Continuing our journey through the life and times of J.R Bookwalter, we’re following up 1989’s “The Dead Next Door” with “Robot Ninja”, quite possibly my all time favourite Bookwalter film. I just, REALLY enjoyed this one. it feels big, daft and aggressive and it just gives off this tone that I find quite honestly wonderful to sit through.
And, as I mention in the below review, I am just…Captivated by the restoration work done on this thing. having jumped from a VHS transfer to the new widescreen fully remastered version, it’s crazy to me at just HOW much attention to detail and love has gone into bringing this “Direct to video” campy action horror film into the realm of full HD. Theres an extra feature on the Bluray release of this that goes into detail around the work involved in restoring this and Its astounding honestly. J.R often says this is a film he wishes he never made (I mean…he says that about almost all of his films…) but honestly? I think the world is a better place WITH Robot Ninja in it
Well! We’re back and what a summer it was! filled with highs, lows and sipping lemonade by the calms of a gentle stream!…Okay not a lot of that happened, But it’s nice to dream! Basically; even though I said I was going to use the time to have a bit of a vacation the majority of the summer was spent prepping this new season. Writing for our first script “The Dead next door” began on the 20th of March 2021, with the earliest draft completed late night on the 21st of March. and; since then, this seasons pretty much been my life. over the summer I pretty much ironed out our October and November schedules with a 2 week vacation from work in August acting as a way for me to catch up on all the household odd jobs i’d been putting off for months while also giving me a ton of time to write my December episodes.
At the time of writing I have 20 scripts of a proposed 22 episode run for this series complete with 19 of 22 reviews fully edited and ready to go. Im not gonna lie. im in a pretty decent place right now! and the comedy dining experience continues to grow from strength to strength as we’ve just capped off our November and early december episodes (which still need editing!…I must remember to get around to that!)
Anyway! the dead next door! the opening review of an 8 part series looking into the career of producer, director, editor and seemingly all round swell guy J.R Bookwalter. I’ve been planning to do this series since at LEAST November last year. ever since I Invested in Makeflix’s quite brilliant “SOV Six Pack” boxset. and, to act as a kind of pallet cleanser before we dive in to 6 reviews of SOV madness It made sense to me to have a brief stop off to look at Bookwalters first two feature length productions.
While “The Dead Next Door” isnt going to fundamentally rock anyones world. what I’ve found here is that we have a good, solid zombie movie that, to me at least. sets the minimum standard i’d expect for a good zombie movie. this was a laugh, a real good time and I highly recommend picking it up if you can.
Well! a little bit later than i’d have liked, but! i’m finally getting round to updating the site in line for the launch of the new series in a little over a weeks time! to say things have been a little bit chaotic over here while tried to get everything prepped ready for a reasonable launch date would be a bit of an understatement. honestly, its amazing i’ve managed to do it. BUT! we’re here!
Over the last couple of weeks i’ve been vine swinging from writing, to recording, to editing to uploading and all the other fun stuff that goes into making the channel fly as it does! AND! as is customary (Well…I mean, this is the 2nd one we’ve ever done. but hey! traditions have gotta start somewhere!) we’re back with another summer special to help quench your thirst during the drought that is my summer break! and this time joining me to talk through the frankly astounding exploitation grindhouse classic “I Drink Your Blood” is Miss G.G Graham!
I had an absolute blast working with G.G and when it comes to exploitation cinema she really knows her onions! seriously, she totally blew my mind with just how much she knew about David Durston and the context with which this film was formed. a true professional in ever sense of the word. I really hope I get to work with her again in future as working on this was a blast!
So! grab yourself a tall beverage of your choice and enjoy this bumper edition of “The Red Triangle” we tried to be as thorough as possible and at the time of writing this is the longest single film review i’ve done to date!
If you enjoyed listening to G.G here you can find more of her work (and I highly encourage you to go check her out as she’s simply fab!) at the below links here:
This week! we have a visitor joining us on the comedy dining experience in the form of George from “The Best Little Horror House in Philly!” and the journey this episode took to get from recording to screen is frankly amazing. we recorded this episode alongside our commentaries for “On her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “Nutbag” this was the 3rd film in that block which rounded off the night…the night of November the 14th 2020! yes. this commentary is almost 8 months old before it even saw the light of day! Why did this end up happening? Unfortunately it all fell down to Scheduling. y’see, we try to do a Bond film every other month and I also try to not do two films of the same genre back to back one after another. which; unfortunately due to some last minute rearranging meant this absolutely fantastic cast ended up being pushed back and back in order to get it out at the best possible time.
So! with sincere apologies to George for taking SO damn long to get this out (And I highly recommend you head over to his cast and give him some love. he does a damn fine job with his show and is always guarenteed to raise a laugh!) Grab yourself a tub of your favourite flavour of ice cream. shave your head back to an uncomfortably receeding hairline and make sure you’ve got the right amount of change! Because “The Ice Cream Man” …is an experience.
