Sunday, December 20, 2020

Fool's Views (11/16 – 11/30)

"Um, I'll have the fish..."

Aaaaaaannnnnnd he’s back!

The latter half of November was a rich mix of brows high and low, and everything in between. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Kitley's Krypt faithful were forced once again to take our semi-annual celebration of All Things Turkey virtual, but the tradition was maintained and a fantastic time was had by all.

Meanwhile, the awards season has begun in earnest, with screeners showering down from the heavens in increasing number. As such, there’s little time to dally, especially when I’m still knocking out Stallone flicks and having impromptu Jennifer Lopez double features in my non-existent spare time. So, let’s get to it!

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



Werewolf (2018) d. Panek, Adrian (Poland/Netherlands/Germany) (1st viewing)

A group of Polish children are liberated from a remote Nazi concentration camp and dropped at a country estate to await transportation back to civilization. Before that can occur, however, they are trapped inside the house – devoid of food or water – by a pack of bloodthirsty attack dogs from the camp now roaming at liberty throughout the forest. If that weren’t bad enough, one of their number is a true-blue sociopath who doesn’t really care if he (or anyone else) lives or dies. As unrelentingly bleak as it is brilliantly textured and paced, this clever updating of The Lord of the Flies deserves your time.


She Demons (1958) d. Cuhna, Richard (USA) (1st viewing)

A shipwrecked trio land ashore a tropical island, only to encounter Nazi scientists performing unspeakable acts of dialogue and twisted science, transforming the comely tribes of dancing native ladies into beast women. Director Cuhna also helmed the classic gobblers Giant from the Unknown, Frankenstein’s Daughter, and Missile to the Moon (itself featured in Turkey Day 2012), as well as serving as the cinematographer for Bloodlust!

Destination Inner Space (1966) d. Lyon, Francis D. (USA) (1st viewing)

This throwback to the magical days of guy-in-suit monster flicks features a fantastic creature design that even incorporates (and conceals) a SCUBA air tank. Take that, Ricou Browning! There’s a whoooooooooooooole lot of scientific and military gobbledegook spewed on all sides, with real-time donning of wet suits about every 10 minutes, but that’s just part of the fun. Bonus points for James Hong cameo and light-up Signs of the Cross!

Werewolf of Woodstock (1975) d. Moffit, John (USA) (1st viewing)

Filmed for television as a Mystery Movie of the Week, this one takes the lycanthropy tropes, tears them up in tiny pieces, sets them ablaze, and then lifts its hairy leg to pee on the ashes. Don’t believe me? Find me another flick where a lightning strike causes the transformation, werewolves steal dune buggies, and rock ‘n’ roll is the proverbial silver bullet. I’ll wait right here. Plus… Michael Parks in a toque. An undisputed highlight of the afternoon.

Attack of the Super Monsters (1982) d. Sotyama, Toru / Wyner, Tom (Japan) (2nd viewing)

I was so happy that Jon programmed this one, having discovered it myself earlier this year. My fellow Turkey lovers’ heads were exploding with juvenile delight.


Creatures from the Abyss (aka Plankton) (1994) d. Passeri, Alvero (Italy) (1st viewing)

The Italian horror industry was sucking wind at this stage of the game, with only the occasional slice of awesomeness sneaking through (Dellamorte Dellamore, for example), so I was not holding out much hope. Happily, Passeri and his pals do not disappoint, throwing oodles of weirdness, stunning practical monster effects and gore, and the occasional splashing of nudity in this wackadoo yarn about a group of obnoxious youngsters taking refuge during a raging storm at sea aboard a deserted yacht that’s much, much bigger on the inside. I’d never heard of this one before and my hat is tipped to Kitley for bringing it into the light.

The Love Butcher (1975) d. Jones, Don (USA) (2nd viewing)

Weird, sleazy twist on the Psycho playbook, with Erik Stern playing Jekyll and Hyde as balding, crippled, myopic, mental deficient gardener Caleb and his literal ladykiller alter ego Lester (who has his own array of alter egos himself, complete with accents, hairpieces, and fake mustaches). The string of small town murders attracts the attention of an intrepid reporter (Jeremiah Beecher) who tries to help the police catch the killer as the brutal creative kills (stabbing, strangling, drowning by garden hose) pile up. Packed with uneven performances, bizarre stream-of-consciousness monologues, and jarring little melodies dropped into the mix at the most inappropriate moments, what’s not to love?

You can also read Jon's write-ups HERE


The Dirty Dozen (1967) d. Aldrich, Robert (USA) (5th viewing)

As our post-Thanksgiving feast viewing fare, it seemed only appropriate to watch one of the most subversive “Go U.S.A.” war movies ever put to film, especially during this Year of Bronson. It still works a treat, and it’s still amazing to see all that testosterone in one place.

