Welcome to the Grindhouse A Lunch Community http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse <![CDATA[ Perfectly Adequate UFO Mystery That Predates THE X-FILES By More Than A Few Years]]>  
While the picture opened with the qualifier that it was all based on facts, I had done my share of reading from UFO literature and the like to know that what the producers served up instead was far from an actual accounting of Earth’s first devastating encounter with forces beyond our world (tip: the shuttle program wouldn’t put its first orbiter into space for about one year yet); instead, I knew full well what they were doing was picking elements from a broader history and combining them into a story meant to inform as well as educate the audience to the burgeoning mystery surrounding both the flying saucer question and Zachariah Sitchin’s scholarship into the dawn of man.
 
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary for the discussion of plot and/or characters.  If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last paragraphs for my final assessment.  If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
 
The launch of a new satellite from aboard the American Space Shuttle goes awry when the projectile accidentally plows into an alien Unidentified Flying Object suddenly perched off the spacecraft’s bow.  Before you know it, two astronauts will be fingered as the guilty culprit as the U.S. government closes its ranks around the truth, and they’ll find themselves on the run from sinister agents seeking to silence them for good!
 
What HANGAR 18 does accomplish it does very well: it presents a dynamic story about the conspiracy to silence regular folks and even other government officials to the subject of UFOs.  In doing so, the story traffics in so many elements associated to the saucer question, including secret crash retrievals, authoritarian thuggery, the Men in Black, and clandestine military installations.  The short skinny here is that if you are in any way a fan of what THE X-FILES did on television you could do far worse than spend 90 minutes with this early 80’s gem.
 
And, folks, it was the early 80’s, so don’t look for these special effects to hold a candle to what producers were doing on television two or even a single decade later.  They’re charming, at best, and necessarily dated, at worst.  I kinda/sorta have a fondness for what pictures of this type were doing at this day and age, and they still work just fine for the purposes of this story today.  In fact, I’d argue that the UFO internal sets were designed quite spiffy given the limitations of their budget.
 
As for the ending?  Well, clearly that wasn’t based on any known facts (as the opening and closing segments suggest).  Given the fact that most governments of the world continue to deny any involvement in the investigation of UFOs or even UFO-related subjects, it’s pretty clear that at no time have representatives of the United States come forward and confessed they have a working alien spacecraft in their possession.  So far as I know (I do follow fringe news fairly regularly), our officials are still obsessed with denying it.
 
Unless I miss my guess (I’ve not been able to confirm this), I tend to wonder whether or not HANGAR 18 began life as a made-for-TV movie that simply grew to the point that the studio decided to give it a theatrical release.  I say this because there are a handful of actors in the film who had already built a relatively successful following in TV properties; plus there are more than a few passing similarities to ideas (fonts and props) that I’ve seen used in other TV productions.  So I throw that out more as a curiosity than anything else.
 
RECOMMENDED.  Far from perfect, HANGAR 18 is still a worthwhile way to kill 90 minutes.  It’s obviously a product of its time, but – so far as this UFO nut is concerned – it’s still a story worth telling.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Hangar_18-534-1744857-247282-Perfectly_Adequate_UFO_Mystery_That_Predates_THE.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Hangar_18-534-1744857-247282-Perfectly_Adequate_UFO_Mystery_That_Predates_THE.html Wed, 11 Jun 2014 21:01:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ Not overly impressed by this slasher-thriller, but Rutger Hauer was great.]]>
Robert Harmon's "The Hitcher" is a crowd-pleaser slasher movie. The original script that didn't make it to the screen was a lot darker and violent and was therefore scrapped (because darkness and violence is just no good), the suspense isn't too slow-burn for a majority audience so that it's easily accessible, and it'd got a big name in the cast that everyone adores. The producers were convinced that they weren't making a slasher film at all when they were making this movie and rather a thriller, but upon viewing the finished product, I'm not so sure. This feels like a slasher flick. A bland, messy, yet better-than-average slasher flick. And by better-than-average I mean, in the case of the slasher film, better than shit. "The Hitcher" really isn't bad at all. It has more impressive ambitions than most films of its kind, but then again you must remember that it didn't even want to be classified amongst them in the first place.

A young man (Thomas C. Howell) is terrorized by a hitchhiker who turns out to be a serial killer (Rutger Hauer) while delivering a car that he deliberately keeps saying isn't his to a location in San Diego. It starts with him picking up the hitcher and then driving him a little ways, although it doesn't take too long for this fellow to start saying stuff that could come off as disturbing. For instance, he tells his driver that earlier he killed the people in a car that the two see parked on the side of the road when they're still driving into the night. The young man, named Jim, manages to escape the hitcher by throwing him out of the car, left for dead on the side of the road; but of course the bastard follows him around and eventually frames Jim for his crimes. He accomplishes this by switching out their leather jackets at a diner.

The police come at the wrong time and instantly have the wrong man. We know Jim is not the killer, yet the bloody knife is in his jacket pocket. He has virtually nobody to turn to, except for a girl about his age (Jennifer Jason Leigh) that worked at the diner where he stopped. He's able to convince her that he's innocent and together they run from the law. Meanwhile, the hitcher continues to kill all who cross his path, stealing their cars so that he may further be a complete menace to Jim, who understands that there will more than likely be only way out of this hodgepodge.

I'm actually pretty amazed that the experience went by so fast, given how bored I constantly was with the film. It's not a particularly painful or painless watch; it's so heavily flawed that I couldn't really ever say I enjoyed it, but at the same time it's competently made to the point where it is, well, watchable. There is good camerawork (which could be easier appreciated if the DVD wasn't of such bad video quality, if only in the darker scenes), some good gore (although keep in mind, it's far from extreme), and yes, there are a few moments where the thing is actually thrilling. But it's still merely half a thriller as much as it is half a slasher.

On the bright side, Rutger is really good. On the not-so-bright side, I felt he was much underused. The film at least makes an attempt to be tense, but in the end, Rutger brings the best scenes and even those come off as underwhelming. There was nothing worth writing home about in the memorably menacing scenarios department. Plus, Rutger's killer character doesn't get nearly as much screen-time as he deserved; and instead, we're trapped in a story told through the eyes of Howell's "tough" (which translates here to wimp) hero. I do admire that the killer had no motivations behind what he did, since the best villains are often pure evil without any rational explanation, but at the same time these feel like characters that require detailed backstories and characteristics. Instead, the film is left on the side of the road with only its actors, its cinematography, and its laughably weird homoerotic undertones to save it from being a total loss. I say it's still worth seeing; even if it is a huge let down.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Hitcher_1986_movie_-534-1397249-227150-Not_overly_impressed_by_this_slasher_thriller_but.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Hitcher_1986_movie_-534-1397249-227150-Not_overly_impressed_by_this_slasher_thriller_but.html Fri, 17 Aug 2012 17:53:41 +0000
<![CDATA[ A truly gonzo horror/exploitation film from the director of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"!]]>
Tobe Hooper's "Eaten Alive" is a film so tasteless and sleazy that literally the first few words of dialogue spoken are by Robert Englund as Buck, who is as he says, "fixin' to fuck". You might recognize this line of dialogue because it was slightly altered by Quentin Tarantino for his film "Kill Bill: Volume 1". So you see, in spite of the obvious shit - yes, the film is bad, bad, bad all around and there's literally nothing morally redeemable about it -, the film has its admirers. And I'll be damned if I'm not one of them. I've come to the realization lately that I simply love me my sleaze. If I don't get my dose of sleaze at least once or twice a week, I'm rendered incapable of doing much for the remainder of it. That's just how I am. By no means do I consider these sleaze-fests good movies (at least not by my definition, but I'm not afraid to admit that I really do enjoy the hell out of them on occasion. They should be judged for what they are, not for what they aren't.

The story...oh who gives a rat's ass? It's about a repulsive and sadistic hotel owner named Judd (Neville Brand) who kills people that he believes are looking to interfere with his ill-fated business and feeds their bleeding corpses to his pet alligator. He starts with a young prostitute (Roberta Collins) for no reason other than the fact that she's a prostitute, or in this case (she's just been evicted from the whorehouse), a former-prostitute. Then he moves onto a family whose dog is eaten by the alligator, putting the young child of the bunch in turmoil and pissing off the parents. The dad hopes to shoot the animal dead; and you see, this just doesn't sit too well with ol' Judd. He carries out the heavy duty with his trusty scythe.

To me, good sleaze hits just the right notes between bizarre, silly, and exploitative. "Eaten Alive" explores all three of those areas and scores big in such departments. In fact, those are the only three departments of cinema that it knows at all. It's a dumb, bloated movie; Hooper's first foray into Hollywood filmmaking and certainly not his last, yet certainly not his worst. It's not as stark and effective as TCM but if you can somehow stop yourself from comparing it to that film so much, it's a pretty fun ride. Like all good sleazy horror flicks, there's an attitude to the exploitation. The thing is weird and wild; which makes it all the more exciting to watch.

Englund's Buck and Brand's Judd get the best scenes. In fact, they alone create horror movie history; if only a mild contribution (but still, it's a contribution nonetheless). Buck is as sleazy as the movie itself; a psychopathic sex addict who frequents the local brothels and even stops in at Judd's hotel for a night, one which he shall not soon forget. And Judd, well, he's just a really menacing guy; and Brand plays the crazy fucker real well. Both performances are unhinged and fearless, which is precisely what I like about them. Just like the rest of the film, not a single thing about either character is believable; although people like them certainly do exist. Remember that this was made even before TCM was considered somewhat respectable: so nobody on board was really looking for much respect, yet they got some anyways.

And you know what; I'd have to say they damn well deserve it. "Eaten Alive" is what it is - a stupid, absurdist horror-exploitation picture that revels in its own infectious excrement. I liked it enough - the sets and animal props may be cheesy as fuck and the violence may exactly be aplenty but Hooper still retains an interesting visual style through grainy camerawork that occasionally gets a little inventive - although I recognize that it's not for everyone. You need to go in knowing that this is not a good movie, but a good exploitation film. Those are two COMPLETELY - and I mean it - different things. But like I said, the film should be judged for what it is and not for what it isn't. And it's an honest reminder of how good the VHS days of horror used to be. It serves as thoughtful nostalgia to some; someday I imagine I'll look back on it quite fondly. Because I'm one demented bastard love child. If you are too, then feel free to rejoice with this fancily ferocious fright flick.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Eaten_Alive_movie_-534-1388592-227008-A_truly_gonzo_horror_exploitation_film_from_the.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Eaten_Alive_movie_-534-1388592-227008-A_truly_gonzo_horror_exploitation_film_from_the.html Thu, 26 Jul 2012 01:39:56 +0000
<![CDATA[ Those Congenial Cannibals]]>
Motel Hell's comedy is chiefly droll, occasionally hilarious; as a horror picture, it's never terrifying, though frequently disquieting...some exiguity of suspense hardly mitigates its palpable dread.  Even so, the movie's cleverer elements surmount neither its myriad flaws nor dragging pace.  So much hayseed's humor would seem more apposite to a Dukes of Hazzard episode, and Lance Rubin's lightweight score might well have been recycled from an installment of Amazing Stories.  An ill-conceived romantic sub-plot further slows the story's rate to a wearisome shamble.  However, its gory, farcical, maniacal conclusion is very nearly worth a long wait theretofore.  This was co-written and produced by the brothers Jaffe - Steven-Charles and Robert, sons of producer Herb - so one can only wonder which was the more inventive and who the duller of the two; as Robert adroitly adapted Dean Koontz's Demon Seed to the cunning screenplay of Donald Cammell's film version, I'd lay wager that he's to be credited with most of Motel Hell's imaginative atrocities.

Calhoun's standout performance alternately exudes charismatic geniality and furious derangement; he was aptly cast in a role exploiting his capacities for both charm and malice.  Porcine Nancy Parsons seethes unnervingly as his malicious, manic sister, Wolfman Jack plays a lascivious televangelist with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and Gwil Richards and Toni Gillman vigorously gnaw their every scene as a perverted married couple.  Unfortunately, the cast's remainder are best likened to a cord of winter lumber - especially charmless Nina Axelrod as the requisite distressed damsel.

Appropriately, Tobe Hooper was to helm Motel Hell and would surely have produced a more exciting, amusing feature had Universal Studios not abandoned the project and reassigned him to direct The Funhouse.  A shame, that: it could have been a fun interstitial undertaking betwixt his two Texas Chainsaw Massacre flicks.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Motel_Hell-534-1024269-226908-Those_Congenial_Cannibals.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Motel_Hell-534-1024269-226908-Those_Congenial_Cannibals.html Sun, 22 Jul 2012 05:05:30 +0000
<![CDATA[ What happens in the hills stays in the hills.]]>
An American family, California-bound by RV and car, stop at a creepy gas station ran by a shady old man. We know that the gas station is creepy - and that the old man is shady - because the scene that comes before the arrival of the family, which involves a strange conversation between the old man and a young and ragged woman (who the old man hides in a closet when he hears the car door slam outside the establishment), tells us so. The family finds themselves in a dessert area, supposedly near the site of nuclear bomb testing, and therefore the father feels the need to do some sight-seeing. The old man tells him that this isn't such a good idea, but he fails to listen to such warnings, and so they are on their way, deeper into the dessert. But then...the car breaks down, the family is stranded, and odd indications let us know that perhaps something - or someone - is watching them.

And so, the hills do have eyes; the eyes being those of a family of psychotic cannibals, a few of them certainly mutated by the nuclear testing that was once conducted nearby. It's not until they find one of the two dogs that they've brought along with them dead, and the father burned alive, that the family starts to realize that the savages of the hills are instigating an all-out war. You can imagine what happens next. The mutants seem to have the upper hand in the battle, but the other family soon turns the tables on the villains, eventually fending for themselves successfully. Expect blood, explosions, executions, and doggie heroes.

It was an inspired idea; a tribe-like clan of cannibalistic mutants hiding out in the middle of nowhere, feeding off of all those who dare pass by the land which they call home. Writer and director Wes Craven could have done something absolutely amazing with the premise, but instead, he makes all the wrong moves in stylizing his film. He avoids being responsible for making a really bad movie by intelligently placing a few elements that we're sure to remember; the performances from the actors who portray the family of cannibals, and of the other family, genre favorite Dee Wallace. Actor Michael Berryman (who plays a character named Pluto in the "bad" family) has achieved much fame after being involved in this particular production, although mostly (it would seem) for the peculiarities in his appearance. Still, I thought he gave the best performance out of the entire film.

But alas, a few good things cannot quite outdo the bad and the mediocre. Perhaps my biggest gripe with "The Hills Have Eyes" is that the pacing is just so darned...uneven. It wants to be a typical suspense tale with themes of morality and family relations, but instead of being absorbed in the tension of specific - and well-made - scenes, I found myself feeling rather bored. I didn't care about these characters of whether they survived, and quite frankly, I would have preferred that Craven had made a considerable attempt to give the villains some decent background. Not to humanize the bastards per se; but enough to give me a goddamn good reason to give a shit. Instead, I'm stuck here waiting for the whole ordeal to be over.

Regardless of how down-right boring and poorly-paced I thought Craven's film (which was his second overall) was, there are those who seem to love it. Indeed, it might work as a nostalgia piece, and to some, even a solid horror flick on its own grounds; but for me, all I know is that it wasn't quite worth the hype. There is fantastic scenery, fantastic individual shots and cinematography, and some interesting performances (not including most of the "good" family; most members annoyed the living hell out of me); but when it comes to the suspense, it may be better than most of its kind, but that still doesn't make it good. At least not in my book. I have absolutely no problem with "The Hills Have Eyes", but at the same time I can't really recommend it. Suspense that relies on both characters and mood can be riveting at times, when properly handled; but if I'm consistently hoping that the characters exit the frame as soon as possible, there can be no human impulse. And if suspense without brains is what people consider to be suspense at all, then we're in trouble.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Hills_Have_Eyes_1977_movie_-534-1388589-223252-What_happens_in_the_hills_stays_in_the_hills_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Hills_Have_Eyes_1977_movie_-534-1388589-223252-What_happens_in_the_hills_stays_in_the_hills_.html Sun, 29 Apr 2012 23:29:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ Finally! Blu-ray BATTLE ROYALE: It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!]]> So much has been written about the film.  So much has been said.  So much has been debated, discussed, dissected, and so much has been praised or insulted or misunderstood.  Those of us who celebrate film will always owe a special debt to the people at Anchor Bay: for the first time since it was released, BATTLE ROYALE is now being made available – uncensored, uncut, unrated – in America.
 
No doubt that BATTLE ROYALE’s Blu-ray release was intended to coincide with the launch of another  book-turned-film-franchise, THE HUNGER GAMES, in theatres in March, 2012.  Clearly, that’s some savvy marketing, as people from around the world have been arguing about the comparisons since the books by Suzanna Collins appeared.  To her credit, Ms. Collins claims that she’d never heard of BATTLE ROYALE, nor read the 1999 Japanese novel of the same name that the movie was based on.  I’ll take her at her word, and I’ll leave that debate to folks who’ve schooled themselves in those facts.
 
In the not-too-distant-future, Japan’s economy has collapsed.  As a result, unemployment is destroying the culture.  Crime is on the rise.  Hoping to keep its next generation under its control, the Japanese government passed The BR (‘Battle Royale’) Law, which requires one 9th grade class each year to be shipped off to an island.  Their mission?  Kill each other until only one person is left.  There are some other fine points to the game (i.e. each student is given a duffle full of supplies, the Island is broken into danger zones, etc.), but the message remains the same: 42 kids enter, 1 may leave.
 
That simple concept practically explodes into one of the bloodiest, shocking flicks captured on film!
 
