Thursday, June 30, 2011
Dir - Dick Maas
Horror Movie Night
This is an odd mix of police procedural and a sort of Dutch giallo. A little long but there are some definite moments of merit, about three to be exact. Heh.
Full thoughts will be on Gordon and the Whale next week.
Dir - Hiroshi Shinagawa
Watched this Funimation release of a live action film based on a book/manga. Overall I liked it but did have a few problems. They will be told in my review coming in a day or two on Gordon and the Whale.
Stepfather III (1992)
Dir - Guy Magar
The first two Stepfather movies are great but I figured this one would suffer without the great Terry O'Quinn in the lead. I was wrong. This is now one of my favorite horror trilogies and the final installment has all the ridiculous greatness you could want. Kid in a wheelchair - check. Tons of neon - check. Cutting edge (at the time) computer tech that now is laughable - check. Priscilla Barnes - check. Christa Miller (from Scrubs, Cougar Town, Drew Carey, etc) - Check. Hopefully this will get a DVD release someday soon!
Swamp Shark (2011)
Dir - Griff Furst
SyFy Original Movie
Yes, it's another SyFy flick but I can't look away. I'm a sucker for these low budget ridiculous killer animal movies and anything with sharks has my attention any time. Nothing really great about this other than a cool decapitation via shark and the attractiveness of Gary Sinise's daughter, Sophie. Great cast featuring Kristy Swanson, D.B. Sweeny and Robert Davi.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Dir - Mel Brooks
I think I've only seen this one other time, when it came out on VHS, and I remembered very little. It has some really funny moments for sure but not my favorite Brooks film by far. I do love that it not only parodies the Robin Hood tale, but most specifically the Kevin Costner version. HA!
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) aka L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo
Dir - Dario Argento
A great, genre changing giallo film from the maestro. Really enjoy this movie but am sad about the transfer on the new Arrow Video blu-ray. The DP went crazy chopping it from 2.35:1 to 2:1 and messed with the color timing so all the warmth and vibrance is very cold looking. Some good extras but I'm glad I still have the Blue Underground Blu for the better looking transfer.
Demonic Toys (1992)
Dir - Peter Mangoogian
Even with my Full Moon obsession in the mid-to-late 90s I somehow missed this movie. It is full of all the makings of a great FM picture - cheesy dialog, questionable acting, a little nudity, some laughs and some badass puppets. A fun time!
Super 8 (2011)
Dir - JJ Abrams
Jenny wanted to see this so I took her because I was happy to see it again too. I still really enjoy this film. I can understand why some people might not like it, and what they find wrong with the film, but I don't understand why some people seem to vehemently hate this movie. Weird. Seeing it a second time actually got rid of some of the minor issues I had with it and some of the plot holes were filled in. This is just an all around great time for me.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
A very awesome, but very misleading, poster.
Raw Meat (1973)
Dir - Gary Sherman
A very interesting British horror film from the early 70s with some great performances. Donald Pleasence's turn as the Scotland Yard inspector is quite brilliant and really adds to the fun of the film. The sequences in "the tube" with "The Man" are fairly creepy and showcase a few great FX gags and one rather startling moment. Something that surely inspired Christopher Smith's 2004 film Creep, which I should watch again.
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Dir - Donald Petrie
After watching The Odd Couple for the first time the other day it left me wanting more Lemmon and Matthau team-ups. I haven't seen this in years but it still holds some very funny moments, Burgess Meredith is a real highlight, and lovely to see L/M working together. The film is also a lot more depressing than I remember. It's weird but I don't remember anything about the sequel, but I'll be watching it again soon too.
Deliver Us From Evil (1977)
Dir - Horace Jackson
If there was one way to describe this movie it would be awkward. This means the acting, the editing, the cacophonous screaming and the straight-to-camera speech at the end. The message is to stop black-on-black crime and boy does it beat you over the head with the message. While it has a good cause behind it I'll probably steer clear of the film in the future.
What are the quotes for and where is the question mark?
