Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Land of the Minotaur - 1976

Also known as "The Devil's Men"

I'm sort of glad I'm sticking to the basic idea of having a 1976 marathon.  I didn't really intend to keep it going nor did I intend to start it to begin with, but it gives me a fun time searching, and it does make the movies easy to compare.  IMDb has a total of 2,956 titles that come up when I click on the year 1976 link.  Isn't that insane? That's 8 movies coming out ever single day of the year...

The Devil's Man would be a fitting title, more accurate.  Now, sure, there is a minotaur thing in the film.  But what I mean is a statue of a minotaur.  It does breath fire out of it's nose, however it doesn't move nor does it ever get shown actually killing anyways.

What this is, I formulated in my head as I was watching it, is a mystery movie without the mystery and a horror movie without the horror. Which leaves it in general as a suspense.  But wouldn't it be better if the suspense had some mystery or horror to back it up?  Yes, I will go ahead and answer that for you.  Yes it would be.  So you as the audience will know what's going on from early on then you'll just have to wait for the end.

Donald Pleasence plays a priest, and he is in town to help out with some recent disappearances that have been going on.  Peter Cushing is Baron Corofax, a mysterious and ruthless individual who later turns out to the be cult leader.  That's not a spoiler - they tell you that at like minute 30.  Also, we are well aware the minotaur statue is basically satan and that the culty religion has been sacrificing people to the minotaur statue.

I wanted a live minotaur, obviously.  I wanted some 70's costume which was shrouded in black and looked positively badass.  Now, the statue thing is pretty neat I'll say.  But we're never shown it actually killing anyone, and all it does therefore is sit there and have fire shoot out of it's nose.  It does "speak" meaning we can hear the voice of supposedly satan while the camera lingers on the minotaur.  However, normally it speaks through Cushing as the leader or it speaks through some children.

It goes as expected.  It's very over long and dialogue heavy.  Not much happens for a lot of the movie, and this is a classic example of a movie I wanted to like but couldn't.  Despite the great casting of two actors I like, and despite the obviously decently budgeted look.  I don't know.  Could clearly have been a case of:  it wasn't what I was looking for.

I will give it a 2.5 straight down the road rating.  Hm.  You know what, make that 2.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Slime City - 1988

I may have explained how much I like the bizarre subgenre "body horror" at some point on here.  I really like the appeal of stuff where the main characters or other characters have disgusting, terrible things happening to their bodies.  Melting, decomposing, growing weird appendages, etc.  It's sort of a minor obsession of mine you could say.

This movie was very same mind-frame as the winner Street Trash.  Both of them I liked, and I would actually say I liked Smile City a bit more.  I think one thing I didn't expect from this movie - I definitely didn't expect to like it this much!  Made on a minuscule $50,000 budget, it's low budget as fuck and desperately handicapped in every way, yet somehow works anyway.

Alex moves into a new apartment building in the beginning of the flick.  He is one of only a few young people living in a mostly elder occupied apartment building.  He goes about, and soon meets his sexy sultry young neighbor Nicole and her lover Roman.  Roman eventually feeds Alex some bizarre looking green stuff he says is "Himalayan yogurt" as well as a green drink he says was made by an alchemist.  Soon enough, Alex sleeps with Nicole, and starts having intense body-transforming things happening to him.

The movie moves at a good pace, and nothing too boring or stupid happens.  It's low in scope, there's not a lot of characters or anything in the flick to begin with.  Alex and his gf Lori have a falling out, as well as Alex and his friend Jerry.  Once Alex is affected by the green yogurt stuff he starts melting and leaking yellow puss everywhere.  Pretty soon he discovers if he kills someone, he will stave off the melting, and it gives him a sort of euphoric high.  Then, the cops are on his trail, and also his dependency on the yogurt and on his neighbors grows.

There's even some small subplots thrown in, and Alex is a likable and interesting character.  The music I thought was pretty good too, I remember liking it.  The movie looks like shit, but I do wonder when I watch stuff on Amazon Prime.  Amazon Prime is not a great place to watch things in high quality.  Plus it was pan and scan format and I wonder if this was sourced from a VHS.  Most likely, if my eye does not deceive me.

For what it was, I liked it a lot!  The effects were fucking great, and they're present for most the movie.  I also didn't know exactly which way the movie would go, which characters would die, etc.  It does a decent job of keeping you interested.  For an amateur first attempt, it was damn good.  I give it 3.5 stars.  It would be a fun "friends" movie to put on while everyone is smoking and drinking and attempting to touch a breast or crotch.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Amazing Transparent Man - 1960

Okay, so I guessed way off on the year to this movie.  This is very old looking, and the effects could have been done in the 40's (which is what I guessed) so I guess maybe that's a small disparagement to this movie.  However, I did actually like this movie....so... Well yeah.

The Amazing Transparent Man was not the first movie to attempt or be about an invisible man.  HG Wells Invisible Man came out in 1933, and there had been other films since then to dabble in the genre.  This particular invisible man is sort of a combination between a Frankenstein construct and the invisible dude idea.

Dr. Peter Ulof is a German scientist brought to the US and forced to do invisible experimentation because evil man Paul Krenner is holding Ulof's wife hostage.  Thus, Ulof begins experimenting on escaped criminal Joey.  Joey is your average sort of antihero, I'd say well written and well acted.  His motivations are explained and he's given time to show that he is in fact not a thoroughly good or evil guy.  He seems like the type who mostly wants to be good, but has bad leanings.  Paul also has the beautiful Laura, as well as Julian who act as his security to make sure Ulof and Joey do as they're supposed to.

The experiment begins.  We watch in awe as a guinea pig is turned invisible in front of our eyes, and soon enough Joey is going to be turned invisible so that he can begin running thefts from various banks. Joey goes to a huge bank vault and robs the money.  Soon enough though, the guinea pig dies, and maybe Joey has been pushed to the point with radiation sickness and also maybe the invisibility tools will begin to wear off...

I liked this movie.  It was not even an hour long, and moves at a fantastic pace.  It is never dull.  Also the effects and the acting, and the dialogue are all pretty good.  It doesn't swing for the fences by any means, and it's accessible, but it also doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel by any means.  I will say that being only 57 minutes it did feel like I have to wonder.... Does this even qualify as a full movie?  It was 1960, most films at this point were not this short.  Even horror monster movies in the 50's were usually around the 90 minute mark.  So it's an odd idea to think of, and I'm not too sure what to think of this.

But I won't worry about it too much.  I'm just happy that on my Strange Tales boxset, there was finally a movie I liked and felt classic in all the good ways.  Still it wasn't like a great film by any means.  I give it an above-average 3.5 stars.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Suckling - 1990

Oh my fucking god.  It took director Francis Teri half a year to raise the money needed for this movie?  Was he working for minimum wage at a car wash?  Cause this surely, surely has a budget of about $600.  Right?

When and why exactly did the comedy self-aware aspect become hateable in movies for me?  I guess the late 80's early 90's would be the answer to that is The Suckling is any indication.  This movie I honestly had to turn off about an hour in cause I was tired and drunk and the movie was just making me angry and fall asleep at the same time.

Terrible actors, terrible dialogue, again an okay looking monster, but all in all a fucking ridiculous and utterly painful mess of a flick which makes you constantly wonder how much longer there could possibly be.  That's what we he right here.  Ooooooh yeah.

Sometimes your movie marathon will have a five star, Blood Rage slasher.  Sometimes it will have an amateur as fuck, zero star The Suckling.  I guess that's just like life.  The Suckling is life, in other words.  Which is why I guess I will elevate it to 1/2  star.

The Great Alligator - 1979

Mini review of crazy marathon weekend.  I also watched about 5 MST3K episodes but I won't include those.  The Giant Alligator, huh?  Sergio Martino, director of many a cult film, also directed this mostly-ripoff of Jaws and now, almost 40 years later, I review it here.......

The Great Alligator, surely a decent premise, failed for more for an almost inexplicable reason.  I was trying to justify why Jaws is good, yet this movie is bad while I was biking recently.  Yes, I think about shitty 1979 animal attack movies while I bike, what of it?

The Great Alligator is similar in many ways to Jaws.  You've got a relatively tame looking fake water-based animal that appears very little and kills people.  Also, whereas Jaws takes place in the wide ocean, this movie takes place in a smaller lake area and also more at night then Jaws.  Isolation, darkness, etc, and yet this isn't as good?  In short, I did honestly wonder why Jaws is good and this is not so good.