As I said above, much has been written about ROYALE’s violence, so much so that I’ll take a pass on that topic.  Violence is violence – there isn’t any escaping it – and, when buckets of blood rules at the box office, the film certainly delivers.  What fascinated me much more about this story is the way that the 42 students of the film created their own subcultures once they’ve been deposited on the island.  Some of them remain fiercely independent, while others are doggedly loyal to one another.  Some of them panic as a result of the circumstances, and they immediately turn on one another.  What’s fascinating is that who they become as a result of the situation thrust upon them in many ways resembles an extension of who they were before it all when to heck in a handbasket.  The manipulative ‘losers’ become even more manipulative in order to survive the game, just as the computer nerds quickly go to work on cracking the hard science behind their entrapment.  If anything, ROYALE shows – despite its joyous subversiveness – that who a person is at his core will inevitably dictate what he’ll become when a new society comes calling.  Agree with it or not, that’s a powerful message, and it clearly shows why ROYALE deserves much more study in the years ahead.  Now that it’s available legitimately in the U.S., it’ll hopefully gain an even greater following.
 
As stated, this is a fully uncut restoration, and it’s been given a first class treatment here.  While the disc boasts absolutely zero special features, I’m so appreciative of having a clean cut available to me that I don’t believe I missed much.  The picture is fabulous (mostly), but there are a few scenes which clearly were either shot poorly ‘in the can’ or were tinkered with in post-production (zoom ins), a choice that ultimately limited the quality.  You’ll see instantly what I mean: three or four short cuts are covered in grain.  Sound is excellent – a noticeable improvement over the previous foreign DVD release I’ve had in my collection for a few years – which is nice because the film makes great use of some background audio and even a limited score.  Now all we need is a massive “Intellectual Edition” release which scores and scores and scores of commentaries, essays, features, and interviews about the picture.
 
Maybe I’m overdoing it, and, if you think so, you’ll have to pardon my excitement.  Those of us who’ve loved ROYALE privately for years are ecstatic to be treated to a terrific stateside release.  Yes, the film’s dark.  Of course, it’s a textbook example of subversive cinema at its finest.  It’ll make you think, squeal, squirm.  Shock.  Joy.  Revenge.  And cookies.  Everything you could want in a picture is in here – somewhere – so, if you’ve never seen it, I encourage you to do it today.  Put the kids to bed.  Pop some fresh popcorn.  Dim the lights.  Prepare yourself for the darkest of dark tragedies – this modern day epic – and let the chips fall where they may.  Blood will be shed.  Oh, yes, it will.
 
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE.  Yes, BATTLE ROYALE is an instant classic.  While the subject matter or elements of the presentation may disturb you, keep in mind that there will probably never be another film like it in your lifetime.
 
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Anchor Bay provided me with a DVD screener copy for the expressed purposes of completing this review.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Battle_Royale-534-1595382-222322-Finally_Blu_ray_BATTLE_ROYALE_It_Just_Doesn_t.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Battle_Royale-534-1595382-222322-Finally_Blu_ray_BATTLE_ROYALE_It_Just_Doesn_t.html Fri, 30 Mar 2012 14:49:45 +0000
<![CDATA[ A story of consumerism and what's really in our yogurt.]]>
Larry Cohen's "The Stuff" concerns the discovery of a mysterious bubbling goo that some man located in the arctic or somewhere like that happens upon and samples; only to become instantaneously entrapped by how drop-dead delicious it is. From then on, we learn that the glop has been harvested and is now being sold as a yogurt-like product called The Stuff. It's very popular amongst the people of America; and so it is frequently bought at the supermarket, and the demand is high. However, it's still a mystery to most people how it came to be in the little bubbling hole that the one man had found it within in the first place. It seems to be a very edible substance, but it's addictive in an otherworldly sense; not to mention it has some strange effects on the body, which are often lasting. Oh, and I think it's important to also mention that on occasion, the thick, liquid-like substance is allowed movement; accumulating into either a big pile or a big wave of white muck.

Most people aren't aware of the fact that what they're eating can move on its own. They never quite see it, although there are two people who know of the sticky substance's true nature. One is a saboteur named David (Michael Moriarty); although he likes to be called "Mo" (because every time he's given something, he wants "more", so he says). The other is a young boy named Jason (Scott Bloom), who does everything in his power to stop the consumption of this new-found gooey good, even if that includes an attempt to destroy every last bucket of the substance in the local grocery store. His parents are oblivious and don't take his claims into serious consideration; instead getting addicted on the titular "stuff"; thus meaning that Jason is pretty much on his own, until he crosses paths with David.

When the two do meet and greet; things get genuinely exciting. David was already investigating the strange appearance of this food product, although it wasn't until he came across Jason that his findings began to pile up. Together, they try to warn the world of the power that the stuff has on those who obsessively partake in devouring it; as it turns out, if you eat too much, it becomes a part of you, and has the ability to control the brain. So yes, that means that there will be evil "stuff" zombies walking the streets; and if the making of the stuff isn't stopped, the apocalypse might just be inevitable. But you probably know what's going to really happen in the end anyways. Let's just say that it's crazy, insane, silly, and at one point, the army comes in to lend a helping hand. It also helps that a retired soldier is played by Paul Sorvino, an experienced bad-ass.

There is a lot of fun to be derived from a viewing of "The Stuff". It's a true B-movie, and while it may not be one of the absolute greats, it packs a lot of punch for a film of such low standard. It has a really interesting concept, and I was glad that Cohen made use of it by taking dead aim at satire and social commentary. Whether he is successful at hitting his target is up to the viewer to decide, although I personally think it's a funny and relevant critique of American consumerism. Just think of it: if this were to really happen - in real life - then we'd all be screwed. There's no doubt about that. As humans - American or not - we love to spend money and buy stuff that's new and hip, and in this case, hazardous.

I've always appreciated Cohen's frequently cheesy scripts and the hammy performances that occupy them. There is some ridiculously, almost intentionally bad acting here; although I cannot say the same for the effects that do good to outweigh those absurd performances. The gore effects are silly and over-the-top, but as far as the actual "stuff" goes, hey; it could look worse. This is a simple film of simple pleasures; surely a good time for those who know what they like going in. I don't imagine it's a huge cult hit - or that it's got the biggest audience - but I enjoyed the thematic elements, the satire, and the gags of both the visual and contextual variety. Perhaps one of the funniest elements of the film is an African American character named Chocolate Chip Charlie. Just goes to show that B-movie/exploitation filmmakers are gleefully ignorant, racist bastards when all is said and done; but who said I can't love 'em anyways? Horror and B-movie fans rejoice; for "The Stuff" is certain to eat you right up, and vice versa.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Stuff-534-1026619-221988-A_story_of_consumerism_and_what_s_really_in_our.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Stuff-534-1026619-221988-A_story_of_consumerism_and_what_s_really_in_our.html Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:12:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hard-to-stomach masterpiece of cannibal cinema.]]>
"The one that goes all the way!" "The Most Controversial Film of All-Time!" "Ripout! Barbeque! Devour! How long can you take it?" So goes just three of the many taglines for Ruggero Deodato's infamous "Cannibal Holocaust"; a film that once tested the limits and tolerance of exploitation, and still does to this day. I don't have a very hard time imagining that even some of the most faithful horror/exploitation film-goers will find it difficult to watch; even for a guy like me, it was exhausting and repulsive from beginning to end. Once the thing has descended into ugly, inhuman madness; one might think of jumping ship - calling it quits. There's no merit in a film this gruesome unless there is a message at the center. But to spread a message - to tell a really good story - one must preach to the audience, and different members of that audience might take such a decision differently than others. In the end, I think it's a matter of where you stand. Were you offended? Were you strangely moved? Were you repulsed? Or did you just throw up? It is films like this that have the power to evoke strong reactions; and if one is open-minded enough, even strong thoughts.

The first part of the film mostly focuses on a rescue mission lead by an anthropologist named Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman). The aim is to drop into the Amazon Basin and find a four-person film crew that went missing in the vast areas while filming a documentary about cannibalistic tribes of the jungle. For a while, all those on the expedition sneak around the large forest, searching for the said tribes, until they finally make a decent effort to provoke them with both violence and promising pleasures (there's a scene where Monroe strips down naked and baths in a river, in an attempt to attract the women of a potential nearby tribe; which results in the desired effect).

But as the journey progresses, so does the unease at hand; Monroe and his men meet with a few of the tribes and their respective leaders, only to be greeted by hostility and cold shoulders. Do the cannibals intend to deceive and then devour the adventurers, or did something else happen while the filmmakers were out shooting their documentary? After Monroe acquires the footage of their expedition from the natives, brings it back to New York along with him, and screens it to a television studio that intends to broadcast it; we're shown what really happened, to both the cannibals and the crew.

Two reels of film reveal the expedition. The crew - filmmaker Alan Yates, script girl Fay Daniels, and cameramen Jack Anders and Mark Tomaso - plunges into cannibal territory and proves that they aren't very educated in the field of first impressions. They hack of a giant turtle's limbs piece-by-piece with a hatchet and then burn down a straw house that belongs to one of the tribes. They aim to exploit the indigenous tribes, simply because they can; through rape, torture, murder, interrogation, and humiliation. On the way, they also partake in the killing of various other animals; such as snakes, monkeys, and pigs. But the real crime is how close they push the tribesmen and women to the edge; if only they had left them alone - or perhaps filmed their activity from a distance - they would have lived another day. But as you can see, that was not the case.

With its found-footage style and high-profile gore effects; "Cannibal Holocaust" felt so real for it's time that Deodato was arrested and charged for what was his art. To retain the realistic feel of the film, the actors basically went into hiding for a few years after the initial release; and in court, Deodato had to call each one of them up individually to prove that the effects he employed were just effects, and that he had not really killed anyone (save for the animals; of which the killings were all real). The film has had a rather troubled past, but now that we know the truth for sure, it can be appreciated for the grotesque piece of work that it is. Grindhouse Releasing has done a spectacular job of restoring the film; giving it a theatrical run, and then releasing it on DVD (the extras are a gold mine). If you're going to see the movie, rent or buy their DVD; it's the best one yet, and it's hard to imagine that it will ever be rivaled. It is a film of thematic power; and of profound disgust. You will either love it, or you will find not a single thing about it the slightest bit redeemable. It's probably one of the most divisive motion pictures of all time; and for good reason. There were moments - like the turtle mutilation and consumption - that disturbed me unlike any other film truly has. But at the same time, I realized the sadness and cruelty that the scenes depicted; lending the film an atmosphere - an attitude - different from that of any other horror film presenting similar injustices.

Deodato says that the stark social commentary and various thematic interpretations were not intended. All he wanted to make was a movie about cannibals, with some arresting camerawork and deceivingly beautiful music. On one end of the spectrum, he has provoked his audience; and on another, he's made us think, although the two tend to go hand-in-hand. I don't care whether "Cannibal Holocaust" was intended to be powerful stuff or not; I'll never forget it, and for that, I think it deserves to be called great cinema. I will not suggest it to anyone; for it is an uncompromising attack on exploitation cinema and voyeuristic filmmaking, and if you find yourself squeamish, "Cannibal Holocaust" could be compared to an assault on all the senses. Your stomach will not rest, your head will throb, and in at least one moment in the film, you'll clutch onto your crotch for dear life. Strange, how out of all the inspirational and good-natured movies on the market these days, this is the one that makes me most appreciative of the life that I possess. I guess sometimes, all it takes is a muskrat murder and a first-person in-your-face ending that allows us to take part in being eaten alive by those who are no fewer monsters than we are.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Cannibal_Holocaust-534-1027137-221987-Hard_to_stomach_masterpiece_of_cannibal_cinema_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Cannibal_Holocaust-534-1027137-221987-Hard_to_stomach_masterpiece_of_cannibal_cinema_.html Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:11:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Pure celluloid insanity.]]>
A Satanic cult of hippies enters a small ghost town. They're looking for trouble; assuming that it won't dare confront them, knowing the kind of things that they're in to, and what they practice. On the night of their first ritual, they rape a girl that comes from the town outside the woods in which they gather. She runs back home; injured, and before long she is bedridden. Her grandfather is broken-hearted and vengeful; approaching the hotel that the hippies now inhabit with a loaded shotgun. His attempts at revenge fail, and he is force-fed LSD. His grandson walks him home; whilst he is still suffering under the influence of the drug, mad, and in tears.

This will not stand with the grandson. He must do what his grandfather was incapable of doing; and he aims to put these hippies to rest once and for all. He does so by shooting a mad dog that was snooping around in the woods and taking some of its blood and storing it in a needle. He then injects the rabies-infected blood into some of the meat pies that his employer - a woman who runs a local bakery - has already made; causing the hippies, unaware that their food has been spiked with nasty fluids, to inherit the traits of a rabid animal and go absolutely bat-shit insane.

To my surprise, "I Drink Your Blood" doesn't get to the bloody (AKA good) stuff until the last forty minutes or so. The rest is some sort of attempt at build-up; and a failed attempt from the looks of it. But when the side-effects of consuming rabid dog blood with your pastries start to kick in on these vile souls; the fun begins, although in my opinion, it had already begun long ago. Just think about it: a film that begins with a hippie cult leader proclaiming "Satan was an Acid Head!" can't be that boring, can it?

I believe that the writer and director of the film - David E. Durston - is entitled to a round of applause. He has successfully created a film that is beyond being "so bad it's good". This is "so bad it's great". Yes, you heard right; I loved "I Drink Your Blood". Every last moment of it. It's a great shock feature; a classic in the field of horror movies that are just so poorly done that they're, well, kind of awesome. A lot of people will hate the film for its undeniably poor quality - and for its lack of "taste" - but if you can make a movie bad - yet good - enough for people to keep coming back for more, I'd say your movie is at least somewhat abnormal.

Thus, whether you like it or not; "I Drink Your Blood" is pretty much a landmark, must-see piece of entertainment from the Grindhouse section of cinema. Yeah, it's not going to get much respect from any major (meaning mainstream) critics, but I loved it. Durston certainly has direction, you know, for a guy who has made a movie as corny as this. His movie is absolutely loopy, trippy, tasteless, and unrestrained. The original, uncensored version of the film had been kept away from the American public for years; but now, "I Drink Your Blood" can be seen as it was always meant to be seen: uncensored and uncut.

In a movie of uninspired dialogue and absurd situations; it's kind of difficult hand-picking my favorite scenes since in all honesty, there are just so many of them. I'll give you some examples from the insanity on display here: there's a random scene where the hippies go about having a rat-killing-and-catching contest in the hotel that they invade and proceed to trash. Such a scene is just very abrupt; and that's why it has a certain charm in the context of the film. Everything in this movie must be absolutely random and unexpected; or else it isn't interesting. Good thing Durston doesn't disappoint when it comes to whacky scenarios and memorable lunacy.

Here's one thing that I can't get off my mind: why was it that the rabid humans had a severe phobia of water? Sure, they'll take the flesh if it's on display; but point a hose in their direction (and use it), and look at that, they cower in fear. It's illogical; completely illogical, but then again I suppose it is not the job of this film to make much sense. It is adored by its fans - and me - because it is completely and utterly ridiculous. It's a stupid, brain-dead rip-off of "Night of the Living Dead"; just a lot more violent and, well, reviled by its critics. I personally found it hilarious, immensely enjoyable, and yes; one of the best ways to spend a movie night I've come across in a long time. If you share my demented sense of humor and endless appreciation of cinematic freak shows; then this might do something for you as it did for me. But if you're uptight and you like your films with some form of substance; you'll see nothing but trash and emptiness. But...for those who care; long live this masterpiece of sleaze, long live the Grindhouse/Drive-in revenue (this film was shown along with "I Eat Your Skin" as a double-feature), and long live the films that I love and you don't.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-I_Drink_Your_Blood-534-1019086-219745-Pure_celluloid_insanity_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-I_Drink_Your_Blood-534-1019086-219745-Pure_celluloid_insanity_.html Sat, 28 Jan 2012 21:50:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Dig, dig, dig; and the hole just keeps getting bigger.]]>
After seeing but two of the four major works of surrealist cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky - "Santa Sangre" and "The Holy Mountain" - , I came to a sudden realization; there were still two more of the acclaimed director's films that I needed to tackle. One of those films is "El Topo"; a film that I have tried many times before to sit through; each time failing to succeed in doing so. What can I say; this is not an easy film. It doesn't follow a conventional narrative; it tells its story mostly through symbolism, grotesque imagery, and rare moments of spoken dialogue that never last for too long a time. Every instance where I had given the film a chance, I knew I was watching something, but the question still lingered: what? What was I watching? After borderline forcing myself into a much recommended mind-set; I finally sat down and tried my hand at finishing "El Topo", and found myself able to this time. Now, I find that my question has been answered.

The film begins with a sad - yet hopeful - scene in which a tough, violent gun-slinger dressed in black (none other than the titular character, El Topo, played by Jodorowsky himself) approaches the horizon of a long, winding dessert by horse; with only his young, naked son to accompany him. I suppose the sad part of the scene comes with the burial of the son's stuffed bear - along with his mother's photograph - in the sand; clearly some sort of metaphor for the transition from child to (young) man. The hopeful part, however, is that the journey has yet to begin.

Shortly after, the two come across a lonely town; in which all the people have been slaughtered and left for dead. El Topo demands to know the butcher behind the massacre; and gets his final answer from one of three goading bandits. The murderer is a man known only as The Colonel; a fat, balding leader to a group that accompanied him on his killing spree. El Topo is quick to kill the man, along with the other assistants in murder, and like always, he continues to ride on. But this time, he leaves his son with the monks - who were being held captive by the Colonel and his perpetrators - and takes the enemy's woman slave.

At this point, I suppose the grand journey has finally begun. The woman tells El Topo of four gunmen who he must defeat in order to become the greatest "warrior" in all the land. El Topo accepts the challenge out of honor and spirit; tracking down each gun master and successfully defeating every one of them in combat. Each one shares with El Topo a piece of their mind on the spiritual journey to enlightenment that he has mapped out for himself; he learns a lot from each encounter.

