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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912)
A Quick Run Through Of A Literary Classic
I've heard many people complain that a book just can't be wrapped up in a mere 2 hour long feature...imagine having only 10 1/2 minutes to work with! This is of course an extremely condensed version of The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, but it's not a bad little film. It took 5 days to complete these few minutes which is a longer amount of time than most film productions of the day were given, film being more of a novelty back then. There's no real introduction to the story or our characters, the movie just gets right down to business with Dr. Jekyll's experiment. As far as the necessary special effects for this story go, the initial transformation cut shot is a bit silly but the fade back into the good doctor looks much better. On a more positive note, we get a lot of Hyde which is good as what horror movie fan doesn't want to see more of the monster and overall this film is a nice, simple telling of the basic story. Whereas it may not be as skillful or as important as Georges Méliès' A Trip To The Moon or Thomas Edison's Frankenstein, it's still a short film worth seeing if you're a fan of early silent cinema or Robert Louis Stevenson.
Looking At The Well Known Disaster In A Brand New Way
From The Earth To The Moon tells the story of the entire American space program from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo. Soon enough they had to get around to Apollo 13, but how do you tell the story that is already so well known thanks to a brilliant movie a few years earlier? The 1995 movie Apollo 13 was so perfect and so well done that I, like some reviewers, used to think I disliked this episode. Boy was I mistaken! This episode takes this familiar tale and puts us in the seats of the viewing public at the time. The movie Apollo 13 focused on the astronauts and their families and tells a great tale, but this episode gives us history. We never see anymore of the astronauts than the average TV viewer saw in 1970. We only get to hear the garbled transmissions of those trapped in space facing certain death. We as the viewer are occasionally moved into the press pool, but even there we only gets bits and pieces of information. Some of it accurate and germane and some of it off the wall nonsense. This gives us a view of the situation on the ground and like the public we're never allowed to know the full story and like NASA we're unsure of the whole story. The splash down finally gives us some relief because despite knowing what's going to happen in the end, we are put into the story and become emotionally involved.
Now in addition to this masterful new way of telling an already popular story, there's some nice commentary here that we don't really see in the other episodes. To me it's a commentary of the failings of journalism and perhaps our attention spans beginning in the late 1990s and continuing to this very day. The young tabloidesque reporter (Jay Mohr) ousting the far more experienced, far more talented veteran reporter (played by Lane Smith in perhaps his greatest performance ever) is a comment on the take over of real news and real television shows by corporate propaganda parading as news and falsely labeled "reality" television. They also focus on how quickly the world became bored with space exploration. While somewhat true I see it more as a warning about our pathetic short attention which has diminished ten fold since this TV series was made. In a car race, most people don't care to watch until there's a crash. In 1970 America lost interest with human beings accomplishing the most astounding scientific achievement ever. Things have only gotten worse since then and HBO's From The Earth To The Moon saw it coming a mile away...
M*A*S*H: Point of View (1978)
One Of The Boldest Episodes In Television History
Yes, the P.O.V. or point of view shot had been used before this. In fact it is still to this day, a staple in horror cinema and had prior to this been put most brilliantly on display in the criminally underrated film noir Lady In The Lake. However, no one had ever been brave enough to put it on TV to any extent. I mean who could sit through 30 minutes of a mostly low angle view from a bed ridden soldier's perspective? It took a series with some sway and some power like M*A*S*H to pull it off. I'm sure CBS fought them tooth and nail on this but luckily the writers won the battle (assuming there was one). We follow the soldier and his point of view from the battlefield all the way to his bus trip and everything that happens in between. As it is television drama, when done right, makes us feel like we're spying on the lives of the characters. This episode takes that concept all the way by putting you in the action with the way it's filmed. You can't communicate with the M*A*S*H principles, but neither can the character whose eyes we are seeing through. Episodes like Point Of View, Life Time or Dreams may not be a barrel of laughs, but almost no other TV series would ever be so bold as to experiment with an episode like this one...simply a masterpiece that displays some serious creative genius that I can't recommend highly enough.