Now I will say this movie isn't terrible.  It's just not classic or rewatchable.  I guess it's a mix of uninteresting characters and dull dialogue, mixed in with slower pacing and a overly ridiculous monster which is never quite explained.  Also maybe it was just me but I found the weird spiky water-wall to be a bit distracting (watch the movie to understand what I mean).

I dunno.  It's a weird one, I'll call it divisive because some others might enjoy it more.  It did have Barbara Bach from The Spy Who Loved Me in it, and she was cool.  No other notable actors as far as I know.  I guess it can have 3 stars for being something that may be more enjoyable if you're drunk, with friends, or getting your dick sucked while you watch it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Creature from Black Lake - 1976

Mini review number 2 finds another 1976 movie and another bigfoot movie, having been underrepresented here for quite a while.  This movie was okay.  I'm fast forwarding a lot here obviously, but yeah it was just decent.

Two dudes are investigating bigfoot in Oil City.  Why I remember the name of the town is anyone's guess.  They're average guys, believe in the monster, and go from spot to spot trying to ask the locals what the deal is with the monster.

Eventually the local drunkard tells the story while at the same time the two guys get mixed up with the sheriff and the sheriff's daughter.  You can guess at the "plot intricacies" here.

Not particularly well done, nothing stuck out except how bland it was.  Not the worst movie ever, but just so thoroughly middle of the road I have virtually nothing to say about it.  A few deaths, a decent bigfoot costume, and okay enough acting.  Nothing special.  2.5 stars.

Blood Rage - 1987

Filmed in 1983 and released in 87, this is the beginning of a series of Thanksgiving day mini reviews.  I am going to bulk marathon horror films and do a mini review for each.  I also saw Thor: Ragnarok.  I give it 3 stars mostly for style and Jeff Goldblum.

Blood Rage was fucking awesome.  I googled "Thanksgiving horror movies" and this was on most lists.  I probably missed some line of dialogue about it being Thanksgiving, cause I don't remember anything about the holiday in this flick.

Oodles of blood, good acting, fantastic 80's music, and a mildly confusing story make this an instant classic.  Nudity is there, the pacing is there, the blood is over the top.  I'd say since it was filmed in 83 it was actually quite ahead of it's time since it feels late 80's.

It's an obvious entry into the 80's horror slasher genre, and it's pretty scant and thin, but delivers.  Basically two twins are both crazy-ish, one in an asylum, and he escapes and is homicidal.  He impersonates his bro, but his bro also is maybe a killer...?  I wasn't sure, it doesn't matter, and basically just watch the nude girls and the kills, which are plenty and plenty.

I give it 5 stars for an underrated, fantastic 80's slasher to the very definition.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Alien Species - 1996

I guessed earlier 90's, but I should've known better, cause it's pretty painfully obvious this was a immediate rip off of Independence Day also from 96, that or this was rushed out right before Independence Day to capitalize.  Do you ever find yourself curious, and end up stalking someone?  I just googled where my girl's work is and then the bus it takes to get there.  I realize this has nothing to do with Alien Species per say, but hey, gotta add in some flavor here somewhere.

Alien Species.  Generic name for a generic movie.  Also, did these guys like, have any original ideas?  I know I just said it's generic, but this is just 500 different shades of copycat bs with basically no originality to it.  It's not like I'm trying to find fault, but on my Strange Tales boxset, these films are below the scope normally considered "bad" even for me.

Alien Species has it all.  Terrible, hackneyed cartoonish CGI alien ships that zoom around blowing shit up.  Some innocent-or-not criminals that eventually have to get let loose by the cops so they can help out fight the aliens.  Horribly acted ditsy blonde airhead women who run around in small outfits.  And surprisingly, somewhat decent looking physical embodiments of aliens when they actually appear in the flesh.

That paragraph is basically the plot too.  Criminals being transported by Charles Napier in a small sheriff role get let loose eventually to help fight off the alien ships, and then it's like fuckin bullshit crap as the aliens and humans struggle in their intergalactic fight and the movie goes on like you care.  90 minutes, it didn't feel like an eternity, but there were many other things I could've done instead.

Effects, acting, pacing, and dialogue were all in the crapper.  Seriously the acting here was goddamn some of the worst I have seen yet.  I watched this while texting and petting my cat.  I was way more interested in scratching my cats chin then this mess of a flick.  I wonder what the best movie is that director Peter Maris as ever made?  I don't intend to watch them and find out.  I would give this one star, but since it might be fun to rip on with friends, I'll upgrade to 2.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Lost Jungle - 1934

Now this is stretching the strange tales thing a little bit more.  I mean, come on REALLY.  This movie is essentially made in a time when people didn't know what animals looked like, and why not capitalize on that shit by having the fear of lions and crap brought to your local cinema show.  Step right up, step right up, see real lions menacing Clyde Beatty for only a nickel!

The thing about The Lost Jungle is that it does have it's place.  The shock factor of just seeing something on a screen is lost to those of us that grew up watching movies, especially movies that were around in the 80s-90s when I was young.  I saw The Matrix in theaters at age 13 in 1999.  Obviously I wasn't blown away by watching a real life tiger pacing back and forth while Clyde stands there holding a chair.

So what else do I even mention here...  There's a thin plot about Clyde's love interest Ruth, and how she just wants him to pay her attention.  There's a small storyline about the tiger getting lose and Clyde getting trapped in a hole in the ground with it.  There's the comic relief, the bowtie wearing buffoon Larry.  And hm.  Not much else.

This was a serial, meaning it originally had tons and tons of parts to it.  I guess this is part one, or maybe parts one and two or something.  What I watched was barely an hour, and it ends abruptly after they trap the tiger.  So I'm sure normally I'd have to "tune in next week" to see what happened to my beloved Clyde and Ruth.  But there's a total of 4 hours of this crap???!  Ehhh, no.  I'm good.  This is classic and it should be looked at that way, but I can't give it more than 2 stars.

This is Not a Test - 1962

Okay so I was a little bit off in my guessing game trying to guess the year of this movie.  It feels a little bit older.  However, if I had paid enough attention to the dialogue, I'm sure I could've been a bit more accurate.

No one ever makes horror tinged, fear mongering, exploitation films quite like this any more.  This is straight fucking propaganda practically, but in a good way.  It's also got the classic "me" approach I like.  You have a small group of people cluttered together, and most the plot development and most the film is communicated through dialogue.  It's the idea of the play, basically.  Can you communicate your idea without a lot of "things happening"?

In the beginning, a cop driving along hears the radio call, the one they've all been fearing.  Imminent fear of nuclear attack.  He stops all the nearby cars (movie takes place at 4am so there's not a lot).  Then it's all dialogue from the people as they try and find out what's going on, as the cop holds them there, and as the shit goes down.  They try to build a bomb shelter out of a truck, they suspect one of them is an escaped criminal, and people panic in different ways as they wait for more updates about the nuclear strike on the cops radio.

This has the ingredients for a film I'd appreciate and enjoy, however it wasn't all great.  It's main flaw was that you need some good, solid writing for this idea to work out well.  And this film had intriguing moments, but it ultimately fell short on the interest factor.  There's a few unanswered questions that plagued the movie, such as, why doesn't the cop communicate with people a tiny bit more, but not enough to panic them?  They also didn't need some of the less central plotlines that come up.

At only 73 minutes, I was interested about 35-40 of them.  So this one's not all bad.  It's on my newer (older) sci fi boxset.  This boxset is so much more what I expected from some shitty old sci fi movie set.  It's all black and white, it's totally mixed genre.  I have to say, in retrospect, they did a great job on Sci Fi Invasion, keeping most of those films truly about aliens, sci fi, even with a theme of invading aliens.  I mean seriously, without looking back at the blog post, I could name at least 10 movies where aliens were actually invading to a greater or lesser extent:
The 3 Rocky Jones movies
Evil Brain from Outer Space and the other one with Starman
The Eyes Behind the Stars
Footprints on the Moon
(forgetting names here) the weird one with the dude with the clear glass skull helmet
The Day Time Ended

I could go on but I forget a lot of their names.  The point is, this boxset so far.......sucks.  I give this movie a substandard 1.5 stars.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Counterblast - 1948

I needed this.  I needed to start this new sci fi boxset.  Almost as much as I needed to go a month without drinking, almost as much as I needed to have a new sexual experience with a new girl.  Yes dear readers, I said I'd been going through a lot, one of those things was the whole "splitting up with the wife" thing which is apparently not as easy on paper as it might seem.  But the sci fi boxset is the last link in the chain which now I'm saying, damn I'm glad I did this.

