Monday, December 10, 2018

"An Autopsy Doesn't Do Anything for Their Looks" - Enter the Devil (1972)


On our tour of unheralded classics now moves to Southwest Texas and 1972's Enter the Devil, a chilling film that revolves around a Satanist (or possibly Christian) cult that makes nightly human sacrifices outside a sparsely populated desert town.

Reviews of Enter the Devil from your universe, surprisingly, are not entirely negative. Reviewer coventry writes, "The pacing of 'Enter the Devil' is very slow, with one too many romantic sub plots and some bizarre (and unsuccessful) attempts inserting humor." Reviewer tvm-LiveForever calls the film a "just very average movie." Reviewer oslog says, "the movie is incredibly low budget and it shows through and through." Let us look at the film in more detail. Please read on...

Monday, December 3, 2018

"I Thought Maybe You Were Stashing a Broad" - Twice Dead (1988)


Let's now discuss the classic exploration of doomed love and self-fulfilling prophecies, Twice Dead (1988), the first of many horror films to feature famed actor Todd Bridges.

Your universe's critics have been characteristically obtuse about Twice Dead. For example, reviewer AaronCapenBanner writes, "Film itself is shoddy, with a derivative, unappealing story about a vengeful ghost and a biker gang...and is directed without distinction, and looks amateurish. Dull and uninteresting film is a complete bust, with a lousy and unoriginal ending." Reviewer exocrine writes, "This movie is so horrid it is hard to put into words." Reviewer skutter-2 writes, "As a whole the movie doesn't work and the story and tone are all over the place." However, even a cursory exploration of the themes of Twice Dead will show that it is a top-notch haunted house film. Please read on...

Monday, November 26, 2018

"Yeah, She's in Trouble! The Only Person Who's in Trouble Here Is You!" - Don't Panic (1987)


Our next classic is the supernatural thriller Don't Panic (1987), a Mexican-American production written and directed by Ruben Galindo, Jr., the auteur behind the equally classic Cemetery of Terror (1985).

Of course, your universe's critics are uncharitable about this classic. Reviewer poolandrews writes, "Overall there is very little I can recommend Don't Panic by as it's a pretty terrible film all round really....One to avoid unless it's VERY cheap & your [sic] VERY bored." Reviewer tikkin writes, "There are too many boring parts however to make this a good slasher film." Insomniac_moviefan writes dismissively, "Terrible make up, stupid situations, and a lame killer make this an avoidable film at all costs."

Let us correct these impressions with a thorough review of the film itself. Please read on...

Monday, November 19, 2018

"I Don't Care About the Telephone. I Want a Hot Dog!" - The Bleeder (1983) aka Blodaren


If the Swedish film industry is known for one thing, it is slasher movies (or possibly art films or thrillers, but mostly slasher movies). The highlight of the nation's filmic output is undoubtedly The Bleeder (1983), also known as Blodaren, one of the brightest slasher films ever made.

Oddly, some of your universe's leading critics fail to admit The Bleeder's classic status. For example, reviewer superc0ntra writes, "This is probably the worst movie distributed to the public ever." Reviewer HumanoidOfFlesh writes, "The plot is idiotic and the acting is hideously bad....The action moves at snail's pace and the film is utterly lifeless and annoying.A chore to sit through." Reviewer psycroptic writes, "The overall quality of this film isn't all that good, in fact it really stinks."

Obviously, these reviews are misinformed, cruelly so. Please read on for an objective view of the first Swedish slasher movie...

Monday, November 12, 2018

"Like Being on an Elevator With No Elevator" - UFO: Target Earth (1974)


Having recently reviewed Michael de Gaetano's metaphysical Western ghost story Haunted (1977), it is appropriate that we move on to Mr. de Gaetano's first film, the metaphysical UFO movie titled UFO: Target Earth (1974). (We will ignore the fact that the title has either misplaced its colon, or has forgotten to add a second colon.)

Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "One of the sorriest excuses I've ever seen for a movie, UFO: TARGET EARTH is the pits." Reviewer vigilante407-1 writes, "UFO Target Earth is, quite simply, the single most boring movie I've ever seen. It tries to be artsy, but falls flat on its face." Reviewer jtp21455 writes, in a very personal narrative, "I have always been very interested in the UFO phenomenon and i couldn't wait to see this movie when it came out in 1974, so my ex-wife and i went to see it at a drive-in movie....This movie was so bad i looked around and everyone else left, and we were the only ones left, i finally couldn't take it anymore and we also left."

These reviewers ignore the film's metaphysical commentary, so their opinions must be corrected. Please read on...

Monday, November 5, 2018

"The Voice of His Blood Crying Out to Me from the Ground" - Haunted (1977)



Let us turn to the Arizona-set film Haunted (1977), a fine example of one of the most difficult of subgenres: the ghost story without ghosts. Instead of a horror movie, Haunted is a deep psychological drama set in an abandoned wild west movie ranch. As if the concept were not enough to establish the film as a classic, it also stars as romantic partners the 51-year-old Aldo Ray and the 57-year-old Virginia Mayo.

