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.

Doc Shock 2: Electric Boogaloo (Documentary Reviews 2) (2022)

Well; we’re back on the documentaries again, and honestly, it’s been WAY too long. EVERY season since the original “Doc Shock” I’ve sworn BLIND that i’d do another doc shock that season. EVERY. SINGLE SEASON. I’ve sworn id do it, and every time for one reason or another it’s completely fallen through. WELL! for my 5th anniversairy i’d be DAMNED if I was going to let one of the oddities of “The Red Triangle” go unloved! So here we are!

the big downer with this one was unfortunately the copyright aspect of the whole thing, at least 3 out of the 5 documentaries I covered in this video were almost ENTIRELY made up of archive footage. basically narratives built using news stories, old interviews, stock footage. a patchwork of history woven together to tell a story. and the problem with documentaries that are built like that from a critical standpoint is two fold.

First, it makes it difficult to convey exactly WHY the documentary is so good, because the footage isnt strictly indicative of the quality. me showing you news footage of Frank Sidebottom riding on a riverboat or Obama giving an interview wont tell you DIDDLY about what the documentary is like…it just tells you Frank Sidebottom and Obama are in those respective documentaries. and in the case of “The Silent Minority” the footage is SO harrowing, that even though it IS on youtube and available to view in full, I wouldnt feel comfortable showing it for the purpose of recommendation (seriously it’s that hardcore) So this is one of the rare cases where really, for the most part, I felt that including footage was kind of pointless…not that that matters really because…

Secondly; including all this archive footage is basically like trying to will youtubes copyright system to nuke the video. Seriously; it’s bad enough when I cover ONE movie in terms of getting worldwide blocks, takedown notices and other such bunkum. So IMAGINE trying to upload a review of a documentary that uses HUNDREDS of clips from various TV channels, films, internet uploads etc…it’d be a massacre. and one im not entirely interested in trying to clear.

So in the end this ended up being “Audio Only” a little underwhelming…true. But! this isnt a standard review…this is really more a list of recommendations. and I really hope you find a documentary thats right for you!

Out of all of these, I probably enjoyed “Thats Sexploitation” the most, though “Being Frank” is a close second!

Alien Species (1996)

So back in the mists of time, I found a movie called “Alien Species” from 1995, at the time I couldnt find ANY trivia for it really other than Troma being the distributor (but not creator) of the film AND the fact that less than 12 months after this movie got put out, in a COMPLETELY different part of the country ANOTHER film would come out ALSO called “Alien Species” At the time the idea that two movies could hit the market so close together with SUCH a small budget (the combined budgets of both of these films wouldnt even pay for the catering on a mid sized budget production) AND given they were both, kind of from the same stable…well it fascinated me to say the least. For a time I debated whether to cover them both back to back for comedic effect, indeed. what better way to follow up “Alien Species”, than with “Alien Species”? but I had trouble finding the ’96 version of Alien species and ultimately, while I had at least ONE version of the two films in my hands, it just made sense to cover the one I had and if I found the other one, then more power to me.

Anyway skip forward a year or two and I picked up Mill Creeks “Nightmare Worlds” set, and LO and behold! THIS movie was on it. I knew as soon as I saw it listed I needed to get it covered and originally this WAS going to be in my 10th Season of reviews in November, but given i’d already covered so many low budget SOV films at that point, It didnt feel like a fluid and natural situation and crowbar this into the season as well, it would have made the season lopsided and a bit too heavy on low budget, SOV sci fi and horror films. SO! I wrote the script and then shelved it (Swamp Women took the place of this in the November Schedules) and it sat on my dock ready to be implemented for the best part of 5 months until FINALLY it fit in in a comfy little spot in Season 11!

I think the review more than speaks for itself, I cant say I was a huge fan of this one, but; with it sort of being the “Part 1” of what was supposed to be a much bigger franchise, I feel maybe with a bit more development and a sequel or two, this could have been something a bit better. as it stands it feels like someones handed me a third of a rubicks cube and told me to “solve it” and im kind of just staring at it wondering what on earth that would involve

This poster looks like something “Ab-So-Lutely” productions would come up with. WAY to busy and just plain odd.

Ozone (1993)

I honestly relished the opportunity to cover more J.R Bookwalter, really genuinely relished it. after spending damn near a month covering his early works and the infamous “SOV Six Pack” I felt like this was very much the “Spiderman Far From Home” to the six packs “Avengers Endgame” And honestly? I absolutely was NOT dissapointed.

