Monday, October 19, 2020

“I’ve Been Being Stalked for Years” - Death by 1000 Cuts (2020) - Film #189


Most of the movies we cover on Senseless Cinema are classics from the 1970s and 1980s that have stood the test of time. But there are more recent films that become, instantly, instant classics. Andrew Getty's The Evil Within (2017) comes to mind, as does the first segment of Glenn Danzig's Verotika (2020), a film so boldly abstract that the projector in a cinema is represented by a fan with a lamp behind it sitting on a shelf. Another of these classics is Sam Salerno's Death by 1000 Cuts (2020), a feature-length expansion of a well-received 2019 short film.

Some of your universe's critics, as always, misinterpret the considerable qualities of this film. Reviewer Herb Gallow writes, “The acting is brutal, even by microbudget standards, and the script makes little sense, to the point that it becomes harder and harder to care about what's happening the further this goes.” And reviewer Dako17 writes, “The acting and kill scenes are so poorly done I still just feel like I'm watching some friends make a sh*t movie.”

Read on to experience the wonders of the modern classic Death by 1000 Cuts...

Monday, October 5, 2020

"We Don't Need No Appointment" - Mansion of the Doomed (1976) - Film #188


Everyone loves prolific actor Michael Pataki, star of Dream No Evil (1970), Grave of the Vampire (1972), and Graduation Day (1981), among many other films. It is now time to dive into one of his few directorial efforts, Mansion of the Doomed (1976), produced by Charles Band with effects work by the legendary Stan(ley) Winston.

Some of your universe's critics are characteristically unkind to Mr. Pataki's directorial debut. For example, reviewer marcburrage writes, "This is trash, pure and simple." Reviewer insomniac_rod writes, "The movie wasn't just done correctly." And reviewer poolandrews writes, "My biggest problem with it is that it's all rather dull and forgettable, and a little bit slow."

Read on for the truth about Mansion of the Doomed...

Monday, September 21, 2020

"Evil Got to Be Fought with Evil" - House of the Living Dead (1974) - Film #187


Of all the films with "of the living dead" or "of the dead" in the title, nearly 100% involve the presence of zombies or similar living dead creatures. Therefore, we will now cover one of the most original films of this type, 1974's House of the Living Dead, a film that involves a house but no living dead. The staggering creativity of this film deserves to be heralded.

Some of your universe's critics do not appreciate creativity in film. For example, reviewer TheExpatriate700 writes, "House of the Living Dead disappoints in virtually every way, with absolutely no zombies to speak of, terrible pacing, and an absurd mixture of the supernatural and mad scientist genres." Reviewer dbborroughs writes, "Nothing compares to the endless inane dialog that just bores. Recommended only for insomniacs." And reviewer Chase_Witherspoon writes, "Worse than dull, it promises a great revelation, then fails to deliver."

You decide! Is it necessary for a "living dead" movie to have zombies, or some other form of the living dead? Read on...

Monday, September 7, 2020

“I’ll Show You How to Make Donuts” - The Child (1977) - Film #186


Won't someone please think of The Child (1977)? Robert Voskanian's pseudo-zombie film is one of several classics released between Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), a group that includes The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974), Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972), The Grapes of Death (1978), and other explorations of zombie mythology. But among these classics, The Child stands high due to its thrilling climax and sense of mystery.

Not all of your universe's critics agree. For example, reviewer preppy-3 writes, "The story is thin and there is TONS of padding to make the film 85 minutes long. The acting is terrible across the board....Badly directed with some of the WORST editing I've ever seen in a motion picture." Reviewer mwold writes, "this is just crap-it's just soooo cheap, I think that's my major complaint." And reviewer thesparklingdemo20 writes, "This movie was seriously awful. The acting was the worst! It was worse than a student film."

Needless to say, these reviewers are obviously clinically insane. Please read on for a realistic appreciation of The Child...

Monday, August 24, 2020

"I Heard What You Said But Can You Say It in a Different Way?" - Runaway Nightmare (1982) - Film #184


I must point out the axiom that films intended by their filmmakers to be quirky "cult" movies generally do not rise to the level of high-quality films we discuss here on Senseless Cinema. Runaway Nightmare (1982) is a rare exception to that axiom, however. Although the filmmakers clearly aim for a whimsical, comedic, unusual effect, their work rises to a higher level than that of a mere "comedy." Runaway Nightmare is, in fact, an almost pure distillation of a nightmare captured on film.

