Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fool's Views (1/1 – 1/15)

"Doggone it, it's spelled Klaatu Barada NIKTO, those idiots!"

Howdy, folks!

Yep, it’s that time of the year again, where the prestige pics hold sway over our collective cinematic attentions (otherwise known as AC Catches Up With Everyone Else’s “Best of 2019” Lists), so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Civilian end of the cinematic pool. That said, I’m pleased that I was also able to find time to participate in the newly resurrected KRYPTIC ARMY hosted by the one and only Kitley’s Krypt.

What’s the Kryptic Army? So glad you asked!

From 2010 to 2014, Our Fearless Leader issued a monthly set of commands: Watch two horror movies (that you’ve never seen before) that conform to a given set of parameters and report back your findings. Along the way, we covered such themes as stars (Peter Cushing, Paul Naschy), directors (Lucio Fulci, H.G. Lewis), topics (Holiday Horror, Apocalyptic Horror), or titles (“Black,” “Night,” etc.) Over those six years, I think I only failed to complete one of those 60 missions, and that was because I picked two movies that did not feature the required “Snowy Backdrop.” (I mean, who would have guessed that neither Cadaver Christmas nor Track of the Moon Beast would feature nary a flake, considering their plot descriptions involved a Yeti and Christmas????) Anyway, thrilled that Jon has called back in the troops – hope you join us because WE WANT YOU.

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


Sunday, January 26, 2020

ZONE TROOPERS (1985) Blu-ray Review

Zone Troopers (1985) d. Bilson, Danny (USA) (86 min)

In contrast to this month’s other KRYPTIC ARMY selection, while I had been aware of its indelible box art staring back at me for decades from the VHS shelves, Zone Troopers had never really struck me as “must-see material,” and being that I was never the biggest Empire/Full Moon fan growing up, it was never more than a blip on my radar. However, as the years rolled by and my tastes mellowed, I’ve learned to appreciate and enjoy quite a bit of Charles Band’s output, so it was with a mild degree of optimism that I pulled this one up off the interwebs. Happily, I was not disappointed.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

DEATH SHIP (1980) Blu-ray Review

Death Ship (1980) d. Rakoff, Alvin (Canada/UK) (91 min)

Crusty and cranky Captain Ashland (George Kennedy) is taking his luxury cruise liner out for one final spin on the ocean before retirement, with trusty second-in-command Marshall (Richard Crenna) along for the ride and waiting in the wings to take over. But when their ship is blindsided by another vessel, all passengers are sent down to Davy Jones’ locker with the exception of Ashland, Marshall and his family (Sally Ann Howes, Jennifer McKinney, Danny Higham), ship’s steward Nick (Nick Mancuso), his girlfriend Lori (Victoria Burgoyne), and kindly old religious nut Sylvia (Kate Reid). (Bandleader Saul Rubinek also ends up in the life raft, but is done away with so quickly, it barely counts.) Surprise, surprise, the derelict ship that took them out circles back around for another go, they all climb aboard, and mayhem predictably (and sporadically) ensues.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

BODY PARTS (1991) Blu-ray Review

Body Parts (1991) d. Eric Red (USA) (88 min)

Bill Chrushank (Jeff Fahey) is a criminal psychologist who loses his arm and nearly his life in a grisly car accident. Dr. Agatha Webb (Lindsay Duncan) proposes an experimental medical procedure, successfully grafting a new limb on its place. Following a strenuous period of rehabilitation, things seem to be back to normal… until Bill’s new arm starts to exhibit a will of its own, striking out against Bill’s wife Karen (Kim Delaney) and children, while Bill begins to experience horrifying dreams of murder and bloodshed. Are these symptoms all in his mind or are they linked to the limb itself, residual traces of its former owner’s troubled life?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (1971) Blu-ray Review

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) d. John D. Hancock (USA) (88 min)

Following her release from a sanitarium, emotionally sensitive Jessica (Zohra Lampert) leaves NYC with her classical musician husband Duncan (Barton Heywood) and their like-minded hippie friend Woody (Kevin O’Connor) to find peace and quiet working an apple orchard in Connecticut. But when they encounter a strange, beautiful squatter, Emily (Mariclare Costello), residing in the farmhouse, Jessica’s unstable world begins to crumble. And, like our heroine, the viewer is never quite sure what is reality or nightmare, madness or sanity….

