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.

Monday, June 5, 2017

"An Unusual History Which Dates Back to His Childhood" - Hollowgate (1988)


Everybody likes a good slasher film, but it takes something special to elevate a slasher film to the realm of the truly great. Hollowgate (1988) is elevated by the brilliant and original concept of centering its kills around Halloween tropes, and by the powerfully quirky performance of its leading man.

Not everybody in your universe appreciates such originality, however. On IMDB, review sgtking says that the film was made by people "who obviously know nothing about making a good Horror film, or a good film in general." Similarly, reviewer HumanoidOfFlesh on IMDB writes, "This one is easily one of the worst horror films I have ever seen.... The storyline is so dumb, that you'll just shake your head in complete disbelief at some of the things these teenagers do. The acting is awful and there is no suspense whatsoever." Tom Damon, also on IMDB, writes, "Hollow Gate is so unoriginal, so cheap and shoddily produced, so very badly acted, and so dark at times, that it will come across as a complete and utter waste of time."

I must clearly and definitively show you why these reviews are obviously and blatantly incorrect. Thus, I will describe the film to you in great detail so you can see how brilliant and original it truly is.

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Anything Is Possible in a Cemetery" - Graveyard Disturbance (1987)


Here at Senseless Cinema, if there is one subgenre of the horror film that is beloved it is the bigfoot film. If there is another, it is the spending-the-night-in-a-cemetery subgenre; see Death Screams and Cemetery of Terror for examples.

But even this beloved subgenre is mistakenly lambasted by some of your universe's less perceptive critics. For example, HumanoidOfFlesh, on IMDB, writes, "pretty lame....the script...is mediocre, the acting is pretty bad and gore is nonexistent." Also on IMDB, Michael_Elliott writes, "in the end there's no real reason to watch this unless you have to see every horror film released in Italy." Woodyanders informs us that Lamberto Bava "hits his profoundly putrid nadir with this hideously botched would-be horror flick parody."

As always, the only way to dispel these atrocious indignities is to recount the excellent narrative elements of Lamberto Bava's Graveyard Disturbance (1987).

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Disturbed by Man's Stupidity" - Tentacles (1977)


We return to the sea again to discuss the excellent Tentacles (1977), a film set in the communities surrounding San Diego, California. Like The Visitor (1979), this film unites John Huston and Shelley Winters in an Ovidio Assonitis production.

Also like The Visitor, Tentacles is occasionally maligned by the critics. For example, Brandt Sponseller on IMDB writes, “Unfortunately, almost everything about the film is completely incompetent….The script is horrible and at times completely incoherent. It may also set a record for the largest number of abandoned threads. The director appears to have slept through most of the shoots.” Also on IMDB, Uriah43 writes, “Perhaps it was the bad camera angles, the incoherent script or the awful ending but it all seemed like a complete mess.” Finally, adriangr writes, “This film is bland, unsuspenseful and uninvolving….I'm sorry to say it, but this movie is not worth your time, because there is never really anything to see.”

Needless to say, these critics have missed the proverbial boat. I must, as usual, correct their misconceptions and describe the true glory of Tentacles.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Who Turned Your Gas On?" - The Capture of Bigfoot (1979)


As we have seen repeatedly here on Senseless Cinema, bigfoot films are nearly always existential explorations of the complexities and paradoxes of life in our mysterious multiverse. For example, we have seen that films such as Night of the Demon (1980) and Demonwarp (1988) have nothing to do with demons, but they do feature bigfoot. On the other hand, Curse of Bigfoot (1976) has little to do with bigfoot, but it does feature a mummy. No other subgenre of monster movies is able to demonstrate the paradox of existence so clearly as bigfoot movies through the complex relationships between their titles and the creatures therein.

Some of your universe's critics are uncharitable. "This is a must see especially if you want to punish yourself mentally," writes MACREADY-3 on IMDB. "Did not like it at all. Boring," writes Bera Bellatrix, also on IMDB. And lartronic, also on IMDB, compares the film to rotting garbage. "Really, you can't make a film like this and think it will be successful, it was totally awful from start to finish." In fact, many reviewers on this film's IMDB page call it the worst movie ever made, a ridiculous and disrespectful exaggeration. After all, The Capture of Bigfoot is a film by Wisconsin's Bill Rebane, a master of the regional horror film. It is therefore necessary for me to relate the exceptional qualities of this film.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Excess is What Makes Life Worth Living" - Turkey Shoot (1982)


While most of the tragically unacknowledged classics discussed here on Senseless Cinema are low budget, regional American productions, some are more epic, expensive productions (The Visitor, for example). Turkey Shoot (1982), aka Escape 2000, is another example of a well funded production, this one from Australia.

