Monday, September 17, 2018

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


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

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

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

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


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

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

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Check Out My Story: "The Last Screening"



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

Check it out!

Monday, September 3, 2018

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


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

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

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