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 Brain (1988)

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

The Poster is positively Cronenberg-esq. but it’s terrible in terms of colour use because you can bearly make out what “the brain” actually is. I personally would have used more Blues just as background filler to help distiguish him from the space backdrop.

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.

The Driller Killer (1979)

Of all the film I covered this season, probably the film that surprised me the most was “Driller Killer”. Generally when I go into a film with established expectations I usually come away either dissapointed or bitterly angry that a films been missold to me. But “Driller Killer” actually had the opposite effect on me.

After being told by at LEAST half a dozen people that this film was a “Slog”, was “Unremarkable”, was “A one watch film” my expectations were VERY low for this thing. I was expecting 80-90 minutes of unrelenting gore, little to no plot, sub part direction. just a gory trash film designed to shock for the sake of shock.

But what I actually found was quite a nuanced film that, while not shying away from gore, manages it in a very effective way. Using it sparingly and instead preferring to focus on psychodrama and the relationship structure between our core characters. this was actually a pretty decent little drama/thriller and had it had literally ANYTHING ELSE as a VHS cover in 1984, it’d probably have flown completely under the radar and gone unnoticed.

A raw and quite powerful watch. while I think the theatrical cut is about as much of this film as I can stomach. having an extrended cut on the Arrow Bluray is a very nice touch. If your coming to this film for horror, you’ll probably be dissapointed. but if your looking for a drama with bloodier elements I’d say this is actually a pretty solid watch.

I had to use Arrows newly commissioned artwork for the thumbnail on this review. Personally I vastly prefer the original artwork. But youtube frown on thumbnails that feature a guy literally getting drilled through the head.

“The Monster Club” (1981) Comedy Dining Experience

Well Halloween may have been and gone, but that doenst mean I cant bring this little slice of horror to the table! and WHAT a recording this was. we ended up talking for almost an hour before we even hit record and almost as soon as the credits had finished I was immediately dragged out of the house to move a sofa. Total. CHAOS. and it turned into one of my favourite recordings.

Special thanks to Triv of Trivial Theater for joining us on this months recording. if you enjoyed her presence you can find WAY more of her stuff by clicking here.

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.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Well! we’re in full motion on this whole “Month of Vincent Price” Malarkey and with only one more movie to go we arrive at the ever incorrigible “Abominable Dr. Phibes” a film that get so SO close to being my all time favourite Vincent Price film. I mean; it pretty much has everything. weird and over the top deaths, Price getting a real scenery chewing and somewhat cmapy role decent visual effects and an aesthetic thats quite literally timeless. I really REALLY like Phibes. but it’s just…not quite perfect for me.

I feel like a lot of this film gets bogged down in the policing segments, which feel a little too close to cop TV shows in the UK from the 1960’s. While it has all this weird and zany good stuff going on, I do feel in places it is missing that “Oomph” y’know? that zeal. that fire that takes a movie from just being really good to something that stands head and shoulders above it’s peers. is this film Iconic? absolutely, how do you forget a film featuring a killer frog mask, a clockwork orchestra and Anton Phibes himself!? but is it the best Vincent Price film? to me? no. it’s up there. but I think i’d prefer “The Tingler” and of course…theres our final film in this series to cover. which undoubtedly very much IS my all time favourite Vincent Price film.

As an aside, I havent seen “Phibes Rises Again” partly because, I want to save some new Price for days to come. I know right now, if I wanted to, I could freebase ALL of Vincents work over a weekend. but then; what would I have to look forward to in future? So…for now it sits on my shelf sealed and ready to be spun when I need a pick me up that only our Vincent could provide.

THIS. is an iconic poster. and I only just realised when writing this page that if you look at the outline of the profile of Phibes and his wife on this poster. it’s a love heart. Excellent poster design despite what I said about “House of Wax”

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

I’ve gotta be honest, I dont gel with the Corman/Price films as much as i’d like to. In principle, their collaborative works should have everything i’d want in a movie. Campy Macarbre, stunning direction and visuals, interesting and engaging scripts that quite often use the original source material as a launching pad rather than a dogmatically rigid “Sacred text” that must be abided to. and Vincent Price AND! for even more bang for your buck, Peter Lorre. Whats not to like!?

Well; this is the question I ask myself. I just…dunno. I kind of feel like the end result of mixing such amazing ingrediants together should be something quite mindblowing. but I just end up feeling a bit underwhelmed. Now I cant say that for EVERY Price/Corman film. I really enjoyed “The Pit and the Pendulum” and I also like “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Masque of the Red Death”. But I havent seen ALL of their works together and most of the ones I have seen (The Raven, Tales of Terror, The Haunted Palace) just…dont do much if anything for me.

Thats not to say they dont have decent moments, or even just scenes that are entertaining. and thats DEFINITELY not to say the quality isnt there, because it very much is. I just find myself kind of sighing and clock watching with some of these films when I should be on the edge of my seat praying the films nowhere near over. I think, to me at least, I just feel like the films dont deliver on their pitch. Which made choosing which film of the Corman/Price/Poe series quite difficult. it was a literal coin toss that decided whether to talk about this movie or “Fall of the House of Usher” and on reflection. I think I chose the right movie. I prefer “Fall” of these two. but this film I think has infinitely more to talk about and is a MUCH more visually interesting treat.

This poster answers the problems I had with “House of Wax’s” poster. but now the problem is the focal point of the poster isnt clear and the name of the film obscures way too much. it’s an acceptable poster, I just dont much care for it.

The Tingler (1959)

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.