Terminator Woman (1993)

So We have a bit of an oddity here today. Way back in Season 4 I ended up doing a collaboration with a fellow youtuber Raymond Smith. Ray was in the process of doing a month on “Terminator” Knock off movies and we decided it would be pretty cool if he ended his series of Terminator movies and I ended my 4th Season with a cross over collaboration. The first one I’d ever done non the less!

It was huge fun working with Raymond and I really hope we get the chance to work together again in the future 🙂 He’s a fun reviewer and his channels heaving with movie reviews of every possible shape and size! I highly recommend checking him out some time (You can head straight to his youtube channel by clicking Here)

Unfortunately due to copyright issues half of our collaboration was removed from youtube by a company called “Lasso Entertainment”. Naturally this was most heinous and simply would not stand. So while I’ve been backlogging my reviews over on Breach.tv  I decided it was time to dust this one off and give it a proper home on this site. Breach arnt quite as anal about upholding the whims and wishes of companies who have little or nothing to do with the movies we talk about and actually seems to understand what “Fair Use” is…so they’re an ace company in my books! anyway; before this turns into a mini rant; I hope you enjoy this not as often seen review! You can get to it by either clicking the link below the picture or by clicking the picture itself! Oh! and before I forget! you can check out the second part of this review for the other film we collaborated on 1989’s “Lady Terminator” By clicking Here

TW

This Poster…man…this bloody poster…

https://www.breach.tv/video/6268/terminator-woman-1993-raymond-reviews-ft-tytd-reviews

So You’ve Ruined Your Life: A Guide to Terrible Cinema And How You Can Avoid It (By Embracing It) – Part 1: The Silent Age

(So…since around 2013 I have had in mind a series of Lecture “Talks” charting the history of alternative, cult and “Bad” cinema. How through awareness of these often overlooked films that filmmakers and in particular student filmmakers can learn about the pitfalls of film making and in doing so can apply this knowledge to their own work. This year I have decided to publish these talks in a series of volumes with recommended viewings per session. Each of these in an academic context would pool clips for reference and would typically end with a screening of a film reflective of the talk in question. I will try to replicate these as best I can below for reference. Please also bear in mind that a lot of this would be spoken to film students within an educational environment and while not verbatim the below is going to read a lot less like an essay and much more like a script. So here is part 1 , it wont be entirely reflective of the rest of the series but that’s largely because it covers Bad and cult cinema from the 1890’s to 1939. Thank you.)

I want to open with a question just to get a feel for the room. How many people here when trying to justify a film idea to a tutor or lecturer would reference a known terrible movie as the reason why your film should get made?

… (The Assumption would be not many)

Alright…and how many people here when trying to pitch a film idea to your lecturer or tutor would include references to films currently in the cinema or films that have high critical acclaim? Say from magazines like Sight and sound or empire…y’know…good stuff?

…(The Assumption would be quite a few)

Okay. And would you say it was fair to say that if you watch good films, award winning films, that you will learn from those films how to make good movies. Great ones even?

…(The Assumption would be a mixed response as a few people would realize this is probably a trap)

But then…How do you know what exactly quantifies a bad movie?…I only ask because having been to universities and colleges multiple times to work with students on their films to help gain a better understanding of their work, I see the same thing time and time again. Students get so wrapped up in the visuals, the look, the feel of the film. the idea that they want it to be the best it can possibly be. How they strive for perfection and how they’ll sink hundreds (And in one students case who I worked with thousands) of pounds into 4 and 8k cameras, professional actors, the purest of the pure audio recording equipment, just to try and get the cleanest and best possible image. that they don’t stop to consider exactly whether the idea they’re pursuing is even a good one.

You can make a film out of anything. I firmly believe that. Any item, location, person. There’s a film there. A story something to be discovered. But how you approach that discovery can be the make or break of a films success. Modern mainstream cinema is two things. Diverse and homogenised. We are currently living in a time where there has never been more choice in what to watch and yet at the same time everything more or less looks the same. We have entered a period of cinema history where every film that comes out is polished to within an inch of it’s life. has sharp contrasting colours, is mainly shot in front of green screens and the emphasis has been levied on a “Fix it in post” culture wherein by filming things wide, flat and in the mutest of colour profiles the entire film can be both physically and emotionally constructed in the edit. It’s processed film making. And outside of the fringe film-makers. The people who are literally one man bands or who manage tiny indie productions. People who can rarely score a local cinema screening letalone a national one for there independent release. The industry seems to feel that this processed method is the best way to make movies that make money and keep costs down.