Finally! the middle classes answer to “Driller Killer” in all it’s mundane dullness. I feel like such a stooge in hindsight after releasing this review. A little context (And a mild spoiler about whats coming up on this channel in future months.) I hadnt seen “Driller Killer” before reviewing this movie. and, for all intents and purposes I hadnt really planned to watch it for a while because the majority of people i’d spoken to about it told me that Driller killer was a bit boring and the kind of movie that you’d only watch once and move on.
Anyway; decided for the upcoming 10th season of my reviews that I was going to watch “Driller Killer” to get it over and done with. and apart from the fact that I really enjoyed it WAY more than the people who told me it was rubbish made out. I was mortified to discover that “Driller Killer” appears to more or less be the groundwork for this movie. as in; the themes, narrative and a decent chunk of the plot seem to more or less be copy/pasted from “Driller Killer” into “Living nightmare” the only significant difference is whereas “Living Nightmare” follows a bunch of middle class yuppies as they deal with the day to day issues of owning an apartment the size of a bowling ally. “Driller Killer” aims more to cover people in poverty and on skid row.
In fact; the only significant difference other than the class in this film and Driller is that in this film the madness is put more down to ghosts/the paranormal, whereas in driller killer the madness is based on the circumstancial rot that poverty induces. other than that they follow eerily similar beats, and I really wish i’d known that going into this one.
As it stands I wrote this review back in Jan/Feb of 2021 and then didnt see Driller killer until June 2021 at least a week or two after this review dropped, it took me till about 50 minutes into Driller to very quickly realise i’d totally missed a trick with this review.
So. to clarify, not only is this film generally rubbish and not worth watching, it’s also a little bit theivey and you should go and watch “Driller Killer” if you want a similar experience thats actually much much better than this film.
So I really do have to give serious thanks to “Channel 83” for sending this film my way. It was one that was vaguely on my radar for a number of years. But i’d never put much effort into actively checking it out. and BOY was I annoyed at myself for not looking into this one sooner.
This really is a bizzare yet entertainingly awful picture. One that somehow manages to engage the part of my brain that loves “So bad it’s good” cinema while simultaineously really irritating other parts of my brain to the point of wanting to throw it as far away from me as possible. This film really truely is the Carvel ice cream cake covered in ants at the picnic. and in many way’s I dont see that as being an entirely bad thing.
Its a movie that I do really hope gets a re-release at some point, preferably sooner rather than later because i’d love to be able to take this movie over to a friends house to sink a few beers and watch the chaos unfurl.
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…
I’ve wanted to cover Cronenberg for some time on my channel, but I always really got hung up on exactly where to start. on the one hand; I could dive headfirst into a classic like “Videodrome” or “The Fly” something VERY defining of his style. alternatively; I could have gone for one of his more extreme movies like “Scanners” or “Crash” hell; if I was being REALLY pedantic I could have started with his college movies that Arrow Video released not too long ago. But honestly; after really thinking about it; I feel Shivers is probably the best place to start when it comes to unpacking Cronenbergs distinctive look and feel. While the body horror element is present here it hasnt yet morphed really into it’s shapeshifting disfiguring style that would be seen in movies like “Rabid” and “The Fly”
eqaully; this movie is pretty revolutionary for it’s time. Predating “Alien” and “Dawn of the dead” by between 3 and 4 years respectively. it looks and feels like a tribute to those movies. Which makes it all the more surprising that this film came first.
All in all; I cant say more than I did in my review for this one. it’s a good SOLID feature that I Feel acts as a good intro to Cronenbergs work. Yes; he has done better. but if you start with the best, everythings going to be a dissapointment that comes after it. While his vision may not yet be fully crystalised here. it’s well on it’s way. and if you DO like this; then you’ve got a hell of a trip to come!
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.
There really isnt a massive amount to say about this one post release honestly. My thoughts on this one have rigidly remained in line with whats said in the review. This is a very VERY strange and uncomfortable movie to sit through. But then. thats kind of the point. is it disturbing in the same way “A Serbian film” or “Cannibal Holocaust” is? No. Its just a general feeling of unease and a constant vibe of “Should I be watching this?”
Thats the joy of the “2am movie” though. your brain and body are tired. if you’ve been drinking the alcohol has no doubt at this point in the night started to really kick in. and the air is thick, heavy and the darkness wraps around you like a thick and heady blanket. I find a lot of itallian Giallo, Zombie movies and…well stuff like this REALLY suit that specific time frame. they’re not so complex that you have to really solidly keep track of everything, theres enough gore and other good stuff to keep your monkey brain on side and theres usually a pretty killer soundtrack to help smooth everything over. You never truely LOVE a 2am movie. but when you need them they’re most definitely the only thing that’ll scratch that itch.
I usually try to post some helpful information here on updates, where you can find the film or if anythings shifted on this one’s release history front. but no…it’s still never had a UK release. it’s never been released on Bluray and a trimmed copy from Europe/the US thats out of print on DVD is about as good as it gets. And while I didnt absolutely love this one. I still think if you can find it. watch it.