Your universe's most honored critics have a different view of the film. On IMDB, the_wolf_imdb writes, "This movie is really not bright, not clever and even very naive." Also on IMDB, bdl7421 writes, "This movie feels extremely derivative....it's really just a bit of forgettable fluff." Finally on IMDB, tomgillespie2002 writes, "If you love bad filmmaking, with no social commentary, and no element of surprise or suspense, then you may well love this. But, it is, and will always be a bore!"

Bad filmmaking? Nothing, literally, could be further from the truth.

Monday, May 1, 2017

"The Place That Sells Worms and Eggs" - Winterbeast (1992)


American colonialism and the exploitation of Native American culture in Massachusetts inform the dreamlike supernatural horror of the classic Winterbeast (1992).

Not all critics recognize the brilliance on display in this film, however. On IMDB, EyeAskance writes, "An amateur misconjecture devoid of anything recognizable as production values." Also on IMDB, A-Ron-2 writes, "This is quite simply the most terrible film I have ever seen in my life." Finally, again on IMDB, Michael Wehr writes, "This movie has opened my eyes to how horrible a movie can be.... It makes no sense, the villain is a gay Jewish guy, they all wear flannels, the acting is so bad, there is no plot, the bad guys are terrible claymation products, we don't even understand who actually IS the Winterbeast...it's just bad!!!!!"

No.

Monday, April 24, 2017

"You Don't Ask a Genius How He Spends His Money" - Metamorphosis (1990)


It is truly a special thing when a respected actor moves into the director's chair and crafts his or her own uncompromised vision of a film. Such a film is 1990's Metamorphosis, the most recent film directed by Luigi Montefiori, the actor known to English-speaking audiences as George Eastman. After directing an erotic bestiality film called Dog Lay Afternoon (1976) and co-directing the post-apocalyptic thriller 2020 Texas Gladiators (1982) with colleague Joe D'Amato, Mr. Eastman turned to the horror genre--home to his most memorable performances in films such as Anthropophagus (1980) and Absurd (1981)--to direct the body horror classic Metamorphosis.

Of course, this classic is unrecognized as such by the critics of your universe. Reviewer Coventry on IMDB writes, inaccurately, "it's mainly a talkative movie....the movie features loads of bad acting, poor lighting, lousy editing and a completely retarded climax to boot." Also on IMDB, evanston_dad writes, also inaccurately but at least eloquently, "This movie isn't even in the remotest realm of good." Finally, also on IMDB, reviewer Frequency270 writes, "Pacing is a large problem with the movie. After thinking I had been watching for ninety minutes, I realized I'd only been watching an hour." As always, such mistaken opinions beg to be corrected.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"It's a Real, Real Emergency" - Blood Rage (1987)


Slasher films, of course, are a respected staple of world cinema, and no country, perhaps with the exception of Canada, has produced as many high-quality slasher films as the United States. We have covered a few of the finer examples of the form here (A Day of Judgment, The Demon, Haunts), and now it is time to turn our attention to the Florida-set slasher Blood Rage (1987), a recently rediscovered masterwork of the genre.

Despite the recent praise of many of your universe’s more perceptive critics, many reviewers somehow fail to see the charm and sophistication of Blood Rage. For example, Dennis Schwartz writes, “Despite an intriguing premise, the pic falters. It seems played only for laughs. It might work best if viewed as an oddity.” On Rotten Tomatoes, Edward Boxler writes, “Blood Rage is a laughably silly slasher film where the whole premise is void of logic, the acting is horrendous, and the low budget feel poses too many awkward situations…It’s just bad.” On IMDB, reviewer tomgillespie2002 writes that the film is “terribly acted, badly written and features a plodding narrative….the same stretched-out chase scenes and clunky dialogue seen in a thousand films of its ilk.”

I will not contemplate how these misguided reviewers reached such blatantly incorrect conclusions. Rather, I will present the brilliance of Blood Rage, also known as Nightmare at Shadow Woods, to you so you may reach the correct conclusion, that Blood Rage is a masterful 1980s slasher film.

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Peculiar to Men Who Follow the Dangers of the Sea" - The Dungeon of Harrow (1962)


We shall next turn to a classical adventure story set in the nineteenth century: 1964's The Dungeon of Harrow. This tale of derring-do proves that filmmakers do not require huge budgets or big-name performers to entertain; as long as they have a dungeon and some scenes of torture, they can create high art.

Of course, not all critics appreciate this chilling tale. JoeKarlosi on IMDB writes, "Make no mistake - this is a pretty awful film." Reviewer rwagn , also on IMDB, writes, "the most plodding delivery of lines that I can recollect. Even the voice over narration is stupor inducing. Every line is delivered in this irritating plodding demeanor." Reviewer lemon_magic writes, "The plot is a shambles with no continuity to speak of....Most of the dialog is simply ridiculous and stilted."

Such slanders will not stand. Let us prepare to take a voyage through The Dungeon of Harrow.