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.)

V/H/S (2012)

Ugh…Dont make me promote this film more than I already have done! it’s just terrible! (In my opinion) The only thing I can really add is that while I knew there was a sequel (and I have already had offers from people willing to supply me with a copy of V/H/S 2 purely for the sake of doing another one of these) I didnt realise there were another 2 sequels (well…1 sequel and 1 spin offf) out there now also.

It’ll be a cold day in hell before I go back to these movies. I described it in the comments section to one viewer as “Needing to work up the volition for it” Im not an angry reviewer. I dont do things like the Cinema Snob or the AVGN or the Nostalgia critic. And I dont enjoy putting myself through movies I know Im very likely to dislike. I’m always open to giving fresh movies I think i’ll dislike  a chance because there is reasonable odds that It might change my mind (At which point im happy to sing it’s praise from the rafters) but movies like V/H/S have already established themselves in my mind as spineless and cheap. So why would I want to see more of that?.

I know in my heart of hearts I will talk about V/H/S 2 at some point…I just hope it’s as long a time as physically possible.

 

(I will say this though. Had the film been any good it’s poster would have been terrifically complimentary.)

The WNUF Halloween Special (2013) Comedy Dining Experience

Well, earlier this year my partner in crime Ben informed me that he was relocating to my home town! meaning previously our efforts of meeting up twice a year, recording 3-4 commentaries and winging it, could now be improved to once a month if not even more frequently! So I took him up on the offer! and so for the Halloween season we sat down and watched the “WNUF Halloween special” a film that is very close to my heart.

As mentioned multiple times (I will stop eventually!) the director currently has plans for a sequel and is currently fundraising here! and I highly recommend checking it out as it should be great fun!

This films one thats still as entertaining to me now as when I first found it nearly 5 years ago and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did!

The WNUF Halloween Special (2013)

I count myself exceedingly lucky that I have been able to see a film like “The WNUF Halloween Special” these kinds of films typically fall through the cracks of cinema history and I cannot stress enough how hard it is to find films like these, especially when you live in the UK.

The WNUF halloween special is no exception. as it stood up until recently the only way to get your hands on a copy of this film if you were UK based and wernt lucky enough to swipe up a copy of this when they were first selling them on DVD and VHS was to spend a frankly extortionate amount importing a very pricy NTSC only VHS or Region 1 DVD from the states, then forking out again for a player to play said expensive Tape/Disc and due to the cultish nature of this movie if you didnt pick a copy up during the initial US sales drive, there was literally no other way to get your hands on this film.

Well…there was illegal torrenting. Which unfortunately was the route I had to take in order to see this simply due to the complications listed above. While it probably wont bring much comfort to the Director/Producer. Chris. I would be honoured to help dub and distribute this tape across european terratories. PAL users have been neglected of a film like this for too long and if I can help from my little dubbing station here in the UK then please get in touch. I’d love to try and help you out in spreading this frankly amazing piece of cinema.

There is no European release of this film. and with a Sequel coming up on the horizon hopefully in a couple of years. I really hope that this one gets the worldwide release it really quite frankly deserves.

 

(This bloody poster…jesus its gorgeously done. Serious Kudos to whoever designed it. They’re a Master of the craft clearly)

Braindead (Dead Alive) (1992)

Im ashamed that I left watching “Braindead” till as late in my life as I have. It’s not really considered a mainstream horror in the same way that the “Nightmare on elm streets”, “Friday the 13ths” and “Halloweens” of the world are…in a sea of slashers where the closest thing to compare it to would be “The Evil Dead 2” Braindead stands out by a country mile as a truely shocking and twisted slice of Dark horror comedy.

It had always been on the outskirts of my film viewing horizons. I’d seen clips from it over the years but for one reason or another i’d just never got round to watching it…I was still trying to get the “Classics” under my belt…missing by a country mile the classic I could have been watching all along with this beauty!

I decided when I finally did down this movie that I had a choice…I could either watch it in pristine bluray quality (Bootleg but definitely enjoyable) or I could watch it for the first time in mangled VHS-vision…I chose the latter and I really dont regret my choices. The general nastiness of this film is enhanced tremendously by the nasty, grainey and semi chewed up fuzz that VHS provides…I actually own the Rental copy of this movie…It came from a video shop in Rhyl (It still has all the stickers from the shop on it and everything!) and watching it back through the murk you really get a feeling for the history that this tapes been through in order to arrive in my collection. I really do treasure it…Until peter jacksons 4K remasters of these movies come out it’s the closest I’ve got to watching this film in it’s intended condition…Though equally if they were to do what they did with the “Nekromantik” Bluray and include a polished up Super clean cut…alongside a trashed “Grindhouse” cut I’d be terrifically grateful…

I’d love to see Jackson return to these kinds of films…controversial, shocking, and brilliantly wicked fun…I know he probably never will but I can dream!

 

(Also this is one of those films that has never quite been able to get it’s promotional marketing quite right…this is the best representation of the film I could find (The rental cover) and it says absolutely bugger all about the film itself…It just looks really cool…)

Octopus 2: River of Fear (2001)

This is one of those moments where I think I nailed my exact thoughts on this one perfectly through the video review.

Octopus 2 is not a good film. But just writing that really doesn’t do a service to just how craptacularly awful it is…while we’re not exactly in “Let’s ruin dad’s day” territory. We are worryingly close. Which does concern me…

All I can really tell you about this is that they stopped at Octopus 2 and having suffered through this movie so that you can get an idea of why you should avoid this like a plague rat all I can really say is, just don’t do it.

