Monday, June 18, 2018

"I Still Got the Sugarplum Fairies Dancing in My Head" - Open House (1987)


It is always interesting when great filmmakers turn their attention to horror movies. Our topic today is the 1987 slasher film Open House, directed by the elite pair of director Jag Mundhra (Hack-O-Lantern) and writer David Mickey Evans (Radio Flyer and The Sandlot). Adding even more prestige to the film are actors Tiffany Bolling (Kingdom of the Spiders), sitcom veteran Leonard Lightfoot, and Don Adams's daughter, not to mention the redoubtable Adrienne Barbeau. A more star-studded production could hardly be imagined.

Despite all the star power, some reviewers in your universe do not understand Open House. For example, reviewer spyse writes, "This movie was the slowest and most boring so called horror that I have ever seen. I would include a comment on the plot but there was none." Similarly, reviewer callanvass writes, somewhat repetitively, "It is filled with laughable dialog and endless talky scenes that seem to go on forever. There is no entertainment value in this movie what so ever. As a matter of fact, it's completely void of it." Finally, reviewer dien simply writes, "The sheer amount of non-sense in this film is just unbearable."

I beg to disagree with Mr. dien, as I find the film bearable. Read on...


Monday, June 11, 2018

"Filthy Enough to Stink Out a Polecat" - The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1978)


Let us now discuss a protoslasher released months before Halloween (1978), The Redeemer: Son of Satan! aka Class Reunion Massacre. Like many protoslashers, this film foreshadows some of the elements of later, bigger, more popular slasher movies, particularly in this case the multiple costumes of Terror Train (1980) and Hollowgate (1988).

Your universe's critics are harsh in their reviews of this film, as they are with any movie that dares to discuss philosophy and attempts to bring true meaning to the cinema. As an example, on IMDB, reviewer tommyson writes, "This movie is a stupid, boring waste of time. the acting is some of the worst i've ever seen, the charachters are faceless sterotypes, the plot (if you can call it that) is absurd, the soundtrack is a loud, annoying rip off of halloween, and to add to all that, it just doesn't make any sense." Riddler_161 writes, " Terrible writing, coupled with worse editing, made for a nightmare of a movie." And Ben Larson writes, "Accompanied by some really irritating music. It didn't appear to know where to end, so it just kept going to some magical end that made no sense."

Needless to say, these reviews are quite misinformed. Like A Day of Judgment (1981), the film presents a lucid, compelling theological explanation of the effects of sin (i.e., sinners are killed for sinning). Please read on to learn more about this special film...

Monday, June 4, 2018

"Evil Can Happen Anywhere in the Universe, Just Like Love" - Return of the Boogeyman (1994)


In the genre of movies that are made up primarily of footage from previously released movies, the sequels to Uli Lommel's The Boogeyman (1980) are perhaps the most satisfying. Today we look at 1994's Return of the Boogeyman, directed by the talented co-director of The Chilling (1989), Deland Nuse.

Of course, not all critics see the genius in films such as Return of the Boogeyman. For example, on IMDB, reviewer Red-Barracuda writes, perhaps a little obtusely, "There is nothing here of value at all. This is worthless." Sic Coyote writes, with an interesting flair for spelling, that the film is "one of the biggest pieces of tripe I have ever scene." Reviewer TC-4 writes, "Everything about this total waste of my time makes me angry that anything this bad is sold....Any TV Movie would be a pleasure to watch after this turkey."

I disagree that any TV movie would be a pleasure to watch after Return of the Boogeyman. In fact, I am not certain I understand what that means. In any case, let us investigate Deland Nuse's filmic meditation on trauma, the supernatural, and a certain earlier film directed by Ulli Lommel...

Monday, May 28, 2018

“An Unpleasant Odor You Can’t Exactly Trace” - Last House on Massacre Street (1973)


Let us turn our attention to the 1973 film Last House on Massacre Street, which is also known as The Bride, a more appropriate but much less entertaining title. As you know, we at Senseless Cinema are big fans of minimalist horror films--see A Day of Judgment (1981), Night of 1,000 Cats (1972), and The Prey (1984)--and there are few films as minimal as Last House on Massacre Street.