However, Counterblast is a bad example of a movie that I had to watch.  What you have here is a dismally old, incredibly long feeling drama about disease vaccination.  First of all, what is this doing on my boxset?  And, okay I get it the DVD box says Strange Tales.  It's not like I'd go out of my way to call it "Strange" per say, but I guess as a general catch all category you could make it fit.  This movie is as much a "Strange Tale" as it is "a film".  Anything is strange in some context.

Counterblast was a interesting flick, and it's not all bad.  Made just a few years after the end of WWII, it's all about a real life fear:  the fear that German scientists, German sympathizers, etc were infiltrating the government and the ranks of the world.  This is a microcosm of that idea, it's all about one particular small experiment that's ongoing that a German scientist infiltrates.

Dr. Forester gets replaced early on by a German scientist.  Dr. Forester was working on an immunization for the common cold (I think) and essentially continues the work.  He has several guinea pigs as well as a hot assistant, Tracy.  Tracy has never met Dr. Forester, so when she meets the imposter she knows no different.  She eagerly helps him, and explains away all the seeming inconsistencies that her man-meat Dr. Paul Rankin brings up.

Not much really happens along the way.  Honestly, I did watch this in two sittings, and I don't remember about the first 45 minutes of this movie.  It's a glacial plot movement, and it doesn't pick up in the end either.  Sure, eventually Forester has to end the experiment, and sure eventually Dr. Rankin is after Forester, but if that sounds interesting, you are far off track.  Instead it's dialogue aplenty and many unneeded scenes.  IMDb claims this movie is 90 minutes, but it was actually longer on my DVD.  It was at least 1:40, and it should've been a 75 minute work at most.

The acting was alright.  The quality is typically bad for a cheap ass DVD and a movie that's almost 70 years old.  I wonder if the last WWII veteran has died yet?  That war ended over 70 years ago?  Wow.  Google tells me there are still some veterans alive.

Not much else.  Very low entertainment value.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

It - 2017

I'm going to jump the shark, I'm going to subvert the norm, I'm going to (insert similar phrase here) and review a brand spanking new horror movie from 2017 that's in theaters right now, and that I saw last night with two friends while I was somewhat plastered on beer.

It fucking sucked.  Let me start off by saying that right out.  This movie, while I wanted to like it, was far too terrible for me to even care about what the hell was going on.  I will say the pacing was masterful, in that the long ass 2 hour 15 minutes didn't feel like a chore to get through, however the reason it worked will be hard to explain, but I'll try.

First of all, there are plenty of "scary" attempts with the clown and other bizarre shit happening.   There's not a lot of focus on characters, which is good cause the kids in the movie were written horribly.  The dialogue from the kids was first and foremost some of the worst I have EVER had to listen to.  Who the fuck wrote this script?  Oh my god are you kidding me, Cary Fukunaga???!  WHAT THE FUCK?  Cary "I made an actually decent movie with a good script called Sin Nombre" Fukumotherfuckingnaga?  HOW did this end up sounding so terrible then?

I am a child of the 90's.  I was born in 86 and the 90's were my jam as well as the early 2000's. And even in the 90's kids didn't talk like this.  This is some smartphone millennial bullshit ass dialogue that HURTS with how deplorably ridiculous and over the top it is.  Dick jokes, constant "your mom" jokes, awful one liners and cheesy ass bullshit spews forth like a vomited lollipop, and this crap runs the ENTIRE MOVIE.

I might sound angry, but honestly, this movie was right up there in terms of laughably bad.  It is going to be a possible classic with how bad it is, which is sort of refreshing.  It, as a flick, could have potential but honestly I feel like the book has too many campy and hokey elements which would need to change.  It was a good book to read as a young adult, since it delves into the childlike mind, but it's far too silly for an adult audience.  I get that it takes place in the 80's but everything feels so completely cartoonish and overdone that it reaches a whole different level of lame.

There was a cool scene in the bathroom where blood erupts from the toilet, and there was a cool scene where....um trying to remember another cool scene.  Maybe that was it?!  The acting, while not stellar, was okay.  Pennywise was okay, not great though.  The guy clearly did his best but the over the top cartoonish nature wasn't congruent.  He's a bit too animated I'd say.  Which is again, part of the problem with the book.  Maybe if you already have a fear of clowns it's scarier, I couldn't say.

The effects and music were pretty good.  The pacing was very good.  The cinematography and all was adequate, nothing super noticeable.  Hm...  What else.  I dunno!  I'll wrap it up.  Wrap that shit up B.  2-2.5 star range I suppose.  We'll see if it holds up.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Light Sleeper - 1992

Recently I rewatched Sorcerer, the 1977 tension filled film directed by William Friedkin.  It got me in a mood to watch anything that Friedkin had directed, and if you're not a big fan of his I'd recommend seeing most of his films.  One I watched and absolutely loved was the 5 star To Live and Die in LA.  Part of what made To Live and Die in LA great was a stellar performance by Willem Dafoe, who was the villain in the movie.

In this film you have Willem Dafoe, great actor that he is, and the writer of Taxi Driver Paul Schrader collaborating on a drama about drug addiction and drug selling.  Basically, I was enthralled.  I definitely got excited, and I almost didn't watch it for many reasons.  But, then I decided screw it and I threw it on last night.  I wasn't expecting too much, and I'm glad I wasn't.  Cause although this movie isn't bad, it certainly isn't all that great either.

Willem Dafoe plays John LaTour, who's a struggling ex drug addict.  He still sells the stuff, and he's in the process of putting his life back together, getting ready to go on the straight and narrow along with his friends.  The whole basis of the film is regrettably slim, which I think was problem number one.  Willem Dafoe's John character is already on the straight, he's already made his choice, and apparently that's just fine with everyone.  He woos his ex flame Marianne, who's looking quite Demi Moore-like in this flick.  He's also selling the drugs and generally just living life.

The first like, solid hour of the movie....not much really happens?  Eventually John sells drugs to white collar criminal Tis Brooke.  Turns out John's ex Marianne is there too, possibly immersed in the drug world, and then later that night she apparently jumps to her death from the same room where John came and sold the drugs.  Now John has to get reacquainted with the underworld in order to extract some sort of revenge on Tis.

Given all this, the end was cool.  The last 40 minutes are solid.  But goddamn, I literally do not remember any of the first like hour.  I mean, I'm sure things happened.  Mild sexual tension between Susan Sarandon and Dafoe.  But in the end I felt like this movie was almost too upbeat and carefree.  In the end of the movie (spoilers) Dafoe kills like 3 of the people he blames for Marianne's death.  And then he's in prison he's totally carefree and happy, and making moves on Sarandon who is like, sure I'll fuck you.  It seems like everything in this film is of no consequence essentially.  And Dafoe seems almost like too much of an all around happy successful bro.

This movie will join the ranks of the odd ones I've seen on here, especially those 90's crime capers.  In a way, this was the last bit of the classic crime era, and I'm not saying they are bad now I'm saying the genre has been stylized a lot and sold differently.  You don't see a lot of drama character studies at ALL anymore, especially crime drama character studies.  It bombed at the box office, it was very quickly forgotten.... But Dafoe does a great job and looks hot as FUCK, and the movie is alright.  It's not one to search out or anything, but it'll do.

I almost gave it three stars just now.  Seems really high.  Then I was like, okay two then.  But was it that bad?  No.  So in the middle, 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Terror-Creatures from the Grave - 1965

I literally forgot the name of this movie like 3-4 times now.  I also forgot the name of my boxset this is from, which I am going to write here so it's easy to find.  Strange Tales 20 movie pack.  I got this walloping motherfucker about 12 or so years ago at Suncoast.  It's kind of reassuring that, as far as things go, it hasn't lost value all that much.  I got it new for like $10-12, and that's still the price of the box now.

