Flight To Hell (2003)

So! a new seasons upon us once again, and I couldnt think of a better way to kick off the second half of our 5th anniversairy celebrations than by an INCREDIBLY unusual sci-fi horror movie thats almost 95% shot entirely in front of a green screen. Now, you may think that a movie that did something like that would look fairly horrendous, and dear reader you’d not be that far off the truth.

For what we have here is an experiment that, really would pre-date the era of “Green screen shows” by about 10 years. programmes like “24” and “Game of Thrones” have predominantly been shot entirely on green screen sound stages and then digitally constructed in the edit. But “Flight to Hell” was trying this on half the budget and half the space in the early 2000’s I cant say the results are a thumping success. but it’s admirable that such a feat was even attempted. especially given that this type of film making is now realistically the hollywood norm.

the closest I can liken this to is 2007’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job!” and I say that, not in a dismissive way, but in a sincere way. It looks like its been purposfully styalised to look ULTRA fake, rather than it actually being a fair attempt to try and do “Big budget” thrills on a low budget…budget.

Its goofy, daft and all kinds of creative. I loved this movie, and I really have to thank PeckingforgoodTV for putting me onto this one, as, without his review of this. I’d have almost certainly never found it. definitely worth checking out.

The official poster is a bit gory compared to the DVD artwork, but both are very similar and both say absolutely NOTHING about the film in question.

Finishing the Complete Tenth Season (2021)

So! We’ve hit a quite significant milestone. At the time of writing we’re now halfway through my 5th year of making content for youtube. and honestly; looking back im left with a simultanious feeling that this has just…always been the way things have been, while also thinking that no time has passed at all. it’s quite an unusual emotional response to describe honestly. I still recall back in 2018 when I was talking to Ben about plans I had for videos that “Wouldnt happen till 2020” and him looking at me as if I was absolutley potty to even BEGIN to suggest such a thing.

But the honest answer is; this channels kind of been my lifeline for the last few years. What started out of a genuine frustration at the lack of detailed information and an almost outright dismissal of bad movies and cult cinema as “Not REAL film” has, five years on, evolved into something much MUCH more than that. Sitting here now in 2022 looking back over the years, at all the absolutely astoundingly good friends i’ve made as part of this project, The film makers and people behind the scenes i’ve had the opportunity to connect with as a result of me reviewing a film they’ve worked on, and the people who’ve been reunited as a result of my simple efforts to try and prove that theres as much educational benefit in deconstructing BAD cinema as there is in deconstructing the mainstay “classics” has left me honestly quite speechless.

All I ever wanted to do was try and share my love and passion for these types of movies to a wider audience and, in turn, hopefully attempt to rebalance the discourse around film theory and studies. I wish we lived in a world where someone could, in a crounded film theory class, openly talk about the cinematography in say “Robot Ninja” or the directional choices in “Theatre of Blood” and be taken with a level of seriousness and acceptance that comes with namedropping things like “Apocalypse Now” or “Drive”.

That isnt to say that im putting those films in the same catagory as each other you understand. Rather; for years theres been a culture of snobbishness around “Cult” cinema in professional and academic settings simply because it either didnt attain mainstream success or it deals with themes that are unconventional from what elder academics would deem “acceptable” with only very few film makers (David Lynch, Jan Svankmajer, Robert Wiene to name a few) being allowed the air of dignity within an academic setting.

To me? if you only watch what academia and the mainstream culture consider to be “Good movies” you’ll ONLY make “Good” movies…and in many ways thats the problem. The history of counter culture cinema is a rich tapestry of experimental and arthouse, a sea of trial and error on various mixed media formats. it’s the story of “Fuck around and find out” to put it bluntly. and is probably responsible for greater changes in the mainstream than most professional critics and lecturers will EVER be willing to admit. And yet; it only ever seems to be “Skimmed” by the people in charge. referenced as an afterthought in the shadow of the “Tarantino’s” and “Von Trier’s”. Pilfered of its “Best bits” with 80% left to wither on the vine or end up the subject of countless articles of mixed quality that purely focus on “HOW CERRRAZY” the film is or how, while we do have to aknowledge that this weird film inspired a much MUCH better film. we also must feel embarrissment or even shame that this original film even existed at all.

