Category: Links


Link Dump, Early April

I don’t do this as often as I would like, but here are some more cool exploitation/B-movie/old horror movie posts I’ve enjoyed lately.   I enjoy reading other posts on films that I might like to cover in this blog, and calling out some quality posts on this end of the cinema pool seems a good way to keep interest going in these sorts of films. Also, I’ve recently discovered the “re-blog” feature here in WordPress, so fellow WP users who do fine posts will find their stuff re-blogged in my “Quick Takes” section at left.

First things first: Starburst informs us that the first three seasons of Airwolf–the only ones that matter are now on DVD! I loved this show back in the day, no Saturday night was complete without the family gathered around the tube watching more mid-80s Cold War hijinx ensue from a super-chopper run by some shadowy secret organization.  I had forgotten that star Jan-Michael Vincent, whose alcoholism got the better of his career, was also in Lassie and the Danger Island segment of “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.”

Secondly, Midnight Cinephile takes on the incredibly odd Troma flick, Video Demons Do Psychotown (1989). Bottom line:

Essentially a murder mystery, combined with a haunted house story, combined with a tale of psychics and witches, combined with a slasher film, topped off with some possession undertones and a general sense of strangeness.

Looks like the good folks at Troma put this flick on YouTube in its entirety a while back when they did the same for a hundred-plus of their back catalog:

Thirdly, having just watched Witchfinder General (1968) not so long ago, I was very keen to see Church of Splatterday Saints review Mark of the Devil (1970), which cashes in on the success of the Vincent Price classic, but with more gory violence.  As much as I enjoyed Witchfinder, I think I expected more explicit violence from it–Mark of the Devil fills that niche nicely.

Also, check out this recent interview with Michael Armstrong, who directed Mark of the Devil:

Fourthly, the “animals-on-the-loose” ripoff of Jaws entry goes to Dogs (1976) (H/T Outpost Zeta), with David McCallum.

Fifthly, Horror-Movies.ca has a nice list of seven underrated apocalypse movies that you should check out. I love this list because some unexpected stuff–way outside conventional horror fare shows up. Click through to see the rationale for including these, but here are the trailers–I’ll be (re-) watching these soon.  While you’re at it, check out the first half of a profile of the great Mario Bava here.

The 1992 version of the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" video game

The 1992 version of the “Plan 9 From Outer Space” video game

Fifthly, Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) will again be adapted as a video game. The first adaptation was about 20 years ago for Atari ST and Amiga.  I believe Plan 9 was the only one of Ed Wood’s movie to be adapted into both a video game and a porn flick (and oddly, within about a year of one another!)

Plan 9: The Porn! (1993)

Plan 9: The Porn! (1993)

Sixthly, Horrorpedia takes on a couple fun and schlocky flicks: Kiss of the Vampirethe 1963 version of Hammer’s Christopher Lee-less Dracula sequel and Fred Olen Ray’s Star Slammer (1989), featuring reclycled footage from two other must-sees: The Deadly Spawn (1983) and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). Any re-uses of these gems must be epic.

Lastly, 3S Horror reviews another Troma masterpiece, Lust For Freedom (1987).  Pretty standard 80s women-in-prison fare, with a couple decent one-liners:

I’ve been knocked down and insulted. I’m hot and dirty. I’m calling it a day.

Cops were dying all over the place and all I could do was act like a woman. I knew my days as a cop were over.

I saw your girlfriend french kissing a donkey on the reservation.

More linkage coming in mid-April!

It’s time for another good-sized roundup of good movie reviews from the tweeps.  Love how you folks are keeping exploitation and B-movies in circulation.

With a good-sized H/T to Cultural Gutter, I saw this interesting post on TV criticism vs. TV recapping, among other things.  I liked it because it gives voice to what I’m trying to give birth to on this blog, in the context of exploitation and B-Movies, instead of scripted television dramas:

. . .  carving out a niche for long-form pieces that look beyond the pluses and minuses of a single episode to examine its greater potential and its place in the culture . . .

I’ve been trying to figure ways to take my movie blog that you’re reading now beyond recapping and reviewing individual films, which does seem to me to be the dominant mode of the cinema blogosphere.  Giving as much as I can about the backstory of a film’s making, information sometimes captured in book-length pieces, or trapped in the academic community seems one good way to get there.  Another seems to be the looking into period press, much of which is is not online, to give some idea of how these films I cover were received as they came out seems like a fruitful avenue.  I’ve some other ideas too, which are not ready for prime time yet, but suffice it to say I was glad to see the idea of moving beyond single-film perspectives in the above post.

