Leonard Part 6 (1987)

Leonard Part 6 (1987) movie poster

director  Paul Weiland
viewed: 10/17/2018

As it’s October, I’ve been on a long run of horror movies. I thought to shake it up with a “horrible” movie.

There may never have been a good time to watch Bill Cosby in Leonard Part 6, but in 2018, any Bill Cosby product reeks more than ever before.  Leonard Part 6, an awful movie starring someone who turned out to be a horrible monster person, is tremendously unfunny.

The world of Leonard Part 6 is an original concoction of Cosby’s, in which he’s a world class spy, retired to running a restaurant, brought back to fight a woman who controls animals’ minds. Tidbits of this might have had possibility, but Leonard’s is a fully undeveloped world and he’s a fully undeveloped character.

That said, it’s annoying and awful but not grade-A junk cinema. It was a notorious bomb and now with his legacy forever hued by his horrible crimes, a definite miasma of gross permeates it.

Still, I might still consider it a garbage must. A horrible movie bucket list item that I’m glad to have crossed off and will never have to revisit.

Terribly Happy (2008)

Terribly Happy (2008) movie poster

director  Henrik Ruben Genz
viewed: 10/15/2018

Nøir.

Terribly Happy is more of a smolder than a slow burn crime picture set in Denmark’s Jutland region.  One character describes Jutland as  all “mud, cows, and rubber boots.” To which I say “But where are the cows?”

Jakob Cedergren plays Robert Hansen, a København cop relocated to the boonies for some untoward event. The people of the village of Skarrild are portrayed as many peoples of many a country’s boonies, as insular, suspicious, and odd. A thin thread of Wake In Fright struck me, a Danish to the Australian city slicker in purgatory in a small, isolated burg in said boonies.

The intrigue mainly involves the town bully’s hot to trot but cagey wife Ingelise (Lene Maria Christensen). There’s a bog in the picture and some suggestion that the locals take care of their own business by way of bog, but this unreels a bit differently than you might imagine.

For my money, it’s a well-made but not all that impressive Scandinavian crime picture.

Scarecrows (1988)

Scarecrows (1988) movie poster

director William Wesley
viewed: 10/13/2018

In the mold of Predator/Aliens, Scarecrows hybridizes horror with action in what is an ambitious concept on a tight budget.

A paramilitary gang, escaping post-heist with prisoners in tow, land in a swamp/jungle that turns out to be also the home to living scarecrows. It’s such an original conceit that I feel bad not loving it properly.

But at best it’s decent but mediocre everything, almost uniformly. I consider it really, truly almost a good film, maybe as close to a good movie without being a good movie. And I can certainly see why some hold significant affection for it.

The scarecrows themselves, however, are sure cool.

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) movie poster

director Deborah Brock
viewed: 10/13/2018

It’s hard to be scary when you’re so damn cheesy. But if cheese and gore tantalize your cinematic taste buds, Slumber Party Massacre II might please you well.

“Sunday’s my birthday and I don’t want to spend it in a mental hospital!”

Slumber Party Massacre II teems with fun energy, employing a playful contrast between tones (soft focus to sudden bloodletting), teasing throughout. Is the rock’n’roll killer wielding the drill-enabled guitar just a delusion of Courtney’s (Crystal Bernard) deranged imagination or are all these flashes of foreshadowing of real attacks to come?

Writer-director Deborah Brock plays with the surreal nightmare imagery, making a more fun and less “by the book” sequel to the somewhat more straightforward slasher Slumber Party Massacre (1982).

Hallucinations (1986)

Hallucinations (1986)

directors John Polonia, Mark Polonia,Todd Michael Smith
viewed: 10/10/2018

It’s tough being the slow one.

While Hallucinations won’t pass the Bechdel test (it’s only three teen boys and a camcorder in a house), it far surpasses any regular sensibilities and transcends any reducible aspects of cinema. A true masterpiece of SOV homemade filmmaking.

Dolls (1987)

Dolls (1987) movie poster

director Stuart Gordon
viewed: 10/08/2018

Dolls separates people into two camps: those that like dolls and those that get killed by them.

It seems that Stuart Gordon had set his eyes on the kiddie movie market. Dolls might have been his cross-over before he wrote his massive hit Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for Disney. Dolls seems like his tonal practice shot while still making a straight-up horror film.

As a result, Dolls plays like a kiddie movie trying to shed its horror movie skin. And based on what I’ve read of others’ opinions of the film, if you caught it at the right time in life, it could have totally won you over. 

I’m sorry to say that I found it pretty annoying.

The fleeting stop motion animation is quite sweet. With a little more of that, I might have been won over myself.

The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1978)

The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1978) movie poster

director Constantine S. Gochis
viewed: 10/07/2018

Catholic shame and horror, plus heapings of hypocrisy underscore The Redeemer: Son of Satan, an apparently influential proto-slasher from 1978. It’s some rather weird biz, which is typically appreciated — weirdness, that is.

Director Constantine S. Gochis’s only film preaches a pretty anarchic message…or is it  just convoluted? Perceived sins, which vary from being a big shot to being queer, seem immensely arbitrary (because they are) and unjustified (because they are). Who is this “Redeemer” and is he meant to be pious or actually truly evil?

The non-sync sound almost in Redeemer‘s prelude felt almost Wishman-like and sets the film on a particularly weird vibe, which is veers from occasionally into convention, and then reappears in the film’s oddest points. And the kills verge from the theatrical (the stage performance and sword to the head) to the unpredictable (Giant Howdy Doody with a blowtorch) to the outright nasty (the brutal bathroom sink drowning).

Given my predilection for weird, I kind of enjoyed it. As to it’s underlying intent, I’m not sure I get it

Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986) movie poster

director Jim Wynorski
viewed: 10/06/2018

Chopping Mall is a perfect imperfect movie.

“We have a lost child in lingerie answering to the name of Steve.”

“Hey, babe. It is ‘babe,’ isn’t it?”

“What’s that?”
“Robot blood.”

Licorice Pizza. Licorice Pizza. Licorice Pizza. 

Lord of Illusions (1995)

 Lord of Illusions (1995) movie poster

director Clive Barker
viewed: 10/06/2018

“She’s just flesh.”

It’s a shame that Clive Barker only directed three movies so far. Without a doubt, they are the most interesting adaptations of his writing into film, and a true auteurship seems at the ready.

Lord of Illusions places an affable Scott Bakula as Harry D’Amour (a character crying out for his own TV show), a detective who in this case, is working for magicians and illusionists, trying to separate the stagecraft from the supernatural.

Lord of Illusions has a lot going for it, LA noir, stagey glamor, weirdo cults, and some cosmic evil. And more explicitly than in Hellraiser or Nightbreed, gay representation.

It looks as though Barker is returning to the director’s chair, and that is hopefully a very good thing.

Always Shine (2016)

Always Shine (2016) movie poster

director Sophia Takal
viewed: 10/05/2018

Always Shine opens a little meta, in a script read focused on actress Caitlin FitzGerald’s face, intimidated by the unseen men in the room. This opening sequence is reflected with Mackenzie Davis, shot the same as way, though her dialogue with the mechanic turns out to be actually happening.

It turns out that these women are both actresses, FitzGerald a moderate success, while Davis has had nothing but struggle.

So nothing like a girls’ weekend in Big Sur to catch up and find out how much resentment roils beneath the surfaces!

Mackenzie Davis really rocks the casbah. Though FitzGerald is also good.

Director Sophia Takal really squeezes a lot from the material, much more than other films that run similar tropes. The ultimate doppelgänger angle, I felt, was the weakest aspect. Still, very strong.