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...


Monday, July 16, 2018

"What Are You Doing Here in America?" - Blood (1973)


At Senseless Cinema, we have neglected some of the acclaimed masters of horror, so let us start to dive into the filmography of one of the most celebrated and artistic of those masters: Andy Milligan. We will now discuss his 1973 film Blood, one of his most accessible and entertaining films.

Oddly, not all of your universe's critics are enraptured with Blood. For example, on IMDB, reviewer trashgang calls Blood "A low budget movie with almost no acting whatsoever." Reviewer Bezenby, apparently missing the point of the film, writes, "Well, here's my first Andy Milligan film, and I'm feeling fairly indifferent about it, even though I fully knew what to expect....All this leads to, mainly, is people standing around in period costumes, talking endlessly." In a contemporary review in Cinefantastique, John Duvoli writes uncharitably, "This mercifully short horror film is yet another horrid exercise from Andy Milligan....This, as the director's earlier efforts, should be avoided at all costs."

Let us analyze the film to show why it is not as horrid as these "reviewers" claim...

Monday, July 9, 2018

"Conquer the World! That's Me!" - Mutant War (1988)


Having already discussed Battle for the Lost Planet (1985), let us move quickly into a discussion of its sequel, Mutant War (1988), an equally astute investigation of the post-apocalyptic world with even more stop-motion monsters, and this time featuring the great Cameron Mitchell.

Monday, July 2, 2018

"It's Mostly Boring with a Little Bit of Violence Thrown In" - Battle for the Lost Planet (1985)


Let us now turn to prolific director Brett Piper's Battle for the Lost Planet (1985) aka Galaxy aka Galaxy Destroyer, one of a rare breed of science fiction film made for adults rather than children. This is clear from scenes of violence, a scene in which the two main characters make love and then must fend off a monster while nude, and in the profanity of the dialogue.

On IMDB, reviewer unbrokenmetal calls the film "Science fiction trash with ridiculous special effects." Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "This is a very cheap film with a shot-in-the-woods vibe. There's a lot of cheesy action and many special effects, most of which aren't so special at all." (Unusually for films reviewed here, I could not find a third review of this film.)

I must take issue with the reviewers' common theme of insulting the film's special effects. While not computer generated, the effects are quite special indeed, even inspiring. Read on to find out more about this unique science fiction film...

Monday, June 25, 2018

"A Knowledge of the Human Anatomy Not Generally Found in the Average Person" - Night Ripper (1986)


As everyone knows, the mid-1980s were a treasure trove full of shot-on-video horror gems. One of the foremost gems is Night Ripper! (1986), written and directed by Jeff Hathcock and featuring one highly recognizable actor who struck it big in the 1990s.

Not all critics appreciate this film's charms. For example, reviewer Toronto85 writes, "The acting is awful, the music is terrible." Reviewer LuisitoJoaquinGonzalez writes, "The horrendous sound led me to believe that there wasn't even a boom mike...and the picture quality is – seriously – that of a camcorder." Similarly, reviewer IPreferEvidence writes, "The movie is really dated and some people like myself like that but I don't think that even the most hardcore 80s slasher fans would like this. Its boring and as mediocre as it gets."

Of course, these critics are incorrect. Read on for a discussion of the eminent qualities of Night Ripper!...

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...

Monday, April 2, 2018

"Continual Life Has Its Continual Ups and Downs" - Frankenstein Island (1981)


Let us now discuss the final film of Jerry Warren, Frankenstein Island (1981), made 15 years after his penultimate film, The Wild World of Batwoman (1966).

Reviewer angelynx-2 writes, "Nothing in it makes ANY SENSE AT ALL!" About the film's screenplay, humanresistor writes, "The dialogue seems to have been written by someone who's never actually heard a conversation between people before, and acted by people who've never participated in one." Dismissively, Paul Andrews writes, "How Jerry Warren had the nerve to film this rubbish I'll never know. Not bad in a good kind of way, just plain bad."

( do not know what Paul Andrews means by "Not bad in a good kind of way." There is only good and bad. And Frankenstein Island is in no way bad. Please read on to see the many ways in which the film is not bad at all...

Monday, March 26, 2018

"Did You Touch the Dumpster?" - Night Shadow (1989)


We have already covered the classic Werewolf Woman (1976) on Senseless Cinema, and we would not want to be accused of sexism, so it is time to turn to a male werewolf movie, 1989's Night Shadow, famous for pairing two titans of cinema: Aldo Ray and Kato Kaelin (though, unfortunately, neither is actually a werewolf in the film).

