Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 4

Last week was the Presidential inauguration and I found it to be such a massive cluster fuck that I totally forgot to post this, the last of my Scary Movie Challenge list.The day that this posts is also the Bell “let’s Talk” day on Twitter, where every tweet using the hashtag  results in a $.05 donation to mental health initiatives. A large part of my mental health coping is watching movies.

I’m not sure if watching this many movies in one month helps your mental heath.

080 10/25 Leviathan (1989) Blu-ray 3/5   If I remember right this one came out the same year as The Abyss and was pretty much completely forgotten. The case claims it’s “Alien underwater!” and it really wants to be that. Sadly it’s just a really well done monster movie. No classic, but worth a watch.

081 10/25 Evilspeak (1981) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This is my favourite of the anti-Satan scare films of the early 80’s. A kid who’s being bullied at military academy finds a Satanic text and starts inputting it into his Apple II, awakening all sorts of evil stuff. Clint Howard is great in the roll of the kid, and the film gets totally nuts. Makes me want to track down Mazes & Monsters, the other great scare film from the era. It was also nice to watch this uncut on Blu-ray. My previous viewing was via a bootleg download that had the scenes cut during the Video Nasties period inserted but sourced from a bad VHS looking copy. Funnily enough, most of the cut footage was the goofy Satanic text on the Apple II as opposed to violence.

082 10/25 Attack of the Puppet People (1958) DVR 2.5/5   If your movie has something to do with people shrinking or growing into giants, odds are that Bert I Gordon is behind it. This one was too goofy to really enjoy. A weirdo doll maker is shrinking people into dolls for companionship. They never really “attack” either, and there’s a drive-in scene that showing Gordon’s The Amazing Colossal Man which is a massively superior film to this one and reminding the audience of that doesn’t help matters.

083 10/26 Cat People (1982) Blu-ray 3/5   It’s not as good as the original, but it’s not the worst thing either. It’s a case of style over substance, and it mostly works. I would rate it higher but it has some pacing issues. Gorgeous soundtrack though.

084 10/26 The Dark Half (1993) Blu-ray 2.5/5   George Romero tackles another Stephen King story and it’s just too much of a good thing. Basic story is a writer decides to “kill off” his more popular pseudonym, only to have the pseidonym manifest and start killing people. It’s not a bad idea, and the book is great. At 2 hours it makes for a plodding movie.

085 10/26 Bereavement (2010) Blu-ray 3/5   I forgot I had watched this one before. Not a bad movie that gets pretty crazy, about a madman that kidnaps a kid. I just found out this is actually a prequel to Malevolence so I guess I should track that one down.

086 10/26 Burnt Offerings (1976) DVR 4/5   This one is supposedly one of Stephen Kings favourite movies and you can certainly see aspects of The Shining in it. A family rents a house for the summer and starts to become affected. This one a really good, mainly due to Oliver Reed being so intense through out. The rest of the cast with Karen Black and Bette Davis were great too, but man Reed is shithouse bonkers in his intensity. Worth it just for Reed’s performance, with the movie being equally interesting.

087 10/27 The Believers (1987) Blu-ray 2.5/5  I had memories of this one being hot stuff and controversial on release but it ends up being a pretty boring thriller. Martin Sheen is a police psychologist who gets mixed up investigating Voodoo crimes in New York. Some neat ideas and fine acting but it never really adds up to much.

088 10/27 Mazes and Monsters (1982) YouTube 2/5   Evilspeak had me craving this one and I should have left it alone. I recall it being great, but it’s just plodding and stupid. Tom Hanks and his friends get way to into Dungeons and Dragons and the result is boring.

089 10/28 Deathrow Gameshow (1987) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Goofy comedy that doesn’t work as a comedy or a horror film where convicts compete for pardons. It’s over the top in 80’s smarm and is more annoying than good.

090 10/28 Nightmare Sisters (1988) Blu-ray 3.5/5   A trio a sorority girls become succubi after playing around with a crystal ball. It’s painfully bad in the acting department, but the trio is played by Scream Queens Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer, and they turn into naked succubi which makes it all worthwhile. It ends up being a lot of fun.

091 10/28 Hobgoblins (1988) Blu-ray 2/5   Not as bad as Troll 2 as far as Gremlins rip-offs go, but it ain’t very good. When you can’t do better than Ghoulies as a horror comedy, you know you’re in trouble.

092 10/28 Pretty Maids All In A Row DVR 2/5   Rock Hudson stars in this thriller about a series of high school girl murders. Except the majority of the film is about a high school boy with boner problems. This one is supposed to be a black comedy but it never really worked and worse, felt like it would never end. Written and produced by Gene Roddenberry. Gene’s better in space.

093 10/28 Murder Weapon (1989) Blu 3/5

094 10/29 Deadly Embrace (1989) Blu 2/5   A pair of erotic thrillers, meaning “Skinimax” type fair in which women with big hair really get off on kissing guys bellies. Both star Linnea Quigley with “Murder Weapon” about a pair of mob daughters getting out of an asylum being the better of the two mainly due to how insanely gory it gets in the latter half. “Deadly Embrace” sounded like more of the same but sadly it’s just a mediocre skin flick about a neglected wife who hires a pool boy. It’s boring.

