I watched movies again. I know I promised I would stop. But I can’t help myself.

Instinct (1999) — The Movie Database (TMDb)

20. Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding, Jr. star in the rather tedious and hokey Instinct (1999). Hopkins plays a mysterious primatologist who refuses to speak after being arrested for murder. Enter the good therapist (Gooding, Jr.) to spit some inane psychobabble to try to reach him. There’s a couple decent ideas at work here, but ultimately too cheesy, slow, and misdirected.

Horror Movie Review: Alligator (1980) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging  Life

19. Robert Forster stars as a tough police chief trying to solve the mystery of who keeps eating everybody in Chicago’s sewers in Alligator (1980). I love Robert Forster and I love a good creature feature, but this one is pretty ho-hum.

Bowfinger - Movie Review - The Austin Chronicle

18. Steve Martin plays an aging failed producer who sets out to make the greatest movie of all time. It will be called “Chubby Rain” and will star the greatest action star ever, Kitt Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) …only he won’t know he’s making a movie. This is the Hollywood comedy, Bowfinger (1999). There’s usually a certain level of indulgence that comes through when attempting to lampoon Hollywood. Eddie Murphy is funny in his dual roles, but Bowfinger ain’t no Ed Wood.

7 Ways Highlander 2 is the Most Ultimately Awful Action Movie of All Time |  Ultimate Action Movie Club

17. Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Christopher Lambert or the original Highlander movie. That said, Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) is ridiculously overproduced lunacy. This movie is so broken on structural and thematic levels. Apparently Connor MacLeod (Lambert) and Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez (the Spanish-named immortal Egyptian played by famously Scottish Sean Connery) were actually from another planet and MacLeod was sent to Earth as punishment. But he helped build a giant shield that covers the entire planet to protect it from stuff, but now everything is fine but bad corporation guys don’t want to tell anybody because they get money to keep the shield up so MacLeod has to team up with a resistance activist (Virginia Madsen) to fix it, but the bad guy from space, General Katana, who sent him to Earth keeps sending henchman to kill Connor …for some reason. But they suck. So Katana (Michael Ironside) comes to Earth to kill him. But MacLeod summons Juan Sánchez. But Juan Sánchez materializes on the wrong continent so he has to find MacLeod. But then he can’t really help him. So MacLeod must face Katana alone. But then so and but so but and but but so then.

John Blyth Barrymore in 07/27/1978 Costume | Carbon Costume | DIY Dress-Up  Guides for Cosplay & Halloween

16. Lasagna Cat does a one shot mockumentary about a singular Garfield comic strip in 07/27/1978 (2017). It effectively mocks the banality of the joke and the tendency of some documentaries to hyper-fixate on a trivial detail to the point of insane conspiracy theory, even if the gag runs a little long.

♂️ - Coub - The Biggest Video Meme Platform

15. This one’s been making the rounds on the internet. This one is too dense to unpack in a single burb. Surviving Edged Weapons (1988) features interviews with cops who have been stabbed, brutal photos of actual stab wounds, and occasionally unintentionally hilarious staged scenes of hypothetical knife encounters. So how does one survive an edged weapon attack? According to this police training video, shoot first. Says a lot, really. The video is more geared to instilling fear and promoting quick use of deadly force rather than defense or de-escalation.

Retro Review: The Mummy Returns (2001) ∞ Infinispace

14. I hadn’t seen The Mummy Returns (2001) in 20 years. I remember enjoying Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy. Despite it being mostly hokey, it has an amiably fun and consistent tone of dusty swashbuckling adventure that weirdly works. And I remember the sequel was not as a good. Upon re-watch, I could have gone off of memory. The first third is a lot of fun, but about halfway through it’s got no more worthwhile tricks up its sleeve; just an onslaught of bad CG pygmies, dog-men, dirigibles, and Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s cartoon head and torso on a giant scorpion body for some reason. Watch it for the first act and then fall asleep.

Castle Freak (Video 1995) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

13. Stuart Gordon. The man behind such schlock treasures as Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids gets back to basics with Castle Freak (1995). Back to basics means it has monsters, gross makeup, and Jeffrey Combs. It’s weird, upsetting, and has Italians. Jeffrey Combs inherits a castle, but PLOT TWIST FROM THE VERY TITLE: this castle has a freak in it. And he’s a real tortured soul. But that won’t excuse any of the stuff he does in this nasty little horror.