The Sub-Mariner (1966)
A Series Meant For True Comic Book Fans
While I probably didn't read the original stories from 'Sub-Mariner' or 'Tale To Astonish', I do remember some of these stories from reading Marvel reprints. You see, one of the greatest things about these Marvel Super Heroes shows of the mid 1960s is the cartoons themselves are xerographed from the actual pages of the comic book so you can see your favorite pages coming to life. That's why a series like this is perfect for those fans who have a favorite penciller, inker or colorist. The voice acting here is decent, but what sets the Sub-Mariner sequences apart is the dialogue. Very Shakespearean in nature, it's a pleasure hearing Namor and his citizens interacting and it's even better when he's doing battle with a super villain or a giant sea monster. Granted the Sub-Mariner portions are a touch more one dimensional than the other heroes, but that doesn't make these episodes any less entertaining. Truthfully, Namor doesn't come across as a very good leader though. It seems like every episode someone else has captured the crown or the city of Atlantis must be evacuated. Many of the episodes also have the prince searching for some cure to Atlanteans who have been frozen or become ill or turned to stone. Overall this series is very episodic in nature and each episode itself comprises of 3 sub stories...kind of like a mini movie serial. As a fan of comic books back in their simpler days I have no problem with this sameness and watching a couple hours of this show should appeal to people who actually read comic books a heck of a lot more than the latest CGI laden cinematic release from Marvel.
Gamera tai daiakuju Giron (1969)
Goofiness Sure, But Non Stop Action Packed Goofiness
Please note that this review is for the full length, original Japanese version of the movie. Sure the Sandy Frank versions are hilarious, especially on MST3K, but they do not properly express the original film or it's more intelligent dialogue. Unfortunately when most people review the Gamera movies, it's probably based on these inferior, sillier American versions.
By no means am I calling this a great film, but it is pretty much a nonstop focus on the adventure even if Gamera doesn't get as much face time. As usual though, our title character shows up with half an hour left and does endless battle with the evil, unstoppable Guiron who loves sawing his/her/it's victims into bits and pieces with his dull looking yet razor sharp fin. He also has some awesome ninja like shuriken to launch at his foes. Guiron is a pleasure to watch on the screen as are our two main characters Akio and Tom. Very reminiscent of Invaders From Mars, these two lead kids see aliens land, no one believes them and eventually they are inside the flying saucer. This all happens quite fast and the rest of the film focuses on the child actors trying to escape from the planet of Terra where they have encountered very shifty aliens who seem kind and gentle at one moment and cannibalistic the next. As far as visuals go, the matte work is pretty awful, but I really enjoy the look of the spaceship(s) and the alien planet. There's no question you have to be a fan of Godzilla or Ultraman to appreciate this film series, but if you take the time to delve into the Gamera universe, make sure you do so with the Japanese versions. They will still make you smirk, but I assure you in this original version you will find a film like Gamera Vs Guiron smarter and a bit more serious than you expected...
La noche de las gaviotas (1975)
An Excellent Coda To A Fine Horror Series
What a way to end a series! This entry is a few notches above the previous film and perhaps just a hair lesser horror than the first 2 movies and overall it's European horror in it's purest form. This film is a bit more surreal and dreamlike than the other Blind Dead films and I'd probably also call it the scariest of the series. Another plus is it kind of plays out like Night Of The Living Dead combined with Straw Dogs. Of course I'm not comparing this film to either of those masterpieces, but what great templates to use.
The plot of unwanted visitors to a cursed village might feel familiar to fans of Italian or Spanish horror. While in today's cinema they'd probably CGI a creepy, coastal village but of course nothing beats the real thing. You could probably look into where the movie was actually filmed, but I prefer to think it just exists in a dream (or nightmare if you prefer). When you watch this movie you'll understand what I mean. This locale, combined with some of cinema's best looking zombies, along with the requisite hints of blood and nudity will make any horror fan want to watch. The film starts strong and then slows up a bit in the middle to build tension. The zombies look so good and are so creepy that you'll wish they were on screen more. Never fear because the final 35 minutes are dedicated to our Blind Dead "heroes" and their siege on the doctor's house. Will mankind triumph over the evil zombie hoard in this final chapter or are we all doomed? You'll have to watch the movie to find out.