095 10/29 The Exorcist (1973) (Theatrical Cut) Blu-ray 5/5   First time watching the original version in years and it still holds up as one of the greatest films ever made. It’s genuinely spooky, of course, but what’s equally impressive is the craft behind it. The score, sound design, acting, shots, editing, all in perfect harmony.

096 10/29 The Doctor & The Devils (1985) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This one is a retelling of the story of “Burke and Hare” legendary grave robbers turned murderers who sold bodies to the London Medical College. This one was really well done. It’s shot more like a drama as opposed to a comedic horror film that the story usually gets. Really worth checking out.

097 10/29 The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) blu-ray 2.5/5   This one isn’t actually one of the worst films ever made, as it’s routinely championed to be. It is a mess though. Adding a bunch of unnecessary psychic mumbo-jumbo to the story doesn’t help. It’s full of ambition and big ideas, it just never actually works. I think this is at least my 3rd time seeing it, and I have to admit it didn’t drive me crazy like it did previously. That said, why Martin Scorsese thinks it’s so great is still a mystery.

098 10/30 The Exorcist III (1990) Blu-ray 4/5   This is one that I never found that great but really clicked with it on this viewing. George C. Scott takes the role of Detective from the first film, this time investigating the murders of the “Gemini Killer”. This one ditches the psychic stuff and concentrates more on the nature of evil. It’s also hilarious while being scary.

099 10/30 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Better than the Renny Harlin re-shoot, but it still doesn’t work. This one follows the story of Father Merrin that is mentioned in the original film, but they change the entire thing for reasons unknown. It’s interesting, but ends up being too muddled to work.

100 10/30 The Puppet Masters (1994) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Another retelling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This one switches things up a bit by concentrating on a government agency trying to figure out and contain the invasion. Think “The X-Files” only with Donald Sutherland. It works, though it plays more like an action film that a horror.

101 10/30 Darkman (1990) Blu-ray 4/5   Mix-up the best traits of the Universal Monsters and slam them into a pulpy superhero story and you get another winner from Sam Raimi. Raimi nails this stuff with style and humour and the cast featuring Liam Neeson and Francis McDormand manage to pull this one off.

102 10/30 The Conjuring 2 (2016) Digital 3.5/5   I’m a big fan of the first one so I was looking forward to this one. It’s good, and I found it to be pretty spooky. Only problem is they go too big in the second half so it loses a bit of its charm. That said, it’s still a fun journey.

 

103 10/31 The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976) Youtube 2/5   After hearing about this one for years I finally gave it a watch. I have zero nostalgia for Paul or the 70’s, so my interest was only out of the cult/campy aspects. It’s simply bad. Painful skits, painful jokes, Kiss rock and are hilarious and yeah, it all adds up to being weird. It’s still not any good.

104 10/31 The Initiation (1984) Blu-ray 3/5   The latest from Arrow arrived in my mailbox so I gave it a spin. It’s an okay slasher but nothing special despite one of the most convoluted plots I’ve encountered yet. An amnesiac college girl is being stalked by a killer from her past, only it’s way more complicated.

And that is it. I broke 100 films in the 2016 challenge, the “winner” was 149. Oh well, there’s always next year.

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! 086-090 : Don’t

A blurb on the news just now showed a 30 year old cat. 30 years old. It was a cat, not a puddle of cat fur, but a live cat. I thought my old cat Dickie did good getting to 18-19. 30? I can’t get my head around it. Wouldn’t that be like living to 200? Who wants to live that long? I’m going to have nightmares.


086 03-08 Broken Oath (1977) 3.5/5
It’s international women’s day, so what better film to watch than one starring Angela Mao kicking the shit out of a bunch of guys? This one starts off pretty grim, with a woman having her husband killed, then sent to prison for his murder after she takes the eye out of one of the murderers while he tries to rape her. She ends up giving birth to a baby daughter while in jail, and that daughter grows up to vengeance obsessed Mao who learns martial arts and befriends scorpions as pets to poison those who get in her way. It’s a gonzo kung-fu flick, but a good one. My only complaint is they seem to lessen Mao’s role as it gets later in the picture when they don’t need to, she’s awesome.


087 03-09 Strangers May Kiss (1931) 3/5
Another Pre-Code classic, this one stars Norma Shearer as a forward thinking woman of the jazz age looking for love. It’s a melodrama, and soapy as hell, but delicious all the same. Not much else to say since plot wise, it’s pretty typical; woman throws away everything for a swaggering playboy, suffers for it. Shearer does a great job in the lead, showing both strength and vulnerability as the woman who can’t seem to get a break. It’s worth checking out if you like these kind of things.


