Monday, December 11, 2017

"Okay, I'll Leave It on the Table" - Don't Go Near the Park (1979)


Our next film is 1979's fairly well known but possibly underappreciated time-spanning adventure film Don't Go Near the Park. While this film does have its fans, it appears that not everybody appreciates it sufficiently. For example, on IMDB, reviewer DocEmmettBrown writes, "Everything about this film goes way beyond amateur....The lighting is abysmal....The acting is appalling....The plot progresses at bizarre speeds, some scenes dragging on for way too long and other plot points zooming past at top speed." Sam Beddoes calls it "an incoherent mess...absurd pointless ideas just appear now and then." Reviewer Notsoboo writes, "this movie includes it all: bad acting, stupid effects, weak plot, and best of all, two 12,000 year old murderers, everything."

Clearly these misconceptions need to be dispelled...

Monday, December 4, 2017

"Now Her Mind Has Become Unhinged from Mental Disturbance" - Horror House on Highway 6 (2014)


Of all the films produced over the last century asking for--nay, requiring--reboots, perhaps the one at the top of the list is Richard Casey's Horror House on Highway Five (1985). That film is a cornucopia of terror, torture, and ambiguous satire, three items which our modern world sorely needs. We are indeed fortunate as a species that Mr. Casey decided to return, in spirit at least, to his most famous project 29 years later to deliver a reboot that takes his original story in new, and perhaps contradictory, directions.

Monday, November 27, 2017

"Is He Giving Me the Fingeroo?" - Horror House on Highway Five (1985)


A piece of hard-won advice: You can always tell that a horror movie is going to be good if the first word in its title is “horror” (see also Horror High, 1974). Following this wisdom, our next film is Richard Casey's 1985 proto-torture-porn film Horror House on Highway Five, a film that carefully and idiosyncratically walks the fine line between gritty suspense and slapstick shenanigans.

As usual, many of your universe's revered critics fail to appreciate this film's qualities. On IMDB, reviewer CMRKeyboadist [sic] writes, "The incoherent storyline is only one of the many things that make this one of the most bizarre movies out there....Of course, the acting is bad and the filming is even worse." Of course? Reviewer Backlash007 writes, "Horror House on Highway 5 could really be the worst movie ever....I really have no idea what effect the filmmaker was trying to capture....I don't know. The effect obviously didn't work. And neither does the entire movie. Avoid like your life depended on it." Reviewer hbendillo writes simply, "Acting - BAD Story Line - BAD Dialoge - BAD Cinematography - BAD Effects - BAD."

Suffice it to say these reviews miss the entire point of this woefully underrated gem, so it is up to me yet again to defend the film from its misinformed detractors.

Monday, November 20, 2017

"A Veil Over Reality" - House of the Dead (1978)


As you may have realized, here at Senseless Cinema we are of the considered opinion that many regional films are much better than their big-budget Hollywood counterparts. For examples, see Kansas City's The Chilling (1989), Michigan's Frostbiter (1995), Texas' Mark of the Witch (1970), or any of the Wisconsin-set classics of Bill Rebane, such as Blood Harvest (1987), The Game (1984), and The Capture of Bigfoot (1979).

Such is the case with Oklahoma's The House of the Dead (1978)--not to be confused with the more recent House of the Dead (2003)--but also known as Alien Zone. (Only a small part of the film's charm comes from the fact that the narrative is not set in a house--of the dead or otherwise--and likewise it features neither aliens nor zones.)

This anthology film has received some mixed reviews in your universe. On IMDB, reviewer Bezenby writes, "The real problem is that the stories are barely there at all!" Gridoon2016 writes, "only a few steps up from the quality of your average home movie....but three things they [the stories] all have in common are poor production values, tedious scripting, and amateurish acting." Junkmonkey writes, "The dialogue is dreadful: leaden, repetitive, and pointless...The whole movie has the feel of a bunch of student/ amateur shorts nailed together with a framing device to make a feature."

While some anthology films would deserve these baseless insults, The House of the Dead is not one of them.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Life Would Be a Lot Easier If We Weren't So Desperate" - Night of Terror (1986)



Our next classic exploration of the human condition is Night of Terror (1986), also known as Escape from the Insane Asylum. As we shall see, neither of these titles is strictly accurate, as terror does not occur on a single night, and only a minor background character actually escapes from an insane asylum. Nevertheless, the film, written by and starring Renee Harmon of Frozen Scream (1975) fame, is an intricately plotted nightmare in which overwhelming scientific and supernatural forces plague a wealthy textiles heiress who is simply trying to make her way in the world.

Reviewer HumanoidOfFlesh writes, "I have seen many bad horror movies, but 'Night of Terror' is easily among the worst horror movies of 80's....Utterly incomprehensible and amateurish piece of crap." Reviewer jakebabee writes, "This movie is just boring and looks like it has been shot on a video camera....Long dull scenes that are absolutely pointless, awful characters. The ending is very bad." This reviewer is correct in that the film does look like it has been shot on a video camera, but surely that has little relevance when judging the quality of a film.

We must now look at Night of Terror in detail and explicate its powerful statement about good and evil.


Monday, November 6, 2017

"Pushed Around by the Rogers" - Horror High (1974)


We have not covered many high school horror films on Senseless Cinema, though the subgenre has contributed its fare share to the canon of classics. We will correct that oversight by discussing 1974's Horror High, also known as Twisted Brain.