On IMDB, reviewer Paul Andrews writes, "I thought Night Shadow was not particularly great in any capacity." Reviewer Wuchak writes that Night Shadow is "akin to a modern Syfy creature feature, but with a production quality a notch below that prosaic level. The serviceable score, for instance, sounds like it was performed entirely on a Casio keyboard (and no doubt it was). There's also too much marking time." The well-named reviewer Dr. Gore writes, "Terrible. Awful. Retching. Nightmarish. Worst movie ever. I mean ever. I have seen some painful films in my day but this is the king. It still hasn't been dethroned."

On the other hand, I would like to (finally) include a positive review in my discussion of the film. A reviewer named ripsurf writes the following, which I include here in unexpurgated form:

"The entertainment value on this priceless and timeless movie is beyond words! The actors and actresses do a great job portraying the fear that gets lodged into the people's hearts and minds is fantastic!
"That actress that plays Beth could go on to do some superb work, if only someone gave her a chance. She has the look of stardom, and could easily pull off any hard rolls thrown her way. Just because this movie didn't get any awards, doesn't mean that it isn't a great film. The music, the acting, and that werewolf!!! are amazing! Hats off to everyone involved in this movie. I hope all of them go on to great careers in the movie business. Good luck to everyone who worked on this movie, you made a movie that is scary, fun, and exciting for everyone to enjoy. The night we rented this movie was something our family will remember forever, we had so much fun, and for days we repeated scenes to relive the great time we had while watching this movie together. I will always remember this amazing movie and the great time my family had with it! Thanks so much Night Shadow!!"
Thanks so much Night Shadow indeed. Mr. or Ms. ripsurf "gets it" and has my appreciation and respect. (Unfortunately, Night Shadow is the only film ripsurf has reviewed, so those looking for hidden gems identified through ripsurf's peerless critical acumen will be disappointed.) For those reviewers who do not "get it," however, I feel I must describe the wonders of Night Shadow, truly an American parallel to the wonderful Werewolf Woman.

Monday, March 19, 2018

"Remember Childhood Innocence and Freedom?" - Curse of the Headless Horseman (1972)


Even the most jaded critics must admit that one of the most artistically satisfying genres of film is the one that relies entirely on post-dubbed dialogue and sound. Such films remove the artifice of synchronized sound, allowing the filmmakers’ intentions to affect the audience directly. Leonard Kirtman/John Kirkland's Curse of the Headless Horseman (1972) is a fine example of this genre.

Not everyone appears to agree with my assessment, however. For example, on IMDB, reviewer Hitchcoc writes, "Whoever thought this up didn't know what he was doing. The acting is about as bad as you can get." Reviewer cameron-kills-it writes, "The dialogue is horrible, the acting even worse, and the thing doesn't even make any sense." Reviewer Chase_Witherspoon writes, "Amateurish and virtually incoherent with little sense, structure, plot development or solid narrative, there's very little to recommend."

Read on for a more sober appreciation of this clever film, which, contrary to the reviewers' "opinions," does make some amount of sense.

Monday, March 12, 2018

"The Government Doesn't Go Around Killing People" - Barracuda (1978)


While Senseless Cinema has not exactly steered clear of killer fish movies and nautical horror--see, for example, our treatment of the classics Tentacles (1977), Blood Surf (2000), or Creatures from the Abyss (1994)--there are, to coin a phrase, many killer fish in the sea. Today we look at 1978's Barracuda, a conspiracy thriller that employs killer fish to create effective suspense and horror.

Some of your Universe-X's critics look down on films like this (and specifically this film). For example, on IMDB, reviewer The_Dead_See writes, "it's incredibly bad on many levels: cheesy acting, bizarre plot twists, a hilariously inept police force." Reviewer coventry writes that Barracuda is "a textbook case of misleading – or even downright false advertisement, really." Finally, reviewer BA_Harrison, after cruelly (if cleverly) titling the review "Bore-acuda," writes, "Poorly directed, totally devoid of suspense or terror, and relatively gore free, this film will definitely disappoint those looking for a cheerfully cheap Jaws knock-off."

Nonsense! I believe Barracuda would not disappoint anyone looking for a cheerfully cheap Jaws knock-off, and I will prove this fact by diving into the details of the film to show what a classic it truly is.


Monday, March 5, 2018

"The Worst Mother Fire in History" - The Prey (1984)


Let us now return to the wilderness for 1984's minimalist Colorado-set slasher classic The Prey, a film which, shockingly, is not well respected by many cineastes.

For example, on IMDB, reviewer fiecrier writes, "It is pretty boring, and filled with all kinds of pointless ridiculous stuff." Backlash007 writes, "Under normal circumstances, I can find something I like about the most reviled horror film. Not this time. The Prey is a horrible bore." Reviewer Kazoo-2 writes, blasphemously as well as incorrectly, "Even by the lowered standards of '80s slasher movies, this one stinks."

