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 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 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!

r

Movie A Day! 121-125: Lightnin’ Vermeer Burns

It’s late and I need to go to bed. So not much of an intro this post. It’s a Thursday night, the wind is trying to bring in the rain. Saturday is Record Store Day, a typical day of panic for me but this year I’m not feeling it. I’ll probably go, but I’m not sure I’m going to line up before the store opens in an obsessed fever. I’ll see how I feel on the day.

Another weird mix, but I feel a documentary film jag coming on, so that should balance the odd porno review that typically sully the blog and keeps readers away.


121 04-12 The 2015 MTV Movie Awards (2015) 3/5
A bunch of people I never heard of from movies I haven’t seen won some awards I don’t care about. It was hosted by Amy Schumer, and she’s the best and as good a reason to watch anything.


122 04-15 Powder Burns (1971) 2/5
Vinegar Syndrome dug deep on their latest Peekarma release of Alex deRenzy films. This one, billed as a “Meta-Western”, was so rare I think it was once disputed to exist at all. Anyway, I believe this one is future porn auteur deRenzy’s first attempt at a narrative film after concentrating on documentaries and loops. It’s a total mess. It want’s to be a wonky Russ Meyer romp, but it never get’s going with the amateur acting and what not. Plus it does go hardcore right at the end, so it was never going to play like a Russ Meyers film. Which is too bad, because despite the heavy print damage, the thing is actually made really good. Some of the shots of the cowboys out on their horses look really good and the idea isn’t a bad one, it just never quite works despite how much you might wish it did.


123 04-15 Tim’s Vermeer (2013) 4/5
Such a simple premise for a documentary. Johannes Vermeer was one of the Dutch Masters and known for painting photo realistic paintings. Penn & Teller’s inventor friend Tim is interested in figuring out how he did it. To say Tim is mildly obsessed is being polite, but he’s just the right amount of bonkers to be pleasant to watch on his journey to see if he can replicate the techniques, with no background in oil painting. It makes for a great documentary that reminded me of the smaller pictures that Errol Morris made focusing on individuals. The biggest surprise is that there are no tricks, with Penn & Teller attached, it’s directed by Teller, I kept expecting an Orson Welle’s type hoax to pop up and thankfully it never does. Good stuff, and worth your time.


124 04-16 The Blues Accordin’ To Lightnin’ Hopkins (1969) 4/5
125 04-16 The Suns Going to Shine (1969) 3.5
This is a pair of documentary short films by Les Blank featuring blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins. They’re quite brilliant. The first is the main film, and mostly captures Hopkins in his hometown in Texas playing the blues and capturing the community around him. It’s spellbinding. There’s a long sequence where Hopkins “explains the blues” via a song he’s making up on the spot. You wish the movie was three hours long, the less than 40 minute running time isn’t long enough. THE SUNS GOING TO SHINE is a second film made at the same time (probably an outtake), detailing the story of Hopkins leaving home at the age of eight to escape the cotton fields to become a musician. This is part of the Criterion Collection’s LES BLANK: ALWAYS FOR PLEASURE, so there are actually a couple more little shorts included on Hopkins, and it’s STILL NOT ENOUGH! (Also, watch the movie LOUIE BLUIE while you’re at it.)

One of the weird things that struck me watching Lightnin’ Hopkins tonight is the realization that the form of country blues he played is pretty much a dead form now. Anyone playing like that now would probably be labeled a poseur, and as far as a Black cultural thing, Hip Hop has taken it’s place as a form of speaking of the current Black experience. What Chuck D called “The News” for Black America. It makes one appreciate films like this even more. It’s truly a record of what is now lost. I’m sure there are people paying tribute to this music, but that seems different than creating it. Watching Hopkins play, the music flows out of him, the art being as effortless as breathing. A sign of the time and the years he put into it’s craft, art isn’t effortless to anyone if they care about it. Not a tribute of what others did, but the only music he is capable of creating. It’s a blessing that Blank was able to capture a piece of it. Hopkins didn’t want to do the film, Blank won him over finally over a card game. Hopkins made up a song about beating Blank at cards as a joke. Natural brilliance that can’t be helped.