Dir - Mark Herrier
Horror Movie Night
I love this movie! It's a horror flick for fans of not only the genre but old theaters and the age of showmanship lead by William Castle. There might be a low body count but the make-up FX are fantastic!
Full review next week on Gordon and the Whale.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Dir - Ted Nicolau
Tuesday Night Trash
This is a film that I've seen a few times before and love. It's goofy and fun with a very cool designed monster and Jon Gries as a metalhead! What had me out to see it on this night was the first of a new series at the Texas Theatre called Tuesday Night Trash. They are going to show older, off the beaten path films along with other assorted oddities.
For the inaugural film it kicked off with an odd "short film" by a local Dallas guy who goes by the name George Quartz. I'm not too sure how to feel about this, I really enjoyed parts of it but overall wasn't too impressed. Quartz, I believe, has something to do with the programming of TNT so that would explain why they showed this. If you want to see it for yourself it's here on Vimeo.
The features are supposed be shown on their original format and for TerrorVision that meant a VHS screening. This was a pretty poor tape as the image looked over saturated and the sound was very muffled. Not sure if it was a bad copy or projection problems. I will give the venue the benefit of the doubt.
Not sure how many of the TNT screenings I'll be able to make it to, since my Tuesdays are usually booked, but I'll try to go again. Next one is on July 5th and they're showing Necropolis, which I've never seen.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Dir - Alexandre Aja
This movie is just a ton of fun! Saw it originally at midnight, in 3D, and had a blast. Still just as fun at home on Blu-Ray. There's babes, blood, boobs, Christopher Lloyd, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott and more boobs and blood - how can you go wrong?! Now I just need to make the time to watch the making-of doc on the Blu that, at just over two hours, is longer than the film itself.
I can't wait for the sequel this fall!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
The Odd Couple (1968)
Dir - Gene Saks
I love Matthau and Lemmon! This film has some hilarious moments and great performances, but comes from a much darker place than I ever figured a famous comedy from the 60s would. Neil Simon's quick, witty dialog shines and Matthau's eight room NYC apartment (!) is incredible. He must be some great sports writer.
Dir - Sandor Stern
First time seeing the whole film, but I have read the book so it's not like there were any surprises lurking around the corner for me. Still, this is a pretty freaky film with a very unsettling looking medical "doll". Love Terry O'Quinn and wish he was in this more than the first half hour. Definitely worth the watch. Also, features much less incest than its source novel.
Dir - Paul Feig
I've heard many mixed things about this, but I really enjoyed it. Probably a tad too long but it held my interest, kept me laughing and had much more heart than I expected. Wiig and Rudolph are always funny but Melissa McCarthy stole the film for me. I especially love everything with her and her real life husband Ben Falcone, Air Marshall Jon. Oh, and awesome musical group cameo!
Easy Rider (1969)
Dir - Dennis Hopper
AFI Top 100: #84
I waited a long time to watch this because I'm not a huge fan of biker movies, especially those with more of the hippie types of bikers (I'd rather see them as lawless felons, natch). There were plenty of moments in this where I wanted to stab everyone on the screen, especially in the desert commune. Argh! Soon my urge to kill left and I ended up really enjoying the ride. Jack Nicholson is particularly great and I can see where this paved the way for a new era of filmmaking. My only real problem is having grown up with films influenced this I can never full appreciate or experience the impact this film had on the world in 1969, but I do respect it for its contribution.
Red Heat (1985)
Dir - Robert Collector
Linda Blair returns to the women-in-prison subgenre after Chained Heat to be wrongfully imprisoned in Germany. Aspects of this film are far better than its predecessor and ranks as one of the best WIP flicks I've seen. If only Brokedown Palace had awesome shower scenes...
Full review of this will be on Gordon and the Whale in a couple weeks.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Auto Focus (2002)
Dir - Paul Schrader
Late to the party on this one, but this is quite a film! Greg Kinnear, as well as the rest of the cast, delivers one hell of a performance and really gives off that sex-crazed creepy vibe. All of the set decoration and costumes of the 60s through 70s were fantastic. Why don't they make kitchens with bright blue Formica counter tops anymore?
