Robot Ninja (1989)

Continuing our journey through the life and times of J.R Bookwalter, we’re following up 1989’s “The Dead Next Door” with “Robot Ninja”, quite possibly my all time favourite Bookwalter film. I just, REALLY enjoyed this one. it feels big, daft and aggressive and it just gives off this tone that I find quite honestly wonderful to sit through.

And, as I mention in the below review, I am just…Captivated by the restoration work done on this thing. having jumped from a VHS transfer to the new widescreen fully remastered version, it’s crazy to me at just HOW much attention to detail and love has gone into bringing this “Direct to video” campy action horror film into the realm of full HD. Theres an extra feature on the Bluray release of this that goes into detail around the work involved in restoring this and Its astounding honestly. J.R often says this is a film he wishes he never made (I mean…he says that about almost all of his films…) but honestly? I think the world is a better place WITH Robot Ninja in it

You can find copies of Robot Ninja here, but hurry! supplies are limited and I guarentee you wont want to miss this!

This poster/bluray artwork is newly commissioned and I love it so very much!

The Dead Next Door (1989)

Well! We’re back and what a summer it was! filled with highs, lows and sipping lemonade by the calms of a gentle stream!…Okay not a lot of that happened, But it’s nice to dream! Basically; even though I said I was going to use the time to have a bit of a vacation the majority of the summer was spent prepping this new season. Writing for our first script “The Dead next door” began on the 20th of March 2021, with the earliest draft completed late night on the 21st of March. and; since then, this seasons pretty much been my life. over the summer I pretty much ironed out our October and November schedules with a 2 week vacation from work in August acting as a way for me to catch up on all the household odd jobs i’d been putting off for months while also giving me a ton of time to write my December episodes.

At the time of writing I have 20 scripts of a proposed 22 episode run for this series complete with 19 of 22 reviews fully edited and ready to go. Im not gonna lie. im in a pretty decent place right now! and the comedy dining experience continues to grow from strength to strength as we’ve just capped off our November and early december episodes (which still need editing!…I must remember to get around to that!)

Anyway! the dead next door! the opening review of an 8 part series looking into the career of producer, director, editor and seemingly all round swell guy J.R Bookwalter. I’ve been planning to do this series since at LEAST November last year. ever since I Invested in Makeflix’s quite brilliant “SOV Six Pack” boxset. and, to act as a kind of pallet cleanser before we dive in to 6 reviews of SOV madness It made sense to me to have a brief stop off to look at Bookwalters first two feature length productions.

While “The Dead Next Door” isnt going to fundamentally rock anyones world. what I’ve found here is that we have a good, solid zombie movie that, to me at least. sets the minimum standard i’d expect for a good zombie movie. this was a laugh, a real good time and I highly recommend picking it up if you can.

I personally prefer the original poster for this one. But I Cant deny that this poster looks epic!

Finishing the Complete Ninth Season (2021)

Season 9 was one of those seasons that feels “Right” to me. I mean that very much in a spiritual sense. theres no real metric that can be used to measure whether something is objectively “good” or “bad” but what I mean is that to me, it feels like all the pieces fit together perfectly, it feels like each review contrasts or compliments the other. with every season I do I often feel like there’ll be at least 1 or 2 episodes out of the two(ish) dozen I make where I either dont feel I got a grip on exactly HOW I wanted to present the review, or I’ll feel like technically I was a bit off the mark.

But this season, every review I feel like I got exactly what I wanted out of it, we had some stinkers, we had some hidden gems. but, to me, it feels like the work I’ve put in to slowly reshaping the series somewhat (Work that first began waaaaay back in Season six) has finally matured into a format that, for now at least, im pretty happy with. I feel a lot more confident about this run of reviews than I have with any other previous run, and I feel a lot happier with my work load management and attitude towards how I run the process. genuinely, the last 12 months worth of writing and releases have been some of the most enjoyable I’ve done in the 4 and a bit years of working on the channel.