It really felt like, after the six pack, Bookwalter had burnt out and REALLY wanted to recenter, refocus, reprioritise and give his absolute ALL to whatever he made next. and when I tell you that I think this is arguably one of (if not THE) best film J.R has made, and I would be MORE than happy to say its one of (if not THE) best SOV film ever produced. I am not saying that lightly. this films exceptional in its field, really honestly exceptional. And each day your not sat in front of this for the first time is a sadder day my friend. so hop to it!

There are more Bookwalter films out there to cover, and believe me; when they get a bluray release, you better believe i’ll be right there DAY ONE to buy and cover them. I dont know if he’s going to re-release all his films, but i’ll cover as many as I can get my hands on!

I also have to seriously commend the rebranding and remastering of the official bluray for this set, given the materials wernt exactly grade A1, JR’s weaved nothing short of witchcraft into this release to get it looking as good as it does. im seriously impressed.

Phantom of the Ritz (1988)

This was actually a pretty rare opportunity for me, I often cover obscure and somewhat forgotten movies, but it’s VERY rare that I cover a film thats been forgotten so much so that it has an almost non existent online presence. I could find almost NOTHING on this movie in terms of interesting facts or trivia. I couldnt even honestly prove that this thing ever played in theaters.

The only thing I could confirm is that it got a US and UK vhs release and then after that it literally fell through the cracks of history and dissapeared seemingly forever. it currently has 78 ratings on IMDB. I think the only film i’ve ever covered with lower scores than that is “Riverbend” and even that now has risen to 118 ratings since I first covered it. I guess…what im trying to say is, this film is LONG forgotten and VERY unlikely to get a re-release. and I think thats kind of a shame, this isnt a fundamentally bad movie…it IS bad…but WAY worse have managed a dvd AND bluray release…so…if any distribution labels are reading this, maybe take a look at “Phantom of the Ritz” it’s a kinda sorta, not so bad movie thats pretty rubbish.

I love this poster work too….I mean, it says NOTHING about the actual film…but it does it with such a level of STYLE!

Serpents Lair (1995)

Its amazing really how the memory can cheat when it comes to things from your childhood, I mention in this review that this was one of my first exposures to pornographic material and honestly; when I think back to my memory of seeing this movie nearly 25 years ago now, I remember it being almost as strong as most of the hardcore flicks that now plague the net.

despite not really knowing/understanding what was going on at the time, the tameness of this film 25 years on actually transformed what I remembered as a pretty gritty and erotically charged picture into something laughable. I go into more detail in my actual review. But while I cant really “technically” fault the film. the fact that it sets up SO much promise and delivers on literally almost non of it is frankly insane.

I mean…with the best will in the world, most erotic softcore films at LEAST have the decency to show a little T&A. this film (if memory serves) has one or two blink and you’ll miss it shots of ass, and an sound barrier smashingly brief glimpse of some boobs. Its at this point I feel the need to remind you dear reader. that this is a film about a demon who shags people to death…

As a closing note, I recently managed to uncover the title of another softcore flick I saw a clip from back when I was younger. my entire memory of the film was a scene of a woman being screwed through a partition in a wall with the intent on getting pregnant by the mysterious sperm doner. after that image sat in my head for decades AND with a variety of film buffs being asked about the scene (which I described in vivid detail, to which they had no clue), last year I finally put it to rest. I had in fact seen a clip from the 1999 art house porn film “Romance” which…is probably not a film that a small child should have been watching. but; these are life lessons I guess…

The poster for this movie is in no way reflective of the movie 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.

Annabelles Wish (1997)

Annabelles Wish was one of those movies that I saw a TON for a brief period in the late 90’s the marketing campaign for this movie in the UK was quite frankly insane. I remember WH Smiths, Woolworths and most places that sold tapes being absolutely rammed with it. I remember the channel 3 childrens block “CITV” having CHRONIC amounts of adverts running for this (probably because CITV was being run by “Carlton” at the time, which was also the company who distributed this film in the UK) for a good year or two it was nothing but wall to wall Annabelle. and honestly; at the time I thought it sounded like a load of old rubbish.

So to sit here nearly 25 years to the day of its release and finally watch this thing to see what all the hubub was about…well…as you can expect the sour laughs of a special that not only missed the mark but full on faceplaneted the concrete could be heard for miles around. This was amazing. a film that really truely tried to be sincere and heartwarming/Bittersweet. Inadvertently becoming DEEPLY troubling and quite confusing to boot! I had NO idea what to expect when I hit play. but I certainly wasnt expecting THAT!

it surprised, shocked and genuinely made me laugh at just how corny and awful it was…and for the last TYTD Reviews episode of 2021…well I couldnt have asked for a more perfect example of what this series is all about.

bloody hell…

This poster is a LIE and will be ceased by the workers as an act of defiance. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER COMRADES!