I must correct these uninformed misconceptions, so please read on for an unbiased view of The Prey.

Monday, February 26, 2018

"He's Dynamite in Bed, If That's What You Mean" - Beyond Evil (1980)


Can anything be more exciting to the filmgoer than the opening title "A Herb Freed Film"? Surely not.

Between Haunts (1977) and Graduation Day (1981), Mr. Freed directed Beyond Evil (1980), a supernatural thriller set in the Philippines starring the dynamic duo of John Saxon and Lynda Day George.

Surprisingly, such a pedigree is not enough for some of your universe's respected critics. On IMDB, reviewer coventry writes, "The story isn't exactly original, blending cliché horror premises like haunted houses, soul-possessions, spiritual tribes and witchcraft." Reviewer Whovian says, "This is really quite an awful movie." Reviewer The Bronson Fan writes, "Totally boring movie....Truly bad and stupid with special effects that are poor even for the time."

Needless to say, these reviews are nonsense. Read on for a more balanced portrait of this cinematic gem from the always reliable Herb Freed.

Monday, February 19, 2018

"He Probably Took Them on an Impromptu Picnic" - The Children (1980)


(Note: This post is a contribution to The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense's 8th annual The Shortening, which celebrates the shortest month by covering "films that deal with vertically challenged villains." This film, The Children, was covered on that blog here in 2010.)

We turn our attention to Max Kalmanowicz's The Children (1980), one of the most fondly remembered--and rightfully so--horror films of the early 1980s. Unfortunately, I have found that, inexplicably, not all of your universe's critics appreciate this suburban nightmare.

Here are some of the most blatantly ignorant reviews I have found of The Children. Reviewer schmecking writes, "The characters weren't interesting, the movie gets tedious and it didn't have any momentum." Reviewer duke1907 writes, "I couldn't believe that I had waited 26 years to see such a bad movie.... The effects are horrible. There wasn't a single scene that was scary." Reviewer trishaade writes, "The ending was so very predictable, made no sense within the context of the movie and was really a huge disappointment. Plot holes abounded and much was left unexplained. It definitely could have been better written."

Suffice it to say all these misgivings about the film are entirely incorrect. Let us look at the film in some detail to contravert such delusional fallacies.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Buster's Blockbusters: The Commercial Success of Buster Keaton's Features

This post is part of Fourth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon hosted by Silent-ology.



The popularity of Buster Keaton's silent features has waxed and waned over the decades since they were created nearly a century ago, but how were they received when they were first released?

Monday, February 12, 2018

"I Have a Magnificent View of the Canyon" - Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973)


It is time to turn our attention to artist Fredric Hobbs's final film, Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973), a well mounted combination of Western and monster movie that for some reason is not as revered in your universe as it most definitely should be.

For example, reviewer emm writes, evocatively to be sure, "It's another no-budget creation that is by far remaining to be extremely unusual to this day....It also has what may very well be the looniest, dumbest ending ever recorded on film!" Reviewer PaJRJ writes, "This is an awful movie that takes itself way to[o] seriously." Reviewer Michael_Elliott writes, "Yes the acting, directing, cinematography, music score and everything else here is simply bad but you expect that out of a movie like this."

All of these reviews, and more, are entirely wrong about the film. It is clearly not a "no-budget creation," it does not take itself seriously as it is filled with humor, and the acting, directing, cinematography, and music are highly professional. I can only respond by pointing out the many positive qualities of this powerful and artistic film, so please read on...


Monday, February 5, 2018

"Here Comes the Busby Berkeley Quartet" - For Love or Murder (1970)


It is time to discuss Theodore Gershuny's existential crime film For Love or Murder (1970), known originally as Kemek, the only film as far as I know to combine the titanic acting talents of the great Al (David) Hedison and the even greater Mary Woronov.

It is difficult to find reviews of Kemek on the internet, so I will assume that it is considered a classic by most critics, who simply declined to review it because everyone considers it such. However, I did find one negative review on IMDB: Mike17 calls the film, "An exasperatingly bad film with a generic plot about a mad scientist's mind-controlling drug." (Although Mike17's conclusion is erroneous, I must give him credit for inferring that the drug in the film is a mind-controlling drug, as that is something I must have missed).

In any case, it is time to look at For Love or Murder in great detail so we may appreciate its excellence.


Monday, January 29, 2018

"Things That Go Beep and Buzz" - Death Spa (1989)


The late 1980s were a high water mark for devotees of neon-infused horror movies, and few films are as neon-infused as the remarkable Death Spa (1989), a combination of Hitchcockian suspense, American giallo, supernatural thrills, and 12-inch computer monitors.