Personal highlights of this season for me were “Nutbag” a film that genuinely caught me off guard for just how amazingly bad it was. this is one of the few times where BBFC suggested edits have actually massively enhanced what would otherwise be a fairly drab affair, Deathrow Gameshow a film that totally surpassed my expectations, and I feel utter remorse that I didnt crack this one open much MUCH sooner as it’d been sat on my “To Watch” pile for WAY too long. My special video essay on a recent Bootleg Video Nasty haul was a definite highlight for the year and got quite a few people talking about their own experiences with Nasty’s which was nice. and the opportunity to collaborate with old friends like Raymond and new faces like G.G Graham were frankly an absolute delight.

This season for me will probably be fondly remembered as a time capsule of a 6-8 month period where things, while still rather grim beyond the walls of my house, were alright. and I hope that comes across in these reviews.

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

Well! a little bit later than i’d have liked, but! i’m finally getting round to updating the site in line for the launch of the new series in a little over a weeks time! to say things have been a little bit chaotic over here while tried to get everything prepped ready for a reasonable launch date would be a bit of an understatement. honestly, its amazing i’ve managed to do it. BUT! we’re here!

Over the last couple of weeks i’ve been vine swinging from writing, to recording, to editing to uploading and all the other fun stuff that goes into making the channel fly as it does! AND! as is customary (Well…I mean, this is the 2nd one we’ve ever done. but hey! traditions have gotta start somewhere!) we’re back with another summer special to help quench your thirst during the drought that is my summer break! and this time joining me to talk through the frankly astounding exploitation grindhouse classic “I Drink Your Blood” is Miss G.G Graham!

I had an absolute blast working with G.G and when it comes to exploitation cinema she really knows her onions! seriously, she totally blew my mind with just how much she knew about David Durston and the context with which this film was formed. a true professional in ever sense of the word. I really hope I get to work with her again in future as working on this was a blast!

So! grab yourself a tall beverage of your choice and enjoy this bumper edition of “The Red Triangle” we tried to be as thorough as possible and at the time of writing this is the longest single film review i’ve done to date!

If you enjoyed listening to G.G here you can find more of her work (and I highly encourage you to go check her out as she’s simply fab!) at the below links here:

https://midnightmoviemonster.com/
https://twitter.com/msmidnightmovie
http://driveinasylum.com/
https://cultsploitation.com/all-reviews/

And we’ll see you guys VERY shortly for the launch of the new season on August 31st at 4pm BST (11am EST)

The poster may not be all that relevent to the film. but MY GOD it sells it!

The Ice Cream Man (1995) Comedy Dining Experience

This week! we have a visitor joining us on the comedy dining experience in the form of George from “The Best Little Horror House in Philly!” and the journey this episode took to get from recording to screen is frankly amazing. we recorded this episode alongside our commentaries for “On her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “Nutbag” this was the 3rd film in that block which rounded off the night…the night of November the 14th 2020! yes. this commentary is almost 8 months old before it even saw the light of day! Why did this end up happening? Unfortunately it all fell down to Scheduling. y’see, we try to do a Bond film every other month and I also try to not do two films of the same genre back to back one after another. which; unfortunately due to some last minute rearranging meant this absolutely fantastic cast ended up being pushed back and back in order to get it out at the best possible time.

So! with sincere apologies to George for taking SO damn long to get this out (And I highly recommend you head over to his cast and give him some love. he does a damn fine job with his show and is always guarenteed to raise a laugh!) Grab yourself a tub of your favourite flavour of ice cream. shave your head back to an uncomfortably receeding hairline and make sure you’ve got the right amount of change! Because “The Ice Cream Man” …is an experience.

Living Nightmare (Echoes) (1982)

Finally! the middle classes answer to “Driller Killer” in all it’s mundane dullness. I feel like such a stooge in hindsight after releasing this review. A little context (And a mild spoiler about whats coming up on this channel in future months.) I hadnt seen “Driller Killer” before reviewing this movie. and, for all intents and purposes I hadnt really planned to watch it for a while because the majority of people i’d spoken to about it told me that Driller killer was a bit boring and the kind of movie that you’d only watch once and move on.

