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

April 2014's Crop of Crap

  1. Superman (1978 ) - guess what my superhero obsessed 5 year old boy got for one of his birthday pressies. It stands up well.
  2. The Ghost in the Shell (1995) - rewatch with my Anime obsessed 11 year old... (see Feb.)
  3. The Blood of Ghastly Horror (1972) - a truly awful mess of a film which I have watched before but didn't quite believe.
  4. The Invisible Man (1933) - I had one of those penny drops, 'oh! I've never seen THAT before' moments while watching this tonight. I have seen The Invisible Man before but only noticed the unmistakable (very early - for Hollywood) anti-fascist elements of it till tonight. At the centre of the film Griffin, the invisible man, gives an impassioned and very bonkers rant about having the power to rule the world through fear - "even the moon is afraid!" - while gesturing like Hitler and finally thrusting out his chin and folding his arms in a unmistakable imitation of Mussolini. Recoloured the whole film for me. I liked it.
  5. Thunderbirds Are Go! (1965) - a tremendously dull film turned into a real gigglest with the kids. Daughter Number One's cry of "No! MY left!" just before a vehicular collision and cataclysmic explosion had me in hysterics. She wants to be Lady Penelope. Number One Son loves the collapsing palm trees. Mrs JM and Middle Daughter were just bemused by the whole experience. To round the night off I danced like a loonican (while no one was looking) to the Rezillo's song.
  6. Mars Needs Women (1967) another incredibly dull movie from Larry Buchanan which sits somewhere (both in story and quality) at the midway point between Teenagers from Outer Space and Earthgirls are Easy. The highlight for me of Mars Needs Women's confused and fumbling story-telling was the seemingly endless sequence early on in the film where the USAF send up jets to find the Martian space ship. (Though the strip-tease dancer's bum was a goody.) For what seems like three hours we get to watch three men in military uniforms stare at a tannoy speaker, various shots of the speaker itself from two or three different angles, and shots of a jet plane in a disjointed miscellany of stock footage. As we watch these elements rotated in turn past our eyes for minute after endless minute, various distorted voices have conversations about not being able to fly above a certain hight. Then the plane lands and another piece of stock footage of a different plane is wheeled out and it starts all over again. (Oh the excitement!) A lot of this film is like that.
  7. The Evil Beneath Loch Ness (2002) - Hooooeeey. Okay, My DVD player smells really bad. American researchers discover the Loch Ness Monster and get thrown in Jail by the 'Constable' in charge of the Loch Ness Coast Guard (sic). Obviously the 'Constable' has never seen Jaws. But then he is played by Australian actor Vernon Wells whose greatest moment was probably playing Wez in Mad Max 3. So, bunch of adequate actors struggle manfully to breath life into a really dreadful script - but there is not a lot you can do really with page after page of endless: "What's going on down there? ... talk to me! Can you hear me?" dialogue. You know those scenes in Alien where the thingie is showing up on the scanners but no one can see it and everyone is freaking out and telling each other that they don't know what is going on? This movie was that for 90 minutes but played very very slowly. Underwater. Another outbreak of 'You can't get to there from here' (see Restless Natives in March) in which our hero gets to Loch Ness from Glasgow (I hope he was coming from Glasgow) via the Ballachulish Bridge (visible from my garden - when it's not raining) and the Corran Ferry. Actually you could get to Loch Ness that way but you will have needlessly added a lot of miles to the journey. One of the highlights of the hyperactive 'Making of' featurette is the moment when the costume designer (who glories in the name of True Cross) says, with a dead straight face: "We did a lot of research on the internet, and we talked to everyone we knew who was Scottish... I rented Braveheart."
  8. Terminal Invasion (2002) - Bruce 'the Chin' Campbell and Chase 'I was in Star Trek DS9' Masterson save the world from shape changing aliens and just about rescue a TV movie that may have been intended as a pilot. Not very good but not very dreadful either. Just about worth the 33.3p I paid for it at a car boot sale.
  9. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004) - visually ravishing but I had no idea what was going on for most of the time.
  10. The Princess Bride (1987) - For the umpteenth time. I love this film.
  11. Voodoo Man (1944) - a dreadfully dull piece of poverty row bilge directed by the incredibly prolific William "One-Shot" Beaudine. His directorial credits on IMDb start with a short in 1915 and ends over sixty years later with 77 episodes of the Lassie TV series.
  12. Killers From Space (1954) - the first half of a dreadful double bill shared with Daughter Number One as we avoid going out into all that horrible sunlight and outdoors stuff by drawing the curtains and watching a couple of real Sunday Afternoon Stinkers. Killers from Space was directed by Billy Wilder's less successful (and far less talented) brother, William Lee Wilder working from a script by his son Myles.
  13. Cosmos War of the Planets (1977) - Incomprehensible Italian space operatics that just gets crappier and funnier every time I see it. I really can't think why I keep rewatching it:

    Two of the cast trying to work out why
    anyone would want to watch their film.

    Don't take my word for it. See for yourselves:
  14. The Driller Killer (1979) - another of the 'Video Nasties' knocked off the list. Ho hum.
  15. Humanoids of the Deep (1996) - a leaden-paced TV remake that makes the original look like a classy piece of work - and the original starred Doug McClure! I will admit to watching the latter half of it on Fast Forward.