Thursday, April 18, 2019

MASTER OF DARK SHADOWS (2019) Blu-ray review

Master of Dark Shadows (2019) d. David Gregory (US) (87 min)

In 1966, a phenomenon was launched when Dark Shadows debuted on ABC-TV as a daily Gothic suspense series. Airing in the late afternoon, the show attracted a massive youth audience as it shifted to the supernatural with the introduction of vulnerable vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). Witches, ghosts, and scary storylines turned Dark Shadows into a TV classic that led to motion pictures, remakes, reunions, and legions of devoted fans who have kept the legend alive for five decades.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Fool's Views (3/16 – 3/31)

Sunscreen and proper eye protection is important year-round....

Spring has sprung!

For the back half of March, we came out like a lion, logging triple features of Brian De Palma AND Richard Fleischer, as well as taking in Jordan Peele’s and J.J. Abrams’ latest horror offerings. Scottish filmmaker Lawrie Brewster also scored some screentime, along with a certain Marvelous Captain. All in all, it was a dandy first quarter, with over 120 films under our belt. Here’s hoping the rest of the year follows suit!

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


Friday, April 12, 2019

US (2019) movie review

Us (2019) d. Jordan Peele (USA) (116 min)

“A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgangers appear and begin to terrorize them.” That’s the high concept behind writer/director/producer Peele’s second feature film and it’s a solid enough premise that is ultimately submarined by a nebulous third-act explanation that raises more questions than it answers. The “twinning” gambit has been done before (and more effectively) in films such as Plus One (aka +1) and Coherence, and whereas Get Out’s social commentary was seamlessly woven into its narrative fabric, here Peele trowels it on at the expense of logic and storytelling.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

THE FURY (1978) movie review

The Fury (1978) d. Brian De Palma (USA) (118 min)

Though on the surface, De Palma could be accused of returning to the telekinetic well a little soon following his smash hit Carrie, John Farris’ adaptation of his own novel expands the tapestry far beyond the small-town concerns of misfit teenagers and into full-blown international government conspiracies and training grounds for potential assassins. (If that device sounds similar to Scanners, it is... and it preceded Cronenberg’s film by three years.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

THE MANITOU (1978) Blu-ray review

The Manitou (1978) d. William Girdler (USA) (85 min)

What medical experts originally believe to be a tumor on the neck of patient Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg) proves to be a fetus growing at an abnormally accelerated rate. She reaches out to former lover and phony psychic Harry Erskine (Tony Curtis) for help, but when attempts at conventional surgery go horribly awry, it is revealed that Karen’s nervous system is now possessed by the spirit of a 400-year-old Native American demon named Misquamacus who is ready to be reborn!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Fool's Views (3/1 – 3/15)

I'll take that one and that one and that one....

Greetings, greetings, greetings!

The lingering Chicago winter led to a variety of Views, enhanced by a free month of Netflix streaming (I canceled it halfway through, but it was fun while it lasted), and some fantastic screeners from Shout! Factory, Severin, Arrow, and Artsploitation. My impromptu Brian De Palma film festival slowed slightly (we picked things back up again in the back half of March, so stay tuned) while Ian Simmons and I polished off the closing two features in our Saulnier School program. In all, it turned out to be a productive couple weeks, with a lot of cinematic ground covered, bringing us to a grand total of 100 films in a mere 2.5 months. Might be a good year!

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


Saturday, April 6, 2019

PSYCHO (1998) Blu-ray review

Psycho (1998) d. Gus Van Sant (USA) (104 min)

Having embezzled a large sum of money from the bank where she works, Marion Crane (Anne Heche) takes refuge at a motel operated by Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn), a troubled man whose victims encounter a grisly fate at the hands of his mother. Marion’s disappearance prompts inquiries from her sister (Julianne Moore) and a private investigator (William H. Macy), who both discover the terrifying truth kept hidden within the Bates Motel.

Friday, April 5, 2019


Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) d. Sergio Martino (Italy) (97 min)

Once-successful author Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli), already crippled by writer’s block (and an excess of alcohol and drugs), hits a new low when his more-successful mother passes away. He celebrates her wake by holding a colossally inappropriate orgy of sexuality and abuse, the latter directed toward Irina (Anita Strindberg), his long-suffering emotional and physical punching bag of a wife. Their less-than-idyllic existence is further complicated by the fact that several of Oliviero’s mistresses keep getting bumped off by a killer wielding a curved saber, and further still by the presence of his trampy niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) who comes to stay and play (doctor, head games, et al) with them both. The result is a marvelous guessing game of who’s the victim, who’s the villain, and who will take their clothes off next.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

SCARED STIFF (1987) Blu-ray review

Scared Stiff (1987) d. Richard Friedman (USA) (84 min)

Following a nervous breakdown, recovering rock star Kate (Mary Page Keller) and her young son (Joshua Segal) are planning to move into an old colonial mansion with her handsome psychiatrist beau David (Andrew Stevens), unaware of the sinister occult habits of the previous owner, a tyrannical plantation owner named Masterson (David Ramsey). When pigeons (oh, so many pigeons) make their presence known in the boarded-up attic, the songbird stumbles upon a collection of bones and an ancient journal that may hold the secret to banishing the evil forever, but Masterson has other plans...

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971) d. Riccardo Freda (Italy) (96 min)

Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage launched a wave of “animal-in-the-title” offerings, including this high energy (and equally high nonsense) effort which boasts a rogues gallery of perverse characters, violent murders, and ridiculous plotting where anyone could be the killer! Possibly the only giallo set in Dublin, Ireland, things kick off with an audacious pre-titles, acid-throwing, throat-slashing set-piece, with the victim’s naked corpse unceremoniously deposited in the trunk of the Swiss Ambassador’s limousine. When the icy government official (Anton Diffring, The Man Who Could Cheat Death) claims diplomatic immunity, the cops recruit former badge John Norton (Luigi Pistilli, Twitch of the Death Nerve) to find the killer.