This last one reminds me of a side-project I just might get going, doing a “movie-of-the-day” about Jaws-rip-offs of various kinds of animals attacking people. If this furlough keeps going, you never know what can happen!

  • Over at Forgotten Films we get some good posts on a variety of fun flicks, a couple of which should be seen annually, I think: Blackenstein (1973) was part of the early-to-mid 1970s blaxploitation series remaking classic horror icons, other examples being the William Marshall vehicles Blacula and Abby (remaking The Exorcist). FF also talks Grizzly (1976), another of the aforementioned Jaws rips; The Awakening (1980) a snoozer in which yet another ancient Egyptian queen comes back to life, this time with no thanks to Charlton Heston’s and Stephanie Zimbalist’s overwrought acting.  Lastly, we get one of two takes this week of my own guilty pleasure, Zombie Lake (1981), about zombie Nazis.  Or Nazis, who happen to be zombies.  Or whatever.  Also, check out Midnight Triple Feature’s separate review of Zombie Lake.

Starring Barbara Steele, who I recently saw in Piranha 18 years after this one, still messing shit up, this time, and yet again, with the wildlife eating people!

Car

Co-starring Sandor Elès, whose death anniversary was a month or so ago.

  • Lost Highway was three fun ones this time: Pieces (1983), a self-explanatory classic slasher ripoff of the irreplaceable Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974); Night Tide (1961) in which young Dennis Hopper falls in love with a woman who may or may not be a mermaid; and Journey to the Seventh Planet (1961), classic B-sci-fi about visiting Uranus.  My tweeps are pretty monster/slasher horror-focused, so seeing some good old fashioned sci-fi/horror here in the bunch is nice and refreshing.
  • The positively essential Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) gets a new review, courtesy of Church of Splatter-Day Saints, not only did this flick introduce the facehugging monster that Alien gets all the credit foe later, but this film helped revive Universal Studios’ flagging fortunes by introducing new possibilities for monster movies when the genre had all but run its course in the mid-1950s.

Lastly, I’ll conclude this post with a fun link over to The Hollywood Reporter and their interviews with all concerned with the making of Evil Dead 2.  “We were like ‘Jackass’ with a plot”!  Enjoy!

Here’s a bit on what I’ve been reading as of late–mainly from those with the sufficiently poor judgment as to follow me on Twitter. Seriously, you folks are awesome, and I wanted to highlight your stuff to the 8 or so people who read this blog 😉  Mainly I read your movie reviews, I’ve seen many of these, but a few I have not, and I’ll be getting to those soon.  I don’t like to review individual films so much–I know my limitations–but enjoy reading yours very much. Here, I thought I would match the reviews to where we can find online viewing of trailers and full movies,just for convenience.  There’s a few non-movie reviews tucked in here, too.

These links are no real order, but do check out these fine purveyors of horror and B-movies!

George Wendt!

  • Horrorpedia and Stigmatophilia both take on Hack-O-Lantern (aka: Halloween Night) from 1988.  I hate it when Grandpa ends up a satanic cult leader!
  • Daily Grindhouse offers a list of “50 Cult Movie Books Every Film Fan Should Own.”  I am a book lover too, so I loved this set of posts: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  I think the essentials here are numbers 36, 31, 28, 20, 19, 13 (these last three are my all time favorites) 10 and 2.  Some of the works included seemed like filler to get to 50, while some good ones seemed to go missing.  Maybe we just have different tastes, and I should do up my own list.

Also starring Alan Ormsby of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973), fwiw.

Yes, Paul Sorvino!

  • Isaac’s Picture Conclusions on Scar (2007).  Not familiar with this movie, but throwing it on the “to watch” list, despite its apparent lack of coherence.
  • Lastly, have a look at the Do-It-Yourself Giallo Kit to get your very own (fake) movie title, director, and plot in the Italian crime/thriller spirit. Such as: A Golden Armadillo on the Cold Metal Table (dir. Sergio and Martino de Alberto) in which: “An American model is killing off the members of a certain business.  A female journalist accidentally destroys some crucial evidence about the the killing. When another person is found murdered, she is on the verge of solving the mystery when she is killed by the real culprits: a secret society made up of the people she most trusted.”  Loads of fun . . . for five minutes.

