Friday, December 2, 2011

Fool's Views (11/21 – 11/27)...with Turkey!

Hey there, freaky freaks,

Hope everyone had an amazing holiday. Sorry for the delay in serving up the goodies; I had my hands full with celluloid turkeys, (although I managed to take a few breaks from drowning in cinematic tryptophan to catch up with a certain Boy Wizard and some old school Muppet action). But mostly, it was all about the gobblers, and the eight consumed here - all but one consumed in the presence of the good Jon Kitley & Co. of KITLEY'S KRYPT fame - composed only the first course as you’ll see in next week’s installment.

Much like the October Challenge, the IMDb horror boards host their annual Turkey Challenge, where contestants are invited to indulge in as much of the lowest of the low as they can stand. The “winner” came away having viddied a whopping 142 films (all ranked 5.0 or lower on IMDb) over the course of November’s 30 days. I’ll let you do the math on that one, but suffice to say – that’s a lot of dreck. (I settled for a mere 15 and was more than full.) I’ve revived the Fool’s Views Haikus format for the occasion because hey, seriously critiquing Turkeys seems akin to counting calories on Thanksgiving – contrary to the point, yes?

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



Astral Fiend, The (1976)
(1st viewing) d. Florea, John

R. Foxworth versus
See-through creep and drunk Elke
Bonus 10 minutes????

Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966) (1st viewing) d. Buchanan, Larry

Gators gulping down
Nutty scientist’s mistakes
Agar looks so bored

Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970) (1st viewing) d. Adamson, Al

Colored filter joy
Stock footage and sex machines
Natives are restless

Killing of Satan, The (1983) (1st viewing) d. Pinon, Efren C.

Wild Filipinos
Magic spells, babes, freaks and geeks
WTF galore

Monster that Challenged the World, The (1957) (3rd viewing) d. Lavan, Arthur

Big slobberin’ worm
Munching down the waterways
Girl, leave dials alone!

Night of the Blood Beast (1958)
(1st viewing) d. Kowalski, Bernard L.

Spaceman preggers with
Sea monkey baby buggers
Awesome monster suit

X from Outer Space, The (1967) (1st viewing) d. Nihonmatsu, Kazui

Big kaiju thug
Endless trips to space station
White foam everywhere

Zaat (aka Blood Waters of Dr. Z) (1971) (2nd viewing) d. Barton, Don

Want to conquer world?
Becoming a catfishman
Clearly best option

4 for Texas (1963)
(1st viewing) d. Aldrich, Robert
This dopey Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin western shoots itself in the foot over and over again. Anita Ekberg shines as Sinatra’s steely smiling lady friend, while Ursula Andress starts off tough then becomes Martin’s lap dog. The painfully unfunny, completely out of place Three Stooges routine in the middle seems perfectly in keeping with a dud of this magnitude.

Midway (1976) (1st viewing) d. Smight, Jack
Lots of stock footage and big stars (including Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Glenn Ford, and so on…) does not inherently make for a thrilling dramatization of one of the major turning points of WWII. Kind of a drag, and Paul Frees’ dubbing of Toshiro Mifune is distracting on a intercontinental level.

Muppet Movie, The (1979)
(5th viewing) d. Frawley, James
It’s sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational… 31 years later, it still makes the grade.

Stripes (1981) (1st viewing) d. Reitman, Ivan
Finally caught up with this, 30 years after its release. It’s pretty evident that Bill Murray had the makings of a major star, and the crackerjack supporting cast (Warren Oates, Harold Ramis, John Candy, P.J. Soles) are loads of fun to watch. Plotwise, it’s completely ridiculous and anyone looking for a shred of realism will be sadly disappointed, but Murray’s unfettered throwaways – many of which seem improvised – are the glue that keep the rough-edged fragments together.


I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)
(1st viewing) d. Columbus, Curt
Seriously, I have no effing idea how this got into my queue. Someone somewhere out there must have recommended it to me, and whoever you are, you owe me big time. Nerd Paul Rust proclaims his love to Hayden Panetierre during his valedictory speech; wonder of wonders, she and her wild friends decide to spend the night hanging out with him. Stupid as hell, and negative in the funny column.

I Love You, Phillip Morris (2009)
(1st viewing) d. Ficarra, Glenn/Requa, John
Jim Carrey plays a career criminal who discovers his true love in Ewan McGregor while in stir. The two are eventually released and set up happy home together, but Carrey’s embezzling ways continue to spell trouble with a capital T. Sporadically funny, but always engaging. McGregor isn’t given much to do, but Carrey’s wild antics feel quite grounded in reality, imbuing them with a welcome emotional weight.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
(1st viewing) d. Yates, David

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (1st viewing) d. Yates, David

Missed these two chapters (and Deathly Hallows Part 1) in the cinema, but after seeing DH2 this summer, I knew that the series was worth catching up with. Listening to Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon speak dialogue to one another is like getting the world’s best ear massage. Phoenix benefits immensely from Imelda Staunton’s presence as a by-the-book-even-if-I-have-to-rewrite-it taskmaster, and Prince has lots of whizbang spells and the surprise demise of a certain wizard. Bottom line, Yates proved himself the man to shepherd the series to its triumphant conclusion.

