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…)

Fade to Black (1980)

This entire review came about entirely by chance and I was very grateful for it. I love old TV ad’s not even english adverts strictly, US ones were my thing for the longest time. theres a youtube channel called “80’scommercialvault” and from about 2011 to 2017 I’d spend most evenings or lunch breaks just cycling through dozens of there videos, having them run in the background or just playing for laughs really…its amazing to see how a different country was handling things from a commercial perspective in the 80’s and 90’s.

It was on this channel that I first saw a trailer for “Fade to Black” and until that point i’d never heard of this film. it took nearly 5 years for me to finally get round to watching it but I’ll tell you this. I didnt half enjoy it!

The films effectively “Scream” before “Scream” was “Scream” its well written, eloquent and quite well put together…apart from 1 or 2 overly padded shots and a random masturbation scene this movies got a very broad and impressive knowlege about it.

Now it’s by no means a perfect movie. but it’s a fun little film that im very glad I’d had the privilage of landing upon. While I dont tend to watch US ad’s as often as I used to  (It’s all about 80’s and 90’s Itallian Adverts these days Home boy!) Its one of the few gems I’ve found during my trecks through the swamps of bad movies. it’s most definately shelf worthy 🙂

(His Dracula sequence is my personal favourite of this movie…though I also liked his “White heat” finale)

Francesca (2015)

This ones going to be a short one sadly, just simply because I dont have a whole lot to say about this one. it’s a bad movie. It’s not terrible., it’s competent. but it’s trying harder than it needs to to impress the audience with a “Look how clever I am” attitude. And it completely fails to capitalise on exactly why Giallo cinema is as enjoyable as it can be when in the right hands.

Giallo is all about suspense, all about tension. its about creating the illusion of peril on an almost constant basis. Movies like “Deep Red” or “Tenebre” thrive on being able to create an almost “Slow cooker” esq build of terror and thrills (And it looks damn fine while doing it) that reward the audience in spades. I dont often get surprised by the reveal in Giallo movies. But I appreciate the journey all the same.

Francesca by contrast isnt a slow building, bubbling pot of intreague. it’s a fairly tepid affair that im sure comes from a place of love to the genre but just comes across as a poor photocopy.

It’s a type of film that I catagorize as “Nice video, Shame about the song” (Made famous by the cast of “Not the nine oclock news”) its the idea that the film looks pretty (Which this one sort of does) but that it says nothing, has a poor script or is just flat out badly written. Francesca may have some fantastic advertising designs and some nice cine but its not worth a damn if the plots rubbish to begin with.

I also feel the need to somewhat apologise for this review as theres a glaring error towards the end where I forgot to drop the backing track at a couple of places and I also forgot to add in the “Where to skip to” point in order to avoid spoilers. I only noticed this well after the fact and short of re-uploading and losing all the views and comments associated with the video there wasnt a lot that could have been done. So my sincerest apologies and I hope it doesnt detrimentally effect your viewing experience.

(The “Twist” at the end of this film had me reaching for the Tylonol…bloody rubbish!)

Kill Keith (2011)

Life can be a funny thing sometimes. Im not really one who believes in fate. But even I’ll conceed that its too coincidental that “Sods law” happens as often as it does. For those unfamiliar with this film or Keith Chegwin specifically the the short story is that he was a childrens entertainer on UK television in the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s who sadly died in 2017 at the age of 60.

Why do I bring his death up in talking about this film? Well because 2 months earlier I’d sat down to watch “Kill Keith” for the first time. And I did not care for it…I didnt care for it at all. Keiths pretty much fine in this film…He actually has quite a good acting presence about him and shows a really good range. It’s literally almost everything else about this film thats dire. naturally I wrote my honest opinions on the film, edited it and stored it away ready for upload (At the time) in Late November/Early January…However scheduling conflicts meant I had to rearrange a few episodes so Kill Keith got jostled out of season 2 and into season 3…and then Keith Chegwin Dies and my review of this bad film is due up pretty much a week after his funeral.

That made things feel a bit difficult for me. in fact at one point I was legitimately considering just holding onto the review and releasing it later down the line. But ultimately I decided that whether this sad incident had happened or not I dont really have anything bad to say about Keith Chegwins performance in this movie…I really dont. So I decided to upload it anyway…

While it is hardly the most successful review on my channel It has been the talking point for a few people. I’ve had at least 3 people privately message me just to ask firstly if “Kill Keith” is a real movie and secondly from people who’ve usually seen the film who want to talk about it because they cant believe someone thought this was a good idea either. So in many respects I kind of have to hand it to the makers of this film…it may not be the best movie in the world but you have united people with a common ground feeling of total bewilderment.

As a closing anecdote I’d also like to say that after watching this film for the first time I posted my thoughts on facebook in a veild way (I said something like “I’ve just sat through the worst film I’ve seen in a long time! EEEESH!”) a few minutes later a friend of mine left a comment saying “I thought you liked bad movies?” I said I did like them but that “Kill Keith” was just insufferable and I went through each section of the film making process and why it was no good…there was a very long pause and my friend responded “…My best mate worked as a camera operator and an extra on that film…” … The Pain was real ladies and gents…the conversation ended very shortly thereafter.

 

(Also full credit to Stephen Chance! a very underrated actor who does a cracking job in this movie.)

Terror in Beverly Hills (1989)

I cannot begin to explain my frustration with this film. both in sourcing it and in reviewing it the entire thing just left me on the border of wanting to tear my hair out. Theres still no easy way to get a hold of this movie. It took me the best part of 2 days of backroom skullduggery to find a copy that wasnt utterly destroyed by youtubes compression systems.

Since I recorded this review I also attempted a further 2 more times to get a copy of this film once more on DVD (And guess what I ended up with…) and a final time on VHS tape, which I was feeling pretty confident about until the deal fell through at the last minute and the seller pulled out and dissapeared.