088 03-12 Hi, Nellie! (1934) 4/5
This one is the third film in the latest pre-code set from Warner Archive, but it’s not much of a pre-code film. That said, it’s a hell of a newsroom type detective story. Paul Muni plays the managing editor of a newspaper who get’s busted down to writing the Heartthrob column (writing under the pseudonym “Nellie”) after miss-calling a story in which it appeared that a bank founder ran off with $500,000. It’s part daffy comedy, part investigative detective story, and one hell of a whirlwind. Paul Muni was one of the greatest actors to grace the screen, and there is nothing old fashioned about his performance here. Muni is easily ground zero for the type of performance that would be carried on by Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert De Niro, and others. Really great stuff, this one gets a solid recommend.

Creature from the Black Lagoon
089 03-13 The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) 4/5
Monster movies were out by the fifties, replaced by Sci-fi terror for the atomic age. Giant bugs, alien invaders, and the king of them all Godzilla would debut the year that Creature came out. The Creature was the last of the Universal Monsters, the last iconic character to get it’s own series of films. Archaeologists find a weird fossil of a claw sticking out of a rock, and go in search of the skeleton. This leads them to the black lagoon off the amazon, and they discover that the creature behind that claw is actually kicking around. For a rubber suit, the Creature is amazing! Tons of under water action, and the actor/stuntman playing the creature do a great job giving him character. Lots of great set pieces, goofy scientific explanations, and a pair of leads trying to outdo each other, one pulling an odd Chuck Heston vibe, the other a ruthless not quite Kirk Douglas. Well worth watching, just like all the other monster movies from Universal.

 
090 03-14 Don’t Go In The Woods… Alone (1981) 3/5
This one won’t be for everyone, or possibly anyone reading this blog. A super cheap slasher about a group of kids getting killed by a maniac in the woods. That’s the whole plot too, 4 youg people, wandering around in the woods, getting attacked. Other people, also wandering around in the woods, get attacked as well. There’s no character development, mystery, nothing, just people getting killed. The kill scenes are more ambitious than they could handle, so they throw fake blood all over the place to compensate. Hence this one became an official “Video Nasty” back in the 80’s, despite being pretty terrible. That said, if you’re a fan of the genre, this one is so completely shit that it manages to be oddly dreamlike and “good” to watch. It’s not good, it’s not so bad it’s good, it’s mostly just bad. Bad on all levels, from acting, to the effects, to pacing, to flare from the film being loaded into the camera wrong. So I don’t know why I “liked” it. The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray is as good as this film is likely to ever look.

Some good movies in this batch. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Creature at this point. It always entertains. Beautifully filmed. I finished Patton Oswalt’s new book, SILVER SCREEN FIEND a couple days ago. It’s a memoir detailing a 4-5 year period where he was hooked, bad, going to the movies. Racking up my kind of numbers. It’s a cautionary tale. I wanted to check off the films he lists in the back. I’m in deep, the movies will be the death of me.

Movie A Day! 076-080: Mostly Movies

It’s that time of the week, MOVIE UPDATE TIME! Actually, I don’t have a time of week, I just do these whenever I get five titles. Is that working for everyone? I think people still read this. It’s a good time to post this, on a Wednesday. A weird mix in this one, as per usual.


076 02-28 The Ribald Tales of Canterbury (1985) 2/5
Back in 1972, Pasolini did a sexy version of THE CANTERBURY TALES as part of his TRILOGY OF LIFE, so you would think there would of been dozens of porn versions ripping it off. And there may be, but this is the one that I watched. This one is most notable as being one of the last adult features shot on 35mm film for the theaters, and watching it, that’s about it. The production value is all there, and the non-sex acting is all decent enough. The main problem is that by this point, the video era was in full swing so there is just too many drawn out sex scenes to keep the movie interesting. Vinegar Syndromes DVD is a good one though, and the director Bud Lee’s commentary is actually better than the movie. (Also, this Criterion version of the Trilogy of Life is great!)


077 03-01 MasterChef Junior Season 3 (2015) 3/5
Despite my tendency to avoid anything with children on TV, I think this one might be the best of the MasterChef programs since it forces the judges to act like human beings instead of total assholes. As an added bonus, you get the freak show of watching kids cook things you have never heard of so that you can fully realize your failure at 40 years old. So yeah, for a competition kick off cooking show, CHOPPED is still the best, but this one would be the close second.


078 03-01 The 3rd Canadian Screen Awards (2015) 2/5
For all the movies I watch, you would think I would have a pretty good handle on my countries films. NOPE!  I never heard of most of the films featured, and they all mostly looked annoying and in French so I’ll probably never see them. I watched this due to SCTV favourite Andrea Martin hosting, and she was great other than completely disappearing from the broadcast after the introduction. They really pumped out the awards, this sucker wrapped up in two hours, and had bonker winners like POMPEII winning for having been a Canadian produced film (?!?) that earned 100 million at the box office. CRAZY PANTS!


