Thursday, December 10, 2020

Fool's Views (11/1 – 11/15)

You WILL take your medicine, it's GOOD FOR YOU

Howdy, folks!

Okay, every year I tell myself, “Hey, AC! You finished the October Challenge, you’re all caught up to date, wouldn’t it be great if you just kept going and stayed consistent with the Views? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Wouldn’t that be… hey, hey, where you going?”

Yup. Here we are again.

The truth is that the Challenge lives up to its name every October, requiring more time and energy than I anticipate, whereby other projects get pushed onto the proverbial back burner. As soon as Nov 1 rolls around, all of those back burners get turned up real high and, before you know it, I’m running around like a short-order cook at lunchtime with half the kitchen staff out sick. (Hey, nice metaphor-building there.)

As such, we’re a month behind and the end-of-year awards season is already starting to kick into high gear, so I figured it’s time to shut up and put up. These may not be the prettiest Views in the world, but Views they is and here they comes.

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



The Brides of Dracula (1960) d. Fisher, Terence (UK) (4th viewing)

More explicit than its predecessor in terms of the vampire’s sexual allure and, ahem, potency of his bite, this Christopher Lee-free installment features a brand new vampire threat for Peter Cushing’s intrepid Van Helsing, that of Baron Meinster (David Peel). Chained up by his aristocratic mother (Martita Hunt), the dashing villain is loosed from his bonds by a comely young schoolteacher (Yvonne Monlaur, ridiculously full lips, cat eyes, and oh-so-fetching French accent compensating somewhat for her vacant thesping) and soon the countryside is crawling with fetching fanged femmes (Andree Melly and Marie Devereux). In addition, there are some delicious supporting turns, including Michael Ripper’s fevered coachman, Miles Malleson’s eccentric physician, and Freda Jackson as Peel’s crony familiar.

Directed with skill and panache by Fisher, Brides is deserving of more attention than many of the later sequels; it’s probably the second-best Dracula film Hammer ever produced during its long reign, filled with action, surprises, and a wingding windmill climax showcasing Van Helsing’s ingenuity and athleticism. The newly released Blu-ray from Shout! Factory is enthusiastically celebrated on Kicking the Seat, where you can listen to Ian and AC HERE:

Hocus Pocus (1993) d. Ortega, Kenny (USA) (1st viewing)

I had never seen this perennial Disney favorite until now and, having remedied that, I think it’s one of those occasions where I am clearly not the target demographic. Directed like an egregiously overenthusiastic children’s theatre production, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker mug their mugs off, complete with affected voices and cartoonish facial expressions as three twisted sisters loosed upon modern small-town New England. Doug Jones (of Pan's Labyrinth and The Shape of Water fame) has a fun supporting role as a lip-stitched former beau of Midler, and Mick Garris co-wrote the screenplay with Neil Cuthbert (Mystery Men).

Relic (2020) d. James, Natalie Erika (Australia/USA) (1st viewing)



Saw V (2008) d. Hackl, David (USA) (3rd viewing)
Saw: The Final Chapter (2010) d. Greutert, Kevin (USA) (3rd viewing)

Decided to listen to the commentary tracks for both of these, as I needed to return them to the library following the Scare-A-Thon and was curious to hear screenwriters Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton’s musing on their now-completed story arc of the final four films. Lots of behind the scenes trivia to be had, although not much that you couldn’t find on IMDb.


Devil Story (1986) d. Launois, Bernard (France) (1st viewing)

Oh, man, this was absolutely amazingly insane. Between the endless sequences of a crazy old guy shooting a never-empty shotgun, a mystical black horse that gets more screen time than any of the human actors, and random acts of gory violence happening at the most, er, random times, I never knew quite what was going on and it didn’t bother me for a second because it was all so utterly bonkers and energetic. Merci Beaucoup, Monsieur Kitley! (IMDb rating 3.5)

Unknown World (1951) d. Morse, Terry O. (USA) (1st viewing)

Oh, man. This was absolutely amazingly boring. It probably would have been a lot more fun in the company of some Gobbler-loving pals, but as it was, this exercise in drudgery about a futuristic craft burrowing into the center of the earth should have been a lot more entertaining. Then again, considering the time-stamp, we weren’t really into the golden age of sci-fi yet and this was one of those failed experiments trying to find the way. The only real item of interest is that longtime Hollywood editor Morse’s next directing assignment would be shooting the American scenes with Raymond Burr for the international release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (IMDb rating 3.9)


A Night to Dismember (1989) d. Wishman, Doris (USA) (2nd viewing)

Host Jason Coffman has already given this film its proper due in his much-beloved Hidden Horror essay, and it was a pleasure to revisit it in the company of the great man himself. “So bad it’s good” doesn’t even apply here – this is more like “So bad you think you’ve gone insane.”