The Green Hornet (1940)
One Of The Best Movie Serials Ever Made
While I consider the 3 Flash Gordon movie serials to be the best serials ever made, The Green Hornet would fall in line right behind them. Serials are the episodic precursors to TV shows, but typically they will carry over a plot line over the course of 12-15 episodes. This serial kind of follows that format, but instead of having one long story there are half a dozen or so stories all connecting to the same criminals in the end. The acting for the most part is top notch and the characters the actors play are interesting without being unbelievably eccentric. One unfortunate issue with the portrayal of female characters in old movies and serials is how they are dismissed by their male counterparts. However, in this series the woman is 100% correct and the men who look at the Green Hornet as a criminal are the ones who look foolish.
The Hornet is a fantastic vigilante character who appeared on the radio in 1936 and clearly was influential to many comic book heroes particularly Batman. Like any serial the first 2 episodes are a bit slower because they have to try to introduce all the characters, but once you make it past them it's non stop action and intrigue. The fights between the real actors can come across as a bit funny, but when the stuntmen do the fighting it's awesome and pretty acrobatic. While not a special effects driven series, the effects for the Green Hornet's iconic gas gun are done quite well. Stock footage is also utilized to perfection to make the serial feel even more big budget than it ever could be. You might think the endless Rimsky Korsakov music would get annoying, but it really doesn't. Just like some 13 year old in the theater in 1940, every time "Flight Of The Bumblebee" would play my adrenaline would spike and I'd want to cheer out loud for our heroes! However despite the appeal to kids, I would definitely call this one of the more intelligent movie serials out there and while at first you'll wonder why Britt or Kato do this or that don't worry...it all comes together in the end. Looking at this more seriously, you also see the Green Hornet grow as a hero. At first he seems a bit gullible and easy to escape from, but as the series progresses we see a stronger hero from who crime can not escape. Whether you're a fan of old movie serials or classic vigilante heroes like the Shadow, Batman or the Green Hornet I'd encourage you to go out and see this masterpiece right now...it doesn't get much better than this!
Pretty Good Movie...Pretty Lousy Sequel
Let's start with the second part of that summary first. Considering that 95% of the cast and crew have been replaced, it's hard to look at this as a proper sequel. In some cases, the new actors and actresses are better, but in most cases the acting is inferior to the original. The actor who played Carl Conrad Coreander is back, yet for some reason they spell his name with a K in this one so when Bastian first looks into the book shop, you think it's a Korean restaurant or something until the camera pans over the 'der'. The father seems to play a larger role in this second part, but somehow he has become much younger. Waiting 6 years to do a sequel is usually a mistake especially if the storyline is only supposed to take place a short while after the original. All of your child actors have aged drastically in that time, so they simply couldn't use them which makes the whole film feel like a disjointed story not truly connected to the original.
Now for the good parts. Jonathan Brandis was always a very talented actor and always brought a lot of emotion to his roles. Because he's in the realm of Fantasia for almost the whole movie, it does feel a bit more action oriented than the first film. Also, contrary to what many say, the special effects are really well done. Of course it's difficult for anyone to top the creations and sets of the original film, but that doesn't mean this film looks bad. The giants that Xayide controls look especially terrific and quite creepy at times and while some of the sets do feel like 1980's Flash Gordon, they do look appropriate for this fantasy world. Granted the special effects are more like you'd find in a lower budget Cannon film instead of an overblown Warner Brothers flick, but I really enjoy effects like that. If you're a fan of the book, this is also a decent representation of the second part of Ende's novel. While EVERY SINGLE aspect is not perfect, I want a filmmaker to take a little liberty with the property the movie is based on or otherwise why should I see a film that is a word for word, plot for plot copy? Overall, if the original Neverending Story is your favorite film ever, you probably won't like this one. However if you're like most of us who simply are fans of fantasy cinema, then I think you'll really enjoy this one even if it sux as a sequel.
At The Very Least It's Original
Billed as "the first monster musical" which I believe is an accurate statement although perhaps nothing to be proud of. The concept here is very original as are many of the movie's scenes. For me, the biggest problem with the film overall is the musical part. These are some of the worst performances from singers and dancers that I've ever seen! The folk singer Don Snyder is perhaps the most horrific thing in the film (sorry Don, but it's true). Overall, the whole thing is just confusing as to why what appears to be an all ages carnival would have strippers or interpretive dancers? The plot is kind of all over the place and many questions are left unanswered, but it's not trying to be some fascinating narrative. I'd guess Ray Dennis Steckler simply had this idea for a musical and he used the budget and the space he had to make something that while awful is at least quite interesting.
