Saturday, December 1, 2018

Fool's Views (11/19 – 11/30) (Part 1 of 2)

OMG, so fullllllllll.

Well, that was a month to remember… or maybe one to forget. I completed my November Turkey Challenge right in the nick of time, wrapping up with a grand total of 30 Gobblers, 17 of which were first-time views, and while I can definitely say that “challenge” was the right word for it at times, it was immensely rewarding to explore strange new worlds of awfulness and bold new flavors of cheese. Similarly, it was interesting to settle in, thinking that a Turkey was in order and discovering instead that the film in question really didn’t qualify, being either too competently made (Murderlust), too icky (Entrails of a Virgin), or just not enough fun to recommend to anyone else (Cabin Fever remake). There is foul and there is fowl, and never the twain shall meet.

Due to the sheer volume of views, I’ll be breaking this period into two installments, wrapping things up with the Kitley’s Krypt Turkey Day coverage in the post to follow, so stay tuned!

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



Candyman (1992) d. Rose, Bernard (UK/USA) (4th viewing)


The Endless (2017) d. Moorhead, Aaron / Benson, Justin (USA) (1st viewing)

The gents who gave us the intelligent and thoughtful horror efforts Resolution and Spring are back at it again, this time in front of the camera as well, playing two brothers (named Aaron and Justin, appropriately enough) who escaped from an “apocalyptic death cult” as youngsters. Unable to successfully assimilate into society, they decide to revisit the cult as adults for some sense of closure and discover things to be as idyllic and peaceful as before. The question of “Why would anyone ever leave?” slowly turns to “Can anyone actually ever leave?” as the siblings discover evidence of breaks in time/space, leading to a series of mind-scrambling revelations that are as stimulating as they are challenging. There is also a callback to the filmmakers’ debut effort that is particularly clever and rewarding. Well worth checking out.

The Reflecting Skin (1990) d. Ridley, Philip (UK/Canada) (3rd viewing)



The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) d. Francis, Coleman (USA) (5th viewing)


Dream Stalker (1991) d. Mills, Christopher (USA) (1st viewing)

Following the tragic accident that took his life, the spirit of a lovestruck motorcross rider continues to haunt his girlfriend and murder pretty much anyone who threatens, antagonizes, flirts with, or comes anywhere near her. This is a cheesy SOV delight, with an impressive body count, mullets-a-go-go, bizarre dreams, bizarre dream logic, and endlessly quotable dialogue. Good times, and available now from Severin Films.

The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) d. Hole, William (USA) (1st viewing)

Unbeknownst to me, this was apparently a sequel to Hot Rod Gang, put out by American-International the year before, with several of the cast members (Russ Bender, Jody Fair, Henry McCann) reprising their roles of misunderstood kids who just want to go-go-go. The “plot” this time around focuses on the gang losing their hot rod charter and getting evicted from the garage. Where are they going to store and prep their mean machines? Hey, what about that old deserted mansion down the way, the one that’s supposed to be haunted? Great idea! Unfortunately, it takes nearly 40 minutes for screenwriter Lou Rusoff to get that far, so horror fans are left twiddling their thumbs amidst sock hops, slumber parties, and lots and lots and LOTS of musical numbers.

Once they get to the mansion, it’s standard spookhouse stuff with floating candles and weird noises, which doesn’t scare them off from having a Halloween costume party to break the place in. Low-budget AIP creature man Paul Blaisdell’s outfits from The She-Creature and Invasion of the Saucer Men show up for little or no reason, as does Blaisdell in a Scooby-Doo style cameo. Energetic but flat, with little to no legit scares or fun. Rex Reason’s wife Sanita Pelkey plays Amelia, the fetching tall brainiac with thick horn-rimmed glasses while Dorothy Neuman, the crone-like Meg Maud in Roger Corman’s The Undead, plays Aunt Anastasia, paired with a perpetually prattling parrot.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964) d. Steckler, Ray Dennis (USA) (2nd viewing)

With a way-out prolix title like that, it’s not surprising to learn this is no everyday drive-in programmer. However, the title is easily the most entertaining element of this prolonged borefest, watching bad boy Jerry (Steckler, billed as Cash Flagg) run around a carnival with his gal and his pal, only to fall under the sway of an evil hypnotist and her burlesque dancer sister. Our juvenile delinquent becomes the latest member of an army of somnambulist killing machines the gypsies are assembling, stabbing drunken showgirls in the face in the name of the greater good. Incredibly padded with so-so dance hall numbers and an epic “climactic” scene of Jerry fleeing from the police, wherein he apparently traverses the entire Pacific coastline. Yawn.

PHOBE: The Xenophobic Experiments (1994) d. Benedikty, Erica (Canada) (1st viewing)

While working part-time at a community cable channel, aspiring Ontario filmmaker Benedikty wrote, produced, directed, and edited this ambitious and charming feature-length sci-fi action thriller for only $250. Surprisingly impressive rudimentary digital FX, makeup, and pyrotechnics in service of a cliché-riddled narrative of a space cop chasing an alien criminal through space, but it’s all about the big hair and long mullets and Canadian accents, eh, which weave a magical spell of goodwill over the entire proceedings. Ultimately rediscovered and screened at film festivals in 2015, which led to its home video release through Severin/Intervision, complete with special features, making-of interviews, and much more.


Brewmaster (2018) d. Tirola, Douglas (USA) (1st viewing)

An engaging documentary about beer culture, with a multitude of talking heads discussing the history and social impact of the fermented beverage. The drama ensues from watching one Wisconsin lad attempting to pass the Master Cicerone certification while a New Englander attempts to start his own microbrew brand.

Gosford Park (2001) d. Altman, Robert (UK/USA) (2nd viewing)

The esteemed filmmaker spends a weekend in the English countryside among the idle rich and their bickering servants, thoroughly exploring both ends of the societal spectrum while giving its stellar ensemble juicy plots and subplots to bustle about in.

Love Actually (2003) d. Curtis, Richard (UK) (2nd viewing)

Another enormous Brit ensemble piece-turned-holiday perennial, celebrating the crazy quilt of life and love at Christmastime. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay, and there’s little denying that it has its moments.

National Theatre Live: King Lear (2018) d. Munby, Jonathan (UK) (1st viewing)

Sir Ian McKellan leads his troupes in a full-blooded theatrical assault on Shakespeare’s epic drama about errant fathers and duplicitous children and power corrupting absolutely. While not the quintessential production (I had issues with our one-note Cordelia and the “um, okay” casting of Sinead Cusack as Kent), there is quite a lot to enjoy and the nearly four-hour running time (including intermission) flies by.



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