Anyway; decided for the upcoming 10th season of my reviews that I was going to watch “Driller Killer” to get it over and done with. and apart from the fact that I really enjoyed it WAY more than the people who told me it was rubbish made out. I was mortified to discover that “Driller Killer” appears to more or less be the groundwork for this movie. as in; the themes, narrative and a decent chunk of the plot seem to more or less be copy/pasted from “Driller Killer” into “Living nightmare” the only significant difference is whereas “Living Nightmare” follows a bunch of middle class yuppies as they deal with the day to day issues of owning an apartment the size of a bowling ally. “Driller Killer” aims more to cover people in poverty and on skid row.

In fact; the only significant difference other than the class in this film and Driller is that in this film the madness is put more down to ghosts/the paranormal, whereas in driller killer the madness is based on the circumstancial rot that poverty induces. other than that they follow eerily similar beats, and I really wish i’d known that going into this one.

As it stands I wrote this review back in Jan/Feb of 2021 and then didnt see Driller killer until June 2021 at least a week or two after this review dropped, it took me till about 50 minutes into Driller to very quickly realise i’d totally missed a trick with this review.

So. to clarify, not only is this film generally rubbish and not worth watching, it’s also a little bit theivey and you should go and watch “Driller Killer” if you want a similar experience thats actually much much better than this film.

The official poster art for this (under the title “Echoes”) is rubbish. while the VHS art lies to you, at least it lies to fein looking interesting.

Demon Cop (1990)

So I really do have to give serious thanks to “Channel 83” for sending this film my way. It was one that was vaguely on my radar for a number of years. But i’d never put much effort into actively checking it out. and BOY was I annoyed at myself for not looking into this one sooner.

This really is a bizzare yet entertainingly awful picture. One that somehow manages to engage the part of my brain that loves “So bad it’s good” cinema while simultaineously really irritating other parts of my brain to the point of wanting to throw it as far away from me as possible. This film really truely is the Carvel ice cream cake covered in ants at the picnic. and in many way’s I dont see that as being an entirely bad thing.

Its a movie that I do really hope gets a re-release at some point, preferably sooner rather than later because i’d love to be able to take this movie over to a friends house to sink a few beers and watch the chaos unfurl.

It still blows my mind that this film came out in the UK on the same label as “Bad Taste”…blows my mind…Still that poster is still pretty awesome!

The Beast in Heat (SS Hellcamp) (1977)

This movie sucks. and since getting involved in the whole “Video Nasty” scene this was one of the movies i’d wanted to see the most out of all the entries on that section 1 and 2 list. it just seemed on paper to be a fun and weird, nasty little horror movie. in my minds eye I was envisioning something super bleak but played as if it had been directed by Ken Russell. and BOY was I in for a dissapointment.

I remember clear as day the first chance I got to watch this via Full moons streaming service last year sometime over the summer and within about 30 minutes I realised i’d been fully cheated on the premise and that in fact this was just going to more or less be a pretty generic war movie with a few very poorly shot and directed shock moments thrown in for good measure. I didnt come away from this movie on the first watch sad, I came away angry that I’d waited literaly years to see this film, only to be bitterly dissapointed by just how underwhelming it is as a work. I jumped into a group chat with some friends to vent my frustration and got a mixture of “Oh Wow that bad eh?” and “yeh it’s awful” which didnt really soothe me much either.

As times gone by i’ve been able to be a bit more critical about all of this and i’ve kind of ended up in a place where I feel that this is a film that; if you can get it for cheap or ideally free I’d say it was worth keeping. but I certainly wouldnt say it was any good and I DEFINITELY wouldnt say it was worth any more than $5.

It’s a good job I caught this film on streaming as I was seriously planning to spend upwards of $35-$48 to import a copy of the US Severin release of this movie at one point. the official line is that the BBFC dont have a problem with this film and that if it was submitted for classification today it’d be passed uncut for release. the problem is the films SO shit that UK distributors wont go near the thing. Leading to a bizarre situation whereby the film IS available to import from international sources. but because dealers know it’s so shite they wont license it for a UK release. despite it being perfectly okay to do so. Which leaves people like me who, before seeing it on streaming couldnt find a copy anywhere else, to have to do drastic things like pay upwards of $48 in costs and shipping to find out just how unwatchable and WHAT a money pit it truely is.