Many of your universe's distinguished critics find the film to be either "bad" or "weird." For example, reviewer Michael_Elliott writes, "For my money this was one of the worst and most boring films I've ever seen. I mean, you've pretty much got nothing happening throughout the 93-minute running time. You keep watching the movie expecting something of interest to happen but it never does. The film continues to drag along and there's still nothing." Reviewer EyeAskance describes the film as a "thoroughly uncategorizable whatever-the-hell-it-is is far and away one of the most aberrant gonzo visions ever committed to celluloid." And reviewer Hey_Sweden writes, "Runaway Nightmare" is not going to be for people who prefer lots of action and explosions every few minutes. It's a very sedately paced and quirky little oddity."

Read on for a more objective view of this serious, shocking motion picture...

Monday, August 10, 2020

"You Don't Need Dinner in That Foggy City" - Warlock Moon (1973) - Film #184


It is time to consider another film in that classic category of works whose titles are questionably related to their content. In this case, 1973's Warlock Moon mentions neither warlocks nor moons, but it is a fine proto-slasher and precursor to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) (though it was released after Tobe Hooper's film).

Some of your universe's critics, as usual, choose to look down on Warlock Moon. For example, reviewer Gafke writes repetitively, "This film plods along for a very long time and keeps plodding on." Reviewer nogodnomasters writes dismissively, "Sorry, but this is not a cult classic or drive-in classic." And reviewer  arion1 writes tediously, "Sometimes it seems as though the actors themselves are deliberately moving slowly so as to use up time blocks."

For a more accurate description of the seminal film Warlock Moon, please read on...

Monday, July 27, 2020

“Like Capillaries Under a Microscope” - The Manipulator (1971) - Film #183


The great actor Mickey Rooney has graced a handful of horror films--including, of course, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991); The Intruder (1975); and a 2012 movie called The Woods with which I'm unfamiliar that features Mr. Rooney, Franco Nero, Jon Polito, and Michael J. Pollard. One of his finest is The Manipulator (1971), an arthouse film about insanity and unrequited love.

Many, many of your universe's critics believe The Manipulator to be a poorly made film. For example, reviewer Ithseldy1 writes, "This movie is not only the most awful movie that I have ever seen, it makes no sense at all whatsoever!!" Reviewer very-tillotson-1 complains, "While trying to make sense of this horrible mess of a movie, I tried to understand why the once Hollywood legend, Mickey Rooney, had gotten mixed up in this atrocity?" And reviewer camcost writes, "Truthfully this film is totally hallucinogenic trash, perhaps one of the worst films I've ever watched."

Read on for details about Mickey Rooney in The Manipulator...

Monday, July 13, 2020

"Technology Doesn't Have Feelings" - Robowar (1988) - Film #182


It is probably redundant to claim that a film with Claudio Fragasso and/or Bruno Mattei in the credits is a masterpiece; those gentlemen are synonymous with the highest levels of filmmaking. Robowar (1988) is another example of their craftsmanship and their ability to take the barest hints of lesser films--in this case, The Terminator (1984), Predator (1987) and Robocop (also 1987)--and turn these ideas into far superior works of art.

Truthfully, I am getting exhausted by the failure of your universe's critics to recognize quality. Case in point: Reviewer err_42 writes, "This one is just a pain to watch....This movie is confounded by bad acting, lame dialogue, and from the looks of it, the script is only about 15 pages long!! It rarely makes any sense at any given time!...This film is rubbish!" Reviewer BandSAboutMovies writes, "On my deathbed, I will pull my family close and whisper, 'I only regret one thing. Robowar.'" And reviewer HaemovoreRex, who has the courage to admit to being a Bruno Mattei fan, writes, "Robowar is overall, a fairly bland affair. A real shame."

Not so! Please read on...

Monday, June 29, 2020

"I Could Use a Husky Man Like You out at My Poultry Ranch" - Blood Freak (1972) - Film #181


I assume everyone is aware of Brand Grinter and Steve Hawkes's Florida-set Blood Freak (1972), famous as perhaps the only anti-drug film in which a man turns into a turkey. No matter how great its fame, however, this film deserves an appreciation as a fine example of early 1970s regional horror.

Shockingly, some of your universe's critics are have "fowl" opinions of Blood Freak. For example, reviewer raymondnyc writes, "Bad acting is a staple of movies of this type, but when it's THIS bad it's just distracting." Review dfranzen70 writes (under the review title "Not So Bad It's Good," a title whose multiple negatives I must confess I cannot process), "The shoddy costume manages to distract the viewer from the purely amateurish acting and bottom-of-the-barrel script." And reviewer preppy-3 writes, "The script is terrible and (with the sole exception of Hawkes) all the acting is dreadful."

