Phantasm (1979)

So we kind of need to step sideways in order to move forward here with Vampire month this halloween. While it could be argued that cinema in general was shifting towards the late 70’s to the 80’s film format that made massive successes of movies like “E.T”, “The Goonies” and “The Lost Boys” it wasnt without seismic shifts within the industry and within specific genres.

I chose to talk about “Phantasm” as part of Vampire month because the Symbolism is there, the attitude is there, the “Vibe” (For lack of a better word) is there. it isnt a vampire movie. and yet it somehow has the ora of one. I really REALLY liked this movie. it was a fun and interesting side avanue into the Horror genre. At some point I will look at the sequels (Though by all accounts this series is a bit like the “Hellraiser” movies…in the sense that the less you know about the universe the better the movies are…

Who knows when that’ll be mind!? my “To Watch” pile is frankly absurd these days…all I know is: Go watch Phantasm…right now.

(Seriously underwhelming poster for this one sadly…Theres so much they could have done with the themes and look this film has…and they settled on “Throw fucking everything on the poster…the more it looks like sick, the more people will want to see it!” Dissapointed.)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

Another Halloween’s upon us ladies and gents and once again I get to dig out some of the archives most terrifying creations to display for your entertainment and viewing pleasure. I’ve been trying to decide on a format for these halloween specials and I think for the time being at least that im going to do a year on a theme and a year on a series of halloween-esq movies…mainly because there are a lot of good halloween movies that dont necissarily fit into a theme. But also; there are loads of films that i’d love to talk about which I think if I link them while discussing their themes it creates a bit of “a history of” vibe…which I always encourage because it allows me to go deeper into the movies than I probably would…

naturally just doing 5 random halloween films every year would be a bit boring and wouldnt quite cover the depth I would like to cover. Equally if I did 5 themed films every year. I’d probably grow quite bored of the format. So this is a good happy medium…at least for the time being. by this logic next year will be a random assortment again.

Nosferatu isnt a film that i’d pick up regularly. it’s a good movie. But as I mention in the review I just dont really get on with Silent cinema all that much…I can appreciate it’s form and acknowlege that it is a item of it’s time. But I do struggle with quite a few of them and I find that finding good silent movies is quite a challenge. Because of this; It was a bit of a struggle to get this years theme well and truely under way. But Im glad I rewatched this movie as it really allowed me to get to the origins of the Vampire Mythology quickly and gloriously.

This is the start of a 5 part series on the history of Vampire movies from 1922 to 1986. You might wonder why it’s such an oddly specific timeframe. but those 64 years really do define such a massive evolutionary leap. that I think it should prove quite an interesting trip. I’ve already decided that a 2nd part will need to happen at some point (If nothing else just to cover the movies from 1987 to whenever I decide to go through all this again)

In the mean time I hope you enjoy the start of this series and I look forward to seeing it develop over the next few weeks!

(I love this poster…Im about 99% sure this isnt the original theatrical poster…if it even had an original theatrical poster…but there’s just something so unsettling about this one.)

Silent Running (1972)

I have a bit of a soft spot for Silent running truth be told. I’d wanted to watch it literally for years but had never quite been lined up in the right place at the right time to actually sit down and view it. And when the time came I was genuinely blown away at just how emotionally invested I ended up being towards the characters.

I think I sum up my feelings quite nicely in this review and I dont have too much extra to say about it in this post honestly. What I can say is that this movie actually ended up becoming a review here purely for the gag intro at the beginning.

I had a period of about 3 weeks where I became obsessed with the “Astro Farm” theme tune. like…unbearably obsessed…I think it’s a great little theme tune but one of the problems I have is if I get a song in my head the only way to get it out is to listen to it until I get bored of it…and I didnt get bored of this one easily…in fact there’d be multi-hour long sessions where I’d just have it on on a loop until I literally got dull of it.

Anyway; one night I was working through a few movies and I landed on Silent Running while the theme was playing in the background and like chocolate and peanut butter it was a match that made me laugh for a solid 5 minutes (Im easily amused)…had it not been for that brief flash of humour this review literally wouldnt have happened for a good few years…as it stands im really grateful for the cosmic intervention.

