Monday, August 14, 2017

"My Theory Is That Once You're Dead, You're Dead" - Demon Keeper (1994)


Let us move on to 1994 and a small but underrated film from Roger Corman's New Horizons Pictures, Demon Keeper. Directed by Joe Tornatore, who also directed Grotesque (1988), and starring big-name actors Edward Albert and Dirk  Benedict, Demon Keeper is an entertaining gem.

Again, your universe's most respected critics (i.e., those writing reviews on IMDB), disagree about the quality of the film. Backlash007 writes, "Demon Keeper is still a bad B-movie and nothing could have changed that." Nipperoshea, who reviewed the film years after viewing it, writes, "Although it has been several years, I still remember wondering how any film could be worse. My advice, DO NOT see this movie." And Brian Weimer writes, "Oh man, what a bad movie, in every sense of the word....To me, this movie has no redeeming values whatsoever....The acting in this movie is extremely bad, and the budget was most likely the lowest in cinematic history."

Perhaps the budget was the lowest in cinematic history. So what? It is again incumbent upon me to provide details about the film in order to rebut the critics' dubious claims.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Scary Digits: Box Office Update for August 10, 2017

Interactive Box Office Graphs

I set up an interactive tool to look at box office data for horror movies (using a loose definition of horror movie). The tool shows a graph with data on budgets and box office grosses, including U.S. opening weekend, U.S. after opening, and foreign box office totals. Moving your mouse over the graph (or tapping on mobile devices) provides detailed information about each movie. The interactive tool is available at the link below. (You can bookmark that page if you find it useful.)


Keep reading for a box office update for August 10...

Monday, August 7, 2017

"Cathy Hardly Doesn't Talk Anymore" - Cathy's Curse (1977)



Our next film is the French-Canadian Cathy's Curse (1977). This supernatural horror film has been rediscovered and heralded due to a recent blu ray from Severin Films, but it has many qualities that make it fit in with the other films here on Senseless Cinema, the primary quality being that it is clearly not from your universe.

Now, as you know, I come from another universe where customs are different from those in your universe, but the presentation of reality embodied in Cathy's Curse matches neither my Universe-Prime nor your Universe-X. I can only conclude it is from some third universe with which I am not yet familiar.

Appropriately for a movie with such provenance, the critics of your universe have not been kind, historically, to Cathy's Curse. Charles Tatum on IMDB writes, "This is a spiteful, mean little film in which the writers and director have just as much contempt for the viewer as they do for their own characters." Yetanotherharris writes, "This is not a movie for everyone. It is not well written nor well acted, and the special effects are weak, even for the 1970's." Preppy-3rd concludes that the film is a "Slow, dull 'Exorcist clone with a pointless story, terrible script, VERY bad acting, clumsy 'special' effects, laughable gore and it just isn't scary or even remotely interesting." (This person seems not to have enjoyed the film.)

Because of such flawed and illogical reactions to this wonderful, if unusually transdimensional, film, I must correct the record with a detailed analysis of the narrative.

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Is the So-Called Civilized World More Attractive?" - Island of the Fishmen (1979)


Director Sergio Martino is best known for his highly effective jello movies, including Blade of the Ripper (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), and Torso (1973). Like most Italian filmmakers, however, he dabbled in many, many other genres, including post-apocalyptic action movies and cannibal movies. One of his finest achievements is Island of the Fishmen (1979), retitled in the U.S. as Screamers with an added opening sequence featuring Mel Ferrer and Cameron Mitchell.

Some of your universe's top critics, however, fail to recognize the high quality of the film. On IMDB, for example, reviewer The Hrunting writes, "the inconsistent creature effects and cringe worthy miniatures unabashedly shown in close-ups, instead of rolling in the fog or covering up with shadows, were just asking too much from a viewer's imagination." Aaron1375 writes, perhaps incriminatingly, "quite frankly that movie bored me too, it is way to much scientist and not enough killing for my tastes." Reviewer snausworldlove writes, "his movie was so horrible as to be quite vexing....Joseph Cotten tries hard not to look embarrassed as he staggers through his cameo appearance. In the name of all that's holy, don't rent this darned bomb."

