Finishing the Complete Eleventh Season (2022)

Well! when it came to the 2nd half of our 5th anniversairy celebrations, I decided to try and do a bit of everything. Part of me wanted to cover movies i’d wanted to do for years (“Flight to Hell“, “Cannibal Girls“, “Camp Blood“) Some were movies i’d promised id do in the future, and then totally forgot to do in the future (“The American Ninja 4“, “Cyborg Cop 2“, “Alien Species“) and some were first time watches that arrived on short notice and genuinely caught me off guard (“Gatwick Gangsters“, “Night of the Demon“, “Dont go in the house“). Hell, we even rounded off the TYTD Reviews episodes by revisiting our very FIRST video for the channel “The Dragon Lives Again” hopefully finally doing justice to a film I’ve long admired and wished my review of could have been better.

It was a celebration of the old, and a look forward to the future of the channel. With this series marking a few milestones, it being the last season edited in 1080p,the last season edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, The last to use the branding we’ve been using now since 2020 across all fronts and the last season predominantly recorded on my focusrite condensor mic, a mic thats pretty much been what you’ve heard me through since AT LEAST 2020, which also made a few on and off appearences between 2017 and 2019 too.

What does the new season hold? well as seen in the review for “Dont go in the house” i’ve had a systems and kit upgrade on almost all fronts! including a new machine, a new mic, new lights for the packaging shots, new editing software and some other new tools to help give a bit more variety. As such we have new branding across all our main shows, we’ll be solely uploading in 4k going forward with better quality sound and visuals, faster processing power means it takes less time to export and convert reviews now, and as such it means we’ll be able to *hopefully* turn things around a bit quicker which’ll give me some time back to be able to enjoy a sunset or eat a well prepared meal!

There have also been some changes that are not quite as pleasent to announce, but here we are. After 2 years or so of monthly uploads and over 50 feature length commentaries, “The Comedy Dining Experience” will be swapping back to an irregular upload schedule, as it was when we first launched in 2018. Part of this is down to the amount of time it takes to edit the commentaries, part of it’s down to lower uptake than our other shows (we’ve had some episodes record less than 20 views after 3 weeks of being live in some cases) and part of it’s down to both myself and Ben just being absolutely ram jammed with stuff going on at the minute. Im in the middle of writing/recording and editing next years episodes (and I still have stuff to finish with Season 12!) and Bens recently had several good news stories that means he’s a lot busier than he was at the moment.

What this means in practical terms is that the Comedy Dining experience isnt going anywhere, it just means that, for the moment at least, it’s going to be on pause while we sort life stuff out, and when it does come back it’ll be likely an “As and when” affair rather than a regularly scheduled “thing” which will allow me more time to work on and refine our reviews, and it means we wont be oversaturating the channel too.

What it ALSO means is that we can do other fun things like monthly game night streams (we’ve done 3 so far and a pilot) AND it’s meant I can start an official Discord from which we’ll be hosting various watchalongs, games nights and other good stuff, alongside chats on everything from good and bad movies to music and weird youtube oddities, so do please tag along for that!

Season 11 marked a change in the wind for the channel, and with Season 12 currently rolling out weekly, I hope your enjoying the direction we’re taking the channel in, I had an absolute blast working on this season, I think it’s one of my favourites i’ve worked on alongside Season 10 and the chance to work and hang out with so many interesting people in collaboration has been an absolute delight. I couldnt have asked for a better 5th year on the platform.

She Freak (1967)

In many ways, I wish I could have been kinder to She Freak, it’s not a BAD movie by any stretch, I just feel like it’s a difficult film to market really, how do you sell a movie thats basically a 60’s remake of Todd brownings “Freaks” but with all the wonderful pathos and artiness that is the chiascuro 1920’s black and white drenched goodness removed?

“Oh, it’s basically “Freaks” but toned down because the MPAA didnt like the original and less interesting” is a HELL of a tagline. Not helped AT ALL, by the fact they hang their hat on the titular “She Freak” who doesnt ACTUALLY materialise ‘freaked up’ until the end, and even then only for 60 seconds max. I know the whole idea is that SHES THE REAL FREAK FOR BEING A JERK YEH? YEH!. But the reality is, it just fell short of really truely winning me over, and in many ways I felt quite let down by it for that.

That being said AGFA have done a BLINDER of a job on this thing, it looks incredible and if you were lucky enough to get the limited edition slip (as seen below) then you were doubly blessed! honestly while the film may not be *THAT* great, the release really cant be faulted.

That slipcover…god DAMN.

Nightwish (1989)

I have to admit, when it comes to fan submissions im a bit shit. I honestly cant help it, I have the best of intent to cover stuff, but unless it’s sat in my physical “to watch” pile, or when I look it up it grabs my by the collar and shakes me violently in terms of getting my attention, what tends to happen is it goes on a word document I have for recommendations and then slowly drops down the list into oblivion.

I really want to cover recommendations people send me in because, honestly, I feel if someone feels strongly enough that I should cover something, I should do them the courtesy of doing it. But im currently so inundated with movies (well over 250, NOT including my actual shelf of already watched ‘seal of approval’ movies) and im so limited on time in which to actually work on content for the channel, that I have to pick what I can work with and structure my seasons around genre and availability more than anything else. That unfortunately does mean that sometimes…there just isnt room to cover some things. For which im honestly very sorry, and I do fully intend to try better in future.

This rec came courtesy of a lovely chap called Samulom who’s been following me for quite a while and gave a VERY passionate speech around why he thought this film needed to be seen by a wider audience. I looked it up and wholeheartedly agreed AND mercifully at the time he hit me at JUST the right moment as I was actually about 25% of the way into writing season 11 at the time! So! I found a nice little slot in my schedules and pencilled it in! And I wasnt dissapointed!