Totally rubbish, worth owning for reference and maybe as a filler feature for a pretty lively party. NOT something you’d just stick on because you want to enjoy your evening. this films so bad…

The Poster is literally the coolest part of this movie. GOD this film was SO LAME!!!

The Nutbag (2000) Comedy Dining Experience

I…I just had to show it to Ben. I just had to. we were in between films, it was 64 minutes long. I just had to. he hates it. he’s watched it 3 times now and he hates it. i’ve seen it 5 times and I hate it too. im planning to watch it again soon.

this was recorded back in November 2020 as part of a triple feature when lockdown restrictions eased very briefly in the UK. This was the middle film between “On her Majesty’s secret service” and another commentary that hasnt yet been released. we look forward to bringing you that commentary in June. for now. Nutbag…I gotta watch this one again…

Massacre at Central High (Blackboard Massacre) (1976)

One for the “Yikes” pile, this movie even now is just…leaves me with this sense of cringing discomfort. it’s one thing to make a drama about a 35 year old teenager trying to blow up a school and killing off the students. it’s another when your sympathetic to the killer. and this film really does genuinely try to rationalise that; had our main character not gotten TOO into murdering his peers. the school probably would have been better for it.

I know theres themes around corruption present and the idea that just removing the figureheads of corruption from a system without properly planning for the transition of power, merely creates a vaccume from which even worse corruption can spring forth. I get it. but I just find it incredibly problematic that the film at no point takes the time to point out that the main character in this movie (the one doing the killing) is wrong to have even done it in the first place. instead it really just leaves the viewer with the feeling that, had David just planned better for the aftermath, the murders would have been entirely justified.

This was one of the first scripts where I actually had to cut a section of the script out in post. I had initially recorded a section in the opening of my review where I took a bit of a deep dive into school shooting statistics with the aim of trying to figure out exactly why someone in 1976 would think that this movie was in ANY way a good idea. and my initial research revealed that basically the same amount of school shootings occured between the 1920’s and mid 1970’s as occured between 1998 and 2004. I therefore came to the conclusion that the reason why this film got made was simply a case that…well; not a lot of these really happened all that often, so my guess was that the producers thought they’d be safe covering this topic in this way as (at the time) it would have been about as common as a General election and probably would have been viewed by the public as one of those “It could never really happen to me” moments.

Unfortunately; just as I was working on the edit for this episode, a school shooting happened. and I re-reviewed my data and found a TON of scope for incorrect data and missed avaneus of exploration ranging from School massacres being listed seperately from school shootings in terms of collated data. issues with classifying what actually COUNTED as a school shooting and what was classed as a School massacre or just a targeted attack. issues with what qualified as a school attack (if people get attacked en mass just outside the school grounds. does it still count as a school attack?) and even variations on the attacks themselves. such as; what if it was a teacher that committed the attack rather than a student, what if it’s an entire SCHOOL that goes to attack another school? does that count as one incident or hundreds of smaller ones? and in one bizarre case from the 1920’s if a student accidentally kills another student with a hoe on school grounds, but then kills another student to stop them covering up the first murder. is that a massacre? or just a super awful story?

In essence. what I wanted to say was “Because of how few attacks happened between 1925 and 1975 the producers probably felt comfortable presenting the film this way” but honestly? after seeing all the variables I missed out. the datas a hot mess and I honestly dont know anymore. all I do know is they definitely could have handled this film more tactfully…that being said; I guess your more likely to get butts on seats with controversy and shock than you are with just being a clean cut drama.

Anyway; this movie hasnt aged well, but there are a couple of okay points with it. so maybe check out my review and decide for yourself 🙂

This cover is SUPER misleading. however; it’s the best cover this film has.