Its a systemic problem that even I am guilty of from time to time, and the last 5 years have really been a lesson in reprogramming to try and shake off this “Two Tier” system that the film industry regularly imposes on it’s output. it shouldnt be a case of “There are good films…and those films” rather. There is just film. art. expression. and while we can collectively agree a sliding scale of budget, technicality and complexity I feel more attention needs to be paid to just what CAN be achieved with so little, rather than simply focussing on eyewatering budgets, pixel counts and CGI hoy polloi.

I spent a not insignificant time of Season 10 covering the world of SOV cinema. A much maligned field because of its low budget, dependency on horror, gore or titlation to get bums on seats and an overdependency on references to other movies to try and sell people on a sense of familiarity. Its equally been one of the most interesting, thought provoking and inspiring experiences i’ve ever gone through. these people were “true” film makers. visionaries. creative souls who tried their damndest to make what was, to them, the best damn movies they possibly could on budgets that wouldnt even cover a QUARTER of a modern shoots catering budget FOR A DAY. they HAD to be creative because there simply wasnt an alternative. and the results are a testimony to the craft that I feel should be better recognised by academic bodies and not simply dismissed as “Fodder for the experimental film crowd”

So I say “Make Bad/Cult film relevent” challenge the so called “Authority” explain your workings, change the discourse and help make the world of film a better and more inclusive place for people who dont just think with there wallet or ride the coat tails of passing trends. give Bad and Cult cinema a reverence BEYOND it’s disposability. Because I guarentee, the sooner that modern film makers start to look at BAD films as a friend and NOT a tool or an aesthetic. the sooner the current rut that hollywood and the film making system has found itself in will evaporate.

Season 10 was a season of growth and development for the channel. and while we’re still a rather small and plucky channel, we’ll continue to try and push the discussion as far as we can take it.

Heres to 10 seasons, 5 years, to the good times and to hopefully many years more.

Dan.

Annabelles Wish (1997)

Annabelles Wish was one of those movies that I saw a TON for a brief period in the late 90’s the marketing campaign for this movie in the UK was quite frankly insane. I remember WH Smiths, Woolworths and most places that sold tapes being absolutely rammed with it. I remember the channel 3 childrens block “CITV” having CHRONIC amounts of adverts running for this (probably because CITV was being run by “Carlton” at the time, which was also the company who distributed this film in the UK) for a good year or two it was nothing but wall to wall Annabelle. and honestly; at the time I thought it sounded like a load of old rubbish.

So to sit here nearly 25 years to the day of its release and finally watch this thing to see what all the hubub was about…well…as you can expect the sour laughs of a special that not only missed the mark but full on faceplaneted the concrete could be heard for miles around. This was amazing. a film that really truely tried to be sincere and heartwarming/Bittersweet. Inadvertently becoming DEEPLY troubling and quite confusing to boot! I had NO idea what to expect when I hit play. but I certainly wasnt expecting THAT!

it surprised, shocked and genuinely made me laugh at just how corny and awful it was…and for the last TYTD Reviews episode of 2021…well I couldnt have asked for a more perfect example of what this series is all about.

bloody hell…

This poster is a LIE and will be ceased by the workers as an act of defiance. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER COMRADES!

Jack and the Beanstalk (1974)

Well, it’s the start of the christmas season and the final run of reviews until we break for the new year, and to kick things off I thought i’d introduce my (predominantly American audience) to the great british pantomime!

If you ever get the chance to see one performed, I highly recommend it as I think everyone should see a panto at least once in their lives. the colour, the campness, the cameradere. it’s just a truely wonderful experience for all involved.

I havent had the chance to go to a pantomime in years, I think my last one was maybe in 2016…maybe even 2017. I basically had a string of years where I saw too many panto’s that just wernt particularly very good and it kind of tainted my experience on going. Thats the only issue with pantomimes really. you could see 5 good panto’s and thats great! but just 1 single bad pantomime is equally to seeing 10 bad pantomimes in terms of deep hurting it causes.

