1988’s “The Brain” was a bit of a fringe film for me…What I mean by that is that it had almost always been on my radar, but it was always just one of those films that I thought i’d get round to eventually, but never actually GOT to.
I had no idea of what the actual plot was, I just knew that it involved a giant Psychic/Telekinetik testicle that floated about causing trouble. Outside of that, it could have been about anything. I realise having just written that last sentence that that pitch sounds like something i’d almost certainly be into. but at the time I had bigger fish to fry and it was always just one of those “reserve” titles I could pull out if I was having a string of solid or awful movies to try and upset the balance a bit.
That is until I began chatting to Trivial Theater. A rather lovely lady who’s been supporting the channel now for a while and seems to know her onions! Last christmas we sent each other a gift box filled with odds and ends from the US and UK respectively. apart from me discovering the absolute joys of “Gremlin bars” Triv sent a handful of movies over as well, and “The Brain” was one of those films. I saw it as a sign.
So! by way of thanks! I said i’d cover “The Brain” as it just felt like a “right movie at the right time” kind of thing. and…welp! it’s…an experience! love it or hate it, you wont be forgetting “The Brain” anytime soon
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.
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.
As we continue on with our look at the life and times of Vincent Price we arrive at this…MASTERPIECE. of cinema. Im not kidding when I say “The Tingler” is probably one of my favourite films thats widely classed as a “B-movie” I personally dont really consider it as such, as a “B-movie” somehow instills the sense that the quality is somehow lesser than an “A-movie” and watching “The Tingler” and contrasting it against GENUINE “B-movies” of the time it’s easy to see that this thing is FAR more advanced than a B-movie. this isnt “Robot Monster” level trash, this isnt “The Mad Monster” level Schlock. Is it campy? absolutley. but it’s directed more than amicably and the cine throughout is decent with some nice ideas that are well implemented.
And while some of the practical effects ultimately do let this one down a little bit, its not bad enough that I could penalise this picture. it’s just a damn fun, slightly silly, quite well made Columbia picture that I feel gets lumped in with a bad crowd. So what I’ll say here is, if you’ve never seen “The Tingler”, go and watch “The Tingler”. I think it’s arguably William Castles best movie, and probably my 2nd ever favourite Vincent Price role.
I really wish that this thing would get a re-release in cinemas with percepto in tact. what I wouldnt give for a night of Castle films with the gimmicks put back in…but still, one day my dream may come true. for now though, “The Tingler!” a film that, not too long ago got a VERY nice bluray restoration and is currently available on Google TV and Amazon Prime. if your looking for a halloween movie to rock your world this year. you my friends have found it.
Well! It’s the end of the line! and we crash out in a ball of flames so spectacular that it damn near made J.R quit the industry all together and led to several actors never working again. HUZZAH!
Seriously; this films an absolute train wreck, no ifs or buts about it. it’s a FUN movie. dont get me wrong I enjoyed the absolute crap out of the sheer BALLS of this production. But i’d be lying if I said that it was a desperatly flawed production that literally could have been so much more. Having watched the table read for the script that ultimately got thrown out for this film. I’d be lying if I said I didnt want to see that version moreso than this one. But…im glad we at least got the opportunity to see what might have been via the wonderful work that J.R and Makeflix have done to bring this set to life.
It’s miraculous that that this film exists quite honestly given EVERYTHING that went on behind the scenes and given the amount of stress that was ultimately put on J.R I totally understand why he stepped back from directing for a time after this. but being able to see it years later. while it IS bad, no doubt about it. I can at least appreciate it for what it stands for. this was a film that was made from nothing. it’s goofy, cheesy and those title cards and credits will be the death of me. but it got MADE. J.R got it over the line and it got into Video stores. thats amazing. so I hope despite my negative criticism of the film in the review below. that you still at least keep that in mind.
Since these reviews went live Makeflix have also announced that all of these movies in the SOV six pack will be recieving solo releases in the near future. while I dont have an exact ETA, my advice has always and will continue to always be. Keep an eye on Makeflix. they’ve got some great stuff in the pipeline.
Now this. This charts the point where I feel that J.R and what was left of the cast and crew realised the SOV six pack project was well and truely on a hiding to nothing. Not only did the budget get DRASTICALLY cut to a little under $1250 PER PROJECT. but it was still the middle of a freezing Ohio winter and deadlines for these projects were rolling closer and closer.
Its understandable after the work on Chick Boxer and Maximum Impact pretty much lost J.R most of his crew, a chunk of his cast and at least a writer or two that the cart was now pulling the horse and not the other way around. I dont doubt J.R’s proficiency as a director one bit. These films would have never seen the light of day if he wasnt short of legendary in the directors seat. But it’s clear to see at this point that the project was running away with itself and things were starting to reach a head.
I mention in my review that I had a similar experience to J.R when it comes to this movie as I to made the stupid STUPID mistake to go and make a movie outdoors with a skeleton crew in the middle of a freezing winter for about a week with minimal to no supplies, and honestly the stress and the weather damn near drove us all away from ever doing anything film releated ever again. So I can only IMAGINE what J.R was dealing with when not only was he dealing with that level of craptitude but that he also had Home Cinema Video breathing down his neck to deliver a finished product. I mean, I can only compare his experience to mine, and I at least had the relief of not having to work to deadlines.
Anyway; Galaxy of the Dinosaurs is a cheap but cheerful affair. it really did give me “Red Dwarf” vibes based on the script, and I think this movie may actually be my favourite script purely from a tone and dialogue standpoint out of any of the movies featured in the six pack.
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.
