Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fool's Views (9/1 – 9/30)

"You don't think AC's losing his touch, do you? Oh, shhh, here he comes..."

Howdy, folks!

Yep, the whole month of September has come and gone with only 14 flickers taken in. Chalk it up to a hectic performance schedule and a renewed commitment to physical fitness – funny how when you’re putting in up to three hours sweating it out, there are fewer left in the day for the Views. Luckily, a number of DVD screeners, two platelet donation sessions, a group outing to the multiplex, the continued blessing that is Turner Classic Movies, the Kryptic Army, and a trickling of random flicks filled out the bill. That said, considering I’ve built up a head of steam for the upcoming October Challenge, I think it’s only right to have taken it a little easier this month – things are about to get keeeeeerazy up in here.

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


LUCKY BASTARD (2014) DVD review

Lucky Bastard (2014) d. Robert Nathan (USA)

Fading porn producer and director Mike (Don McManus) runs the “Lucky Bastard” website, which arranges and records the sexual exploits of their devoted male fans with adult film professionals. Against her better judgment but in need of cash, sexy starlet Ashley St. Clair (Betsy Rue) is cajoled into pairing off with eager amateur “Dave G.” (Jay Paulson) for a bout of interweb wank material. Unfortunately, Dave turns out to be a little too eager both in and out of the bedroom – he surprises his co-star by revealing her real name and then prematurely loses the crew from his pink submarine. Emotions run high and devil-deals are made, all captured within the hidden-camera laden lair, but as the crime scene footage that opens the film makes clear, there is no “happy ending” in store for anyone.

PIECES OF TALENT (2014) movie review

Pieces of Talent (2014) d. Joe Stauffer (USA)

Charlotte (Kristi Ray) is an attractive twentysomething trapped in her small town, paying the rent by working as a waitress at the local titty bar as she dreams of a career as a film actress. Her drunken, chain-smoking mother (Barbara Weetman) living with her (not the other way around) demeans these fantasies, and given Charlotte's string of failed local independent auditions (her resume consists of “a few music videos”), it seems unlikely she will ever see her name in lights.

One night, the young would-be starlet strikes up a friendship with a bedraggled misfit photographer after he is beaten up for shooting inside the club. When he regains consciousness, David Long (played by “David Long,” a pseudonym for co-screenwriter Dustin Lewis) reveals that he is a filmmaker, and he thinks Charlotte would be perfect for his next project. We quickly learn, however, that David is a bona-fide wackjob whose idea of art has some nasty and twisted edges, the type that snag and rip and rend flesh from the bone.

Monday, September 29, 2014

THE DEAD 2: INDIA (2013) Blu-ray review

The Dead 2: India (2013) d. Howard J. Ford / Jonathan Ford (UK)

The Ford Brothers made a big splash in 2010 with their zombie flick The Dead set in the epic vistas of Africa, chronicling the journey of two human survivors – one American, one African – who must form an uneasy alliance in the face of their common undead enemies. The combination of gorgeous location shooting, solid portrayals, impressive practical and digital f/x, and an atmosphere of sunlight-drenched dread proved a potent one, and the film was embraced by audiences and critics alike. Unfortunately, in this tenuously connected companion piece, the writer/director siblings (with Jonathan again serving as cinematographer) bring nothing new to the table except tired clichés and horrendously mannered performances, neither of which aid their cause.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973) Blu-ray Review

Legend of Hell House, The (1973) d. John Hough (UK)

In the pantheon of top-notch haunted house movies, this fine, moody offering ranks just below Robert Wise’s outstanding The Haunting, to which it owes a great debt. The familiar premise concerns a team of spiritual sleuths – a scientist, his wife, and two mediums – assigned to investigate Belasco House (aka “Hell House”) to prove (or disprove) the notion of life after death. However, unlike the ambiguity of Shirley Jackson’s story or the subsequent 1963 film version, Richard Matheson’s screenplay (adapted from his 1971 novel Hell House) elects to make the existence of the malevolent presence within the so-called “Mount Everest of haunted houses” undeniably explicit. According to Matheson, his personal dictate was “I’m going to do a haunted house story where you damn well know it’s haunted and there’s no question in your mind.”

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fool's Views (8/11 – 8/31)

Nothing phallic about this shot at all.

Howdy folks,

Well, once again, the good folks at Kitley’s Krypt saved my horror bacon, as my required monthly Kryptic Army mission were the only two fright flicks caught during the last three weeks of August. I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Cincinnati Playhouse’s long rehearsal days and the fact that my little apartment came fully stocked with a subscription to Turner Classic Movies; needless to say, my viewing priorities shifted almost immediately. In addition to the full features listed below, I enjoyed catching 20, 30, or sometimes 60-minute snatches of literally dozens of others. And, thanks to a TCM-sponsored viewing of Three Days of the Condor, I was further inspired to try out the Chicago Public Library’s downloadable video option for two other Redford flicks (bringing 2014’s total to nine), as well as paying tribute to a recently deceased comic master by watching what many consider to be his last great performance.

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


Thursday, September 4, 2014


Puppetmaster III: Toulon's Revenge (1991) David DeCoteau (USA)

True story: Prior to tackling this for this month's Kryptic Army mission theme (that of "revenge), I’d only seen the original 1989 Puppet Master and that viewing was at least 10 years in the rearview. However, having read Gert Verbeeck’s outstanding retrospective of the series for HorrorHound back in 2012, I had learned that this installment was 1) a prequel, so I wouldn’t be lost by o’erleaping the first sequel and 2) many fans consider this the high point of the franchise. Thus bolstered, I ventured in and I gotta admit, it was pretty entertaining.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1989) d. Richard Friedman (USA)

I’ll be honest – I didn’t actually believe this was a real movie when I first saw it pop up in one of my reference books (I think it might have been Legacy of Blood, Jim Harper’s fine examination of slasher films). I mean, could you come up with a cheesier title? But upon actually visiting the beast, it’s a fairly faithful repurposing of Phantom of the Opera...set in a shopping mall, so what else would you call it?