In all honest truth, "El Topo" is a difficult film to describe. It is, in theory, pure cinema; it is pretentious, it is bold, it takes risks seemingly impossible to overcome, and best of all, it comes from the mind of an undeniable intellectual. What I love about Jodorowsky is that he never forces his philosophies down our throats; you're either willing to see his movies through or not. Reading through some reviews in which differing opinions on the film are given, I see that not everyone adores the film and that's just fine. I don't imagine that Jodorowsky could have wanted it any other way.

Like the work of a great artist, "El Topo" cannot be fully understood unless you are, in fact, Jodorowsky. There's a handful of religious symbolism - many characters represent different religions of the world and the like - and I understand that those can be easily understood as well as you are well-read on such matters, but there are scenes of stunning beauty that clearly mean something; although it's as if they mean nothing to the viewer and everything to the maker. This angers people and it certainly angers me, but not to the point where I fail to recognize my un-ending admiration for this ambitious, intellectual work. I feel that "El Topo" is a great film not because of its ability to befuddle us; but for its many moments of unrelenting awe. This is, at the core, a violent Western with otherworldly sensibilities seldom found in any given Western. It is not a classic for its genre - because it does not have merely one - but it does stand out as one of the many great "weird works" of the 1970's.

However, I must caution certain viewers; if you have a weak stomach, or a faint heart - than perhaps you should steer clear of this film. In the journey ahead, there shall be castrations, corpses decayed by honey-bees, animal slaughter, and a whole lot of bullets. If you feel prepared for all the mentioned things - and even more - then you're also ready for "El Topo". Just go in knowing that it is a deeply-felt work of art; humanistic, spiritual, and completely relevant - whether its detractors decide to acknowledge that or not. Nevertheless, I think the fans have the upper hand; the advantage. Proof: the midnight showings at the IFC Center in New York City. It's not every day that a film finds an escape from obscurity and instead, a loyal fanbase. "El Topo" must be something really special; and much like the animal (the mole) that the title literally translates to, it's a film that will continue to dig until the end of time.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-El_Topo-534-1021138-219075-Dig_dig_dig_and_the_hole_just_keeps_getting.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-El_Topo-534-1021138-219075-Dig_dig_dig_and_the_hole_just_keeps_getting.html Mon, 9 Jan 2012 22:19:10 +0000
<![CDATA[ Creepy, surreal horror atmosphere keeps Carpenter's highly successful fright flick afloat.]]>
I absolutely adore seaside terror. As a resident of coastal Maine; I can relate to these tales for their locations, their adapted characters, their situations, and above all, their monsters. While there are certainly some seaside classics in the horror genre; it doesn't get enough respect nowadays and I think that needs to change. But of course, until someone decides to be brave and take up the nigh impossible task of creating a new, great modern seaside horror movie; there's always the classics - both major and minor- and John Carpenter's "The Fog" is a good example of the latter part of that category.

This is a very crafty little chiller that is almost certain to inspire its fair share of memorable frights. But did I really expect anything less from Carpenter - the man who could once effortlessly shell out genre classics such as "The Thing", "Halloween", and "They Live" -? Sure, he's hit rock bottom in his career of late, but it's movies like this one that allow us to look back on the good old days and smile. I had a lot of fun revisiting the flick (it's been what, two years?); and for those who've never seen it, there's a slew of pleasant surprises in store for the Carpenter-faithful.

The location by the sea is Antonio Bay, which is somewhere in California. The film opens while the night is still young - or at least for a good few people -, and it's then that we meet our characters; Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), radio DJ Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau), Nick Castle (Tom Atkins), and Elizabeth (Jamie Lee Curtis) - a girl that Nick picks up while she's hitchhiking and forms a strong romantic bond with over the course of the film's story, which is only a day (or maybe two).

So how do all these different people connect? How does it all come together? Well, I believe there is but a simple answer and solution in regards to that question; and that is to shed some light on a local legend brought up early on in the film. It is that of the Elizabeth Dane; a ship that sank along with all its men when the locals of Antonio Bay attacked the vessel in anger. Now, it's been a century since the incident and the Bay is making a celebration out of it. It's on that day - and night - that the spirits of the dead who were aboard that sunken ship will get their revenge on all those with blood ties to their assailants. The ghostly beings shall stay hidden within a thick fog; deceiving all their victims into believing that if it cannot be seen, then it cannot hurt you. In this case, they've got it all wrong.

The fog rolls in. The household electronics are acting up. Glass shatters on random. Dogs are barking throughout the night; seemingly at nothing. And the radio DJ stays safely in her impenetrable fortress; a lighthouse. To say the least, all who live in Antonio Bay are in for the night of their lives; that is, if they can hold on to them long enough!

Yes, I just assigned a self-found cheesy 80's-esque tagline to "The Fog"; but that's perfectly fine and even somewhat fitting, given that "The Fog" is a cheesy 80's horror movie. But that's what makes it so much fun. Carpenter doesn't drift too far away from his typical style, and he tends to shy away from any real bloodshed. If he showed any of it, there would be blood indeed. But he's smarter; and his focus is on the creepiness of his idea, his story, and his atmosphere; all built up by his techniques and general stylistics as a filmmaker. This is easily one of his better works, and while it's sometimes preposterous and thoroughly simplistic, I was plenty entertained throughout. I didn't expect greatness, I just expected a good piece of entertainment; and that is what I got.

My advice is to give "The Fog" a chance; because you might just get lost in it for the hour and a half that it demands, and who knows, you might even enjoy it. There's always a chance that you will find the flaws - a simple plot, forgettable characters (who are still enjoyable to spend time with regardless), and a general sense of faltering in comparison to the great films of Carpenter - but I'd suggest not going in expecting to not enjoy yourself. One should never bring cynicism into a movie; unless you're like me and you watch plenty of movies that you know are going to be trash. Let me tell you up front; this is not trash, nor is it bad. "The Fog" is suspenseful, creepy, well-shot, and competently acted. You get what you came for; a whole lot of fog, a good amount of scares, and plenty of Carpenter to go around.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Fog-534-1013850-219066-Creepy_surreal_horror_atmosphere_keeps.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Fog-534-1013850-219066-Creepy_surreal_horror_atmosphere_keeps.html Mon, 9 Jan 2012 22:14:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ A bloody boring time.]]>
If my idea of fun consisted of corny dialogue, choppy plotting, and mediocre editing; then "My Bloody Valentine" would be a personal favorite in the field of simple-minded, guilty entertainment. Too bad my idea of fun almost never includes any of those three things; I can let all logic go and have a good time with certain films if there is enough craft, but like most 80's slasher flicks that use their axes and machetes rather than their brains; the intent is not exactly to give the educated or morally respectable an engaging flick. The aim was without-a-doubt to provide something brainless, witless, and completely unoriginal. Well, look at that; they succeeded.

Since it's a slasher picture, it must have a villain in the form of a serial killer or some such psychopath. In this case, he/she is Harry Warden; infamous in the mining town of Valentine Bluffs (located somewhere in Canada). Warden found himself trapped underground in a mine on the job when two of his co-workers weren't. He was stuck there for a few good days without food and without much good air to breath; he survived by eating his co-workers, an act which eventually lead to madness.

He spent a year in a mental institution and then escaped; murdering and eventually ripping out the hearts of victims who were not on his "good side", thus creating his legend. Some years later, the town is holding a Valentine's Day Party; something that, by legend, they are apparently forbidden to do. But the local young men and women are not so aware of the consequences that the said morbid tale might have on them; especially when Warden is still on the loose and hungry for blood.

And so he starts the killing; and leaves nothing to suspense. "My Bloody Valentine" begins and ends with an on-going string of murders, some of which include: death by laundry machine, death by boiling pan of hot water, and countless deaths by pick-axe, which happens to be our friend Harry Warden's weapon of choice. The film follows the slasher flick formula rather strictly; with Warden serving his purpose of being a rampart killing machine, as appropriately promised - and his victims providing the bloodshed and primal rage of the villain. If you're a fan of the genre and don't mind some major flaws; you might just enjoy this one. A lot of genre fans certainly appear to.

My problem with "My Bloody Valentine" is not that it's generic (which it is); it's that there is no room left for surprises. The film lives off its own formula; from the predictable characters to the cheesy acting, all the way to the desolation that is felt when a horror film lacks genuine horror. Provided, the predictability of the story and just about everything else could certainly mean a wild, fun-filled ride for some; but I'm just not feeling it, at all. I wanted to enjoy myself, but the problems were, to say the least, excessively unavoidable.

I've certainly seen worse slasher films; and I've seen better ones. My favorites include "Halloween" and "Black Christmas"; the first one which I love for its protagonist (who is not as dumb as most women in slasher pictures) and its scare factor, and the other which I admire for its ability to embrace the corny, stereotypical characters ("Black Christmas" was about a sorority house filled with "sisters" who were being hunted down one-by-one by a discreet madman who made obscene phone-calls). This one might have made my list if it had been, oh you know, interesting. But is there really anything interesting about a movie when all its got going for it as high points are a good cinematographer, a good setting, and some pretty whacky kill scenes? Not to me there isn't.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-My_Bloody_Valentine-534-1022844-216586-A_bloody_boring_time_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-My_Bloody_Valentine-534-1022844-216586-A_bloody_boring_time_.html Sat, 24 Dec 2011 03:17:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ Whacky, weird, and incredibly fun horror film based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft!]]>
If there's one reason to know the name of Stuart Gordon, it's because of his early masterwork of trash "Re-Animator". If there's anything you'll know the writer H.P. Lovecraft from, it's his classic short story "The Call of Cthulhu". These two brilliant minds met once in 1985 with the already-said film; "Re-Animator". Now, they have met once again in "From Beyond"; a quality piece of trash from director Gordon, who remains as lovably sleazy and exploitative as ever.

But I suppose there's a charm and a style to his methods of direction; there are the slobs who work with sleaze and then there are the artists (who also, from time-to-time work with sleaze). I'd say Gordon comes close to the second category than the first; there's an undeniable artistry to his every intent as a filmmaker, and I admire his career. His job is to disgust through special effects; he creates slime, blood, gore, and "other things". I need not mention his every creation. Let's just say that it's a surprise; and Gordon's artistic vision is an ambitious (and thoroughly engaging) one. If you know what to expect from the director, well, then there isn't much more to say about this film.

I think the reason behind Gordon's success in both "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond" is his connection and general understanding of Lovecraft's wild imagination; which often ran amuck with crazy ideas, but never strayed into the kind of camp and absurdity that Gordon - the adaptor of the author's great macabre tales - aims to present. "From Beyond" blends science fiction with horror; eventually attempting to bring a little bit of drama into the mix, but emerging the kind of film that it intended to be all along even if that last element doesn't necessarily work out for the better. But then again, in a horror movie, the drama seldom tends to work all that well; so we stop expecting it. But it's always a welcome surprise when a filmmaker does attempt to tackle such venues and emerges victorious.

You've got a pretty simple-minded yet ambitious story at hand; that of scientist-turned-schizophrenic Dr. Crawford (Jeffrey Combs) who has invented a machine which he referred to as The Resonator. This fine work of art allowed Crawford and a business partner to experience pleasure beyond that of our own world; in fact, the machine itself was made to open a whole other dimension and unleash its contents onto our own world. Crawford's partner is power-hungry and things get out of hand fast; Crawford kills his friend to prevent the madness that would have quickly ensued if he had not made the difficult decision, and he gives himself up to the police who are waiting outside (an annoyed neighbor, who heard the sounds and saw the lights that came from Crawford's house had called the officers).

He now moves to a psychiatric ward; where he seems more crazy, but still potentially brilliant. One day, he is visited by Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), who takes him in as her patient after disapproving of the way that Crawford's current doctors are treating him. She attempts to gain access to the mind of her new friend and patient; eventually persuading him to accompany her and a friend (Ken Foree) to the house where The Resonator still stands, unattended. But, as it would seem; the old work partner has indeed left OUR world, but still exists in another. He is no longer human; and he will manifest himself whenever the machine is turned on during the initial stay of these three central protagonists. And they'll turn The Resonator on a lot; out of curiosity, hoping to discover something new each time. And oh, they will.

Man, oh man; is this movie gross. It's a rather outstanding exercise in bad taste; it does not attempt to redeem itself thematically or even through its own ambitions; which are often quite broad in nature. Gordon cares more about the exploitation of his subjects, and for once I can respect that; he makes use of a lot of complex and visually stunning special effects to tell his story in a different way than the traditional style. If we're talking about the plot of "From Beyond"; it's a very average movie, but if we're talking about the experience, then suddenly, it's pretty damn sensational. I enjoyed the film; it was lovably disgusting, and endlessly endearing at that. I appreciate what Gordon has going here, and somehow he transforms an almost irredeemably messy movie into something that can pass as solid escapist entertainment.

If you can get past the "gross" factor that comes with "From Beyond", then you might just get lost in it enough to appreciate it. I can't say it's anything great - but it's one of the director's best films in the sense that it almost entirely embraces his art, which was to create something disgusting, repulsive, tasteless, yet discreetly pleasurable. Not everyone call this kind of film - well-made or not - entertaining, but I'm forgiving as well as understanding. I imagine that a good number of people who see the film will be less forgiving, but what's life without divisive opinions, am I right? "From Beyond" is the kind of film that wants you to react; and it wants to laugh at how you go about doing so. I think that, in itself, is a kind of weird beauty.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-From_Beyond-534-1016080-216062-Whacky_weird_and_incredibly_fun_horror_film.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-From_Beyond-534-1016080-216062-Whacky_weird_and_incredibly_fun_horror_film.html Mon, 5 Dec 2011 02:49:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ Superior, suspenseful slasher with enough tension and intelligence to pass as good entertainment.]]>
Since it's such an overused concept, I've often found myself wondering whether tongue-in-cheek horror movies are even the best kind; or whether they're good at all. But of course, that last part is silly; there are horror movies that I love - "The Evil Dead", "Night of the Creeps", "The Evil Dead II" - and the thing that all three of those films have in common aside from their genre is a touch of comic inspiration. Each one is lovably goofy due to the equal shares of comedy and scares; creating a delightfully spooky ride. This approach doesn't work every time; but I'll be damned if it doesn't work on the best of days.

"Alone in the Dark" is another one of those 80's horror flicks that embraces the silly side of life; it understands that it doesn't have the best screenplay, or the best characters, or the best, well...anything; but it does know one thing, and that is how to balance two genres while successfully devoting itself to the one that ultimately takes over. It's a creepy, tense film that is, in small doses, kind of clever and endearing. One could certainly classify it as a slasher film, but don't let that label fool you; the film is more interested in creating an atmosphere and mood than exploiting gory kill scenes galore, and in a world where the less fair and opposing choice of style feels overused and unnecessary, I appreciated the direction that the film took.

So here's the plot in a nutshell; a gang of patients escape from a psychiatric hospital after a power outage shrouds the surrounding areas (the ward included) in darkness through night; while light shall only return by day. The team of psychopaths breaks up and goes their separate ways; only to meet again the house of a new doctor; whom they have been plotting to kill ever since he started as a replacement doctor to the one that they initially preferred. The time in which they remain on the streets, killing at random and sneaking into homes, spans about one day and a night; things especially get suspenseful during the latter.

You need not know more than that. "Alone in the Dark" is an almost intentionally formula slasher movie; with a sense of style - and a working brain - that most films in that sub-genre most certainly lack. I liked it because it accepts its flaws and tries its best to deliver the sarcastic with the serious; with some genuinely impressive and respectable results. It's nothing great, and it lacks depth, but as a film that cares about the audience's intelligence (and attention span) enough to take its time getting to the good stuff, I saw nothing wrong with what it was doing. I went along with it and found myself very entertained; and this is a good feeling, even nowadays where everyone seems inclined to please.

There are some good acting talents involved in the picture, some of which include: Donald Pleasence, Jack Palance, Martin Landau, and Dwight Schultz. A few movie-goers might be disappointed when they discover that each noted star isn't given the amount of screen-time that they rightfully deserve, but I didn't let that get in the way of my enjoyment. They do their jobs accordingly, lack the ability and excess to create memorable characters from their efforts, but hey; a job is a job, and each actor does a pretty good one. Pleasence, in particular, is a likable screen presence; a man who can make even the simplest of dialogue sound intelligent and rich. Perhaps that's just ol' Samuel Loomis creeping up on me.

I go to slasher films for all kinds of reasons; but two very key ones are to see the kills and to perhaps get a little surprise - something more. "Alone in the Dark" will intentionally disappoint those looking for the first thing alone, while those who - like myself - are looking for a more intelligent slasher movie will be pleasantly surprised by the time and craft put into the film. I don't think it quite achieves all-time classic status, even for its kind, but I think every horror fan should dig into it with much delight. Let's just say that if you're like me and you like your horror somewhat slow-moving, with much build-up, and with a sense of self-aware humor thrown in for extra measure; you will enjoy yourself. At this point, satisfaction is guaranteed; unless you're a grouch. And a grouch I am not.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Alone_in_the_Dark_1982_movie_-534-1394400-215903-Superior_suspenseful_slasher_with_enough_tension.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Alone_in_the_Dark_1982_movie_-534-1394400-215903-Superior_suspenseful_slasher_with_enough_tension.html Wed, 30 Nov 2011 21:59:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ The blackest eyes; blackest night.]]>
I like taking long walks in the night; preferably before winter is upon us. It's just a personal past-time; I enjoy the cold air, the ominous winds, and of course, the lights that illuminate the front porch of every house. So, given that I take so many nighttime strolls, it should come to no surprise that I find John Carpenter's "Halloween" to be one of the scariest, most impacting horror films ever made; an absolutely outstanding example of its genre, with an understanding of atmosphere and fear that shall never die. I like a lot about it, and I've seen it plenty of times, but it's only now that I realize one thing that I really admire, among other things. In the film, like my walks, there are many sights to be seen; the lighten fronts of the homes, the lamps that keep the streets dimly lit, and the darkness itself. The film has a villain that travels on wheels by day; and within the shadows by night. As a "walker", this scares me, it really does. This is a suspenseful film that delves deep into the kind of paranoia that makes us human. When I first saw it, I began to do over-my-shoulder checks by the minute, hoping that the villainous force that haunts "Halloween", and the many sequels that followed, would not have found in me his next victim.

