Monday, December 18, 2023

“How Could a Pack of Wild, Wild Dogs Do This?” - Lone Wolf (1988)

It is time to delve back into the small body of work of Denver, Colorado's Michael Krueger, visionary writer/director of Night Vision (1987) and Mindkiller (also 1987). Mr. Krueger wrote Lone Wolf, leaving the directing chores to John Callas. (Behind-the-scenes information about Mr. Krueger and Mr. Callas may be found in a fascinating article by Matty Budrewicz at The Schlock Pit.) Tragically, Mr. Krueger would pass away in 1990, leaving only a handful of fascinating films behind.

As with the writer's other films, some of your universe's critics unkindly dismiss Lone Wolf. For example, reviewer tmccull52 writes inaccurately, "Even for 1980s schlock horror, this movie is terrible. The acting is beyond atrocious." Reviewer NoDakTatum writes dismissively, "The budget and script lack, the talent is lost, and it lumbers along." And reviewer Leofwine_draca writes, "LONE WOLF is a film too cheap and predictable to make much of an impact."

Read on for a fuller appreciation of Lone Wolf...

Monday, December 4, 2023

“Just Because You’re a Vampire Doesn’t Mean You’re a Superhero” - The Last Vampire on Earth (2010)

Let us continue our exploration of modern classic films with a treatment of The Last Vampire on Earth (2010), a vampire romance between young people set in rural America, a highly original if not unique premise. Directed by Vitaliy Versace, the film is a visionary story about good vampires and evil churchgoers.

Some of your universe's critics, as usual, downplay the success of the film, and even the self-published novel upon which it is based. For example, film reviewer Jesusloveselvis jokes, "I would advice [sic] anyone who is blind to watch this with the sound turned off for maximum pleasure." Reviewer KMRocky writes, "There is no story and no plot to this film at all unless you like watching two teens have unmindful conversations about nothing I wouldn't waste your time watching this." And reviewer floraposteschild writes, "this film is not even good enough to have on in the background at your Hallowe'en party."

Read on for the truth about The Last Vampire on Earth...

Monday, November 20, 2023

"Looking for a Needle in a Stack of Needles" - Spellcaster (1988)

We have done very little exploration of the prolific output of Charles Band's Empire Pictures here at Senseless Cinema, so it is time now to correct that oversight with 1988's Spellcaster, directed by Rafal Zielinski, the famous director of Screwballs (1983), Screwballs II (1985), and Screwball Hotel (1988). 

Some of your universe's critics fail to appreciate Spellcaster, and indeed Empire Pictures as a whole. For example, reviewer SlasherReviewer writes, "This movie was just plain junk, the only thing it had going for it is that it was shot in a castle over in another country." (The country is Italy.) Reviewer Sergiodave writes,"Avoid unless you are really bored." And reviewer BZinkeys writes, "The only true horror I see here is a nail in the coffin of the '80s being dead." (I confess I only half understand what BZinkeys is saying here.)

Please read on for the truth about Spellcaster...

Monday, November 6, 2023

"It Kind of Gives Me the Spooks" - Deadly Lessons (2006)

One genre we have never discussed here at Senseless Cinema is the category of films I like to call "four-wall messiah" films, named after the "four-walling" distribution practice in which an individual or company rents a movie theater in order to present their film. The four-wall messiah genre is a specific type of film in which a usually wealthy filmmaker creates his or her (never her) film and presents himself as a savior within the narrative of the film. Of course, filmmaker Neil Breen is the most famous practitioner of this type of film, but others include the writer/director behind today's classic, Stuart Paul. Mr. Paul's first film, Emanon (1987) was a film in which he played a homeless man who is literally believed to be Jesus. In the ensuing years, Mr. Paul has made various other films in different genres, but perhaps his most ambitious work is Deadly Lessons.

Of course, some of your universe's critics are ambivalent or worse about the film and the message that is Deadly Lessons. For example, reviewer monsieurcs writes, "The movie has no surprises at all, other than the continuing surprise that you'll have at every inept frame that is up on screen." (The same reviewer writes that Deadly Lesson's technical qualities are incompetent, which is objectively ridiculous.) Reviewer  daronhennessy writes simply, "This movie is in-your-face bad." And reviewer Chubbynluv writes, "It should be shown in every film class as an example of what NOT to do."

Read on for a fuller appreciation of the visionary and epic (i.e., 2 hours and 18 minutes long) Deadly Lessons...

