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.

Tough and Deadly (1995)

So, as part of our 5th Anniversairy celebrations i’d made the decision well in advance that I wanted to try and steep a more than decent chunk of this season in references and call backs to things i’d mentioned in the past. is it self indulgent? absolutely. But given im very unlikely to make 10 years on this platform under the current format, I have to take what moments I can as and when they appear!

I knew I wanted to cover some of the usuals, an “American Ninja Movie”, my continued slog through “Best of the Best”. I absolutely wanted to revisit “The Dragon Lives Again” but I’d always remembered that in the past I’d sworn i’d cover “Tough and Deadly” and given that was nearly 5 years ago and that it still hadnt happened. I absolutely thought this had to be righted.

In many ways; I wasnt entirely won over by this one, despite what good it does do. frustratingly the experience of covering this one was somewhat tarnished by events that happened around the time of publication; Y’see, I owned this movie on a ‘double feature’ set with another Billy Blanks movie “Talons of the Eagle” and literally the same week that this movie review went live, “Talons of the Eagle” got announced as having a frankly Stunning Bluray release by Vinegar Syndrome…Which did somewhat take the wind out of my sails for this one on release day.

Still! it’s a fun movie! and while I dont think i’d be exactly ecstatic to recommend it, i’d say it’s worth checking out at least once!

That poster says LITERALLY nothing about the film. LITERALLY nothing.

Gatwick Gangsters (2017)

In many ways; I love films like this. Films that live beyond the screen. films that continue to organically grow like some kind of bizarre trash terrarium. Gatwick Gangsters has a life beyond it’s stream and I live for stuff like that. When I first started researching the movie I had NO idea that Shampagne was working to be an auter media personality. I just thought this was a goofy movie that I could take apart and explain what worked and what didnt and then mark it off my list.

And then the world opened up to me, Shampagnes colourful life and history, the Gatwick Gangsters website, the music videos, the social media presence, the fake IMDB trivia…The fact they’re ACTIVELY in development for a Gatwick Gangsters 2!? its “On Cinema” level artistry at its finest.

I feel it may be a touch overdramatic, but I consider this kind of melding of real living breathing personalities and social media/movie integration bordering on performance art. and while I wish absolutely no ill will to ANYONE involved in the production of these movies. I REALLY hope they dont become self aware. These are the film makers who are best left uncontacted like the tribes in the amazon. Let them exist in their bubble, thinking they’re making the greatest movies ever. and just. let them make the magic.

I feel im almost overstepping my boundaries just by simply talking about this movie here, I need to really push this I DONT want interaction with these people. I want them to keep as far away from me and people like me as possible. I want them to keep making these weird HYPER aggressive movies so that I can pay them £8 for and then just…enjoy the utter UTTER weirdness thats come out of 5-7 years of stop and start film making.

Pandering to people like me or aknowleging your film is being viewed by a VERY specific audience that it wasnt intended to be made for is whats RUINED film makers like Rick Sloan, Tommy Weisau and Barry J. Gillis in the past. If you want proof in motion of what happens when you shut that crowd (I.E Me) out of planning when making your movie look at Neil Breen. who has somehow through adversity managed to make half a dozen movies that are PERFECTLY weird and awful and wonderful in every way. he doesnt humour us. and im absolutely glad for that.

So yeh. Gatwick Gangsters. I had quite an emotional time with this movie, and I hope you go check it out, and; Shampagne. if you do ever see this, ignore it. I really dont know what im talking about.

Bloody Moon (1981)

In a season of firsts literally 1 week after we did our first Godfrey Ho movie! we’re NOW doing our first Jess Franco movie! and…this was my first ever Franco film many MANY years ago, and having seen a LOT more Franco since then, im inclined to think this is one of his better efforts. Which is a shame because its COMPLETELY out of tone with his other bodies of work.

This is one of those weird movies where Franco wasnt entirely invested in it as a director, so he just does a servicable job of making a horror movie, and it’s fine. its bordering on good even! and compared to his other 6000 movies. Well this is probably one of his best really…but that says more about my opinion on Franco movies than on my opinion of THIS movie.

This is a VERY flawed movie in all honesty. NOT one of the better nasty’s but sometimes it manages to wiggle into “So bad it’s good” terratory with laughable dialogue and kill scenes that make Antropophagus look like Cannibal Holocaust.