I did lose one of the DVDs from this box several years back.  I will not be having a complete boxset review of this like I have multiple times on this site.  I doubt I'll even watch all the movies I do still have, even though it's been my goal for the last like 12 years.  It's funny, because I honestly barely touched the box after buying it.  I remember watching This Is Not A Test, and I might remember watching Idaho Transfer or something at one point in time.

Terror-Creatures, originally titled something more like 5 Graves for a Medium, is a long, dialogue filled, dull ass movie.  IMDB tells me that there were both deaths and nudity in this movie, though I'd be hard pressed to remember either.  I think I'd remember nudity, IMDB later says its like side-boob.  Nah.  Not something I'd remember, never mind.

You know, I have been having a shitty time in life recently.  This movie didn't help.  All I wanted to do was enjoy what I commonly say is my favorite holiday, Halloween.  Of course, Halloween II the original sequel was my first choice.  I watched Halloween last Halloween, and I thought it would be super cool to see Halloween II.  I also rewatched Halloween 3 recently, and shit I guess I didn't review it?  I should've, damnit.  Anyways, that could have basically kicked off a Halloween marathon, if I had played my cards right.  Maybe tonight if I don't do anything I'll watch Halloween II.  Isn't it funny, by the way, that some movies use Roman numerals, and some use numbers?  What the fuck?  What the hell is the deal?

I have virtually nothing to say about Terror-Creatures, if that's not obviously apparent.  I barely even remember the sad mess of bad black and white footage and the barely follow-able plot.  I'll give it a cautious 1.5 stars, in case I missed something while I was depressed and lonely in my house.

On huge knock against this movie:  this is 24 years later than the other movie off this boxset I watched, Robot Pilot.  And yet, this feel about exactly the same age, and looks about as shitty as that movie did.  Robot Pilot had a reason to look bad, and be terrible.  This didn't.  I'm just further justifying my rating here.....

Monday, October 23, 2017

Robot Pilot - 1941

At some point about 15 minutes into Robot Pilot I actually said to myself, "Is this a movie about remote controlled airplanes?"  You see, like many 40's films, it moves at the pace of your average laden down adult banana slug.  Despite being a "Screwball comedy" that the Variety magazine said had "sex appeal".  Really?!  This film has sex appeal?  Well someone has a weird definition of sex appeal then.

Robot Pilot is about a great new invention, a gizmo that can control toy airplanes from the ground.  They demonstrate this to massive quantities by showing people controlling a regular sized remote control plane and then heavily implying that it could be done with the full size real planes.  It's basically as corny as it sounds. It's a regular fun thrilled romp as they fly little planes around, and us as the audience stare with jaws dropped that such an invention exists.

Remote controlled planes are, as you know, the epitome of human society and invention.  Seeing a plane that's about 8-10 inches big fly around without a pilot?  Especially since that plane is controlled by a machine they have to lug around in the bed of a truck that looks like it weighs about 500 pounds and is the size of a regular sized man?  It's downright astounding what mankind can make these days.

But I jest.  I'm sure that at the time, this was very eye opening.  Planes hadn't been around super long, a large percentage of people had never set foot in a regular size plane, and now they were controlling miniature ones from afar?  What was NEXT?  The idea of controlling full size planes must have seemed fantastic but also so plausible.  So you throw in half a plot about two girls who commit a crime of stealing gas, and you throw in some sort of Ruskie or something that wants to steal the invention for Communism.

This movie is not going to be attracting a new audience or anything as time goes on.  It was included on my boxset I've been watching....which is a secret for now cause I am not promising to finish it.  I have so many things to do, sorry yo.

Oh I do want to mention the extreme racism.  The fat Mexican idiot, played by an Italian guy, who's name is Pedro.  At one point a woman who doesn't know him says "Hey Pedro!"  He's like "How did you know my name was Pedro?" She literally said something like "You're Mexican, you're all named Pedro," or something along those lines.  And then he laughed and was like, "Oh yeah!  You're right!"  It was a stellar, accurate, and compelling moment.  Such realistic script writing has sadly been lost to times.  Modern movies would have you believe that Mexican people are individuals who aren't self hating, but that's where modern movies suck.

I suppose it was entertaining.  In a way.  But also paper thin, bland, and never needed to happen.  I give it 2.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Island of Death - 1976

So, this is interesting.  I didn't exactly plan to do a marathon of movies from 1976.  I think I might plan on keeping it going too.  I like it, it's a theme.  I wonder if conceivably I could watch 1976 movies from now until I turn 40 in 2026?  I suppose I could of course.  Google tells me the top movies of 1976 were Rocky, Taxi Driver, The Omen, Carrie, and Marathon Man.  I've seen every one of those movies.  By the way how did Rocky win the Oscar over Taxi Driver?!

Island of Death is an exploitation film, the kind of film that deserves the term exploitation, and the kind of film that even 41 years old is shocking to see.  There's a paper thin plot about a man and woman duo that come to the island of Mikonos in Greece and they start killing people who they find fit their definition of "sexual deviants and perverts".  Of course the man and woman themselves are the true deviants, raping and fucking anything that moves including a goat.

There's graphic scenes of watersports, bestiality, lesbianism, some gay kissing, and plenty of good old fashioned full frontal nudity filling in the corners.  Also, the murders come along pretty early on and they are average to great in terms of blood and graphic content.  Island of Death reminded me a lot of...uh fill this in later cause I don't remember. (I was trying to remember Blood Sucking Freaks) Anyways, they were both older movies that were still quite graphic and indeed shocking.

Island of Death has a slow pacing, at an hour and 45 minutes it's definitely overly long, and very many of these scenes could have been cut.  It's not bad, and it is interesting most definitely, however I still think some editing could have been utilized.

What else....the music was interesting.  A fun mix of weird 70's pop and then original weird music no doubt made by someone who had basically no other IMDb credits.  (*the blog author checks his intuition)  Yup I was right, a total of 3 movies composed, this being the first one.  Sooooo. In the end what is this?  It's a product of it's time, it's interesting, and I would recommend it for sure.  It's very sexual, it is arousing, and it is still shockingly violent and bizarre.  It's creepy, atmospheric, and well acted.  So in that case I'll give it a 4 star rating.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Disturbing Behavior - 1998

I had the rare opportunity to watch Disturbing Behavior last night on 35mm in a fucking theater with other weirdos like myself who would go out to see a early 90's thriller-ish movie on a Tuesday night.  It had a short intro where I won the trivia contest, and it was all in all pretty "rad".  See, I can say rad because the movie was from the 90's.

Disturbing Behavior was a post-Scream entry into the horror thriller genre.  I have been talking a lot about horror as a genre with my horror buff friend recently.  We were talking about exactly how much Scream redefined the entire genre, the entire concept of horror.  As die hard horror fans, we both agree that in a way, as fucking stellar and groundbreaking as Scream was, it basically ruined horror movies forever.  It brought every problem, every ridiculous idea up, and it brought it front and center so we'd see it every time.  Of course, die hard fans like us can still enjoy a horror movie, but in the mainstream eye I think Scream really made people re-examine how much they truly enjoyed the genre as a whole.  In short, Scream was amazing.

So, post-Scream, they were still gonna make horror films, but how would they do it?  Disturbing Behavior did it by crossing genres with thriller and drama, coming of age, and big doses of reality coming through.  The whole film is an allegory about conformity and being oneself.  And it did all of this with huge 90's charm, ridiculous music of the era, and great actors.

Disturbing Behavior jumps into the action with Nick Stahl as Gavin witnessing a murder.  Some asshole jock is out with his girlfriend, randomly breaks her neck and kills a police officer.  However, the jock is let off by the cops who were there, and so now we know the cops are in on it.  Meanwhile James Marsden as Steve is a newcomer to the town, an outsider who doesn't fit in but is befriended by Gavin and his group which includes Katie Holmes as Rachel.  They are the outcasts of the school, the punky druggie dudes who don't care about school and just wanna chillax. Anyways, cutting all this short, Gavin is convinced there is a large conspiracy at hand that's changing the students into zombies, and he begins trying to convince Steve of this.  And then one day Gavin himself changes.

It's a extremely fast paced, gripping, and electric movie.  The cast sells the shit out of their characters, and Katie Holmes looks bomb as fuck as the main girl.  The threat feels real, and the story this movie tells is one that likely we could all relate to.  Feeling out of place in a school, in a society, feeling that pressure to conform is a very real feeling which I know I've felt most of my life.