079 03-02 Port of New York (1949) 2/5
This one was a police procedural crime flick featuring Yul Brynner (with hair!) as a drug king-pin, and follows the federal agents trying to roust him. Everything is here for a good movie, it just never really kicks off like it should so it ends up being a bit plodding in the pacing. Yul is great though, but it’s not worth seeking out.


080 03-03 She-Wolf of London (1946) 2/5
I had totally missed that this was in my big Universal Monsters set, mainly because I had never seen it before! Sadly, there’s no monster in sight. Instead it a gaslighting mystery that isn’t the worst thing you’ll ever see, just an uninspired one. Especially if you’re looking for a She-wolf!

Those Canadian awards were really desperate. There was two given out for Television Drama, one for Best Drama, and one for Most Popular Drama. they should bring this stuff to the Academy awards. since Doogie was making such a big deal out of American Sniper earning 600 million, it would of been fun for Guardians Of The Galaxy to win Best Picture for making a billion or whatever.

That’s it for now. Like and share if you like this dumb blog, though admittedly, this one isn’t the most entertain entry.

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.

Movie A Day! 46-50: Awkward Blog

It’s a weird one this time folks. Talking vaginas, Mummy’s, Beck, there’s a little bit of everything in this batch.


046 02-07 Mai Lin Vs. Serena (1982) 2/5
This one is the second feature on the same Peekarama disc with the previously looked at ORIENTAL HAWAII, and sadly also wasn’t all that great. Carlos Tobalina (again directing under a pseudonym) cameos as himself, offering a $25,000 contract (which is hilarious, he probably made two entire features for that amount) to the star who can prove they are the “hottest”. Basically sets up a bunch of uninspired, poorly shot sex scenes, (and one flat out gross) to make for a really bland raincoater that’s well on the tail, crappy end of the porno chic era.


047 02-08 57th Annual Grammy Awards (2015) 3/5
Got rooked into watching these, and I have to admit, it wasn’t terrible. Pretty much non-stop music performances, and for the most part everyone was at least interesting to watch if not flat out amazing like Annie Lenox and Tom Jones. Plus Beck got a couple, which for a geezer like me makes it feel like an old pal won since I’ve been listening to him for so long. Oh, and LL Cool J is still a shithead.


048 02-08 Chatterbox! (1977) 3/5
A woman one night discovers that her vagina can talk, and boy is that vagina sassy! Her “Chatterbox” has a really good voice, so her psychiatrist helps launch a singing/acting career. I’m not making any of this up, and it’s actually a comedy and not a porno (no vagina is actually shown). It’s piss poor and cheap, the boom mike is in as many shots as it is out of (though the film may be cropped wrong on the DVD since it’s full screen instead of wide) and none of the actors are all that great. Candice Rialson in the lead manages to make it all work since she pulls off the sexy but naive lead role of the woman cursed with a talking vagina. Plus it has Rip Taylor mincing his way through an extended cameo, so that’s enough about that one.


049 02-09 The Mummy’s Curse (1944) 2.5/5
After the surprisingly poetic end of the last picture, I don’t think we needed any more Mummy movies. This one has the swamp that Kharis and Anaka ended up in being drained 20 years after the previous events (which based on the timeline set in the first film, should of had this one taking place in the 80’s), so some Egyptian goof is trying to wrangle up the Mummy’s for some reason that’s never really made clear. There’s some neat scenes in this, but the series has worn out it’s welcome that not even Lon Chaney Jr. as the Mummy can hold any attention.


050 02-11 The Book Of Negroes (2015) 2.5/5
This one was a 6-part mini-series on the good ole’ CBC, eh! Based on the book of the same name (at least in Canada, I think it was renamed for other territories), it tells the story of a young girl who was taken from Africa and sold into slavery in the late 1700’s. It’s pretty much 6 episode of varying misery, but an incredible all the same. Until you find out that it’s a historical fiction and the woman’s story you just watched didn’t actually exist. It’s a shame, since based on being able to read, write and speak three or four languages on top of being fearless in speaking to authority, the lead is practically super-powered for the period and I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t an icon for the feminist movement. So to have her that strong, and not based on an actual person, well, it’s bullshit and while the show was good, as was everyone in it, it’s clouded to me.

I can’t help but think that the “educated black” is a trope for movies about the slave trade as a way to make white audiences more sympathetic. 12 YEARS A SLAVE had it with the wrong enslaving of a classically trained violinist and BOOK here has it like crazy with the, as I stated, practically super-powered educated slave who wrote her own story and testifies to the British courts. I wonder if its planned to elicit even more “isn’t that just terrible!” thoughts from the audience, that maybe wouldn’t happen if the lead was an uneducated thief or something? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it seems manipulative at best, and judgmental at worst.

That’s enough for now. I’m going to have to dig DJANGO UNCHAINED out for a re-watch. I identify more with rage and anger against racism and injustice than what these ones chose to depict.

Movie A Day! 031-035: Katnips & Monkeys & Monsters OH MY!

Welcome to what just might be my most commercial selection of viewings ever posted! no grimy sleaze, just good ole’ fashioned franchise picture with the only broken thumb being a silent film from a mainstream director. This is the one post you can show to your mum and have her not be offended!