I’d say it was worth a watch at least once. but err…yeh, dont expect THAT many more Franco films on the channel…they’re…not my scene.

ICONIC.

The “Never Say Never Again” (1983) Comedy Dining Experience

While our good friend Roger was having an “Eggcellent” time working on “Octopussy” An evil cabal of writers, media personalities and satanists were performing a secret virginal sacrifice to the gods of “Why did this need to exist” in order to restore an ancient evil who’s toupee contained within its woven fabrics untold horrors that had been sealed successfully away in 1972.

They succeeded and Randy Grampa was resurrected to unleash more terror and casual sexism upon the unsuspecting crowd of 1980’s New Wave hipsters who…quite rightfully dismissed and disowned the film as the utter work of evil that it is.

This week, Dan and Ben take one for the team…in more ways than one. Still! we get some good stories out during the commentary, so it wasnt all to waste its just…ugh…Im really not a Connery fan. The guy had like…2…maybe 3 good bond movies…the rest…ugh.

UGH.

The American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990)

As part of the 2nd half of our 5th anniversairy celebrations, im going to be dipping into the vaults to cover some movies that, in the past, i’d promised to get round to at some point. and kicking this off we’re finally putting a lid on “The American Ninja” series. I’ve been covering the sequels now for almost as long as the channels been in existence. and with the exception of the first film (which I intend to do a ‘Comedy Dining Experience’ on at some point in the future) we’ve finally arrived at the final chapter here. and WHAT a dissapointing wind down it was.

Im not going to say much more because, honestly, my review here says all there is to say. But I will say that I still find it frankly ASTOUNDING that they had two decently sized action stars in this film and they utilised them in probably the most cack handed way it’s possible to handle these things. I left BEYOND dissapointed. but yeh! after 5 years! we’re bringing this series to a close!

I really like this poster, its such a shame it’s in NO way reflective of the film itself.

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.

Swamp Women (Swamp Diamonds) (1956)

This was the 2nd to last review I wrote for this season and the last proper review I wrote before heading into our seasonal christmas specials for one last hurrah. And it was quite literally a review that materialised out of thin air. with us now well into the 2nd year of the pandemic, I’ve not been able to go out rooting through the various flea markets, charity shops and other various places where cheap VHS/DVDs and Blurays could be found. and after working with my backlog for about 2 year with not much new coming in I was beginning to have a bit of difficulty around variety.

Dont get me wrong, Im not short of films to review you understand, I have PLENTY of those to be getting on with. rather, I have too many of certain specific genres. I cant move for Horror, Sci fi and martial arts movies. But im seriously low on decent avante garde, experiemental and art house films. I have a MORE than decent stock of action titles, but very little in the way of strange drama or thrillers.

When it came to scheduling this season I began to notice I was a bit horror heavy and I wanted to try and break things up a bit. so I hit the public domain film collections I have from mill creek looking for something that’d hopefully help keep a nice digest of content. and when nothing jumped out to me, I let my partner choose. the only rule I gave her was to try and avoid a film with a title that sounded like it was just going to be a straight horror. I said depending on the synopsis I was open to doing a creature feature and thats when she hit me with “Swamp Women” in our heads we envisioned a kind of murkey “Creature from the black lagoon” type affair with mutated swamp women wandering around the back waters picking off their victims!

In reality, we got a super early Roger Corman film thats basically just a super slow travel log with fast talking chasimatic ladies at the healm. and while I appreciate that this is most definitely NOT going to be to everyones taste, I cant help but acknowledge that as a trash fiend. I kind of enjoyed this one. even now, some 3 months after watching it. I still think about it every now and then just for HOW slow, but entertaining it really was.

The poster is WAY more interesting than the film itself.

Theatre of Blood (1973)

Perfection. thats all there is to it, I consider this to be one of my (if not my) favourite horror film ever made. I have nothing more to add to that other than. this halloween, go and watch “Theatre of Blood” total. underrated. CLASSIC.

The original 2 posters for this film I dont really feel are all that representative of the films contents, that and they just, wern’t that visually appealing. in fact the original Landscape poster for “Theatre of Blood” is downright ugly in my opinion. But the version seen above was made up by Arrow Video for their Bluray release and not only do I love the minimalist take, I feel it much MUCH better represents the film. Its still not quite as good as it should be for a movie of this quality. but it’s easily the best so far.