Riverbend (1989)

Of all the films I ended up covering this season; “Riverbend” was probably the one that caught me off guard the most. Now I didnt think it was a perfect film by any measure. but the themes it deals with coupled with the utterly baffling to me concept that this has NEVER had a digital release (that I can see) just…well…it’s this kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

this wasnt a bad film by any measure. hell; if i’d have found it on DVD in my local CEX or charity shop i’d have probably been even more in love with it as a movie. But because I just kind of found this in a haul and because it’s SO poorly represented online (theres almost NO high res art for this movie available online and at the time of writing this it sits ona paltry 98 ratings on IMDB with only one on site review to add insult to injury! it REALLY feels like this is a forgotten movie. and thats genuinely quite sad to me.

Steve James would die 4 years after this film was made and this was seen as one of his big shots to break out of the sidekick role and into a leading actor position. and in this film he MORE than handles that role near perfectly. Unfortunately after this film, barring an appearence in a supporting role on an episode of “Pee Wees Playhouse” most of his roles up to his death were for direct to video fodder or forgotten TV shows. it really feels like some quite fantastic talent fell through the cracks here and the more I can do to put this frankly fantastic actor on a higher pedestal then hopefully the more people will see what they’re missing.

Obviously; when it comes to publishing these articles for my site I have no knowledge of how these reviews are going to perform on youtube. In the past i’ve had reviews I was sure were going to be big hits absolutely bomb out into obscurity (See: Christmas Evil) eqully i’ve had episodes that I wasnt too sure about that’ve gone on to rake in views quick and heavy! (See: Dot and Spots magical christmas adventure) but if I could wish ANY film Im reviewing this season success beyond what pushing im capable of doing. I think it would be this one. Because more people need to see “Riverbend” it’s really something quite special.

Almost all of the promotional material for this film is some variation of this photo backed by either a forest of the US flag. I personally think it’s pretty decent.

OH! and because this films SO underrepresented online. heres the box art scanned in HD. because bloody hell there really is nothing out there.

The “Caligula” (1979) Comedy Dining Experience – 500 Subscriber Special!

Well! we did it! a milestone I never thought we’d hit and we’ve smashed it! Im going to be honest here; when I started the channel I thought i’d consider myself grateful if I managed 10 subscribers. and; at most. I thought if I could hit 100 subs i’d have proven something to myself about my thoughts on film and cinema at large.

I have had mixed experiences in the past with “Filmies” I realise that I myself am in the minority of people who think bad films have something to teach us as much as good films do. University was a big eye opener for me as I realised that there were people who’s entire film diet consisted of “Only watching the absolute best” of anything cinema had to offer.

I found it a very beige experience.

and the more and more I spoke to people, the more and more I realised that. While their were people like me out there and a bad movie community in general. it was very much a bubble. and surprisingly difficult to enter short of traversing the minefield that is bad cinema at large. this coupled with a growing annoyance at the lack of resources to chart bad movies (as mentioned in my “About” section on this very website) and I decided that. in the absence of a clean and detailed documentation of this type of film. I’d have to try myself.

And I’ve loved *almost* every minute of it! it’s been hard. it’s been an uphill struggle. it’s put a strain on myself, my family and my friends at times. But I dont regret a minute of it. 500 of you fine fine readers subscribing to my channel is more than I ever could have hoped for. and the number is growing quicker and more consistently than it ever has before.

And so. to you. I offer you this special episode of the comedy dining experience as thanks. You will not BELIEVE the wrangling that went on behind the scenes to get Ben and Laura to agree to this one (Let’s just say im in deep with the mob now) but…fair play to them; they sat through the whole thing. for me…for you. Me and Ben have been friends now for very nearly 10 years and me and Laura have been together for almost as long as well. and a guy couldnt ask for 2 greater compadre’s to tackle this masterpiece in bizarre adult weirdness.

So…enjoy! and…I really wasnt kidding at the end of this. we WILL do “Cannibal Holocaust” if we hit 1k.

to your future and ours. we’ll see you there.

The “Jaws” (1975) Comedy Dining Experience

Belated! but not to be forgotten! this year we did a 2nd valentines special after the success of our “Pink Flamingos” comedy dining experience! Laura’s always a little shakey with flying solo on commentaries. but when I suggested Jaws as our Valentines watch…well…she was still apprehensive. But significantly less so!

So! grab your husband, wife, fiance, partner or body pillow. pour youself a nice tipple and settle in to over 2 hours of a couple of chum knuckles gabbing on about one of the greatest shark movies ever made!

Horror Hospital (1973)

I took a bit of a gamble with this film, and honestly? im still not entirely convinced that i’m won over by it. I mean; it isnt bad. but it suffers terribly from the rot that can only originate from a film trying to ‘Alf inch another studios style. this is painfully trying to replicate ‘Hammer’ and ‘Amacus’ aesthetic and…well British horror from this era, when it’s trying to rigidly copy the greats. seems to miss the point of those studios greatness. the reason people fondly remember Hammer and Amacus is because they were envelope pushers. they bought blood, gore and mayhem to a much more mainstream audience than the grindhouses and exploitation film makers ever could.

I mean; you’ve got to imagine. Hammers versions of Frankenstein and Dracula were CONSIDERABLY more graphic than their Universal counterparts and had the fortune of lush and delightful sets to help sell the productions legitimacy. they were also both made in the 1950’s so I really fail to see what a film in 1973 is trying to achieve by copying the style but edging up the gore slightly of a style of film making made almost 15 years previously.