Films I’ve Seen Lately #2

This time around, I thought I’d just keep track of everything I’m watching over the past month or so.  No rhyme or reason, as usual–just stuff I run across on YouTube, Netflix, my cable on-demand service, and stuff I see refs to in Twitter and elsewhere.

Christine (1983)

Fun flick from John Carpenter adapting a classic Stephen King tale about a murderous car.  It was one of three of King’s yarns to be put on film that year, the other two being Cujo and The Dead Zone, making this period his heyday, more-or-less.  We don’t get to see in this film how the car came to be possessed or haunted or whatever, which was my biggest disappointment.  But well acted; note a young Kelly Preston as “Roseanne,” and the nerd Keith Gordon (“Arnie”) went on to become a decent film director, if Dexter is any measure.

They Call Me Trinity (1970)

I came across this one from the premier episode of A Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema podcast.  I’m not as familiar with Spaghetti Westerns as I’d like to be, but this seems like a pitch perfect way to meld them with comedy.  That opener with Terence Hill coming into town on that horse carriage doohickey seems clearly inspired by the 1937 Laurel & Hardy classic Way Out West.

Shaft (1971)

If you haven’t seen this one, you really owe it to yourself to do so . . . now.  This is one of the most developed and successful blaxpoiltation films. According to Melvin Van Peebles, director of the original blaxploitation film, Sweet  Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, also from 1971, Shaft  was originally written as a white character, and “they threw in a couple ‘motherfuckers’ and it became a black film.” There are also some great vintage shots of New York’s 42nd Street grindhouses throughout, so do look for those.  Richard Roundtree only made $13,000 starring as Shaft.

She Gods of Shark Reef (1958)

This baffling film is an early Roger Corman cheapy, shot in ’56, along with Naked Paradise (also known as Thunder Over Hawaii), about lost criminals washing ashore on a reef in the Pacific and then one falling for the beautiful natives who forsakes her cruel native ways to run off with the white savior, or somesuch.  The leading lady was played by Lisa Montell, who ended her film career in the early 60s, and became a large name in the California Bahai community, even authoring a book on the faith, under her married name, Lisa Janti.

Rattlers (1976)

A clear Jaws knockoff, like a Piranha below, in which every sort of animal that is harmful to humans is going to feature in their own horror movie, in this case, rattlesnakes.  A fun B-horror film, and what was most jarring in this one was the unexpected presence of gender in the first half of the film.  Our scientist-snake investigator (played by Shark Week narrator Sam Chew, Jr.) turns out to be a real misogynist, thinking the job too dangerous for his “liberated” war correspondent female partner (played by Elisabeth Chauvet).  They end up agreeing to disagree–and end up in the sack, of course–and this contrived way of developing conflict among the characters to keep the film interesting is mainly forgotten as the body count starts to rise.  Also, the bathtub scene is just classic.

American Grindhouse (2010)

A nice overview documentary of exploitation cinema.  I was glad to see the interviews with Eric Schaefer (author of Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959) and Eddie Muller (author, with Daniel Faris, of Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema).  I was not so taken with the photogenic Kim Morgan, who seemed more fluff than informative.  Also, this film seemed to not give David Friedman enough attention, but these points aside, this is an excellent primer on exploitation film, and should be a starting point for those new to the subject.

Piranha (1978)

Blatant Joe Dante ripoff of Jaws, starring Heather Menzies (“Louisa” from The Sound of Music) in the completely unbelievable role as a bounty hunter, who finds a secret military experiment to breed piranhas as an apparently failed weapon system that was to be deployed against. . .  North Vietnam.  That much-out-of-place reference deserves its own unpacking, but I was too busy having my childhood warped (further) by seeing Louisa flash her boobs at a soldier.  The late, great Kevin McCarthy was much underutilized in this epic, but no worries.

Dinosaur Island (1994)

Fred Olen Ray (writer of such fun faire as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and who has more than a dozen aliases in the industry) romp that rips off Jurassic Park in a silly way.  io9 a few years back called this one “the closest thing to mainstream dinosaur porn in the universe” while profiling some truly disturbing shit.   I think my favorite part was how the Dinosaur Islander vixens, who’d never seen modern civilization, not only spoke English, but sometimes English with a soft Texas twang.