Jason Hurst on Twitter: "RIP Max Von Sydow. From my childhood I'll always  remember him as Emperor Ming from Flash Gordon and also from the soccer  movie Victory.…"

12. I gave the marvelously campy Flash Gordon (1980) a re-watch and it was every bit as silly and ludicrous as I remembered. It’s a set designer’s dream! It’s a flamboyant fashion spectacle! Queen phones in a gloriously dumb theme song! It bears some resemblance to the 1930s serials. Watch it for the colors and magnificently over-the-top performances of classic actors like Brian Blessed, Topol, and Max von Sydow. Also for appearances by Ornella Muti, Richard O’Brien, and Timothy Dalton. Then watch Barbarella and Starcrash to keep the crazy campy space train going.

Godzilla vs Biollante Dissected Part 1 - YouTube

11. I grew up watching Godzilla marathons. Most of the ones I remember seeing on TV were from the Shōwa era (1954-1975). So the Heisei era Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) was one I missed. Look, if you like Godzilla, you’ll dig it. If not, it’s probably a tough sell. But the suitmation and puppetry is some of the best in the series I’ve seen. Godzilla fights a giant flower monster that is a chimera between a rose and Godzilla’s own DNA. Big monsters and smashing. It’s all it needs to be.

She Done Him Wrong Review | Movie - Empire

10. Mae West lays it on thick in She Done Him Wrong (1933). The classic dame of dirty one-liners is a bowery showgirl chasing tail and avoiding bullets and jail time between her foxy song numbers. Admittedly, I’m more acquainted with the curvy empress of entendre’s reputation than her actual film canon (although I dug her in My Little Chickadee with W.C. Fields), so I figured I’d start here. It’s very much a product of its time and not a whole lot really happens in it, but West is so fun to watch that it’s hard not to enjoy. Also enjoy a very young Carey Grant as one of the objects of her affection.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Trailer: The Whole World Is Watching – /Film

9. Clashes between Chicago police and anti-war protesters mad about Hubert Humphrey’s nomination lead to violence in 1968. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) does a good job of explaining the various positions and circumstances surrounding the key players while also reminding us how very often things can be very stacked against reason and peace. All-star cast courtroom drama.

Wisconsin Death Trip (1999) — Contains Moderate Peril

8. Wisconsin Death Trip (1999) is an odd and rather macabre bit of Americana. Directed by James Marsh and narrated by Iam Holm, it presents a series of historical reenactments of suicide, murder, insanity, and general misery from the late 19th century in Black River Falls. It’s a curious documentary with a detached atmosphere of gallows humor. With echoes of the Coen Brothers or perhaps if Guy Maddin had done Faces of Death.

Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds | Movie review – The Upcoming

7. Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog turns his attention to the heavens and, more specifically, the strange messages it sends to us in the form of space rocks. Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (2020) is a documentary about meteorites, how they have been historically understood, mythologized in religions, and, perhaps more intriguingly, how they continue to fascinate and drive the most interesting people to dedicating their lives to collecting and studying them.


6. Fans of the Irish animated films Secret of the Kells and Song of the Sea will not be disappointed with Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s Wolfwalkers (2020). An English girl moves to a small Irish village with her father and winds up getting mixed up with a feral child who becomes a wolf whenever she’s asleep. Irish mythology, history, and social commentary combine to deliver a story about finding who you are and what you believe in. Wolfwalkers is a beautifully animated and empowering journey.

Deerskin Review: A Man's Obsession With His Jacket [TIFF 2019] – /Film

5. A man buys a coat that becomes the object of his obsession in Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin (2019). It’s a weird dark comedy (typical of Dupieux, but I liked this much better than Rubber). I quite liked the mileage they got out of the quirky premise.

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4. I am actually quite surprised that a film with this much depth was produced by Disney. Pixar’s Soul (2020), directed by Pete Docter, is the story of a music teacher and aspiring jazz musician named Joe (Jamie Foxx) who gets the break of a lifetime and then unexpectedly dies. With so much to live for an prove, Joe’s soul will do anything to escape the afterlife. A series of mix-ups leads him to be the accidental mentor to a baby soul (Tina Fey) that simply doesn’t want to get born and doesn’t see the point of existence. This backdrop gives the film carte blanche to explore the meaning and value of life. And surprisingly, this animated adventure is very much up to that lofty task. Perhaps too complex and subtle for very young audience members, Soul might resonate much more with adults and animation aficionados (the design, lighting, and animation are some of the very best I have ever seen). Great voice cast too.

A Taxi Driver: Korea Cab - Fort Worth Weekly

3. The great Song Kang-ho stars as a struggling Seoul cabbie who gets picks up a German reporter (Thomas Kretschmann) and gets sucked into the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, an historic tragedy where the Korean military and paratroopers mowed down hundreds of protestors. A Taxi Driver (2017), directed by Jang Hoon, is an excellent character study and examination of real world events, effectively dramatized with humor, heroism, and heart. Despite whatever liberties were taken with the film itself, this is an important reminder that democracy is something that needs to be fought for and maintained. The aspirations of authoritarianism and influence of propaganda are still with us and the good journalism, organized protest, and a global conscience are some of our best defenses against these evils.