Many of your universe's top critics fail to appreciate the qualities of Death Spa. For example, the renowned writer shark-43, on IMDB, writes that Death Spa consists of a "ridiculous script, bad acting, lame music and horrible directing." Similarly, revronster writes, "'Death Spa' is terribly made and is filled with bad acting, atrocious editing, a story that pretty much makes no logical sense and terrible practical effects and death sequences." Finally, adriangr writes, "Death Spa has forgettable characters (several of whom look the same), confusing motivations, a really silly true culprit, and really bad gore scenes." I must say this last sentence is unusual in that it is entirely wrong. None of the characters look remotely similar, their motivations are clearer than clear, the culprit is frightening, and the gore scenes are tremendous.

I suppose the only way to counter the critics' ridiculous assertions is to review the brilliant cinematic tour de force that is Death Spa.

Monday, January 22, 2018

"No Tricks, No Goober Dust" - Grave of the Vampire (1972)


We do not review many vampire films here at Senseless Cinema, in part because there are few that reach the cinematic heights of the classics we cover. However, some vampire films do display cinematic excellence, and at the forefront of that group is 1972's Grave of the Vampire, starring the reliable Michael Pataki of Graduation Day (1981) fame.

On IMDB, soulexpress writes, "a lame script, horrendous acting, cut-rate sets, ludicrous props, humdrum camera work, a grating (though occasionally effective) score, machete- styled editing, riotously bad sound effects, and one of the most predictable "surprise" endings I've ever seen." Reviewer mark.waltz, perhaps unfairly, writes that the film gave him "the urge to burn the four film DVD it is on to prevent this from getting into further hands." Reviewer GL84 writes that the film is "hindered by the inane and wholly illogical romance subplot that doesn't do the film any favors at all."

Of course, all these opinions are entirely misguided. We must recount the narrative of the film in order to demonstrate its classic qualities.

Monday, January 15, 2018

"I Got a Hang-Up About Your Hang-Ups" - Point of Terror (1971)


Today we look at an underappreciated drama classic from the early 1970s, Point of Terror.

Reviewer weho90069 writes, "Everything about this film is a howler: script, acting, production values (tin-foil sets), and the music...the music...oh, those songs!" Michael_Elliott says, "The film is bad enough to get a few laughs, especially the look at the bar, which seems to be decorated out of colored tin foil. Point of Terror fails on all other levels but I'd recommend you giving the soundtrack to someone you really hate." Reviewer Coventry writes, "Irredeemably bad & cheesy 70's horror (if you can call it horror...)....unendurably boring trash with a completely uninteresting plot."

As usual, these insults cannot stand. Prepare for the high drama and thrills of Point of Terror.

Monday, January 8, 2018

"My Sister Had Eyes Like Yours. She's Dead Now" - Graduation Day (1981)


One rule that holds across the universes is the fact that there are not many auteurs named Herb. Therefore, we need to cherish those we have. Perhaps the most accomplished of these unsung heroes is Herb Freed, director of Haunts (1977) and the topic at hand, the classic slasher film Graduation Day (1981).

As usual, many of your universe's top critics misunderstand Mr. Freed's genius. Reviewer capkronos writes, "GRADUATION DAY is not a 'good' or original film by any stretch." Reviewer FilmFatale writes, "Pretty lame and awful slasher about someone killing the members of a high school track team....Graduation Day fails to deliver on most counts." Finally, reviewer rott21, grading the film D-, writes, "This is one of the worst slasher movies that i have seen for a while....so slowwwww and boringggggg."

Let us now turn to an in-depth discussion of director Herb Freed's Graduation Day.

Monday, January 1, 2018

"Asking Picasso to Paint Your Car" - Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1981)


While 1981's Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (aka Nightmare, but I will use the more evocative title) is a slasher film of some renown in many quarters, there are misguided critics who fail to see its sophisticated qualities. For example, reviewr preppy-3 writes, “There's next to no plot, no brains, no nothing! I was equal parts bored, sickened and just amazed at how STUPID this was!” Reviewer Prismark10 writes, “Its an ultra low budget, seedy film but also dull….A lot of it is just boring with the older George in white underpants distressed and having bouts of screaming. In fact there are a lot of guys in white underpants in this film.” Finally, Rich Wright says, “Yep, this is a disjointed effort indeed, with a meandering story full of weird goings-on.”

I will give Mr. Wright points for his use of the term "goings-on," but I must differ with these reviewers because Nightmares in a Damaged Brain is not only a superior slasher film but an incisive critique of American culture in the early 1980s, approaching the sophistication of The Bees (1978), though substituting that film's images of John Saxon in a karate gi with images of actor Baird Stafford in what are colloquially called tighty-whities. Please read on...