Theres a reasonable chance that the people sat here tonight are predominantly producing films based on this processed diet. That is to say, your scope of the film making landscape extends to films that have played nationally in cinemas and maybe one or two “Safe” out there films like “Baby Driver”, “Mandy” or “The Neon Demon”. That’s fine. Im not going to judge you…but you should all be ashamed of yourselves…Im joking…im not joking. it’s clearly a safer option to assemble your film in post over running the risk of trying something new and it potentially going wrong on set. I can practically hear some of you right now thinking “It’s all well and good telling us that…but it’s my degree thats on the line with these productions” and thats fine. I get that. what I do need to say though is that, making mistakes is useful. it teaches us not to do them again, it also makes us think about the processes we do in filmmaking completely differently and may even lead to a new and even better idea than we had previously.

I love bad films. I love cult films. the two arnt strictly the same thing. you can have cult movies that are absolutely astoundingly good. And you can have bad movies that even I wont touch with a ten foot pole. As a film student many years ago I found myself a bit adrift to my peers. They were obsessed with perfection and terrified of failure. Unless it was HD they didn’t want to know. If it was older than 12 months without attaining “Classic!” status they pretty much weren’t interested. Myself? Well I and my flatmate at the time who also studied film wanted schlock. We wanted awfulness. We watched some of the worst movies ever made during our time at university, purposefully and with intent to learn. At the time we saw students on the verge of bankruptcy if not a full mental breakdowns due to the stress of striving for that perfection. This wasn’t what film making should be about. Film making should be a fun experience. A beneficial experience. Something that while stressful to organize should be relaxing to shoot.

When I made my films lecturers were always curious about my references and sources as they were always typically for terrible films. I would always tell them that the best way to describe what I was doing was that while other students were desperately trying to climb an endless ladder spewing money and energy in the process in search of a film they’d probably be unlikely to obtain; I’d pulled out my shovel and I was digging down to see how deep the ladder was buried. And I had a blast doing that. Naturally when digging you tend to find odd things and some were very useful…not everything…but some things were…and one of the gateways to help me get a foothold on what I affectionately call good/bad cinema? Was Mystery Science Theatre.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 or MST3K for short was a series that ran from 1988 until 1999 in the US before being cancelled until 2015 when Netflix revived it. it’s still running to this day and if you want to dip your toe into the ocean of utter trash that’s been released over the years. This would probably be your gentlest way. The series which originally aired on public access television straight out of Minnesota has a very simple premise. A janitor for a generic company who’s pretty easy going, is kidnapped by his bosses and blasted into space aboard a ship fitted with a cinema of which he becomes an unwilling test subject in an attempt to weaponised bad movies to break the will of the people of earth over which the bosses would rule as overlords.  Stay with me…the janitor however is able to remove some of the parts from the ships projector. The ones that let him play, stop or fast forward the movie. And with those parts he builds himself several robot friends who help him keep his sanity by poking fun at the films and acting as a bit of a make shift family. Much to the annoyance of the bosses.

Still with me? it sounds ridiculous but I assure you it’s one of the best ways to get a foot hold on the world of bad movies if your new to these things. The original run covered films dating back as far as the 1930’s and as recent as the 1990’s. the current series has films as recent as 2016. The writers are fantastically sharp, the jokes are funny and the films are indeed some of the worst ever produced (As a reference point I highly recommend: “Rocket Attack U.S.A”, “Manos: The Hands of Fate”, “Hobgoblins” and “Cry Wilderness” if you want a good starting point on these) theres over 200 films covered by these guys and they’re a really great resource for learning about terrible film makers like Coleman Francis, Bill Rebane and Sam Newfield. But I digress.

Why should you care about bad movies? Well. My reasoning is that if you only watch good movies you’ll only learn how to make movies that conform to whatever the societal construct of “Good” at the time actually is. And in effect you wont actually be making a good film you’ll actually be making a bland but visually nice and appropriate for the time film. I want to help you break that mold. By watching bad and underappreaciated movies not only will you balance your film diet but it’s hoped that you’ll learn something ultimately much more important. How to avoid the pitfalls of trying to make a good film and ending up with a bad…or worse. Bland film. by seeing and understanding how a film maker can go so wrong even if it was intended as their shining masterpiece you should *In Theory* be able to recognise when you yourself are going or are about to go down a very dangerous path to mediocrity and failure. consider me your guide on this journey. My word isn’t gospel and there will be people who will disagree with me about what I will say through this series. So do bear in mind that these are my own observations and opinions and if you don’t agree with me. that’s absolutely fine. I will hang around after the screening to chat about anything you want to question or discuss.