The good parts I would point to would start with the main henchman Ortega. Not sure if he has makeup, a mask or is just normally hideous but he's an interesting, although far more useless version of Fritz or Ygor. The dream sequence that Steckler wrote is a rather creepy, surreal moment that I always enjoy watching. I'd also note that the "zombies" look fantastic although I'm not sure what they are would technically be zombies as we think of them. If so perhaps they are more in the sense of old school voodoo controlled people because they definitely aren't supposed to be dead. Unfortunately though, we don't get to see a lot of these well done title creatures which is typical of small budget horror cinema. Because of it's originality I would recommend seeing it in it's unadulterated form at least once. After you do that, you should just get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the film because it's one of their best episodes and you'll be able to appreciate (perhaps tolerate is a better word) the movie much more...
Blue Collar TV (2004)
You Won't Expect It To Be, But This Show Is Brilliant
Not only is this sketch comedy series brilliant, but it is also surprisingly diverse. Don't think for a second you're only going to get redneck jokes or NASCAR quips. Sure there's some of that because if there wasn't it wouldn't be the Blue Collar boys, but they find interesting ways to turn their stand up routines into proper comedy sketches. As MC, Jeff Foxworthy seems to be the leader, but he never pushes Larry or Bill out of the spotlight. They all share a nearly equal representation and each one of the trio feels free to leave their comfort zones and play some insane roles you'd never expect to see. The supporting cast is also very talented and some of them you will recognize from other TV shows prior to and after Blue Collar TV. You also get an occasional pop in from fellow Blue Collar alum Ron White who never fails to crack me up. Overall I'd put the show just a notch below In Living Color, but would say it's a bit better than other non-SNL sketch shows like MadTV, Almost Live or the short lived Dana Carvey Show. Very original in it's presentation of a theme for every episode as well and it's quite amazing to see just how funny this group can make what would normally be childish comedy like goofy dancing or 'how big is your deck'. Their comedic timing is spot on, but in turn they aren't afraid to show an occasional flub and they seem to relish in trying to make their co-stars break out in laughter. Overall, Blue Collar TV is just great fun. It's a mostly family friendly sketch comedy show that appeals to a range of tastes and demographics. I honestly feel that even if you don't enjoy their sketch comedy tours you could possibly enjoy this series. Yes, if you're a big liberal like me you may have to occasionally hear Larry The Cable Guy rip into you, but if you can't laugh at yourself maybe comedy isn't the right thing for you to begin with.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Watch Only In Conjunction With The Animatrix
I used to own this movie on DVD, but after a couple of views I dumped it because it was goofy and confusing as Hell. Recently I watched the 2003 film 'The Animatrix' and it finally gave me some understanding of the 2nd film in the trilogy. Don't get me wrong, as a whole it's still quite confusing. New characters are introduced with no backstory, many characters look somewhat similar to other characters which occasionally makes distinguishing them difficult and the long expositions only serve to confuse things even more. 'The Animatrix' will only help you understand some, but not all of this.
'The Matrix Reloaded' basically introduces us to a whole new world in Zion. This is good because it makes us care more about the fate of the humans who are disconnected from the Matrix. We see them living in a crowded city with families just like us as opposed to simply sticking with Morpheus and the gang. A lot more cinematic influences are clearly shown in this film from spaghetti Westerns to Bruce Lee to Shaw brothers films the movie never hides from it's origins. Occasionally the CGI is over the top as it is in every movie made after the original 'Matrix', but I don't have too much of a problem with what is supposed to be a giant computer program looking like a computer program.