The film opens one night, on that titular holiday. The year is 1963, love and anticipation are in the air, and the night is still young. We see through the eyes of a stalker; young Michael Myers, a child that lives in a suburban house...within a suburban neighborhood. It is implied that his long, fun night of trick-or-treating has finally come to an end, although he does not enter his home upon returning, not just yet. First, he looks in the window and sees his older sister fooling around with her boyfriend while the Myers family parents are out somewhere, presumably for a special occasion. After spying on the two lovers for a little while, Myers lets himself in and follows them upstairs. He allows the boyfriend to leave, but then slowly makes his way up to his sister's room, eventually stabbing her to death with a kitchen knife. He then walks outside, emotionless, holding his weapon in hand, to be discovered by his parents, who return home to a shock.

The year is now 1978. Michael had been sent to a medical institution since that tragic event, and was under the treatment and care of psychiatrist Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasance), who tried to reach his patient for several difficult years, until finally giving up and taking on a new task; to keep the devil within the young boy locked up for good. He saw evil in Michael; a child who stared at walls, appeared to always be in his own little world, and in the current year presented, had just escaped from the facility. Loomis is on his trail; taking a nurse along with him to retrieve his patient. However, Michael hides in the darkness, as he is known to, and makes his move when the two are most vulnerable. In an instant, he has stolen Loomis' car, and is heading back home, to the town of Haddonfield (Illinois), for one last night of destruction.

Enter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, in her debut role); a smart bookworm of a High Schooler. This might seem strange, given how her circle of friends consists of the usual sex-craved party animals and beer-lovers; sinners who love sinning for the sake of it alone. The worst thing that Laurie does in the film is smoke a joint; and according to horror movie or slasher film rules, that's not enough to make you the next candidate for a stabbing. Laurie is a sympathetic protagonist; she isn't so-much interested in romance. She would rather be a good student, a good daughter, a good friend; hell, as long as she's a good SOMETHING, then she's happy to be existent.

Unless you've seen the countless number of sequels that followed this fine horror classic, you won't know what purpose Laurie serves in Michael's quest for vengeance. We don't know what drives him to do the things that he does, other than the fact that he's sociopathic; and thus, he lives to kill without speaking or showing emotion. I suppose Michael cannot show emotion because he dons the infamous white "flesh mask" throughout the film. At one moment, he is unmasked, although the revelation is brilliantly staged; it doesn't matter what he really looks like. His physical appearance is not relevant; what has plagued Haddonfield since his first murder is what makes him Michael Myers. He is a hell of a villain, and this is a hell of a movie.

Loomis and Michael play each-other's opposite, the latter representing evil while the former stands for all that is genuinely, well, humane. This relationship works because as the film progresses, we learn just how close Loomis got to understanding Michael, as his psychologist, and how far he'd like to distance himself from such a disturbing connection if he were given the chance. But Loomis is an intelligent man; and he understands that Michael cannot be shaken from one's memory just like that. He is the only one who can come to Laurie's aid when the great boogeyman comes for her, the kids she's babysitting, and of course, her sinner friends.

Oh, there are many excellent, haunting scenes and shots here. One of my personal favorites is the sequence in which the young kid, Tommy, whom Laurie is babysitting, looks out the window of the house he is in, and who else does he see but Michael? The tall, jump-suit-wearing man-devil is carrying the corpse of a teenager into a house; presumably from one to another. I mentioned the "walking" bit earlier, and it certainly applies here; I'll never look at someone's front porch the same way ever again. And you know what; I'm fine with that. Great horror films aren't meant to disgust, repulse, or make us want to reach for a barf-bag; they are intended to SCARE us; and this one most definitely does. By shying away from graphic violence and focusing more on a killer that can pop up any place, at any time; Carpenter (who directed, wrote, and even scored the film) has made a movie that is the stuff nightmares are made of. It will forever haunt mine; if I had nightmares. Thank goodness I don't. But as for Laurie...she might not be quite as fortunate once this night is over. Let's just say that and resume life as it was.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Halloween_1978_movie_-534-1010484-215073-The_blackest_eyes_blackest_night_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Halloween_1978_movie_-534-1010484-215073-The_blackest_eyes_blackest_night_.html Sun, 6 Nov 2011 15:39:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fulci's one-and-only true masterpiece of surreal terror.]]>
How can something as violent, gruesome, disgusting, and relentlessly grotesque as "The Beyond" also be so mysteriously beautiful? As a film directed by Lucio Fulci - one of the Godfathers of Gore - whimsical qualities are what we least expect. But then...as you may know, I've enjoyed a few Lucio Fulci films before this one. I liked "Zombie". I liked "City of the Living Dead". I even liked "Don't Torture a Duckling". There were moments when the director had his time to shine; he was creative without-a-doubt, but sometimes, his typical style (which included surrealism, plots that refused to conform to traditional narrative structures, and complex make-up/gore effects) worked; while other times it didn't. Some of you might not like any of Fulci's films at all; which is perfectly understandable, since most of his films qualify for trash - if not entertaining and dream-like trash. Either way, there's no denying that there are few films out there like the ones I have listed; especially this one, which has quite the cult following. The critics are divided, some hate it, some love it; I embraced it with an open mind and found myself happily lost in its depths. It's absurd, disturbing, bloody, silly, but surprisingly, it works.

Fulci wanted to make a film that was pure imagery and well, that's the movie that he's made. He attempts to string together events with what many - including myself - would perceive as a sorry excuse for a plot. Of course, it's possible to ignore such flaws as the lack of deep characters or storytelling, especially when so much spectacle is on display. It takes a certain person and a certain state-of-mind to watch "The Beyond" and truly appreciate it; and I find it highly respectable if one can see why I - along with a good number of other devoted horror fanatics - obsess over this film as if it were an object of cultish worship. In my honest opinion, it's that good.

Let's get this over with. We open on a 1927 Louisiana village; where the Seven Doors Hotel lies. There has been talk of disturbances and diabolical activity going on within the hotel walls; and some angry villagers are ready to put an end to such suspicions. The target of their primitive rage is an artist named Schweick, whom they believe to be a warlock, if only for his bizarre paintings that he claims to be portraits of Hell's landscape. In what makes up the film's entire opening sequence - which is very retro in style and surreal in atmosphere indeed - Schweick is whipped by chains, crucified on the basement wall, and doused with hot, boiling quicklime. He dies a slow, painful death; and his corpse is left to rot.

Several decades later, the same hotel has been inherited by a woman named Liza (Catriona MacColl). She begins to repair and renovate the building, although in doing so, she disturbs the supernatural forces that haunt it; the ghost of Schweick included, who has returned from the dead as an indestructible corpse after one of the seven doors of death - which was in the basement where the has-been artist was murdered - is opened yet again by an unsuspecting plumber named Joe.

And when the doors are opened, the dead shall walk the earth. But Fulci makes a difficult decision; he sacrifices a lot of screen-time for his undead buddies, and instead dedicates most of the film to the events leading up to the grand finale in which they all rise and have a very grand feast indeed. The film doesn't seem to be a traditional zombie flick in itself, but more-so a film that tackles all things evil, as a whole. As someone who has seen many of Fulci's films - both good and bad - I appreciated this approach, and while the filmmaker had something slightly different in mind when he wrote the original script, I'm very pleased with the film he has made; and so are many of his die-hard fans.

Liza sees a creepy blind ghost girl and her helper dog. People start to die in unexpected places, at times equally as unpredictable. It's all connected; unlike the movie itself, which defies the concoction of events and scenarios as if such a concept was a cliché. We all know it's not; but this is an artist trying to show us something new, and he goes against the rules of horror movies without recreating them. Those who go to horror films to have a good time, get inspired, be entertained, and absorb talent in the way of surrealism will walk out of "The Beyond" with smiles on their faces. Those who look at it in a more logical way will look at it as a film that is literally nothing more than bunch of random, but admirably repulsive and gory set-pieces put together in a film that just doesn't work. I respect these people, and I openly accept that this film is not for everyone, but I can't deny that I loved every minute of it. It contains some of the most highly respected and memorable scenes of horror in the history of the genre; and all who like horror movies should see it just to see it. There will never be another quite like it.

Library-browsers fall from ladders and get eaten by conveniently-placed spiders. Little girls are possessed by evil spirits. Women are given acid baths. "The Beyond" isn't a film that one can merely make sense of. It doesn't care much about whether you like it or not, but that's what I loved about it. It's a showcase of what Fulci liked to do; he was very much capable of grossing you out, but there was artistry to his craft, and even though it is very much interested in its gore and its kill scenes over its plot and its characters, this is what I would call art. Nobody makes classic gore scenes quite like Fulci did; and since it was his passion to disgust through hidden beauty (at times), I have to respect his intent. This was his best film. And it's also one of the best horror films that I've seen. The feeling of experiencing it is one that is simply put, unforgettable. It takes us to a place beyond where most films - horror or not - will ever be capable of taking us. Lucio Fulci has made a one-of-a-kind feature. Watch it uncut; watch it late at night. I don't really care. Just see it to say that you saw it and then make your verdict; whether "The Beyond" rises from the dead, or just stays there in the coffin, is entirely up to you. But...uninspired acting, dialogue, and plotting aside; it does exactly what it wants to do, but in particularly Fulci-esque fashion. How else could I have possibly wanted it?]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Beyond-534-1016722-214656-Fulci_s_one_and_only_true_masterpiece_of_surreal.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Beyond-534-1016722-214656-Fulci_s_one_and_only_true_masterpiece_of_surreal.html Tue, 25 Oct 2011 20:30:15 +0000
<![CDATA[ Stupid, violent, trashy slasher movie that undeniably started its share of negative genre trends.]]>
I don't believe there's any such thing as "old fashion" when one is speaking of the slasher genre, although without-a-doubt, some might disagree. I bring such a thing up because here is a film that most will refer to when they think "old fashion slasher movie"; an infamous abomination of a horror movie that is completely undeserving of its current reputation, which is the same reputation it's had for several decades now. The fans love it, the critics hate it, and gee, would you look at that; so do I. If horror films, in general, make you want to stay away from your local theater as often and as consistently as you can; then you haven't seen anything yet, because this one's pretty killer, and not in a good way.

It's not so much that I mind the slasher genre, but seldom is it actually done right. Why can't more be like "Halloween" or "Black Christmas"; movie with THEMES and movies with SUSPENSE, not just loads of blood-and-gore? I understand that the 80's were all about pleasing the majority of movie-goers - particularly the young ones - when it came to this genre, but does it excuse such mindless films from any criticism? No, not a chance. "Friday the 13th", which is considered by many to be a landmark on horror cinema, is a violent, sadistic, and boring-as-hell genre picture that insults more than it entertains. In a world where horror movies have the chance to be surreal, bizarre, artistic, and scary; here is one made without wit, style, substance, or any intent whatsoever other than to disgust. It's a repulsive, trashy, and unforgivably stupid piece of shit, but then again, that's just my overall take on it. Others seem to enjoy it; and I worry for many of them.

Angry mother Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) stalks camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake to avenge the apparent drowning of her young son Jason, who we don't actually see in this film until the very end. I believe it was the third addition to this on-going series that truly popularized his character and made him the icon that he is today.

There's not much more to the plot than that. I could, of course, go a little more in-depth to please the fanboys, but since I'm not one of them, what would be the point? "Friday the 13th" is as simplistic, one-dimensional, generic, and deprived of imagination as they come. Instead of exercising new ideas, it exploits the brutal killings of teenage men and women; and all the kills are respectably authentic (Tom Savini did the make-up effects for this film, so, what is one to expect?)

Maybe all this is your idea of a good time. If the film had been some sort of tribute or homage to a lost age in horror history, then I might have considered it pretty solid too. But "Friday the 13th" wants to entertain, and it even wants to scare you; and it definitely makes some good attempts. But attempts are not good enough, and since there isn't any substance whatsoever here to back that up, it just kind of falls flat.

Maybe it's a film that makes deep, relevant commentary on the sexual and moral urges of young adults, I don't know. Perhaps it's a piece on violence itself. The director, Sean S. Cunningham, doesn't seem to know much himself; and we never quite get the answers we're looking for. There will be those who are willing to look into this film and find a deeper meaning, a different purpose, and something worth remembering; I mean, there has to be a reason why it's so darned popular, and regarded as a timely horror classic, right? Usually I too can find the reasons behind cultish acclaim, but this time, I see nothing worth admiring; just an endlessly brainless concoction of sex, violence, and uninspired dialogue. I despised this movie; impressive make-up effects, effective finale, and worthwhile performance from Palmer aside. The film itself serves as a pretty darn good explanation to why grades are dropping and why most horror fans are so easily pleased, and perhaps such people enjoy the escapism of it all; I'm not too sure. But it matters not where you stand; this film is not smart, it is not, by definition, good enough to be a classic, and if it's mindless entertainment; then it's quite possibly the lamest of the lame.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Friday_the_13th-534-1010445-214647-Stupid_violent_trashy_slasher_movie_that.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Friday_the_13th-534-1010445-214647-Stupid_violent_trashy_slasher_movie_that.html Tue, 25 Oct 2011 20:13:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fun Fulci film.]]>
For a while I had doubts about Lucio Fulci, Italian gore-master of the horror genre, understanding a darned thing about surrealism and how to truly influence the dream-logic movement. Some films simply exist to make no sense whatsoever and show us what is the equivalent of a dream; Fulci presents nightmares. I first saw and reviewed his "City of the Living Dead" not too long ago; and I wasn't particularly open-minded going on. Mind you, I believe this was when I was new to Fulci and didn't understand his style of intent. He just wanted to please his audience, and for a while, he succeeded. There are the films of Fulci that I hate, that I will always hate, and then there are the little films, like this one, that I am willing to give a second chance; but with different, lower expectations.

So yes, I sat through "City of the Living Dead" once again and tried to see it as I saw Fulci's "Zombie"; as a guilty pleasure flick with outstanding cinematography and plenty of inspirationally gory set-pieces. This is an impressive zombie flick as long as you can abandon all logic, just like the film does, and just go with it in all its absurd glory. I liked the film; or more accurately, I enjoyed it. I know that it isn't for everyone, as it's really nothing more than what it is, but if you're willing to accept a few flaws and just enjoy yourself as I did, then I think there's a good time in store.

Honestly, what does a film with the words "the living dead" in its title imply other than zombies? If you know that this film is about zombies, then you already know a little more than half of what it's about. Since Fulci likes to toy with surrealism in the form of violence, blood, brains, and tales of the undead; he has little time for characters or storytelling with true grit. Instead, he'd rather just focus on the look of his zombies; and they've never looked better. The zombies here look slightly different from the ones in "Zombie", which were very decayed and very complex make-up-wise. The zombies here almost always have maggots eating away at a limb, but Fulci's decision to focus on color schemes and lighting gives them a peculiar eerie, psychedelic feel. I admired this. It made the film watchable and even kind of fun. In short, if you enjoy the films of Lucio Fulci; then "City" does not disappoint when it comes to presenting just what the man was known for.

A priest hangs himself in a graveyard from a noose. This opens up a portal to hell; allowing the dead to return to the world of the living yet again, as they have in many other films before this one. There are indeed living, breathing, very-much-alive male and female characters entrusted with the tools and capabilities to stop the undead from invading our world, but I don't feel they are worth mentioning. You know why you came to this movie; you know what you're looking for. You want Fulci and he wants you. This film essentially delivers.

I was impressed by the creativity that went into Fulci's grotesque artistry. He can seriously gross you out and he knows it; but there's something artistic about the way he stages a gore scene, I kind of have to admire that. In "City of the Living Dead", you'll find outlandishly gruesome scenes, some of which include the following: a young woman puking out her own guts for a few good seconds (grab a barf bag, this one's real impressive), a man getting a drill-to-the-head, and a finale which involves the undead priest getting stabbed through the lower abdominal region, catching on fire, and dying along with his zombie army. If any of what I just described sounds interesting, then it probably is. This film appealed and entertained me because it was just so ridiculous, to the point where I could accept it. It was dream-like in its visual presentation, which is excellent, and in the end, it's 100% Lucio Fulci. Plenty of his worst films are also "100% Fulci", but this is one that I feel works and is able to entertain an audience rather than send them packing...or just-plain snoring.

This isn't great or even good cinema, but escapist entertainment is what defines every inch of the film. Lucio Fulci's best films - and this is most certainly one of them - are all about how you choose to view them and how open you are to their irrational way of logic and thinking. They aren't for everyone, and "City of the Living Dead" is no exception, but I find it possible to look at them from a distance and smell the surrealism. Craft, talent, and imagination went into some of the memorable sequences from this film. One of my favorite scenes is towards the end, where the zombies begin to rise from their graves, as the characters have finally reached the end of the road; so it would seem. But never mind what I thought; where do YOU stand? I don't really know whether to recommend "City of the Living Dead" or not. All I know is that I found it to be an insane, over-the-top, undeniably badass zombie movie with style, surrealism, and Catriona MacColl. Now doesn't that sound nice?]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/d/UserReview-City_of_the_Living_Dead-534-1409269-213922-Fun_Fulci_film_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/d/UserReview-City_of_the_Living_Dead-534-1409269-213922-Fun_Fulci_film_.html Sun, 2 Oct 2011 01:35:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ Terror By Telephone]]>
This might have been another unexceptional thriller if not for its perfectly apt cast. Fragile and elfin, Kane's nervous and ultimately hysterical delivery are as effective as the movie's measured pace. As she was already an old hand in the part of the tough, worn and unmarried, Dewhurst's more reserved performance is equally plausible. Durning's both reliable and unsurprising as the determined investigator, but the real treat here is Beckley, totally twisted (though never outrageous) as the madman. This proved to be Beckley's final role; the British stage and television veteran was terminally ill during shooting, and ended his career on a high note, imparting some humanity and not too much frenzy to an antagonist who's as pathetic as reprehensible.