The first distinction we need to draw here is what makes a film “Bad” and what makes a film “Cult” over this series I’ll be talking about both films interchangeably so getting the definitions from my perspective here right is pretty crucial as I don’t want to mislead any of you at any point. A Cult film isn’t necessarily a bad film. All cult really means ultimately is that it appeals to a niche audience. Typically cult films are good. They just don’t tend to follow the modern constraints of mainstream appeal and as a result a much smaller audience appreciate them. cult films can also be enjoyably bad…that is to say so bad they’re entertaining. We’ve all seen a film where an actors hammed a performance, or a cameras cut at just the wrong time or held too long on a shot and it can be funny. Good/bad movies are a cornerstone of cult cinema and as a result they often go hand in hand with just obscure but good cult movies. Bad movies by contrast are not necessarily always cult. Sometimes a bad movie can just be bad. as in. not even enjoyably bad.

Sometimes bad films can be entertainingly bad but still not be cult due simply to just how few people have actually hear or seen them. it means that just because a film is enjoyably bad doesn’t necessarily make it cult and just because a film is often viewed as a cult film doesn’t necessarily mean your automatically going to be viewing something made for 20p and shot in someones back garden. I know this sounds overly vague and not helping matters, all of what I’ve just told you is on a sliding fluid scale. That is to say a film that could be seen as bad for a number of years can ascertain cult status by building up a following over a long period of time. Equally films that were seen as cult in their time can over time just become bad movies. And to throw another curve ball into the mix if a cult film becomes popular enough it can transcend its own cult status and become a mainstream classic. But we’ll get round to examples of all of these in good time. For now it’s just safest for me to say that if I say a movie is a bad movie. Its bad. if I say it’s cult I’ll clarify what I mean by that if needed and so on.

So In order to understand what im on about and to kick all of this off we’ll need to take a trip back to 1920’s to what is widely regarded as the first “Proper” cult film. A film that at one point or another has been in all 3 catagories we’ve talked about. And that film was F.W Murnau’s “Nosforatu: The Symphony of the night”. Before Nosforatu, silent film cinema…and to be fair…cinema in general was in a period of distinct infancy. There were classics in there own right released but in what might come as a bit of a shock to some of you at least 75% of films produced between 1895 and 1936 are missing…AT LEAST. That number is very likely to be higher due simply to the fact that there wasn’t really a comprehensive list of films made around this time and that the records we do have are often riddled with inaccuracies and duplications. As a result while it’s probably fair to say their were bad films during this time. The fact that they either no longer exist or are presumed to no longer exist and that their isn’t really any records of reviews of these films to back them up kind of make them a moot point. Bad films in this period however can kind of be a bit more forgiven. The craft of film making was literally just beginning with a  lot of it’s influence carried across from theatre. The earliest films were usually quite literally just recorded stage shows or recordings of life at that time. And the actual full feature films that were produced were often just adaptations of these stage recordings utilizing actual locations instead of sets. They were still directed as theatre productions and it was rare to see films utilize shot setups, or advanced direction/cinematography.

Nosforatu in the modern day is widely regarded as a legendary classic that bought the Bram stoker novel Dracula to the big screen for the first time. However on it’s actual release it was widely regarded as an absolutely interminable boring watch. Critics at the time complained the film was way too long and soon after it’s release a lawsuit from the stoker estate effectively saw the film banned and copies of the film set by court order to be destroyed. Luckily for Nosforatu by the time of the court injunction prints of the film had already been sent to several countries worldwide and when the film hit france…while the critics of the time still disliked the film. it was tremendously well received by the French surrealist movement and members of the counter culture. Who held it up as an icon of what would develop into the German expressionist movement. As a result Nosforatu is widely regarded as being the first “Cult” film. it found it’s niche audience and because of this it was able to survive the court destruction order. With fans across the world producing dozens and dozens of copies and hiding them in the hope of preserving it’s legacy.

