XTRO (1982)

It’s Red Letter Media who should really get the thanks for properly introducing me to XTRO honestly…I had seen clips from this film before but I didnt really get a chance to properly understand the context of those clips until Mike, Jay and co properly broke this film down. It was after watching there overview of this movie that I knew I had to see it for myself.

And I really wasnt dissapointed…this films a real oddity. and it’s genuinely one of the hardest films I’ve had to catgorize for my channel really…I still have doubts about whether it should have been a “Red Triangle” episode or not…but I just dont think the films smart enough or tonally in line enough to be an out and out arty horror film…it’s just kind of…On the level. Which is fine! dont get me wrong if your looking for a movie to watch I DEFINITELY recommend you go and check this one out. But if you’ve had any prior exposure to this one beforehand. do lower your expectations. You may have it in your head that this films going to brilliant. It is enjoyable…but it’s not earth shattering. Your not looking at a top tier cult classic here…it’s definitely cult. but I think it’s got a bit more time to go on it yet before I can personally call it an out and out “Classic”

Enjoyable. This films enjoyable. I’ll probably watch it again. I still really want to get my hands on the Bluray for it at some point. but for now there are other pictures to be cracking on with. And im not in a major hurry to revisit this one.

I’ll repeat here what I said in my review (And im going to “Caps” it to be annoying) IF YOU ARE GOING TO WATCH THIS MOVIE, GO AND BUY THE BLURAY!. I really cant stress that point enough…this film looked fine on tape. But on Bluray I imagine its infinitely much more enjoyable!

(There are a couple of posters floating around for this one…neither of them really capture the true essence of XTRO though…I do realise that is a big ask.)

DOC-SHOCK! (Documentary Reviews)

A shorter post than usual from me this time round but I thought I would try something a bit different with this one. I’ve wanted to cover Documentary as a genre on my youtube channel now pretty much since I started it over 2 years ago. but whenever I’ve tried (And their have been many failed attempts) they’ve either come out WAAAAAY too short or I just wasnt happy with the end result. I always felt they were lacking…and while Im not going to say im exactly a beacon of high water level quality; I do want to make sure that im at least happy with what I put out.

And so the idea to compile a few of these was born. apart these reviews felt a bit orphaned. but together I feel like it forms a comprehensive look into some of the films I’ve wanted to talk about for years but never actually had the chance to. I didnt really get into watching documentaries until my mid to late teens (More often than not I was having them thrust upon me rather than me actively deciding to seek them out) so im not exactly brimming with documentaries to recommend. but I have a few I’d like to share (And this video did a bit better than I was expecting) so I may well do a DOC-SHOCK 2 (Electric Boogaloo) at some point in the future.

For now. I can recommend any of the 4 I speak about in this review and they’re all (For the most part) quite easy to find. I hope you get a kick out of them in the same way I did.

 

(Out of all of these my favourite poster has to be the Video Naties one. Though “The Nomi Song” also has a soft spot in my heart in terms of posters)

Little Heros (1999)

It took me a while to get around to the other feature shown on the prism leisure ultra cheapo kids double pack collection which featured the worst film i’ve ever seen “Lets Ruin Dads Day“. Indeed I put off talking about “Little Hero’s” for so long purely because I couldnt face seeing what film would be deemed “On par’ with such a terrible terrible movie. Which I think is why Im so non plussed about this movie. it’s not offensively bad, but you definitely could do better.

Its a rip off film at it’s heart mainly happy to try and suck any life it can get from the Home alone movies or the “Talking animal” genre which became very popular in the early to mid 90’s but by 1999 was most definitely on the wane.

Honestly; if you never saw this movie you’d never miss it…which is probably the most damning thing I can say about it. it’s impact in the world is as such that if it completely vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow. Probably only half a dozen people would even notice or care.

the cardinal sin is “Thou Shalt not Bore” and this films predictable plot, bad acting, below standard slapstick and generally poor production values (Made only worse by the blatant pizza hut promotional pieces) just left me waiting for this film to end.

I will do the sequels at some point…but at the minute my “To Watch” Pile is literally terrifying and I also am in desperate need of making a new blog for the site…so it may be a while before we find out how good the script was that a studio decided “Little Hero’s 2” was a good idea.

