Splat! In Your Face! (2002)

Once again; we find ourselves in the rhelm of kids movies with “Splat!”. A genre that; when it comes to low/no budget cinema. is the closest thing to an actual mine field you’ll probably ever experience. Im not kidding. having done this now for approaching 5 years, almost every critic i’ve come across will agree that when it comes to genres kids films are somehow the ones most likely to either be perfectly fine or “Peel your face off” bad.

One critic I know in particular limits himself to no more than 3 a year. mainly for health reasons. and it’s not particularly difficult to see why. I’ve reviewed over 200 movies at this point and i’d say that I always cover kids films with a healthy dose of dutch courage and trepadation. “Splat!” was the equivelent of stepping on a landmine. it was a bad experience and one I really hope not to repeat again anytime soon.

But! at the same time, this is kind of why I started my channel. before I published my review for this film there really wasnt anything out there in terms of actual solid review and critique. there were some user reviews on IMDB and a professional external review from 2002 that gave it “2 stars out of 5” but in terms of detail, in terms of feeling and vibe. there was nothing. So I really hope that by covering this film on my channel i’ve helped raise awareness and, if at the end of the day. all I’ve done is stopped one poor schmuck from paying money to check this out. Then it makes getting my legs blown off week in and week out worth it.

Splat! was the first kids film i’ve covered this year, and honestly I felt super burnt out on kids films after 2020’s run in which I covered 8 kids films in the space of 4 months. that was almost if not exactly half a seasons worth of reviews dedicated solely to kids movies. it was overwhelming. So this year i’ve tried to tone it down a bit, but there are still a few more mines to tread on in the near future dont worry about that!

This posters a freakin lie. the background image of the team in blue is a promo photo from 2002, but the guy in the forground was photographed in 2006 and everything else is just mocked up in photoshop. BAD MOVIE POSTER. NO BUISCUIT!!!

The Beast in Heat (SS Hellcamp) (1977)

This movie sucks. and since getting involved in the whole “Video Nasty” scene this was one of the movies i’d wanted to see the most out of all the entries on that section 1 and 2 list. it just seemed on paper to be a fun and weird, nasty little horror movie. in my minds eye I was envisioning something super bleak but played as if it had been directed by Ken Russell. and BOY was I in for a dissapointment.

I remember clear as day the first chance I got to watch this via Full moons streaming service last year sometime over the summer and within about 30 minutes I realised i’d been fully cheated on the premise and that in fact this was just going to more or less be a pretty generic war movie with a few very poorly shot and directed shock moments thrown in for good measure. I didnt come away from this movie on the first watch sad, I came away angry that I’d waited literaly years to see this film, only to be bitterly dissapointed by just how underwhelming it is as a work. I jumped into a group chat with some friends to vent my frustration and got a mixture of “Oh Wow that bad eh?” and “yeh it’s awful” which didnt really soothe me much either.

As times gone by i’ve been able to be a bit more critical about all of this and i’ve kind of ended up in a place where I feel that this is a film that; if you can get it for cheap or ideally free I’d say it was worth keeping. but I certainly wouldnt say it was any good and I DEFINITELY wouldnt say it was worth any more than $5.

It’s a good job I caught this film on streaming as I was seriously planning to spend upwards of $35-$48 to import a copy of the US Severin release of this movie at one point. the official line is that the BBFC dont have a problem with this film and that if it was submitted for classification today it’d be passed uncut for release. the problem is the films SO shit that UK distributors wont go near the thing. Leading to a bizarre situation whereby the film IS available to import from international sources. but because dealers know it’s so shite they wont license it for a UK release. despite it being perfectly okay to do so. Which leaves people like me who, before seeing it on streaming couldnt find a copy anywhere else, to have to do drastic things like pay upwards of $48 in costs and shipping to find out just how unwatchable and WHAT a money pit it truely is.

Totally rubbish, worth owning for reference and maybe as a filler feature for a pretty lively party. NOT something you’d just stick on because you want to enjoy your evening. this films so bad…

The Poster is literally the coolest part of this movie. GOD this film was SO LAME!!!

