll make the same mistakes during the 2017 challenge.

Movie A Day! 111-120: Beyond The Massacre Gun

As I write this the twitter-verse is a buzz with shock that Madonna would kiss Drake. Not because it’s a puzzle as to why anyone would kiss Drake, but because she’s apparently too old to be doing such things. I hate.


111 04-05 Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity (2 Episodes) 4/5
The latest documentary series from Theroux continues his look at the American prison system, this time specifically spending time in a mental institution treating people who couldn’t face trial due to being found mentally unfit to stand trial. It’s one of his tougher documentaries due to the mixed up morality. The crimes are nearly all truly awful, but you feel both repelled by, and sad for the people who committed them. So another great documentary series by Theroux. For those not familiar with Theroux, this is no goofy expose. Instead Theroux simply talks to people to hear what they have to say. It’s a brilliant approach that served him well in the goofy series, and works amazingly well now that’s he’s looking at more serious subjects.


112 04-05 Mark of the Times (2015) 3/5
This is a feature length special feature to be found on the MARK OF THE DEVIL disc put out by Arrow Video. It’s a pretty typical talking heads style doc, looking at the new wave of British horror in the seventies. I’m a horror fan, and a bit of a rube when it comes to this genre, so the doc was both interesting in subject matter and annoying in that I want to watch all the movies featured. The curse continues!


113 04-06 Better Call Saul (2014) (10 Episodes) 4/5
The sequel series to BREAKING BAD might actually be better than the series that spawned it. This one catches up with Saul after the events of the BB finale, then shoots us into the past where we see him pre-Saul, as hustler “Slippin’” Jimmy, attempting to turn his life around. It’s deadly good, being both hilarious and heartbreaking as well. Bob Odenkirk is putting in the performance of his as Jimmy/Saul, Jonathan Banks is back as Mike and stealing every scene he’s in, as will as being featured in what might be one of the great episodes of television, ever. Most surprising, Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins of SPINAL TAP) is also doing brilliant work and Jimmys mental breakdown suffering brother Chuck. I can not wait for season two to kick off.


114 04-07 Massacre Gun (1967) 3/5
The third release from ARROW VIDEO to arrive is a Yakuza picture. I don’t know enough about the genre to tell you how it compares to others. It’s a pretty decent gangster picture though. A hitman is forced to kill a girl he loves and all hell breaks loose. This one has a deliberate tone instead of the hyper action you would think would be in it based on the title, but it is a good one.


115 04-09 Louis Theroux: Transgender Children (2015) 4/5
Another special by Theroux, this one explores gender identity in children. It was fascinating, though sad to watch in that it seemed confusing to all involved. Theroux is typically great though in presenting. Worth a watch.


116 04-09 On Cinema At The Cinema Season 6 (2015) 4/5
As Decker comes to a close, so does the series that spawned it. The final episode was bittersweet due to the bit in the finale that has seen Gregg Turkington absent from Twitter to the time of this posting. A brilliant bit of comedy to be sure, I’m curious to see where they take it all next season since the joke seems to continue.


117 04-09 The Beyond (1981) 4/5
A second watch of Fulci’s Italian horror classic via Grindhouse Releasing recent blu-ray had me liking it even more. Basic plot is a woman takes over and starts to refurbish a hotel that has been built on one of the seven doors of hell. It plays like a nightmare with David Lynch style dream logic. If you’re looking for a normal narrative, there isn’t one to find here. If you’re want a gory fever dream, this is your picture.


118 04-10 Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief (2015) 4/5
Been waiting for this documentary and it didn’t disappoint. I already knew some of the strangeness to be found, and this one does a really good job of laying it all out in perspective. It’s the type of film where you hope some real world change happens because of it.


119 04-10 Sensual Fire (1979) 2.5/5
This is the second Tobalina film to be found on Vinegar Syndromes Peekarama disc with last blogs THREE RIPENING CHERRIES. It’s the better film in that it has more plot. Jamie Gillis plays a pervo lusting after his girlfriends daughter and seeking help in dealing with it. The main problem is typical to Tobalina in that the editing and pacing kills what could have been a decent picture compared to all his shitty orgy pictures.


120 04-10 Godzilla (2014) 2/5
Finally sat down to this one and it was a piece of shit. You have one job, and one job only when you make a Godzilla movie and that is to have it packed with monster fights. Three quarters of this one is aftermath of monster fights, and when you finally do get to see the monsters fight, it’s it the dark so it’s still mostly hidden. So fuck this movie, and fuck Gareth Edwards whose other film, MONSTERS, also had no monsters or fighting for most of the duration.

Bit long this one huh? Been in the fog a bit with poor time management. I’ll try to get it back down to 5 titles a post.