My relationship with Rick sloan the film maker is a bit of a bizarre one. In the sense that I first saw a Rick Sloan movie about 10 years ago at this point when I stumbled on the MST3K riffed version of “Hobgoblins” I thought the film was impressively awful in a “So bad its good” kind of way and I really got a kick out of it. But then; at the time that I saw “Hobgoblins” it was very much apparent that almost NON of Sloans other films had managed to make it over the atlantic. And; with no way of getting my hands on anymore even via illicit means (because; lets be honest. WHO is torrenting Rick Sloan movies!?) I just kind of accepted that “Hobgoblins” would probably be the only Rick Sloan film i’d ever watch and I left it at that.
Jump forward 9 years and I took out a subscription to “Full Moon Features” online streaming service (which; as an aside, if your a fan of B-movies, horror, exploitation or other strange stuff…they dont just host Full Moon films on there. they actually have a pretty decent chunk of Severin films and Vinegar Syndromes output too!) anyway; I took out a subscription and it turned out they had almost ALL of Sloans filmography ready loaded and good to go.
It was there where I first saw “Blood Theatre” Rick Sloans earliest film currently available. and I fell head over heels for it. In fact; I intended to review it in this very season until I realised that i’d already got a couple of horror movies in my roster for this seasons run AND that next season (season 10) is looking quite horror heavy as it is! SO! after watching Blood Theatre, I went over to Vinegar Syndromes website and bought the Bluray. which; as it turns out is a double feature with this film! so; realising i’d landed myself with a double feature. when it turned up I decided to check this one out first…and; in many ways, it’s almost AS enjoyable as Blood Theatre. but with it *Technically* being a sci-fi movie it fit in much better with this seasons run.
After watching this I went back to Full Moon and tried Sloans “Vice Academy” movies, but I just couldnt get into them, I find that he works best when he’s writing for genre’s that arn’t comedy. because he has a bit of a zany comedic tone to his work it makes all his genre attempts have a nice campy edge. but when he writes for comedy he ramps things up to the next level and it just becomes a bit irritating to me.
I also tried to watch his sequel to “Hobgoblins” but in a rare instance and a breaking of my own rules of “Thou shalt not hit stop till the credits” I had to bail on “Hobgoblins 2” this was made in the 2000’s and was VERY clearly made at a point where Sloan had well and truely realised people liked him making bad movies. so it was intentionally gross out and awful and…I just couldnt make it past the halfway point. I tried dear reader, I really did. but sometime films are even too bad for me.
Anyway! I hope to cover more Sloan in the future! and as for “The Visitants” it’s good! I really liked it. and I hope you like it too!
One of the biggest headscratchers that plagues my review “process” is figuring out the right mix of genres so that things dont get stale. as a general rule; themed months excluded, I try to make certain that theres never a time where 2 films of the same genre are sat next to each other. So I’ll always try and seperate say; 2 horror movies that are sat together or 2 sci fi movies. I like to keep a mixed bag just to purely stop things from stagnating a bit.
Part of that dilemma is deciding how many 40s and 50’s B-movies I do a year. if my youtube analytics are anything to go by, you guys dont really care much for the older B-movie films. and hey; thats cool. I can dig it. y’know, time marches on and all that. But to me? I find these early movies a fascinating glimpse into the old days of the wild west of Poverty row film making. when corners would be cut, anything that could save money would be utilised whether it was to the detriment of the film or the cast and for the vast majority of these movies its amazing they got made at all.
Evil Brain from Outer space was never intended to be a movie, it was supposed to be a series of serialisations. and most of them are so drastically different to each other that the idea of cutting them together into one movie would be daft.
the 1960’s said “Fuck it” to daftness and did it anyway. they did it because they realised they wouldnt make their money back on the serialisations they purchased because serialisations in general were on the way out. so they did what they thought would make SOME money back (because making SOME money back is always preferable to making non of the money back) thats why they recut these into 4 features. it wasnt out of some grand artistic sense of tying together elements. it’s because they bought a lemon and had to make lemonade some goddamn way.
the supergiant serials arnt too bad on their own in all honesty. I mean; they’re a bit repetative in places. but they’re fine enough. but these recut ones? goddamn. just….goddamn.
I’ll continue to cover movies from this era, mainly because…they’re bizarre as hell. but if your looking for an example of the madness of 40’s and 50’s cinema. this films definitely a strong contender.
I’ve wanted to cover Cronenberg for some time on my channel, but I always really got hung up on exactly where to start. on the one hand; I could dive headfirst into a classic like “Videodrome” or “The Fly” something VERY defining of his style. alternatively; I could have gone for one of his more extreme movies like “Scanners” or “Crash” hell; if I was being REALLY pedantic I could have started with his college movies that Arrow Video released not too long ago. But honestly; after really thinking about it; I feel Shivers is probably the best place to start when it comes to unpacking Cronenbergs distinctive look and feel. While the body horror element is present here it hasnt yet morphed really into it’s shapeshifting disfiguring style that would be seen in movies like “Rabid” and “The Fly”
eqaully; this movie is pretty revolutionary for it’s time. Predating “Alien” and “Dawn of the dead” by between 3 and 4 years respectively. it looks and feels like a tribute to those movies. Which makes it all the more surprising that this film came first.
All in all; I cant say more than I did in my review for this one. it’s a good SOLID feature that I Feel acts as a good intro to Cronenbergs work. Yes; he has done better. but if you start with the best, everythings going to be a dissapointment that comes after it. While his vision may not yet be fully crystalised here. it’s well on it’s way. and if you DO like this; then you’ve got a hell of a trip to come!