Those who have viewed this won't be surprised to learn that its first twenty minutes were initially filmed as a short by horror director Walton, who expanded it into his first feature-length picture after noting the success of Carpenter's Halloween. Though its extended plot was skillfully devised, proceedings therein are a whit tedious midway through the second act. Durning's obsessive pursuit of Beckley is of interest, but continues for too long ere its absorbing chase scene. However, even this film's slowest moments are sustained by gorgeous photography, courtesy of the distinguished, recently deceased D.P. Donald Peterman. Composed in the vein of Goldsmith's tenser offerings, Dana Kaproff's eerie, string-driven score might well put and keep anyone on edge.

Quite an assemblage of talent, this is terrific at its best in spite of some minor flaws. It's most efficacious when viewed in the dark at 1 A.M. on a chilly October morning...]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-When_a_Stranger_Calls-534-1766766-213593-Terror_By_Telephone.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-When_a_Stranger_Calls-534-1766766-213593-Terror_By_Telephone.html Fri, 23 Sep 2011 12:48:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ Needs more God-Beast]]> Troll and Law & Order) discovers the god-beast in the aftermath of a botched heist, he decides to exploit the location of the menace, to the frustration of two detectives (David Carradine, Richard Roundtree) who are investigating its feeding habits.

Larry Cohen's homage to drive-in creature features is more a miraculous example of how far a filmmaker can stretch a $1M budget than a particularly good film. The movie's premise is novel and cleverly realized with the use of some terrific stop-motion animation and props. While much the cinematography is lackluster, there is some great, sweeping aerial photography from the perspective of the flying serpent. However, there's nowhere near enough carnage and too much of Moriarty (who struggles to make the best of a deeply irritating role) for this reviewer's taste; maybe Cohen should have requested more cash so that Q could have been afforded greater visibility at the expense of its far less interesting human co-stars. Not a single frame of this movie takes itself seriously, and it's fun...but hardly as much as it could be.

While Moriarty at least tries to make his obnoxious character interesting, Carradine is downright awful, as usual: wooden, dull, totally devoid of charm. Roundtree and Candy Clark fare much better in more likable roles, but they - like the monster - are granted far too little screen time.

It's clear that Cohen takes a lot of pride in shooting big films on shoestring budgets, and that's admirable - if more Hollywood directors were as creative and efficient as he is, major studios would produce much more interesting movies at far less cost. It seems as though his singular vision would be complimented by a greater degree of collaboration. If it had the benefit of a smarter, tighter script, more likable characters, a better cast and a higher budget, Q could have been a schlock classic.

I wasn't at all familiar with Blue Underground until I revisited Larry Cohen's early movies, but their DVDs are excellent, especially by the standards of an independent distributor. This disc's menus are blue-tinted and feature great artwork, screen stills and music from Robert Ragland's exciting score. Its visuals are fair: gritty and slightly fuzzy, just as they were presented for the movie's theatrical exhibition. Surprisingly, quite a few audio options are available: the slightly muddled original mono soundtrack, a marginally more pellucid Dolby Surround 2.0 track and a first-rate 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround alternative, expertly mixed and as clear as filtered water, which jumps right out of the speakers at you. A DTS-ES track is also included, but I haven't the equipment to evaluate it.

Larry Cohen's commentary track is certainly the best of the special features. Cohen's agreeable demeanor is pleasant to hear, his enthusiasm and drive inspiring. He has plenty of funny, remarkable and invariably interesting stories to tell here concerning the production of Q, and for disgruntled fans, an explanation of how this movie was shamelessly plagiarized by the screenwriters of Roland Emmerich's bloated, brain-dead Godzilla remake.

An effective, appropriately cheesy teaser trailer is included, as is the usual image gallery. Two of Q's theatrical posters feature striking artwork, and its promotional posters are amusing. One advertisement boasts of Q's impressive premiere box office gross. Another pre-release ad exploits a news media accident in order to publicize the movie under its working title, Serpent. Whilst shooting a crucial scene for which machine guns were discharged at the top of the Chrysler Building, some overzealous journalists mistook the gunfire for a terrorist attack on the United Nations Headquarters and rushed to the scene of the nonexistent incident! In response, the headline of Cohen's typically opportunistic advertisement reads, "DEAR NEW YORK, SORRY IF WE SCARED YOU!" Many of the stills are taken from the movie's press kit; Q is displayed in vibrant color, while its human co-stars are relegated to B&W publicity photos. The behind-the-scenes photos are nowhere near so interesting, and are of interest only to devoted Cohen fans.

A reasonably well-written career retrospective titled Larry Cohen - Low Budget Renaissance Man is the last of the special features, and while it has no surprises for Cohen's faithful, it's a good introduction to the uninitiated and benefits from numerous photographs, movie posters and interview excerpts.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Q_The_Winged_Serpent-534-1645543-211341-Needs_more_God_Beast.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Q_The_Winged_Serpent-534-1645543-211341-Needs_more_God_Beast.html Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:47:56 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Sluggish Terror]]> Animal House and Q: The Winged Serpent) and a perpetually shirtless Martin Kove, who performs capably without any of the delightfully silly menace that he cultivated in The Karate Kid. Of the lot, only Ferrer and Weller manage to salvage their dignity with convincing performances.

The plot? Eh, something about pushy Americans who encounter an ancient, virgin-gobbling sea monster off the coast of a rural Greek island. Who cares? What's worth seeing here are the scenic locations, and especially a lovely old Catholic monastery. Jefferies actually does exhibit some competence by generating some atmosphere with the aid of the locale; unfortunately, the movie's story is too boring and stupid to amount to much.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Blood_Tide-534-1753890-211070-The_Sluggish_Terror.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Blood_Tide-534-1753890-211070-The_Sluggish_Terror.html Tue, 2 Aug 2011 21:43:03 +0000
<![CDATA[ The WORST]]> Point of Terror is just that: as extraordinarily awful as The Electric Chair, Manos: The Hands of Fate or Monster A Go-Go, and even trashier than the sleaziest Italian thrillers that I've seen. In fact, Point of Terror is downright nauseating: between the inane music, disgusting story and greasy pectorals of lead Peter Carpenter, I honestly, literally cannot watch this film while eating.

The acting is uniformly terrible, but at least it's entertaining. Carpenter gnaws the scenery vigorously as an unintentionally moronic, criminally opportunistic lounge singer, while a pre-Ilsa Dyanne Thorne delivers a delightfully haughty and psychotic performance as the wretched wife of a crippled record label impresario, who Carpenter beds to obtain a record contract. Plenty of sex and murder ensues, all of it executed with amusing ineptitude.

However, the real reason to see this garbage is its godforsaken musical numbers, "performed" by a gyrating, lip-syncing Carpenter decked out in costumes that look as though they were worn by Elvis and Tom Jones for a night each before being discarded because they were too tacky. Words can't express the sheer hilarity of the nightclub performance and recording studio scenes: some of the most asinine pop music ever recorded paired with impeccably cheap sets and embarrassing posturing, all of which is shot so poorly that it's hard to understand exactly what the director is trying to emphasize.

Point of Terror also fails as a decent sexploitation movie. Nudity is strictly minimal here, so the attractive ladies of the cast aren't even given an opportunity to exploit their voluptuous assets - none of which are in any way related to acting.

If you're looking for the worst of the worst, Point of Terror will fit the bill - this movie is so stupid, so absurd and so tawdry that it almost defies description. What doesn't make you laugh will leave you stunned that something so horrible could ever be committed to film.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Point_of_Terror-534-1753883-211067-The_WORST.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Point_of_Terror-534-1753883-211067-The_WORST.html Tue, 2 Aug 2011 21:19:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ Not Even Fun]]>
It's almost pointless to critique any particular aspect of this film because everything about it is awful. Reading from a ludicrous script, the irritating cast goes out of its way to make fools of themselves; as an incompetent slob of a detective and an obnoxious, TV-addicted psychic, Biff Elliot and Jacquelyn Hyde are especially annoying. Armed with his gigantic clamping teeth, Devane plays some sort of former wife-murdering convict turned successful trash novelist. Whatever else he is, he seems to be stoned out of his skull through most of the movie. Only Casey Kasem is (unintentionally) entertaining as a pathologist, tossing off one ridiculous line after another in his unmistakable voice.

Film Ventures International really was the worst of all the B-schlock production companies that flourished in the '70s and '80s because most of its features were as unengaging as they were incoherent. This one is no exception. Although the murderous monster was originally intended to be a zombie, its status as a space alien was endowed following poor test screenings. It doesn't look at all undead or extraterrestrial, instead resembling some sort of ape-man, like Devane. To emphasize the creature's off-world origins, the movie was bookended with inane narration and the ocular laser beams were added in post-production. The cheap and hurried execution of this last-minute tweaking is painfully obvious.

Tobe Hooper was supposed to helm this mess, but he dropped out of the production after shooting a few scenes. I wish that I'd followed suit fifteen minutes into it. Avoid this at all costs.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Dark-534-1753573-211003-Not_Even_Fun.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Dark-534-1753573-211003-Not_Even_Fun.html Mon, 1 Aug 2011 21:12:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Beauty in blood.]]>
From the moment "Blood and Black Lace" begun, I knew I was watching a special kind of Giallo horror movie, which is particularly good, because I love a good Giallo once in a while. But great Giallo horror movies are not common; so that's why this movie, among others, is so oddly exquisite. I liked its approach to its thematic material; and it was actually scary. So it's a true entry to its genre, complete with rich atmosphere and a very nice story as well. Horror movies used to be so driven by narrative. What happened to them? Perhaps they died a little bit after "Blood and Black Lace"; which came out in the days of "Pyscho" and "Bloody Sunday". Funny I mention the second film, because it was also directed by Mario Bava.

Now, in my review for "Bloody Sunday", I claimed that it was essentially the best film that Bava ever made. I retract those words. While I liked "Bloody Sunday" a lot and found it an atmospheric work of art, this is a film that is so much better; in so many ways. I don't know why; but "Blood and Black Lace" just strikes me as something genuinely awesome, maybe because it kind of is.

The story is pretty simple, and sticks to being fairly basic throughout. So let's get down to it; and have fun with it. The film involves the murder of a fashion model, which leads to a thorough investigation of the crime. The victim apparently had a diary which contained information that the killer might want to get rid of, although other models get involved and begin to get killed off one-by-one by the psychopath, perhaps because the killer believes they might know something, and he/she can't have that.

Yeah, this film is essentially the story of a body-count. But at least it's a classic body-count. Before mindless bull-shit like "Friday the 13th" plagued screens in the 80's, we had fine pieces of work like this. While there are many brutal, sadistic killings; what I like most about "Blood and Black Lace" is that it doesn't exploit itself too much, leaving room for tension and atmosphere. The film pays a lot of attention to colors and cinematography for its creepy, coming-up-behind-you feeling. I liked the rush that it gave me, and it felt alive.

But it is also well-acted, and superbly directed by Bava, who might as well be one of the major stars of the film himself. He put this thing together; he is responsible for its success. He also co-wrote the script, and it's a pretty good one. I mean, there are no doubt BETTER scripts; but who gives a damn? "Blood and Black Lace" is a masterpiece of the Italian Giallo horror-thriller; a mad, erotic work of high cinematic art. It stands as more than a classic; but also just a damn great movie in general.

In films where serial killers brutally kill off women, the act is almost always interpreted as the work of a misogynistic filmmaker, but not this time. There's enough flare and substance to "Blood and Black Lace" to allow it to NOT be tame, but still NOT exploitative. It's not misogynistic, which is good. And it's not a pain in the ass to watch either. It is violent, but also smart and highly entertaining as long as you can look past the content and move on to the substance. Can everyone do this? I don't think so. But if you can, then you've earned my respect.

I guess this film was not made for everyone, but I believe that anyone who calls themselves a horror fan should give it a go. Some horror fans might even dislike it; who knows. All I know is that I found it rather fascinating, in a gory, Giallo sort of way. It is like a wondrous orgy of corpses; a celebration of the mad and macabre realms of horror, when they still truly existed. Nowadays, horror has been reduced to something less than it was probably ever intended to be. There are horror films out right now, new ones, which are even more violent than "Blood and Black Lace"; yet this is still the better film. And if you've been reading this review all along, then you should know why that is.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Blood_and_Black_Lace-534-1395885-210388-Beauty_in_blood_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Blood_and_Black_Lace-534-1395885-210388-Beauty_in_blood_.html Sat, 16 Jul 2011 12:48:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ Silent night, holy night.]]>
Who says all Christmas movies need to be sentimental and sweet? "Black Christmas" is a rather tasteless holiday outing that is perhaps only tasteless because of its genre; horror. How many Christmas horror movies have you seen? There are a few, but this is the best out of all of them. It was directed by Bob Clark, who if you saw his soon-to-come "A Christmas Story", you'd know is very fond of the Christmas holiday, yet he's not afraid to be daring and make a film that satirizes or exploits the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the times.

"A Christmas Story" is a film as hilarious as this one is scary. It's not exactly as true to the Christmas spirit as Clark's more successful film is, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. In fact, "Black Christmas" is more than likely one of the best slasher films around. It is known to have "started it all". It set some pretty good standards for slasher films such as "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" by taking influence from the earlier film, "Psycho", and putting a unique spin on its tale of psychopathic murder. And like some of the greater horror films, "Black Christmas" is not a gore-fest; and it merely implies most of its violent material. Also, this movie is scary; unlike so many of its imitators. Naturally, I had a good time with it. It was a fun, smart horror movie that deserves all the recognition it can get, although I don't think it's QUITE a perfect movie.

A sorority house is terrorized by an odd, deranged killer throughout the film. The crazy bastard begins his reign of terror through vulgar phone-calls. Whenever the girls pick up one of his "calls", they're quick to put the phone right back down. Their initial reaction, as forever-drunk college kids, is to call the guy on the other line a "pervert". I'm sure this both angers and pleasures the caller, and he doesn't stop terrorizing through the phone-lines.

The killer begins to murder sorority girls one-by-one. He starts with a particularly pretty girl, and makes good use of plastic sheeting. You'll know what I mean when you see the film. There are some solid characters involved here, but what Clark and his movie are interested in the most is whether the film actually works for its genre. And guess what; it does work.

The best scenes involve the killer stalking his prey. Its shot in first-person view; and for some reason, I found the feel of these scenes and sequences quite hypnotic. This technique has been used before, and it has been re-used just as well. But it works exceptionally well here; just like everything else. "Black Christmas" is a well-made and perhaps even well-written slasher film that ranks amongst one of the finer, if not finest entries for its little sub-genre.

Oh, and then there's the nail-biting suspense. I love when a film chooses atmosphere and tension over gore, and there was once a day, "back-in-the-day", when there were many films that chose wisely. This is one of them. As I already mentioned, it's not a particularly gruesome movie; but it's not a silent night, nor is it a holy night. It's a wild one; and a worthy one. "Black Christmas" is an easy must-see for any hardcore horror fan; and it deserves its label as a classic. The only minor problem I have with it is that it kind of stalls a little during the third act, which is still entertaining, but not nearly as much as the first two. Nevertheless, "Black Christmas" is high on both scares and holiday anti-spirit. Distasteful, yes, but also a very good example of what to expect from its genre.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Black_Christmas-534-1019814-210248-Silent_night_holy_night_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Black_Christmas-534-1019814-210248-Silent_night_holy_night_.html Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:02:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Second time's the charm with this fleshy bit of fun.]]>
I'm always willing to give a film a second chance unless I really, really hated it. I didn't really, really hate Lucio Fulci's "Zombie", so I decided to watch it again; this time with original Italian Audio (with English Subtitles), and a mood that was acceptable for this kind of movie.

Fulci's film is a solid one, at best. At worst, people could see it as stupid and meaningless; as I once did. But this time, when I watched it and gave it that other chance that it deserved, I saw it for what it was; a straight-forward zombie exploitation film. It was gory, exploitative fun at its best. I actually enjoyed myself while watching it. It is no doubt a story of mediocrity, but that doesn't matter. Fulci is a talented filmmaker; and he shows it through this movie. I liked many things about "Zombie", also known as "Zombi 2" for its supposed involvement with "Dawn of the Dead" (which I don't get). Sure, it's imperfect; but I'm a sucker for cult flicks. Especially cult zombie flicks.

So let me get this over with. There's not much of an involving plot here; and the dialogue isn't particularly well-written or inspired enough to have the hook that it MIGHT want to have. But something tells me that Fulci just wanted to make a zombie movie, and nothing more. He succeeded. Anyways, back to the movie's plot.

The film opens with a spectacular encounter between some policeman, a boat, and a fat zombie that resides there. One man dies; the other shoots the being. The undead fat man falls into the ocean, and the dead body of the man's fellow officer is thrown into the same sea. After this encounter, we cut to the chase; the boat that the fat zombie was on apparently MIGHT have belonged to a woman (Tisa Farrow), or at least her father. Some reporters are assigned to go with her to investigate the case of the ominous, abandoned boat that was never heard from again, and so it begins. The crew soon discovers that the woman's father had gone to an island whose people were suffering from a strange, infectious disease. He must have went there are got infected.

