Monday, February 18, 2019

“Why Don’t You Go Back Where You Came From, Funny Person?” - The Pit (1981)

(Note: This post is a contribution to The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense's 9th annual The Shortening, which celebrates the shortest month by covering "films that deal with vertically challenged villains." This film, The Pit, whose vertically challenged "villains" include pint-sized monsters as well as an evil kid, was covered on that blog here in 2009.)

Few films mix disturbing, horrific, taboo-breaking content with light comedy as well as 1981's The Pit, one of a limited number of classic horror films made in Wisconsin not directed by Bill Rebane.

For unexplained reasons, several of your universe's critics are blind to the inescapable qualities of The Pit. For example, reviewer Andy Sandfoss writes, "The direction is limp and pedestrian. The art values in the sets and cinematography are non-existent. Nothing about the film rings true." Reviewer rhombus writes, "overall, the movie is just a big disappointment, with an ending that's schlocky and clichéd." And reviewer adam878 writes, "This flick was just weird and boring at the same time." (Weird and boring at the same time? Impossible!)

Please read on and we will set the record straight...

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Punch the Buttons and Make It All Work" - The Lucifer Complex (1978)

We all know James T. Flocker was responsible for the classic Ghosts That Still Walk (1977). Around the same time he made that nearly perfect film, Mr. Flocker produced The Lucifer Complex (1978), a thrilling spy adventure co-directed by David L. Hewitt and Kenneth Hartford.

Frustratingly, some of your universe's critics still refuse to understand what makes a good film. For example, reviewer TheBryanWay writes, "'The Lucifer Complex'... is the worst film I've ever seen." Reviewer barnabyridge agrees, writing, "Make no mistake about it, The Lucifer Complex is a genuine contender for the title of worst movie ever made. The most remarkable thing is that recognised actors have been persuaded to appear in this dismal offering – it's quite depressing to see the likes of Robert Vaughn, Keenan Wynn and Aldo Ray appearing in such cheap, inept, amateurish rubbish." And wes-connors writes, "One of the most boring films every created."

Read on, please, to discover the error of these reviewers' ways...

Monday, February 4, 2019

“She’s Got This Thing for Nightgowns” - Epitaph (1987)

Let us now turn to 1987's Epitaph, aka Mommy's Epitaph, a domestic thriller about a highly disfunctional family. Directed by Joseph Merhi, the Las Vegas pizza magnate whose Hollowgate (1988) is also an avowed classic of the horror genre, Epitaph works as both a slasher film and a domestic drama.

Shockingly, Epitaph is not well regarded by some of your universe's critics. For example, reviewer ttschopp writes, "First of all the film was obviously very very cheap. The camera work is the worst I've ever seen. The story is so stupid and implausible, that you got the feeling they wrote the script it in one hour. The actors are all so bad, it's beyond belief." Reviewer symbioticpsychotic writes, "the story really doesn't know what to do." And reviewer adrian_tripod writes, "If you hate movies where people doggedly refuse to act in their own best interests then this one will drive you up the wall."

Needless to say, these critical reviews have no basis in fact. I aim to set the record straight, so let us dive into Joseph Merhi's underrated gem Epitaph...

Monday, January 28, 2019

“Only the Devil Would Move the Rocks in Hell” - Ghosts That Still Walk (1977)

I recently found out that the 1977 film Ghosts That Still Walk is not talked about constantly in your universe. I am determined to correct the situation through the method of a detailed review.

Not only is the film not discussed constantly, but also some critics in your universe do not even recognize its merits. For example, HumanoidOfFlesh writes, "'Ghosts That Still Walk' looks cheap and is full of dull sequences." Reviewer roddmatsui writes, "This is actually REALLY BORING, overall, and it will make you fall asleep the first couple of times you try to watch it. But if you keep at it, you may just make it to the end." And reviewer SleepKills believes "the acting in the film isn't all that great and the film sometimes seems to get a little bit boring."

Nonsense! Read on for the truth about the haunting pseudo-anthology film Ghosts That Still Walk...

Monday, January 21, 2019

“The Dingos Have Chewed Her Face Off” - Incident at Raven's Gate (1988)

We have not discussed many Australian classics at Senseless Cinema (excepting the classic Turkey Shoot), so we will address that oversight by exploring the supernatural (possibly) thriller (possibly) Incident at Raven's Gate (1988).

While some of your universe's critics appreciate this science fiction (possibly) film, others are more dismissive, such as reviewer merklekranz who writes, "The movie is something about water shortages, growing plants, demonic possession, strange electrical charges, the sky raining dead birds, unexplained animal attacks, and makes little sense." Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "The story is disjointed and surreal....The cast aren't really very good and don't have time to do much other than stand around and interact with the bizarre events. It's very weird and not very satisfying." And reviewer andyetris writes, "Things happen, something else happens, the action shifts... The film eventually ends..." I must admit that andyetris is correct about one thing: The film does eventually end. He or she is incorrect about almost everything else, however, so let us look in more detail at Incident at Raven's Gate...

