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 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...