I mean; you’ve got to imagine, this film came out the same year as “The Wicker Man”, “Dont Look Now” and “Theatre of Blood”. films that genuinely pushed the genre through either fantastic scripts, creative reworkings of existing narrative devices or even next level performances. 2 years after this film was made “Shivers” was released and 5 years later “Dawn of the dead” and yet here we find what is ultimately; a drab affair. not unwatchable. but the stale and creaking belchings of an era of film making that really should have been canned about 3 years previously.

Theatre of Blood is actually a pretty nice comparison piece for my thoughts on this. that films brimming with a subversive originality. it looked at the amacus formula and purposfully decides what to lean into and what to subvert in almost every aspect. performances. scoring, scripting, gore. it plays AGAINST the audience of the day on multiple levels. and is rewarding because of it (not to mention that Vincent Price is just generally ace).

But then there’s this film. just sort of…lazily giving the audience what it thinks they want. not even in a particularly subversive of creative way. this film could have come out at any point between 1967 and 1975 and noone would have known or cared any differently. and that apathy that I feel towards it is ultimately what holds it back from actually being able to either out and out love it or hate it. it’s just…a film that exists. and thats a real shame as I think with just a couple more redrafts. there may have been a bit of life behind the eyes in this one.

The original posters rubbish for this. I mocked this one up as there wasnt one in “Poster formatting”. I dont much care for this one either…but it’s better than the original theatrical one.

Jaws of the Dragon (1974)

This film was pretty rubbish. thats the lasting memory I have of this review (which was written and recorded in November/December last year and edited in early January of this year.) I literally cannot remember single detail of this film other than the fact it was cut to shreds and…well…for lack of a better word. it was shite. and im pretty happy I never have to sit through it again. it’s a total filler movie. it exists to simply kill time and make the movie that follows it look ten times better. once this review goes live; I shall be looking into selling my copy at the next convenience.

Actually; while we’re dealing with this. Here’s as good a place as any to talk about the VHS movie reviews of this season. so. for this season I decided to have a bit of a spring clean and as such I chose to try and cover more VHS based movies as possible (As they tend to take up the most shelf space and tend to be in various states of disrepair) so this seasons a little more top heavy on VHS content than previous seasons. all of the tape based movies in this run (barring 1) were first time watches and I had no idea what I was getting into. all I knew was that I wanted to free up some space and that the tapes I covered more often than not had interesting covers. Jaws of the dragon was a total mystery tape in that regard as the original boxart was missing and the spool of tape within the chassy was woefully short. It had a simple white lable and plaine text…I really didnt know what I was getting into with this one, and I’d saved this tape specifically because of it being a bit of an enigma. I was not impressed.

Liquid Dreams (1991)

WAIT! STOP! IT’S NOT PORN! well…not really porn…theres some VERY brief nudity and a lot of “Girating” but honestly. for a film thats so determined to ride the “Steamy erotica” train. it’s surprisingly tame. The first time I saw Liquid Dreams, It wasnt really for me. I found it a bit too into it’s “Homages” and lacking in clear substance. and while subsiquent rewatches have definitely softened my views on this (I now think it’s actually a pretty fun, maybe even good little popcorn thriller) I still kind of feel a bit like it’s a film thats missing something. I dunno; I think sex would cheapen this film. I think that making it more of a thriller would make it more boring. it just kind of…rides the line between the erotic and thriller genres to the such a restrictive extreme that it’s ultimatley neither. and as such, while it’s good at both genres. it never really achieves either.

What we have here is a bit of an anomoly. a film that’s memorable for it’s imagery. but very little else. I still think this is prime VS fodder because it’s most definitely working with that kind of cult vibe. and I feel with a little bit more love and attention it could almost be a well respected classic in the vein of “Cherry 2000” that’s why I chose to review this film. I really REALLY hope to raise it’s profile at least a little bit, and who knows!? maybe if the right people see this it’ll finally get dug out of it’s “Out of print” hell and get the re-release that it DEFINITELY deserves.

The Posters just kind of…a mess…but weirdly its the BEST poster they ever made for this film. the DVD versions obscenely awful.

Earth Alien (Endangered Species) (2002)

So once again we take a deep dive into my pile of cheap 50p -£1 finds that i’ve pulled out of Charity shops, discount stores and 2nd hand film shops. Earth Alien (Known in the US as “Endangered Species”) is ultimately; a film that exists. thats about as good as it gets. it’s definitley not the best movie in the world, but it’s not bad enough to be infamous. Eric Roberts is phoning it in and doesnt really give much to the role. The whole thing is kind of pass over-ey.

and y’know what? thats fine. you cant be lucky every time and this season I managed to get a definite line of winners while hunting about, so it’s okay that this movie wasnt the best in the world. that it’s pretty unmemorable and that ultimately I dont really care about it all that much. the important thing is that i’ve seen it and I can warn other people that it’s pretty “Meh”

In the past some people who’ve seen my reviews wonder why I bother to cover the “Meh” films. and thats a fair ask, if I dont really dig it, other people arnt really bothered and the film doesnt really deserve the coverage; why bother? I think about this sometimes. But the best answer I can give is that “THE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW!” the people need to know of mediocrity. I’d rather save someone 90 minutes by explaining in 20 minutes why a movie isnt worth bothering with. they can then use the remaining 70 minutes to…I dunno. Watch “Nutbag” or something.

Anyway. Earth Alien isn’t unwatchable…but if you have it on your “To Watch” pile. maybe knock it down a few spaces…it’s just kind of…eh.

This is a fine example of: “POSTER DOES NOT MATCH FILM”