Out of curiosity, the heroic characters go to the islands to see for themselves what all the commotion is all about. Sure enough, many people are dying from the same disease that the father had described (in note form). There's also the possibility that a strange Voodoo curse is allowing the dead to rise from the grave and feast on human flesh.

That's basically the plot right there. It's a stupid one, but with all due respect, "Zombie" is a stupid movie. But only story and character-wise; otherwise, I have a lot of respect for it. Aside from its weak plotting and lack of character development (or solid acting to complete the package), "Zombie" is never boring. It's consistently entertaining, and delivers when it comes to the gory goods. To be quite honest, I was pleased by the end. There are some great, memorable scenes; one of them involving a zombie (the underwater-photographer for the film's cinematography unit) fighting a shark...and yes, while underwater. You'll be going, "how did they film that?" I had fun asking myself these questions, just as I had fun watching "Zombie".

I guess what I admire, most of all, about "Zombie", is that it features true directorial dedication from its filmmaker. This is a well-shot movie; and Fulci lets the camera caress every undead inch of the zombie's body. The make-up effects for these zombies are incredible, and Fulci's fascination with gore effects is admirable. Lucio Fulci obviously enjoyed making "Zombie", which means that there will be an audience who feels the same amount of enthusiasm regarding it. I liked this movie, it was good escapist entertainment, and with me being a horror fan; it was all that I needed.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Zombie-534-1018761-210246-Second_time_s_the_charm_with_this_fleshy_bit_of.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Zombie-534-1018761-210246-Second_time_s_the_charm_with_this_fleshy_bit_of.html Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:01:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ Something Weird delivers more of the best sleazeploitation available!]]>
Highlighted by its two features' theatrical posters, this disc's main menu is set against a backdrop of sloppily applied faux wood grain shelf paper! Menu options are a giggle: to play Hitch Hike to Hell or access its scene selection menu, the viewer is encouraged to "Hop In" or view "Mama's Favorites;" Kidnapped Coed's options read, "Witness The Abduction" and "Seize A Selection!"

Hitch Hike to Hell

Whilst delivering and picking up laundry for a dry cleaning service, a chipper, middle-aged, totally inept serial killer finds the time to sexually assault and murder wayward hitch hikers as a means to avenge his overbearing mother. He still lives with her, and the interior of their house consists almost entirely of wood paneling. He also possesses an extraordinary ability to smack his victims without ever touching them, and a technique which enables him to rape and strangle a girl in less than two minutes. Nobody rides for free, but who says fast service isn't cheap?

While most of the players in this film's cast only deliver mediocre performances, its chief asset is a wealth of hilariously hammy acting, courtesy of leading nutcase Robert Gribbin and the goofballs who portray his hapless prey. Other than that, this is a prime example of exceptionally poor low-budget late-'60s filmmaking...but it's great fodder for a riffing party! Shot in 1967, it was released very briefly in '70 to little notice and then granted a widespread release courtesy of Robert Novak in '77, which elicited a thoroughly unenthusiastic response. Hitch Hike is one of very few B-movies that actually could benefit from a tongue-in-cheek remake, if Bruce Campbell were still young enough for the lead role!

Kidnapped Coed

Desperate for cash, a rugged thug (Jack Canon) kidnaps the daughter of a millionaire (Leslie Rivers) and holds her for ransom. Quite a lot goes horribly wrong; over the course of numerous misadventures and encounters with a variety of southern weirdos, the two predictably fall for each other.

It's fortunate that Frederick Friedel knows how to pace a movie for maximum deliberation, because the hole-ridden plot of his second feature would normally sustain a forty-five minute TV movie. Though it's hampered at times by sloppy editing, his composition is excellent, and it's nicely furnished by Austin McKinney's colorful cinematography. Shot entirely on location in the Carolinas, Friedel makes the most of a variety of seedy interiors, and much of this film's rural photography is striking.

Canon is an able character actor, if not a versatile one. His ugly, vicious role is basically a retread of the punk he portrayed in Friedel's Ax e, except that this character is more complex - and that's the problem. He's great when chewing the scenery with furious grimaces and snarling menace, but when Canon attempts to plumb the emotional depths of his character, his performance deteriorates into silliness. Though she has only a handful of lines in the entire film, Rivers fares better as the titular abductee. She possesses a certain gawky charm that develops into a weirdly sensual allure, and unlike her male counterpart, she always seems believable.

This is an odd edition of Date with a Kidnapper. In the film's penultimate dance scene, the country music from the jukebox is replaced by a cheesy synthesized version of The Blue Danube. Also, the opening titles read "Jack Canon is" and then cut to a still of the next scene that reads Kidnapped Coed; in all likelihood, this print of the movie was probably one that bore the The Kidnap Lover title.

Extras are titled "Runaway Residue," and they are plenteous. Three trailers are included: one for Hitch Hike that's about as silly as the movie itself, an ominous Kidnapped Coed theatrical spot, and another for the alternate title, The Kidnap Lover, in which the narrator's apparent goal is to repeat the title of the film as often as possible.

The crown jewel of these extras is a 1992 videotaped tour of Boxoffice International's offices, conducted by Harry Novak himself. Stout, rotund and garbed in a Hawaiian shirt, the veteran film producer guides us through a cluttered wealth of promotional materials, oddities and rarities in a facility decorated with art and photos from theatrical posters and press kits. He even had a small screening room. Nifty!

Three shorts are included that share themes with the two features. In the first and best of these, The Hitch-Hiker, a sassy, shapely girl with skunk hair strips for a ride after hers breaks down...with disastrous consequences. The Dangerous Stranger is a typical, uninspired '50s educational short inspired by and created in response to the horrifying 1949 kidnapping, molestation and murder of six-year-old Linda Joyce Glucoft. This short warns children about strangers and depicts them using methods that would have them arrested in no time today. It also features a car chase and an unlikely happy ending. The worst of this lot is a crude cartoon titled The Cautious Twins that treads heavily on the same admonitory theme. All of these shorts were drawn from very rough prints, and likely the best available. The Cautious Twins even lacks its introduction and ending!

One last bonus feature is a slideshow of artwork and photos from Boxoffice International press kits and newspaper advertisements for films such as M antis in Lace, B ehind Locked Doors, The Exotic Dreams Of C asanova, Machis mo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns and Please Don't Eat My Mothe r, among many others. It's scored by cheesy period pop music and, like almost everything else on this terrific release, is more fun than you probably deserve.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Hitch_Hike_to_Hell_Kidnapped_Coed-534-1749902-210007-Something_Weird_delivers_more_of_the_best.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Hitch_Hike_to_Hell_Kidnapped_Coed-534-1749902-210007-Something_Weird_delivers_more_of_the_best.html Thu, 7 Jul 2011 21:52:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ Packed With Fun!]]>
Headlining feature Axe is modestly entertaining. After brutalizing a fruity gay couple and a grocery clerk, a trio of dapper thugs (Jack Canon, Ray Green and director/writer/editor Frederick R. Friedel) hole up in a rural farmhouse, where a pretty, sullen young woman (Leslie Lee) cares for her paralyzed grandfather (Douglas Powers). While it isn't a great film by any standard, Axe is ably shot and edited, featuring some interesting (if unexceptional) performances and a subdued, ominous atmosphere unimaginable in a contemporary American horror picture. Despite its languid pace, plenty of bloody mayhem is bundled into this feature's brief (68 minutes) runtime. Although the musical score by George Newman Shaw and John Willhelm is unique and effective, Shaw's sound design is probably the worst element of this crude production: the soundtrack is as muddled and poorly mixed as that of so many other B-movies. Most of the film's stock is pristine, but a few scenes are immoderately grainy. SWV claims to use the best existing prints for their transfers and I've no doubt that's true; overall, this copy looks pretty good.

Directed, written, produced and co-starring Axe producer/co-editor J.G. Patterson, the second feature is entitled The Electric Chair. Quite simply, this may be the single worst motion picture that I've ever seen. Its production values, story, performances, etc. are somehow inferior to that of Z-grade drivel like Manos: The Hands of Fate or Monster A Go-Go. The poorly-constructed plot concerns the murder of two adulterers and the consequences that ensue thereafter. As both a crime thriller and a courtroom drama, this movie is a complete failure in every conceivable way. Even a pair of interesting (albeit depressingly morbid) execution sequences can't save this trash. I don't even know if this was conceived as a denunciation against or promotion for capital punishment, and I couldn't care less. The screeching, synthesized musical score sounds like outtakes from early Throbbing Gristle recordings. Avoid this film at all costs and move along to the special features. You'll have wasted 86 minutes of your life on some of the worst extant audiovisual garbage if you sit through this tripe.

This disc's special features are plentiful. Two vintage short films are available therein: Mental Health (Keeping Mentally Fit) and We Still Don't Believe It. The former is an educational short produced by Encyclopedia Britannica that makes Centron's postwar output look brilliant in comparison. However, the second short is pleasant enough. In it, a cute Latina sword-swallower examines and then gulps down numerous swords in a fake exhibit. Every time she does so, another article of her clothing is torn as though cut and falls away, leaving her clad in underwear at the movie's end.

11 theatrical trailers are provided on this disc for your viewing enjoyment. Three among these are promotional reels for Axe, under both its present title and two others: Lisa, Lisa and The Virgin Slaughter. Those trailers of alternate titles feature, shrill, campy, hyperbolic narration; the Virgin Slaughter promo hilariously portrays the movie's victimized antagonist as a bloodthirsty seductress! Additional trailers promote eight more raunchy B-movies typical of those produced and distributed by Harry Novak's Boxoffice International Pictures from the early '60s through the late '70s. If none of these make you smile, I don't know what possibly could.

Finally, the presentation is concluded by a slideshow of exploitation film posters and advertisements, scored by numerous outrageous radio spots! Some of the movies that these materials promote are lost films; others are available from SWV. Many of them aren't listed on IMDb!

If you're as fond of sleazy, low-budget '70s movies as I am, this DVD and quite a lot else of SWV's selections will entertain you to no end.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Axe-534-1644833-210005-Packed_With_Fun_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Axe-534-1644833-210005-Packed_With_Fun_.html Thu, 7 Jul 2011 21:14:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Not really that good of a night.]]>
"Prom Night" is derivative, boring, bland, ridiculous, stupid, and the worst "classic" slasher/horror film I've seen since "My Bloody Valentine". The film offers no surprises, no suspense, and no substance. It isn't scary, there's nothing worth anticipating, and all-in-all, it just plain sucks. Why it has garnered a semi-large cult following, I shall never know. I'll never quite understand what people see in such an unoriginal and unintentionally hilarious product such as this, but maybe that alone explains why so many people get off to watching a film, such as "Prom Night", in which people are stabbed in lame ways, people are decapitated in lame ways, and in which Jamie Lee Curtis proves that she needs a better agent.

The film is intended as a tongue-in-cheek horror picture, but where's the humor? I'm usually good at spotting satire within horror films, but then again, maybe "Prom Night" was aiming for different territories all-together. The film itself begins with the tragic death of a child, who falls to her unfortunate demise after a group of crappy, brat children scare her while playing a little "game". Six years after the death, the kids, all teens now, are facing guilt and anxiety. It is the day- soon to be night- of the big prom, and one of the girls (Jamie Lee Curtis), son of the school principle (Leslie Nielson), has been chosen to be the Prom Queen.

The problem is that this night is about to become reckless as all hell. Earlier on in the film, a mysterious man phone-calls each of the kids from the opening scene. He knows they will be attending the prom, so that is where he is expected to turn up. The man may be seeking vengeance for the death, as he was a witness. Nobody really knows what he wants. That is, until he starts, as I mentioned, stabbing and decapitating teens (in lame ways).

We want to know who the killer is, in the end, and this is the only reason why we stick around. I liked- or at least somewhat liked- how the film THOUGHT that it was on to something, but when all is said and done, it needs to be a little more self-aware. Really, this might help it, you know, work.

Suspense scenes are poorly staged, even for a low-budget horror movie. The 80's seemed like a good time for some filmmakers to stretch their creative limbs, as well as a good time for down-right morons to make movies that nobody really gives a damn about. Low-budget does not mean you have to give us an overdose of cheese and unoriginality. You can milk an idea until it has nothing left, or you can expand and be creative. Tell me, where's the creativity here? What makes "Prom Night" a "good night" (at the movies)? If nobody can answer me, then hell, I'll just give up.

Oh, now look what your movie has done, John Carpenter. Your horror masterpiece "Halloween" has transformed the brave and bold scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis into a "type actor". She is brave and bold no longer, but granted, she's still a scream-queen. But still, it doesn't matter. What matters is story, characters, and wit; all things which "Prom Night" simply does not have. Nielson is kind of pleasurable in his relatively small role, but forgettable in the end.

I don't go into slasher movies expecting ANY of them to be good. That's the beauty of the moment when, to my surprise, they turn out to be good. I approached "Prom Night" the same way, and got bored really fast, just like I have with other just-as-bad slasher movies. Believe it or not, there are good slasher movies, and then there are, obviously, the god-awful ones. The only truly scary thing attached to "Prom Night" is that it has an audience, and sadly, it's a stupid one.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Prom_Night-534-1414234-209915-Not_really_that_good_of_a_night_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Prom_Night-534-1414234-209915-Not_really_that_good_of_a_night_.html Wed, 6 Jul 2011 02:56:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ Beautifully shot indie slasher. Also a sharp satire! Horrah.]]>
It takes a true genius to take something as twisted as the concepts and characters dealt with in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and make them satirical material. So not only is one of the scariest horror films of all time still scary, but it's also funny. This is one of the only times where you can say such a thing, but heck, that's why the film deserves to be remembered.

I believe that Tobe Hooper did something pretty impressive when he made the film. Hooper was inspired by murders committed by serial killers, horrible noises, and even the political status of America. Few horror films are so thoughtful yet so horrifying, but this is one that does more than it probably is required to do. I don't remember loving the film initially, but now I know what makes "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" a story of horrific crime to remember. It is savage, although not as brutal as some would make it out to be; and scary, although not as soft-core as some would want you to think it is. In a world where films like this one here are often referred to as "torture porn", Tobe Hooper's film has something that others do not; intellect.

The story is simple, and you probably already know how it goes. Five young men and women take a road-trip in Texas to a cemetery, where there have been reports of grotesque vandalism such as corpses being dug up and posed as works of gruesome art. One of the girls in the group wishes to see if her father's remains were mistreated in such a way. She walks away from the place knowing that nothing has happened, thus doing what most slasher girls would do; ignore what is really going on. The group decides to stop by the old home of two members of the "kids", and this is where the rest of the action up until the climatic and frightening final twenty minutes, takes place.

There is an unexpected and unwanted guest living nearby the old house. He is tall, powerful, and insane. He is the infamous horror villain Leatherface. He gets his name from the mask that he wears. That is his most characteristic feature, although I shall site a few more. Leatherface makes little squealing noises, like a pig would. He acts like a scared child when he wields his murder weapon, a chainsaw. He just kills anything that poses a possible treat to him, or his equally as insane and psychotic cannibalistic family.

There are so many memorable sequences in the film. One of them that I absolutely must mention is the dinner scene between the "final girl" and the bat-shit insane family. Much like the rest of the film, this scene does not use violence to scare the living hell out of us; it scares us because everything is realistic and psychological. The villainous family allows laughs and giggles of sheer madness out of their mouths, during this pre-grand finale. And when it comes to the grand, grand-finale, let's just say you're in for a scary treat. Oh, and the camera-work, which is decidedly documentary style, makes the fear feel even more real.

People will not remember "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for scaring them out of repulsion and gruesome imagery. It is disturbing in its own little ways. In fact, what we don't see might just be what really scares us. It's called imagination, and if you have one, then you qualify for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

Yes, I said it; one qualifies for films like this one. There is violence and disturbing imagery present, but if you allow yourself to look past this, then you might just admire the satirical and humorous aspects that are also prevalent. The more I thought about the themes and motives of the film, the more I liked it. I wouldn't say I deprive pleasure out of watching a film so uneasy, but horror films are meant to be both enjoyed and endured. This one could be seen in both ways; and that was my case. There were parts in the film where I smiled, and there were parts when I was silent. Hooper's film is not one I shall forget. It is well-acted, superbly made, and gives me all kinds of hope when it comes to making my very own indie horror film one day. This one is super low-budget, but that didn't stop it from doing what it wanted. That did not stop it at all. And why should it? Some films should not be restrained by the chains of cinematic censors, and this is one of them. The best we can do is let it loose until its chainsaw runs out of gas, and it ponderously runs around some more like the demented little monster that it is.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Texas_Chainsaw_Massacre-534-1011013-209372-Beautifully_shot_indie_slasher_Also_a_sharp.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Texas_Chainsaw_Massacre-534-1011013-209372-Beautifully_shot_indie_slasher_Also_a_sharp.html Sun, 26 Jun 2011 02:09:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hail to the Kings of Camp, Baby!]]>
A "Book of the Dead" bound in human flesh? That comes to life if people recite what's written in it? Director Sam Raimi had to know people would never be able to take this stuff seriously. But one of the keys to really great camp is that the director can't direct knowing people aren't going to take it seriously. It has to be unintentional, or at least directed like it is. If it's directed WITH campy intentions in mind, you're going to come up with a revered piece of art. I'm looking at you, Quentin Tarantino, and Kill Bill - which by all means totally rocked, but it just wasn't real camp. Raimi, however, appears to play games with us in Evil Dead. Sometimes he appears to know full well how ridiculous this all is, and at other times he seems to be the guiding hand for a hack producer looking for a quick, cheap buck by creating a run-of-the-mill horror flick.

Evil Dead begins with another stop-me-if-you've-heard-this-one-before cliche as a group of teenagers is headed to a run-down cabin in the woods for a secluded vacation. There is an evil spirit running around in the woods, and the kids find a mysterious flesh-bound book in the basement along with a recording of some scientist who was apparently studying it, let it loose, and realized all too late that he didn't know how to stop it.