031 01-24 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) 4/5
I finally got around to watching the sequel. I really liked the first film, but didn’t see how they could really continue it so I wasn’t in any rush to watch this one. Ends up it’s just as good as the first film! It suffers a little bit of feeling like a “Middle Film” in a trilogy of stories in that the plot is in service of setting up further films, but it still works. That said, I have no idea why everyone is so invested in keeping Peeta safe, that guy is the king of all useless schmucks. I had also forgotten that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was in this one, one of his last completed roles. Damn, is he effortless and great. I’m going to miss not getting new Hoffman films. Now I have to wait for the better part of a year to watch the next one. RATS!


032 01-25 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) 4/5
Well, it was a good weekend of sequels for me, since this one was even better than the first! Why Andy Serkis isn’t getting all the awards in the world is beyond me. And fuck Lego while we’re at it, THIS is the best animated film I’ve seen from 2014! (I’ve not seen The Lego Movie, I’m sure it’s fine.) Anyway, it continues the story of Caesar as leader of the apes, taking place ten years later. Who thought that the best film about the current terrorist situation happening in our world would be one full of apes?


033 01-26 House of Frankenstein (1944) 4/5
Okay, this one is a bit of a mess after the last picture, but it’s such a colossal monster wham-bam it’s hard not to love it. Boris Karloff returns to the Frankenstein series as a mad Doctor obsessed with recreating Frankensteins’ experiments. In his efforts, he unleashes every monster there is, with the Mummy being the only exception. He revives Dracula, thaws out the Frankenstein Monster and The Wolfman, hell, even his hunchback assistant falls for a gypsy girl. It’s flat out bonkers, but they manage to tie it all up into a story that makes just enough sense to pull it off.


034 01-27 The Eric Andre Show Season 3 (2014) 4/5
Another stellar season of talk show. While it never hit the remarkably insane heights of the second season, it still got incredibly out there. Especially compared to all the other stuff on TV.


035 01-28 Fulta Fisher’s Boarding House (1922) 3/5
Frank Capra made his directorial debut with this short. It’s based on the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name, it follows the rough dealings of sailors in a boarding house, but in a fun way. It actually plays like a music video, despite being silent. Which just goes to show how talented Capra was since he managed to make a lyrical, fluid short the first time out.

Ah, such a wholesome posting! I’ll have to finish that Spinilli triple feature for the next one to get some sleaze back into the blog.

Movie A Day! 026-030: “The Walls of Jericho”

So the weather has been insanely good for this time of year this past week, averaging around 5C most days, even having light rain. It shouldn’t be nicer than about -8C. Now I hate the cold, don’t get me wrong, I plan on moving to gentler climates. This unnatural, nice, spring like weather of the past week and a bit is more spooky than enjoyable to me. Yeah, global warming keeping us out of the -40C torture is nice to yuk about, but seeing as this is the second year in a row where this chinook like wave has happened in January, it’s leaves me feeling weary of the future. Meanwhile, scientists have ticked the “Doomsday Clock” two minutes closer to midnight. The bastards.

Let’s watch some movies!


026 01-18 It Happened One Night (1934) 4/5
Easily one of the most derided genre in films is the “Romantic Comedy.” The plots and actors are often interchangeable, you pretty much know how it’s going to end before it starts. Well, they all pretty much started here. Frank Capra makes one of the first screwball comedies, and it’s a smart, funny, and yes, romantic film. Claudette Colbert escapes from her rich father’s yacht and is trying to get to New York to reunite with her dopey husband that she eloped with. Along the way she runs into floundering newsman Clark Gable and the fun begins. It totally works, both the comedy of “manners” (Sex. This film is all about the politics of sex) and the slow, burning love story. It’s the first film to sweep the major awards at the Oscars, and Capra will go on to even greater pictures with a social conscience like “Mr. Deeds Goes To Town” and “It’s A Wonderful Life”.


027 01-19 Orson Welles: The One Man Band (1995) 4/5
This is the final, full length documentary on Orson Welles that was featured on the Criterion Collection disc for F FOR FAKE and it’s a good one. It looks on all the post F projects Welles worked on, and never completed. Featuring fragments and clips shot for all types of films, it’s a bit heartbreaking to watch. Some of it, like Welles reciting lines from MOBY DICK don’t even really make sense since they don’t look like any kind of film, but are still completely captivating to watch. I’d take a book on tape version read by Welles. There’s also a lot of cool clips of Welles performing magic tricks and of course, interviews with Welles. It’s all good, and worth checking out, especially now as it seems like they’ve figured out the logistics to release his last mostly completed film, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND. Fingers crossed anyway.


028 01-19 The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) 3/5
Not much to talk about with this one. It’s the fourth film in the Mummy series of Universal Monster movies, and the third to feature Kharis wandering around looking for Princess Anaka. Lon Chaney Jr. is back as the mummy, but in terrible “Burned Mummy” make-up that looks like they smeared mud all over his head. It drags along, but has a genuinely surprising and corny final act that actually makes it really worthwhile to watch.