EDIT: So! todays been eventful! I originally wrote this post quite quickly while on a break at work and very shortly after I wrote it I recieved an email from youtube telling me that this video had been blocked worldwide by “Lasso Entertainment” for a 1 minute section that had been clocked as containing there “Visual content”.

Now; Apart from the fact that “Lasso Entertainment” dont even own the rights to “Octopus 2” this video is covered by fair use as I only use a small portion of the overall movie to help justify my opinions on the film. I use non of the audio (Not that that really matters) so I find it very difficult to see why they think it’s okay to hit me with one of these strikes. I naturally contacted Lasso almost immediately to try and get this resolved but they refused to respond to me and as a result i’ve had to reupload this video with approximately 1 minute and 1 second cut out. I can only apologise and hope that fewer of these kind of incidents happen in future.

(I much prefer the UK DVD cover for “Octopus 2” the US poster makes it look way more interesting than it actually is…)

Phantom from Space (1953)

I was expecting better from “Phantom from Space” when I first popped it on. One of the joys of having an ongoing review series on youtube is that theres a constant feeling that I need to keep things varied. For example; I dont want to have too many action movies grouped together, or martial arts movies, or horror movies.

Doing that can make things a bit stale and unless I do themed months (Like last years Halloween run or this years “Alternative Doctor who” season) I always try my best to create a bit of distance between similar genre inspired films.

It’s been a good while since I did an old B-movie. Ring of Terror would be my last dip into the world of rubbish public domain 50’s and 60’s cinema and that was over 3 months ago! So I thought it was probably time to dust off the old “Mill Creek entertainment” sets and pick out another classic to spotlight.

“Phantom from space” was a title that immediately jumped out at me. it sounded spooky, ominous even. I was having visions of space based phantasms flying through the skies picking off members of the public and generally being very scary. The reality was much less so (As the review will testify) but I have to admit to having a bit of a “Guy with a sore tooth” fixation on old sci-fi movies like this. I hate them. I absolutely cant abide them unless they’re genuinely groundbreaking (Like “The Day the earth stood still” or many of the Toho movies) but I just keep coming back to them and I really cant shake them.

As it stands I still have about 120 of these movies left to cover so do expect more public domain oddities in future but for now I can only apologise for the boredom im about to unleash.

(NORMAL VIEW!!!!….NORMAL VIEWWW!!!!!!!!)

The Threads Comedy Dining Experience (2018)

Something a bit different today and a bit of a bonus here. While working with Ben on producing the Public information films special we had some downtime and we decided to watch the feelgood film of the 80’s “Threads” better still we recorded the experience which I present to you here as a fully functioning feature commentary!

(Warning!: this is not as well researched or thought out as my typical reviews, throughout this both me and Ben are drinking and enjoying the finest takeaway my city has to offer…this is much more laid back and mainly for fun…with that in mind I hope you enjoy…)

Power to the P.I.F! – Public information films: A Retrospective (2018)

I did it! One year on Youtube and it’s a double celebration because with this article the entire site is now backdated which in turn means I can finally make this site public to the public! So Hello if you’ve seen my nightmare fueled advert and welcome! you’ll find plenty around here to keep you busy so please feel free to leave a comment or say hi!

Public information films have been something that i’ve been interested in for a number of years, as a kid I mainly remember the “Think” campaign but there were many others that happened around this time that really stuck in my mind.

It wasnt really until I met my very good friend Ben that I discovered there was an active following for public information films, and that further more he’d been collecting them for years. we’d swap stories of P.I.F’s from around the world regularly and he’d happily point me to some form of carnage as and when he found it. Ben produced a documentary called “Out of your tiny minds” or something similar (Titled from the pif that shares the same name) So when it came to tackling these films I really couldnt think of anyone better to help me. I really cant thank him enough for giving up his time to help me make this and to do it right.

It was very difficult to decide which public information films would make it into this special and which wouldnt, but after the positive response i’ve recieved from this video i’ll almost certainly do a follow up in future. Though quite when that’ll be I couldnt honestly say.

For now though, im happy. A year might not seem like a long time to be doing youtube but it’s been an eye opening experience and I really hope Im here this time next year telling you just how excited I am to have been here now for 2 years!

Thank you to everyone who’s regularly tuned in and followed me on this Journey it really means a lot and thank you in particular to everyone who’s reached out and offered either video recommendations or collaboration opportunities. you’ve really made me feel very welcome and I hope there are many further good times ahead.

 

(Warning! the rabies P.I.F is in this episode…you know the one…well you’ve been warned now it’s out of my hands…)

Tales from the QuaDead zone (1987)

I have never honestly seen a film quite like “Tales from the QuaDead zone” I’ve been aware of Shot on Video (More affectionately known stateside as shot on Shitteo) for years but theres seemingly a major gulf in quality when it comes to the shot on tape genre.

On the one side you have genuine attempts at producing a quality product on a limited budget, these lo-fi cinemasterpieces push the boundaries of tape as a format and are usually produced by film makers who would go onto make great things.

On the other side of the spectrum however you have films like QuaDead, in which all sanity and reason gives way to unregulated pandemonium. This film and films of it’s ilk are atrociously made with no technical skill implemented on almost any level. But what sets this film apart from all the others is its heart. This film has soul. it has feeling. in a world where there are hundreds if not thousands of shot on video movies out there that desperately want to be better movies and are distinctly dead behind the eyes “QuaDead zone” positively oozes character and feels very much like it desperately wants to stand on its own.

In that respect it more than does this successfully. and While I havent seen any of Chesters other films just yet. The two that he has produced are both truely unique viewing experiences that I can highly recommend you check out.

 

(The Soundtrack is craptacular. and I wish I had this box art as a T-shirt)