Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Hello, friends,

It’s that time of year again, where days grow short, trees grow bare, and nightmares come fast and furious in 90-minute intervals….

It’s time for SCARE-A-THON 2015.

As faithful readers know, for the past several years I have dedicated my October viewing energies to various organizations deserving of some “terror lovin’ care.” Thanks to generous, like-minded souls, we have raised thousands of dollars for over two dozen different groups. This year, I have selected Planned Parenthood, which provides vital health care and education to women all over the country, and Chicago’s Greenhouse Shelter, a domestic abuse shelter which provides safe refuge and support for women and their children taking their first brave steps to ending abuse.

In the spirit of a walk-a-thon or read-a-thon, I am asking for your assistance on a per-movie pledge basis with a prospective goal of 100 movies that I plan to watch. (For example, a five-cent pledge would result in an approximate $5.00 donation.) Of course, you are welcome to make a lower – or higher – per-movie pledge, or make a straightforward donation of whatever amount you deem viable.

"Tish, you know philanthropy drives me wild!"

Fool's Views (9/1 – 9/30)

Howdy, folks.

Look at this. We’re all caught up.

September found me in West Virginia, rehearsing for GVT’s production of Hamlet and armed with a bevy of civilian titles that I’d been meaning to catch up with for years. During the downtime between bouts of spouting iambic pentameter, I worked my way through the DVD wallet. Didn’t manage to see quite as many as I’d hoped prior to the madness that is the October Horror Movie Challenge (this Shakespeare stuff ain’t the easiest stuff in the world to memorize, plus I was doing all the recaps from Jan-Aug), but we still knocked out a few.

Heck, we even managed to provide the full Fool’s Views capsule reviews effect for the first time this year – gotta get warmed up for SCARE-A-THON 2015, after all.

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


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fool's Views (8/1 – 8/31)

As July rolled around, I found myself totally overwhelmed with my NASM personal training certification studies, trying in vain to memorize muscular insertion points (no, that’s not a euphemism) and which amino acids were essential and which weren’t. I finally had to call for reinforcements.

For the first time in the history of the H101 blog, other people's names were on the byline for the reviews, but happily those names were none other than Matt Wedge and Jason Coffman, two of the wickedest scribblers to be found, both of whom happen to live in my own darn zip code. (insert obligatory “Chicago’s horror community rocks” shout-out here.) My load was lightened, my personal views ebbed slightly, the reviews slowed to a trickle and then….

I passed that f*****g test. And life got a little better. I mean, I had to start memorizing lines for Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s production of Hamlet the next day, but I could actually justify watching a few movies JUST FOR FUN. Like, you know, BATMAN and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and MISSION-FRICKING-IMPOSSIBLE.

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


Some people never go anywhere without their HORROR 101. These people usually die before the credits.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fool's Views (7/1 – 7/31)

Study, work, show, sleep. Study, work, show, sleep. Watch movie. Review it. Study harder. Sleep less.

That was July. Which is too bad, because I would have like to have given more virtual ink to three pretty great discoveries in the horror department which I had previously heard very little about (Honeymoon being the exception, having shown up on several best-of lists come the end of 2014). Long Pigs is one of the best faux horror docs I’ve seen, ranking just below Man Bites Dog, which with it shares more than a few similarities, while the terrific horror/comedy All About Evil I had only heard of as “that Peaches Christ movie,” even though the cult personality is only featured in a few scenes. Anyway, all three are well worth tracking down.

In the civilian department, if there’s a more mindfuckingly chilling ending to be found than that at the end of Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, I’m all ears. Combining this with Prisoners, End of Watch, and last year’s should-have-been-nominated Nightcrawler, I’m finally convinced Jake Gyllenhaal is the real deal. Big thanks to John Pata for these recommendations, as well as for the completely underrated Disconnect. Check 'em out, sez I.

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


You really should consider subscribing to the H101 blog. I really recommend it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fool's Views (6/1 – 6/30)

As we reached the halfway point of 2015, all the good things started coming in twos. Primarily in the form of Shout! Factory’s double dose of double features (already having graced fans with the “animals attack” quartet of The Food of the Gods, Empire of the Ants, Frogs, and Jaws of Satan, as well as the Carrie and Ghoulies two-fers). Not to be outdone, Arrow decided to lay the entire five-film Stray Cat Rock series on us, while a newly resuscitated Artsploitation served up Horsehead, House of 100 Eyes, and Der Samurai in one fell swoop.

In short, there was no rest for the wicked, and it was all we could do to keep up with things, considering we were then juggling Mockingbird performances and an ever-increasing class load in pursuit of my NASM personal training certification. Stamina was definitely the order of the day, with few opportunities to watch anything that wasn’t “assigned.”

The upside to this requisite reviewing is that I get to cut down on the apologizing for this particular installment (although we did finally make time to watch yet another double feature loaned to us back in November by Indy blood brother Craig J. Clark – the only two flicks that I didn’t review… because I didn’t have to).

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


AC deals with laptop issues in his usual calm, discreet manner.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fool's Views (5/1 – 5/31)

Remember those April showers? Yeah, May is when the wheels really came off, as Shout! Factory, Severin, Synapse, and Arrow all decided to release a wealth of home video gold that all landed in my lap at once… just as I was starting rehearsals for To Kill a Mockingbird with Oak Park Festival Theatre. Of course. 