Neo has become a messiah and a superhero by this time and he seems unsure of whether or not that's a good thing. Although only shown briefly, Neo is basically Jesus to many people and that's when we also get to see some of the influence of the Bible on this movie. Neo is actually called Superman in a scene because of the unbelievable powers he now possesses. Granted when a hero or villain is this unstoppable the numerous fights in the film could get boring, but they don't. In fact the fight against the Merovingian's henchmen is possibly the coolest fight scene of 21st century cinema. Yes, Neo is going to win this battle too, but it's interesting to see just how. If you don't understand the movie you aren't going to like it and if you have no previous experience with the Matrix universe you will probably downright hate it. However, if like me you think the 1st film is one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made and would like to comprehend it better watch the other films in the series. Watch 'The Animatrix', watch a documentary or read the plot synopsis a few times before going in because I honestly believe that the better you understand this, the more you will be able to appreciate what is actually a pretty decent sequel...
Kyle MacLachlan's Most Demanding Role?
Simply an amazing episode from a nearly flawless series. I don't know if this one "stands out" per se because it is one of many perfect episodes from the first 3 or 4 seasons of Tales From The Crypt. It also seems a bit familiar, but that's in part because of the story it's based off of, in Shock SuspenStories was a real classic. Kyle MacLachlan basically does a solo performance and boy is he PERFECT for the role! He realizes he's in horror comic book come to life so he brilliantly delivers his lines almost like a super villain. This also has to be his most physically demanding role as he's really carrying around another actor for half the episode. The ending plays out like an Italian horror flick and that's great news for anyone who truly knows horror. Overall an atmospheric tale of fate and revenge that I can't recommend highly enough.
Zombi 3 (1988)
Fulci, Mattei And Fragasso Piece Together A Horror Gem
How any zombie movie or Italian horror movie fan could dislike this film I'll never know. This movie has a decent story, loads of action, a healthy amount of gore, an exotic locale and relentless zombie attacks...what else do you people want? Yes, the similarities to Return Of The Living Dead can't be ignored and the filmmakers obviously love George Romero, but they seem more influenced by The Crazies than Night Of The Living Dead. Oh sure the obligatory "let's board up the house to keep the zombies out" scene is here, but it doesn't last long. Granted many of the people trying to survive are portrayed as rather stupid, but they are also rather good hearted. For the most part everyone is trying to help friends and strangers alike to survive the epidemic. The military is portrayed as heartless as they usually are. However this time we also get a trio of kick ass super soldiers who fight off 50 zombies with an M-16 all while carrying an injured woman over their shoulder. That balance is nice as we get to see the military can be evil and ignorant, but they can also still be our heroes. The idea behind this being a virus that can affect not only man, but animal is also really smart. It makes a happy ending appear hopeless as who knows how wide the virus truly spread. Horror movies with happy endings are okay occasionally, but it's those bleak ends that bring a little smirk to my face. Overall, this may be a patchwork film that is technically two movies in one, but the guys who did the patching are honest to God masters of horror.
Final Curtain (1957)
If Edgar Allan Poe Was Awful
An actor wanders around a darkened, empty theater and over reacts to things...there's the whole movie for you. Now you don't have to waste 20 minutes. Okay it's not quite THAT boring and I know Ed Wood fanatics are going to want to see it. After all, my fanaticism is what brought me to watch this TV pilot. The lead actor is not exactly terrible, but he has nothing to work with! The narration by Dudley Manlove is just atrocious, but some viewers may find that charming. The few scares that are present are on par with a Scooby Doo episode, but I believe Wood put a little horror twist on the ending which I did enjoy. The twist I refer to is alluded to in the prologue - "Even the Devil rejects them. Doomed to haunt the Earth throughout the endless reaches of time". Even I gotta admit, that's pretty damn cool. It would have been nice to see what would have come from an Ed Wood anthology horror series, but as a TV exec I probably would have passed on this pilot as well.
El buque maldito (1974)
A Mixed Bag In The Blind Dead Series
This 3rd entry in the Blind Dead series may be the weakest link, but it still has a lot going for it. First of all, like all the films in the series, Ghost Galleon has some of the most original looking zombies ever committed to celluloid. We get to see plenty of them, but at times their presence on a dark boat can be obscured. They also don't turn in any kind of high body count which is what fans expect from a zombie film. This makes it kind of the oddball in this fine quadrilogy, but perhaps De Ossorio was being influenced by Italy's Giallo films at the time and was going more for atmosphere. I say this because this movie is almost pure creepy atmosphere with it's shapes, shadows and sounds. The main setting of the haunted, centuries old ship is also terrific even if the miniature version of the boat looks more like a 4th grade class project. Despite the lack of death, blood and serious action I never once felt the film was boring. The feel of dread and hopelessness kept me wondering who would win the day and the magnificent ending made me proud to be a horror fan.