I think I’ve pretty much decided that i’ll never actually get my hands on this movie in a legitimate form…well barring a Bluray release…like that’ll ever happen!!. Though in all fairness the movie just isnt that good to begin with. its a 50/50 split of unbelieveably amazing campy bad movie action cheese and just really dull and boring non plot…

Only damaging it further is the sound fault throughout which is only using one channel of a stereo recording…it means quite often sound effects, room tone and peoples voices will just dissapear from the movie all together…again; I have no idea whether this is how its always been or whether the limited resources that this film has means that the only version available online is a broken version.

This is probably the closest i’ve come so far to having a journey while reviewing a movie…it shouldnt be this difficult to get a hold of a film thats been available at least twice on DVD and has been released in multiple countries on VHS…it just shouldnt. and yet here I am in a situation where seemingly the film might as well not exist for how easy it is to get a hold of it.

Its not an irrideamable movie. it has some really good moments and some very strange film work…it’s just not worth the effort to go and seek it out…you could either watch my review or “Red letter medias” coverage of this film and you’ll have pretty much seen everything worth seeing in this film.

(I dont know one person who doesnt immediately fall in love with Cameron mitchell and the police woman who cant type in this film. they’re mesmorizing)

Night of the Living Dead (1968/1990)

So begins the first of my video Halloween special series! Where every Halloween (Admittedly theres only been one so far…but hey! you live and learn!) I try to upload a series of videos either based on a monster theme or based on the season of Halloween itself!

Last years theme was “Of the dead” and dealt with 5 films featuring those architypical returners of the dead themselves, Zombies! Zombies as a trend have been dead now for years…quite possibly even a decade at this point. Zombies and Vampires have both pretty much been quite literally done to death since the turn of the century and I cant envision anything bringing them storming back to the mainstream public conciousness any time soon…

However! I’ve really wanted to talk about the initial 3 Romero zombie movies now for years and I thought with it being Halloween and there being so much to discuss about these specific zombie films…Well, the planets kind of aligned for me on this one.

The biggest problem I remember having with this review in particular was deciding which version to actually talk about…I’ve found that the ’68 versions been quite literally done to death and the 90’s versions decent but seems to be relatively underrated…One thing I definatley didnt want to do was 2 seperate videos talking about both films seperately but then; How do I cover them both and make it work?

I decided ultimately to cover both films as there own thing but to contrast them off one another when I felt I had something interesting to say about both or either one in particular…And while I feel I maybe could have gone a bit more in depth on the 60’s version in hindsight…at the time I just felt like it had been given enough of a platform over the 90’s version which just didnt seem all that well known…

(For the record: I still prefer the 90’s version over the 60’s version…I just find it has so much more to offer…)

The Nanny (1965)

I have a real soft spot for the Hammer movies, they really have a charm about them. obviously there horror films are probably there most well known productions but Hammer had a quite diverse filming range outside of horror and sci-fi as well. The Nanny is a prime example of this really as its really more of a psychological thriller than anything really resembling a horror movie…I mean; I suppose the ending falls a little bit into the Macarbre but realistically the rest of this movie is about as close to a non horror as hammer could get really.

I think this is one of Bette Davies’ finest roles as the titular “Nanny” and she’s terrifically watchable as she flicks in style between the very sensible and well measured on the surface Nanny and the role she eventually ends up playing towards the end of the film.

I cover pretty much everything I can say about this movie in the review itself but I would also like to add that since publishing this review I’ve found it amazing how difficult it is to actually find much information about this movie. Mainly due to the fact that there was a CBS sitcom called “The Nanny” which ran from 1993 to 1999. I dont know how popular that show was but according to google it was more popular than this film…You can mark this one down as another “Underrated movie that doesnt get the amount of airing that it should”.

(Based on the “Bath” scene I can see why this one isnt played on Television all that often…still criminally underrated though…)

Tormented (1960)

Public domain films are quite literally that. Films that for; whatever reason, have fallen out of copyright (Meaning noone legally owns the rights) and that the films are free to be used by the public in whatever manner suits them whether thats screening the film to a wider audience, cutting it up to spice up there own personal projects or even (As was very popular in the early 90s) chopping out the weirdest bits and using them to make a trippy Dance music video.

Arguably the most well known of these public domain films would be “Night of the living dead” but really its a sprawling and constantly growing set of content that cover most genres decades and styles.

Companies like Mill creek entertainment and Treeline films can make a tidy profit from grab bag compilation sets. charging between £10 and £20 for sets of 50 to 100 films all tied loosely to a specific genre…I myself own 3 of those sets (Horror classics, sci-fi classics and Nightmare worlds) and they’re infinately useful in bulking up a film collection and introducing you to films that are either so godawful you wouldnt touch them with a barge pole or so forgotten that they havent been re-evaluated since the late 80’s/early 90s

“Tormented” is one of these films. though arguably it had a hell of a boost in reputation by being featured on an episode of “Mystery Science theatre 3000”  (And its a very enjoyable episode thats currently up on youtube and I recommend watching the riffed version of this rather than the unriffed one) unriffed this film is quite slow and unfortunately I now own it at least 3 times (The MST3K version, the version on my mill creek set, and a copy on my “Something weird video” copy of “The Monsters Crash the Pyjama party Spooktacular Spectacular” (which I will talk about at some point because its a bloody interesting DVD release)

There isnt really a tremendous amount I recall about Tormented that I dont already mention in the review. Its definately not a masterpiece but at the same time it does have at least 1 or 2 small things that are trying to work in its favour…though I go into way more detail in my video review of this:

(The Poster is literally the coolest thing about this film…I want this film poster in my house some day…gorgeous stuff…)