Then an impromptu movie party at Kitley’s Krypt turned into an impromptu Gobblerfest hereafter to be known as Turkey Day in May. And to further compound my mirthful misery, the month kicked off with the 3rd Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival, which saw me at the historic Music Box Theatre every night for the entire week, tallying 20 flicks in all.

The CCFF marked the first time I’d seen a movie in the cinema since January (WTF), and the month ended as it began, taking in the magnificence splendor that was Mad Max: Fury Road and Ex Machina, as well as the Chicago Cinema Society's screening of Der Samurai.

I also shared the mike with Kicking the Seat’s Ian Simmons to discuss the train wreck that is The Human Centipede 3, a sad affair since both of us are/were big fans of the first two installments. You can hear our grousing HERE.

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


AC fends off the screeners with his usual gusto

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fool's Views (4/1 – 4/30)

Oh, the April showers of Blu-ray powers had us camped out in front of the tube more than usual, leading to a few movie gatherings to share the pleasure and the pain. While most of the reissues occupy the schlockier terrain of the playground, and the current crop of indie releases had more disappointments than not, there were a few bright spots in the mix. Shawn Holmes’ Memory Lane is a master class in making the most of minimal resources – definitely worth checking out. I also dived headlong into Bert I. Gordon’s classick of 70s gigantism in service of an essay for a new “animals attack” book being edited by our Belgian mistress of the night, Vanessa Morgan.

We also had the pleasure of having phone conversations with directors Mark L. Lester and Jeff Burr in conjunction with the Blu-ray releases of Class of 1984 and From a Whisper to a Scream respectively. The transcribed results of said chats can be found by clicking on the linked titles above.

In the civilian quarter, the revisiting of two long-time favorites sparked interest in sampling an earlier offering from their lead actors’ respective oeuvres. In this case, Escape from New York led to finally seeking out Kurt Russell’s decidedly unDisney portrayal of Charles Whitman in The Deadly Tower and The Food of the Gods to Marjoe Gortner’s riveting central turn in the eponymous documentary Marjoe. Oh, and Duke Mitchell’s Gone with the Pope is simply sublime in its rough-hewn 70s independent aesthetic – thanks to Jason Coffman for inviting me to the party.

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


Ah, ah, ah. Those links aren't going to click themselves, kiddies.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fool's Views (3/1 – 3/31)

Back again!

March was a light month in terms of knocking out the flicks, but it did have the highlight of showcasing what will likely be my favorite horror offering of the year.

It Follows demonstrated a level of foreboding, atmospheric dread that I haven’t experienced in quite some time, with a brilliantly simple, uncluttered horror premise. I never thought it would resonate for the mainstream, however, and was legitimately surprised when it earned a wide release. Sure, the hype machine managed to ruin it for many hardcore fright fans, but it delivered the goods in my book, and I’m happy to keep recommending it. (Especially since the rest of the month’s genre selections were less than select.)

And with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we managed to knock out yet another Redford flick, the very one that sparked my interest in revisiting his onscreen output since it was supposedly an anomaly for Hollywood's golden boy to be playing a villain. Of course, anyone who was paying even the slightest bit of attention should have realized that even Sir Bob's "heroes" are a flawed and cranky bunch, and he's played an out-and-out S.O.B. on more than one occasion.

As before, feel free to leave your two cents worth about any of the titles below – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Sharp-tongued retorts will be dealt with accordingly.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fool's Views (2/1 – 2/28)

Hey kids,

As you can see below, February ended up acting as the rejoinder to last year’s 16-film exploration of Robert Redford’s onscreen career, knocking out another half dozen, including three first time views. Horror-wise, it was all Shout! Factory and an end-of-month Share the Scare gathering of Chicago fright friends that slayed the day.

As before, if you have any questions or thoughts about any titles that didn’t earn any rambling, start the convo and off we’ll go. Give us your two cents, and we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fool's Views (1/1 - 1/31)


Hey kids,

2015 has been a very weird year in and out of the Doc’s office. Due to time constraints, I haven’t given any critical attention to films not specifically submitted for review; as such, posting the weekly Fool’s Views kind of fell by the wayside.

However, in this brief calm before the storm that is the annual October Horror Movie Challenge/Scare-A-Thon, I found myself with just enough time to catch up in the cataloging of titles consumed over the past nine months. And, being the generous soul that I am, I figured I’d post them on the blog, as is, in monthly blocks, for your perusal. Without any opining, of course, this is simply a matter of record as opposed to an array of recommendations or admonitions – the very definition of trivia. But hey, there’s a place for that as well, I suppose. This seems like the place.

There are, as you will see, numerous links to extended reviews. However, if you have any questions about any specific titles that didn't manage to garner any virtual ink, I’m happy to offer up any feeble retroactive thoughts I can conjure. In other words, your two cents will still get you some change back.


Another satisfied H101 customer

Monday, September 14, 2015

THE EDITOR (2014) Blu-ray Review

The Editor (2014) d. Adam Brooks / Matthew Kennedy (Canada)

Wet Hot American Summer set a high bar for genre parodies in that in addition to being a parody, it also acted as both a loving tribute to a very specific subgenre (early ’80s “summer camp” movies) and a respectable entry into that subgenre itself despite its bizarre humor. There have been a few similar parodies in the years since – Black Dynamite immediately comes to mind as one particularly successful example – but no one has come as close to replicating Wet Hot’s mix of parody and tribute as Canadian comedy group Astron 6.