Monday, September 17, 2018

"Spin Out and Boil Your Hair!" - New Year's Evil (1980)

It is time to return to the slasher subgenre with New Year's Evil (1980), the classic holiday slasher from Emmet Alston, the director who would go on to create perhaps the definitive alien bigfoot film, Demonwarp (1988).

Unfortunately, all critics are not enamored with New Year's Evil. On IMDB, reviewer preppy-3 writes, "This is a rock-bottom, stupid, boring, horrendous 'Halloween' clone." (I must take issue with the word "clone," as there are basically zero similarities between New Year's Evil and Halloween.) Reviewer skutter-2 writes, "Everything about the movie is cheap, scuzzy and ugly." (Here I must take issue with the word "everything.") Reviewer dzizwheel writes, "Muddled plot, loose ends....Too many plot machinations to allow the viewer to suspend disbelief unless he's on some mind altering substance while viewing." (Here I must take issue with every word in the sentence, except perhaps "allow." Perhaps.)

Let us move on to our description of this classic slasher film. Please read on if you appreciate cleverness and creativity in your golden age slasher movies...

Monday, September 10, 2018

"Getting Ready for a Date with Tom Selleck" - The Dark Power (1985)

The wave of supernatural horror films that followed the success of The Evil Dead (1981), colloquially known as "cabin in the woods" films, produced a high proportion of excellent cinematic masterworks. One of these is The Dark Power (1985), a North Carolina-shot movie about demonic Toltecs starring Western whip specialist Lash LaRue.

Some critics in your universe, as usual, fail to appreciate the film's charms. Reviewer coventry writes, "'The Dark Power' is an indescribably cheesy and inept piece of 80's horror crap." Reviewer samax_89 writes, "A total and utter travesty of a movie. 'Dark Power' is the kind of film even Troma would be embarrassed to release.The script,direction,acting and action sequence's are so dire as to be almost painful to watch." Reviewer jimevarts summarizes his opinion: "I put this movie somewhere above Suburban Sasquatch and below Birdemic in cinematic quality, plot, and writing."

I feel compelled to dispel these ridiculous opinions. Read on for an appreciation of The Dark Power (1985)...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Check Out My Story: "The Last Screening"

My short horror story "The Last Screening" is published in the collection Schlock! Horror!, edited by Bret McCormick, director of the legendary The Abomination (1986) among other low-budget horror movies, and published by Hellbound Books.

Check it out!

Monday, September 3, 2018

"Oh, Sweetie, You're Hysterical" - Scream for Help (1984)

Written by Tom Holland and directed by Michael Winner, Scream for Help (1984) has a more "respectable" pedigree than most films we cover at Senseless Cinema, but that does not mean it is less of a classic. This dramatic thriller provides all the thrills an audience expects from top-notch cinema: a plucky teenage girl heroine, a set of despicable villains, death traps, and a Polaroid camera.

Not everyone in your universe appreciates Scream for Help. For example, reviewer Jonathon Dabell writes, "While watching Scream For Help, one can't help but wonder if the film is intentionally inept or just hopelessly inept. The overbearing music, the ridiculous acting, the laughable plot developments, the risible dialogue--all these things surely point to some kind of bad joke at the audience's expense courtesy of director Michael Winner?" ("Intentionally inept or hopelessly inept?" What about "Not inept. Not inept at all"?) Reviewer Wizard-8 writes, "I just finished watching it now, and yes, it has to be one of the worst movies of its year. Or any year, for that matter! The script for the movie is unbelievably stupid, with characters making idiotic decisions at an incredibly rapid output." Similarly, reviewer lebong-2 writes, "The acting is uniformly amateurish, as if the cast just memorized their lines minutes before they were shot. As with most Winner movies, it's shot haphazardly and unimaginatively."

Clearly, these reviewers are unable to appreciate true drama and thrills, a deficiency I do not share. Read on for a detailed appreciation of Michael Winner's Scream for Help...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Check Out My Story: "Alternate Cut"

My story "Alternate Cut" is published in the collection Thuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, published by Gypsum Sound Tales. 

On Amazon, reviewer Paul Bailey wrote, ”ALTERNATE CUT by Edward Karpp – This, in my opinion, is the darkest of the tales in THUGGISH ITCH. Atmospheric, as it is, you should read this one alone with no other distractions. It really is a dark piece of fiction; I loved it.”

Check it out!

Monday, August 27, 2018

"So Are You, But Who's Complaining?" - Sledge Hammer (1983)

We now turn to the 1983 shot-on-video movie Sledge Hammer, the directorial debut of David A. Prior. Firmly ensconced in the pantheon of 1980s horror films due to the fact that it was one of the first shot-on-video slasher movies, Sledge Hammer, for some reason, is not widely respected among the critics of your universe.