Off to bed.

Movie A Day! 101-110: Easter Nostril Devil

It’s Easter Sunday as I write this. I have no religious reason to celebrate, it’s  a good excuse to have a fancier food is all. So on top of all the chocolate I’ve eaten the past few days, I also went all out and made a coca-cola ham. It was good, and now it’s late and I realize I forgot to update the movie blog. So I’m doing this before I go to bed and watch a documentary on British horror. So I’ll apologize in advance for any extra grammar and spelling errors you will find over the usual, I’m tired.

101 04-01 Revenge of the Creature (1955) 3/5
102 04-02 The Creature Walks Among Us (1956) 3/5
The final two sequels to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Neither of them are as good as the first one, and the second one has a modified suit that looks crap in the water (air bubbles come out of the top of the Gil-Mans head!) but both are enjoyable in their own way. REVENGE has the Gil-Man captured and put on display in a water park. WALKS has a team looking for the Gil-Man in the swamps, with the purpose of manipulating it’s DNA into becoming a super human that can be shot into space. So they are both wonky, but WALKS is the better movie with a great nighttime attack scene. REVENGE is probably most notable for having an unbilled Clint Eastwood in his second film doing a bit in a lab with rats.

103 04-02 Nympho Cycler (1971) 2.5/5
104 04-03 Shot On Location (1972) 1.5/5
A pair of borderling hard core features generally credited as being directed by Ed Wood Jr. NYMPHO was the better film, mainly due to actually having Wood in it as a the leads pervo husband who gets off taking sexy photo of her while he’s dressed in drag. Wood is hammy as hell, and the years of booze show. It’s a pretty sad site, but fascinating all the same. Once Nympho takes off, you never see Wood again and it becomes a rather tedious affair. SHOT ON LOCATION is guessed to have Woods involvement, but there’s nothing in it that worth watching, just the typical stupid grind and moan to be found in the cheapest of sexploitation, which both of these are.

105 04-03 The Nostril Picker (1993) 2.5/5
Super cheap shot on video slasher. A pervo learns the art of being a changeling (original title was THE CHANGER) from a homeless guy, and takes the form of a missing highschool girl so he can befriend some cheerleader types and kill them. Lowbrow in every way, from acting, to effects, but it all adds up to being kind of fun since they really go for it premise wise as opposed to being stupid with it.

106 04-03 Interstellar (2014) 4/5
I don’t think Nolan was completely successful in what he was going for with this, I’d have to watch it again. That said, he goes big with this one, not just in scope but in ideas, and I’ll take that a billion times over some garbage TRANSFORMERS or FAST FURIOUS film. The cast is all great, the films moves like it should and I didn’t find it had the pacing problems some have bitched about. Again, it’s attempting to tackle the big questions, I found the “downtime” just as interesting as the spectacle. That said, I’d be okay with Matthew McConaughey maybe having a time out for a few big films.

107 04-04 Decker: Port of Call: Hawaii (2015) 4/5
Between this, ON CINEMA AT THE CINEMA and their twitter accounts, Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington (Neil Hamburger) are doing some of the best satire to be found, period. It’s going to go down in the history books, so catch up you dummy’s! It can all be streamed on the net! Anyway, DECKER 2 was as brilliantly stupid as the first series, and I never want it to end since it’s a billion times more entertaining and creative than SHIELD WALKING DEAD.

Day of Anger Movie Poster

108 04-04 Day Of Anger (1967) 3.5/5
My ARROW VIDEO subscription has started to arrive, so expect to see their titles appearing again and again in this blog like you do Vinegar Syndrome. This first one is a Spaghetti Western, and a solid one at that. Giuliano Gemma (never heard of him either, he’s big in Europe) plays a bastard child that grew up in a shithole town and is now the towns slop boy, literally carting their poo away, dreaming of being a gunslinger and forcing their respect. Lee Van Cleef (THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY) arrives, and ends up taking the boy under his wing, being the father he never had. Only with lots of killing. If you like westerns, you should like this one, and the blu-ray looks great

109 04-04 Three Ripening Cherries (1979) 2/5
Another Carlos Tobalina snoozer porn. This one is about three sisters (?) who fantasize about what their first sexual experiences will be after learning sex ed in school. That’s the first ten minutes. The rest of the film are lazy, dull group sex scenes that Tobalina apparently never figured out how to film in an interesting way. I’ll watch the second feature on the Vinegar Syndrome disc next weekend.