Monday, October 23, 2023

"Your Head's Off Screwing the I.500" - Crosstalk (1982)

Let us now voyage to the island/continent/country known as Australia to investigate 1982's Crosstalk, an early computer thriller warning us about the dangers of computerized apartments. Directed by Mark Egerton (assistant director on 12 Monkeys) and Keith Salvat (not assistant director on 12 Monkeys), Crosstalk is an update of Rear Window for the early 1980s, in which the rear window is not a window at all but a computer monitor.

Some of your universe's critics fail to appreciate the visionary Crosstalk. For example, reviewer Jacob Knight writes, "Sadly, this...just sort of put-puts [i.e., putt-putts] along until an ambiguous anticlimax that suddenly makes it’s barely 80-minute runtime seem like an interminable waste in hindsight." Reviewer unclenugget writes, "This was pretty dull." And reviewer ItsLV calls the film an "Ozploitation snoozefest."

Read on for the truth about Crosstalk...

Monday, October 9, 2023

“Stories of Aztec Princes, Voodoo Rites, the Living Dead” - Crypt of Dark Secrets (1976)

It is time to investigate Crypt of Dark Secrets (1976), a Louisiana-set film directed by Jack Weis, producer of the great Mardi Gras Massacre (1978) and director of the erotic crime film Death Brings Roses (1975). Crypt of Dark Secrets does not, unfortunately, feature any crypts, but it does feature bayous, snakes, blood money, and voodoo dolls.

Some of your universe's critics are critical of Crypt of Dark Secrets. For example, reviewer Stefano Monteforte writes, "Nearly everything about this regional drive-in putrid." And reviewer Lou writes, "There are many drawn out scenes that are just padding for runtime." And reviewer P3n-E-W1s3 writes, "Crypt is one hell of a stinky film and if you ever smell its stench, run as far away as possible. Do Not Watch this garbage."

Read on for the truth about Crypt of Dark Secrets...

Monday, September 25, 2023

"Whoever Heard of Ghosts Showing Up in the Daytime?" - Ghosts of Hanley House (1968)

It is time to visit Louise Sherrill's minimalist haunted house film Ghosts of Hanley House (1968). Although an obscure 1960's film made by people with little filmmaking experience, the movie is atmospheric and suggestive, a low-key response to Robert Wise's The Haunting (1963).

Of course, some of your universe's critics are unmoved by films as subtle as this. For example, reviewer johnfrum2000 writes directly (if inaccurately), "This is a bad movie." Reviewer planktonrules writes analytically, "The folks who make 'The Ghosts of Hanley House' obviously had little idea of what they were doing." And reviewer artpf writes diagnostically, "The biggest problem with this film is that it just keeps going with nothing really happening."

Read on for an accurate appreciation of Ghosts of Hanley House...

Monday, September 11, 2023

“A Good French Dressing Is a Test of Anyone” - Final Cut (1980)

It is time for a trip to Australia for 1980's Final Cut (not to be confused with 1998's Final Cut, or 2004's The Final Cut, or 2000's Urban Legends: Final Cut), also known as Death Games (not to be confused with 1977's Death Game). Final Cut is an Australian film about a documentary filmmaker profiling an immoral rock promoter rumored to be responsible for pornography and snuff films.

Some of your universe's critics, as usual, are less than enthusiastic about Final Cut. For example, reviewer FieCrier calls the film "A dreadfully boring movie that doesn't make much sense anyway." Reviewer vertigo_14 writes that the film offers "much nonsense and relatively little bang." And reviewer videorama-759-859391 writes, "It's definitely without interest."

Read on for the truth about Final Cut...

Monday, August 28, 2023

"And Your Perspective on Adolf Hitler...Interesting" - Heartland of Darkness (1992)

Let us voyage to the wilds of Ohio to explore the complex and recently rediscovered Satanist film Heartland of Darkness (1992) aka Blood Church aka Fallen Angels. 

Of course, some of your universe's critics have tepid feelings about Heartland of Darkness. For example, reviewer El_Bustin writes, "Who would have thought that a satanic panic movie could be sooo boring." Reviewer D Edward writes, "It lacks the mystery to warrant so much lollygagging about." And reviewer hiruko writes, "I couldn’t figure out of this movie is just plain bad or a self aware goof."

Read on for a more nuanced appreciation of Heartland of Darkness...