Dir - Edward Mann
A fun little southern tale about moonshiners who must deal with some east coast Italian mafia types. The VHS Micah has was a former rental and the box has this listed as an action, but it's far from high on in that. There is an extended hoedown scene that ends with sugar pouring out of the ceiling - probably my favorite moment. Danny Aiello is in this and looks stylish in his very awesome outfit of a football jersey tucked into very short cut-off jean shorts and flip flops. Sexy! IMDb has a very small section of the cast listed and it's a shame that my favorite character, the bearded old timer shiner, isn't even on there, even though he's one of the main characters. Everyone should know his name and find films featuring his badassness - William T. Hicks!
Beyond Darkness (1990) aka La Casa 5
Dir - Claudio Fragasso (as Clyde Anderson)
Horror Movie Night
Another in the infamous series of, non-connected, Italian La Casa rip-off films. It has a few moments but overall I was just reminded of other possession/haunted house flicks that I enjoyed more. There are some moments that look straight out of The Exorcist and I expected Fathers George and Peter to recited Karras and Merrin's lines.
Full review will be up on Gordon and the Whale next week!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Dir - Renny Harlin
This is one that I used to watch a lot when I was younger for some reason. I will say that this does have pretty awesome deaths (the "sucking face" in the classroom and the girl turning into a roach) and I did kind of think Lisa Wilcox was pretty cute. This also has some sweet martial arts scenes set to the sounds of Dramarama's "Anything, Anything" and when he karate battles Freddy in a dream he wears a gee with some Converse. My kind of man.
One odd thought I had - In most of the deaths it could possibly be something "natural". When Kincaid dies it's not too crazy and Sheila dies of a bad asthma attack, bu then there's Joey. Why no one makes a big deal about him drowning INSIDE his waterbed is beyond me. How did he get inside there without spilling water everywhere? Why does this never get brought back up again? Maybe the bigger question should be why is the waterbed clear with a light inside? Heh.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Pimpin' Pee Wee (2009) aka Porky's: The College Years
Dir - Brian Trenchard-Smith
Our eighth and final film turned out to be Brian Trenchard-Smith's (mostly) unreleased Porky's installment that, due to legal reasons, goes by the name Pimpin' Pee Wee. We got a DVD of the unreleased film from BTS himself and it is dirty, funny and one of the better sex comedies I've seen as of late. One of the characters has a giant schlong and he spouts inane phrases to chicks like "talk to the gland." It stays pretty close to the subgenre's conventions but manages to maintain the laughs and have a lot of boobies - and that's all anyone really wants from this type of flick.
Bonus Fun Fact: This movie implores the best penis transitions between scenes!
Pledge Night (1990) aka A Hazing in Hell
Dir - Paul Ziller
now it was time for my pick! Unfortunately we had technical difficulties with what I brought and I was forced to use my back-up. It's all good though, because this is a fun slasher that no one had seen or heard of and it went over rather well. The first half of the film is just a bunch of hazing of fraternity pledges with degrading acts like eating worms, paddling, picking up cherries in their butt cheeks and drinking gross concoctions. When they get their "shakes" they try to decide what to do with it and one of the group suggests "maybe we can stick it up our assholes." They say there aren't any bad ideas in brainstorming but... damn. The last act has some crazy killing courtesy of a demon hippie spouting 60s themed one-liners. You're welcome.
Bonus Fun Fact: Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna plays the killer in a flashback before his accident and supposedly Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson is a party girl in one scene, but I cant find her.