Monday, January 14, 2019

“This Is a Nice Town, With Okay People” - Necromancy (1972)

I must admit to an oversight here on Senseless Cinema, and that oversight is the lack of coverage of the truly excellent cinematic work of the famous director Bert I. Gordon. The oversight will now be corrected with a discussion of one of his finest works, 1972's Necromancy (aka The Witching), starring Orson Welles.

As usual, not all of your universe's critics recognize the quality of Mr. Gordon's masterwork. For example, cfc_can writes that the director "seems to be deliberately trying to confuse the audience by using flashbacks and dream sequences." Reviewer lucyskydiamonds writes, "This movie is so inherently awful it's difficult to know what to criticise first." And reviewer BaronBl00d writes, "This is not a good movie in any way under any name." Needless to say, these three reviewers and countless others are misguided and incorrect, so let us proceed on a tour of the cinematic wonders of Bert I. Gordon's Necromancy...

Monday, January 7, 2019

"I Can't Go a Month Without a Ghost" - Knocking on Death's Door (1999)

Let us turn our attention to the 1990s again and look at a lost masterpiece from close to the turn of the century, 1999's Knocking on Death's Door from Roger Corman's New Concorde Pictures, a classic modern ghost story.

Of course, not all of your universe's critics appreciate the film. One reviewer, Ultra-violence1, says the film is "By far one of the most boring horror movies in history." As the saying goes, however, history is a long time, and I must disagree with Ultra_violence1's assessment. Read on for more details about Knocking on Death's Door...

Monday, December 24, 2018

"The Whole West End Is Crammed with Santa Clauses” - Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

In the spirit of the holidays of your universe and mine, let's examine a film that seriously explores one of the many winter solstice holidays: Edmund Purdom's (and apparently other directors') 1984 slasher film Don't Open Till Christmas.

Many of your universe's esteemed critics take the same attitude toward this film as the film's slasher takes toward the holidays: They selfishly want to ruin them. For example, reviewer Rainey-Dawn believes that the film is "drab, flat trash." Reviewer dagonseve writes dismissively, "I found it difficult to reasonably describe the film's premise on account of how humorous and well stupid, it is." Reviewer gridoon2018 writes, "The production quality / plot "logic" / acting are on a high school play level, and the identity of the masked killer is batantly obvious." (I must point out this reviewer's misuse of the word "blatant," as the identity was not obvious to me.)

Monday, December 17, 2018

"I Think I'll Just Worry About It Tomorrow" - Blood Shack (1971)

It should come as no surprise that we are fans of minimalist horror cinema at Senseless Cinema, and one of the finest examples of minimalism ever committed to film is Ray Dennis Steckler's Blood Shack (1971). This is a film which truly capitalizes on its title, including both blood and a shack, but does away with other distracting elements that make some horror films overly busy and complicated.

Of course, many of your universe's critics, for whatever reasons, do not have a positive view of minimalism. Reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "Not to put too fine a point upon it, it's crap!" Reviewer MartinHafer writes, "his film looks almost like a home movie. The camera work looks almost like it was done with a Super 8mm camera, the narration sounded like it was done in a tunnel and some of the director's family were in it because real actors cost money." Reviewer tocado5585 writes, "The acting is horrible and the setting looks like some makeshift buildings were put up in the middle of nowhere just for the sake of filming this. The murder scenes in this were like watching a Saturday Night Live skit."

The reference to Saturday Night Live is beyond the pale, and tocado5585 should be ashamed. Let us consider in detail Mr. Steckler's Blood Shack and see that it could hardly be further removed from a Saturday Night Live skit...

Monday, December 10, 2018

"An Autopsy Doesn't Do Anything for Their Looks" - Enter the Devil (1972)

On our tour of unheralded classics now moves to Southwest Texas and 1972's Enter the Devil, a chilling film that revolves around a Satanist (or possibly Christian) cult that makes nightly human sacrifices outside a sparsely populated desert town.

Reviews of Enter the Devil from your universe, surprisingly, are not entirely negative. Reviewer coventry writes, "The pacing of 'Enter the Devil' is very slow, with one too many romantic sub plots and some bizarre (and unsuccessful) attempts inserting humor." Reviewer tvm-LiveForever calls the film a "just very average movie." Reviewer oslog says, "the movie is incredibly low budget and it shows through and through." Let us look at the film in more detail. Please read on...

Monday, December 3, 2018

"I Thought Maybe You Were Stashing a Broad" - Twice Dead (1988)

Let's now discuss the classic exploration of doomed love and self-fulfilling prophecies, Twice Dead (1988), the first of many horror films to feature famed actor Todd Bridges.

Your universe's critics have been characteristically obtuse about Twice Dead. For example, reviewer AaronCapenBanner writes, "Film itself is shoddy, with a derivative, unappealing story about a vengeful ghost and a biker gang...and is directed without distinction, and looks amateurish. Dull and uninteresting film is a complete bust, with a lousy and unoriginal ending." Reviewer exocrine writes, "This movie is so horrid it is hard to put into words." Reviewer skutter-2 writes, "As a whole the movie doesn't work and the story and tone are all over the place." However, even a cursory exploration of the themes of Twice Dead will show that it is a top-notch haunted house film. Please read on...