Although these reviewers clearly have poor judgment (with one of them admitting a desire for more killing, and another using the phrase "darned bomb," and further I would argue that Mr. Cotten is not trying hard not to look embarrassed in this film), it is still incumbent upon me to refute their questionable opinions with a thorough review of the classic film Island of the Fishmen.

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Throw Me Out the Window to a Starving Cat" - Blood Harvest (1987)


Some directors may be counted on for consistently producing high-quality films. Among the many regional filmmakers working in the U.S., one of the most consistently groundbreaking horror directors is Wisconsin's Bill Rebane. We have already covered The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) and The Game (1984) aka The Cold (also 1984) here, and now it is time to discuss another of his many underrated gems, Blood Harvest (1987) aka Nightmare (also 1987).

On IMDB, reviewer Michael_Elliott writes, "the low-budget leads to some less- than-wonderful performances....BLOOD HARVEST isn't a masterpiece and it's certainly not a classic. It's not even a 'good' movie." Reviewer rwagn writes, "There is so much wrong with this film that I can't begin to list everything....Every plot device is telegraphed and you've seen this a hundred times before and done much better." Also on IMDB, reviewer Bleeding-Skull writes the film off somewhat confusingly as "Pointless, dull film makes no sense. Not to mention a rip-off of Hellraiser."

As the discussion below will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, Blood Harvest aka Nightmare is not pointless, is not dull, makes some sense, and is no way a rip-off of Hellraiser.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"I'm Whiter Than All of You!" - Rats: Night of Terror (1984)


Italian auteur Bruno Mattei has received his proper due for many of his classic films (for example, Hell of the Living Dead and Zombi 3) but at least one of his films remains a curiously unloved classic. I am speaking, of course, about Rats: Night of Terror from 1984.

Reviewer Michael A. Martinex writes on IMDB, quite incorrectly, "What could have been an interesting concept...is totally ruined by the idiotic decision to focus this movie on an assault by killer rats. The whole crux of the film completely relies on the rats to be scary enough to keep up the suspense, but they fail right off the bat. There's nothing scary about them - just the fear of stepping in or accidentally eating their feces." Contradicting this criticism, reviewer insightstraight writes, rather heartlessly, "The only sympathetic characters for me in 'Notte di Terrore' were the rats." Reviewer john-coles-1 says, "A very poor movie! 'Rats' is overly long with mediocre special effects and hyperactive synth music."

As always, I must dispel such dubious claims about the film's quality.

Monday, July 10, 2017

"I Know You No Like Devil Bee" - The Bees (1978)


In 1978, taking advantage of rampant headlines about the invasion of Africanized (aka "killer") bees, Alfredo Zacarias directed The Bees, and cinematic history was made.

Some of your universe's critics fail to recognize the brilliance of The Bees, the finest of the killer bee movies. Wizard-8 writes, "most of the movie is boring talk....while it's shorter than the full-length cut of THE SWARM (which runs about 2 1/2 hours!), it feels *longer* due to a sluggish pace." Reviewer insomniac-rod writes, "The f/x are laughable. Poor production values were used for a movie that intended to be a huge hit. We shouldn't accept this kind of crap!" Reviewer callanvass writes, "horrible flick...this has a lame score extremely bad dialog and laughable acting...and more logic lapses then you can think."

I must take issue with callanvass and inform him or her that, in fact, I can think an awful lot of logic lapses, and very few of them appear in The Bees. I disagree with the other reviewers' statements as well. Therefore, I am obligated to describe the brilliance of both the text and the subtext of The Bees.

Monday, July 3, 2017

"A Man's Ignorance of Things Unseen Is Never Questioned" - Frostbiter (1995)


There are many fine, artful cabin in the woods films (though The Cabin in the Woods, 2012, is not one of them), but few rise to the level of high art as well as Frostbiter (1995), also known as Wrath of the Wendigo and Wendigo.

