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!

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.

The Man With The Golden Gun (1973) Comedy Dining Experience

Well! we’re well underway now on the Moore era of Bond films and as ever Dan and Ben have gathered their resources. put a brave face on things and decided to run into Christopher lees wacky world waving their arms wildly and screaming incomprehensively as we take a look at “The Man With The Golden Gun” a film that…honestly? to me? is a film thats nowhere near as good as it should be…I mean, dont get me wrong it definitely has its moments but a film that brings Moore, Lee and Eckland together while also having JW Pepper should have literally made my cock fall off…and it just…didnt. Either way! we still had a lot of fun with this one! so give it a spin and see what you think!

Who Killed Captain Alex (2010)

And so we’ve arrived at the end of another season of TYTD Reviews. and ironically one of the first scripts I planned for the series WAAAAAY back in October 2020 ended up being the closer on this season nearly 9 months later.

I was first put on the case of the Wakaliwood scene during the summer of 2020 when a discord I frequent mentioned it as being something that’d really be my kind of happening. So; when the black friday sales came up for Vinegar Syndrome and AGFA I picked up their frankly next level package of “Who Killed Captain Alex” and “Bad Black” and it proceeded to totally blow me away.

I knew then and there that I wanted to cover one (or both) of these movies in the next season of reviews. The original plan was to review “Who Killed Captain Alex?” and then follow it up with a “Comedy Dining Experience” commentary for “Bad Black” but due to scheduling, planning issues and other boring things that always get in the way of a good time, we couldnt make it align up. which is a shame. I still plan to do SOMETHING with “Bad Black” I just dont really know exactly what just yet.

But yeh; Here’s the last review before our summer break. we’ll be dropping comedy dining experiences throughout July and August and there may still be one more surprise in store before we start on Season 10. all I’ll say for now is I hope you all have a happy and safe summer. and we’ll see you back for the next full season in August.

This is one of the few instances where the poster LITERALLY tells you everything you need to know about the film perfectly.

Steel Dawn (1987)

This ones going to be short and sweet. and it’s going to be another soapbox post unfortunatley; in part because I feel like I said everything I needed to say about this movie within the review itself and in part because the circumstances around this reviews publication once again fell fowl of youtubes copyright notice systems and Im going to treat this post as a kind of mini vent. So if you just want to know about the movie itself you’re probably best skipping the text on this one and just jumping straight into the video below.

This is now the 3rd film review that i’ve had unfairly worldwide blocked by Studio Canal/Lionsgate. I appreciate that the rules on fair use are kind of sketchy and could go either way. but if push came to shove, in a court of law I fully believe that my review of this film would constitute fair usage under critique and criticism. Given that I use less than a 5th of the films total footage throughout the entirity of this films review, AND that i’ve transformed the footage in such a way as to effectively create a new work from it. I feel it totally unecissary that SC/L had the video worldwide blocked. In fact after my last review featuring a title of their range got worldwide blocked under similar spurious takedowns I decided to blacklist them as they clearly dont need me and I dont want the hassle of dealing with them.

Unfortunately “Steel Dawn” is distributed by Lionsgate in ONE single terratory. and thats enough leverage for them to fully worldwide block my review. A cursory glance on google shows that the film is distributed by multiple licensee’s so to see Lionsgate so blatently abuse the copyright system in this instance. While unsurprising, is yet another reminder to me that copyright is an absolute minefield in terms of navigating the rights and wrongs, and corporations and companies seem more than happy to abuse it in any and every way they like.

I will say, on the whole I find the youtube contentID system to be imperfect but mainly fair. most major companies take fair use on board and will largely only take monetization or block in countries they specifically distribute to. and even then counter claims on the grounds of fair use will 8 times out of 10 result in a released claim.

However; it’s companies and individuals abusing those copyright tools and remaining unpunished for doing so thats the hang up I have with youtube and is something that desperately needs reviewing. A few weeks ago one of my commentary videos was issued with a DMCA takedown notice by a total randomer. not only did the commentary video contain ZERO copyrighted works in it. but it was one of the few videos where we’d actually been able to completely isolate the audio. it literally couldnt have been our totally 100% homegrown content anymore if it physically tried. nevertheless I still had to spend around a month and a massive loss in my watchtime and views fighting that takedown, which was then released with no issues after the timer ran out on the claim.

I find it totally ludicrous that its this easy for people to issue these takedown notices and equally upsetting that big companies and corporations feel they can bully creators by creating artificial narratives on what reviews can stay up, which have to be pulled down and that the big companies get to set the severity level that a channel gets dealt depending on whether they choose to cover their content or not.

Every upload I do feels like im playing a game of buckaroo where the losing item loaded on triggers a hand granade. and it really totally sucks when you spend over a week producing a detailed review only for it to end up worldwide blocked because corporations are abusing tools while all the creators can do is hope that things dont end up litigeous and pray that the clock runs out on claims in order to meet scheduling demand. things need to change.