The Search for Animal Chin (1987)
Dir - Stacy Peralta
Our next feature was from Noah's wife Jenni (@jenni7283) and it was a fun treasure. This is the first skateboard video to have a plot. Now, when I say plot I mean to say a very thin plot-like structure surrounded by a bunch of awesome skating. It's about a bunch of skaters searching for Animal Chin, an old Chinese man who created skateboarding. Awesome! This has some of the big names of the time like Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, and the one most people will recognize, Tony Hawk. There is some good skating, bitchin' crazy dialog and a really weird kata/aerobic skating exercise they all do in their hotel room together - shirtless, of course.
Bonus Fun Fact: This little gem is now on DVD and, supposedly, Blu-Ray as well. Fan-tastic.
The Final Sanction (1990)
Dir - David Prior
Movie number five came from our participant from the farthest away, Jay (@sleestakk), who flew down from Chicago for our marathon. Awesome! He brought this little gem on VHS featuring the action chops of Ted Prior against Robert Z'Dar (Maniac Cop) in a one-on-one battle to the death for their respective countries - those being USA and Russia respectively. Why? Who the hell knows?! For these guys being such "great soldiers" neither one of them can aim a gun for shit. Ted has plenty of time to lay on the charm and show off his chiseled physique and that's what he does best.
Bonus Fun Fact: This is the third David and Ted Prior film I've watched in the past two-and-a-half weeks. The others are Sledgehammer and Aerobicide.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Naked Vengeance (1985)
Dir - Cirio H. Santiago
Following the utter insanity was our host for the marathon, Brian (@BTSjunkie). This is actually one of the rape/revenge flicks that was on my list to watch soon so it's nice to get that out of the way. Basically a woman's husband dies, she goes to stay with her parents in a town full of sexual deviants and gets gang raped and her parents are killed. Then comes the revenge, if you couldn't tell. It follows the I Spit on Your Grave model very closely (with a bit of a bigger budget) but, then again, I guess most films of this subgenre do. It's shocking how every man our poor woman encounters in this town tries to get her in the sack within a few minutes, as if they've never seen a female before. There are some pretty brutal moments in this film but they are well deserved.
Bonus Fun Fact: Deborah Tranelli, from the TV show Dallas stars as the victim and also sings the main pop-ballad that's played multiple times throughout the film - "Still Got a Love". I searched all over the interwebs to find a copy to put on the blog but couldn't find one. Sorry.
Science Crazed (1991)
Dir - Ron Switzer
This was a satellite pick by Josh (@VHSisthetruth) who was unable to join us this go-round. He filmed an intro to the movie and right away we knew we were in for trouble. Everything he said about this was true, both the good and bad. I'm not sure what someone saw in this initially to buy it and release it on VHS but I'm glad they did! If not we would be without this puzzling flick. There are very few scenes and probably around 40 or so minutes of actual footage but the director stretched it out to feature length. This results in tons of recycled footage and cuts back and forth between said footage in a seemingly never-ending loop of chaos. By about ten minutes in at least three people in the crew watching these films got up because they were going to "need more beer for this." Zero scares, very little blood and a lot of grunting in the all ADR'd soundtrack. It could be seen as terrible by some and brilliant by others. Very unique and one of the films everyone had a blast watching.
Bonus Fun Fact: There is a scene in a video store where you can see a promo item for the film The Boy Who Could Fly that is a kite brandishing the title. Sweet.
Dir - Daryl Duke
Second film of the day/night came from Micah (@ReelDistraction) and, as any of us could have guessed, it was a film from the 70s. Heh. This features Rip Torn as hard living country musician who's always on the road, always drunk/drugged and facing some serious problems. This film has a lot of grittiness that only certain directors in the 70s could provide. Torn gives one of the best performances I've seen of him, probably rivaled only by his role in The Man Who Fell to Earth. Another standout performance goes to his driver/bodyguard/cooking enthusiast Chicago (Cliff Emmich). This guys cracks me up and has a great dialog with one of Torn's women all about omelette pans that is not to be missed. At times this can be a funny film (it does have the most gratuitous McDonald's product placement outside of Mac & Me) but it's mostly pretty damn serious and tells a great tale.
Bonus Fun Fact: Many of the country songs in the film were written by Shel Silverstein!