There's some awesome death scenes, some great action, and everything falls right into place.  The end was typical, and satisfying.  All in all, I was not expecting a ton from this movie, and I really fucking liked it!  If I remember the plots and the every detail, if I remember character names, if I remember individual scenes the next day, it's pretty much a guarantee I liked the film.  I wasn't sure about the blog aspect of the film, but since I never update the site these days (hehehe) I figured whatev.

I give it....5 90's stars.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Wraith - 1986

I feel like I go through phases with this blog.  I have seen countless movies that could have fit into this blog.  I even rewatched I'ts Alive, my favorite mosasaurus film, and I made my friend watch it.  I've been revisiting serious films as well, and suffice to say I haven't really felt like blogging about all this crap I do.

I may have mentioned at some point that I was listening to How Did This Get Made, the podcast about bad movies.  I enjoy it, and I like watching the movies they feature on it.  When they featured The Wraith, and then when The Wraith was available free on Netflix, a small part of me celebrated.  I hate how a lot of these films they do are not available for free online.  I refuse to spend money right now.  I'm ultra-cheap.

The Wraith is a surprisingly high production car racing movie from the 80's.  It continues my 1986 marathon, about 2 years after I initially started my 1986 marathon.  Wow, that's fucking weird dude, I remember startling this marathon like it was yesterday.  I'm getting old man, time is passing faster and faster.  I also had a bad thought when I signed onto the Blogspot site today.  I had an inevitable feeling like this blog was over.  I hope it's not, I hope I continue, but somehow....I don't think it's destined to live much longer.

But let's not live in the future, let's live in the now.  In the now, 31 years ago, Charlie Sheen, Randy Quaid, Sharilyn Fenn, and Nick Cassavetes starred in The Wraith.  The Wraith is about an alien force that comes to town in Arizona, in the form of a sleek black roadster car.  The evil gang of baddies see the car and want it.  They challenge the wraith to a race, the loser gives up their car.  The Wraith starts to kill all the members of the gang in these races, forcing them off the road in crashes.  This is all pursued by Randy Quaid as the local police.  Charlie Sheen is a seemingly unconnected drifter who starts wooing the girl of the leader of the street gang.

The movie consists of pretty well done, highly produced race scenes.  Crazy songs play in the background, either established classics or songs that missed the mark I guess and faded into 80s obscurity.  There's tons of race scenes, and the cars are very cool.  The titular Wraith is a concept car, a Dodge from the 80's.  I tried to upload a photo but fucking blogspot is being a bitch.  Google it.

The movie proceeds, it's very simple and yet never boring.  Seriously this movie just flew right by, and I liked it a lot.  Very well done, lots of deaths and explosions.  There's a sense of mystery to this thing, and we're not sure what exactly is The Wraith or anything for quite a long time.  In the end, some things are explained, but some are wisely left as a mystery and never explained fully.  I think the basic idea is fine though:  we're left with a dim idea of what happened and why, and I think it's a near flawless 80s romp.

Four classic action sci fi stars.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Megaforce - 1982

Golden Harvest is a Chinese production company that has been around a long time and (I think) is still going strong.  They've brought us Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung and other great stars.  In the 80's they decided to infiltrate the US market with a few American made and American style films, such as Megaforce.  This was a big deal for them.  They threw $20 million at a sci fi actioner film called Megaforce, and hoped that it would massively succeed enough for them to successfully gain a foothold in the American market.

Megaforce is by and large a extremely 80's sci fi action flick that is easy to watch, but not so much on the great side of the scale.  It feels extremely high production, and it's easy to see where the 20 million went, however is the film "good"....?  Well, no, I am going to say it's not.  Not for your typical array of reasons, but simply because it's not entertaining.

Barry Bostwick stars as a generic commander of an elite group of special soldiers known as the Megaforce.  The Megaforce is introduced in the beginning when a stiff British general comes to meet the commander, and the general is put off by Megaforce's apparent lack of adoption of regular military style.  They have no uniforms, they don't care about rank, and they don't worry about the image like other military people would.

Along with the general is Persis Khambatta, of Star Trek and She Wolves of the Wasteland fame.  She is sort of a blank woman creation made to be the love interest of Barry Bostwick's commander dude.  I don't remember exactly why she was with the general to begin with, but suffice to say she's there to be eye candy and the sole female in this entire flick.  She is hot as fuck in case you haven't noticed, so I'm not complaining or anything.  Megaforce gets their mission, and she tries to join the Megaforce, but Boswick won't let her because "he can't, or he won't?" type reasons which are fairly stupid.

The mission involves the usual stuff: blowing up countless things, shooting lots of guns, and motorcycles.  It's all fun to watch, but it plays a lot like a tired kung fu or bland action film where you feel nothing for the hero or villain and don't really care what will happen in the end.  Also, there is never a single moment where you actually think the good guy will lose or even get a scratch on them, so it makes for a bland, pretty lame cinema experience.  I watched it while drunk on Irish coffee on my sick day.

Not sure what else to say about it.  The production, actors, the look, the style, the pacing, it's all there.  This has the ingredients of a classic bad action film from the 80's, but somehow I wasn't very interested in it.  Couldn't say exactly why.  Perhaps it's just not for me.  I'll still give it 3 stars.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Moonraker - 1979

Wow, what the fuck is this blog?!  I am going to review the 11th installment of James goddamn Bond?!  Yes, I am.  Fuck it.  Fuck it!  I'm feeling buzzy from coffee, I'm horny as fuck, I'm reviewing James goddamn Bond, and life is good.

I was always interested in James Bond as a kid.  I have always liked the idea of these really long series of films that have tons of sequels, and there's always an obscure 2-3 out there that you can't find for some dumbass reason.  I remember being absolutely obsessed with Godzilla, Zatoichi, The Twilight Zone, and other types of really long series that didn't used to be online (Twilight Zone is mostly available online right now, though it's still not the whole show).  I'm not sure exactly why this was, but I am sort of a completionist / obsessive compulsive about these sorts of things.

I remember going to Peters Video, in Calistoga California with my brother and my dad in the 90's and early 2000's, and renting random ass James Bond movies.  How I got into the series, who knows.  It's very possible I saw Goldeneye in theaters in 1995 (age 9), or when it was a new release, and that would about make sense if that was when I got into the Bond series.  Anyhow, we'd rent all the back catalog of Bond films.  I remember liking Roger Moore films the best, because they were zany and dumb, fitting perfectly with my pre-teen mentality.  Second I liked Timothy Dalton, then Pierce Brosnan.  Then Connery, then Lazenby, then Daniel Craig if you're curious.

The Roger Moore films took a turn for the weird very early on.  That is not to say some of the Connery films weren't weird, but I feel like Connery turning Japanese and fighting Oddjob was still not as weird as Bond going to space, Jaws, and using a special Golden Gun on a desert island.  Although my favorite Bond villain was Donald Pleasence as Blofeld, that's purely because I am a Pleasence fanatic.

Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me were two of my standout favorites from the series even early on.  I loved Jaws, he was my second favorite villain, and to this day is the only Bond henchman to appear in two Bond films.  Richard Kiel was stunning as Jaws, certainly looks the part, and it helped that he was an unlockable character in the Nintendo 64 Goldeneye video game.

This is a noticeably silly entrant in the Bond franchise.  Capitalizing off of the success of Star Wars like so many other films, this entry saw Bond take to space.  Although when I saw it in the mid 90's this seemed absolutely like a "jump the shark" moment in the series, I have to say that watching it now in 2017, it doesn't seem as unrealistic and far fetched.

There are several different theories as to which actor plays Bond at what age in his life.  It's basically regarded that Daniel Craig is Bond when he's youngest.  He's green, he's cocky, and Q and Moneypenny are young.  Then it would be Lazenby, in the film where Bond gets married.  Then Timothy Dalton as an angry, more violent Bond thereafter.  Then for me I feel like Connery and Brosnan are interchangeable for the most part in the timeline.  But it's pretty much agreed on by everyone that Roger Moore portrayed Bond at his oldest.  He's in the minimum amount of fights, he hardly kills anyone in most of his entries.  Moore was also the oldest actor to play Bond, and so this theory makes sense the most.