Sam Raimi uses a lot of first-person camera work in Evil Dead, much like Steven Spielberg did in Jaws. This is a very effective trick under certain circumstances, and those circumstances are in Evil Dead. Raimi, however, is also clearly using this trick to conceal the fact that he has no budget. The special effects are relatively cheap and many of them could probably be performed at home without help from a computer. Raimi's low budget clearly works in the movie's favor, because Raimi is being forced to be as creative as possible to tell the story much of the time. When our teens begin turning into zombies, the special effects even in many of those scenes are little more than makeup and fake blood.

Oh, there's a gore factor in Evil Dead, all right. The makeup looks truly disgusting at times, and since the evil that's taking hold of everyone can only be defeated through disembowelment, Raimi pulls no punches in showing us the details whenever he can squeeze them out. Blood bursts out of the cabin's electrical appliances in one scene near the end. Some of the gore, especially at the end, is done using claymation.

The plot of Evil Dead is easy to explain, and there are only five characters in the entire movie. Scott, Ash, Cheryl, Linda, and Shelley are heading to a secluded cabin in the woods for a private getaway. None of them, except Scott, have even seen this place before and they don't know anything about it. Once there, they find a weird book with a bunch of drawings and a recording of some scientist who talks about the Book of the Dead popping to life when read aloud. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem because the book is written in a language none of the teens seem to know, but they keep the recording on while the scientist chants away in a dramatically overdone voice. Apparently the whole chanting rule does not give exemptions to recordings, so the dead come to life.

With the one way (of course) leading into and out of their spot in ruins, the group has to survive the night. But the evil dead don't make this easy. They start going after everyone in the place.

An interesting thing about Evil Dead is that the evil dead never really appears in a defined corporeal form, at least not onscreen. Yes, one of the girls gets attacked by plants when she first goes outside to inspect something. And when the evil dead penetrates the cabin, it starts making the group into zombies. But it itself is never given a real form. Granted Raimi's budgetary constraints are probably responsible for that, but there's no escaping that it detracts from the camp value of Evil Dead. Of course, that detraction may actually be part of the reason Evil Dead is so campy in the first place. If Raimi had shown a monster, it may not have been taken seriously enough to be elevated to the level of camp, and Raimi might have gone on to a career reputation as the next Ed Wood instead of the big-budget director of a Spider-man franchise which, in most respects, is freaking awesome. The lack of a monster tries to give the movie a small measure of artistic credit, which in this case made the difference between campy and bad.

Another thing that takes away from the camp value is Bruce Campbell, who plays his role as Ash completely straight. This might come as a real shock, considering Campbell's reputation. But this was Campbell's big break, the role which got people to notice him, and so he tries to play his role. At the very least, Campbell tries to play the movie star, dominating the movie with his presence and charm, and he does. But this isn't the same Ash who told a flock of medieval warriors to buy his Grand Rapids-made boomstick at their local S-mart from Army of Darkness. It's Ask being visibly scared, not knowing what the hell is going on, though knowing quite well that no one - himself included - really believes it.

Evil Dead does an awful lot like a standard slasher flick, but it still turns that horrible genre onto its head by turning the victims into the killers they fear. In the long run of the genre, it really doesn't make THAT much of a difference, but it's still an interesting little inversion.

Evil Dead may be tacky and low-budget, but, well, that's part of the whole point! And getting to see Bruce Campbell is always worth it! He is the king, after all, and hail to the king!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Evil_Dead-534-1013974-209322-Hail_to_the_Kings_of_Camp_Baby_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Evil_Dead-534-1013974-209322-Hail_to_the_Kings_of_Camp_Baby_.html Sat, 25 Jun 2011 13:13:52 +0000
<![CDATA[ Bullet Ballet]]> Rio Bravo. The B-movie maestro has always produced impressive results on shoestring budgets, but this $100K production delivers a lot of bang for the buck; I can't think of any other film that was so well produced at such low cost.

As there were corners to be cut, the cast consists primarily of experienced unknowns. Even the leads (blaxploitation veteran Austin Stoker and television performer Darwin Joston) wallowed in obscurity since this movie's American box office failure and overwhelming European success. It's doubtful that Joston would have landed his anti-hero role if he hadn't been Carpenter's next-door neighbor. The performances range from serviceable to impressive, and tend towards the latter.

In addition to stretching a miniature budget to its fullest length, Carpenter also implemented an economy of concepts quite creatively here. The minimal plot and character development are sustained by a variety of cleverly executed action scenes and nerve-wracking scenarios. What could have been a mindless exploitation flick is elevated to the level of an inventive, carefully choreographed actioner that deserves the devotion of its cult audience.

While the 2003 special edition DVD of Assault was released only in widescreen format, another sparse 2005 edition (containing only the film and a scene selection menu) is available in both full screen and widescreen aspect ratios. Caveat emptor: the aspect ratio is only specified in fine print on the back of the cover slip, so read it closely before you decide to purchase a copy in a retail outlet. I was lucky enough to find a widescreen copy.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/d/UserReview-Assault_on_Precinct_13_1976_movie_-534-1389870-209258-Bullet_Ballet.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/d/UserReview-Assault_on_Precinct_13_1976_movie_-534-1389870-209258-Bullet_Ballet.html Fri, 24 Jun 2011 01:27:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ Murk and Grue]]> Assault On Precinct 13 and Halloween, The Fog is probably the least of John Carpenter's early films, but it really shouldn't be overlooked. Carpenter stretched a $1 million budget pretty far and took his time establishing mood and a murky, sea-swept tension within the cramped constraints of this 89-minute cult classic.

While not as scary as Carpenter hoped that it would be, this is still a suspenseful, enormously atmospheric horror flick. Carpenter has never been satisfied with it and neither were critics upon its release, but considering that the movie was successful (earning at least 21 times its budget), I'm inclined to believe that audiences were at least as satisfied with it as I am.

The performances of the popular cast are serviceable, and the low-budget production design is well implemented. That Adrienne Barbeau was able to deliver so many cheeseball lines so convincingly indicates that her talents weren't limited to assets located immediately beneath her neckline. John Houseman narrates a creepy ghost story at the beginning of the film - one of many highlights that make this an ideal Halloween viewing.

Fun fact: Rick Baker protégé/RoboCop designer/SFX genius Rob Bottin is present here in a cameo as the leprous, undead Captain Blake. Also: considering that the events of this film take place on April twenty-first and that it was filmed in 1979, I'm led to believe that this story occurs during my birthday. Even more horrific!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Fog-534-1013850-209206-Murk_and_Grue.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Fog-534-1013850-209206-Murk_and_Grue.html Thu, 23 Jun 2011 01:11:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ Here'sssssssssssssssssssssssatan!]]> Let's Scare Jessica to Death) and a herpetologist (Jon Korkes), both of whom are undermined by the local mayor (Jack Gordon), who's eager to quell any upset that might hinder the opening of a dog track. The small town's marginally competent sheriff (John McCurry) deputizes Korkes and a number of other locals to hunt down the snakes, unaware that the snakes have been deputized by the Prince of Darkness!

Even though it's very nicely lensed by famous cinematographer Dean Cundey, Jaws of Satan's silly scenario isn't made any more plausible by its lousy special effects or Bob Claver's clumsy direction. There is something to be said of Ron Wild's gruesome makeup effects, which are far more effective than anything else herein.

As usual, Weaver embodies the quintessence of mediocrity: competent, but so bland that his delivery is only credible because it's so mundane. The same could be said for the rest of the cast. Ten-year-old Christina Applegate is instantly recognizable, and as a tremendous screamer, probably the only cast member to leave an impression.

Tasteless gruel like this killed the mainstream appeal of drive-ins and grindhouses, though not all at once. Only a few unintentionally amusing scenes and the appearance of some genre notables make it worth watching.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jaws_of_Satan-534-1745767-208987-Here_sssssssssssssssssssssssatan_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jaws_of_Satan-534-1745767-208987-Here_sssssssssssssssssssssssatan_.html Sat, 18 Jun 2011 09:17:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ As Always, Caveat Emptor]]>
Despite its great premise and frequently engaging energy, The Stuff is one of Larry Cohen's less ably executed projects. The film's production values are of mixed quality; Bret Culpepper's gloopy, frequently gruesome special effects are a lot of fun, but at best, they're compensating for Paul Glickman's shoddy photography and Armond Lebowitz's embarrassingly haphazard editing. These detrimental factors and Anthony Guefen's hokey score often make this theatrical feature seem like a particularly weak episode of The A-Team, especially when the plot unnecessarily diverges to bring a militia (led by Paul Sorvino, who's in a perpetual losing battle to suppress a smile) into the story. Cohen's career is packed with great ideas that are drawn out poorly in needlessly circuitous stories. If he'd had someone like John Carpenter as a screenwriting collaborator, his enormous satirical inspiration would surely have been better exploited. Here, the proceedings are so badly paced that they seem simultaneously rushed and protracted, and all the more tedious for it.

Every performance by this film's cast is either delightfully hammy or as stiff as plywood. Moriarty and Morris fare best in the former category, bringing a lot of charisma and charm to a pair of very silly roles. Morris can't deliver a line without inducing a chuckle, and Moriarty (hardly so annoying as he was in Cohen's Q, though just as overwrought) affects a ludicrous southern accent while obviously relishing every shot.

There's plenty to enjoy here: the sinister product's commercials, lots of goofy dialogue and an almost innocent enthusiasm that's infectious. Unfortunately, most of it is badly shot and cut, and the story's less involving asides should have been excised to admit more screen time to the titular Stuff. However, any movie that encourages people to reconsider consumer culture or compulsive overeating is always worth a viewing.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Stuff-534-1026619-208847-As_Always_Caveat_Emptor.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Stuff-534-1026619-208847-As_Always_Caveat_Emptor.html Wed, 15 Jun 2011 20:27:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ Right Up Your Legs!]]> The Dark two years later: competently pedestrian, zooming for effect every fifteen minutes.

As usual, Shatner's performance is anything but kosher, and he's at his hammy best with the script's sillier scenarios. He generates no romantic heat whatsoever opposite love interest Bolling, who's all forehead, cheekbones, and mandible, barking too many of her lines shrilly. Probably the best acting here is that of a tense Woody Strode as the tormented rancher whose livelihood is endangered by marauding arachnids; unlike most of his fellow cast members, Strode grapples with a lot of dumb dialogue and comes away retaining some dignity. As this is just one of many cheesy B-features (see also: Impulse, The Devil's Rain) and TV movies that Shatner starred in before being beamed back up as the figurehead of a wildly successful theatrical franchise, it's anyone's guess if he even remembers this movie.

As schlocky as the script, this flick's music is an odd combination of gawky Dorsey Burnette songs, stock tunes by the likes of Richard Markowitz and Dominic Frontiere, and Twilight Zone cues composed by Jerry Goldsmith, one of which serves as the main theme.

In summary: tarantulas galore overtake small-scale civilization and a Shatnerian mating ritual is documented in what might be a good companion to The Bat People or Jaws of Satan in a double feature. If you see it on TV at 3 A.M., it's worth a watch. Otherwise, move on...]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kingdom_of_the_Spiders-534-1389783-208784-Right_Up_Your_Legs_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kingdom_of_the_Spiders-534-1389783-208784-Right_Up_Your_Legs_.html Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:42:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ Superior To Godard]]> Bad Girls Go To Hell, a shapely hausfrau (Gigi Darlene) is raped by her apartment building's sleazy janitor before she murders him with a bowl, then flees from her home and loving husband to NYC, where her monumentally poor judgment invites more abusive and amorous encounters. Another Day, Another Man chronicles the misadventures of a pert newlywed (Barbara Kemp) who serves as a call girl for her friend's pimp when her husband is stricken with a mysterious illness. Produced and released consecutively, both pictures sport many of Wishman's trademarks: unfathomably maladroit editing and cinematography, ludicrous voice-over narration, conspicuous dubbing, inexplicable scenarios and an abundance of curvaceous, atypically gorgeous harlots. Perhaps half of the interior locations of Bad Girls served as the entirety of those in Another Day (furniture in these apartments were replaced or reordered with minimal effort), and both the squat, voluptuous Darlene and sleazy Wishman regular Sam Stewart appear in both as distinctly different characters. Somehow dynamic in its atrocity, Wishman's mode is unique, utterly impenetrable and even at its most measured, never boring. Her contrivances serve only to bare flesh and sate the basest fantasies, but some queer appeal's to be enjoyed of such sordid, hilarious flicks. If nothing else, these two relics of exploitation have more riffing potential than a dozen cheap direct-to-DVD titles.

As usual, Something Awful affords their viewers another delightful presentation, here furnished with a drive-in motif replete with graphics depicting hung window speakers. Both features were deftly transferred from clean prints, and further benefit from soundtracks that aren't especially muddled, despite their clumsy mixes. Each are navigable via scene selection menus of thumbnail images and amusing titles.

Three authentic intermission countdown sequences utilized to introduce both pictures and the double bill's finale are available as special features, as is a hideously oversaturated pitch for sex books titled Man and Male and Woman and Female, available at concession stands wherever especially lascivious films were screened. Also on tap, an abundance of titillating theatrical trailers for Wishman's '60s roughie features: Bad Girls Go To Hell, Indecent Desires, A Taste of Flesh, Another Day, Another Man, My Brother's Wife and Too Much, Too Often! Appended to the third of the intermission sequences is an extra trailer for Wishman's science-fiction rape/murder thriller of 1970, The Amazing Transplant.

Of course, no Something Weird double-feature release is complete without a gallery of theatrical posters and advertisements, and this disc's Doris Wishman Gallery of Exploitation Art is packed with a hurried exhibition of commercial artwork in promotion of Hideout in the Sun, Nude on the Moon, Blaze Starr Goes Nudist, Gentlemen Prefer Nature Girls, Behind the Nudist Curtain, The Sex Perils of Paulette, Bad Girls Go to Hell, Another Day, Another Man, My Brother's Wife, A Taste of Flesh, Indecent Desires, Too Much, Too Often!, The Amazing Transplant, Love Toy, Satan Was a Lady, The Immoral Three, Double Agent 73 and Let Me Die a Woman.

To enact the drive-in experience, this DVD's main menu features a "Let's Go to the Drive-In!" function, which sequences intermissions, trailers and features in a succession equivalent to those of an actual drive-in screening! For trash cineasts who prefer to use an LCD projector, this is an especially satisfying feature.

So long as these tawdry artifacts are preserved, their zeitgeist will survive.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Bad_Girls_Go_To_Hell_Another_Day_Another_Man-534-1526458-208431-Superior_To_Godard.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Bad_Girls_Go_To_Hell_Another_Day_Another_Man-534-1526458-208431-Superior_To_Godard.html Tue, 7 Jun 2011 23:43:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ SHUT UP LINDA!!]]>
Often considered one of the biggest cinematic bloodbaths ever, as well as one of the darkest comedies in existence, "The Evil Dead" is Sam Raimi's "big indie beast"; a stunning debut from a man who can successfully take one genre, and can still make a film about not one, but two things. That could only be the work of a true craftsman.

But how can a film as violent and bloody as this one have been made with actual craft? Isn't it no better than a sleazy exploitation picture? Honestly, think what you want about Raimi's film. It's as violent as most horror films get, and it knows it, but it's also part of an era where the term "campy" was used more than, well I'd say once a week. Movies like this one came out all the time in the 1980's. Several of them were aware of their absurdity, some were not, and only few age as well as "The Evil Dead". The film is literally bursting with insane laughter; that being invokes by its own bloody tears.

The film is great entertainment, assuming one is entertained by corpses, blood, gore, and demonic possession. The story takes place somewhere in the woods, where a cabin resides (of course). The unassuming kids who tend to inhabit every single horror movie these days go to this cabin for a couple nights of presumably good fun. After a ton of genuinely strange happenings, they finally arrive at the place, and they settle in.

While exploring the basement, the film's central hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) come across some sort of novelty entitled "The Book of the Dead". A tape recorder and some sort of knife come in the complete diabolical package, and soon, demonic presences have run amuck. Let's just say that instead of getting drunk and probably high, as they had intended, the kids are possessed and decapitated, as NOT planned.

The charm of the story is its simplicity. The film is virtually nothing without the gore, the stylistic elements, and the performance from Bruce Campbell. Not only does actor Campbell have one of the most epic chins of all time, but he also has the charm of a classic campy performer. This is masterfully-made camp; sometimes scary, often times funny. That is what the film wants to be, and that is what it is. Considering "The Evil Dead" is a "video nasty", and a classic one too, you need a strong stomach to understand and enjoy it, let alone watch it. And if you think you can do that, then please take every bit of advice I have given you.

One thing you may or may not know about "The Evil Dead" is that it's this super low-budget horror movie that made it big instantly after being released. I bet that was partially due to the controversy; something which always tends to draw attention (and money) to a film and its makers. The cinematography found here is absolutely spectacular, in spite of the low budget, and so is the blood. It looks real, sometimes to the point where people will be compelled to throw up, and there will be those who think it's funny. Sometimes, it's so over-the-top and campy/excessive, that it's hard not to laugh. This film has a sort of ability which allows it to be both funny and gruesome; both hilarious and scary. It's a gem.

I'm sure this film was shunned and hated at the time, but I'm forgiving, and I can accept wit in the form of gruesome road-kill. If you can too, then "The Evil Dead" is your movie. Or maybe not, heck, I don't really know. "The Evil Dead" will appeal to those who can embrace it rather than be disgusted by it, and that's only a select number of people. There are many who liked it, but not enough that really, really love it. But there's humor, wit, and undeniable heart here; all in the service of black comedy and bloody violence. I say: beware, but do not shy away from the film. I love it, it's a cult movie with a purpose, and Raimi has earned my respect ever since I first watched the thing. And that was a long, long time ago.