Some of the illustrious critics of your universe, however, fail to recognize this film's artfulness. For example, Captain_Roberts writes, "This movie goes beyond bad, it has no redeeming qualities." TimeChaser writes, "This movie is absolutely horrible. The soundtrack is terrible, the action is awful, the special effects are laughable, and everything else is just plain bad." Paul Andrews writes that the film is "painful to watch...the dialogue is rubbish, the character's are poor & the whole set-up is childish. I really can't think of any one positive aspect to Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo (even the title sucks) & I urge everyone to do themselves a huge favour & avoid this one like your life depended upon it."

In most cases, such an abundance of ampersands would indicate a superior mind and hence a superior taste in cinema, but sadly the aforementioned reviews are, in fact, incorrect. They must be corrected here and now.

Monday, June 26, 2017

"That Science of Yours Knows Nothing About Man" - Night of 1,000 Cats (1972)


Our next film is Rene Cardona, Jr.'s avant-garde masterpiece Night of 1,000 Cats.

On IMDB, reviewer alvaro_dd writes, "what an awful movie! I was hoping to see an undiscovered classic and what I got was something like a tacky 70´s after shave commercial; crap acting, crap visuals...what a waste of a suitably crazy plot." Reviewer EyeAskance writes, "The story, however, is rather convoluted and comic-bookish...more discerning horror fans may find the goings-on a bit juvenile." Coventry writes, "The photography, editing and sound effects are all incredibly tacky and amateurish. Hugo Stiglitz is a lousy actor without the slightest bit of charisma."

Clearly, these reviewers would not recognize a masterpiece of minimalist cinema if it ground them into hamburger meat and fed them to 1,000 cats. Therefore, I must correct the misinformation they are spreading and highlight the brilliance of Rene Cardona Jr.'s film.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"2,000 Years Is But a Sneeze" - Amok Train (1989)


We return to the work of producer/director Ovidio Assonitis (see Tentacles and The Visitor) with Amok Train, also known as Beyond the Door III and Death Train. Directed by cartoon writer Jeff Kwitny and produced by Assonitis, Amok Train is one of the finest cinematic depictions of a train going amok that has ever been created.

As usual with films of unique cinematic brilliance, your universe's critics, particularly those on IMDB for some reason, have little respect for Amok Train. Reviewer Justin Stokes writes, "This is a really bad movie with some truly lousy gore scenes....the effects are terrible, several of them using blatantly obvious dummy heads." (Clearly Mr. Stokes would prefer if the filmmakers had used real human heads.) Reviewer jet66 writes, "Magnificently incompetent on every level, this film features some truly absurd special effects, awkward and amateur acting, clumsy dialogue, and a very disjointed narrative." Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "A largely unwatchable mess that alternates between crazy special effects, graphic gore, and unrelenting tedium."

No, these reviews are not correct. Read on for a clear picture of this masterwork.

Monday, June 12, 2017

"The Only Leaky Radiator I See Is Your Story" - Grotesque (1988)


It must be difficult as an actor to be known for one singular role in a motion picture hailed as a classic, and then to continue a career after that career high point. I am speaking, of course, about Linda Blair and her career high point, which as you can tell from the title of this post occurred in Joe Tornatore's Grotesque (1988).

Although Grotesque gets some recognition in your universe as the classic it is, some reviewers are, to put it bluntly, unkind. Reviewer moonspinner55 on IMDB writes, "Rarely have I seen such a sick, twisted piece of sludge." Reviewer lobelia-1, also on IMDB, writes, "some of the worst dialogue ever scribbled on scraps of paper in the bathroom." Mister-6 writes about the film, "You want a really bad movie? A really REALLY bad movie? One so bad that it'll make you trash your TV, gouge out your eyes with a rusty spoon and dive off the closest pier? Here you go."

I do not have to tell you how misguided these reviews are, but I will. These reviews are very misguided.