Monday, October 15, 2012

October Movie Challenge 2012 (10/14)

Remember, if you would like to make a pledge toward Scare-A-Thon 2012 (benefitting FRIENDS OF CHILDREN) at any time, drop me an email at to let me know how much you would like to pledge per film. Your donation is tax deductible, 100% of goes directly to aid the kids, and seriously, even a penny per film helps. Thanks in advance!

Retribution (1987)
(1st viewing) d. Magar, Guy (USA) 107 min.

I remember walking past this VHS box (pictured above) on the shelves for literally decades but never taking the plunge. However, thanks to the urging of blood brother Gert, I finally viddied this enjoyably noisy tale of a nebbish paranoid (Dennis Lipscomb) possessed by the spirit of a murdered gangster. Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Vito, as he astral projects Lipscomb’s body around killing off his assassins. A solid big screen debut from TV journeyman Magar who deserved better future prospects than Stepfather III and Children of the Corn: Revelation based on his work here.

Shadowzone (1990)
(1st viewing) d. Cardone, J.S. (USA) 88 min.

Minimal but effective creature effects, a solid B-cast and lots of splatter enliven this zany science-gone-awry bunker fantasy. James Hong and Louise Fletcher meddle in affairs best left alone, while jarhead David Beecroft attempts to uncover the truth about their brain expanding experiments. Giant animatronic rats and monkeys share eye candy screen time with sexy prone nudes Maureen Flaherty and Robbie Rives.

Arrival, The (1991)
(1st viewing) d. Schmoeller, David (USA) 103 min.

Tragically underrated flick, often confused with the 1996 Charlie Sheen sci-fi vehicle. A meteorite crash has the unexpected side effects of reversing an old geezer’s life span, turning him decades younger over the space of a few months. (The trade-off being that he has to drink blood every couple weeks, a habit that leaves a trail of victims that FBI agent John Saxon tracks with much fervor.) Michael J. Pollard offers up a curious cameo as a trailer park resident who provides valuable evidence, and look sharp for both Stuart and Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in quickie roles.

Cannibal Man, The (1973)
(1st viewing) d. de la Iglesia, Eloy (Spain) 90 min.

Video nasty that surprisingly contains no actual cannibalism whatsoever, although it does open with some lunch-buckling slaughterhouse footage that precipitates the Italians’ use of mondo jungle footage. There’s a wealth of social commentary to be had amidst the expanding line of murders that Vicente Parra is forced to carry out in order to cover up the last. A much better film than one might expect, one unfortunately lumped in with the array of Italy’s gruesome gut munchers of the 80s.

Cannibal Terror (1980)
(1st viewing) d. Dereulle, Alain (as A.W. Steeve) (France) 93 min.

Speaking of which, the French decided to throw their hat into the flesh devouring ring with this ridiculous tale of kidnappers who flee with their quarry into “Indian country” (i.e. the forest next door, populated by the palest redskins ever put on celluloid). A turkey of the highest order, with a padded-out screenplay that can only have been written by a dirty-minded fifth grader during a single study hall session.

When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)
(1st viewing) d. Walton, Fred (USA) 94 min.

Impressively solid follow-up to the 1979 babysitter thriller, with Carol Kane and Charles Durning back as their respective characters (the former now a college counselor and head of a woman’s abuse prevention center) attempting to discover who is tormenting cutie Jill Schoelen. The terrific suspenseful opening sequence overshadows the remainder of the film (as it did in ’79), but it’s still great fun watching an empowered but forever mousy Kane kicking butt.

Total Movies: 48
First Time Views: 48
Money Raised for Friends of Children: $487.20

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