Friday, September 28, 2012

Every Film I Watched in August:


  1. Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael (1991) - gentle little teen romance from the writer of Airplane! and The Naked Gun. And my third film on the trot to have a blonde/brunette lesbian couple - albeit as a very minor subplot. Someone is stacking my random VHS pile.
  2. The Comic (1985) the second film directed by Richard Driscoll that I have seen this year (the first was Kannibal back in January). I really need to see the other 5 or so - if only to see The Legend of Harrow Woods; any film with Rik Mayall, Norman Wisdom, and Christopher Walken! in it has to be looked at. The Comic is a masterpiece of incoherence. There's not a shot in this that isn't wrong, including the most inept and pointless dolly zoom I have ever seen. My favourite though, is the long shot of the dock in which our protagonist delivers his daughter to the people who are going to smuggle her to 'safety'. He's been told to be "at the dock at 9:30" or the boat "will sail without her". The long shot of him handing over his daughter that immediately follows this stern admonition is, for some reason, taken from a high angle, a really high angle, it's high enough for us to see all the fishing boats in the harbour sitting like stranded ducks on the mudflats waiting for the tide to return in about, oh, I dunno, four or five hours...? Often, while I'm watching dreadful shite like this, I try to work out what the production meetings must have been like. How did Driscoll - who not only 'directed' but 'wrote' this turd - get anyone to give him the money to make it?

    "It's like Eraserhead but in colour!"
    "Sounds great but what's the story, Mr Driscoll?"
    " Story...? Erm... Did I mention I've got an actress who'll get her tits out cheap?"

  3. vlcsnap-518856

    "Pay her a few more quid and she might smile."
    "We'll settle for tits."

  4. Witchcraft (1988 aka Ghosthouse 2, La Casa 4, Evil Encounters, etc.) Eurotrash schlock horror filmed in the US with David Hassellhoff and Linda Blair. And it is terrible. Horrible non-script, continuity that jumped the action from day to night to day again in the same scene and some seriously rubbish acting all round. Really rubbish. David Hassellhoff positively shone in a sea of inadequacy. The actress who plays his girlfriend is spectacularly inept; there's not a line she doesn't deliver badly - to be fair, I have to assume she is misdelivering a lot of them because she mumbles so much it's hard to tell. This was her second and last film.

    The film did allow me the opportunity to formulate another of the endless, 'Why is it in American films that...?' questions. In this case, 'Why is it in American films that people having nightmares are always sleeping on their backs?' - the answer, obviously, is because you cannot suddenly sit bolt upright gasping with fright and covered in a thin sheen of sweat when you're lying on your belly. Next....
  5. Nightmaster (1987 aka Watch the Shadows Dance) an early Nicole Kidman film that would have completely vanished from the world's collective memory if it she wasn't in it. In a 'near future' (hah!) Australian high school kids play a dangerous ninja game in an abandoned building. Boring, leaden paced shite. Low point being the moment towards the 'climax' when our gone slightly loopy ace kickboxer ninja martial artist war veteran drug addict teacher ties a red scarf around his arm. The only reason he ties a red scarf around his arm is to let the audience know which of the dozen or so identically black-clad ninja types crawling around in the dark is him. Pathetically lazy film making.
  6. Caged Women (aka Caged - Le prede umane 1991) - Sweaty Women in Prison film which got rejected by the BBFC in the UK and only passed after some 20+ minutes got cut. The DVD version I have runs at 72 minutes, 7 minutes longer than the 2001 video version of 65 minutes. So at some point some footage managed to get reinstated but not all. I don't think I missed much - though the statutory lesbian rape scene (Women in Prison films have tick boxes) was so short that it was almost invisible.
  7. One Down Two to Go (1983) - Late entry in the Blaxploitation genre with a dream Blaxploitation cast: Fred 'Nigger Charley' Williamson, Jim 'Slaughter' Brown, Jim 'Enter the Dragon' Kelly, Richard 'Shaft' Roundtree and it's as dull as hell. Though there is sequence that will long live in my memory. About 35 minutes in we get 26 shots taking over four minutes of screen time (including a 50 seconds locked-off shot looking out through a car windscreen) in which we watch two limos delivering two of the name stars to the film. Four minutes of pointless, endless, dialogue-free footage of cars driving about, then people getting out of them and looking smug. Wonderful stuff.