Clearly, these reviewers would benefit from the message of Blood Freak (i.e., drugs will turn you into a turkey-headed monster addicted to blood). Read on to see the true beauty and horror of Blood Freak...

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Check Out My Novel -- The Nightmare Archive: A Secret History of Haunted Films

Just a note to let you know I have a novel available under my real (?) name. The novel is called The Nightmare Archive: A Secret History of Haunted Films. In the U.S., it's 99 cents to buy, and it's free to read on Kindle Unlimited. If it sounds interesting, check it out on Amazon. Thanks!


Monday, June 15, 2020

"The Most Traumatic Ordeal a Human Being Can Experience" - Night Killer (1990) - Film #180


Cinephiles frequently point to the work of Claudio Fragasso and Bruno Mattei when they discuss the high points of horror cinema in the 1980s and 1990s. Night Killer (1990) (aka Don't Open the Door 3) is an exemplary work by these two masters, a chilling portrait of psychological torture and experimentation handled with the taste, depth, and sophistication one would expect from Messrs. Fragasso and Mattei.

Oddly, some of your universe's critics view Night Killer negatively. For example, reviewer homecoming8 dismisses the film with the parting words, "For die hard fans of the genre only but don't get your hopes up because "Night Killer" has not much to offer." Reviewer BA_Harrison dismisses the film even further by declaring it "another godawful piece of low-rent horror garbage so bad that it has to be seen to be believed." And reviewer fanatic_movie_goer dismisses the film thusly: "It doesn't have any good characters, the directing is horrendous, the cutting is mushy, the score is bad..."

Of course, Night Killer is not to be dismissed so quickly. Please read on for a full appreciation...

Monday, June 1, 2020

"What Are You Going to Have for Dessert? A Stomach Pump?" - Girls Nite Out (1982) - Film #179


Slasher movies from the early 1980s are always a gold mine of cinematic quality, and Girls Nite Out (1982) (sometimes known as The Scaremaker) is no different, despite the fact that there is no girls nite out (or, for that matter, a girls' night out) depicted anywhere in the film.

Unfortunately, your universe's critics fail to see the pure ore in this particular gold mine. Reviewer callanvass writes insultingly, "This is one of the worst slashers I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot of slashers." Reviewer dagonseve writes coherently, "If the feel of a Slasher title is what you're after you'll be sorely disappointed when you discover that the film primarily focuses on college tomfoolery." And reviewer FieCrier writes dismissively, "Absolutely one of the worst slasher movies I have ever seen. As Jim Harper writes in his book on slashers, Legacy of Blood, 'Watch it if you have to, but you'll probably wish you hadn't.'"

Please read on for a less biased recounting of the seminal slasher film Girls Nite Out...

Monday, May 18, 2020

"'Why' Is the Most Overused Word in the English Language" - Graveyard Story (1991) - Film #178


Why don't we take this time to examine in great detail 1991's Graveyard Story, another Canadian film from the director of Beyond the Seventh Door, Bozidar D. Benedikt. While this film does not feature the cheekbones or hair of Mr. Lazar Rockwood, it does feature Mr. John Ireland.

Some of your universe's critics obviously misunderstand the works of Bozidar D. Benedikt's. For example, reviewer linseylockley writes, "The acting was like watching Middle School children in a poorly-directed play. The dialogue, also, was horribly written." Reviewer triso writes with some unwarranted bigotry, "This is a typical bad Canadian movie. There are no thrills, no chills and no spills." (This is inaccurate. I counted at least three spills.) And reviewer Leofwine_draca writes, "THE GRAVEYARD STORY turns into a standard kidnap thriller with some very bad acting from the supporting cast, particularly the woeful actors playing the gangsters."

How could these critics be so wrong? Please read on...

Monday, May 11, 2020

“The Time Has Come for Your Real Problems” - Beyond the Seventh Door (1987) - Film #177



Although 1987's Beyond the Seventh Door is for all intents and purposes a video game movie, it is surprisingly not based on a video game. The film was shot in Canada and shot on video (two qualities that of course contribute to its classic status) to showcase the talents of the semi-prolific Serbian actor Lazar Rockwood...and showcase them it does.

Unfortunately, some of your universe's critics are ill-informed enough to find fault with Beyond the Seventh Door. Reviewer deheor writes, "This is a truly awful movie that people should watch once simply to have a basis for comparison the next time someone complains about a bad film. No matter what movie is bothering them you can step up and say 'you don't know what crap is until you endure beyond the 7th door'." Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "And it's fair to say that this is an inept film throughout, with direction that's even worse than the acting." And reviewer danreguly writes, "one has to wonder how and/or why his oh-so-obvious butchery of acting occurred?"

