Monday, April 15, 2019

"What Kind of a Commando Are You?" - Hell of the Living Dead (1980)


If there are four words (and a comma) that define high-quality cinema, they are the following: Bruno Mattei, Claudio Fragasso. These filmmakers had their collective fingers on the collective pulse of the collective filmgoing public in the 1980s, and one of their finest achievements is the combined zombie/cannibal film Hell of the Living Dead (1980), aka Zombie Creeping Flesh aka Virus aka Night of the Zombie(s).

Oddly, a few of your universe's critics fail to appreciate this epic film. Reviewer Nic673 writes, "I`ve seen elementary students who could write a better script than this awful movie." Reviewer Kazetnick writes, "This is, without reservation, the worst zombie film I have ever seen. And I've seen almost all of them." And reviewer squeezebox writes (in addition to creating the word "plagiary") that the film "moves at such a maddeningly slow pace, it's an endurance test just to stay awake. Almost all its attempts at horror, whether it's gore or atmosphere, fall flat, and it's plagiary of dialogue, plot points and even MUSIC (stolen directly from the DAWN OF THE DEAD soundtrack) from it's superior predecessors is shameless."

Is the film a classic or the worst zombie film ever made? Or both? Please read on...

Monday, April 8, 2019

“If Treasure Were Everywhere, They’d Call It Rubbish” - The Evil Below (1989)


We have discussed The Rift (1989), and we have discussed Barracuda (1978), so it is time to discuss a film that combines underwater intrigue with Mr. Wayne Crawford -- 1989's The Evil Below, a classic from the Golden Age of underwater monster movies (i.e., 1989).

Typically, many of your universe's critics are unappreciative of the charms of The Evil Below and/or Wayne Crawford (blasphemy!). For example, reviewer Aaron1375 writes, "This movie was a total yawnfest that took forever to get going, but never really did." Reviewer Tikkin writes, "I manged to sit through it all (just about) but I wouldn't recommend this film to ANYONE." And reviewer poolandrews calls the film "a bit different but unfortunately that's not enough to save it from sinking to the bottom of the sea like a stone."

Let us see if The Evil Below sinks or swims [Spoiler: It swims!]...

Monday, April 1, 2019

“Hit It With a Sledgehammer and It Won’t Perform” - The Cremators (1972)


Writer/director Harry Essex wrote two acknowledged classics of the underwater monster genre, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Octaman (1971). One year after Octaman, he would co-write and direct another classic, the less well-known The Cremators (1972), a film that deserves mention along with the other Harry Essex classics.

Not all your universe's critics agree, unfortunately...for them. Reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "Essex's direction is lifeless, Howard makes for a bland protagonist, and the film's visual effects are far from special." Reviewer azathothpwiggins writes, "Absurd and terminally dull, this movie is only for those few, brave souls able to withstand a severe brain hammering!" And reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "The special effects are awkward and unsatisfying, and not even cheesy enough to be amusing, while the constant focus on little rocks is laughable. Needless to say that the performances from the no-name cast members are wooden in the extreme."

Read on for a more balanced view of the tense and horrific The Cremators...

Monday, March 25, 2019

"Like a Golf Ball Being Sucked Through a Garden Hose" - The Rift (1989)


It is time to explore the wonders of Juan Piquer Simon's The Rift (1989), one of the finest underwater monster movies released in 1989 along with Leviathan (1989), The Abyss (1989), DeepStar Six (1989), Lords of the Deep (1989), and The Evil Below (1989). Mr. Simon, who had already contributed several classics to world cinema including Pieces (1982) and Slugs (1988), created perhaps the definitive 1989 underwater monster movie in The Rift.

Some in your universe disagree about the film's classic status. For example, reviewer jiangliquings says that the film "has absolutely no redeeming values, whether it's the ridiculously bad acting, the laughably awful special effects, the incompetent direction, the stupid script, or the gratingly annoying musical score." (It must be noted that Joel Goldsmith's musical score is actually very effective.) Reviewer bonesnbraids writes, "Camera shots were pretty dull and honestly it wasn't very hard to stop watching it and walk around the room to get a snack or check email." (I will not comment on my visualization of this reviewer's movie-watching room.) And reviewer vossba-99945 writes, "The acting is so bad you can't get into the movie. Even worse than the acting is the screenplay, it's like it was written by a 10 year old." (It must be noted that some of the best screenplays are written by 10-year-olds.)