Once Upon a Time in America (1984) d. Leone, Sergio (USA/Italy) (2nd viewing)

Okay, so I had seen this back in college about 30 years ago and thought it was meh. Then the director’s cut came out and everyone was raving about how it was an unabashed, unheralded masterpiece and Leone’s crowning achievement. I finally went back and watched the entire four-hour mess and it’s still as meh as ever, if not more so. Great production design, lousy story, and histrionic performances from its overstuffed cast. No thanks.

Randy Writes a Novel (2018) d. Warrington, Anthony (Australia) (4th viewing)

The Purple One’s 3.5-minute dissertation on the life and times of Ernest Hemmingway alone (is reason enough to recommend this brilliant concert film, AT LONG LAST AVAILABLE THROUGH LEGIT STREAMING MEANS.



Out of Sight (1998) d. Soderbergh, Steven (USA) (2nd viewing)

George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez spark and court and sizzle and crackle in this stunning, stylish crime flick based on the Elmore Leonard novel. So much funnier than I remembered, with great turns from Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, and Albert Brooks.

Selena (1997) d. Nava, Gregory (USA) (1st viewing)

The biopic about the Mexican-American pop singing sensation provided Jenny from the Block with her first true star turn and even though she is lip-synching the tunes, the moves and curves are all hers.


Capone (1975) d. Carver, Steve (USA) (1st viewing)

The same year he worked for Roger Corman in Death Race 2000, Sly put in time behind the Tommy Gun and Ben Gazzarra in this historically inaccurate and sensationalist telling of the infamous Chicago gangster’s life. Only Susan Blakely (who had appeared alongside Stallone in Lords of Flatbush and years later in Over the Top) leaves any kind of impression as Capone’s bawdy mistress.

The Lords of Flatbush (1974) d. Davidson, Martin / Verona, Stephen (USA) (2nd viewing)

A bizarre shaggy dog of a movie, ostensibly about a gang of four toughs (Perry King, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, Paul Mace) in 1950s Brooklyn but focusing instead on two of their love lives. Local lothario Chico (King) falls for a classy girl from the right side of the tracks (Susan Blakely) while musclehead Stanley (Stallone) finds himself in the family way with his honking gal pal (Maria Smith). Winkler became a huge star on TV’s Happy Days that same year, basing his super-cool Arthur Fonzerelli character on a combination of the two. Meandering and not terribly engaging, it does provide some scrappy screen time for the young actors to strut their stuff.

Avenging Angelo (2002) d. Burke, Martyn (USA) (1st viewing)

Anyone who says Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is Stallone’s worst film has not seen this unfunny, uncouth, unironic, and nearly unbearable comedy which belies its straight-faced action/drama poster art. A mob boss (Anthony Quinn, in his final role) hires Sly to serve as the bodyguard for his estranged daughter (Madeleine Stowe, screechy and frantic); when the old guy gets whacked in a decades-old blood feud, it’s open season on his offspring. Released the same year as the non-starter Eye See You, Angelo marked Stallone’s first film not to receive a theatrical release. It took four years and the maudlin but crowd-pleasing Rocky Balboa to resuscitate the fading star’s career.


Emperor (2020) d. Amin, Mark (USA) (1st viewing)

Well-meaning and well-produced feature that introduce audiences to the little-known historical figure of Shields Green (Dayo Okeniyi) who escaped his bonds to join John Brown for their fateful battle at Harper’s Ferry, the act that sparked the Civil War. It’s too bad that the movie itself feels so by-the-numbers, and that the esteemed supporting cast (James Cromwell, Bruce Dern, Harry Lennix) are forced to utter such cliched dialogue.

Herself (2020) d. Lloyd, Phyllida (Ireland/UK) (1st viewing)

Clare Dunne (who co-wrote the script with Malcolm Campbell) delivers a blistering star turn as an abused spouse who escapes her husband’s brutal beatings only to find herself trapped by the UK’s draconian housing and relief laws as she tries to literally build a new home for herself and young children. A powerful and moving tale of bonding against adversity, with wonderful work from the entire ensemble.

Mank (2020) d. Fincher, David (USA) (1st viewing)

This biopic about Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz is a deadly snoozer, with Gary Oldman seemingly immobilized by his prosthetics and fat suit. All the attention to 1940s period detail in the world can’t make up for the fact that Fincher generates zero dramatic momentum. Immensely disappointing, considering the people and resources involved.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) d. Sorkin, Aaron (USA) (1st viewing)

One of the more embarrassing moments in U.S. legal history is showcased by a stellar cast and Sorkin’s established gift for giving them the right things to say at the right time. It doesn’t quite stick the landing and is ultimately less than the sum of its parts, but still manages to entertain and inform.

2020 Totals to Date: 381 films, 233 first time views, 141 horror, 2 cinema


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