Please read on, if only for the sake of Canada and shot-on-video films...

Monday, April 27, 2020

“Tell Us Your Thoughts on the United States and the Laws of Physics” - Hellmaster (1992) aka Them - Film #176


It is time to examine Douglas Schulze's 1993 film Hellmaster aka Them, which features horror film stalwarts John Saxon and David Emge. Rarely has there been a more coherent film about the dangers of drug experimentation by religious cults than Hellmaster.

Even a film as entertaining and stylish as Hellmaster cannot satisfy your universe's critics, it seems. Reviewer RatedVforVinny writes, "One of the very worst horror movies, with very little merit and even less credibility. avoid." Reviewer vivekmaru45 writes, "I have written this review as a final word NOT TO SEE THIS FILM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. As a horror viewer for over 25 years and I have seen at least a 1000 horror films, my message is again - STEER CLEAR OF THIS ONE." And reviewer nev_the_bassist writes, "Admittedly I did watch it with a smile, but this was a smile of disbelief due to how badly [sic] the film is badly [sic] written, not to mention the bad edited with audio levels all over the place. All in all the shiny little disc would make a rather nice coaster for your mug of tea."

Read on for a true picture of this fascinating film...

Monday, April 13, 2020

"What If He Starts Offering Out Drugs?" - Suffer Little Children (1983) - Film #175


Let us turn to the legendary British shot-on-VHS thriller Suffer Little Children (1983), one of the finest pieces of cinema ever created by an acting school populated almost entirely by children. As with The Zodiac Killer (1971), the circumstances of the making of the film are almost as interesting as the film itself--though the circumstances with Suffer Little Children (amateur project by acting school) are less grim than those surrounding The Zodiac Killer (attempt to catch serial murderer), the film itself is considerably more graphic and disturbing.

Oddly, some critics in your universe fail to appreciate this masterpiece. Reviewer Coventry writes, "'Suffer, Little Children' is so bad that I can hardly find enough synonyms for awful to describe what's going on here. It's practically unwatchable, with lousy editing, incomprehensible narration, inaudible dialogs (also because the acting performances are so inept) and no sign of coherence or pace whatsoever." Reviewer juderussell-84094 writes, "Look, this movie is bad. Really bad." And reviewer HumanoidOfFlesh writes, "Utterly cheesy and inept horror movie made by the students of Drama School.The editing is horrible, the plot makes no sense and the lighting is amateurish."

Obviously, these reviewers are unfit even to be called reviewers. Please read on for an appreciation of this groundbreaking film...

Monday, March 30, 2020

"Be Hospitable and Gay" - Dream No Evil (1970) - Film #174


It is time to return to the world of one of horror's most underappreciated auteurs, John Hayes, director of Grave of the Vampire (1972), Garden of the Dead (1972), and End of the World (1977), among several other non-horror films. Dream No Evil is the thoughtful, surreal story of a woman's descent into madness and, possibly, murder.

Not all of your universe's critics appreciate the subtlety of Dream No Evil. For example, reviewer Coventry writes, ""Dream No Evil" is easily one of the most pointless films I ever sat through." Reviewer jacobconnelly-47681 writes, "It's a tedious, slow journey into absolute nothingness." On a more positive note, reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "I would hesitate to call Dream No Evil a good film."

Is Dream No Evil a good film? Please read on...

Monday, February 24, 2020

“Join Me...Old Crow, Finest Sausage.” - Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983) - Film #173


One of the finest rural slasher films of the 1980s is Jim McCullough, Sr.'s Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983), the story of released mental patient Evelyn Chambers and her challenges operating the titular inn, not to mention the maze of tunnels situated underneath.

Some of your universe's critics are not as enamored of this film as they should be. For example, reviewer Nightman85 writes, "This movie lacks in every possible way. The story is a rather boring one, especially considering that there is no mystery or suspense to be had! The cast is utterly horrible, even to me who can sometimes tolerate a hammy performance. There isn't any style to the direction of this movie, no decent score, nothing in the way of talent at all!" Reviewer brunzer writes, "The story is sluggish and boring, the acting is hammy, and there isn't much killing and hardly any blood or gore." And reviewer jeppegrunberger writes hyperbolically, "it might very well be the worst of it's kind... it really might."

Let us take a trip to the wild mountains of Louisiana to see the true horror that is Mountaintop Motel Massacre...