Today Nosforatu is held up as an example of a classic of the silent era. Widely adored by critics and still shown at screenings around the world. It’s an impressive film. the critics of the time were absolutely right, it’s a very long and quite boring film in honesty…im not a fan. But I’d be hard pressed to deny that it was highly revolutionary for it’s time and that had this film not survived the world would be a significantly poorer place for it. heres a clip:

Now; considering how badly this film was reviewed. Even in light of it’s reevaluation. You’d be hard pressed to deny the menace and atmosphere created in that sequence. The striking shadowy shots in the long hallway shot, the fear expressed by Hutter even the colour tinting sets a tone and feel within the film. it’s a beautiful set of shots in an incredibly early example of genuine tension building cinema. And had the film not had the re-evaluation, the slow building of a cult audience. It most likely wouldn’t exist today and as a result a massive amount of films would either not exist or be fundamentally different as a result. The main point im trying to make here is, even films that are considered bad may have moments within them that are actually quite brilliant. and that what makes a film bad today may make it a masterpiece tomorrow. It’s important to keep an open mind with cinema and not to rely too heavily on the promotion of a film to sell you the premise. It was important in the 1920’s and it’s absolutely critical in the 21st century.

Through the 1920’s the german expressionist movement would proceed to dominate the European markets with similarly cultish movies such as “Faust”, “Metropolis” and “The Man Who Laughs” and it’s influence would dictate the style, look and direction of cinema through the decade. While I certainly wouldn’t say “The World Adopted german expressionism” it’s fair to say that young directors and producers around that time were heavily influenced by their styles and stories. In the US in particular these films “Flare” would be adapted quite heavily within horror and science fiction and this would be Crystalised by one studio in particular.

Universal Studios was fairly in it’s infancy at this time having been created in 1912, they quickly tried to establish themselves as the “Horror Studio” in 1923 they released their first “Proper” horror film  an adaptation of “The Hunchback of Notre dame” followed up roughly 2 years later with an adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera” which was only just over a decade past it’s publication date at this time (Which is a bit weird to think about really). The success of these films would lead universal at the turn of the 1930’s to set in motion plans for a series of films which would change everything. While “The Hunchback” and “The Phantom” are considered universal horror films. it was the “Universal monster movies” series that would cement and secure universal as a major studio power. The 5 films they would release through the 1930’s and early 1940’s (Plus the dozens of sequels to these films they would release from the 1930’s to the 1950’s) set the standard for monster movies that would act as the “High bar of horror and sci-fi” right the way through to the mid 1960’s. films like Dracula, Frankenstein, the invisible man, the wolfman each bought something new and previously unseen to screens. These were at the time however considered “The Mainstream” audiences would flock to see these movies in the same way that audiences go to see the new marvel movie or the latest block busters today.

But while Universal was capitalising on the success of these new monsters, rival company MGM silently released a horror movie which in my opinion; blows all of the universal horror films clean out of the water. A film so shocking that it had to be withdrawn from it’s initial release and shortened to 65 minutes from it’s original 90 minute runtime just for how powerful it was in effecting audiences. This film is the one we will be watching in full tonight. Tod Brownings “Freaks” has been described as “existing in a subgenre of one” and it’s fair to say that you will most likely never see a film quite like this again. The big selling point of this film at the time (And…sort of today as well really) was that the cast was more or less entirely made up of heavily deformed, disabled or afflicted actors. The plot: a horrifically cruel hearted tale of a trapeze artist known as Cleopatra who seduces and marries a dwarf called Hanz who secretly owns a large fortune, with the aim of killing Hanz with the help of a strongman called Hercules. Im not going to say anymore than this until the film is over. but even in the 21st century I would consider this film fairly shocking still.

Unsurprisingly the film garnered incredibly negative reception in both its cut and uncut form from audiences and critics alike. It more or less killed the career of Tod Browning the man who bought us the Universal “Dracula” amongst other horror gems at the time and was the only MGM film ever to be pulled completely from release before completing it’s domestic engagements. We’re quite privileged really to be able to even view this film tonight. MGM effectively disowned it, selling the rights to the film in 1947 to an exploitation film director who proceeded to run the film through the 1960s, 70’s and 80’s at various midnight movie screenings. The film was banned in the UK for 30 years due to being too exploitative. And im only referring to the cut version here…the original 90 minute cut at this time is considered lost…so lord knows what wider audiences would have made of that version in contrast.

The film never received a VHS release in this country. And a DVD release was quietly shuffled out in the early 2010’s with a couple of extra features explaining why a third of the film is missing. There is no Bluray of this film available. Though it Is currently in my top 5 films I would love to see get a full remastering. It’s not a perfect movie. but I very much doubt you will ever see any kind of film from this period look and feel the way this one does. But that’s enough Hyperbole for now. lets get started:

Now; Im not expecting everyone to have loved that film. Quite a few people will be offended by that film. but that’s good. Its okay to be offended by films. its okay to think this film was rubbish. Im hoping that after this you will all go out…maybe to a pub or coffee shop, or even just on the ride home, and talk about what you’ve just seen. Explain why you thought it was offensive, why you thought it was rubbish. Or if you thought it was brilliant like I do that you talk about why you thought it was brilliant.