Monday, January 20, 2020

COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2019) Movie Review

Color Out of Space (2019) d. Richard Stanley (USA) (111 min)

Living with his family on their small and isolated farm, Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) enjoys a laid-back existence, eking out a meager existence milking alpacas and cultivating tomatoes while his online stock-trader wife Theresa (Joley Richardson) does daily battle with their sketchy internet bringing home the proverbial bacon. Their kids are a relatively well-adjusted if offbeat brood, with older brother Benny (Brendan Meyer) holding down the level-headed fort between bong hits, aspiring spiritualist Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) trading time between healing spells to repress her mom’s cancer and complaining about living out in the boonies, and young dreamer Jack (Julian Hilliard) drawing and tinkering his home-schooled days away. Of course, all that changes one night when a strange purple glowing meteorite crashes down in their front yard and proceeds to slowly influence everyone and everything around it.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Civilian 2019 Wrap-Up and Year-End Stats!

Aaaaaaaaand we're back!

Having addressed the horror genre in the previous entry (hey, this is HORROR 101 after all), it’s time to give the Civilian flicks their moment in the sun. As always, all titles listed were encountered for the first time from January 1 to December 31, 2019 (i.e. no repeat viewings were eligible), with top picks denoted with an asterisk. (*)

However, first... A little context:

This was probably the first year in the last 20 years that I didn’t see a single movie at the multiplex and, with the exception of the Music Box of Horrors and Cinepocalypse, it was the first time that I didn’t see more than a single film in the theater with each trip. That’s right, no double, triple, quadruple features, just in and out and off to the proverbial snack bar to discuss. It was a fairly unique experience, but it also meant that my numbers for current releases were WAAAAAAAY down from usual. Also, since my focus tended to err toward chosen “projects” – most of which were of a certain vintage (007, Chuck Norris, various directors) – my home viewings rarely dabbled in the modern shiny stuff. Can’t say I’m really bummed about the results, they’re just not the norm.

Totally gratuitous pic of Denise Richards riding a dinosaur to entice you to click below the fold...

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Dr. AC's 2019 Horror Wrap-Up Extravaganza!

Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter... I mean, hey, come on in!

Howdy, folks!

Wow, I’m almost impressed with myself for getting this done in such a timely fashion. I mean, hell, I haven’t even written my rent check for the month and I’m already posting this? WINNING.

Since (once again) I haven’t been breaking my neck to keep up with the latest and greatest, I’ve (once again) extended my field of view for genre releases to cover the last two years, both 2018 and 2019 releases. To be honest, I was surprised that I had seen as many as I had, but widening the field means we can plant more crops, if one might be allowed to explore the metaphor.

Please note: All the films listed below were encountered by your humble scribe for the first time over the past 12 months and, to acknowledge as many as possible, I've broken them down into various categories in alphabetical order, with my top picks denoted with an asterisk. (*)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Fool's Views (12/16 - 12/31)


All right, last lap, everyone!

The back half of December was actually quite a treat, since I knew I had done pretty well in terms of total films and having finished up several projects, but I also knew that I had a few loose ends I wanted to tie up before the final bell rang. I was one film away from completing The Omen franchise, two films away from completing the Silent Night Deadly Night franchise, I had several gaps from the 1940s that I wanted to fill, and so on. I would find myself waking up and thinking, “Oh, yeah, that would be a good thing too…” and, even though I didn’t quite finish all the items on my wish list, I still did pretty well.

In short, it’s been a hell of a year (in many ways), and I was often reminded how lovely it can be to be transported to a different time, different place for a few hours and come back home, feeling just a little richer for the experience. Thanks to everyone who shared with the ride with me in one respect or another.

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


Friday, January 3, 2020

SILVER BULLET (1985) Blu-ray Review

Silver Bullet (1985) d. Daniel Attias (USA) (95 min)

In the small rural Maine community of Tarker’s Mills, a maniacal killer is on the loose, viciously rending its victims to pieces, leaving the townsfolk terrified and the police stumped. But young Marty Coslow (Corey Haim) is convinced that a supernatural shapeshifter stalks among them, a werewolf who only shows its toothy maw every full moon. Problem is, Marty is 13, so no one believes him; worse yet, he’s stuck in a wheelchair, which leaves him vulnerable. With his only allies, sister Jane (Megan Follows) and boozy Uncle Red (Gary Busey), Marty sets out to devise a means of stopping the beast before it homes in on the one person who knows its true identity....

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Fool's Views (12/1 – 12/15)

We're here for the Old Year....

Howdy, folks,

Well, with the self-defense schedule relatively clear after the first week, December provided rich and varied cinematic terrain to explore and celebrate with others. Just in the nick of time, I held my first official Share the Scare of 2019, during which we knocked out eight, count 'em, EIGHT flicks in the course of one afternoon. I also started notating which years had been thus far neglected and rented accordingly from the local library shelves: 2005 (Tsotsi), 1963 (Bye Bye Birdie), and 1951 (A Place in the Sun). Sometimes – nay, usually – my OCD tendencies yield interesting fruit and these were no exceptions.

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