(This film didnt have a film poster (As far as I could find). So here’s the DVD cover. I dont know what im looking at…it looks like someone just took random stills/promotional work and laid them over someones shed…to me; its an offense to the eyes)

Shock Treatment (1981)

As mentioned in my last video review post here I’ve quite recently worked in collaboration with the team over at “Inside the Nutshell” to cover both “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Available here) and it’s equal “Shock Treatment” and here is the 2nd part of that.

Personally; whether it’s down to overfamiliarity with the former or whether the charm has just rubbed off I’ve found myself somewhat weining to Rocky over recent years…by contrast Shock Treatment feels like a booster shot in the arm of life! it’s so high energy, rocky and relentless I loved it on the first vieweing and fell in love with it on the 2nd viewing.

Im very fond of this movie and having been able to produce this review with likeminded friends my memories of this movie have only grown more and more positive. And I cant wait till I get to watch it again in future 🙂

(Also how striking is this film poster!? Jesus!?…it’s not one i’ll forget in a hurry!)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

So just a quick post here; I was very graciously invited to take part in a collaboration with the team over at the “Inside the Nutshell” youtube channel. They’re a really good bunch of people and I was more than happy to take part! (They’ve also helped me with my review of the 1981 equal to this movie “Shock Treatment”) so be sure to check this one out!

You can check out their youtube channel here! and I highly recommend you do as they have some great stuff on their and some even more goodness to come! 🙂

 

(Loving the Thumbnail btw guys!)

Vamp (1986)

Well! that’s it! Halloween 2019 done and dusted! and here we find the final part of our month on Vampire movies! I had a lot of trouble choosing which 80’s movie was “SO” definitively 80’s and a vampire movie…I could have done “Fright night” but I’ve only ever seen it twice and both times I watched it I got so absolutely fed up and bored of it that I couldnt bare to both sit through it again, nor end a plesent month on vampires with a film I was going to slag off (I will talk about it in the future though…dont worry about that!)

The Lost Boys was the other strong contender for this one but I felt it was too late 80’s for this kind of thing…it’s a good film (Of what i’ve seen of it) but it missed to many crucial elements of the early 80’s to make it an all incompassing feature. “Vamp” by contrast is 80’s to it’s marrow. it has the dark and brooding styalisation that would come to plague the late 80’s but it also has the charming and heavily art driven style that the early 80’s neuwave brought to the scene…add to that that it’s painfully self aware and a bit of a screwball comedy at times and I truely think this is probably the best all encapsulation of an 80’s vampire movie…it pleases neither side of the 80’s movie experience but it covers both.

I enjoyed this movie…and I really hope you guys do too! Happy halloween! and till next year! Unpleasent dreams 😉

 

(There are tons of variations of the “Lips” Vamp poster…but I think this one kind of covers everything you need to know about the movie…)

Phantasm (1979)

So we kind of need to step sideways in order to move forward here with Vampire month this halloween. While it could be argued that cinema in general was shifting towards the late 70’s to the 80’s film format that made massive successes of movies like “E.T”, “The Goonies” and “The Lost Boys” it wasnt without seismic shifts within the industry and within specific genres.

I chose to talk about “Phantasm” as part of Vampire month because the Symbolism is there, the attitude is there, the “Vibe” (For lack of a better word) is there. it isnt a vampire movie. and yet it somehow has the ora of one. I really REALLY liked this movie. it was a fun and interesting side avanue into the Horror genre. At some point I will look at the sequels (Though by all accounts this series is a bit like the “Hellraiser” movies…in the sense that the less you know about the universe the better the movies are…

Who knows when that’ll be mind!? my “To Watch” pile is frankly absurd these days…all I know is: Go watch Phantasm…right now.

(Seriously underwhelming poster for this one sadly…Theres so much they could have done with the themes and look this film has…and they settled on “Throw fucking everything on the poster…the more it looks like sick, the more people will want to see it!” Dissapointed.)

Count Yorga Vampire (1970)

Picking vampire films reflective of their era has been a really difficult challenge when it’s come to this series. if it wasnt for the lack of interesting or developmental ones (See the 1940’s and a good chunk of the 1950’s) then there was just too many of them (See the 1980’s and 90’s).