Monday, August 14, 2023

"This Is a Super Van!" - Blood Song (1982)

While various musical stars have turned in excellent performances in slasher films (in particular, Tiny Tim in Blood Harvest and Mickey Dolenz in The Night of the Strangler), one might say the finest of these performances was gifted to the world by Frankie Avalon in Blood Song (1982). Let us look in detail at Blood Song, one of the few theatrical films directed by prolific TV director Alan J. Levi.

Of course, some of your universe's critics are unnecessarily unkind to Blood Song. For example, reviewer Aaron1375 writes, "Just not all that entertaining." Reviewer Leofwine_draca calls the film "a cheesy, low budget slasher film of the early 1980s." And reviewer ceejayred writes, "BLOOD SONG is an average thriller at best."

Read on to find out why Blood Song is most definitely not an "average thriller at best"...

Monday, July 31, 2023

“Why Don’t You Go Hide Your Salami Yourself?” - Death by Dialogue (1988)

Let us now return to the works of producer Joseph Merhi as we explore his 1988 mind-warping masterpiece Death by Dialogue, a film about a cursed screenplay that alters reality itself.

Some of your universe's critics, unfortunately, do not hail Death by Dialogue as the masterpiece it clearly is. For example,  reviewer dead_dudeINthehouse (almost certainly a nom de plume) writes, "I won't even talk about the storyline as it's very BORING -not to say stupid." Reviewer insomniac_rod (possibly a nom de plume?) writes, "Please, stay away from this trash and don't get fooled by the cover art or the premise, which is as dumb as you can get." And reviewer sfhjsth802 (clearly not a nom de plume) writes, "If I were to get technical, this is an awful movie, easily one of the worst ever made."

Read on for the truth about Death by Dialogue...

Monday, July 17, 2023

“I Forgot Today Was Your Night for Rounds” - Demented (1980)

It is time to discuss Demented (1980), a prototypical rape-revenge film that features what might be the most spectacularly powerful performance of all time by Sallee Elyse (aka Sallee Young) and written by actor/writer Alex Rebar.

As usual, some of your universe's critics fail to appreciate Demented. For example, reviewer alicespiral writes (under the clever but inaccurate review title "Gives bad movies a bad name"), "I only made it to the end because I was curious to how much worse it could get." Reviewer ofumalow writes, "This is one of those movies that's so bad it's just bad--too plodding, amateurish, gore-free etc." And reviewer jivinmutt writes dismissively, "This 'movie' is absurd, horrible, et al."

Read on for a more accurate description of Demented...

Monday, July 3, 2023

"This Will Make You Relax. Now Just Relax." - Love Me Deadly (1973)

It is time to explore one of the most sensitive and still taboo-bursting films of the 1970's: Love Me Deadly (1973), a film full of necrophilia, male nudity, and, of course, Lyle Waggoner.

Some of your universe's critics fail to recognize the importance of Love Me Deadly. For example, reviewer lobianco writes, "A total disaster of a film you can't even laugh at." Reviewer eddie-96492 writes, "Beware - this movie sucks! Bored me to death." And reviewer merklekranz writes, "Even uncut and uncensored, this is a real yawn fest."

Read on for a fuller appreciation of 1973's Love Me Deadly...

Monday, June 19, 2023

"Too Many Male Hormones" - Fatal Games (1984)

Fatal Games (1984) is a fine example of the mid-eighties slasher film, employing the clever hook of being set at an athletics academy where fit young people compete to prepare for the Olympics. In the tradition of Graduation Day (1981), the killer uses athletic equipment to commit murder, though the killer in Fatal Games is more limited than the killer in the other film, using only a javelin.

Some reviewers are somewhat uninterested in the quality of Fatal Games. For example, reviewer Phroggy writes, "Good if you want some noise in the background and raises your eyes when you hear a scream. Otherwise, skip it." Reviewer thesar-2 writes, "The movie was extremely hard to watch." And reviewer blurnieghey writes, "The death scenes were lack-luster and cheap."

Read on for the truth about Fatal Games...

Monday, June 5, 2023

“You Didn’t Believe That Old Lady’s Story About a Legend, Did You?” - Satan's Blade (1984)

The pool of classic regional slashers and porto-slashers is seemingly bottomless. Today we look at Satan's Blade (1984), a California-shot slasher film with (possibly) supernatural overtones filmed in the beautiful snow-covered San Bernardino National Forest.

Predictably, many of your universe's critics do not understand even so simple a film as Satan's Blade. For example, reviewer Logan-22 writes, "This movie stinks. Everything about it is substandard from the acting to the script to the special effects." Reviewer fnv790 writes derogatorily and clearly incorrectly, "It appears to be the most low budget film ever produced." And reviewer rooee writes, "Welcome to the longest 80 minutes of your life."

