The Beast in Heat (SS Hellcamp) (1977)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of the Best (1989)

So; Here’s a bit of a cards on the table “Confessions” moment. a decent chunk of this season is VHS based; and the main reason for that decision is because while I was doing the writing and planning for this season I was also unpacking all my belongings into my recently refurbished room (I started writing scripts for this season in October last year) so while I was putting everything back it gave me a bit of chance to try and have a clearout and of all the formats in my collection, VHS is the most bulky and the the hardest to properly store.

So; I kinda sorta used this season to do some spring cleaning on my collection so I could thin out tapes I thought I might not keep based on the title and box art. and honestly? it’s been quite effective for most of the choices this season. a lot of what i’ve watched has either ended up being gifted on to others or found its way to refuse. but this movie? this movie right here? I was genuinely surprised at how entertaining it was. As I say in the review it really does have a lot going for it.

I initially chose it because I had 3 of the 4 films in this franchise on VHS and I figured if I did one of these a season it’d probably be a good way to get rid of 3 “Meathead” tapes from collection pretty easily. But instead the opposites ended up happening. I genuinely cant wait to watch the second one of these later in the year and I’ve been keeping my eye on a bluray collection of these movies now since I saw this one. Im hoping the sequels are as entertaining (if not as good) as this first one because if they are. I literally have no hesitation on upgrading all these to bluray quality and having the set as soon as possible.

Genuinely entertaining, fun and Eric Roberts is frankly astonishingly good in this. if you dont have the 20(ish) minutes needed to get through my full review and just want a quick caption. BUY THIS MOVIE NOW!

The poster for this ones a bit shite in all honesty. it doesnt really speak to me and it’s kind of difficult to work into marketing as it’s just a load of boxes inside boxes. Its hardly the most revolutionary jawdropping poster i’ve seen…its just…weird.

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

One of the biggest headscratchers that plagues my review “process” is figuring out the right mix of genres so that things dont get stale. as a general rule; themed months excluded, I try to make certain that theres never a time where 2 films of the same genre are sat next to each other. So I’ll always try and seperate say; 2 horror movies that are sat together or 2 sci fi movies. I like to keep a mixed bag just to purely stop things from stagnating a bit.

Part of that dilemma is deciding how many 40s and 50’s B-movies I do a year. if my youtube analytics are anything to go by, you guys dont really care much for the older B-movie films. and hey; thats cool. I can dig it. y’know, time marches on and all that. But to me? I find these early movies a fascinating glimpse into the old days of the wild west of Poverty row film making. when corners would be cut, anything that could save money would be utilised whether it was to the detriment of the film or the cast and for the vast majority of these movies its amazing they got made at all.

Evil Brain from Outer space was never intended to be a movie, it was supposed to be a series of serialisations. and most of them are so drastically different to each other that the idea of cutting them together into one movie would be daft.

the 1960’s said “Fuck it” to daftness and did it anyway. they did it because they realised they wouldnt make their money back on the serialisations they purchased because serialisations in general were on the way out. so they did what they thought would make SOME money back (because making SOME money back is always preferable to making non of the money back) thats why they recut these into 4 features. it wasnt out of some grand artistic sense of tying together elements. it’s because they bought a lemon and had to make lemonade some goddamn way.

the supergiant serials arnt too bad on their own in all honesty. I mean; they’re a bit repetative in places. but they’re fine enough. but these recut ones? goddamn. just….goddamn.

I’ll continue to cover movies from this era, mainly because…they’re bizarre as hell. but if your looking for an example of the madness of 40’s and 50’s cinema. this films definitely a strong contender.

that poster…jesus.

Massacre at Central High (Blackboard Massacre) (1976)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shivers (They Came from Within) (1975)

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’ll be completley honest; I didnt much care for the original posters for this film. Thats why I settled for this lovely artwork from the Arrow Video Bluray release.

Horror Hospital (1973)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaws of the Dragon (1974)

This film was pretty rubbish. thats the lasting memory I have of this review (which was written and recorded in November/December last year and edited in early January of this year.) I literally cannot remember single detail of this film other than the fact it was cut to shreds and…well…for lack of a better word. it was shite. and im pretty happy I never have to sit through it again. it’s a total filler movie. it exists to simply kill time and make the movie that follows it look ten times better. once this review goes live; I shall be looking into selling my copy at the next convenience.

Actually; while we’re dealing with this. Here’s as good a place as any to talk about the VHS movie reviews of this season. so. for this season I decided to have a bit of a spring clean and as such I chose to try and cover more VHS based movies as possible (As they tend to take up the most shelf space and tend to be in various states of disrepair) so this seasons a little more top heavy on VHS content than previous seasons. all of the tape based movies in this run (barring 1) were first time watches and I had no idea what I was getting into. all I knew was that I wanted to free up some space and that the tapes I covered more often than not had interesting covers. Jaws of the dragon was a total mystery tape in that regard as the original boxart was missing and the spool of tape within the chassy was woefully short. It had a simple white lable and plaine text…I really didnt know what I was getting into with this one, and I’d saved this tape specifically because of it being a bit of an enigma. I was not impressed.

Liquid Dreams (1991)

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

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

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

Deathrow Gameshow (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Casino Royale” (1967) Comedy Dining Experience

So! a new season of TYTD Reviews in imminently upon us, BUT! as we’re still on a break until February 5th on the reviews front, it means all you lucky people get a double helping of the Comedy Dining Experience this time round! And as a way of seeing off the 60’s and the connery era on the whole we thought it best to bookend this decade with arguably one of the messiest, most calamatous films we’ve ever covered.

This film is a frantic mess, it pains me really to call it a film AND THATS ME TALKING! but both me and Ben had quite the blast doing this one. Unfortunately we did encounter a few audio issues with this recording. for reasons we’re not entirely sure how or why the audio seemingly drifts helplessly off course from the 30 minute point onwards. in spite of us clap synching in AND out when I lined up the audio it just seemed to drift further and further away. This is the only episode this drift issue has happened on and we can only put it down to the fact that Ben had to send me his side of this recording via a burnt CD-R

So maybe it was read/write speeds? maybe it was playback issues? I dont know. either way this version *Should* in theory stay synched to the whole film (Or at the very least. it begins when the film begins and ends when the credits finish without the drift being too noticable a problem.

So! this is it! the end of 60’s era Bond! We’ll be giving you guys a double helping of commentaries in February, though no Bond this month while we gear up for the new reviews. We’ll be back on the Bond scene in March with “Live and Let die” and from there normal service will resume as we tackle 70’s Bond!

This poster is Some kind of a woman! MUCHA MUCHACHA!!!