And as an aside, I generally start writing for new seasons between August and October and February to April, so if you do have a rec, the best time to shoot your shot is in those months as im usually in the planning stages, there’ll always be a delay because of how I schedule my reviews (for example I wrote September – Decembers reviews this year between March and May) but if you get me at the right time, it’ll get covered!

Anyway! Nightwish! Enjoy!

This posters SO trippy, I love it very dearly, it does everything a good sci-fi horror should do!

Valerie and her Week of Wonders (1970)

This is…unfortunately, one of those few situations where I honestly dont have a lot to say about the behind the scenes of this weeks episode. I know it’s always a bit of a downer when all I can really say is “Watch my review for the full story!” But sometimes it just be like that tho m8.

What I CAN say, and its totally off topic, but hey. your reading this, you’ve got time. is that at the time I was working on this review I was in a quite stressful and unpleasent place. in fact a decent chunk of this year has been rather stressful and genuinely unplesent at times. I quite recently got a promotion at work where i’ve basically been assigned to *fix* a VERY broken aspect of their business. I like fixing things, im ALL for improvement projects and optimisation. It’s my jam…but this thing…this fucking thing…holy shit. it’s BROKE.

As a result I spent the first 3-4 months being basically dragged by the project face first into the dirt. it was sprawling, awkward FULL of weird variations and bylaws that made NO sense. I likened the experience of coming into work as “Stepping on Landmines” because the problems were seemingly invisible till stepped on, at which point you’d be launched into 2-3 weeks of absolute shrapnel induced carnage only recovering long enough to accidentally drag yourself onto another one. it’s been a shit time honestly. it was painful and i’d regularly find myself working WAY overtime and burning myself out over the weekends trying to catch back up with myself only to repeat it all again the next week!

But! in the last 4-8 weeks i’ve finally stopped being blown up quite so frequently, i’ve managed to slim out some of the worst aspects of the system and introduce better, more robust procedures that have not only given me back more time during the day to actually work on larger improvements to save me even MORE time. But have actually (more often than not) given me my evenings back as well. Im still a few weeks off saying im “comfortable” again…but for now at least…I dont feel quite so distressed by it all and im kind of getting back to being happy with my lot again…and if thats the direction im heading in, I can live with that!

Anyway; yeh…kind of…went off on a tangent there. ENJOY!

I love this poster, its so striking, yet so simple.

The “Tommy” (1975) Comedy Dining Experience

This week! Dan and Ben take a look at *arguably* one of the better known Ken Russell movies and one of Ben’s all time favourites as we discuss “Tommy” an absolute blast of a movie that gets surprisingly dark for a movie that quite frankly is so high energy and colourful.

Im not joking. recording this with Ben reignighted my passion for Ken Russell movies, By sheer chance a week after we recorded this I managed to talk to a bootlegger who was able to provide me with HD copies of “The Devils” and “Lizstomania” and I also managed to grab “Altered States” and “Lair of the White Worm” frankly, im in on Russell in a bad way at the minute. But im LOVING it.

I was a fan years ago, but i’d forgotten just how wild and fun his movies could be. and I HIGHLY recommend checking his stuff out whenever you get the chance.

Serpents Lair (1995)

Its amazing really how the memory can cheat when it comes to things from your childhood, I mention in this review that this was one of my first exposures to pornographic material and honestly; when I think back to my memory of seeing this movie nearly 25 years ago now, I remember it being almost as strong as most of the hardcore flicks that now plague the net.

despite not really knowing/understanding what was going on at the time, the tameness of this film 25 years on actually transformed what I remembered as a pretty gritty and erotically charged picture into something laughable. I go into more detail in my actual review. But while I cant really “technically” fault the film. the fact that it sets up SO much promise and delivers on literally almost non of it is frankly insane.

I mean…with the best will in the world, most erotic softcore films at LEAST have the decency to show a little T&A. this film (if memory serves) has one or two blink and you’ll miss it shots of ass, and an sound barrier smashingly brief glimpse of some boobs. Its at this point I feel the need to remind you dear reader. that this is a film about a demon who shags people to death…

As a closing note, I recently managed to uncover the title of another softcore flick I saw a clip from back when I was younger. my entire memory of the film was a scene of a woman being screwed through a partition in a wall with the intent on getting pregnant by the mysterious sperm doner. after that image sat in my head for decades AND with a variety of film buffs being asked about the scene (which I described in vivid detail, to which they had no clue), last year I finally put it to rest. I had in fact seen a clip from the 1999 art house porn film “Romance” which…is probably not a film that a small child should have been watching. but; these are life lessons I guess…

The poster for this movie is in no way reflective of the movie itself.

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.

The “Drug Stories Vol. 1” Comedy Dining Experience (Part 1)

Triv’s Back! and we’ve decided to take a look at the AGFA’s FABULOUS job in remastering some of the weirdest and wildest Drugs PSA’s from the 50’s through to the 70’s. the sets over 3 hours long, so rather than run ourselves into the ground, we’ve decided to split it into 2 parts, part 2 will be coming towards the end of the year, but for now! dim the lights, grab your munchies and prepare to just say NO!

The “Things” (1989) Comedy Dining Experience

Basically; I subjected Ben and Laura Blind to “Things” because im a sadist who enjoys dumping people into ice baths and watching them wail (in a filmic sense)

After the screening Laura vowed to never do a blind commentary again and Ben wouldnt make eye contact with me. Im not allowed to blind screen again for a while and collabs with Laura have to be to a certain standard going forth.

Personally; I think they should both thank me, given that they’ll now almost certainly never see a film worse than this…unless I find it.