The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973)
Whenever Shatner Is On A Plane It's Good
Although not as good as that terrifying Twilight Zone episode starring Bill Shatner, this movie is definitely under appreciated. The plot is strange with all the Druid rituals, but the oddness of the subject matter adds to the atmosphere. It takes place on a virtually empty airplane which I myself have flown on before. With a full plane, the whole thing would have been a chaotic mess where as this sparse cast allows for a bit more calmness and thought. The characters work together to defeat this demon or ghost or whatever it's supposed to be, but they gradually fall apart as the terror gets more intense. You will recognize most of the actors and they all turn in decent performances. It's hard to pick a favorite, but Shatner's drunken defrocked priest is the most interesting. The special effects are good at times, but occasionally amateurish due to working under a TV budget as opposed to a movie one. The whole package is very entertaining though. When I realized it was coming to an end I was kind of disappointed as I wanted more. Overall, the film really impressed me and after watching this it made me want to look into many more 1970s made for television horror movies.
More Alexander Nevsky Than Godzilla
Definitely not your average kaiju film and not just because it's North Korean. This movie has some destruction and loads of fire, but about 75% of that comes from the evil government. Yes, some people would call this a "propaganda piece" because how dare you say the peasants are being treated terribly by their feudal monarchy. The government heads make sure to steal from, starve and torture the citizens and what's sad is this is what is happening regularly in North Korea to this very day. I hate to get political here, but that's really what the film is about. The titular character is more of a side story or simply a way to draw a bigger audience. I mean we don't see any creature for over 20 minutes and we don't see any kind of giant monster until 20 minutes after that. Large and small, Pulgasari is on the side of the peasants who revolt against the governor and then the king after they can stand no more abuse. Pulgasari charging the battlefield was easily the funniest thing I saw in this movie, but unlike something like Mothra or some Godzilla sequels, I don't think this is supposed to be humorous in any way...did I mention the torture? Considering this was done in the mid-80s the monster suit is about 15 years behind the times and at times they use rear screen projection which is what they used for King Kong back in 1933! Despite that, it's still a good story of rebellion against forces of evil, I would just question if we even needed the monster? For me the film could stand on it's own as a historical, war, action piece, but I have to admit as a kaiju fanatic it was the picture of the monster that made me want to see the film in the first place and that was probably what the North Korean government was counting on...
Dèmoni 2... l'incubo ritorna (1986)
A Surprisingly Excellent Rehash Of The Original Film
For the most part if you've seen the original Demons from 1985 you know the plot. This movie substitutes a television for a movie screen and an apartment complex for the theater. Personally, these are always my favorite type of horror films. A group of people trapped somewhere, facing insurmountable odds against demons, zombies, psychopaths, etc. and the odds are not looking good for the cast of Demons 2.
I'd say simply enough that if you are a fan of horror cinema, you should check this one out. The constant darkness and flickering lights add some nice atmosphere. The special effects and makeup look extraordinary even if the Venus flytrap looking demon is kind of goofy. There are some scenes that look very similar to modern horror efforts such as REC or 28 Weeks Later, so the movie feels a bit ahead of it's time. Asia Argento turns in an emotional performance in her film debut. Although used rather sparsely, her talents are just a notch below the great child actors like a Corey Feldman or a Drew Barrymore. All the other actors involved also manage to turn in decent performances. Although we don't really get to know these characters too well, we hope people such as the two stuck in the elevator or the pregnant woman or toy ray gun brandishing boy make it through the ordeal. Meanwhile, the most annoying character gets killed off first and the entire party, along with the viewers cheer.
From giallo horror to zombies to infection/demon films like this one, I've always felt the Italians did a better job at horror cinema than anybody else and a movie like Demons 2 just proves my point. It's a film that was probably rushed and wasn't given much thought outside of the plot lines of the original movie, yet it manages to be amazingly entertaining. Although not always the case with Italian cinema, this movie gets right down to business and keeps up the terror and the action until the very end. More brutal and heartless than gory and since the Italians don't always do happy endings you wonder who will win in the end, the demon hoards or humanity...