This is hardly a standard review, obviously.  But as a Bond entry, I found Moonraker to be pretty fun, and there's always a special place for it in my heart.  The stunts are cool, whether it's skydiving with no parachute, taking a gondola hovercraft onto land, or the tense action on the sky tram.  Moore is confident and slick as Bond, though I'd have to say that Moore also plays the least likable Bond in my book. He beds the ladies, he smarts and charms his way around everything.  This movie never saw a Bond car, didn't have much gadgets, and Bond only kills one person directly in the entire film.  It's an odd one, but it's very good in my book.

As an entry, it's most likely on the low spectrum for most people.  But I'm not most people, and my ratings are a whole WTF thing as I'm sure you'll notice.  I give this one 4 stars.  I like it!  The Spy Who Loved Me is better though.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Embryo - 1976

This movie, Embryo, is one that I've seen listed on multiple boxsets time and time again when I peruse Amazon and other sites for DVD boxes that might want to purchase.  I can't say exactly why, since it's not that old or not that bad, but I supposed those reasons alone are not enough to keep it out of the black hole that is the public domain.

Embryo would star an aging Rock Hudson, still good looking and in great shape, as a scientist who wants to create a way to save fetuses that are dying.  Rock Hudson plays Paul, who's a likable if somewhat naive scientist that just wants to do good, can't see anything beyond the good that his science will do.  He's pretty much the stereotype.

At first Paul tries out his experiment on a dog that he has in his lab.  The dog is not only born, but thrives and grows quicker, smarter, and better than any normal dog would.  Apparently.  So, then it's Paul thinking, "well shit maybe I should try this on a human!" and try it on a human he does.  He refuses to do things the amoral way, so he finds a 3 month old fetus that is going to die, he snags it, and he injects his growth hormone.

The baby girl continues to grow, grows up normal and quite fast, and is suddenly about the age of 24.  He takes her out of her capsule finally, and discovers she has super intelligence, the drug is no longer going to make her grow quickly, and she's eager to learn human customs.  Victoria as she's called, because she was a victory, is a genius, and despite not being mature emotionally, she quickly begins to master the more mathematical and scientific aspects of the human mind.  Then, much like every movie like this, she decides she must embrace the emotional side.  She fucks Rock Hudson, and soon begins to develop problems with the drugs used to grow her.  They seem to be turning her evil....

Sorry about the convoluted plot-line outlaid above.  This movie was one of those, like Frankenstein, where you could say "yeah it's about a dude who brings a monster back from the dead" or you could go into the details about the plot details.  The point is, this is Frankenstein but dressed up with a bit more character and a girl rather than a monster.  The girl is played by Barbara Carrera, who was decent enough in the role.  It's mostly her and Rocky Rock Hudson conversing most the flick, and they did seem to have some chemistry between them.

Looking at this from the recent angle I have of 1976 movies, I have to say this one was "better" as well.  I guessed 1978 when I was writing the year above, and in that way, I guess you could say it looks just a tiny bit "better" than the other two 76 movies I've seen recently.  The pacing was kind of slow, but it was also more of a drama / slow burn movie then a quick flashy actioner of a film.

Hm, what else.  Nothing much worth noting.  Roddy McDowall was in a small cameo.  No music worth remembering.  Decently shot and whatever.  Some nudity from Victoria, she has a nice body.  And, the ending was totally one you could see coming.  Basically once things take the turn and Rocky fucks Victoria, you can probably guess the rest of the movie, but it was still worth watching I'll argue.  It's was a basic "meh" of a movie, but that's still worth 2.5 stars.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Exterminator City - 2005

There's low budget and then there's no budget.  This blog has primarily dealt with low budget, but we'll take our first sort of foray into no budget here.  Now, I can't actually say no budget about this movie.  I don't know exactly how these things work, but it's my understanding that you'd have to pay a girl a decent amount of money to appear naked or topless in your film, and since every single girl in this is naked or topless, they must've had some money to pay them to appear that way.

Everything else in this movie is obviously done by like 1-2 guys, and a budget of nothing.  There's hand built, seriously clunky looking robot hand puppets, very early MST3K looking contraptions that barely seem to function.  There's a lot of terrible dialogue by guys that obviously thought they were pretty genius for making a "comedic" script that featured robots calling each other words like "bitch".

The director Clive Cohen has zero other movies he's remotely connected with, and zero information on IMDb.  That's something I will now always miss about IMDb, the message board dialogue started on each page by various other movie viewers.  Inevitably on each lonely IMDb page there'd be someone else, like me (or maybe even it would be me) who would start a message board about someone like Clive Cohen.  They'd say something like "Where is he now?" or "What the heck?" and they'd be wondering if someone out there on the information superhighway knew any insider information on Cohen.  I miss those boards.

Exterminator City....well, I don't miss movies like this.  This is the kind of entertainment that I can't exactly tear apart from limb to limb, cause it obviously took creativity, talent, and artistry to make it.  It's not funny though, it's not interesting, and it's like watching something made by middle schoolers.  Trust me, I used to film shit with my friends, and half the stuff we made was about as good as this, not even fucking joking.

There's literally scenes of huge titted women walking around their homes topless and going about daily tasks, and we're supposed to what, accept it because "it's funny"?  Sorry, no.  Sorry, you don't get a pass just cause you intentionally made your movie campy and self aware.  I don't know.  This is the Charles Band type of shit where it's made specifically to pander to the high idiots and their drunkard friends as they sit in an induced stupor and snicker at the movie while daring each other to taste the bong water.

I don't have lots more to say to it.  It is relatively entertaining despite my roast up above, and there's certainly worse films out there.  It came on a circa 2005 DVD, and I haven't watched a DVD that poorly produced in a really long time.  I remember buying my first DVDs in about....2002, roughly 6 years after they existed from what the internet tells me.  At first they didn't have menus or anything, just jumped right into the movie.  This has one item on the menu, which is obviously home made.  You start the movie, and you have to watch trailers.  This is like VHS shit where the trailers are literally PART of the movie.

So, Exterminator City.  Hm, I don't know.  Strangely enough, after venting all this, I feel like giving it decent marks.  Perhaps it's the fact I put it on when I was tired, and I was still entertained to an extent.  Perhaps it's something else.  I'll never know.  But hey, Clive Cohen, good job wherever you are, you drunk son of a bitch.  2.5 stars.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Burnt Offerings - 1976

Two 1976 movies in one day?!  Oh my fucking god.  Goddamn.  I'm a little bit drunk, but I watched Burnt Offerings stone cold sober, so this is a drunk review of a sober movie basically.  Interesting huh?  Now you're reminded about why you read this dumbass blog.

Burnt Offerings is a Amityville inspired, super by-the-numbers haunted house movie.  Which is not to call it bad.  In fact, I might even take that bit back about it being a haunted house movie.  It's billed as a haunted house movie, when I would say it's more of a demonic possession and mystery film.  I dunno.  I'm a bit of a genre freak in case you haven't noticed.  I fucking hate when things are labelled as something other than what I would classify them as.  Get Out, the recent "horror" movie (which I give 5 stars) is labeled horror.  Yeah right!  That movie is a straight mystery thriller.  No fucking horror elements at all.

Burnt Offerings has Oliver Reed of Venom fame as the father figure of a family that moves into a huge dilapidated mansion which is actually located (in real life) in my current home town of Oakland California.  Bay Area, bro-han.  Oliver Reed, his hot wife Karen Black (drool) and their wormy son all live in this mansion which is practically given to them, and they have to take care of the weird old woman who lives in the top floor.

Pretty much right away it's established that the woman either is dead or doesn't exist at all, Karen Black develops an obsession with her, and Oliver Reed begins to be influenced by some sort of demonic force.  I'm obviously at the point where I don't give a shit about their character names.  Oliver Reed falls under evil influence and attacks the wormy son, tensions rise, and eventually they all decide they must leave the house.  But what about the old lady who lives in the place?

Basically, I was expecting a low level haunted house movie, and instead I got a bizarre mix of ghost film, demonic possession, and a mostly average flick in general.  I'm not really in the boat right now of "I have tons to say about this".  I fact, I can't really even say if I liked it or not.  It felt....basically like anything else one might watch.  Had it's good and bad.  The actors, good.  The plot, meh.  The scares, zero.