The closest I can describe the feeling of a bad pantomime is it’s a bit like being stuck with an insufferable comedian who keeps picking on you, but you cant just leave…and the shows between two and a half and three and a half hours. I had 3 of those on the bounce once over 3 christmasses and it was enough to totally kill my interest. but having been in lockdown now for over 2 years at this point. I really kind of miss the scene, the vibe and the general weirdness panto offers.

Covering Jack and the beanstalk here was my attempt to try and capture a bit of that magic back, or at least reaquaint myself with the genre of “Fairytale” kids movies that would usually be used in pantomime. and I think it’s genuinely been a quite lovely experience more or less from start to finish.

The missus recommended this one to me after I showed her my VHS copy in a haul I picked up a few years ago and after playing her a brief clip a memory unlocked for her and she begged me to watch it with her. needless to say I was not dissapointed!

This posters fine. WAY better than the VHS box art which looks like someone drew this poster from memory after only seeing it once 3 years ago.

Finishing the Complete Eighth Season (2020)

Given what was going on at the time this season was being created its a miracle that you’re even seeing the below playlist quite honestly. Season 8 was the first season to be full written during the Pandemic (I believe the first script was written some time in April and the last script was finally penned in October) and; though I think back on this season from the comfy room of 2021 with the sense that it was all “Too Easy” when I actually stop and think what was going on, it definitely seems to be quite the opposite.

For a starters, there was the pandemic. Which; well, it was good in some ways…through April,May and June I was pretty much stuck in a national lockdown with nothing to do BUT write and edit these scripts. That and working from home allowed a greater flexibility in my working hours allowing me to work scriptwriting and editing into my lunch breaks.

The downside to all this however was that the lockdown effected my partners health quite severely, leading to a number of trips to the hospital and, not wanting to go into too much detail, but a few very important people in our lives had to move on to new ventures (They’re not dead! we just cant really be involved with them anymore!) which really didnt help the mood.

Then from June to September I was in the middle of renovations. and Ladies and Gents. Let me be frank. I know these renovations were a long time overdue (at least 15 years overdue) I know they desperately needed doing, and now im sat here in a lush, gorgeous new space writing this out Im happy I did what I did. at the time I was in abject misery. I ached pretty much non stop from stripping wallpaper, taking light fittings out and carrying heavy flat pack furniture and hard wood exceedingly and almost comical distances. I loathed having to sofa surf during a pandemic because the room where my Bed is was being used as storage. I detested the fact the the weather was a near constant 36-40 degrees celcius and that buildings in britain are built to keep heat IN not let it OUT.

In fact; the only good memory I have of the summer of 2020 was that, at one point, the conditions of the lockdown lifted and I was able to take my car out on a quasi long distance run (like; 50-60 miles round trip) where the sun was delightful, the music was good, the roads were empty and I was living my best life for all of an hour and 30 minutes. The rest of it, was arse.

Equally; the Renovations ran drastically over. meaning what should have been an 18 episode run for this season ended up having to be cut down to a 16 episode run + 1 collaboration. which was not ideal…but luckily I’ve been able to carry over the 2 dropped episodes into Season 9.

So September rolled around, I jumped on my machine, edited together the first 6 episodes of this season and then my harddrive exploded. as in, literally shut down. couldnt get anything on or off it that was bigger than 2gb in size. it was dead. and…for a time I panicked. I panicked violently because on that drive were all 17 audio recordings, 6 edited episodes and all of my current branding material.

Mercifully, through a mixture of cloud storage solutions and periodic backups I was able to recover, relink and rexport ALL the original premiere pro files. which meant in as little as 5 days I went from losing everything to being back in the race. and…mercifully at least, from there things went very smoothly. the last 2 episodes written and recorded were “Garfields Halloween Adventure” and “Silent Night Deadly Night” which were both done in October, both recorded at my partners flat in a hurry and both edited on the hoof to try and get them out the door and into the schedules (I really hope it doesnt show)

Season 8 was an absolute Journey to complete and when a collaborative effort involving 7 people is the EASIEST part of editing for the season. you know somethings not quite gone right. It was a good one in terms of the films I got to see though, “Truck Turner” is probably one of my all time favourite Blacksplotation films, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” was a hoot of a first time watch, Reviewing AND doing a commentary for “Robot in the Family” was brain meltingly entertaining and whats more. I got to experience all of these wonderful film moments with friends. which…at a time when isolation is one of the biggest by-products of this whole blasted neusence. was incredibly life affirming.