Scavenger Hunt (1979)
Dir - Michael Schultz
To initiate the uninitiated, BTSNAT (BTS Numb-A-Thon) is our lovely, now, biannual movie marathon that is all attendee programmed, kept secret (as much as possible) until right before the film and is capped off with film directed byt the namesake - Mr. Brian Trenchard-Smith. This year we did 8 total films, starting around 2pm and ending just before 4:30am. Glad to say I never fell asleep once and everything was great! Now, on with the films...
First up was Noah's (@noahphex) pick, a comedy he watched many times as a younger cinephile. This is a fun flick with a great ensemble cast (Cloris Leachman, Cleavon Little, Roddy McDowall, Tony Randall, Willie Aames, Richard Mulligan and many more) all going for the $200 million inheritance from board game magnate Milton Parker (HA!). As with everything else in his life this is a game, a scavenger hunt. Whoever can amasse the most points by the end of the day gets the whole enchilada! Things get crazy and the jokes come fast and furious. Really fun times with this one and a whole boatload of fairly offensive racist jokes.
Bonus Fun Fact: There is a cameo by Meat Loaf as a tough biker. Unfortunately for him, thanks to the clips I've seen on The Soup recently now I can't look at the man without picturing him screaming and crying like a two-year-old over some "stolen" art supplies. Sigh.
Dir - J.J. Abrams
Before I say anything about the film itself I will say that I was beyond excited for this. Aside from seeing the first teaser trailer, in a theater, about a year ago I stayed away from all online talk/stories on the film and never watched a commercial or full trailer. I wanted to go into it not knowing as much as possible. It was a successful mission and I'm really glad I did, it made it a lot more fun only knowing there was some sort of mystery (duh, it's J.J. Abrams) and there was a train.
A lot of people are split on this one. Some love it and others are vehemently against it (at least they are on my twitter feed). Well, I loved it and have no real big complaints. I love coming-of-age tales with groups of kids on an adventure and I love that feel of the 80s Amblin stuff that Spielberg and company put out into the world. This is heavily influenced by that sort of stuff, too much so some would say, but it works. The film does play rather strongly on the nostalgia factor, and that is part of the reason I enjoy it so. This group of kids might have well have been the friends I hung around in my youth. We were obsessed with the same types of things and had many adventures of our own. All of these kids turn in great performances and kept a smile on my face for nearly two hours.
The adventure itself is enjoyable, as is the film's mystery component. Do I wish they would have spent a little more time with it in parts? Yes, but to be honest I would have enjoyed another half an hour with these kids. I'm sure those friends of mine who aren't as impressed with the movie will roll their eyes at the thought of a ~150 minute cut. Ha!
Some of the film's shortcomings are due to trying to be a little too soft/sappy in moments that are not completely realized at times. My least favorite part of the film is that Abrams had to throw that damned lens flare in more that once. We're not talking Star Trek levels of flare, thankfully, but pretty much any would have caused me to roll my eyes as I did.
The FX are great and the big train scene near the beginning of the film left me wide-eyed and agape. Mind blown. I would speak more on the particulars of the more fantastical aspects of the film but I fear that's a tad too spoilery so I'll keep that veil on for now.
All in all Super 8 is just a ton of fun. It has plenty of adventure, some laughs, some heart, some jolts and a whole lot of good times. Since I went alone to see this at a midnight screening so I wouldn't be accidentally spoiled after the wide release I might go again with Jenny. This I am totally OK with.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Cat Murkil and the Silks (1976) aka Cruisin' High
Dir - John A. Bushelman
This is a film about a gang of high school juvenile delinquents who take things way too far, terrorize some teacher and kill a few people. There are a few moments of good sprinkled about, and some hilariously bad performances by some of the smaller characters, but it's waaaaay too long. Could easily cut 25 minutes to tighten it up. Oh well, they can't all be winners.