2011 totals to date: 552 films, 341 1st time views, 315 horror, 47 cinema
Charlton Heston movies: 7

Cavalcade of America – 1 episode (“The Blessed Midnight”)
Four Star Playhouse – 1 episode (“The Gift”)
Ugly Americans – 7 episodes (14 total for 2011)


  1. You've got some great cinema slime there Aaron! Unlike yourself, I'm no poet but I do have a few comments I'd like to add on your selections: BLOOD BEAST: "I think we should look at the X-ray; hey, how did those sea horses get in my chest cavity?" SWAMP CREATURE: Let's stop by the Fish 'N Fly -- are you hungry, Frenchie? How about a live turtle snack? X OUTER SPACE: What's scarier -- giant lizard chicken Guilala or Peggy Neal's hairdo? MONSTER: "It was shriveled!" "Look at me ma, I'm a big girl, all grown up." "Baby, just close your eyes and go to sleep!" (Boy, Tim Holt was kinda chunky in that one -- I should talk!) HORROR BLOOD MONSTERS: I AM THE TRUBITANN VAMPIRE; THE SCIENCE OF THIS PLANET CANNOT DESTROY ME-- but Dr. Reinning always prescribes aspirin for migraine after brain surgery on sexy cavegirls. KILLING OF SATAN: Wow, the devil must have some kickass steroid prescription to go from a 98-pound weakling keeping naked Filippino girls locked in cages to a buff gangster in a nice suit with a wicked pitchfork. ZAAT: It's been a while since I've seen it, but I'll always remember the monster was "nothing like a catfish, but still BEAUTIFUL," the girl in the yellow bikini, and the creature's "to-do" list, which was part horoscope diagram, part Peter Max painting, and part Microsoft Project Gannt chart. You've certainly earned an extra helping of oyster dressing this year, fella! Take care! -- Alan Tromp

  2. Alan - Foot bless you, buddy. How did I know that you would have seen most of these??? (However, I must apologize - I had the wrong haiku up for the Buchanan movie when you checked in. Error corrected.)

    Ah, the Fish n' Fly. Every airport oughta have one. Seriously, though, that scientist should have known better than to have his lab right off of the living room.

    The opening of BLOOD MONSTERS totally blew my mind...and then kept blowing it via the recycled footage from TAGANI mixed with Carradine doing his JC thang.

    Peggy Neal aka White Devil Woman in a Jumpsuit. But damn, that monster kicked the crap out of those cardboard buildings, didn't he?

    In my full review of MONSTER...WORLD, I comment on Holt's girth a couple times. Looks like he ate the Treasure of the Sierra Madre this time.

    I can't believe I'm going to say this, but you should revisit ZAAT. It was even more fun the second time around. It's a tidal wave of ineptitude, crowned by a huge foamy undertow of naive charm.

  3. I'm not fond of David Yates's Potter movies. I think they're too dark, in a literal sense, and I think the director is kind of an unadventurous dullard. Here's what I mean: in The Order of the Phoenix, the book, there's a sequence in the Ministry of Magic where Ron Weasly is attacked by a giant brain in a vat. A GIANT BRAIN IN A VAT! The Ministry of Magic sequence in the movie was made in 3-D, so what you have is a filmmaker who chose NOT to film A GIANT BRAIN ATTACK in 3-D! That's just weak sauce, if you ask me, and from then on, David Yates was dead to me. I will admit, however that Potter V and VI suffer greatly from having absolutely ginormous source novels. Nothing to be done for that I guess. Potters VII and VIII split the novel out of practical necessity and they're by far the best of Yates's movies.

    Also: are the Potter movies truly "civilian?" I mean, they're set in a great haunted castle and they have tons of fun mythological monsters, plus werewolves and giant spiders and ghosts aplenty. For that matter, Voldermort's resurrection in Goblet of Fire is worthy of a Hammer Dracula film, while the sequence in Bathilda Bagshot's house in Deathly Hallows is postively Edwardian in its creepiness. I think their origin in YA literature tends to obscure the fact that the Potter stories are pretty cracking horror stories, among other things.

  4. Vulv - I'll confess, not only was I late to the table with the Potter movies, I have not read the source materials, so I didn't have the same reaction of omission. That said, I liked what Yates was doing on a visual level. I definitely liked Deathly Hallows 2 the best of the bunch, but I would need to go back through the films to categorically say which films I enjoyed best on a directorial level.

    Yeah, I hear ya. It's that slippery fantasy/horror slope. I know that were we back 30 years, there's no way the Potter movies would not be considered right alongside their horror brethren. I'm okay with calling them civilian, not so much because of their YA origins, but more because if I open that door, I'll have to include every kid-centric CGI wonderfest (like, say, ETRAGON). It's a double standard, I know, and I really have no excuse for it other than saying that the Potter movies and their pretenders seem to be more interested in the ooooooh factor than the (screaming) ahhhhhhhh! factor. However, I absolutely salute your championing of them as nominees for the canon.