The Last 5 Films I’ve Seen #1

When I started this blog, I promised myself to not let this become yet another movie review blog.  There are some great review blogs out there, and I doubt I can add much to individual films that people would want to read.  Especially when folks like DaveShah and the folks at Anti-Film School are already doing some great reviews, among others.  Besides, I’m such an optimist that I’d probably give everything a good review anyway.

However, I did want to keep a record of what I’m watching, and maybe make a short statement on each.  There’s no theme to these: some I found refs to from Twitter, some from podcasts I listen to, and some from browsing on YouTube, which is among my favorite place to find and watch movies.

la_horde_xlg 

La Horde (2009)

French zombie flick.  Downside: no explanation for the zombie apocalypse; upside: being a vigilante cop meting out justice in the drug and gang infested projects when that apocalypse hits.  There’s a good review here, and I agree: this film has some good over-the-top comic book action sequences, and breaks zombie conventions with abandon, and in a very intense angry way.  I dug it, but some thought it’s all been done before and better.

children-shouldnt-poster

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973) 

Low budget zombie film, reminds me in some respects of I Drink Your Blood in that a small band of counter-culture types end up in trouble in a rural spot.  CSPWDT came out just a year or two after IDYB, so one might see there may be some IDYB influence here.

tourist_trap_xlg

Tourist Trap (1979)

Even though this film borrows heavily from the plot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)and at least one of the crew worked on that–this stands the test of time as something of a lost classic by the team that would later bring us Puppet Master (1989).  I always thought this movie is what when gets if one were to think of a slasher set in The House On the Rock, a similar sort of tourist trap in southern Wisconsin.

angelsashardastheycome

Angels Hard As They Come (1971)

Outlaw biker exploitation film that is notable for being written by Jonathan Demme, and featuring Scott Glenn and Gary Busey early in their careers.  Well acted by Glenn and Charles Dierkorp as the main antagonist; this is a pretty decent genre film, although it plays as well as a Western as it does an outlaw biker exploitation one, right down to the abandoned desert town this one is set in.

Slave GirlsSlave Girls From Beyond Infinity (1987)

Gawdy sexploitation fun that could only come from 1987, but is quite tame by today’s standards.  Loosely based on “The Most Dangerous Game,” a 1924 short story that is one of the most famous in the annals of American literature that has been put to film at least once a decade from the 1930s through the 1980s, according to one account,  At any rate, this film has higher production values than one would expect (minus the visible mic stand in one shot, ahem) and is just a lot of schlocky fun, with boobies, which is the point, isn’t it?

I finally got the blogs and sites from my 500-odd tweeps loaded into my NetVibes, so hopefully every couple days or so I can highlight the posts I find particularly good.  No rhyme or reason, just cool stuff I’m reading, that you should be seeing, too:

  • A great review of a movie I’ve only recently become acquainted with and have loved: First Man Into Space (1959) from Anti-Film School.  

Comprised of strong performances, well-used stock footage, an eerie small town vibe, a gee-whiz cosmic opening, and underlying paranoia about what lies beyond the clouds, First Man Into Space is a first-rate B-movie that deserves the attention of genre fans everywhere.

In less than 3 months, the majority of American drive-in theaters will face closure with the movie industry’s switch from film to digital. Upgrading to digital projection costs roughly $80,000.  We want to preserve this iconic part of American car culture. So we’re taking the first step by starting a drive-in fund and donating 5 digital projectors. Your vote decides where they go.

  • Goreguy gives us a review of a truly bizarre looking Japanese 2001 film The Happiness of the Katakuris.  To give a sense of what this movie offers, here’s Goreguy describing the opening scene:

The first scene in the movie is a claymation sequence containing some cherubic creature flying out of some soup, and tearing out a woman’s uvula because it looks like a heart, and then getting eaten by a bird. This is pretty much spoiling it, but it’s the first scene of the movie, so get over it. I want you to have a good idea what kind of movie we’re dealing with here. Also, aside from a metaphor about the circle of life which I guess you could technically shoehorn into the movie, this sequence has NOTHING to do with anything else that happens after it.

I cannot wait to check it out, but until then, here’s a trailer:

  • The other
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