Theres plenty to take away from this film. the ending in and of itself at the time would have been seen as utterly horrific but by modern standards has almost a streak of black comedy running through it. the idea that Cleopatra ultimately ends up becoming the one thing that terrifies her the most. The one thing she spends most of the film ridiculing is satisfying but at the same time quite a harsh contrast to a film that does have a lot of merriment about it. it could be argued that the title “Freaks” is an offensive title given the castings. But I would argue that the film is actually an act of wordplay. With the afflicted cast in this picture actually showing more humanity about them than non afflicted members who in many ways are the “Real” Freaks of the feature. Indeed Hanz and his fellow performers have depth, character detail and actually run a spectrum of complex emotions that really is very unusual for the time in cinema of this era. it acts to shine a light on decency and humanity. It would be easy to dismiss this film as exploitation on a surface level. But even digging remotely deeper below the surface unveils a quite complex script and Brownings direction only enhances some of these elements without being overly handholdy.

If you want an example of genuine exploitation 6 years later in 1938 Sam Newfield would release “The Terror of Tiny Town” which was basically a western script that no studio wanted that was eventually picked up purely because Sam and his writing partner Fred Myton repitched the fill with the exact same plot but suggested that it be filmed with an all dwarf cast. With mini Shetland ponies standing in for full size horses and scaled down sets. That’s a real film. im not making that up and it’s one of the most genuinely offensive exploitation films ever made.

The difference seemingly here was the scripts way of relating to the cast in “Freaks” and “A terror in tiny town” with the formers script being adapted from a short which puts the disabled cast in such a light that portrays them as human. That actually gives them human qualities and doesn’t try necessarily to portray them as weird, evil or one dimensional. And the latter instead doing the opposite. Taking a generic script and turning it into a film purely through it being a spectacle to see the disabled cast members act in the film. in many ways turning it into a sideshow (Which is ironic given the former is more endearing to the cast and is LITERALLY set in a sideshow)

Freaks was a film ahead of it’s time. Had it been made 10 years later it probably would exist in full to this day and would also probably have had much less of an impact. Through the rest of the 30’s horror and science fiction would be released in the dozens year on year and would gradually become a staple of the film industry it was around this time that the idea of a “cult audience” was initially developed, As films that didn’t necessarily do as well as they could have (produced by the likes of RKO and other smaller film companies) would attain small but reliable followings. The decade would see the release of fantasy movies like “King kong” scifi movies like the “Flash Gordon” B-pictures  and towards the end of the decade horror would be firmly run into the ground with films like “The Phantom Creeps” illustrating exactly why “Just because Hollywood could, doesn’t necessarily mean is should” but in the 1940’s B-movie and cult cinema would continue even further down the rabbit hole. And in the next session we will be taking a look at the gradual collapse of some aspects of the film industry and the seeds being sowed for the rise of a new genre of film making and film makers.

All of the films I have spoken about today I would highly recommend you seek out, they’re all worth watching. Even if I haven’t been particularly favourable about them, because at best they’ll challenged your pre-existing thoughts on how cinema should behave and at worst you’ll waste 90 minutes of your time and probably laugh at least a couple of times at the absurdity of them in the process. As always im happy to answer any questions or offer additional recommendations should you wish to explore this era further. And I hope to see you all again soon. Thank you.

Finishing the Complete Fifth Series (2018)

Well… to say this season had been a turbulent one behind the scenes would be a bit of an understatement. effectively as of April 2019 this has been the last full season that I have been able to produce. I have mentioned quite a few times that I’ve had to step back from making reviews at this time due to personal reasons. These are predominenetly down to the health of my Partner who has unfortunately been on a decline since September 2018. As a result of that coupled with an incredibly unfortunate run in which I basically went from November to February jumping from illness to illness it effctively forced my hand in what time I was able to dedicate to actually making these.

Production pretty much completely ground to a halt in the first week of December when I spent the majority of my time either running my partners house or taking her to the hospital and because of this it led to several rushed releases that were exaserbated further by youtubes copyright strike system meaning it could be days before I had the time to actually go and fix things.