Dir - George Elanjian, Jr
Horror Movie Night
This is the sequel to Scared to Death, which we watched a few weeks back at HMN, and it's much better! There's more of the titular creatures, some great deaths, insane performances, an awesome task force and one badass security guard. Really glad I got to see this one.
Full review on Gordon and the Whale next week!
A Serbian Film (2010) aka Srpski film
Dir - Srdjan Spasojevic
I held off watching this for quite sometime and I'm still not sure what to say. It's a very well made film (especially from a first time director) but the subject matter make it really hard to rate in any conventional way. It's one of those films that really sticks with you and "changes" you because of the dark subject matter and, at times, shocking visuals - much in the same way I felt after first seeing Salo or Antichrist. I do know that after watching this I would gladly show (the very tame by comparison) Human Centipede to a room full of kindergarteners.
This is the type of movie I can't really recommend to anyone. I know fans of horror films who would probably not talk to me again after showing them A Serbian Film and tell them that I "like" it. It's very graphic (I did watch the full uncut 104 minute version) and goes to some very, vary dark places. There is nothing light or enjoyable about this movie. But... it does have something to say and it's not just a bunch of random gross-out scenes just for the hell of it.
Really wish I would have been able to make it to the SXSW/Fantastic Fest screening of this last year to feel the awkward, disturbed vibe in the theater. I'm sure it's the eeriest exiting of a theater the Drafthouse has probably ever seen.
Thanks to Milos I'll never be the same again.
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Dir - Amy Holden Jones
This is a classic slasher flick that I had not seen in way too long. Gotta love that awesome dick-like drill that he kills with and the fact that the film was dreamed up and directed by a woman. I guess in the end he is put in his place, so let's chalk that up for a female win!
Friday, June 3, 2011
Mystery Team (2009)
Dir - Dan Eckman
I heard good things about this one from multiple sources and I love Donald Glover on Community so I thought I'd give it a go. Turns out it's a pretty damn funny flick with a lot of cameos by NBC comedy actors. There are some pretty damn funny laugh-out-loud moments and never really drags. Pretty good time all around.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Chained Heat (1983)
Dir - Paul Nicholas
What a perfect film to bridge together the offerings from last night's Horror Movie Night/Weird Wednesday double feature. This film has Marcia Karr (star of Aerobicide) and Henry Silva (co-star of Shoot) not to mention John Vernon and Sybil Danning! Great cast and some great boobage - since that's why we watch these in the first place. Also some good action and violence. Really happy with this film and look forward to watching the other two features, Red Heat and Jungle Warriors, on this tripple feature disc from Panik House/Synapse/Mr. Skin!
Full review will be on Gordon and the Whale in a couple weeks.
Dir - Harvey Hart
With a decent premise and a cast including Ernest Borgnine and Henry Silva I had high hopes. I guess they were too high. Sigh.
The film has its moments but overall goes a little too "out there" for me to stay with the story. Not to mention the middle lulls quite a bit. Not too impressive, I hope next week's WW is better.
Aerobicide (1987) aka Killer Workout
Dir - David Prior
Horror Movie Night
This is the third, or maybe fourth, time I've seen this and I love it just as much! It's silly with some good deaths and a lot of aerobics. I hope this gets a DVD release someday. Fingers crossed...
Look for my full review next week on Gordon and the Whale!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The New York Ripper (1982)
Dir - Lucio Fulci
It had been a long time since I watched this and I forgot how great it is! Wonderful little giallo from Fulci with some great deaths, a pretty sweet soundtrack and a few pretty sexy scenes. Were there really live sex shows on 42nd Street? I always thought that was illegal, but maybe I'm just being naive. This film is shot and lit fantastically and an absolute joy to glue your eyeballs to for 93 minutes. Of course the cinematographer is Luigi Kuveliller, who also shot Argento's Deep Red, so it's not too hard to believe that it would look great. Funny that there's so much duck voice in this when Fulci has another film called Don't Torture a Duckling. That might be next on my Fulci re-watch list. It's been so long. I love Fulci. RIP