Drug Fueled Post Apocalyptic Insanity
I didn't really like this movie when I first started watching it because it was so confusing, so silly and it felt so rushed. Well, after about 10 minutes I started falling in love with this plot less, goofy structure. What little plot there is, is a post apocalyptic wasteland that is kind of, sort of, a sequel to Death Race 2000. Before you think about grouping it in with one of dozens of Mad Max ripoffs, keep in mind that this film came BEFORE Mad Max. Although it looks similar to many post apocalyptic movies you remember from the 80s or even from today with something like Fury Road, it is a pre-cursor to those films and probably had some influence on them. Deathsport incorporates old magic with futuristic technology with plenty of things you'd recognize from the present which is common with many films in this genre. I know most people who have seen this flick will focus on the absurdity of it, but I think there's a few impressive even intellectual things that viewers miss. The movie is clearly fueled by drugs (weed, LSD and cocaine if I had to guess) and because of this there is a lot of experimentation with acting, camera shots and filming styles. The way the movie plays with color, at times it looks like the director is being influenced by Dario Argento. Also, between what is happening mentally with the evil Lord Zirpola and the gladiatorial like games, I'd say the writers have clearly studied the reign of Caligula. Despite the heavy drug use on the set, or perhaps because of it, this film is smarter than most people think. But regardless of whether you want to see a film with experimental shots and smart metaphors or you simply want to see full frontal female nudity, plastic swords that would later be used for the Crystar toy line and David Carradine kicking butt in a loincloth, you will enjoy this film.
A Turkish Take On The World's Greatest Horror Movie
Seytan is just one in a field of maybe two dozen or more Exorcist ripoffs made in the 1970s. Outside of the blaxploitation version 'Abby', I wouldn't refer to any of these movies as a "must see". However, because I like the plot of The Exorcist and I am also fascinated by demons and cases of demonic possession, I do tend to find all of these ripoffs rather enjoyable and this one is no exception. The effects and the make up are decent although nowhere near Exorcist levels of quality. However, I'm sure their budget was a speck of dirt compared to what French Connection genius William Friedkin was allowed. As far as our main characters go, the mother comes across with a bit more sex appeal, but far more bitchiness than Ellen Burstyn had. Maybe it's just a cultural thing, but are her cooks and housekeepers slaves or employees? Overall I'm sure it's just there to demonstrate to the audience how much she cares for her daughter Gül just as Burstyn had some of that anger. Gül is another thing that doesn't translate well to us Westerners as it sounds more like the name of a demon than a little girl. Canan Perver as the daughter is probably the high point of this film though. We realize that Linda Blair was a terrific child actor which is why her performance was so great. However, I wouldn't call Canan a great actress, but she does come across as a little unstable. She almost seems to love being possessed and this psychosis benefits her role as the demonic daughter. If you've seen The Exorcist you know the plot and I only recommend this film to you if you want to see another culture's take on the subject. Keep in mind if you are a fan of something like Turkish Star Wars don't assume this film will appeal to you. This film is not humorous in any way, shape or form...it takes itself and the story very seriously.
More Entertaining Than The Force Awakens
I agree that those first 20 minutes within the Wookiee household are 20 of the worst and most ridiculous moments in cinematic history. However, as a Star Wars fan I did find the rest of the film quite entertaining. Just like the Ewok Adventures or some Star Wars fan films, it's an extension of the Star Wars universe that we all know and love. You get to see many characters from the first film in Bea Arthur's cantina which is always cool because as a kid I loved the brief appearances by the hammerhead, devil and walrus looking guys. You get a better understanding for how the Wookiees actually live (no matter how stupid that may be) and you also get even more indications of just how evil the Empire is. Between the ransacking of homes and the constant presence on Wookiee television screens you get the idea that Lucas created the Empire as a mix between the Nazi SS and a George Orwell 1984 type of government. Because the Wookiees don't speak English and there's no translation available this really doesn't come across as a holiday special. The strange interspecies sexual overtones and the ultra evil imperials also don't add to any kind of holiday special feel either. Using the resources they had they could have made a pretty good Star Wars special, but Lucas was apparently too focused on wanting to show Wookiee home life. Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill turn in the best performances they can with the script they are given and Art Carney does a good job even if Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman do feel a bit out of place. I think most people judge this special simply from those tedious first 20 minutes. I watched the whole thing and in the end found that I'd like to watch it again even if I have to fast forward through the long opening scene in Chewbacca's home. Any person who is a fanatic for the original trilogy (the TRUE Star Wars) should find something to enjoy about this show. Granted, I couldn't give it more than 5 stars because there are so many flaws and it's just so goofy most of the time, but in the end I found it far more entertaining than any Star Wars related thing made in the 21st century...