That would be one thing I'll say.  Zero scares, and one of those movies where I don't even know what would be considered scary in 1976.  I guess the father attacking the son is scary in concept, but I mean, seriously yo.  It was a right down the middle, meh experience, which I'd normally give a 2.5, but for whatever reason, I'll give this 3.  Maybe because Karen Black is hot.  Probably.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Witch Who Came From the Sea - 1976

Hundra director Matt Cimber made this odd little film, The Witch Who Came From the Sea (I'll call it Witch for brevity) which was another one of these well know video nasties.  I don't remember if I added Witch because of Matt Cimber, because it was a video nasty, or why specifically I added it at all, but suffice to say that's extremely common for me to add something and forget why.  Classic me.

The Witch is a very bizarre, very fucked up story of a woman who may or may not have psychic powers and also may or may not be going insane.  This movie walks the line between fantasy and reality very well, and very often.  It's also one of those movies where despite the clear resolution in the end, it's still unclear exactly which scenes were reality and which were imagined.

In the beginning of Witch, we see the main woman, Molly, at the beach with her two nephews, Tadd and Tripoli.  As she watches some hunky guys down the beach, we slowly see them die, seemingly caused by Molly's intense stare.  This is chief among the scenes I don't know if were real or not.

The movie slows down from there and we follow Molly as she goes about her life.  She works at a local bar and restaurant, she spends a lot of time with her sister Cathy, and Cathy's sons Tadd and Tripoli.  Why the two boys are named Tadd and Tripoli is never explained. The questions we really wanted answered in this film simply never are.

One night while watching football, she sees and is attracted to two of the star football players.  Next we know, she has found these two in real life.  She seduces them, takes them to her room, and begins to tie them up to the bed with promises of kinky sex.  Molly does have a lot of nudity, so be prepared for pretty small but perky tits that you can glue your eyes to in many scenes.  Anyhow, she ties up the guys, and to their dismay puts her clothes back on.  Molly then produces a razor, and begins cutting.

This movie did a great job of walking the fantasy and reality line very well.  There is eventually some explanations, but they never do explain everything.  It's said that Molly was a victim of childhood sexual abuse by her obese fisherman father.  Her sister Cathy possibly was too, but that's never said.  The two footballs presumably remind her of her father?  I don't remember that being part or not.

There's also a bizarre mermaid and ocean motif in the film that's never explained.  Molly gets a weird mermaid tattoo midway through the film, just after the two killings.  You know, I'll say it now:  This movie was very weird but really good.  It was enjoyable, and I honestly could keep talking about small plot points for forever it seems.  The Witch did have an amateur feeling to it, sure, but the acting and the strangeness of the story more than made up for it.

This qualifies more as a video nasty than Don't Go in The Woods (click on the link "nasties" in the first sentence).  It's got tons of nudity, it's got blood, and it has themes of rape, incest, and child molestation.  Yet, it feels curiously subtle, and like all the bad shit that happens in the movie is reasonable.  For that, and for the awesome feel of the film in general, I'll give it 4 stars.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Final Terror - 1983

I believe I was about halfway through this movie when I decided it was pretty awesome.  That was a nice feeling.  The Final Terror, which is a pretty awful name, was actually pretty awesome!  Other names up for contention, by the way, were: The Creeper, Three Blind Mice, The Forest Primeval, and Bump in the Night.  I get it, it's hard to name horror movies.  I do get it.

The Final Terror was a step on the ladder for many of the people in it, which is always a good sign.  Director Andrew Davis later directed a classic Steven Seagal film, Under Siege, as well as one of my favorite Harrison Ford films, The Fugitive, an Academy Award winning film.  The film also stars Joe Pantoliano, Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward, and Adrian Zmed.  A lot of them got famous literally about a year or two after this was filmed, which was in 1981.  That was enough to push this film finally out into theaters in 1983.

The charm of this movie, and the reason that I decided I liked it, is the complete picture.  This film has it all.  Like I said it has the actors.  Then, the music is great.  The music is always an important part of the horror film genre, where little things like atmosphere make all the difference.  Shot in the beautiful redwood forests of north California, the setting looks amazing.  Finally there's the actual horror elements which come into play as well.

Plot first, several friends are going up to the woods to go camping (original, right?!).  They are driven there by a generally pissed off and cranky Joe Pantoliano.  The friends are eight people, I think.....  There might have been too many characters, that is one thing I'll say straight out.  They're driving up to somewhere way up a river, to do a mix of camping and rafting.  Once they arrive, it's camping, pranking each other, and scary stories told around the fire.  Soon enough, a prank is played on Marco and he goes missing.  All the group sets off to search for him, and then the kills begin.

I mentioned there are a lot of characters in this.  The group of friends is big, and I'm not entirely sure why that is.  In fact, I thought early on, and on reflection I still think that Daryl Hannah never has a single line.  That's because there's just too many characters, and I sort of got them confused.  When everyone is a attractive blonde/brunette except for the two black characters, it's very easy to get the whitey's confused.  Most of the characters also do very little.  Besides walking around, screaming when need be and other such reactions, they are mostly just there.

But one thing I liked and why I decided I liked this movie is that about the halfway point, one character is dead and one is kidnapped, and none of the friends know it yet.  The friends find a cabin in the woods where it seems the killer is living.  As they look around the cabin, the killer is holding the kidnapped girl below the floorboards, machete held to her face.  It's a cool, chilling sequence.  And that's when I realized that plot aside, this movie was a cool mix between Texas Chainsaw and Friday the 13th.

The difference between a slasher like Friday and a horror thriller like Texas is of course, the grittiness and the disgust associated with the killer.  Leatherface in the first few Texas movies is disgusting, putrid, surrounded with decay and mental instability.  Whereas Jason is superhuman, almost a hero, and never really threatened, Leatherface is just a fucked up big guy in an apron.  These small things done to give the killer a level of humanity or depth are really where a horror movie can up it a notch.  Nothing is scarier than knowing that the guy after you might not just kill you.  He might do fucked up, sick or just plain hurtful things to you first.

The other interesting thing, spoiler alert I suppose, is that there's not a lot of deaths in this movie.  Most of the characters live.  This to me is a lot more realistic of a plot.  Despite the fact that the end had a small dumb plot point, this movie felt super realistic to me in a lot of ways.  Basically every part of this could and might happen.  There's no glaring parts that were idiotic like so many of these movies.  There were no supernatural parts.  This movie felt very honest about it's intention, and it was very well done in that way.

Amazon Prime has really shitty quality, and I bet that watching this on DVD would have been an almost 5 star experience.  However, I am only going to give it 4 because the quality was god awful.  Also, some scenes it's hard to tell exactly what was happening.  There's a scene where for some reason the girl who can't swim randomly gets out of the boat, and I have no idea why.  Also, the end was pretty dumb with a last minute, predictable twist.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jason Goes to Hell - 1993

Where does that phrase "jumping the shark" come from, anyways?  I have no idea.  I think it refers to Evel Knievel jumping sharks, but since that's considered "cool" and "jumping the shark" is considered bad, I wonder bout these things.  I guess the vernacular phrases we use every day rarely have reasons for why they exist, and language as a form makes no fuckin sense anyways.

Jason Goes to Hell is a very "jump the shark" moment in the Friday the 13th series.  It had perhaps already jumped when Jason went to Manhattan, however at this point it seriously went just plain fucking wrong.  Jason, without any explanation whatsoever, can suddenly change bodies?!  In the first opening scene, which is again never explained, a girl typically runs from Jason only to have the police ambush him and literally blow him up.  Except that his heart doesn't blow up, which apparently means he's still alive.  But his body is destroyed, so now he can literally infest the "idea" of Jason into other people?!

Some red lights fly out of Jason's chopped up body, infest the morgue attendant, and soon he consumes the heart of Jason which makes him into a psycho killer.  The temporary bodies Jason is in run out after some time, so he not only kills people randomly, but kills people with the intention of hopping bodies.  That's all well and good, and later it turns out that he can indeed be stopped, as long as it's at the hand of someone that's related to him.  He has a sister that's alive, as well as her baby daughter.  So it's up to them to stop Jason permanently by stabbing him in the heart with a special dagger.

Ugh.  If it sounds like this is stupid and/or complex, that's cause it is stupid.  It's complex, not in a good way, but in a way that makes you angry and realize just how low the bar was set at this point.  In Jason Goes to Manhattan, at least Jason was legitimately in the film, he had a reason to go to Manhattan, and it was such a small change to the series that is was fine.  In this one, it's not only fucking with the location, but with the mythology, the killer, the basic story elements, etc.