Messiah of Evil (1973) d. Hyuck, William (USA) (2nd viewing)


The Golden Bat (1966) d. Sato, Hajime (Japan) (1st viewing)

Sato re-teams with action superstar Sonny Chiba after their thoroughly enjoyable underwater sci-fi romp, The Terror Beneath the Sea, for this equally wacky superhero flick, filled with hilariously outfitted monsters and villains and pew pew ray guns. Good stuff.

Hercules in the Haunted World (1961) d. Bava, Mario (Italy) (2nd viewing)

Reg Park is the legendary mythical muscleman, venturing into the underworld to save the soul of his sweetheart. Christopher Lee co-stars as an evil mystic, seeking to overthrow the kingdom. It’s a fun, fantasy-filled romp, with awesome encounters with lakes of fire and huge stone monsters, all illuminated by Bava’s trademark colored lighting schemes.

36.15 Code Noel (aka Game Over aka Deadly Games) (1989) d. Manzor, René (France) (1st viewing)

It’s the movie that Home Alone may or may not have ripped off. See if any of this sounds familiar: Lonely geeky kid left home alone (except for his invalid grandfather) and forced to defend himself against a psychotic intruder by means of elaborate booby traps. The biggest differences are a) it’s French, b) intruder is dressed as Santa Claus, and c) it’s even more subversively mean-spirited than its American copycat. Ho ho ho!


The Assistant (2019) d. Green, Kitty (USA) (1st viewing)

A soul-sucking day in the life of a Weinstein-like mogul’s personal lackey (Julia Garner), highlighting the ingrained abuse of power and the complicity of everyone in its orbit. Agonizing and frustrating, because it all rings far too true, far too familiar.

The Dirt (2018) d. Tremaine, Jeff (USA) (1st viewing)

The director of the Jackass movies turns his gaze on four of the biggest jackasses of the 1980s metal scene, the members of Motley Crue. I don’t know if you’ll like Tommy, Nikki, Vince, or Mick any better when it’s over, but you’ll know them a little.

Hillbilly Elegy (2020) d. Howard, Ron (USA) (1st viewing)

Meh. Glenn Close is having fun as a gnarled-up foul-mouthed matriarch, if that’s your thing.

Working Man (2019) d. Jury, Robert (USA) (1st viewing)

One of the first For Your Consideration flicks to come my way, this melodrama about a reclusive factory schlub (Peter Gerety) who continues to show up for work even after the plant has closed down exists in that time-honored noble simpleton universe where stuff happens simply because the screenwriter/director (Jury) wants it to. In other news, Talia Shire, how’d you get here?


Four Lions (2010) d. Morris, Christopher (UK) (1st viewing)

Yes, it’s an absurdist terrorist comedy and it works like a fookin’ dream, bruh.

Sound of Metal (2019) d. Marder, Darius (USA) (1st viewing)

Ahmed stars as a recovering addict and rock n’ roll drummer who abruptly loses his hearing and finds direction and purpose in a rehab house for the deaf. Complex and richly textured, with terrific emotional turns from Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, and former Chicagoan Paul Raci as the sober home leader.

2020 Totals to Date: 362 films, 221 first time views, 134 horror, 2 cinema



  1. A wild, nice mix here!

    Thanks for putting The Assistant on my radar, looks like too interesting not to check out. The Dirt didn't need any help, it's notorious enough for anyone to have noticed its release (and I wouldn't mind watching it). Sound of Metal already caught my interest when it came out, good to read it's well worth it.

    Sharing your love for the sixties duet of Hercules in the Haunted World and Brides of Dracula, both gothic vibed favorites of mine too.

    Still have to see 36.15 Code Père Noël and I will. Holidays are-a-comin', ho ho ho!

    Messiah of Evil totally rubbed me the right way too. Only watched it once, and recall the digital transfer to DVD as one of very poor quality (at the time). Has this film received a properly restored release yet?

    Relic goes on the list right up there with Pyewacket as one to seek out and watch soon. They somehow feel like compatible material to possibly team up for a double bill evening...?

    1. The Assistant was a screener for awards consideration and is certainly worthy of attention. It's got a really low-key vibe which makes it all the more sinister and there's no way it won't generate conversation from anyone who sees it. It says a lot without SAYING a lot.

      I'm surprised you haven't seen Code Pere Noel yet, although now that I think about it, it was Vanessa who recommended this one to me, so it's still the same country of origin!

      There is a Blu-ray release from Code Red that is a HUGE improvement from the "public domain" prints out there - that was the one that Jason screened for his marathon. I should have noted that.

      I feel like Relic is a couple notches above Pyewacket (which I also watched earlier this year), but I can see how they would pair well together!