029 01-22 Frank Capra’s American Dream (1997) 4/5
The meatiest of the special features on the IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT disc from Criterion, a feature length documentary on the the director. Like all good documentaries on the movies, this one features just the right amount of films clips to balance the talking heads. It leaves no film unturned while exploring the darker side of Capra’s personality since he dealt with bad depression all his life while making the idealistic films in the the history of the medium. My problem with films like this is it makes me want to rewatch all the films, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON should be mandatory viewing for anyone even thinking of entering politics.


030 Noon Wine (1966) 3.5/5
Sam Peckinpah hit the skids after MAJOR DUNDEE, managing to get blacklisted in Hollywood. This is a standalone story he shot for television, adapting the screenplay himself and directing. It tells a compact story of a dairy farmer (Jason Robards, who is typically great in this) who hires a Swede who’s a bit of an oddball to do all the heavy lifting on the farm since his wife (Academy award winning legend Olivia de Havilland, also typically great) is having health problems. It’s surprisingly warm for a Peckinpah film, but does take a relentless, dark turn that is surprising now, I can’t imagine what it must of been like when it aired in 1966. It ended up being a hit, Sam won awards for the script and direction, and moved on to make THE WILD BUNCH and solidifying himself as one of the great mavericks in Hollywood history. Ends up being a good film tossed on as a bonus feature on the Twilight Time release of THE KILLER ELITE.

I wonder why we no longer have anthology shows on television? At a time where HBO and the like are making better movies with series like GAME OF THRONES and THE WIRE then the actual movies, you’d think some network would block out an hour long spot to give filmmakers and playwrights a shot to have creative control to tell a story. I think the last ones we got were TWILIGHT ZONE type reboots, which is fine, but I can’t help but think a more wide open format would be at the very least interesting, if not great. Someone write Hollywood and TV a letter.

Until next time.

Movie A Day! 011-020

So in typical fashion during the holidays, some dumb family stuff went down. I nearly made it through unscathed, but New Years day, people decided to get shitty for all the wrong reasons. I wont get into details since none of it really directly effects me, but it made me realize that I hated hearing the drama and I don’t really need to hear it. Which got me thinking about social media. Do I really need to be plugged into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatever else all day and all night long via my cellphone? Especially since I spend all day on a PC at work, and more than a fair share at home. So I decided to pull the plug on social media on my cell phone. So when I’m away from the computer, I am away from the “noise”. Sounds good right?

It sucks. Twitter is pretty much “The News” now, if you follow the right feeds. I’m so use to being plugged in that my brain is all short circuited by not having all the feeds at my finger tips, and the convenience of instagram to look at cat pictures, or check out Vice news while standing in a line or on the bus. And this disconnected “What am I Missing?” panic is while still regularly checking in on all of it throughout the day. It’s weird right? This must be what addiction feels like. Have any of you tried cutting the computer cord as far as social media goes?

Movies! (and television specials)

011 01-05 Son Of Dracula (1943) 3/5
Okay, I’m giving this a three out of five which in my ratings means it’s pretty good and I’d probably watch it again. I’m going to watch it again because it’s from the Universal Monster cycle and I’m always watching these films at some point, but it really isn’t that good of a movie. Lon Chaney Jr. get’s a crack at playing a vampire, as he stars as Count Alucard, the son of Dracula. See what they did there? I told you it wasn’t that good of a movie. The thing is, it’s so wonky, it could have been a good movie but the casting stinks. Chaney Jr. is a terrible Dracula, but Universal wanted him to be a “Man of a Thousand Faces” like his old man so he got the push. Frank Craven (don’t worry, there’s no need for you to have heard of him, I had to look him up) as the Doctor that figures things out is so homespun and folksy that it doesn’t help any either. So you get a dopey, miscast vampire picture with a some good ideas (like DRACULA’S DAUGHTER, this one too has a women that ultimately takes control) and some cool effects that is fun but really just doesn’t work. So a good “bad” film it ends up being, but certainly not essential.

012 01-06 41st People’s Choice Awards (2015)1.5/5
Stumbled into watching this one. It was boring. A bunch of people I barely recognize from shows I don’t watch got awards. It was hosted by the stars of MOM, some sitcom I’ve never even heard of but one of them is Anna Faris from the SCARY MOVIE series. I like her, but she is a terrible host. Favourite movie was MALEFICENT, so that’s about enough said about this one.

013 01-08 Elvis (The ‘68 Comeback Special) (1968) 5/5
014 01-08 Elvis – 1st Sit Down Show (2004) 4/5
It was The King’s birthday, so we spun this one. The “Comeback Special” has to be one of the most electrifying things to have ever aired on TV. Elvis performs in front of a live audience for the first time in 8 years with everything to prove, and he completely succeeded in relaunching his career after becoming a parody of himself (not for the first time) making those dopey movies. The final performance of “If I Can Dream” completely holds up today message wise. Forget all the jokes, the jumpsuits and stories, and check out the link and see an artist perform with the type of complete conviction rarely seen.