Read on for the truth about Satan's Blade...

Monday, May 22, 2023

"This Murderous Pack of Scumbags" - Fright House (1989)

We have unfairly neglected the body of work of noted director Len Anthony, but it is time to make up for that oversight by considering part of his masterpiece Fright House (1989), starring the great Al Lewis. We will only be considering the first part of this two-part anthology film, which is called Fright House, which is also the title of the overarching film.

As usual, some of your universe's critics unfairly malign Fright House. For example, critic Zantara Xenophobe writes, "This whole story is both tired and stupid, and I think they were writing this as they went along." Reviewer blurnieghey writes, "This is low budget trash at its worst." And reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "I was totally lost not long after it began thanks to the sloppy direction, terrible writing and crap acting."

Read on for a more balanced appreciation of Fright House...

Monday, May 8, 2023

"He's More Than Dead. He's Ancient." - Last Chance (1995) aka Ghost Gunfighter aka High Tomb

Last Chance (1995) is a relatively obscure Western-themed supernatural slasher film perhaps best known for starring Jeff Burr, famed director specializing in sequels such as Stepfather II (1989), Pumpkinhead II (1993), and Leatherface (1990).

Unlike most films reviewed at Senseless Cinema, Last Chance is generally unknown to your universe's critics. Therefore, I will not gift you with clueless reviews of this modern classic. Instead, please read on for my appreciation of the frightening Western slasher film Last Chance...

Monday, April 24, 2023

"One Fat Zero" - Project Nightmare (1987)

It is time to examine the unfortunately obscure science fiction classic Project Nightmare (1987), a blend of 
psychedelic mind-tripping and, of course, 1960s Star Trek. (The film has nothing to do with Robert A. Heinlein's 1953 story "Project Nightmare.")

Predictably for a film about the nature of reality itself, some of your universe's critics have been unkind to this film. For example, reviewer carlos-pires writes, "It warrants watching just because it is the silliest, weirdest, worst movie ever." Reviewer Brennan Dortch Cornelius Thunderbolt writes, "it’s all unequivocally weird and unashamedly dull." And reviewer Paul Senior calls the film "painful to watch. Generally nonsensical, ugly and boring."

Read on for a more nuanced appreciation of Project Nightmare...

Monday, April 10, 2023

“Could She Be a Puppet of the Witchcraft?” - The Last Inn (2021)

The term "modern classic" is thrown around left and right, but it only rarely applies to contemporary films. A few exceptions of actual modern classics include Andrew Getty's The Evil Within (2017), Glenn Danzig's Verotika (2019), and the film we are discussing today, David Kuan's The Last Inn (2021), a film with such intriguing visuals, stunning performances, and unique dialogue that only the term "modern classic" can describe it.

Some of your universe's critics might disagree. For example, reviewer rotini-52586 writes eloquently, "What a herundous movie. Rated this a 1...because there is no zero." (I believe the word Mr. or Ms. 52586 is searching for is "horrendous," and I also believe there is, in fact, a zero.) Reviewer heratyplant writes, "Every single scene & every word spoken is wrong or off, so to critique this properly would take all day, suffice it to say this should be on Red Letter Media's Best of the Worst, they'd love it!" And reviewer paul_haakonsen writes, "In fact, you are in for 1 hour and 37 minutes of toe-curling narrative with acting performances as wooden as ventriloquist dummies, and dialogue to match."

In point of fact, The Last Inn deserves to be seen as widely as possible. It is a unique and special film. Please read on for my appreciation...

Monday, March 20, 2023

"It's All Gone Crazy" - Alien Species (1996)


It is time to return to the realm of science fiction with Alien Species (1996), an ambitious regional film featuring sophisticated special effects and terrifying alien creatures from prolific low-budget director Peter Maris.

Shockingly, some of your universe's critics are oblivious to the film's high quality. For example, reviewer blairman-3 writes, "It's just plain bad. What a terribly hacky piece of crap!" Reviewer nelsonramatos writes, "This is an unbelievable awful movie, with absolutely no sense or logic. I was even ashame of seeing it." (This critic should be ashamed, instead, of reviewing it.) And reviewer planktonrules writes, "In many ways, this is like a modern day Ed Wood production....The overall viewing experience is something you just have to see to believe, as it's bad in every possible way."

It goes without saying these reviewers are incorrect. Read on for an appreciation of Peter Maris's Alien Species...