I was given a brief reprieve in early March 2019 when my partner seemed to be showing signs of recovery, this lasted for about a week and a half before it all came crashing down again but in that time I was able to have the freedom to actually get back to maintaining my site, clearing up my youtube channel and updating all my links across my social media platforms. it also gave me the time to archive all of my work properly and even start working on some new material.

Now I cant sit here and tell you that Season 6 is going to be imminantly out. The reality is that Im working in dribs and drabs as and when time can allow and it may be the case that only 1 season gets made this year. but as of April  2019 I have recorded 2 new episodes (But havent edited them) I have written 2 new scripts ready to record and ive put plans in place for another 3 reviews and a couple of themed months I’d like to get in to. I dont know when these will make it up to youtube but I just wanted to reassure anyone who cares that things are still being worked on. Though I’ll do another full update on that when im in a better place to be able to talk about timescales.

In the meantime here is season 5! a season I went into with no idea what I was letting myself in for! seriously when I sat doown to write my notes for “Kiss meet the phantom of the park” I couldnt have dreamed that I’d be sat in front of my computer on December 23rd desperately trying to edit together a copy of Jack Frost ready for a next day upload, all the while keeping in touch with various relatives and doctors. I dont tend to work like that nor did I honestly enjoy the experience.

Thats not to say I hate this season. I loved working with Alex Kay on my review of “Stingray“, I loved speaking to the team behind “Witches Night out” and “The Gift of Winter” and this season marks the end of my “Teenage mutant ninja Turtles Quadrilogy ” Something I was very proud to have achieved. It was my biggest season in terms of stepping up my game and it was also the first season to not feature the official “Fourscore 2” theme, a decision I made basically as I wanted to try and move away from relying on Copyrighted material when it was unessicary.

So here’s to season 5! Arguably one of the most stressful seasons (and I sat a degree in film production) I’ve ever produced and I think some of my best work. Please enjoy and  hopefully I’ll have more news for you soon!

(Everyday is the Best day)

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Frost (1997)

Rounding off both Season 5 and 2018; here we have Jack Frost. A film thats been on my radar more or less since it came out due largely to it’s prominence in several Nerdy “Forbidden Planet” esq stores that used to populate the market stalls and highstreets where I lived in the early 2000’s. the Holographic Box art that came with the VHS of this movie was very unusual for the time and because of that I’d always wanted to check it out (Even though I knew deep down that if they had to stress a gimmick like this this hard it probably wouldnt be very good.)

The reality is, this films quite enjoyable. its by no means a regualar watch, nor is it anything groundbreaking. But I can easily see myself watching this again this Christmas and it was good enough that I’d certainly be interested in picking up the sequel.

If you are interested in picking this one up Vinegar Syndrome are the current distributors for it and they’ve done a cracking job with the Bluray version, if you like your “Troma” movies or anything by “Full moon” I think you’d probably quite dig this one.

This review was intended to make it up to youtube on the 24th of December however due to ongoing issues in personal life involving my partner I was unfortunately at the hospital all through the day this was set to go live and I was unable to schedule it in advance due to repeated copyright strikes. As a result I had to re-edit this review on the fly between trips to the hospital to try and get it up before the year out. as a result this one came out on the 31st but does wish people a merry christmas and a happy new year (Well…at least I got the last part right).

 

(Personally…while the original poster was striking and got my attention. I think the new artwork for it (Pictured above) looks much more fitting)

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)

The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1993)

This one can be chalked up to another “I didnt know what I was buying, BUT LOOK AT THAT TITLE!!!” style escapade. Theres a goodwillesq Charity shop that I frequent when Im running low on titles to review (I say “Shop” its really more of a thrift wearhouse) It was on route to a local dump and I have to assume at this point that quite a lot of the stuff that ended up in said Charity shop only did so because it was a shorter distance and often less fuss than dealing with the people who ran the dump.

I’d visit them at the end of every month and in amongst maze like arrangements of vomit and food stained sofas, broken kitchen appliences and Childrens toys that looked like they’d been tied to a tree and abandoned for the best part of 40 years I’d find the “DVD section”… I put it in quotes because realistically it was a book case full of DVD’s, pc games and anything else that could fit in a DVD bookcase.