So this is me; closing the door once and for all on Season 8. another chapter in TYTD History. Not to let the Ego run ahead of me, but I think seasons 7 and 8 have heralded some of the best work I’ve ever done. and I really hope Season 9 and 2021 keep that momentum going.

The Night B4 Christmas (2003)

Sooooo…Im going to be honest here. The Holidays kind of got away with me this year. Given that it was supposed to be a super quiet isolated christmas. I think it’s probably been busier than any christmas i’ve had…mainly because, for some reason, I’ve been nominated the “Dedicated point of contact” for 2 households.

What that means in real terms is I’ve been looking after my partner and my parents for a good chunk of the festive period and…in blunt terms. I’ve spent more time at the dump this christmas than I have in front of movies. it’s been manic. that’s probably the best way to describe this years christmas. Very little actual christmas celebrating and a hell of a lot of sitting around waiting for stuff to happen and sitting in traffic.

This has nothing to do with the below review. but because i’ve been all over the place I just havent had time to update the site as I normally would and honestly? this is one of those reviews where I pretty much say everything I need to say in the video. theres no real afterthought on this one.

In fact; as part of some of the admin I’ve been working on over Christmas, I rewatched this one while it uploaded to a backup site. and I still 100% agree with pretty much everything I said in this…which, given this was written back in July is always a nice thing to find out.

I still say go and check this one out, dont be put off by the animation. I genuinely think this ones got it’s heart in the right place *mostly* anyway! more christmas chat to come in my “Silent Night Deadly Night” review which is going to be loaded up to the site very shortly!

It’s not often I get a poster that is simultaineously EXACTLY perfect in summing up what this film is about, while also being it’s biggest advert for avoiding it. shame really…

The Story of Christmas (1994)

Christmas 2020 will probably go down as one of the best and worst christmasses within living memory. Lets be honest; while it’s nice to see relatives and loved ones at this time of year. Theres a certain delight that comes with the idea of staying in all christmas, knowing you dont have to go anywhere, knowing you’ve not got anything to do and knowing you dont have any obligations to anyone or anything for anyone or anything.

This year I have 19 days off work. and apart from 3 of those days where I may get a text message asking me to do 10 minutes of emergency work. I have ZERO obligations. and Im feeling damn good about it. I’ve recently finished writing for next years season and im currently script editing (I hope to have that done by the 12th and definitely before the 16th. Im recording between the 16th and 19th of December and then I have 2 weeks clean to do with as I like.

I’ve decided on Booze, movies and fast living. and I Honestly cant wait! its such a nice and relaxing contrast to my usual christmasses where I spend the week leading up to christmas travelling up and down the country visiting family members and the 2nd week being pushed into their houses to play party games…theres only so many games of Charades with the same people one person can take in a week before it looses it’s appeal and my extended family arnt exactly willing to try new things (The ‘Jack Box’ series of online board games go down a treat with my close family, noone else will go near them though mistaking them as a thing of evil apparently…)

But non of that this year! ohhhhhh no! im going to enjoy a fine single malt, watch the complete works of Norman J. Warren (1978 to 1987) and eat my weight in cheese. the missus is doing similar (we live apart currently) and I for one cannot wait! GOD im so excited!

Oh yeh…this films rubbish. it’s the story of what happened to Jesus AFTER he was born. and while the actual biblical telling is action packed and a non stop thrill fest. this film somehow manages to make it boring. and I cant begin to comprehend how they’ve done it. but dont let me here try to convince you, check out my review and judge for yourself! and Merry christmas!

This was sold in Boots…how good can it be? (Not very…Boooooooooo….)

The “You Can Read” Comedy Dining Experience (1988)

So we’re back again with another addition of the…CCCCCCCOMEDYDININGEXPERIENCE. and this month we thought we’d do something a little bit different and instead of doing a commentary for a film. I decided to show Ben “You can Read” a series he’d never seen before and was thoroughly delighted to sit through…at least thats what I inferred the screaming to mean.