Let's avoid the negativity and experience the undersea wonder of J. P. Simon's The Rift...

Monday, March 18, 2019

"This Place Seems Spooky" - The Eyes Behind the Stars (1977)


It must be admitted that the UFO genre has produced many underrated classics, including of course UFO: Target Earth (1974). The 1970s also graced the cinemagoing public with The Eyes Behind the Stars (1977), a conspiracy thriller with such twists and turns that it is unclear whether it is occurring in England or Italy, or some other location entirely.

Examples of critics failing to understand the high, high quality of The Eyes Behind the Stars include BA_Harrison, who writes, "I can vaguely recall terrible acting, numerous protracted scenes of inane dialogue between extremely dull characters, some really crap alien costumes, and the overuse of a fish eye lens to give the effect of an alien presence, but very little else." Reviewer junk-monkey calls the film "another total waste of 90 minutes of my life." And reviewer carguychris writes, "The plot is full of holes and is nearly incoherent at times." Nearly incoherent! Ridiculous! Please read on for the truth about UFOs and The Eyes Behind the Stars...

Monday, March 11, 2019

"Railroad Guys Sitting Around by the Fire Whittlin' Wood" - Ghostkeeper (1981)


It is time to change gears a little and discuss the low-key, possibly supernatural Canada-set film Ghostkeeper (1981).

The critics of your universe and unduly harsh, as always. Reviewer itsbaylis writes, "To say the plot was flimsy would be an understatement, and frankly an insult to other flimsily plotted films. It's barely existent, let alone flimsy. There doesn't seem to BE one." Reviewer WisdomsHammer writes, "It was painful but I kept watching, hoping it would get better. Hoping for at least a good payoff at the end. That didn't happen." And reviewer anxietyresister calls the film "a sorry piece of trash that should be avoided at all costs."

Read on for a more balanced view of this chilling film...

Monday, March 4, 2019

“I Don’t Want to Lose You to Some Transvestite” - Monstrosity (1987)


Perhaps Andy Milligan's films are an acquired taste...in your universe. Although I find it hard to believe, films such as Blood (1973) and Torture Dungeon (1970) actually have many detractors among your universe's critics. Not so regarding the movie we're discussing today, Monstrosity (1987), one of Mr. Milligan's last films. Wait, I appear to be incorrect and should not have said "not so" earlier. Even at the end of his life--the culmination of his career--Mr. Milligan had his share of detractors.

For example, reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "the direction is terrible, the editing clumsy and the performances amateurish." Reviewer Leofwine_draca writes, "This is bargain basement stuff, embarrassingly poor in all aspects." And reviewer kinojunkie writes, "Monstrosity is a terrible film. Every aspect of it is poorly executed."

Let us continue to correct such wildly ridiculous opinions. Please read on...

Monday, February 25, 2019

"It's a World of Ifs, Pal" - Island of Blood (1982)


The latter part of the slasher boom spawned many interesting horror movies, a description that certainly applies to Island of Blood (1982). The original title of the film, based on the copyright notice in the end credits, was Whodunit, which sums up the movie well due to the fact that the killer is unknown until the very end.

Many critics in your universe have been harsh regarding Island of Blood. For example, oraklon writes (interminably), "It's painfully apparent that nobody, in front or behind the camera, have no clue what so ever what the hell they're doing. Incomprehensable story, dialogue that makes no sense, acting from hell, weird cuts etc." Reviewer gridoon writes (briefly), "One of those slasher films that give a bad name to the entire genre." And reviewer coventry writes (at great length), "a wondrously inept and totally redundant low-budget flick with all the right ingredients: a senseless basic premise, unmemorable characters, a complete absence of logic, laughable dialogs, various but totally non-shocking killing methods and one remotely ingenious little gimmick (a constantly repeated rock song of which the lyrics reveal how the next victim will die a gruesome death)."

Of course, these reviewers entirely miss the point, so it must be spelled out...

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...