Some critics, of course, fail to appreciate minimalism sufficiently. Reviewer princebuster82 writes that "the movie is kind of weak from a story standpoint....trods along at a sllooooowww pace, because the plot is so simple..." BA_Harrison writes that the film is "only 50% entertaining, the action suffering from some serious pacing issues, a lack of scares, a dearth of blood and guts..." Michael_Elliott writes, "The direction doesn't add any tension to the film and it just seems very flat. The performances are decent but they all manage to hit a few bad notes throughout."

Let us counter these opinions with some facts. Please read on to experience the existential dread of Last House on Massacre Street...

Monday, May 21, 2018

“I’ve Never Been Treated Like This Before! You’re a Vulgarian!” - The Suckling (1990)


Sometimes, it must be said, monsters are just monsters. Thus, it is remarkable and special when filmmakers with vision come along and show us that monsters can be more than just monsters. Francis Teri's The Suckling (1990) is an example of such vision; its monster is a metaphysical force that can shape the world in its image.

Some critics seem to focus on weak generalities rather than hard facts when viewing The Suckling. For example, reviewer Afollabi El-Sheikh Al Noor Mohammed writes, "Absolutely appalling....Don't even bother watching this, totally crap." Similarly, a reviewer with the highly trustworthy name lordzedd-3 writes under the witty heading "Suckling is the right name for it, because it sucks!" that the film's "lie about this being a true story and poor effects make this a poor movie." Reviewer Thanos Milios writes, "Even for a b-movie fan this movie can't be watched i don't know how i managed to watch that crap."

I must contradict Mr. Milios and assert that his movie can be watched. In fact, I will say it must be watched. Please read on...

Monday, May 14, 2018

"He's Trying to Stubborn His Way Out with His Fists" - Knife for the Ladies (1974)


In addition to monster Westerns (see for example 1973's Godmonster of Indian Flats and 1972's Curse of the Headless Horseman), the 1970s produced a small number of proto-slasher Westerns, such as 1974’s Knife for the Ladies (known on IMDB as "A Knife for the Ladies" despite the onscreen and poster title).

Predictably, your universe's critics are incapable of appreciating this pinnacle of Reviewer bensonmum2 writes incorrectly, "Overall, A Knife for the Ladies is one lousy movie. Neither the horror nor the Western elements work." Reviewer Michael_Elliott writes confusedly, "After watching the uncut version I must admit that I would have given anything to see it cut down....The film really kills itself because it just doesn't do anything right." Reviewer davannacarter writes uncharitably, "If it's trying to be a mystery, it fails because the movie gets so boring by the halfway mark that I fell asleep....Boring, boring, boring, even by 70s standards."

I do not mean to be contrary (read: I do mean to be contrary), but these reviews are objectively incorrect. In reality, Knife for the Ladies is a clever rumination on the differences between the modern world of the 1970s and the Western world of the 1870s. Read on for further insights...

Monday, May 7, 2018

"If You Need Anything, I Live at the Store" - Memorial Valley Massacre (1989)


It goes without saying that any film with the word "massacre" in its title is an instant classic (see Drive In Massacre, 1976) and Memorial Valley Massacre (1989) is no exception to that venerable rule. In fact, Memorial Valley Massacre features massacres of both reptiles and humans, so it is a doubly frightening example of the massacre subgenre. With its themes of city folks unable to survive in the wilderness, and its guest appearance by the great Cameron Mitchell, Robert C. Hughes's film is a fine late-1980s thriller.

Some of your universe's critics appear to disagree. For example, Rod Lott at Flick Attack writes, "The script is poor, the direction a notch below that and the acting even farther south." IMDB reviewer ResidentHazards writes, "The base concept behind the story isn't terrible, but since everything else was just done way wrong, there is no redeeming value." IMDB reviewer BaronBl00d writes, "But why make a film like this? It really has no message, little real humor, no great cinematography, and a real crummy story."

Read on for an unbiased look at the charms of Memorial Day Massacre...