Monday, February 10, 2020

“It Ain’t Halloween If You Can’t Scare a Few Kids Once in a While” - Jack-O (1995) - Film #172


Let’s turn to one of the finest of the many classic films set on Halloween. I am speaking, of course, about 1995’s Jack-O, a demonic revenge tale which features literally seconds of footage of the great John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell.

Reviewer nixshows writes, “ It's straight up bottom-of-the-barrel Z-grade. The acting is the worst ever on film.” Reviewer RikFlash writes, “ This movie is just plane lame...this is straight garbage.” And the esteemed reviewer metalrage666 writes, “ The whole movie is contrived, I've seen better and more believable effects in movies made in the 50's, the dialogue seems forced and the acting is non- existent.”

Read on for a more realistic assessment of Steve Latshaw’s Jack-O...

Monday, January 27, 2020

"I Never Saw Such a Fog or Chill as This" - Garden of the Dead (1972) - Film #171


If John Hayes had directed only Grave of the Vampire (1972) and End of the World (1977), he would be considered one of the world's finest auteurs. But he directed additional classics as well, including the early zombie film Garden of the Dead (1972), which we now consider, and which warns the world about the horrific side effects of sniffing formaldehyde.

One wonders what the reviewers of your universe are sniffing when they refuse to accept Garden of the Dead as a classic. Reviewer MetalGeek writes, "It isn't scary, isn't gory, and isn't even silly enough to be considered 'so bad it's good.'" Reviewer gattonero975 writes, "This 'Garden' should definable be left alone and left to dry and die!" Dry and die? How cruel! And reviewer pawned79 writes, "Nothing I can say can possible describe the horror that I felt when I watched this movie." (Perhaps a compliment, though this reviewer's score of 3 out of 10 for the film argues against such an interpretation.)

Read on for a true appreciation of the great John Hayes's atmospheric and innovative zombie film...

Monday, January 20, 2020

"No Good Comes Out of That Lake. Except the Fish I Catch" - Blood Sabbath (1972) - Film #170


One highly entertaining cinematic genre is the metaphysical allegory titled to suggest it is an intense horror film. Blood Sabbath is one of the strongest of this small but high-quality genre.

Reviewer coventry writes, "Not one sequence in the entire movie makes the slightest bit of sense and everything looks so poor it almost becomes pitiful." Reviewer DigitalRevenantX7 writes, "The special effects, when they do appear, are so poor that you end up groaning in disappointment." And reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "it proves to be rather incoherent, and very tedious."

These reviewers are clearly uninterested in subtlety and allegorical meaning. Read on for a more balanced look at 1972's Blood Sabbath...

Monday, January 13, 2020

"The Perfect Place for a Psychotic Investigation" - Nightwish (1988) - Film #169


One of the prime periods of creativity in American film was the middle to late eighties, when filmmakers mined the surrealism introduced in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) to great effect. A fine example of surrealism is Bruce R. Cook's Nightwish (1988), which we discuss today.

Some of your universe's critics are not kind to Nightwish. For example, reviewer mrcool1122, under the headline "Worst Movie Ever," writes, "you'll leave this movie feeling alone and taken advantage of, like a puppy who isn't wanted anymore and is left in a box by the side of the road. Blech." Reviewer paul_haakonsen writes, "I managed to endure an hour of the ordeal before I gave up. By then I had simply lost all interest in the movie and the pointless storyline and the random happenings of events that made little sense." And reviewer WisdomsHammer writes, "The overall story was what did me in. I wasn't invested in any of these characters and the ending was so predictable and lackluster that I groaned."

Read on for the truth about Nightwish...

Monday, January 6, 2020

“A Jesus Freak Now Believes in Spacemen” - Heatstroke (2008) - Film #168


How could a movie with alien dinosaurs, D. B. Sweeney, and Danica McKellar fail to be a classic? Of course, that is a rhetorical question, signaling the beginning of our discussion of 2008's Heatstroke, a classic monster movie set in a tropical paradise.

Some of your universe's critics fail to understand classics like Heatstroke. For example, reviewer rob_p writes, "The script was deplorable. Predictable and cliché ridden. The characters were flat and uninteresting. The CGI aliens are appallingly bad." Reviewer kiawa77 writes, "I just kept watching it in order to write a review on it, but I can't even write a decent review because it was really that bad. A terrible, illogical script with a set of wooden actors delivering their lines in a very flat way." And reviewer kiat-2 writes, "The director has cooked up a turkey - the very worst film I've seen for a long time."

Read on...