Monday, March 6, 2023

"Why All the Killing?" - Endgame (1983)

It is time to venture into the apocalypse again with Joe D'Amato's Endgame (1983) aka Bronx Lotta Finale (Bronx Final Fight). This ingenious film marries a The Road Warrior-style road trip with a futuristic, televised The Most Dangerous Game-style sport, to great effect.

Some of your universe's critics disagree, of course. For example, reviewer Quicksilverkid calls the film the worst movie ever and writes, "Avoid this movie at all costs." Reviewer BA_Harrison calls the film "an instantly forgettable and relatively worthless experience." And reviewer poolandrews calls the film "Total rubbish."

Read on for the truth about the post-apocalyptic masterpiece Endgame...

Monday, February 20, 2023

"The Whole Event of this Scene Is to Show Some Skin" - Destroyer (1988)

We return to the 1980s to discuss Robert Kirk's Destroyer (1988), one of the late-eighties wave of prison-set slasher films that also includes Renny Harlin's Prison (1987), Wes Craven's Shocker (1989), and James Isaac's The Horror Show (1989) aka House III. 

As usual, some of your universe's critics fail to appreciate Destroyer. For example, reviewer quadbastard writes, "The pace can be quite lethargic at times, and the film is somewhat overlong, and seemingly doesn't know when to quit." Reviewer tarbosh22000 writes, "the writing and structure of the movie were slow, bleak, and not up to par." And reviewer FieCrier writes simply, "I can't recommend this movie at all."

Of course, these reviewers are incorrect. Read on for a more nuanced appreciation of a gem of a slasher film...

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

“The World Is Full of Georges” - Legacy of Satan (1974) - Film #244

The decade of the 1970s was no stranger to cinematic classics; at the forefront of classics is the film we shall discuss today, Legacy of Satan (1974), perhaps the only non-pornographic film directed by Gerard Damiano.

Not all of your universe's critics are enchanted by Legacy of Satan, however. For example, reviewer babeulous writes, "The vampire wears a 1970s pink ruffled shirt and everybody has 1970s hair." (There is no vampire in the film, of course, and the film was made in the middle of the 1970s, so it is difficult to take this respected critic's insults seriously.) Reviewer mark.waltz writes, "Hideous and unwatchable in every way." And reviewer Leofwine_drac writes that Legacy of Satan is "a film which is difficult to sit through because it feels so tame, drawn-out, and dull."

Read on for an appreciation that counters these ridiculously unfounded aspersions...

Monday, January 23, 2023

"Haven't You Ever Guessed the Truth?" - The Silent Scream (1979) - Film #243

Let us now visit the California coast in The Silent Scream (1979), an early slasher that arguably could be considered a proto-slasher due to the fact it began filming in 1977, before Halloween, though the finished version was rewritten and completed after Halloween's record-breaking box office success.

Some of your universe's critics do not appreciate the groundbreaking The Silent Scream. For example, reviewer donnyblvu writes, "I recommend this movie to your buddies whom you don't like. I mean that the person that you really want to waist [sic] 2 hrs of his/her time. This movie sucked so bad that I had nightmares..." Reviewer thesar-2 writes, "The movie's boring. Really. It contains odd characters as well as stereotypical (of 1980) characters, none of which are interesting." And reviewer Maciste-Brother writes, "SILENT SCREAM ain't much of a movie."

You must read on for the true story of The Silent Scream...

Monday, January 9, 2023

“I Could Probably Take First Prize in Any Evil Contest” - Mardi Gras Massacre (1978) - Film #242

Although this review is being posted soon after the New Year holiday, we will be discussing a film about another holiday marked by exuberant celebration. The film is the video nasty Mardi Gras Massacre (1978), directed by Jack Weis, most famous as location coordinator on the New Orleans-set James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973), but nearly as well known as director of Louisiana-set exploitation films such as Death Brings Roses (1975) and Crypt of Dark Secrets (1976).

As usual, many of your universe's critics have negative opinions of Mardi Gras Massacre. For example, reviewer skanners writes, "The acting is woeful and the sound, editing and directing are nothing short of abysmal." Reviewer skullrot1 writes, "This is one of the few movies that left me completely unsatisfied in every way." And reviewer andrewmford writes, with perhaps some hyperbole, "Avoid this movie like the plague on humanity that it is. All copies of this movie should be gathered and destroyed, so that no one else should have to suffer though this assault on art of filmmaking."

Read on for the truth about Mardi Gras Massacre...