I don't really know how to properly close this review, as a reviewer should. I've said all there is to say about "The Evil Dead", or at least, as much as I can say without spoiling the whole bloody affair. Simply put, if you haven't caught on already, "The Evil Dead" is a fun, fun ride full of gore and memorably funny (and disturbing) scenes. Few films have tree-rape scenes; few films have classical-cheery music playing over the end credits after a very bloody finale; and few films possess such wit as this one. No matter how you choose to look at it, I love "The Evil Dead", and shall watch it time-and-time again, for many years to come. It's a true genre classic.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Evil_Dead-534-1013974-207358-SHUT_UP_LINDA_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Evil_Dead-534-1013974-207358-SHUT_UP_LINDA_.html Sat, 14 May 2011 01:24:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ Halloween is no masterpiece, but still a good work of horror]]>  It is Halloween night in Illinois in 1963. Young six year old Michael Myers brutally stabbed his sister to death for a reason unknown to most. His parents come home only to find him standing completely zoned out with a large, bloody knife in his hands. Michael is then put in a mental hospital where he will spend the next fifteen years of his life, until on October 30th 1978 Michael breaks free and steals his Doctor's car. Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) knows that Michael is looking for blood, so he heads to Haddonfield, Michael's home town, to try and prevent too much destruction. Loomis immediately heads to the local Sheriff where they will both try and hunt down Michael as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) feels like she is being stalked by someone, but she does not know who. This turns out to be Michael as he targets this group of teenagers on his killing spree.


First off, Halloween is definitely one of the best horror films I have ever seen. Nowadays I cannot help but feel that the writers and directors of the world seem to think blood and gore equals a scary film. Which is not at all true. If you look at the recent horror/slasher films that come out, all that happens is someone taking a chainsaw or a knife and cutting people open. That isn't scary, it's more laughable than anything to be honest. The key to making a film actually somewhat scary, it is a very difficult thing to do, is not blood, it is suspense. If a movie has enough suspense it does not matter whether there is any death or blood at all, with suspense a film will be scary. Which is what Halloween does so well.


The story, for the most part, is just your basic horror film. A group of teenagers are being hunted by some psycho that decides to kill people. The audience doesn't really know why, but that is just what happens. I personally prefer to have the killings explained a bit more than they are in most films, such as Psycho, but I suppose as far as horror goes that just isn't the way the films are made. I have read and heard many people compare this to Psycho, and as much as I loved this film, I cannot say I agree with that. As far as I have ever seen Psycho is the best of all in the horror genre, though I must admit Halloween is no doubt on of the best horror films I have ever seen. It is actually a bit slow moving at times, which is what makes it so great. A lot may not happen for awhile in the film, but John Carpenter slowly builds the suspense with Michael following Jamie Lee Curtis' characters. It made for a great, unforgettable climax.


I have to say I am not at all a John Carpenter fan. Any director that only directs horror films is not a director for me. He may have made many films that received plenty of critical acclaim, but most of his films just aren't my style. However, he really did do a good job here. He knew what he was doing, and this was one of his first films. The performances were not that bad, which is another thing you really have to watch out for in horror films. I have always found Jamie Lee Curtis an annoying actress, but I guess she did fine in this film. I mean, it shouldn't be that hard to find actors who can run around and scream and make it sound real, but movie makers today sure seem to have a world of trouble doing it. Donald Pleasence was okay as well. Nothing worth praising by any of the actors really, but if you compare the acting in this film to the acting in other horror films, it is certainly much improved.


Overall, Halloween is an excellent film. It may be a bit overrated, I can't see how so many people give it a perfect score, but that does not change how great it really is. It is actually a film that I think gets better, and more scary the older it gets. As I mentioned all people are used to today is bllod and gore, and this truly shows how to make a film scary, that honestly is not that violent. It is nothing but chills and inforgettable scenes. Halloween is a well made, well directed, and just a really great film. Maybe I didn't find it to be quite the masterpiece that some do, but nothing short of excellence.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Halloween_1978_movie_-534-1010484-205384-Halloween_is_no_masterpiece_but_still_a_good_work.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Halloween_1978_movie_-534-1010484-205384-Halloween_is_no_masterpiece_but_still_a_good_work.html Sat, 9 Apr 2011 22:32:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Humorless hardcore? Why not? Someone had to make sex boring, and it looks like Guccione was the man]]> Caligula -- a boyish emperor whose only sins were to love his sisters too well, to have too ironic a sense of humor, to exercise justice too emphatically and to have too optimistic a view of his future -- it would be this sodden pile of oozing lasagna. I, Claudius it ain't.
 
The cast consists of Malcolm McDowell as Caligula, Peter O'Toole as Tiberius, John Gielgud as Nerva, Helen Mirren as Caesonia and the flopping bits and pieces of a lot of naked Italian extras. It is stunning and amusing to see the likes of Gielgud and Mirren recite their lines with serious intent and then watch a quick cut-away to hardcore fellatio at a Bob Guccione version of an orgy. It has to be said: The orgies are the most boring part of this movie. Guccione cuts in hardcore sex with all the timing of a metronome. Extras do so much genital fingering I'm surprised they didn't come down with carpel tunnel syndrome.
 
Peter O'Toole, as a seriously degenerate Tiberius, has been known to give ripe and awful performances in his career. Here, he outdoes himself. It's not that the man is shameless, it's that he appears embarrassingly to be trying to give a performance. Malcolm McDowell is the only one who seems to be amused at the awful role he agreed to play for what, I hope, was a lot of money. McDowell is a fascinating, sly, humorous and serious actor. Even when he's humping around enjoying both the bride and the groom at a wedding party, or doing a lascivious dance to please O'Toole, or ordering his legions to attack the papyrus, or playing the sneering host at a long, long orgy (with all those close-up cut-aways), I still like him. He carries what acting weight there is in this arena of rancid Penthouse rejects. Guccione, the editor and publisher of Penthouse who produced Caligula (and directed the hardcore parts), seems to have no more a creative erotic imagination here than he had in his magazine.
 
The movie is so humorless, so hypocritical and so cheesy it not only will put you off Caligula, it probably will put you off genitals.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Caligula_1980_-534-1631457-204904-Humorless_hardcore_Why_not_Someone_had_to_make.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Caligula_1980_-534-1631457-204904-Humorless_hardcore_Why_not_Someone_had_to_make.html Wed, 30 Mar 2011 01:33:58 +0000
<![CDATA[ Not one to watch with "Mother", and not one you should want to watch at all.]]>
"Mother's Day" is a psychopathic mistake of horror filmmaking that to my dismay, takes every reason WHY I watch horror films and offends, intends to shock, and twists my words. I have said before that I like a good disturbing film. "Mother's Day" heard these words and assumed that I actually LIKED watching disturbing, gruesome, and explicit imagery. I don't. But I have applauded films that are even more disturbing than this one before; and my reasoning is because they had stories to tell and characters to introduce us to. Sometimes, disturbance is the only way to get an emotional point across. So why, oh why, did "Mother's Day" need to be made? It takes a decent set-up and shreds it up until I can't enjoy or admire the film any more. It is a mediocre-looking film which is made uglier through the things that it depicts. I'm always up for something disturbing. But I'm never really up for something aimless, stupid, and repetitive. "Mother's Day" is all of those things. Did I mention that it's also unwatchable? Well, it is; and it's many other things too. At the end of the day, "Mother's Day" makes me want to cry. Not because I felt bad for the characters or took the gruesome ordeal into emotional consideration; but because I know there are people out there who are sick, depraved, and mindless enough to enjoy a film such as this one. As always, I don't mean to insult those who enjoyed "Mother's Day". I just don't respect anyone who is willing to take such uninspired bait. As of now, "Mother's Day" does achieve one thing; being one of the worst horror films that I've ever seen. I should have never wasted time, and I shouldn't have given such a perverted film my attention. Attempting to see how close I was to the end of the film through a Wikipedia plot synopsis was honestly buckets of fun compared to watching the movie. Believe me when I say that. Never has exploitation been so down-right...revolting. Shouldn't it at least be fun?

"Mother's Day" is kind of like "The Hills Have Eyes" if it had been set in the woods. Perhaps the title should have been "The Trees Have Eyes"? I think so. The set-up for "Mother's Day" is like any other horror movie; it could have worked for many people. It probably wouldn't have worked for me, even if it was decently executed, but instead of a potentially entertaining sleaze-fest, we just get a full-on sleaze-fest that shows no remorse for our boredom and our stomachs. The film stars some girls who go deep in the woods on a sort of camping trip, which is meant to relieve them of their eternal boredom and provide them with more memories. We learn that they've had their share of memories, but like all generic Americans, they tend to want, want, want. So you've got your girls, and now all you need is your source of horror. As it turns out, there is a family of hillbilly-psychopaths living in a broken-down house somewhere in the nearby woods, and they have been stalking the pretty women all along. Eventually, they capture the girls, and bring them home to "mother". The mother of the two (crazy) boys is an old broad who enjoys watching them perform sadistic acts on woman. Throughout the second act of the film, the boys rape, torture, beat, and terrorize each of our heroines. Then comes the third act, in which the girls get sweet revenge on the psychos. Then the film stops reminding me so much of "The Hills Have Eyes", but more-so another Wes Craven film called "The Last House on the Left". Now that was a good film, because it depicted rape and sadism as it should; with realism and affection. This film treats each on as a joke; but without much humor. It's pathetic, really, to realize that crap like this gets made. And for money? Perhaps we're as crazy as the hillbillies.

One thing that really gets my goat about many horror movies is their lack of good actors and good characters. I've seen uninspired characters and actors in my horror-film-watching career. And by all means, "Mother's Day" is just like the worst I've seen prior to viewing this horrendous mess. And again, I am compelled not to list the actress' names since none of them matter, and none of them will be remembered. Who cares about the characters? Who cares about the actors? I mean, really; when you've got shit that stacks this high, you're in deep trouble. Especially when the closest thing to "decent acting" in your film comes from an old granny who isn't even remotely convincing in her sadistic tendencies. Oh, what a damn shame. Not.

Maybe I would "admire" a film like "Mother's Day" if it were ballsy. And even though it's disturbing and suitably revolting; I've seen worse imagery accompanied by beauty. Therefore, "Mother's Day" cannot really impress me if it does not have the raw capacity to do the same. I wonder how much money was spent on such an abomination. Why do people feel compelled to make such pointless movies? I mean, really. They do indeed give out awards for "worst film", and this one should have gotten such a anti-meritorious award for 1980. This is, in all honesty, a film without a motive or a style. It depicts rape, violence towards woman, and a handful of other disposable psychopathic crap. Yes, I called it disturbing; but it did not disturb me. If a film disturbs me, then it is well-made and emotionally resonant. "Mother's Day" is neither, and frankly, it exists merely to garner a cult status that it does not deserve. It does not need to exist, and I'm sure that the remake releasing this year is going to be better. At least it has a DIRECTOR, a WRITER, and even a CINEMATOGRAPHER. "Mother's Day" does not have any of the three; and ends up being stupid, forgettable, and crafted without joy or skill. Perhaps now I have convinced you to give it the ol' "skip"? If not, then I am clearly not doing my job right.

I seem to be one of the only horror-admirers who thinks "Mother's Day is as bad as it truly is. Yes, some will admire it for being lesser-known and graphic. But I can't admire it JUST for that. I need more; a lot more. And I need a film with substance, style, and REASONS why I should watch it. I mean, gosh: I expected "Mother's Day" to be bad. But never could I have imagined it would be this bad. It's been a while since I've seen a film as poorly directed, poorly produced, poorly acted, and revolting as this film here; which is somewhat of a compliment and somewhat of an insult. If I remember "Mother's Day" for anything, then I will remember it as one of my least-favorite horror films in existence. I sat through it, tried to absorb it, and in turn it gave me nothing. Well, isn't that nice of the film? I guess "mother" is proud of her boys for "never forgetting their mama", but you'd have to be pretty damn inconsiderate to forget your audience. It's troubling to know that "Mother's Day" even has one.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mother_s_Day_movie_-534-1027160-204748-Not_one_to_watch_with_Mother_and_not_one_you.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mother_s_Day_movie_-534-1027160-204748-Not_one_to_watch_with_Mother_and_not_one_you.html Mon, 28 Mar 2011 01:19:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ Liz Taylor slums it up in Italy with an emaciated Andy Warhol in this bizarre European film.]]>
The only copies of this movie that are available today on DVD are crappy transfers with audio that sounds as if it was recorded from a drive-inn speaker. If you're a gutsy individual who wants to take his chance on trying to experience this (gladly) forgotten slice of Liz Taylor's film career then by all means track down a copy of The Driver's Seat and witness first hand some true hammy acting, Euro-seventies fashion, horrible English dubbing and film editing that looks like it was cut with safety scissors.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Driver_s_Seat-534-1433130-204644-Liz_Taylor_slums_it_up_in_Italy_with_an_emaciated.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Driver_s_Seat-534-1433130-204644-Liz_Taylor_slums_it_up_in_Italy_with_an_emaciated.html Fri, 25 Mar 2011 21:11:31 +0000
<![CDATA[ Bruce Lee avenges his teacher in this highly influential kung-fu film.]]>
The movie was another huge success for Bruce Lee who now had the freedom to become his own director. His constant butting of heads with Lo Wei, the want to create movies that will appeal to a wider Asian and International audience (I guess the film was kind of hard to market in Japan) led to the production of Way of the Dragon, more more light hearted action film (well, compared to Fist of Fury and The Big Boss). The film was remade several times, parodied by Stephen Chow and was made into a TV series in Hong Kong.

If you're a fan of kung-fu films then you'll want to make sure Fist of Fury is on your list.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_of_Fury-534-1388305-203862-Bruce_Lee_avenges_his_teacher_in_this_highly.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_of_Fury-534-1388305-203862-Bruce_Lee_avenges_his_teacher_in_this_highly.html Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:59:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Will Bruce Lee be able to take down The Big Boss?]]>
Bruce Lee stars as Cheng Chow Ahn, a young rascal who is sent to live with some cousins in Thailand after getting in trouble one too many times in Hong Kong. He made a vow to his elderly mother to never fight again. His cousins are working at an ice plant pooling their savings together so they can return home with enough money to buy a business. Unknown to them, the ice plant is a front for a drug smuggling operation and those that are nosy and don't join disappear. Cousin Cheng becomes a foreman (after turning the tide in a brutal sit down strike) vows to discover what happened to the missing workers.
During his discovers, he finds out about the plant's dirty secret and is caught up in a bloody mess as he tries to topple The Big Boss.

Production on the film took place in Thailand with a small crew. Golden Harvest at the time was a fledgling company who made Cantonese language films (as opposed to Shaw Brothers, the big kids on the block who made Mandarin productions). The shoe string budget, along with a tight shooting schedule and a few eager extras who wanted to try and test their fighting skills with Lee hampered the filming. But when the film was released, the public reaction in Hong Kong and around Southeast Asia was huge and Bruce Lee was on his way to becoming a star.

The movie itself is brutal, bloody and gory, I was surprised by who violent the Hong Kong version of the film was. I read about how even more violence was edited out after it's initial screening. Bruce Lee didn't care for the brutal violence and made one more picture with Lo Wei (Fist of Fury) before making his own film (Way of the Dragon). If you want to see some hardcore violence and exploitation then you'll want to see The Big Boss.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Big_Boss-534-1388303-203858-Will_Bruce_Lee_be_able_to_take_down_The_Big_Boss_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Big_Boss-534-1388303-203858-Will_Bruce_Lee_be_able_to_take_down_The_Big_Boss_.html Sun, 13 Mar 2011 18:28:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ They Called Her One Eye (R-Rated version)]]>
If you enjoy grindhouse movies or if you a fan of Quentin Tarantino then you'll enjoy "They Called Her One Eye!"  After watching the film you'll notice some things were recycled in Kill Bill Parts One and Two.  Most notable is the sleazy bar owner looks dead on like the main villian in this film along with the most obvious one.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Thriller_A_Cruel_Picture_Thriller_En_Grym_Film_-534-1021685-203797-They_Called_Her_One_Eye_R_Rated_version_.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Thriller_A_Cruel_Picture_Thriller_En_Grym_Film_-534-1021685-203797-They_Called_Her_One_Eye_R_Rated_version_.html Sat, 12 Mar 2011 16:00:56 +0000
<![CDATA[Salo (120 Days of Sodom) Quick Tip by cyclone_march]]> http://www.lunch.com/Loveofforeignfilms/reviews/movie/UserReview-Salo_120_Days_of_Sodom_-433-1014734-193533.html http://www.lunch.com/Loveofforeignfilms/reviews/movie/UserReview-Salo_120_Days_of_Sodom_-433-1014734-193533.html Thu, 11 Nov 2010 15:35:48 +0000 <![CDATA[Movies that inspired Kill Bill...]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/Lists-13-2588-Movies_that_inspired_Kill_Bill_.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/Lists-13-2588-Movies_that_inspired_Kill_Bill_.html Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:12:52 +0000 <![CDATA[Thriller -- A Cruel Picture (Thriller -- En Grym Film) Quick Tip by smurfwreck]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Thriller_A_Cruel_Picture_Thriller_En_Grym_Film_-13-1021685-165571.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Thriller_A_Cruel_Picture_Thriller_En_Grym_Film_-13-1021685-165571.html Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:11:31 +0000 <![CDATA[Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry Quick Tip by smurfwreck]]> http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dirty_Mary_Crazy_Larry-534-1027213-165570.html http://www.lunch.com/thegrindhouse/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dirty_Mary_Crazy_Larry-534-1027213-165570.html Fri, 24 Sep 2010 14:59:52 +0000 <![CDATA[Carsploitation]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/Lists-13-2586-Carsploitation.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/Lists-13-2586-Carsploitation.html Fri, 24 Sep 2010 14:58:13 +0000