For example, reviewer Lee Eisenberg writes, "'Sledgehammer' - whose title basically explains the entire plot, if you can call it a plot - is truly the bottom of the barrel." Reviewer cyco7410 writes, "this one was just UNWATCHABLE." Critic Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki complains, "At one point, the filmmakers seemingly forgot they were doing a slasher film, and meander into a food fight, which lasts for nearly eight minutes."

Your universe must be dull indeed if an eight-minute food fight is not considered to be a spectacular addition to any movie! Read on to truly appreciate the high quality of Sledge Hammer (1983)...

Monday, August 20, 2018

"There's No Law Against Shooting Around Here" - Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1975)

It is time to revisit the work of Wisconsin auteur Bill Rebane, the talented director of classics such as The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) and The Game (1984), as well as Blood Harvest (1987), perhaps his masterpiece. Now we will look at Mr. Rebane's Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1975), a film which truly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as these aforementioned classics.

Reviewer shark-43 writes, "The performances are terrible, the guy playing the crazy Ol' hermit gives a 110% and it is a horrible peice [sic] of mugging." Paul Andrews writes, "Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is a real chore to sit through & is of very little, if any, entertainment value." And reviewer dharmabum writes, quite dismissively and inaccurately, "Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is one of the most truly horrible visions ever put on film."

The inaccuracy of these reviews must be corrected. Please read on...

Monday, August 13, 2018

"My Two Best Friends Have Been Killed, I Think By a Telephone" - Dial: Help (1988)

Ruggero Deodato is celebrated for many of the films he has directed, not to mention his cameo in Hostel: Part II, but one of his finest achievements is the stylish supernatural giallo Dial: Help (1988), also known by its Italian title Minaccia d'amore ("Threat of Love").

Some reviewers in your universe disagree that Dial: Help is one of Deodato's greatest works. For example, HumanoidOfFlesh writes, "The script by Franco Ferrini is ridiculous and it makes no sense,the acting is bad and there is absolutely no suspense." Michael A. Martinez writes, "It is truly saddening to see a once-great director such as Deodato delivering such a second-rate giallo such as this. This movie was so terrible it effectively put an end to his movie career." Reviewer davelawrence666 writes, "This film is embarassing....Definitely the lowest point in Ruggero's career."

Monday, August 6, 2018

"Bears Give Me Six Heart Attacks" - Blood Stalkers (1976)

We return now to the proto-slasher days with Blood Stalkers, also known as Bloodstalkers, a film with a copyright date of 1975 but a release date on IMDB of 1976. Probably one of the finest of all the proto-slashers, Blood Stalkers mixes old-fashioned drama with newfangled gore, and by the end of the film it teaches us all what a "bloodstalker" is.

Some of your universe's reviewers are ignorant of the charms of bloodstalkers as well as Blood Stalkers. On IMDB, reviewer reverendtom writes, “This is a pretty obscure, dumb horror movie set in the 1970s Everglades. It is really stupid and lame for the first half...” Reviewer b_kite writes, “Sadly, this thing is a hour and a half of nothing but boring plodding crap.” Similarly, lthseldy1 writes, “Lame. thats what this movie is.”

I must say I do not recognize the movie these three are reviewing. Let us proceed in our discussion of the spectacular early slasher film Blood Stalkers...

Monday, July 30, 2018

"These Are Not Natural People" - Curse of Demon Mountain (1977)

Curse of Demon Mountain (1977) aka The Shadow of Chikara is something of a supernatural horror Western, which alone is enough to recommend it, but the starring presence of Mr. Joe Don Baker pushes the film into classic territory.

Some of your universe's reviewers fail to appreciate this film under any of its titles. For example, reviewer William on IMDB sums up the movie thusly: "Pretty amateurish film with bad sound, bad lighting, and a cameo by Slim Pickens." Reviewer Mr. Pulse writes, "Joe Don Baker has made some slip ups in his time but truly, Demon Mountain, or Shadow of Chikara as it is listed here has to be up at the top of the heap. The film hurts. I mean physical torture." Reviewer Ben Larson writes, confusingly I must say, "Well, they head to the cursed mountain, and they find diamonds along with the curse - too bad."

The film must be reviewed objectively, and clearly I must be the one to do it. Read on for details about the classic Curse of Demon Mountain, starring the classic Joe Don Baker...

Monday, July 23, 2018

"I'll Try Anything for Pleasure" - Torture Dungeon (1970)

After covering Andy Milligan's Blood (1973), let us turn to an earlier work of the maestro, but one that is no less a classic, 1970's Torture Dungeon.

On IMDB, Michael_Elliott writes, "TORTURE DUNGEON lives up to its title with it being "torture" to get through it." Reviewer leofwine_draca writes that "it's a very tame and tawdry affair and there's barely any of the bloodshed suggested by the title." In a review titled "It's Torture All Right," reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "Milligan fails spectacularly on almost every level. The costumes are cheap, the location work is terrible...the gore effects are risible, the dialogue is stilted, and the cast cannot disguise their Noo Yoik roots."

It is necessary to respond to these reviewers by looking at Torture Dungeon in detail. Please read on...