Movie A Day: DOA Hara-Kiri

So the last week completely got away from me which is why this is so late in posting. I’m rushing this one, expect more spelling and grammar mistakes than usual.

I went on a Asian film kick aside from the usual noir films, I think this is going to continue for a bit so you’ve been warned on what to expect in the coming weeks.


232 07/23 High Wall (1947) 3/5   A man comes back from the war and believes he has killed his wife in this noir. A psychological thriller with Robert Taylor as the damaged soldier and Audrey Totter as the psychologist treating him to see if he’s fit to stand trial, this one is pretty good though I found the pacing a bit off.


233 07/25 Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) 2/5   I can’t believe I watched this one a second time. It’s not a good movie, basically a low rent teen picture with bad rock ‘n’ roll and the only interesting bit is the reuse of monsters from other AIP pictures. And the the tall in glasses, who I shall ever love.


234 07/25 Dead Or Alive (1999) 3.5/5   Takashi Miike’s yakuza cult hit starts off with one of the most glorious pre-credit sequences of sex and violence you’ll ever see. IT never really settles down either. This one features a Chinese gang and a Japanese cop both after the same Yakuza group. I have to admit, I found it a bit confusing, which I’m chalking up more to my horrid and exhausting work week as opposed to a problem with the film. Well worth checking out since it’s absolutely bonkers.


235 07/26 The Naked City (1948) 3/5   A really tight police procedural noir directed by the great Jules Dassin goes DEEP into investigating a murder of a girl. Like most noir, it’s best to go in cold. I found this one a little off, maybe partly to shooting on location in New York working against it instead of for it making for some dodgy sound design? That said, it is damned fine.


236 07/27 Dead Or Alive 2: Birds (2000) 3.5/5   This one features the stars of the previous film playing mostly different roles. Two hitman get end up on the same job and the film turns into a nostalgic look at family and youth. Which conflicts with the Yakuza stuff, and they grow wings… and I have to admit I was a bit lost with this one too but I liked it.


237 07/28 He Ran All The Way (1951) 3.5/5   Super tight noir starring John Garfield as a payroll robber where everything went pear shaped so he’s holed up with a family waiting for the heat to cool down. Garfield is outstanding in this one as a sweaty, paranoid mess and Shelly Winters holds her own as the wounded girl who gets sucked into caring for him. This one pretty much defines noir tropes and is recommended. Also worth noting, both Garfield and writer Dalton Trumbo were blacklisted in Hollywood at the time, being investigated by HUAC for communism. This would be Garfields last picture, he would die from a heart attack afterwards, his life in shambles from the investigation. History is fun!


238 07/29 Suicide Squad (Extended Edition) (2016) 3/5   Finally caught up with this one. It’s not a bad as everyone was letting on. I mean, it’s not a classic but as far as these superhero things go these days, they’re all pretty much the same. This one managed to take itself a bit serious and be goofy at the same time. The soundtrack didn’t help. The producers also realized the only interesting thing early on, so it’s basically a Harley Quinn movie and Margot Robbie steals the picture. That said, it’s still a bit of a plodding mess, but not a total disaster. This is the only version I watched so I can’t compare it to the theatrical though I’m guessing some weird plot things are do to stuff being added. Who cares, superheros fuck shit up. That’s all that really needs to happen.


239 07/29 Dead Or Alive 3: Final (2002) 3.5/5   The stars of the first two films return in this one, and the series goes back to being a bit bonkers like the first one. This one takes place in the future and deals with Replicants. The type of Replicants you would find in Blade Runner. It’s all a bit cheeky, but it works and ends up being a pretty strong film in its own right. It’s interesting the Miike has done two trilogies now that share cast but not narrative. Good stuff.


240 07/30 Star Trek Original Series Season 2 (1968) 4/5   I’ve been watching this one off and on for three years now so I don’t have any deep thoughts to hit you with. It’s a great season, with many iconic episodes like Amok Time. Mirror Mirror, The Trouble With Tribbles, the only real downer ep was the season finale Assignment:Earth which is actually a backdoor pilot and not very interesting. Otherwise the series holds up just fine and is worth a watch.


241 07/30 Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) 4/5   After watching two trilogies of Takashi Miike, I figured I might as will give this one a go too since it’s been on my shelf. You would think that someone who is so modern and genre defying with Yakuza pictures would be out of step with a period drama but you would be wrong. Miike dials everything back in this one, a story of a Samurai who arrives at an influential house to commit suicide, and it makes for a scathing look at Japanese caste system and history while focusing on more familiar themes like an outsiders family. Great stuff.

Lets take a moment to be thankful for that tall nerdy girl with the glasses, whomever she may be. I hope she had a fulfilled life, as I do you.

Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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