The sit down show is one of many special features on the DVD set. Elvis recorded two “informal jam” sit down performances and two “Stand-up” solo performances in front of studio audiences while recording the special. This is the complete footage of the first sit-down show, finding Elvis reunited with DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore who he performed and recorded with in 1956. It’s raw, it’s messy, and it’s staggering to see Elvis stumble over stories and then effortlessly turn it on and nail a song.

015 01-09 The Raid 2 (2014) 4.5/5
So how do you top one of the best action films ever made? You don’t, you go “The Godfather Part II” route and create a film with more depth. It shouldn’t work in the action genre, but fuck me, these guys managed to add a twisty turny, noirish gangland plot without compromising all the kickassery that you can find in the first film. It’s pretty much the perfect martial arts movie and highly recommended.

016 01-10 August: Osage County (2013) 3/5
This one kept getting trailered at the start of blu-rays (new word alert! When a trailer for a film is constantly being shoved at the start of a DVD/Bluray, it’s getting “Trailered”. Someone write Webster!) and got me interested enough that I decided if I ever saw it on sale cheap I would pick it up. Mainly due to being a long time fan of Juliette Lewis. Anyway, it popped up for $5, which is as cheap as it gets these days. It’s good. It’s a southern drama based on a play that manages to not feel too much like a play while you watch it. It’s rather soapy and melodramatic, but everyone is really good in it, and I’m biased to think Lewis was really good in a smaller but complicated role as the little sister. Oh, it’s about a bunch of sisters reuniting with their bitch mum over a family tragedy. Juliette Lewis plays the little sister. Did I mention Juliette Lewis was in this? It was good and fan fave Benedict Cumberbatch is in it too.

017 01-11 Doctor Who S02E01-3 Planet of Giants (1964) 2.5/5
Since Who is so stand alone in it’s stories, and the BBC actually sell them as separate films instead of seasons, I figured I might as well count the classic Who as their own thing. This is the season 2 opener, and it was ambitious in scope but just didn’t work. The TARDIS futzes while landing on contemporary earth causing it and it’s passengers to arrive about ant size. This sets off a plot about someone who’s developed an insecticide that is capable of killing all insects. It’s just too much of a collision of two different plots and just never works.

Tina Fey, Margaret Cho, and Amy Poehler.

018 01-11 72nd Golden Globes (2015) 3/5
The only reason to watch this is for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. They nailed the opening like no others have nailed an award show opening before. Sadly, as the show dragged on, they appeared less and less which made the show less fun to watch.

019 01-12 The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944) 3/5
Yup, still watching the old Universal Horror films. Down to one a week, they’ve taken the place of my beloved Zatoichi. This one makes zero sense as far as the Invisible Man series goes since while the Invisible Man has the name “Griffin” like his predecessors, he is no scientist and ends up getting invisibility via a mad doctor played by John Carradine. If you can get past that, it’s pretty damned good. Griffin was ripped off, possibly thought killed by partners in a diamond mine deal gone wrong. It’s years later and he’s recovered his memory, and is looking for his cut. A very noirish plot for a horror film, that’s balanced by some really wonky comedic elements and the best special effects yet. Sadly, this is the last of the Invisible Man cycle, he’ll only show up on comedy bits now, which we’ll get to eventually.

020 01-13 Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe (2014) 3/5
Pretty self explanatory this one. Charlie takes a look at the news year that was 2014. If you don’t know who Charlie is (if you’re outside of the UK you probably don’t, I learned of him from The Farwall.) you should acquaint yourself with his work since he’s arguably doing some of the best TV, period. Anyway, this one wasn’t as funny as past years, and frankly, that it was funny at all is a miracle when you consider the constant horrors that seemed to be coming weekly last year. So it’s worth a watch, plus Shitpeas and Chunk are back and brilliant, and the only misstep is the totally shit song he ends it with.

There it is. Instead of posting every Monday I thought I’d post every ten films. Ten seems too long though so I think I’ll do it every 5 films. Thoughts?

Movie A Day!: 390-396 -“Work? I saw a baby blown apart at my ‘Work.'”

How is everyone doing? Everyone holding up? Christmas and the holidays are descending like a fog and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. I continue to not feel the spirit. Maybe it’s from being old, single and childless, but in the “take it or leave” it side of Christmas, I could leave. Except for the turkey dinner, I like that part. I’m going to try to get out a bit over my Christmas week off work and hopefully not get totally despondent like I usually do. Hopefully all of you do the same.

Here’s my last week of films, some really good ones!