Bacurau (2019) Película - PLAY Cine

2. Nothing more beautiful than a whole town coming together to something awesome. Bacurau (2019), directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, is the story of an isolated Brazilian village that appears is being targeted for something strange and possibly nefarious. When a teacher can’t find them on Google Earth during a geography lesson, it seems odd. When bizarre UFO-like drones start spying on folks, there is some concern. When the internet stops working, the villagers are not sure what is going on. They are being cut off. But why? Bacarau is a fantastic slow-burn thriller that keeps you guessing and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I won’t reveal anything more because I went into this film completely cold and was treated to a series of twists and unexpected revelations that I would never want to spoil. There is much to be read into the story socio-politically as well.

Seven Samurai | film|captures | 映画

1. OK, so this one is maybe a cheat. Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) has long been one of my absolute favorite movies and I have seen it many times. I recently re-watched it with someone who had never seen it. I was initially unsure how a nearly 70-year-old, three-and-a-half hour long, black-and-white Japanese film would hold up to the uninitiated. Perhaps unshockingly, this legendary masterpiece is still a hugely engrossing, entertaining, and emotional adventure. Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Seiji Miyaguchi, Bokuzen Hidari, and Yoshio Kimura star in the classic tale of a small village in 17th century Japan that hires rogue samurai to defend their land from bandits. I’m a sucker for samurai movies anyway, and this one may be long, but it’s very accessible and remains one of the best. The characters are compelling and well drawn. The stakes are clear and omnipresent. And the action is built up well and wonderfully choreographed. You can’t say you love movies if you haven’t seen any Kurosawa, and this is one of the best places to start with his impressive catalog.

Last Few Movies XLV: Merry XXXmas

More movies! Some Christmas ones peppered throughout.

Robert's Review: Jack Frost (1997) – The Scariest Things

21. Bad horror is great. Bad comedy is cringe-worthy. Jack Frost (1997) is the latter. The budget is small, but that’s no excuse for lazy writing. The whole thing is just kind of witless and joyless with a deficit of imaginative kills and a glut of bad post-murder catchphrases. Not near as fun as Santa’s Slay.

EPIX | Hit Movies, TV Series and More

20. I hope you like parables of hood-life and the letter Z. Bloodz vs Wolvez (2006), directed by Z. Winston Brown, is the tale of inner-city werewolf hoods and upscale vampire realtors testing a new truce. Some of the actors are bringing it despite the terrible script, worse cinematography, and disorienting editing. Funniest thing about this flick is how every location is just a vacant room with no furniture or anything.

Action U.S.A. (1989) directed by Alan Stewart, John Stewart • Reviews, film  + cast • Letterboxd

19. Admittedly, we were only able to find the supercut, so I feel like I need to find the full copy of Action U.S.A. (1989) and give it a real watch one day. Clearly made by stunt-people with a passion for explosions, car chases, dangling out of helicopters, and full body burns, this was incomprehensible (at least in the unfortunate format we experienced it) but had some fun and ridiculous moments. Maybe no Miami Connection or Samurai Cop, but then what is?

Watch Year One Unrated | Prime Video

18. Harold Ramis’s final directorial effort was lambasted by critics for being juvenile, stupid, and pointless. And yeah, Year One (2009) starring Jack Black and Michael Cera (and a bevy of comedic actors in various bit parts), is all of those things, but honestly I didn’t hate it. It’s got cavepeople and episodically bounces around through various Old Testament stories with gleeful sacrilege. For an historically hated comedy, I expected worse. Maybe I’m an idiot or maybe my religious upbringing and biblical literacy made it something of a softball catharsis.

The Devil's Sword (1984), a bonkers Indonesian martial arts fantasy  B-movie. | Movies, Films & Flix

17. The Devil’s Sword (1983) is an Indonesian fantasy epic with magic, monsters, and kung-fu. Maybe not as streamlined and polished as some Hollywood fare, but it’s got some wacky fights and a sexy underground crocodile queen who kidnaps men on their wedding day to bang.

A Love Letter to The Long Kiss Goodnight's Acerbic Heroine on Ice – In  Their Own League

16. Shane Black almost can’t not write action movies set at Christmas. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), directed by Renny Harlin, has a great premise (a sleeper cell amnesiac rediscovering her previous killer identity like Jason Bourne), a solid cast (Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson), and a plot that’s just an excuse to lead into new implausible action set pieces. Not great, but worth it for Davis and Jackson.

