Monday, June 7, 2010

Fool’s Views (4/19 – 4/25)

Hey kids. Yes, it’s the abbreviated version of the Fool’s Views. But you know what? That’s okay, ‘cause there’s a lot to choose from, an equal mix between horror and civilian flicks. (I was pounding them out, knowing that I would be basically off the grid once we got into May.) And with a few exceptions (hello, DESCENT 2), it was a pretty healthy and tasty crop. Nice when that happens.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Bad Seed, The (1956)
(2nd viewing) d. LeRoy, Mervyn
The original “killer kid” movie. And perhaps my favorite final closing shot of a movie. Ever.

Cold Night’s Death, A (1973) (1st viewing) d. Freedman, Jerrold
Eli Wallach, Robert Culp, a frozen Arctic scientific station and some kuh-razy monkeys. Whither hast thou gone, 70s TV movies?

Descent Part 2, The (2009) (1st viewing) d. Harris, Jon
The comments I’d heard about this sequel to Neil Marshall’s min-classic had been along the lines of “more of the same.” But while I had my doubts going in, I was not prepared for the immense level of stupidity about to be unleashed. Terrible dialogue, goddawful character motivation, aural jump scares by the score… Seriously? If you can’t make a sequel without insulting everyone’s intelligence, just don’t. Yeah, this one kinda ticked me off.

Grave of the Vampire (1974) (1st viewing) d. Hayes, John
Perennial 70s tough guy William Smith stars as a sensitive half-vampire seeking to destroy the undead creature that killed his mother (a precursor to Blade?). The late Michael Pataki (also the star of Dracula’s Dog) is the suave vampire in question, and watching these two b-movie stalwarts literally square off in the final reel is a sight to see.

Masters of Horror: Dream Cruise (2007) (1st viewing) d. Tsuruta, Norio
Not-bad Japanese ghost/revenge story set on a boat. Middling fright fare that still ranks among the better MoH episodes, which says something.

Masters of Horror: Sounds Like (2006) (1st viewing) d. Anderson, Brad
This episode, however, goes a notch above, taking the simple notion of a guy with super sensitive hearing being driven mad to its fullest extremes. From the director of The Machinist and Session 9, and like those two features, Anderson’s handling of the soundscape is key to the story’s success.

Mummy’s Revenge, The (1973) (1st viewing) d. Aured, Carlos
Paul Naschy dons the bandages and proceeds to do some serious head smashing. Better than you’d think and a lot of fun.

My Name is Bruce (2007) (1st viewing) d. Campbell, Bruce
Okay, it’s not a great movie, but I still got a chuckle out of watching Bruce play the worst possible version of Bruce Campbell. Watching this for free via streaming Netflix seems like the best way to go – that way, if it isn’t your cuppa blood, it’s only your time that gets wasted.

Stepfather II (1989) (1st viewing) d. Burr, Jeff
It’s still a step down from the original, and Terry O’Quinn is still the only reason to watch this. But there are some decent kills and O’Quinn is having a ball, so it’s more enjoyable than one would expect.

Wild Beasts (1984) (1st viewing) d. Prosperi, Franco
Maybe the most bonkers “nature gone wild” flick I’ve ever seen. Then again, the Italians are behind it, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Something bad goes into the water, the zoo animals go bananas and humanity is laid waste as elephants, cheetahs, bears and rats tear up the joint. Seriously, PETA fans never need see this movie, because animals were most definitely hurt during filming.

Company, The (2003)
(1st viewing) d. Altman, Robert
Chicago ballet company starlet Neve Campbell shows off her stuff while Malcolm McDowall further proves that he’s no longer capable of delivering a believable performance.

Every Which Way But Loose (1978) (3rd viewing) d. Fargo, James
Clint and Clyde and Ruth Gordon. Enjoyable schlock that made soooo much money in its day.

House of Yes, The (1997) (1st viewing) d. Waters, Mark
Twisted black comedy based on the stage play. Parker Posey is great, but Tori Spelling is the real surprise here. Worth seeing.

Lady Vengeance (2005) (1st viewing) d. Park, Chan-wook
The most gorgeously filmed of the “Vengeance” trilogy, yet the least emotionally resonant. Still, Park is a force to be reckoned with, delivering the gory goods while dazzling the eye and niggling at the hindbrain.

Night Moves (1975) (1st viewing) d. Penn, Arthur
Gene Hackman is terrific as a seedy private eye chasing down slutty teen Melanie Griffith. One of the great unsung 70s flicks, deserving of a bigger rep. Amazing ending.

Panic in Needle Park, The (1971) (2nd viewing) d. Schatzberg, Jerry
Al Pacino, just prior to his breakout role in The Godfather, is mesmerizing as a NYC heroin addict. Midwestern gal Kitty Winn falls in love with him, and is soon sucked into the abyss of addiction, prostitution and crime. Feels authentic, raw and right.

With a Friend Like Harry (2000) (1st viewing) d. Moll, Dominik
Amazing black comic thriller starring Calvaire’s Laurent Lucas as a troubled family man whose life is turned upside down by the freak meeting with an old university classmate (flawlessly played by Sergi Lopez). Alternately chilling and bizarre, and never, ever dull.

2010 Totals to date: 96 films, 73 1st time views, 50 horrors, 9 cinema


Twilight Zone – 6 episodes (69 total for 2010)
Monty Python’s Flying Circus – 1 episode (15 total for 2010)


  1. Here's a rundown of what I caught during the same time period:

    Anguish (Bigas Luna, 1987)
    8 Million Ways to Die (Hal Ashby, 1986)
    Flesh + Blood (Paul Verhoeven, 1985)
    Fear City (Abel Ferrara, 1984)
    Body Double (Brian De Palma, 1984)
    Hell's Angels '69 (Lee Madden, 1969)
    The Rebel Rousers (Martin B. Cohen, 1970)
    Dionysus in '69 (Brian De Palma & Robert Fiore & Bruce Joel Rubin, 1970)
    King Lear (Peter Brook, 1971)
    Redacted (Brian De Palma, 2007)

    Also, maybe this is just me, but I actually liked Malcolm McDowell in The Company. He's meant to be playing a larger-than-life character.

  2. Larger than life is fine, but it seemed like McDowell can only do caricatures these days, and all of his line readings sound completely artificial. Granted, his character as written in THE COMPANY was pretty poorly drawn, but McDowell just reveled in the artifice of it. Never seemed like a real character at all.

    Are all these first time viewings? Some really good stuff there that I've seen, and about half that I've never heard of. Brother cinephile, well met!

  3. The only one of the bunch that I had seen before was Body Double. Everything else was completely new to me (although some, like Flesh + Blood and Dionysus in '69, were ones that I've been wanting to see for many years).