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390 12-15 Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1943) 4/5
I’m rating this one higher than a non-fan of the series would. This was the first big monster meetup picture for the Universal Monster series, and as such acts as a sequel to THE WOLFMAN and THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN. That said, it’s more of a sequel to Wolfie since it largely follows the story of Talbot and his werewolf curse. Anyway, it totally delivers and manages to be a really dark picture as far as tone goes. It’s also notable for being the only time Bela Lugosi would play Frankenstein, and he does a pretty good job other than they fucked him over. Carrying on from GHOST, the monster was supposed to talk in this one, but the studio thought it looked corny and cut all the dialog. So you have poor Bela stumbling about with arms flailing looking a bit wonky when he’s actually playing the monster blind, which you will never know since they cut the dialog explaining the blindness. Still, in the end, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, I just wish Universal would get off their asses and restore these since the print used on the DVD is the worst one in the set, so far.

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391 12-16 Michael Buble’s Christmas in New York (2014) 2.5/5
12-16 A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) 5/5
12-16 Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (2002) 1.5/5
Yup, I’m still getting rooked into Christmas specials. This year, 2014, is the year in which some new singer named Ariana Grande is on every TV special. Some how dopey Canadian crooner Buble roped her into singing on his special. Grande is technically a good singer in that she hits the notes, but she’s one of those soulless, mechanical singers that appear to be reading a phone book, with no care or effort happening, that always spooks me and makes me not like them. This special is also the second special to feature the legendary Rockettes kicking their legs all over the place. I don’t get them either. Give me some tap dancers and I’m in. This corny revue stuff leading into leg kicking is a bunch of bullshit. The highlight, and the reason I’m giving it 2.5 stars. is Buble sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Miss Piggy, with Miss Piggy taking the rapist part that the guys usually sing. Awesome!

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is a classic that you should have seen by now. The other one was terrible, featuring gaggy vignettes that I’m guessing were taken from the actual daily strips. It didn’t work as a cartoon special, and actually put me off getting some of the beautiful strip reprints that Fantagraphics have been putting out.

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392 12-17 Captive Wild Woman (1943) 3/5
Ever wanted to see a movie where a mad scientist turns a gorilla into a beautiful woman that can control lions and tigers to help a circus act? Here’s your chance! This is as wonky a Universal Horror title as you will find, and a heck of a lot of fun. To a point, and that point is to be found in how much animal mayhem you can enjoy before thinking thay should leave the poor wild beasts alone. Seriously, nearly half of the 61 minute running time is tiger and lion taming, and it’s just inherently cruel right? At least they got to be in the movies so we could enjoy their torture forever and ever. Right? Hello? Still with me?

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393 12-18 Zatoichi in Desperation (1972) 4/5
Zatoichi star Katsu directs this one, the second last film in the original series, and holy shit is it a dark one. At this point, Zatoichi is pretty much running on instinct and barely able to live with himself after all the constant failures of redemption and killings that go with them. It’s got the typical, trying to help people and gets mixed up with the Yakuza plot, but everything is gritty, poor and brutal. Katsu does some unnecessarily flashy flourishes in the directors chair, but it doesn’t take away from the naturalistic feel of this one. One more film and I’m done. I DON’T WANT IT TO END!

394 12-19 Noah (2014) 3.5/5

Maybe it was low expectations due to this one getting a critical thrashing but I really liked it. It’s a gonzo version of the Noah’s Ark story, but I’m fine with the filmmaker taking liberty with the source material, especially if it’s Darren Aronofsky. Visually impressive like all his work, and the film moves at a pretty quick pace. Russell Crowe and the rest of the cast are just as good, and it’s nice to see a Bible film deal with the real world ramifications of “miracles” in a more realistic way (despite this being a fantasy picture) than in wonder and awe of how amazing things are. If that makes sense.

395 12-20 Prisoner of Paradise (1980) 3/5

Adult auteur Bob Chinn takes on WW2 with John Holmes with this one. Holmes washes up on a deserted pacific island, only it’s not deserted after all. Nazis have set up a secret listening post, run by a porky dude, and two wicked female guards, one of them porn legend Seka. Everything is set-up to be some prime, gonzo Nazisploitation, but Chinn plays it more like a straight WW2 actioner with porn in it, so it never really takes off despite the cast all doing a pretty decent job acting. Seka as the nasty bitch head guard and Holmes as the burned out navy survivor steal the show, but there isn’t much to steal in this one.

396 12-20 Out Of The Furnace (2013) 3.5/5

This one seemed to sneak out last year with no one really talking about it. Christian Bale stars as a steelworker who is trying to keep his family together after a brief prison stint for a DUI accident. It plays like the character study type noirs that came out in the seventies, in a good way. Pitch perfect performances abound with Casey Affleck as his troubled little brother, Willem Dafoe as a small town gangster and Woody Harrelson as a violent, hillbilly sociopath. This is such a different film than what typically comes out these days with a cast like that, it’s well worth a sit down to watch.

There it is, not a huge week compared to some I’ve had, but all the films were good so I’ll take it. OUT OF THE FURNACE is really sticking with me, two days later. Definitely one I’ll spin again at some point and will recommend.

This is probably my last until Christmas, so have a happy one doing whatever you do or don’t do around the holiday you may or may not recognize. To quote Paul F. Tompkins;

“Don’t get drunk and fight each other.”