 

(That poster makes this movie look WAY more dramatic than it actually is…it’s a corker of a slow burner in all honesty…)

Emmanuelle (1974)

It’s been ages since I’ve covered an “Adult” film on here…I think in part it’s because reviewing erotic cinema can be a bit of a challenge. The line can be so fine between erotic cinema and just flat out porn that it can be really quite debatable as to whether im making an accurate critical assessment of it. Well that and Youtube has a barmy everytime so much as a nipple flies past the screen (This weeks review has been age restricted out of common decency)

There are several erotic films that I personally hold in very high regard that others consider really quite tacky or just porn. I mention in the video that im a massive Tinto Brass fan. but whereas most critics site his earlier works (Movies such as: The Howl, Salon Kitty or The Key) as prime examples of explorations of relationships and eroticism I personally much prefer his output in the 90’s which is much more bubblegum but with a distinct tinge of nastiness behind it. Not malice for the acts. but malice from misunderstood characters who slowly over the course of the films either learn better and become accepting of the situations in this film. Or get punished for continuing to not accept the scenarios. Movies like “All Ladies Do it“, “Cheeky” and “P.O Box Tinto Brass” are all quite comic in places but equally do have some slightly uncomfortable moments within them that make them challenging and engaging movies.

Emmanuelle was a film that very much put me in mind of Tinto Brass. it kind of feels like the missing link between his more serious 80’s art films and his more “Puff piece” light hearted 90’s films. I really genuinely quite enjoyed this one. the ending was deeply unplesent and the mysoginy sprinkled throughout I could quite happily do without but sans those elements this is quite a reasonable exploration of sexuality. I really do want to get my hands on the sequel just to see what the series did next and I really hope they didnt just go “Full porn” too quickly. Having seen the Emmanuelle TV series (both “2000” and “In Space”) I can confirm that at least by the 1990’s it had gone full softcore porn…Dont get me wrong there were some interesting ideas in there from a science fiction perspective…but a few interesting ideas sprinkled into porn is still porn ultimately. Honestly? I’d be interested in finding this films tipping point. though I feel it may be a while before I get my hands on another one of these.

https://www.breach.tv/embed/de94a383cd258cea331b

[Due to several copyright takedowns by the melts over at “Studiocanal” this episode is now being hosted uncut on Breach.tv – Please click the above link!]

(There are 3-4 posters for this film, but they’re all either in terrible quality or explicit. This one was the only one I could find that was neither of these things…and even then I had to crop it…It’s not my favourite poster i’ve seen though…)

Liquid Sky (1982)

It’s rare that I get to see films like Liquid sky. Movies movies sacrifice plot over absolutely everything in order to deliver a creative, colourful and unique viewing experience. This isnt a film that is trying to balance a good plot with visuals. This film couldn’t care less where its going. It just wants to look good doing it. And in that sense it’s absolutely achieved its goal here.

The films a rare example of a “Nice Video; Shame about the song” movie that’s made it onto my shelf of interesting things. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to be there for a pretty long time. It does have its faults, bit it’s far from a terrible film.

Equally; I’m not sure if I mention this in the review (I wrote this some time around March 2019) but I found out today (19th July 2019) that lead actress Anne Calisle plays both Jimmy and Margret in this film. If I dont mention it in the review then I almost certainly would have as it’s an astounding performance in this case! If I do mention it…then I was a good egg for doing so and its yet further proof of my increasing frailty. Anyway! Enjoy.

(While the original poster is nice…the VS re-release poster is just astounding…if not a tad muted for my taste.)

The “Head” (1968) Comedy Dining Experience

Well after a hell of a break we’re back!…sort of! (Admittedly this “Comedy Dining experience” for the Monkees 1968 breakout film “Head” was recorded almost 12 months ago to the day. But! The important thing is it’s new and its here!

We recently laid down 2 more commentaries as well coming in the near future and we’re hoping to meet up again for more soon too so keep those eyes peeled!

For now though enjoy what I can best describe as confused ramblings!

Penetration Angst (2003)

The story that I tell at the beginning of this review is very much true. back in the mists of time for what was the mid 2000’s Sky digital was a veritable raft of obscure, strange and bordering on the “Public Access” levels of quality content. I could and would easily sink entire nights flicking through the likes of “Rapture TV”, “The Community Channel”, “Anime Central”, “Channel M” And “Teachers TV” and thats before I got into the foreign channels or better still the cheapo foreign channels (Which especially after a beer or two quickly resemble alternate universe television)

The Horror Channel around this time was in it’s absolute infancy. and while it’s not unheard of now to catch classics like “The Evil Dead”, “The Fog” and “The Thing” on there back in 2004-2009 you were much MUCH more likely to find films like “The Wasp Woman”, “Manic Nurses Find Ecstacy” and in the early hours of the morning, Indie fodder like this movie.

It was a simpler time in all honesty and I do genuinely miss that invigorating thrill that came with landing on the “Cheapo Movie” channels and finding all sorts of obscure trash to pick through. “Movies 4 Men”, “Talking pictures” and “True Movies” still carry the mantel to this day but it’s not quite the same without those absolute bargain bin features padding out the graveyard slot.