110 04-05 Mark of the Devil (1970) 3.5/5
Another ARROW VIDEO release, this one was one of the more notorious features to be on the VIDEO NASTIES list in the UK. I watched a crappy download of it a few years ago during one of the horror challenges, and I have to admit, I got more out of it watching it properly restored in it’s correct aspect ratio. Anyway, it’s about abusive witch hunters in England, and takes a serious look at what was going on which means it’s filled with graphic torture and beatings with lots of blood, so it’s pretty great! An insanely young Udo Kier is the star, and that creepy Reggie Nalder who showed up in DRACULA SUCKS is great as the abusive witch hunter. This one is well worth a watch, not just due to it’s place in British Horror, but it’s actually a good movie instead of just relying on shock.

Thanks for reading.

Movie A day! 51-55: Mad Love of Clip Shows

It’s Family Day here in my neck of the Great White North, so of course I’m spending it updating a blog mostly about porn and monster movies. Forever alone, indeed!


051 02-13 House of Dracula (1945) 3/5
This one was kind of the last hoorah of the classic Universal Horror series. The monsters will continue to kick around, mostly in Abbott & Costello comedies that I might watch, or might not. Thankfully, this one isn’t all that bad. A doctor is trying to treat Dracula and the Wolfman to cure them of their “diseases”, since he thinks the monster stuff is a bunch of hooey. Makes for a neat film, and has a cool resolution for the Wolfman films that none of the other monsters receive.


052 02-14 The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) 4/5
Heard a lot about this one so it was nice to finally watch it. It did not disappoint. I haven’t read the Oscar Wilde story, so I can’t comment on accuracy, but the film plays out like a creeping nightmare that doesn’t let up. George Sanders steals the show as narrating cad Lord Wotton, Hurd Hatfield (who I didn’t recognize from anything) is perfectly soulless as Gray and an impossibly young and cute Angela Lansbury was deserving of the Oscar nomination she received. So this one is good stuff and worth a watch if you stumble upon it.


053 02-14 The Mad Love Life of a Hot Vampire (1971) 1.5/5
Cult legend Ray Dennis Steckler does another quickie porno and boy is it a stinker. It starts off gleefully bad like the worst Ed Wood Jr. film you will see, then it’s saddled by nearly 40 minutes of the worst, dirty feet sex. So out of the nearly 60 minute running time, you get about 7 minutes of wonky, non-sex entertainment that is actually quite fun, but not worth it. A real patience tester this one.


054 02-15 SNL 40th Anniversary Special (2015) 3.5/5
A clip show celebrating the past 40 years of Saturday Night Live means you get to see all the actual (mostly) good stuff without plodding through the actual largely unwatchable show every week. This one started off strong, hit a high mark half way through with Martin Short and Mya Rudolph doing a tribute to the comedy music skits, then felt longer than it’s already bloated running time. Still fun though.


055 02-15 Peeping Tom (1973) 1/5
The last of Vinegar Syndromes Peekarama triple bill of Ray Dennis Steckler’s early hardcore work is inexcusably bad. A creeping peeper is spying on people having sex. Basically it’s a bunch of poorly shot loops with no imagination. Steckler was better than this, at least the Mad Vampire one had dopey acting to try simulate a plot. In fact, the shots of the peerer running around Las Vegas in this one have 100 times the flare of than the sex scenes do. This one doesn’t even have a consistent soundtrack. Kudos to VS for releasing this set though, no one else would of touched it with the care they have, and it is a missing link in Steckler’s filmography. That said, Watch his THRILL KILLERS of INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES THAT STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED UP ZOMBIES instead.