Anyway! Here it is! Enjoy! and remember! you CAN read!

 

(I always loved the VHS boxes for these things….they were really quaint.)

Christophers Christmas Mission (Sagan Om Karl – Bertil Jonssons Julafton) (1975)

This one really was a difficult watch in all honesty. it’s a testamony to how pre-conceived opinions on what a film is about can drastically effect the overall enjoyment of the piece. In the UK this was genuinely marketed as a movie for young kids. the cover for the VHS and DVD releases were both incredibly kid friendly (See the poster at the beginning of my review for a better idea of exactly how kid friendly it looked) and the back of the box was colourful and written in a way to make it easy for kids to get an idea of what this is about. all mentions of Socialism and communism or our lord Jesus christ is omitted in the blurb on the back of the case for this one and Bernard cribbins is mentioned multiple times as a means to try and sell this to them.

Genuinely; I think Abby home video bought this and didnt realise what they’d got their hands on till it was too late to back out of it…either that or they planned to put this out as a kids film knowingly with no regard for what it actually is about…which just plain sucks in all honesty. I think in the hands of a decent distributor (And with a decent remaster and maybe a couple of extras) this could really make a rather lovely set. Im not one for talking about “Dream releases” for content here but I think I can make an exception with this one as it kind of feels right to give it a decent release. Here’s what I’d do with it if I got my hands on it.

*4K Scan of the original film elements followed by a full remaster (clean up, colour grade and levels check)

*Both cuts of this film (Both the english Cribbins version and the original Swedish release with subs) available on the disc (The English version to be recreated using the 4k swedish scan as nothing is significantly altered and only a scene or two have been removed so it would be easy to resynch the english dub track)

*Commentary with Cribbins + A couple of film critics (Im looking at you Kim Newman and Alan Jones!) to talk about the history of this film, the animation style, why the themes of the film probably didnt take to a british audience and any juicy tidbits about Per Ã…hlin and Tage Danielsson

*A documentary following the production of this feature + a brief history of it’s broadcasting history both in Sweden and the UK

* (If possible…hell it’s my fantasy why not) An isolated Score track…for all that lurrrrvely Jazz and Bossa.

*a mini Documentary about politics in christmas movies. dealing specifically aroun the socialist themes raised in this feature and a discussion on whether Christmas is more personified by the Left or the Right.

*old promotional materials (TV spots, radio spots if their are any,) both from the UK and Europe

*A NICE. Bluray cover. using newly drawn artwork thats fitting for the 15 – 30 year old audience that this film is clearly based at.

*Reversable artwork containing the original Abby home video release cover artwork…Okay im joking…but what I would like is:

*Reversable artwork that uses it’s swedish title alongside some of the original promotional artwork (See the image used in my thumbnail of this review)

Obviously this release will never happen in a million years. but this movies got such a decent and wholesome message I really wish it would. it’s charming and to see it have such a shoddy release history really is a proper downer. Still…at least we got the chance to have it localised. had it not been I may never have heard of it.

(The animation still creeps me out a bit…it reminds me a bit of Wondershowzens more abstract animation sections)

The Bears who Saved Christmas (Holly and Christopher) (1994)

This movie brings to a close a 3 year trilogy of Film Roman (and film roman esq) Christmas movies. Starting with Dot and Spots magical Christmas adventure, and then last year with Nick and Noel. These tend to be the most common animated non mainstream kids films out there. And honestly? most of them could go in the crushy bin for me.

I think out of all of them Dot and Spot was probably the one I enjoyed the most, Nick and Noel was okay but a little bland and this film has way too many problems despite it’s mightily impressive cast list. Holly and Christopher are just a bit creepy to me and in general the bears who saved christmas is just a pretty mediocre christmas special.

I dont want to be a scrooge about this but honestly; there is much much better out there. You can do better and deserve better than these movies. I dont know if there are any more film roman christmas specials out there. honestly I havent looked that much further beyond these three films…there has to be more surely?…surely.

 

(There are no good covers for this special…and it never got a poster…so…bleh. this’ll do)