Monday, April 30, 2018

"These Dreamers Must Be Stopped!" - She Killed in Ecstasy (1971)


While some of your universe's critics appreciate the films of Jess Franco, an alarming number are still not convinced of his formidable skills as a director. In order to correct such misperceptions, I present one of Franco's finest films, She Killed in Ecstasy (1971), which somehow underwhelmed several of your most prominent critics.

For example, Jason M of Cinezilla calls the film "a shambles of a movie, almost completely lacking of suspense, filled with terrible zooms back and forth, poor editing, corny dialogue, really lame scenes of seduction and sex scenes that are about as erotic as taking the trash out." On trashcity.org, a reviewer writes that the film "sent me to sleep inside twenty minutes, probably as a defence mechanism against what may be the most hideous smooth jazz soundtrack ever used." Mitch from The Video Vacuum writes, "The film runs only 73 minutes, but it feels a lot longer than that as it suffers from some seriously slow scenes."

Let us counter these obviously vapid criticisms by looking at Mr. Franco's film--in which he takes on the role of actor as well as director--in depth...

Monday, April 23, 2018

"It's What Farm People Do for a Present" - The House Where Death Lives (1980)


Films with self-contradictory titles are always fascinating, and The House Where Death Lives (1980), also known as Delusion, is no exception. We find out, in fact, that death does live in the house where death, along with some other people, lives.

Reviewer coventry writes, "There's not a trace of suspense, the supposedly ingenious twist-ending is hugely derivative and the murders are uninspired and bloodless....I've seen episodes of my mother's daily soap opera that were more exciting than this turkey. One to avoid at all costs, unless of course you suffers from a bad case of insomnia." Writer Rich Wright writes the "writer...writes dull characters and sets out the most boring set-pieces for murder imaginable, before that incomprehensible conclusion." Reviewer lemon_magic writes, quite uncharitably, "I will always remember the way 'The House Where Death Lives' seemed to suck the life right out of my body."

Needless to say, these criticisms are ridiculous. If anything, contrary to lemon_magic's statement, The House Where Death Lives may be said to blow the life right into the audience's collective body. Let us start from the beginning...

Monday, April 16, 2018

"Don't Forget to Change Your Drawers" - Primal Rage (1988)


Few horror movie genres are more entertaining than 1980s Italian films shot in the United States with American actors. Some representatives of this genre aspire to even more than robust entertainment, and Vittorio Rambaldi’s Primal Rage (1988) is one of them that is, like Romano Scavolini’s Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1980) before it, a story of political intrigue ripped right from the headlines. Primal Rage is the story of animal experimentation gone wild on a university campus.

Perhaps it is the film's political frankness that has failed to endear it to your universe's critics. Leofwine_draca, for instance, calls the film "one of the worst Italian movies I've seen....Credibility goes out of the window right from the start, when we are introduced to a wooden cast of actors playing teenagers and 20-somethings who couldn't act their way out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it." At 10K Bullets, Michael Den Boer writes, "The direction is lackluster, the actors just mundanely go through the motions and the dialog is deliriously awful." At Blueprint: Review, David Brook finds the film "a bit slow. The horror scenes are pretty naff and infrequent, which was the main problem. It didn't help that the copy we saw was cut and clumsily so."

Of course, these critics are entirely mistaken. Let us look at the film in detail so we can correct their mistaken "opinions" about this classic horror movie.

Monday, April 9, 2018

"I'm Gonna Serve You Popcorn in Bed" - Drive In Massacre (1976)


At Senseless Cinema, we are partial to minimalist horror films (for example, see The Prey, A Day of Judgment, and Night of 1,000 Cats). Few horror films, however, are as committed to minimalism as 1976's Drive In Massacre, a near masterpiece of minimal locations, characters, and situations.

As usual, many of your universe's esteemed critics fail to see the genius of the film. Reviewer  BaronBl00d writes, "Dreadful film....The direction is sub-par as the lighting is barely able to illuminate much of the action at night. The gore is ridiculously inept in execution, and the editing is just as flawed." Coventry writes, "This is a truly abysmal low-budget horror flick, put together by a bunch of amateurs that know nothing about cinema." Thorsten-Krings writes, "This has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen in any genre."

Fortunately, I am here to defend the film from these cinematic taste-makers. Read on to see how Drive In Massacre should be--no, must be--appreciated...