Death Spa (1989)
From A Time When The Horror Genre Was Done Right
If someone asked me to define 80s horror there's a lot of obvious films to select from, but this would be one of my choices. Between the body obsessed people, the slasher elements, the nudity and the blood, this kind of says it all about your typical 1980s horror film. What's cool about this one though is it's no ordinary slasher. There are your typical red herrings and very inventive kills, but there's also a great supernatural element that at first seems fake but then turns out to be very real and changes the whole dynamic of Death Spa. The movie does seem a bit more brutal than your standard fare as far as it's tortuous ways of killing people and all the bloody/boiled corpses it is willing to show us. That's perfect for those of us who enjoy some dirtier grindhouse elements in our horror movies. I assure you, as typical as this film may feel at first stick with it because whether you enjoy Friday The 13th, The Exorcist or Jungle Holocaust this should appeal to you in some way.
If Hiroshima Was In Antarctica
This movie is bleak, it is depressing as Hell, but it may also be the most honest and most realistic looking post apocalyptic film ever made. Without question this would qualify as Robert Altman's strangest and least known film. I understand that it is a bit slow paced and confusing, but stick with it. I honestly recommend reading the plot off some webpage BEFORE watching the movie. If you do that you'll have no problem following the confusing plot, but you'll still probably never understand exactly how to play the game of Quintet. Paul Newman is great and he and the rest of the city's populace seem to be in constant misery in this amazing backdrop of rottweilers, steel and ice. Did I mention the ice? This is easily the coldest film you've ever seen and it feels so realistic that you'll need an extra blanket to watch it. Is this movie for everyone? No. I wouldn't recommend it as a date movie or something to watch with your stoned friends, but if you're a science fiction fan this masterpiece of loneliness and coldness deserves your attention and perhaps a rediscovery by people who don't constantly look for the "Hollywood ending".
Black Angel (1980)
Visually Stunning Cinematic Art
If you're looking this movie up you probably already know the story of George Lucas' art director making a short film to show before 'The Empire Strikes Back'. For years it was thought lost and luckily it was found again in the 21st century. Although a bit thin on plot this director puts more scenery into a 20 minute film than most directors can put into their 2 hour long movie. The Scottish scenery is absolutely gorgeous, but for some reason the film seems other worldly. The overall plot may feel a bit familiar, but the twist ending just seals this up as a great work of art. The few actors involved are good, the action sequences are done very well and the bleak and creepy atmosphere make for a good film, but it is Roger Christian who makes it great. Christian went on to make a few decent movies, but this is his masterpiece.
A Collection Of Creepy Images But Not A Movie
Okay I admit that I am very mad at this film after watching it for the first time. I came in with such anticipation of seeing the creepiest and weirdest film I've ever seen and it was neither of those. It feels like a bad student film very derivative of early short films by Clive Barker and David Lynch. People have claimed how visceral it is, but I simply found it boring and very cartoonish. The one thing I did enjoy were the sound effects of crickets and fires crackling, etc. The flaw with these sounds are they help put you to sleep for what is already a very boring piece of art. Is combining strange negative filming, no dialogue and minimal sound effects an interesting idea? Perhaps, but all these things have been done before, separately and with much better results. The story, if there is one, is just a convoluted mess. Although the style of filming may be interesting it also makes it difficult to tell what exactly is going on. I'm sure many reviewers who love this film will say I don't understand it or don't like experimental films. Hey, I love experimental films like the ones by the aforementioned Barker and Lynch. I even watched the BRILLIANT experimental film from 1955 called Dementia a few days before I watched this film and absolutely loved it. If you want to give the director some points for originality go ahead, but I assure you, you'll watch it once and never feel the need to see it again.