Monday, June 09, 2014



  1. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1965) - another of William "One-Shot" Beaudine's massive oeuvre. I think I have seen this film I fell asleep often while trying to watch it over two nights waking up and rewinding and immediately falling asleep again. But I think I have pieced it all together.
  2. Princess Mononke - If Kurosawa had worked for studio Ghibli this is what he would have come up with. I loved it.
  3. Mirrormask - coincidentally the second film in a row scripted by Neil Gaiman. I love this film too.
  4. Nightmare Vacation 2 (aka Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers 1988 ) - shoddy serial slasher camp massacre piece of shit starring Pamela Springsteen (sister of Bruce) and Renée Estevez (daughter of Charlie Sheen). Dreadfully dull.
  5. Rawhead Rex (1986) - PreChristian elemental force is unleashed in rural Ireland. Tatty adaptation of a Clive Barker story which had some seriously bad moments buried in among all the half-hearted cheapness. I spent a lot of the time trying to work out where I had seen the actor playing one of the minor characters before. Turns out it was Barry (aka Finbar) Lynch who played the seriously yummy Puck in the 1996 A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  6. The Dark Side of the Moon (1990) - Dreadful, ploddingly paced space adventure film which mixes up elements like the Abandoned Ship With Something on Board (including vital components which means people have to keep going back on board to obtain even though... etc.), The Bermuda Triangle and Satanic possession. Our heroes' ship comes fully equipped with the standard Hollywood SF bullshit spaceship design: endless corridors, giant airducts racks for machineguns etc. etc. It also has a female computer with the memory capacity and complexity of an early Atari games console but is housed in an attractive white female body in a leather catsuit unzipped to show off her cleavage (Think Galaxina but without the personality). And there is some seriously dreadful continuity -I think the Script Girl was off the day they shot the 'Medical Room' scenes. So, ALL the elements of a good bad movie (the hero has a mullet!) but served up at such a laboriously pedestrian pace it merely becomes dull.
  7. Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982) - underachieving piece of time-travel crap in which a motorcycle rider gets zapped back to cowboy times. He gets shot at and and chased a lot. He runs away a lot. He has a quicky with the only female character with more than two lines. He is rescued by the people who accidentally zapped him into the past. As he leaves he realises (long after the audience has) that the woman he'd had the quicky with was his own great grandmother and he was own great grandfather! Three Dramatic Chords Please! (Then, just in case the audience still hadn't worked it out, there is an extended helicopter shot with the dialogue from earlier in the film setting up the fact he was his own great grandfather! played underneath.)
  8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - an odd choice for Friday Night pizza film but there we go. Number One Son now says "NI!" at every oportunity.
  9. Kung Fu From Beyond the Grave (Yin ji 1982) - an insane mix of all the usual kung fu nonsense - with added zombies, ghosts, government agents working under cover, Dracula (sic), with raunchy sex scenes and human sacrifice thrown into the mix. The villain's evil wizard magic fu is eventually defeated by a bunch of women throwing their sanitary towels and menstrual blood at him. An insane delight made all the more delirious by a terrible DVD transfer mastered from cropped (possibly ex-rental) VHS copy.
  10. Aeon Flux (2005) - after watching most of the very strange original animated TV series last night I thought I would take another look at the live action version. It made more sense to me this time but still didn't capture the WTF AM I watching? of the original. When I say it 'makes more sense', I mean I now understand why particular shots and sequences are in the film in the way they are - but not necessarily what they do within the context of the film. Some of the confusing/odd moments are in the film because they were in the series. For example, one set piece has our heroine and side-kick making a dangerous run across an auto-fortified no-go zone to gain entry into the seat of government. They do this in order to assassinate the despotic leader. This sequence is lifted straight from the show where, for different reasons, the same two characters make a dangerous run across auto-fortified no-go zone between two mutually hostile countries. The fact that, in the film version, a bunch of heavily armed 'freedom fighters' seem to be able to cross this internal border with impunity a few (running time) minutes later makes it even sillier. The film is full of moments which are supposed to evoke the strangeness of the episodic original but don't really work in the context of a live action Hollywood action film.
  11. Planet of Dinosaurs (1977) - low budget astronauts stranded on a planet story which suffers from a terrible script, some rotten acting but does have some semi-decent stop-motion dinosaurs.
  12. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) - which I was amazed to discover I have never seen before despite the fact that Caroline Munro's sweaty breasts take up a large part of the childhood memory storage space in my brain.

  13. Cry Baby (1990) - again! John Waters first 'mainstream' picture. Makes no sense at all and is a structural mess. But it makes me laugh a lot.
  14. Nightflyer (1987) - I had real hopes for this one. It is after all based on a real story by a real SF writer. (All right, George RR Martin.) My hopes lasted for all of three minutes. The opening sequence is an interminable monologue introducing the various assembled crew members of a scientific expedition as they sit in some sort of ill-defined public transport. The sequence looked like it came straight from the written story. Straight off the page. I don't know if this is the case as I haven't read the story but if it so it's a classic example of the difference between prose and screenplay writing. The opening may well have worked in a book but ground the film off to a standing stop from which it never recovered.
  15. Psycho a Go-Go (1965) - A reconstruction, from various elements (it showed), of a semi-passable bit of sixties crime movie which, over the years, transmogrified, with the addition of new footage and re-editing, into first, The Man With the Synthetic Brain, and then, The Blood of Ghastly Horror. Psycho a Go-Go is not a great film but it's better than either of its later reworkings.
  16. Xin jiang shi xian sheng (aka Mr. Vampire 5, Chinese Vampire Story 1992) - a truly bizarre mix of unfunny toilet humour (at one point our three heroes, who have eaten some dodgy sushi, fight a vampire while they take a communal dump behind an upturned table), and crude slapstick comedy (early in the film one hero has his pants yanked down by a spirit child and has his foreskin stretched out to a couple of meters before it's released to snap back and hit him in the testicles), with some seriously beautiful, dreamlike stuff drifting through it (the sequence where two women are caught between two processions of spirits? demons? is one of the loveliest things I have seen on the screen for weeks). Every now and then human vs kung fu breaks out climaxing in an extended fight sequence between the assembled good guys and a pregnant woman. The subtitles that I could make out on the lousy print I watched didn't help me understand what was going on at all they were so blurry and full of weird grammar, spelling errors, and typos. A wonderfully bewildering experience


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