Thursday, March 23, 2017

Movie from Another Universe #1: Frankenstein's Mobster (1964)

(Note: The film described below does not exist in your universe. However, it does exist in my universe, Universe-Prime. For another movie from another universe, check out Ed Wood's Bride of Peeping Tom from 1960.)


A low-budget, 70-minute black and white movie from 1964, Frankenstein's Mobster tells the story of a low-level gangster whose luck changes when he finds the body of the titular creature.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"You Couldn't Hold Her Like a Moth" - Death Screams (1982)


Death Screams (1982) is a celebrated example of the slasher film cycle that burned so brightly in the very late 1970s and the very early 1980s. Filmed in North Carolina, Death Screams, also known as House of Death, is a fine regional contribution to that revered subgenre, and has the further advantage of being directed by a former child actor from a 1950s sitcom.

Again, and with great frustration, I must list examples of esteemed critics that fail to see the brilliance of the film we are discussing. Several examples follow from IMDB. Reviewer heosh2494 writes, “It's full of lame actors, a bad script, slack pacing, among other things.” Reviewer Dana Volkmer-Jones: “In addition to the movie having terrible acting, thirty-something teenagers, and a lifted soundtrack, there didn't seem to be much motive or plot.” And RareSlashersReviewed writes,  “The story is also a headache of a conundrum with sub-plots sprouting out but never getting fully resolved.”

Although it is not my fault such short-sighted critics ignore the finer qualities of Death Screams, it is my responsibility to set them straight with a discussion of this powerful slasher film.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"It Walked Across Eons of Time" - Curse of Bigfoot (1976)


We must return to the bigfoot "well," that source of artful, soul-searching cinema, for the 1976 film Curse of Bigfoot.

As usual, we shall begin with some poorly considered reviews from IMDB users. For example, Larry Landolfi writes that the film is “SO HORRIBLY bad that it actually left an impression on you.......like a Mack truck does when it runs over your face….the most boring piece of garbage ever put on film.” Reviewer rlewicke writes that the film has “wooden acting, long long stretches of the "actors" walking through the forest (accompanied by a thrilling music score, as if something interesting is actually happening), a perfectly inane bigfoot costume.” Flixer1957 writes, also on IMDB, “It's almost as if a drunk cut up several different films in a Cuisinart and a dope fiend randomly sewed 87 minutes together afterward.”

Of course, no bigfoot film could be as bad as these reviewers claim. We must correct the record and recount the splendors of 1976's Curse of Bigfoot.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Scary Numbers: Blumhouse's String of Hit Horror Movies


Starting with Paranormal Activity in 2009, Blumhouse Productions has produced a string of remarkably successful horror movies, averaging almost four widely released theatrical horror movies per year between 2011 and 2016. Between 2009 and March, 2017, the company produced 27 horror movies with wide theatrical releases in the U.S. for a combined budget of $139 million dollars (average budget $5.1 million). These movies have grossed a total of $1.34 billion domestically and $2.49 billion worldwide. Looking only at U.S. theatrical grosses, these 27 movies have taken in 9.68x their production budgets. Looking at worldwide grosses, they have taken in 17.9x their budgets.

Monday, March 6, 2017

"We Will Steal a Body and We Will Take It to the Cemetery" - Cemetery of Terror (1985)


Let us now consider a Mexican film from 1985, Cemetery of Terror, aka Cementerio del Terror, a creepy old dark house story, expertly told.

Your universe's uncharitable critics, as ever, fail to recognize the value of Ruben Galindo Jr.'s classic. For example, reviewer insomniac_rod on IMDB writes, ”'Cementerio del Terror' isn't by any means a good Slasher flick. Let's take it for what it is: a cynical rip-off of the Friday the 13th sequels and a rip-off mix of 'Evil Dead' and 'Night Of The Living Dead.'" BA_Harrison on IMDB writes, “extremely dumb and utterly chaotic nonsense from start to finish.” Patrick Van Hauwaert, also on IMBD, writes “Cemetery was a total flop for me. So bad that I had trouble keeping awake.”