While usually made up of TV series (Believe me if you’ve ever wondered where the biggest collection of “24” and “Midsummer murders” boxsets were held up you need go no further than this place. Nestled in amongst the TV trash and the mainstream titles that time had forgot (14 Copies of “Percy Jackson and the lightning thief” says it wasnt the most popular movie in the world) you’d find the good stuff. Films like “let’s ruin Dads day”, “Santa and the three bears” and the grail for me? “Hollywood DVD” releases and “DVD multipack” sets. The former a cheapo label that mainly deals with knock off copycat movies or the kinds of low budget affairs from the 80’s and 90’s that would make a prisoner on death row beg for the end. And the latter 9 times out of 10 being bundled in groups of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 and very very rarely 100 and paired with a DVD player during the early days of the formats release.

Sadly, in both of these labels cases they’re sadly on the way out. improper storage, mass binnings and the general idea that these are worthless discs has rendered large swathes of them either scratched beyond repair or succumb to the deadly sickness that is “Discrot” (Basically when DVD’s were first being manufactured they used a plastic coating on the “read” side to protect the discs from damage not realising that that same plastic coating degrades when damaged and slowly turns into an acid that eats the disc.

Due to there prevelence you’ll always find these discs knocking around at CEX or in charity shops though I highly reccommend you check the silver side before you buy. They were manufactured cheap and sold cheaper with the understanding they were there to showcase how crisp DVD could look on a budget.

I dont visit that Charity emporium very often these days…I think there was a change in management a short while ago as I went on 3 seperate occasions over a 6 month period and all of the “Good stuff” was gone…replaced with actual proper mainstream titles that were legitimately good, there were even blurays thrown into the mix! and while I dont exactly need to find any more films to fill in my collection (I literally have stacks and boxes of tapes/dvds in my room right now). I cant help but feel a bit sad that a ritual that I did for years has been taken out of my hands…I’d clear them out of all the films they didnt want because noone in the general public would ever dream of buying “Cyborg 3” well…not unless they were genuinely mad.

This was one of the films I picked up in my final proper haul from that place and while I dont have anything to add that my review doesnt cover here…just bear in mind that when I pulled this out of a festering stack of “Little britain” DVD’s, just for a split second, I’d found my “Good stuff” for the day…and it made the trawling all worth while.

 

(Im a sucker for a southern accent)

Split (1989)

Now I may not be 100% accurate on this one but I believe this was my first ever “Requested” review. And Joel (The absolute diamond who suggested this film to me) chose an absolute stomper of a film right here. Its absolutely astounding and the mental images that this film paints have stayed with me as clear and vividly many months after I watched this film as they did the first time I saw it.

This was the only film that Chris Shaw ever made and he was pretty involved in it as far as I can tell acting as 3 of the critical roles that a film needs to get made (Writer, Director and editor) but thats really just scratching the surface. Chris is this film to much of an extent there are very few elements outside of the other casts performances that dont have his fingerprints on them to some degree.

But thats a good thing here! This is a very clear and strong vision of how arthouse and experimental cinema can challenge audience expectations and be cerebral at the same time. This is a challenging watch, but in a good way. I came away from this film really wishing Shaw and his crew had made more movies as I’d love to see them develop and further expand there ideas using this film as a launching pad…even if it were a multi media endeavour.

Not much has changed for me in terms of my feelings towards split. The review took a very long time to put together because I wanted to ensure that the wording for it was just right. this is one of the only reviews I’ve written thats exceeded 3 drafts, purely because trying to explain my interpretation of Split vocally was a surprisingly challenging thing to do.

I would heavily suggest you watch this film with as little forewarning as possible because if you go into this film with pre-set expectations your judgement may get a little clouded by just how strange this film can be at times. So please. This is one of the few times I’ll actively tell you not to watch this video if you havent seen the movie first.

Also; I really feel the need to say that Chris Shaw is simply a very lovely man, and my experience of talking to him (While limited) was a real treat. Both him and his brother are wonderful conversationalists and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to ask them about split. This review has definately been a highlight for me of producing these videos. and had I not recieved the suggestion i’d probably have never found it.

 

(…I usually write a comment here about the film but what do you say about this thing…”Undescribable” is all I have really…)

 

Split was due out on Bluray in March of this year but due to some delays it has now been pushed back to an undisclosed time. However it will be released eventually by Verboden Video and I for one will have my preorder well in place because it looks to be astoundingly good!