There are quite a bit of kills, and so therefore we come to the one part of the movie that is acceptable: the violence.  There's tons of kills in this, and a lot of them are pretty creative.  Also, I guess that the whole idea of Jason switching bodies is kind of cool, it's just that it needed to be introduced WAY before this dumbass film in order for it to make sense.  Also, there is never an explanation given as to how Jason comes back after being killed in this one.  I guess that was spoiler alert, Jason dies in the end, by the ways indicated, and then in Jason X, Jason just randomly is back at it.

So, this movie was pretty awful, and in fact these three (Manhattan, Hell, X) and even Freddy Versus Jason could all be seen as why this franchise is effectively dead unless they reboot it again like they did in 09.  Anyways, whatever, 1 star.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There's Nothing Out There - 1991

The IMDb plot summary of this movie reads: "When a horror film buff tries to warn his friends of impending danger during March Break, they scoff at him, that is, until sinister things begin to happen."  Sound familiar?  Cause to me it sounds sort of like Scream.  Wes Craven is a genius obviously, but I do wonder what would've happened if this film had perhaps a tiny bit more talent behind it or any known name.

There's Nothing Out There (TNOT) plays out like a version of Scream that's about 45% sillier, and 100% more amateur.  This movie has, instead of ghostface killer, a weird mutant tadpole monster that I honestly don't think was ever explained.

It's the classic plotline as lampooned by The Cabin In The Woods.  Seven friends in an isolated cabin and one of them is a horror film aficionado.  They go through the typical bullshit as the wary horror film friend forewarns about the impending doom.  This was all well and good until there was an actual part where one of the characters is trying to escape the monster in the film, then suddenly a boom mic is visible.  The character sees it and actually grabs it and swings on it to escape the creature.  If that's not breaking the fourth wall, I don't know what is.

So it's incredibly self aware (at times) and it is basically a comedy in those ways wherein it glorifies it's "cleverness" and also it's "self awareness".  These things combined would not only make it a precursor to Scream, but the entire horror genre circa 2017.  I am trying to say that this is basically how a lot of horror films now are, especially low budget independent ones.  They are self aware as fuck, they have their intentions visible from scene one, and they make their characters and plot and everything secondary to that.

This film does follow that formula, hell one could say this film is the definition of that formula.  And I have to say, as impressive as that is, the novelty wore down.  The first 45 minutes I was pretty optimistic, and I wanted to like this and give it a great review.  In time, it wore out it's welcome and I was pretty bored.  The problem was that even with tits, monsters, originality, etc, this movie never felt like it was that interesting.  It just sort of kept going, and instead of being interested, I was bored and antsy.  That and I drank too much in the beginning so I was pretty drunk.

So I will admit that perhaps my short attention span was due to being drunk, but I doubt I missed out on much.  I'll give it 3 stars, and I'll scratch it off my list.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Strike Commando - 1987

Back to back with two of the most infamously bad directors.  Godfrey Ho represented China, and now Bruno Mattei represents Italy.  Bruno Mattei is known for the Z grade of action film which this film represents perfectly, and it also stars Reb Brown of Space Mutiny fame.  I've touched on Bruno Mattei with the fun Terminator and Aliens rip off Shocking Dark as well as the other type of film he's known for, sleazefest exploitation films like Women's Prison Massacre.

Strike Commando is sort of like your average run of the mill actioner that is set in the Vietnam war.  Reb Brown stars as the incredibly dull, completely undeveloped good guy who needs to find out the hidden link between Russia and Vietnam.  He is given permission to investigate this in his own method, which means no team and no pesky commanders.  But then once he gets captured, it means no help is coming either.

The capture scene and escape was reminiscent of The Deer Hunter, but the movie this really ripped off was Rambo part 2.  In part two, Rambo was sent to Vietnam by a bunch of uncaring diplomats that turned their back on him once he was out the door.  If Deer Hunter is first rate (which it is) and if Rambo 2 was second rate (sure, that works), then that puts Strike Commando probably in....6th rate.  Yeah, this movie was not "good" in any sense.

Doing about 5 minutes of research just now, I found something kind of odd.  Reb Brown was mostly an action film star, nothing weird about that.  However, it's funny cause all of his action movies are based around Vietnam.  Now, I know there's nothing really odd about that, he was the right age and all.  It's just funny to me that one actor would end up getting cast as a Vietnam-era soldier multiple times.  He must've felt at the end like he practically did go to Vietnam.  He probably spent more time on the sets of movies about Vietnam then some actual soldiers spent in Vietnam.

All side tracking aside, this movie was not good.  It was the sort of movie that makes you watch, you don't get side tracked as easily as some other films, however I kept wondering how much was left, and I kept noticing how second rate everything was.  Reb Brown makes a really uninteresting star also.  It's no wonder he never "took off" as a star.  Being Captain America in the 70's and acting in one movie with Gene Hackman are no doubt his career highlights, and I am not surprised in any way.

The film was made in the Philippians, and the scenery is nice.  It would look better on a high transfer DVD instead of Amazon Prime, but hey I take what I get.  According to the 2 minutes of research I just did, this is not available on DVD at all, which would not be surprising since it's public domain no doubt and I'm sure no one gives a shit about it in any way shape or form.

I give it a subpar film, Z grade in intention 2.5 stars.  It was actually not all that bad.  Good riff fodder probably.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Crocodile Fury - 1988

There's a natural allure to Godfrey Ho movies that I cannot explain, and that I sometimes wonder about the sanity of people everywhere because of.  I went out in SF last night, to our local Alamo Drafthouse theater, and caught this in a tiny theater, and I was one of 40 people there.  This is one of those infamous "dice and splice" movies that Ho is known for.  Take several scenes from movie A, and randomly cut in movie B, and act like it goes together.

Another point in the plus category for this movie is that it has literally zero information on IMDb.  The director and one actor is listed, and that is the extent of information they have about this, apparently.  I'm half inclined to go on there and list the "plot" but I like the blank, anonymous look of the page too much to alter it.

So, since you can't get it from IMDb, here it is in my words:  Maria is a crocodile.  Or, I should say, Maria can turn into a crocodile.  She is in a small village, casually killing dozens of people, when her lover Jack finds her and tells her she must stop.  How will they live together in the next life if she dirties her karma with dozens of killings?  Maria is one of several crocodile/human hybrids sent by witch master Monica.  Monica also has the traditional hopping vampire at her disposal, and it's up to Jack to stop her.

This movie was completely incomprehensible.  I don't mean that as an insult, nor do I mean it as an over-exaggeration.  Seriously, this movie made no fucking sense.  First of all, it's a Chinese movie with English dubbing and Greek subtitles.  The only known DVD version permanently has Greek subtitles, just in case, you know.  So it's another situation where, who knows if the original Chinese (or even the Greek subtitles for that matter) made sense, but the English certainly didn't.  It's pretty near impossible to follow the story lines, there are tons of names being thrown out, and honestly I didn't know who half the characters were.

Going into this, it's like watching the aftermath of a tornado.  Especially if it was a town you'd never been to that got hit by a tornado.  You wouldn't know what it was supposed to look like originally.  An entire water tower or something could've been ripped out of the place, and you wouldn't know cause you had never seen the water tower there.  Half of buildings would be missing, but you'd only be able to guess what it originally had looked like.  It's like looking at a half finished painting.  And especially, an abstract painting.  Something that was by definition random and at the discretion of the artist.

Let me see here.  I dunno.  I want to try and explain more about how exactly little sense this movie makes, but just thinking about it gives me a headache.  It's not terrible, it's just that it gets tedious watching something, even at only 85 minutes long, when you have no clue what's happening, why, and where it's all going.  There's like, a fight scene or two, there's crocodile puppets flying through the air, there's bad acting and dialogue, stuff happens, and then randomly the words The End, and you're wondering, "Wait it's over?!  What the fuck happened in that movie?!"

The ending was abrupt, and I was glad that I wasn't the only one in the theater to think this.  It feels like this movie could've kept going forever, not that I was enjoying it, but, just because there was never a semblance of plot and they just randomly decided to end it at one point.  So in the spirit of that,