As always, your universe's most influential critics fail to understand Horror High's place in the pantheon of 1970s high school horror films. On IMDB, reviewer altamont writes that this is, "a teen revenge flick that could have plausibly been written and directed by a pimply adolescent." Reviewer dbboroughs writes, "Everything is poorly done from the acting to the make up to anything else you can think of." Reviewer knighttempler writes, somewhat confusingly, "The editing lacks much to be desired and some scenes were cut to fast and too soon."

I agree with that last critic that the film lacks much to be desired, if that means there is nothing more to desire from the film. Because there is nothing more that could be desired from this classic, as you will see below.

Monday, October 30, 2017

"Even If It's an Atrocity, It Won't Be an Eyesore" - The Evil Within (2017)


For Halloween this year, there is only one appropriate film to discuss, and that is the late Andrew Getty’s The Evil Within (2017), a film in which Chip from the 1980s sitcom Kate & Allie becomes a serial killer with Down’s syndrome. In fact, The Evil Within is one of only a handful of modern films that approaches the heights of 1970s and 1980s cinema, when classics like The Nightmare Never Ends (1980), Shriek of the Mutilated (1974), and The Visitor (1979) were being released every year.

Although some of your universe’s critics appreciate The Evil Within, appropriately, others are less perceptive. For example, on IMDB, reviewer missaliceandro writes, with minimal clarity, “Watch at your own risk. Why did this happen.” Reviewer bobsucre writes hyperbolically, “This film takes the cake for being one of, if not the worst I’ve ever come across. The acting is beyond deplorable. The dialogue is laughable.”

Needless to say, these critics are incorrect about The Evil Within, which I shall now explore in detail sufficient to show these misguided reviewers the error of their ways.


Monday, October 23, 2017

"I'm Not Going to Guilt, I'm Going to Hell" - Frozen Scream (1975)


We now consider Frozen Scream (1975), one of my universe's classic contributions to the metaphysical horror genre. This is the first film produced by actress Renee Harmon, and it is arguably her finest and most coherently realized work.

Your universe's critics appear to disagree with my assessment. Coventry writes, "Frozen Scream is one of the most retarded movies I've ever seen and it's definitely the most useless film listed in the notorious 'Video Nasty' ranking." Reviewer jonathan-577 calls the film "disastrously chaotic, sludgy, tawdry and completely unpredictable." Reviewer HEFILM writes, "It's hard to believe this was made in 1975 or on the planet earth." (HEFILM is not quite correct: The film was made on Earth, but of course it was made on the Earth of Universe-Prime, not your primitive Universe-X.)

Let us challenge these misinformed opinions and see what a powerful philosophical statement Frozen Scream represents.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Two Dollars Worth and Forget the Front" - Scream Bloody Murder (1973)


Can people change? Or must they accept who and where they are without the ability to make changes? That is the deep philosophical question posed by Scream Bloody Murder (1973), and the answer turns out to be much simpler than you might suppose.

Of course, many revered IMDB critics from your universe miss the deep underpinnings of the film. Itsheldy1 writes, "This movie is so slow and mind boggling that I was happy for it to get to the end." The reviewer known simply as Scott writes, "This movie has a lot of things missing in it, mainly a plot and a lot of explanations." And preppy-3 writes, "The plot doesn't make a lot of sense, there's terrible overdubbing, lousy music, pathetic dialogue and Fred Holbert is awful as the grown up Matthew."

Let us step back and see Scream Bloody Murder for what it truly is, a well considered exploration of a disturbed mind with a plot that does indeed "make sense," for whatever that is worth.

Monday, October 9, 2017

"God Bless Airplanes" - To All a Goodnight (1980)


What should one expect from a film written by the incredible melting man himself, Alex Rebar, and directed by Last House on the Left's Krug himself, David Hess? An instant classic, of course. Fortunately, the one film that meets these criteria, To All a Goodnight (1980), despite the unusual presentation of the two-word phrase "good night," meets all our expectations, and then some.

Many of your universe's critics are not moved by the holiday spirit when it comes to this film. On IMDB, capkronos writes, "This forgettable horror film wraps up with a pathetic and desperate twist ending." (How can a twist ending, or any ending for that matter, be desperate, capkronos?) Also on IMDB, gwnightscream writes, "This film is disappointing. Many scenes are dark which makes me want to go to sleep, the characters are unlikable...the editing stinks and the ending is kind of predictable and ridiculous." Michael_Elliott writes, "it's a pretty sluggish affair because there are obviously all kinds of corners being cut. It's obvious watching the film because some scenes just appear to be first takes that they had to use because they didn't have more time."

It would likely take more than holiday spirit for these reviewers to come to their senses regarding this film, so I will describe its praiseworthy qualities in as much detail as I can muster.


Monday, October 2, 2017

"My Name Means 'Island,' You Know" - Dark Waves (2016)


As we did with The Night Shift (2016), occasionally it becomes necessary to look at a modern cinematic masterpiece in order to be reminded that cinema is not dead, buried, and entirely decomposed. With that in mind, we will now consider Dark Waves (2016) aka Bellerofonte (which is not, alas, a biopic about the beloved calypso singer).

Unusually, this film has no reviews on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, so I will take the step of quoting reviews from the cineastes at Amazon. For example, Catpeople writes, "There was...no plot, just random artsy scenes that didn't tie together. When I saw 'zombie pirates' I expected more." Helene Dufft writes, with charmingly arbitrary punctuation, "Boring,,no plot,,n the acting was awful !!!!" Reviewer James simply writes, "Not."

While it will no doubt be difficult to counter such incisive arguments, I will attempt to describe the work of art that is Dark Waves.