What these critics fail to understand, however, is that this is a film about goings-on in a cemetery. Of terror.



Monday, February 27, 2017

"The Only Way to Survive is with Food" - Attack of the Beast Creatures (1985)

(This post is for The Shortening, The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense's annual celebration of deadly little things...)


Attack of the Beast Creatures! The name is legendary as one of the finest of the 1980s films about small creatures causing chaos. It is legendary in my universe, anyway. In your universe, there is less unanimous acclaim. For example, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka at Something Awful writes, "'Attack of the Beast Creatures' is just a bad movie...you will end up depressed and unfulfilled." Captain Obscurity calls it incredibly amateurish and frighteningly obscure, but the captain adds sensibly that the film is also oddly compelling. Reviewer gpeltz at IMDB writes, "The film constantly challenges common sense, and in that it is consistent." On IMDB, reviewer s_gerald writes, "This is one of the most horrid movies I have ever seen....stay far far away from this film."

The willful blindness of these highly respected reviewers is extensive and can only be countered by a more perceptive analysis of the masterwork that is Attack of the Beast Creatures.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Haunted Worlds of Buster Keaton

This post is part of the third annual Buster Keaton Blogathon hosted by Silent-ology, celebrating 100 years of Buster Keaton.

Buster Keaton’s is a clockwork universe. Cause and effect are at the heart of gags both big and small. Johnnie Gray might not see a boxcar roll past his train engine on an alternate track and return to the main track right in front of him, but the audience sees exactly how it happens. Rollo Treadway, conversely, can see the potential cause and effect when he is tied to a tiny cannon with a lit fuse. In both cases, physical causes are set up and their effects play out like clockwork. The gags are assembled with the precision of an engineer. Part of my admiration for Keaton’s work is due to the awe that his clockwork universe inspires.

 

But is this an accurate description of Keaton’s universe?

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Open Your Blouse! It's the Only Thing That Will Slow Him Down!" - The Mummy Theme Park (2000)


Mummy movies receive little respect in any universe, but there is at least one mummy movie that provides thrills, chills, and spectacle better than any other. This is The Mummy Theme Park, an Italian film from the year 2000 given short shrift by your universe's critics. For example, on Rotten Tomatoes, viewer Jonny Priano writes, “This film was doomed from its opening credits but it would have been a lot more interesting with a mummy attack on a rollercoaster.” (It must be noted that Mr. Priano is correct, but of course all movies would be more interesting with a mummy attack on a rollercoaster.) On IMDB, davelynch16 foolishly writes, “nothing what so ever to recommend…go watch paint dry it's more exciting.” Also on IMDB, Russell62 even more foolishly writes, “Everything about it is a dismal flop…no plot, no character development, and no reason to waste your time renting this atrocity."

Needless to say, these critics are quite mistaken.

Monday, February 6, 2017

"I Heard About All the Terrible Goings-On" - Haunts (1977)


I was surprised to learn recently that 1977’s Haunts is not considered one of the classic suspense dramas of the 1970s in your universe, as it is in mine. Directed by Herb Freed—veteran of subtle, thoughtful horror movies like Graduation Day (1981) and Beyond Evil (1980)—this classic features performances by both Cameron Mitchell and Aldo Ray. How could it not be a masterpiece?

Monday, January 30, 2017

"A Pyromaniacal Nazi Down the Hall" - Amityville: It's About Time (1992)


Of all the major horror movie “franchises” (a singularly odd word for "series"), only one consists solely of excellent, challenging, brilliantly made masterpieces. Of course, I am referring to the Amityville Horror films, which began in 1979 with the original film, based on a true story. Two of the sequels are based on a book called Amityville: The Evil Escapes; one of these sequels aired on television and the other we shall discuss here: Amityville: It’s About Time (1992), originally known helpfully as Amityville 1992: It’s About Time (1992).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Programming Note...

Future movie reviews will not be broken into two or three separate posts. I'll start posting self-contained reviews each Monday. That is all.