If you are interested in owning “Split” please show Verboden some support by following them at the link below and possibly considering picking up some of there titles as they seem like a great bunch of lads too!:

http://verbodenvideo.com/

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

And so with this, My first set of Halloween specials came to a close. I really enjoyed making these episodes (So much so that I fully intend to do another season of themed episodes this October!) but I was always a bit concerned about what to do with this 5th slot. I was stuck as to whether I should Review this, “Zombie flesh eaters 2 (Zombi 3)”, “Land of the dead”, “Return of the living dead”, the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the dead” or that weird version of “Night of the living dead” that came out in the early/mid 90’s that was literally just the 60’s version of the film with additional 90’s shot on video scenes added into the mix.

In the end I settled on “Shaun” for a few reasons. I thought that it ended the series on a high note, I thought “Shaun” was a good reflection of the zombie movie genre in the modern day and it feels a bit like a continuation of the natural progression of these kinds of films within this series. We started with 2 different versions of “Night of the Living dead” and ended with a 21st century affectionate tribute to those zombie movies.

I also like to think that this is a good “Bookmark” point to end on. While it may not be for a couple of years I fully intend to revisit The Zombie Genre again at some point. And ending it here gives me a nice place to pick up from whenever I decide to reopen this series.

This period of time would also see me launch the first ever “TYTD Horrorthon” a 6 hour live stream of public domain horror films that amassed a grand total of 3 viewers for a few seconds at one point…and then 1 viewer pretty much for the remaining 4 hours and 55 minutes. Though doing this livestream was one of the first times I ever got positive feedback from someone for what I produced. A mother got in touch with me the day after the stream to thank me for giving her children something to watch before they went out trick or treating. and it really made my week. It only reinforced my personal belief that as long as one person comes away from it happy it makes it all worth it. I’ll be doing the stream again this year (Though as of yet I still havent decided what films will make the cut) and if your around and free at that time I’d love to have you on board! but I digress…

In and of itself “Shaun of the dead” is my favourite of the cornetto trilogy and further still is one of my favourite comedy movies of all time. The balance between the comedy and horror here is really quite fantastic and as I mention in my video its a veritable Who’s who of mid 2000’s UK comedians. If you’ve never seen it, even if you dont like horror movies, I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

(You’ve got red on you…)

Dawn of the Dead – Zombi (1978)

So im going to try and keep this one a bit briefer than my usual posts that accompany these videos. Partly because I don’t have a tremendous amount to say, and partly because I’m using this post as a test of the WordPress mobile app and typing a multi paragraph analysis of my retrospective thoughts on producing these reviews from a tiny mobile phone screen is at best frustrating and at worst may result in me needing a new phone after smashing this one.

Dawn of the Dead is a near perfect masterpiece of the zombie genre. In my review I mention that it’s the Rosetta stone of zombie movies and I still stand by that. It’s not only the best place to start someone off on the genre who may never have seen a zombie movie before (because I’m told those people exist) but it’s arguably the best zombie movie full stop.

With near perfect direction, cine, colour and lighting, scripting, acting, soundtrack and editing; you’ll find it damn difficult to find another film that achieves so much in such little time.

My only memories of recording this episode was that I very fondly remember watching it on my old Arrow video DVD before immediately growing frustrated at the fact that the UK bluray was out of print and commanding ludicrous prices on Amazon and eBay. A good bluray of Dawn is currently still one of my “most wanted” releases.

Other than that, all I can really say about this is that I’m tremendously sorry for the sound mix of this one…it turns out that my speakers wernt properly balanced when I did the sound mix for this one and as a result the music occasionally drowns me out…I corrected this after my “Day of the Dead” review but this one suffers a bit more than the others…so my sincerest apologies…itll probably be one I’ll need to correct at some point…

(I often jostle between this and “Day” for my favourite “Of the Dead” movie…)

Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell A.K.A The Japanese Evil Dead (2012)

I actually recall really quite enjoying this film. I mean; Its not anything particularly stand out brilliant. But what it is is a pacey and enjoyable little film that is very clearly inspired by the Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell productions that its subtitled name was quite literally borrowed from.

Having more recently acquainted myself with the likes of Peter Jacksons “Braindead” ( Or Dead Alive if you prefer)  and the recent revival of the Evil Dead “Ash Vs Evil Dead” it does kind of put this film a little more into perspective when placed alongside its peers. I do rather get the feeling though that it takes its “Affectionate tributes maybe a little bit too far and more often than not it feels a bit like a fan film tribute to crazy overly gory movies than something that stands out in its own right.

That being said as I mentioned at the top of this its still a very enjoyable film and as I mention in my review it has a lot of things going for it:

(It really doesnt help that this film had an “on and off” production history starting in the mid 90s…that being said I think it definately adds to this films charm)