So…anyway; Lionsgate blocked this review worldwide. So I ended up having to strip all of my edited visuals out (more or less…the packaging shot and the “Who Wrote this/Who directed this” sequences have been left in.) and replace it with a title slide because youtube is spineless and I didnt have a choice in the matter. I’ll shortly be uploading the full visual version to my backup account on Breach.tv (A fantastic site thats sadly super underrated and needs way more love) and when I do I’ll link the full visual version here too so you can see what you were missing.

Not that you were missing much, this films totally unmemorable and a bit rubbish.

This film poster was way too good for this movie. The original sell-thru VHS artwork is 1000x more reflective of the quality your dealing with here.

Best of the Best (1989)

So; Here’s a bit of a cards on the table “Confessions” moment. a decent chunk of this season is VHS based; and the main reason for that decision is because while I was doing the writing and planning for this season I was also unpacking all my belongings into my recently refurbished room (I started writing scripts for this season in October last year) so while I was putting everything back it gave me a bit of chance to try and have a clearout and of all the formats in my collection, VHS is the most bulky and the the hardest to properly store.

So; I kinda sorta used this season to do some spring cleaning on my collection so I could thin out tapes I thought I might not keep based on the title and box art. and honestly? it’s been quite effective for most of the choices this season. a lot of what i’ve watched has either ended up being gifted on to others or found its way to refuse. but this movie? this movie right here? I was genuinely surprised at how entertaining it was. As I say in the review it really does have a lot going for it.

I initially chose it because I had 3 of the 4 films in this franchise on VHS and I figured if I did one of these a season it’d probably be a good way to get rid of 3 “Meathead” tapes from collection pretty easily. But instead the opposites ended up happening. I genuinely cant wait to watch the second one of these later in the year and I’ve been keeping my eye on a bluray collection of these movies now since I saw this one. Im hoping the sequels are as entertaining (if not as good) as this first one because if they are. I literally have no hesitation on upgrading all these to bluray quality and having the set as soon as possible.

Genuinely entertaining, fun and Eric Roberts is frankly astonishingly good in this. if you dont have the 20(ish) minutes needed to get through my full review and just want a quick caption. BUY THIS MOVIE NOW!

The poster for this ones a bit shite in all honesty. it doesnt really speak to me and it’s kind of difficult to work into marketing as it’s just a load of boxes inside boxes. Its hardly the most revolutionary jawdropping poster i’ve seen…its just…weird.

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.

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 True Game of Death (1979)

Yep. We’re doing Brucesplotation again. Look; theres honestly so many of them with such wildly varying quality that frankly. I cant NOT cover them. they’re such a fascinating concept to me. I touch upon this in my review for the film itself but…can you actually imagine a celebrity known for a VERY specific thing dying. and rather than cementing there talent for the work they produced. 2 dozen studios launch knock off versions of the exact same act while TRYING to make out that the now dead celebrity is in someway tied to the movie (Chevviesploitation lives on in our minds, hearts and souls.)

I just find the whole thing a REALLY weird concept and like a moth to a flame I just keep having to come back to it. That and im not going to lie…I own a metric crap ton of these movies via hauls i’ve inhereted over the years. So yeh! “The True Game of Death” one of the more boring and bizzare moves from the genre. basically a near shot for shot remake of “Game of death” but with way more slow-mo, all the expensive scenes missing and slightly crappier direction. is it the worst Brucesploitation film in the world? well. of all the ones i’ve seen and reviewed for this channel yes. yes it is…at least so far.

The UK big box ex-rental cover for this release is way better than this poster, unfortunately my VHS copy was super faded and there wernt any high res copies online. So the poster’s the best I have to work with. It’s not offensively bad. it’s just not my thing.

Death Force (1978)

So i’ve slowly been accumulating a large number of Vinegar Syndromes “Drive in” double features range. Generally being based in the UK, if Im ordering from VS I have to do it in bulk because of rediculous shipping and customs charges. So when my baskets heaving with goodies both hardcore and otherwise I’ll usually either chuck a couple of there drive in movie sets or there peep show sets in…mainly for the lol’s because they seem like reasonable value for money.

but with us now in the midst of a lockdown of sorts I decided to use my time to both work through my “To watch” pile (Which; seriously…it was out of control before this Corona bollocks all kicked off) and to work on writing episodes of my show for you guys. This and it’s B-picture counter part (Coming VERY soon) were some of the last episodes I wrote. Originally this season was supposed to be 14 episodes long. But then I realised that would mean the newest season would end at the end of May and leave 2-3 months gap before the next season started…so I bumped the episode count up to 18 (19 if a collaboration I was working on Pre-lockdown ever gets released) and this double feature film was one of the last ones to make the cut (I believe I’ve only written 2 scripts after this to complete the block).

These particular movies wernt great. This was definitely the better of the 2 pictures. but it’s definitely got me interested to do something similar again in future. I have another 4 of these to get through at some point so I look forward to seeing what the future holds!

(This is an example of a poster looking FAR FAR FARRR!!! better than the movie in question…)