Evil Brain From Outer Space (Super Giant 4) (1966)

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.

that poster…jesus.

Massacre at Central High (Blackboard Massacre) (1976)

One for the “Yikes” pile, this movie even now is just…leaves me with this sense of cringing discomfort. it’s one thing to make a drama about a 35 year old teenager trying to blow up a school and killing off the students. it’s another when your sympathetic to the killer. and this film really does genuinely try to rationalise that; had our main character not gotten TOO into murdering his peers. the school probably would have been better for it.

I know theres themes around corruption present and the idea that just removing the figureheads of corruption from a system without properly planning for the transition of power, merely creates a vaccume from which even worse corruption can spring forth. I get it. but I just find it incredibly problematic that the film at no point takes the time to point out that the main character in this movie (the one doing the killing) is wrong to have even done it in the first place. instead it really just leaves the viewer with the feeling that, had David just planned better for the aftermath, the murders would have been entirely justified.

This was one of the first scripts where I actually had to cut a section of the script out in post. I had initially recorded a section in the opening of my review where I took a bit of a deep dive into school shooting statistics with the aim of trying to figure out exactly why someone in 1976 would think that this movie was in ANY way a good idea. and my initial research revealed that basically the same amount of school shootings occured between the 1920’s and mid 1970’s as occured between 1998 and 2004. I therefore came to the conclusion that the reason why this film got made was simply a case that…well; not a lot of these really happened all that often, so my guess was that the producers thought they’d be safe covering this topic in this way as (at the time) it would have been about as common as a General election and probably would have been viewed by the public as one of those “It could never really happen to me” moments.

Unfortunately; just as I was working on the edit for this episode, a school shooting happened. and I re-reviewed my data and found a TON of scope for incorrect data and missed avaneus of exploration ranging from School massacres being listed seperately from school shootings in terms of collated data. issues with classifying what actually COUNTED as a school shooting and what was classed as a School massacre or just a targeted attack. issues with what qualified as a school attack (if people get attacked en mass just outside the school grounds. does it still count as a school attack?) and even variations on the attacks themselves. such as; what if it was a teacher that committed the attack rather than a student, what if it’s an entire SCHOOL that goes to attack another school? does that count as one incident or hundreds of smaller ones? and in one bizarre case from the 1920’s if a student accidentally kills another student with a hoe on school grounds, but then kills another student to stop them covering up the first murder. is that a massacre? or just a super awful story?

In essence. what I wanted to say was “Because of how few attacks happened between 1925 and 1975 the producers probably felt comfortable presenting the film this way” but honestly? after seeing all the variables I missed out. the datas a hot mess and I honestly dont know anymore. all I do know is they definitely could have handled this film more tactfully…that being said; I guess your more likely to get butts on seats with controversy and shock than you are with just being a clean cut drama.

Anyway; this movie hasnt aged well, but there are a couple of okay points with it. so maybe check out my review and decide for yourself 🙂

This cover is SUPER misleading. however; it’s the best cover this film has.

Horror Hospital (1973)

I took a bit of a gamble with this film, and honestly? im still not entirely convinced that i’m won over by it. I mean; it isnt bad. but it suffers terribly from the rot that can only originate from a film trying to ‘Alf inch another studios style. this is painfully trying to replicate ‘Hammer’ and ‘Amacus’ aesthetic and…well British horror from this era, when it’s trying to rigidly copy the greats. seems to miss the point of those studios greatness. the reason people fondly remember Hammer and Amacus is because they were envelope pushers. they bought blood, gore and mayhem to a much more mainstream audience than the grindhouses and exploitation film makers ever could.

I mean; you’ve got to imagine. Hammers versions of Frankenstein and Dracula were CONSIDERABLY more graphic than their Universal counterparts and had the fortune of lush and delightful sets to help sell the productions legitimacy. they were also both made in the 1950’s so I really fail to see what a film in 1973 is trying to achieve by copying the style but edging up the gore slightly of a style of film making made almost 15 years previously.

