The Weekend Murders (1970)

The Weekend Murders (1970) movie poster

director Michele Lupo
viewed: 10/19/2018

The Weekend Murders brings together two terms that don’t usually collide, giallo and comedy.

Gastone Moschin’s Sgt. Aloisius Thorpeis is the kind of character that is usually really annoying but actually works rather well here. The bumbling policeman who turns out to have more on the ball than anyone thinks is quite charming and even funny.

It’s more an Agatha Christie style of mystery than your typical black-gloved killer slasher Italian crime flick. Because though it does technically meet the qualifications of the giallo genre, it’s much more a comedy and maybe better taken as such.

Quite enjoyable.

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.

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.

Djinn (2013)

Djinn (2013) movie poster

director Tobe Hooper
viewed: 10/03/2018

Djinn, Tobe Hooper’s last feature film is also the first film I’ve ever seen from  United Arab Emirates.

It’s a kind of Arabic Rosemary’s Baby for present day Abu Dhabi.

The odd vibe emanates from the inherent cross cultural nature of the thing. Conventions of an American horror film are also universal in many ways – how universal or not is why other country’s genre films are so interesting. Djinn is a U.A.E. product, but the brainchild of one David Tully and directed by Hooper. The cast speaks both Arabic and English.

Djinn is a true hybrid picture.

As a result, there’s a lot at play just in Hooper’s final film. The production is clearly not a super high budget, but it’s well made. The Djinn itself is kinda cool compared to a lot of digitally crafted evils.

It’s not the worst final film anyone ever made.