  8. Untitled
    Using up a short end on the way back to the Limo Hire Place

  9. First Great Train Robbery (1978 ) - entertaining enough piece of nonsense with Donald Sutherland looking even more dashing than usual in a stovepipe hat, Sean Connery doing some scary stunt work on top of a train and Lesley Anne Down in a basque and stockings. Something for everybody.
  10. Nights of Terrror (aka Le notti del terrore 1981) - tedious Italian zombie flick with some gratuitous nudity, a modicum of pointless wandering around corridors trying to generate some tension, and lots of gore (I seem to have found an uncut version. 13 minutes were cut before it got a certificate on its initial release). Watched the last third on FF and don't think I missed any subtleties. Nice line in spelling mistakes in the end titles though. As the last of the protagonists dies under the zombies' onslaught in  the image freezes the last shot and a caption appears:
    The earth shall tremble.... graves shall open.... they shall come among the living as messengers of death and there shall be the nigths of terror.... "Profecy of the Black Spider"
  11. The Invisible Ghost (1941) - Damn! Seduced by the cover which shows Bela Lugosi in a white lab coat surrounded by generic misguided scientist testy tubey stuff I did not recognise. A new (to me) Lugosi film! Yippee! Unfortunately none of the test tubey stuff (or the white coat) was on display in the film - which it turned out not only had I previously seen, but still own. And a dull little Poverty Row B feature it is too. The disc, bought a car boot sale, is on the notoriously shoddy 23rd Century label. The same image appears on the back cover of their edition of Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster and I know it's not from that film either.
  12. Munchies (1987) - cheap Gremlins knock off that will, I suspect, serve me as a benchmark definition of 'unfunny' for a while. I got given this tape in a charity shop - I was robbed. If I tell you it stars Harvey Korman.... I don't really need to write any more do I?
  13. Muppets From Space (1999) - Which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  14. Phoenix (1995) - not the Phoenix from 1998 with Ray Liotta who was one of the highlights of Muppets From Space, far too much of a coincidence. Nope, this Phoenix is a real slapdash piece of military 'sci-fi', straight to car boot sale, shite with great chunks of it looking like it was shot in the production office. It was only half way through this turd that we found out that the scenes taking place in what looked, for all the world, like mid 90's LA interiors were in fact supposed to be taking place on 'Centauri III' in the distant future. The Maguffin in the film is a mineral that contains bacteria (sic) which 'evolves' androids into developing emotions and being impervious to plasma weapons (thus neatly, a: explaining all the, by then, ancient machine guns that our 'heroes' have to use to blast everything that moves and b: slashing thousands of dollars from the budget as machine guns are cheap in LA, SFXing in laser blasts is labour intensive and expensive.) Maybe it's a measure of my brilliance or the films dumbness but (without having read the blurb on the back of the box) I had worked out the hero was really an android who didn't know he was an android before the word 'android' was even mentioned in the script.
  15. Kiss Me Monster (1969) - another incomprehensible mess from Jess Franco. This attempt at a synopsis by a review on IMDb sums it all up far better than I could:
    Two women, posing as a nightclub act, go to an island to investigate something. Everywhere they go, people (I have no idea who these people are) end up dying - sometimes stabbed in the back while in mid-sentence. Of course there's no sign of the killer. Eventually, I think they find whatever it is they're looking for because there is much rejoicing.
    I rather enjoyed it.
  16. My Date With Drew (2005) - normally I run a mile from 'challenge' TV. The sort of 'documentaries' that pose some pointless goal for hopeless wanabees to fail at one by one. And I'm less than interested in well fed, self-obsessed American twentysomethings paddling out of their depth in the shallows of minor angst but somewhere after a bit of a shonky start I really came to like this. Armed with $1100 dollars won on a game show, a camera they have to return to the shop in 30 days, and a lot of well fed, self-obsessed American twentysomething friends, an all-American nobody tries to get a date with film actress Drew Barrimore. It's stalking lite. And it's quite funny in places.
  17. Demon House (1997 aka Night of the Demons III) - bunch of obnoxious high-schoolers hide out in a 'possessed' house and die one by one. As if we cared.
  18. The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) - My on/off 'Dario Argento is shit' 'Dario Argento is great' pendulum has just swung right over to the 'great' side of the net. (End mangle metaphor mode.) Not that this film is 'great' but it was certainly disturbingly compulsive watching.
  19. Voyage to the End of the Universewhich is a dreadfully choppy American International re-edit of the chuffing brilliant 1964 Czechoslovakian film Ikarie XB 1. Which I only watched because I couldn't find my copy of the original.

  20. The Church (1989) Tonight, my Dario Argento-meter is definitely reading somewhere between 'crap' and 'very crap'.
Abandoned in August:
Omega Cop (1990) - lacklustre lone-cop in post-apocalyptic future flick with dreadful acting - enlivened only by an ageing Adam 'Batman' West getting a couple of days work as the cop's boss. The sort of stuff I normally love torture myself with but disc died on me about half way through.


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