Penetration angst is a film that stayed with me for over a decade before I actually found out what it was and the fact I was actually able to secure a copy only makes me all the better for it. it’s filth cinema, smutty, sultry and dirty a true contender in the “Modern Exploitation cinema” catagory. It has a pride of place on my shelf and with the exception of the likes of “Bad Biology” and “Teeth” I’d argue it’s the best non porn vagina driven movie I’ve ever seen.

(Also. if you own a digital television subscription be it Sky, Virgin or Freeview give your obscure channels a spin some time…while they’re not quite as tacky as they were back in the day. They do still have the habit of pulling absolute chaos out of there backsides!)

(This is another film that never quite got it’s poster/DVD art right…then again how do you market a killer vagina movie!?)

Split (1989)

Now I may not be 100% accurate on this one but I believe this was my first ever “Requested” review. And Joel (The absolute diamond who suggested this film to me) chose an absolute stomper of a film right here. Its absolutely astounding and the mental images that this film paints have stayed with me as clear and vividly many months after I watched this film as they did the first time I saw it.

This was the only film that Chris Shaw ever made and he was pretty involved in it as far as I can tell acting as 3 of the critical roles that a film needs to get made (Writer, Director and editor) but thats really just scratching the surface. Chris is this film to much of an extent there are very few elements outside of the other casts performances that dont have his fingerprints on them to some degree.

But thats a good thing here! This is a very clear and strong vision of how arthouse and experimental cinema can challenge audience expectations and be cerebral at the same time. This is a challenging watch, but in a good way. I came away from this film really wishing Shaw and his crew had made more movies as I’d love to see them develop and further expand there ideas using this film as a launching pad…even if it were a multi media endeavour.

Not much has changed for me in terms of my feelings towards split. The review took a very long time to put together because I wanted to ensure that the wording for it was just right. this is one of the only reviews I’ve written thats exceeded 3 drafts, purely because trying to explain my interpretation of Split vocally was a surprisingly challenging thing to do.

I would heavily suggest you watch this film with as little forewarning as possible because if you go into this film with pre-set expectations your judgement may get a little clouded by just how strange this film can be at times. So please. This is one of the few times I’ll actively tell you not to watch this video if you havent seen the movie first.

Also; I really feel the need to say that Chris Shaw is simply a very lovely man, and my experience of talking to him (While limited) was a real treat. Both him and his brother are wonderful conversationalists and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to ask them about split. This review has definately been a highlight for me of producing these videos. and had I not recieved the suggestion i’d probably have never found it.

 

(…I usually write a comment here about the film but what do you say about this thing…”Undescribable” is all I have really…)

 

Split was due out on Bluray in March of this year but due to some delays it has now been pushed back to an undisclosed time. However it will be released eventually by Verboden Video and I for one will have my preorder well in place because it looks to be astoundingly good!

If you are interested in owning “Split” please show Verboden some support by following them at the link below and possibly considering picking up some of there titles as they seem like a great bunch of lads too!:

http://verbodenvideo.com/

Nekromantik (1987)

I don’t really know what went on in my mind when I considered picking this one up. I was hesitant, I remember that much. But with “Arrow Video” being synonymous with quality to me I felt assured that however “Nekromantik” panned out, there would at least be some assurance that what I was buying would have some level of cult or artistic merit

What I wasn’t expecting was just how near the knuckle “Nekromantik” is at times. Since watching this film I’ve since seen the likes of movies like “Cannibal Holocaust” and this movies sequel “Nekromantik 2” so my expectations are a little better managed. Though this film is still pretty high up there.

Since this video was uploaded one of the things that’s really stuck in my mind when reading other reviews of this movie (as I try to avoid reading other people’s reviews until mines been done as I don’t want to feel like I’m subcociously “lifting” other people’s thoughts) is just how few people pick up on the John waters influences in this film. Seriously when you realise that the director of this film was heavily inspired by the likes of movies like “Pink flamingos” and “Female trouble” then the campy undertones of this production really come out in a wonderful flourish.

Is this an extreme movie? Well; Arrow saw it fit to release this film both as a fully restored and a “nasty” era inspired grindhouse cut…So Id say there are excessive elements to this film. But “Nekromantik” to me is one of those special types of films that has somehow managed to perfectly straddle the lines between “cult shock value horror” “extreme border pornographic content” and “art house sensibilities” and I love this movie for that…

As mentioned, I’ve since watched the sequel to this and it’s alright…in some ways it’s a bit harsher than this film in others it’s a bit sillier but I’ll give my full thoughts on this one another time. Though what I will say is I still prefer the original and if your looking for a new challenging watch; I highly recommend checking this one out.

(The main theme to this film was my ringtone for a while…I thought that anyone who recognised it wasn’t in a position to judge)