The 70’s was a great time of change for Vampire movies and I felt, rather than just picking a generic “Middle of the road” film that was reflective of the decade as a whole instead I’d go for what was effectively the movie that began to modernise the Vampire mythos beyond the “Dracula”/”Nosforatu” formula.

I’d never seen Count Yorga before watching it for this review, and while I concede that there are a lot of the architypical elements present here that are well known the modernising elements are very welcome and really shunt the focus of what we’re supposed to be scared of away from the vampire on the whole and more towards the weirdness the Vampire itself can create.

Yorga isnt the best Vampire movie of the 70’s but most modern vampire movies have a lot to thank it for. Without it who knows how these movies would have progressed. I personally am looking forward to watching and reviewing the sequel at some point in the future (It’ll be a while mind…Im burnt out on Vampires at this point) but if the first film was anything to go by; the 2nd one should only be better still!

 

(The poster is very misleading…nothing like that happens in this film and it’s actually quite subdued)

The Horror Of Dracula (1958)

I couldnt quite believe I’d gone as long as I had done without covering another Hammer Horror movie. quite honestly every season I decide I want to do a hammer film…but then like all things I work on I get easily distracted and before you know it im working on “Sharknado 77” or “Lets Ruin Dads day 2” or some other similar bollocks. In fact I havent covered a Hammer movie since season 2 when I covered “The Nanny” which was stonkingly good and terrifically underrated!

So when it came to doing a season on Vampires this halloween I put my foot down and said “No More!, Im doing a hammer movie!” and quite honestly 1958’s “Horror of Dracula” is probably one of my favourite hammer movies. I first watched it in Film studies many MANY years ago in college on a ropey VHS “Off Air” recording and was blown away…and the bluray only went further still to solidify just how totally badass this movie really is. not only is it one of my favourite portayals of Vampires. It’s one of my favourite Horror movies full stop. I just love it. I also welcome to the fold here Christopher Lee. One of my favouirte Horror actors giving in my opinion one of his finest roles. He would only really come to terms with this character in his later years (He famously dismissed the count for literal decades) but I think he’s probably my favourite portrayal.

So! without further ado! enjoy!

 

(Also; theres a surprising shortage of “Portrait” style posters for this movie…this was one of the rare ones I could find…and I think it’s arguably the coolest one. why this wasnt used across the board i’ll never know!)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

Another Halloween’s upon us ladies and gents and once again I get to dig out some of the archives most terrifying creations to display for your entertainment and viewing pleasure. I’ve been trying to decide on a format for these halloween specials and I think for the time being at least that im going to do a year on a theme and a year on a series of halloween-esq movies…mainly because there are a lot of good halloween movies that dont necissarily fit into a theme. But also; there are loads of films that i’d love to talk about which I think if I link them while discussing their themes it creates a bit of “a history of” vibe…which I always encourage because it allows me to go deeper into the movies than I probably would…

naturally just doing 5 random halloween films every year would be a bit boring and wouldnt quite cover the depth I would like to cover. Equally if I did 5 themed films every year. I’d probably grow quite bored of the format. So this is a good happy medium…at least for the time being. by this logic next year will be a random assortment again.

Nosferatu isnt a film that i’d pick up regularly. it’s a good movie. But as I mention in the review I just dont really get on with Silent cinema all that much…I can appreciate it’s form and acknowlege that it is a item of it’s time. But I do struggle with quite a few of them and I find that finding good silent movies is quite a challenge. Because of this; It was a bit of a struggle to get this years theme well and truely under way. But Im glad I rewatched this movie as it really allowed me to get to the origins of the Vampire Mythology quickly and gloriously.

This is the start of a 5 part series on the history of Vampire movies from 1922 to 1986. You might wonder why it’s such an oddly specific timeframe. but those 64 years really do define such a massive evolutionary leap. that I think it should prove quite an interesting trip. I’ve already decided that a 2nd part will need to happen at some point (If nothing else just to cover the movies from 1987 to whenever I decide to go through all this again)

In the mean time I hope you enjoy the start of this series and I look forward to seeing it develop over the next few weeks!

(I love this poster…Im about 99% sure this isnt the original theatrical poster…if it even had an original theatrical poster…but there’s just something so unsettling about this one.)