I mean; you’ve got to imagine, this film came out the same year as “The Wicker Man”, “Dont Look Now” and “Theatre of Blood”. films that genuinely pushed the genre through either fantastic scripts, creative reworkings of existing narrative devices or even next level performances. 2 years after this film was made “Shivers” was released and 5 years later “Dawn of the dead” and yet here we find what is ultimately; a drab affair. not unwatchable. but the stale and creaking belchings of an era of film making that really should have been canned about 3 years previously.

Theatre of Blood is actually a pretty nice comparison piece for my thoughts on this. that films brimming with a subversive originality. it looked at the amacus formula and purposfully decides what to lean into and what to subvert in almost every aspect. performances. scoring, scripting, gore. it plays AGAINST the audience of the day on multiple levels. and is rewarding because of it (not to mention that Vincent Price is just generally ace).

But then there’s this film. just sort of…lazily giving the audience what it thinks they want. not even in a particularly subversive of creative way. this film could have come out at any point between 1967 and 1975 and noone would have known or cared any differently. and that apathy that I feel towards it is ultimately what holds it back from actually being able to either out and out love it or hate it. it’s just…a film that exists. and thats a real shame as I think with just a couple more redrafts. there may have been a bit of life behind the eyes in this one.

The original posters rubbish for this. I mocked this one up as there wasnt one in “Poster formatting”. I dont much care for this one either…but it’s better than the original theatrical one.

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.

Liquid Dreams (1991)

WAIT! STOP! IT’S NOT PORN! well…not really porn…theres some VERY brief nudity and a lot of “Girating” but honestly. for a film thats so determined to ride the “Steamy erotica” train. it’s surprisingly tame. The first time I saw Liquid Dreams, It wasnt really for me. I found it a bit too into it’s “Homages” and lacking in clear substance. and while subsiquent rewatches have definitely softened my views on this (I now think it’s actually a pretty fun, maybe even good little popcorn thriller) I still kind of feel a bit like it’s a film thats missing something. I dunno; I think sex would cheapen this film. I think that making it more of a thriller would make it more boring. it just kind of…rides the line between the erotic and thriller genres to the such a restrictive extreme that it’s ultimatley neither. and as such, while it’s good at both genres. it never really achieves either.

What we have here is a bit of an anomoly. a film that’s memorable for it’s imagery. but very little else. I still think this is prime VS fodder because it’s most definitely working with that kind of cult vibe. and I feel with a little bit more love and attention it could almost be a well respected classic in the vein of “Cherry 2000” that’s why I chose to review this film. I really REALLY hope to raise it’s profile at least a little bit, and who knows!? maybe if the right people see this it’ll finally get dug out of it’s “Out of print” hell and get the re-release that it DEFINITELY deserves.

The Posters just kind of…a mess…but weirdly its the BEST poster they ever made for this film. the DVD versions obscenely awful.

Deathrow Gameshow (1987)

Deathrow Gameshow is one of those movies that was forever a part of my “Oooh I’ll pick it up next time” lists. Anyone who lives outside of the US or Canada will probably no doubt appreciate that importing films is an expensive game. In fact at the time of writing with the pandemic in full swing and Brexit flossing it’s teeth ready for the big chomp the costs of importing are already beginning to show themselves. With even light items such as single discs without cases or even a single disc light weight DVD costing anywhere between $35 and $85 in just the cost of shipping alone.

As such; I have to be choosey on films I choose to get from Vinegar Syndrome or Severin Films or AGFA purely because; picking up a bad film I dont like stops being mildly inconvenient and starts being financially unviable as a game.

And so we have the “I’ll get it next time” culture. During sales I’ll fill my basket with all manner of goodies and then inevitably see the cost of shipping, lose my shit, and have to put things back. Deathrow Gameshow is a film I’ve probably put back about 4 times before finally picking it up in 2019…and even then it just…sat on my shelf for the best part of a year and a half being overlooked by what I at the time considered better movies or for films that were time sensitive and could only be seen within a certain window of time.