Reviewer BA_Harrison calls Haunted "A dull, perplexing mess that makes not one iota of sense." Reviewer aftermathsystems, who worked on the film, writes, "Working the set I felt like a high school drama class could have done a better job." Reviewer jeopelkarma writes, "This is bad. Really bad. Bad acting, script, sets, everything." (It must be argued, however, that, objectively, the sets in the film are quite good.)


Monday, October 29, 2018

Check Out My Story: "Moonface Returns"



My short story “Moonface Returns” is included in the collection Under the Full Moon’s Light, edited by Emma Nelson and Hannah Smith and published by Owl Hollow Press.

Check it out!

Monday, October 22, 2018

"Ice Cream for Breakfast?" - Blood Frenzy (1987)


In 1987, most of the horror genre had moved beyond wilderness slasher films, but that does not mean that several classics in that subgenre were not still to be made. Case in point: Blood Frenzy, a formidable slasher set in the desert near Barstow, California featuring Lisa Loring, Wednesday Addams herself.

Reviewer Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki writes that "the characters are all so very annoying, and the gore effects are all so underwhelming they aren't worth waiting for." Reviewer ofumalow writes, "This is a mediocre low-budget slasher with poor gore effects (that it inexplicably dwells on, so you really have time to appreciate how unconvincingly rubbery that neck-slashing looks) and dumb characters." And reviewer obscurecinema101 writes, "Unfortunately, BLOOD FRENZY became a little too repetitive for its own good....During the climactic showdown, it just turns to all out goofiness, which really doesn't work in the film's favor."

Continue reading for an unbiased look at the quality of the desert survival slasher Blood Frenzy...

Monday, October 15, 2018

"If I'm Not Mistaken, They Want to Hurt Us" - Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals (1983)


At Senseless Cinema, we rarely look at historical films, but this oversight will be rectified as we travel all the way back to the beginning of humanity to see the true story of Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals (1983), also known as Adam and Eve, Blue Paradise, and Adam and Eve: The First Love Story.

Not everyone in your universe understands the relevance or the sumptuous dramatic qualities of this film. Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "ADAM AND EVE MEET THE CANNIBALS is undoubtedly the weirdest Bible story you'll ever see....one memorably bad film." Reviewer Michael_Elliott writes, "we've got some really lame performances and the dubbing is pretty bad as well but there's really not too much dialogue." Reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "Obviously, this is far from great cinema, and not really deserving of a very high rating."

Not really deserving of a very high rating? Please read on to see why this Italian historical epic is indeed really deserving of a very high rating...

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Accident? Lady, That Man Was Hung!" - Criminally Insane II (1987)


Having just reviewed Nick Millard's masterwork Criminally Insane (1975), it is time to move on to its sequel, the slightly different though no less brilliant Criminally Insane 2 (1987), aka Crazy Fat Ethel II.

Some writers have trouble understanding the nuances of this film. Reviewer udar55 writes, "HOLY MOLY! Does this movie suck! You know you are in trouble when the open credits start up and they are just the credits from the first film, apparently filmed off a TV screen." Reviewer Hammett writes, rather cleverly though incorrectly, "This film was poorly made with cheap effects and even worse acting. The characters are so wooden when delivering their lines that they should be standing out in front of a cigar store." And reviewer Kastore writes, "This is the most boring worthless piece of crap I've ever wasted an hour of my life on."

Needless to say, these opinions are not worth the paper they are printed on. Please continue reading so that you may fully appreciate Nick Millard's Criminally Insane II...

Monday, October 1, 2018

"My Heart's Just Fine as Long as My Stomach's Not Empty" - Criminally Insane (1975)


We now turn to an acknowledged classic of the horror genre, Criminally Insane (1975), directed by Nick Millard (aka Nick Philips).

Despite the film's acclaim, some critics in your universe refuse to give it the proper respect. For example, reviewer jwvongoethe1800 writes, "OH MY GOD WAS THIS MOVIE BAD....AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS!!! (especially the sequel)." Reviewer lemon_magic writes, "The dreariness and awfulness never let up, even for an instant." Reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "With a terrible script, not one appealing character, amateurish direction, editing that is more of a butcher job than any of Ethel's murders, and the most unrealistic gore imaginable (the blood looks like red emulsion, probably because it is), I didn't find this to be a case of 'so bad it's good' just plain bad."

Please read on and I will elucidate the unequaled qualities of Criminally Insane...

Monday, September 24, 2018

"Why Are Your Paintings So Grotesque?" - Scream Baby Scream (1969)


It is now my pleasure to talk about a relatively obscure film, Scream Baby Scream (1969), written by the brilliant Larry Cohen. As a film that features a mad artist and a mad surgeon, this film could not help but be a classic.

As usual with undiscovered classics, many critics from your universe are incapable of seeing the quality of this film. Reviewer chanvat writes, "This film is absolutely not scary. To even call this horror or a 'thriller' is laughable." Reviewer tromafreak writes, "Scream Baby Scream very well may be the worst in Florida horror/gore of its era, but, I suppose, underneath the unlikeable characters, and the incoherent plot, lies potential." Reviewer cameraslave43 writes, "Uuuugh this is an ugly movie. The ultimate bargain basement thriller."

It is time to explore Scream Baby Scream in more detail. Please read on...

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)...

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...


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.