And in many ways I really regret not checking in on this one sooner. I mainly put it down to the poster/cover art which; to me? I find quite ugly. Thats not to say the original VHS artwork was exactly “Dazzling” but I dunno; something about the poster art (see below in the thumbnail) just…doesnt sell this movie to me. it feels cheap. it feels like it’s going to be attempting to ape existing movies (I personally get real Shock Treatment vibes off it) it just doesnt feel like the kind of movie thats worth $55+ when shippings factored in (there or there abouts).

But Y’know what? if you can look past the garish and uninteresting promotional material for this one, theres quite a bit to have fun with! it’s an easy going film that relies on quite well written “Stupid/Manic” comedy to get the job done. and while the miss rate is noticeable on gags. the hits are really solid! but…I’ve probably said too much here. Check out my full review below if you want the deep dive!

Ugh…that poster…like I say; neither the VHS artwork or this are particularly great. but I just…REALLY dont get on with this one.

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Well! We’ve done it again! another year has reached it’s end and with it, we have the final review of the year! I hope each and every one of you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I spent the day with the missus and my parents, we had a lovely dinner, played some board games till the evening and then had a small buffet that put us into a food coma well into Boxing day!

While I wish i’d had the time to relax and savour my time off (I had 19 days leave from work this year and it REALLY flew by) I’ve spent a lot of time working on next years season over Christmas and as of today (Jan 2nd) we’ll officially start cutting for the new series! Im hoping to have at least one rest day before I go back to work. but for now. im super grateful i’ve been able to get so far ahead! so do keep an eye out for the new season when it lands in February (At least…im hoping it’ll land in February)

I watched this movie for the first time this year, for the purpose of this review. I wrote the script some tim in late July/Early August and I was fortunate enough to pick up the lovely limited edition box set of this movie and it’s sequel from 101 films almost as soon as it was announced. they’ve done a genuinely lovely job in cleaning this movie up and it was a blast to actually watch it around christmas time, in the vibe, in the festive atmosphere. I think it’s probably one of the better christmas horror movies i’ve seen. While I’d probably hesitate to say it OG “Black Christmas” good. it’s definitely up there! and I hope you consider giving it a go some time!

Anyway! Im going to be hard at work editing Season 9 now for at least the rest of this month, there’ll be a few commentaries uploaded in the mean time while im away. and, as always, i’ll be in the comments on every review i’ve done to date. So if your new to the site. please feel free to reach out and say “Hi!”

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and fruitful 2021 and lets all just…HOPE. that it is only a shadow of the year we’ve come from!

LOVE this poster. Controversial? Absolutely…But it bloody works!

Alphas Magical Christmas (1994)

I dont really know what I expected of this special in all honesty, One quick glance of the cover and I was convinced I was getting into “We wish you a turtle christmas” terratory. But honestly? when alls said and done. I found this movie to be a totally hollow experience.I’ve had a few months seperation from this review now by this point, and all I can honestly say is; “Well; it’s a thing that exists!”

It’s probably the best and worst example of “The Spirit of Christmas” because on the one hand Alpha is a charitable and loving robot who just wants to celebrate christmas with his friends. on the other hand all his friends are SO egotistical that they expect presents of Alpha, but dont get it anything in return. Alphas christmas basically consists of slaving away through all of christmas eve and christmas day and it’s big reward for exerting all that energy is that it gets to see 3-4 of the power rangers. All im saying is that the rangers who didnt turn up to wish Alpha a merry christmas may want to check the brakes on there Zords next time they hop in for a spin.

This really is a low point in the world of Direct to VHS specials…and more worryingly, I feel like I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. in either case. sit back, relax, and enjoy hearing a robot massacre christmas carols for 28 minutes. god even thinking about this tape now makes me want to go and get drunk…Merry christmas.

This cover is the perfect representation of what you’re getting into…you just need to airbrush out like…3 of the rangers and it’d be perfect.