Plum (2013) - IMDb

15. After Diamond Cobra vs White Fox, we had to see more Deaundra T. Brown. Like the other film, Plum (2013) is an incomprehensible mess of narcissism, aliens, and awkward special effects. We loved it, but perhaps a little bit of Deaundra goes a long way and after Diamond Cobra and a buttload of her music videos, Plum didn’t possess the novelty factor of when we first encountered her unique cinematic vision. Still, it was a lot of fun and enjoyed it. The female Neil Breen rides again.

Five things you never knew about The Warriors | Dazed

14. The Warriors (1979) are on the lam from a series of implausibly flamboyant gangs through a particularly seedy New York City. The plot is put into motion quickly and clearly and then we’re just running the whole movie. I dig modern takes on older stories. There’s just something unique and yet timeless about it. The Warriors was inspired by the ancient Greek saga Anabasis by Xenophon.

Film 8: Night of the Demon (1957) | BFI

13. This movie is worth it just for that monster. British horror flick, Curse of the Demon (1957), directed by Jacques Tourneur, is a fun bit of supernatural versus skepticism mystery. An American (Dana Andrews) investigating a weird cult leader (Niall MacGinnis) confronts the possibility that his materialist attitude may need some adjusting. My only complaint is it needed more of that monster.

Donald Glover's Guava Island is Gorgeous Tropical Musical

12. Childish Gambino and Rihanna star in the musical Guava Island (2019), directed by Hiro Murai. On a little tropical paradise, the machinery of the industrialized world must never stop – not even for a little party. The beautiful locations and great tunes (although not nearly enough) make this, although I would have liked to see it developed a bit more. The politics and stakes are made clear, but I wanted more out of the characters. At 55-minutes it’s an interesting and pretty film that just feels a little unfinished. Its best bits reminded me of Black Orpheus.

Pin on Gunfights

11. Ended up re-watching Michael Crichton’s original Westworld (1973). Yul Brynner is great as a killer robot cowboy hunting down the park visitor who shot him, but I still prefer Jurassic Park for a Crichton fever dream about an amusement park that murders its patrons. A little cheesy, but fun the whole ride.

The Film Sufi: “Kapurush” - Satyajit Ray (1965)

10. Satyajit Ray’s The Coward (1965) is the frustrating tale of a young scriptwriter named Amitabha (Soumitra Chatterjee) who was too afraid to be with the woman he loved. When fate has him stuck and staying with a sloppy tea estate owner (Haradhan Bandopadhyay), he is reunited with Karuna (Madhabi Mukherjee), his old flame. But Karuna is married to the fat, bald tea man. Convinced she would leave this slob, he tries to rekindle what he left behind.

Stone – A wait-and-see approach to politics – Lucca Film Festival

9. It’s about time I saw Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987). A young stockbroker named Bud (Charlie Sheen) wants to study the ways of the master, Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas), and dominate the world of trade. But Gordon is perhaps even more shrewd and cutthroat than Bud could have imagined, challenging him to re-evaluate all he has pursued and what he has already become. Co-stars Darryl Hannah, Martin Sheen, John C. McGinley, Terence Stamp, Hal Holbrook, and Sean Young.

American Genre Film Archive BLIND WOMAN'S CURSE

8. Teruo Ishii’s Blind Woman’s Curse (1970) is the story of warring yakuza gangs and a series of mysterious murders. Meiko Kaji plays the leader of the Tachibana clan who is haunted by cats, she suspects in response to her blinding a woman in a battle with her katana as she struck down the woman’s husband. Mystery, murder, and intrigue with the highlights being the fights, creepy circus, and one badass blind woman back from the grave.

Rare Exports, A Christmas Tale— a Delight for Any Christmas Cynic | Tilt  Magazine

7. Finland. What a country. Rare Exports (2010), directed by Jalmari Helander, is the Christmas folk horror you’ve been dreaming of (especially if you liked Norway’s Troll Hunter). Dry deadpan humor, terrific tension, and an awakening of yuletide monsters of ancient lore – drawing from darker legends of Santa Claus, Krampus, and Finland’s Christmas buck. Great acting, writing, cinematography, and marvelously horrific takes on classic Christmas creatures. This is how you export culture. It loses points for being a bit of a monster tease. Watch the short film it was based on too. Make this a new holiday classic.

THE FAVOURITE (2018) Clip: Hot Chocolate - YouTube

6. Yorgos Lanthimos presents a somewhat fictionalized love triangle between Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), Lady Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and ambitious social climber escaping destitution, Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) in The Favourite (2018). Sumptuously opulent abodes and regal chambers shot stiflingly through ubiquitous fisheye lenses capture the absurdity and the suffocation of the whole situation. The three ladies all give fantastic performances (perhaps most of all Olivia Coleman as the besotted and put upon royal out of her depths politically and haunted by tragedy emotionally). The tactics of manipulation employed to stay in or gain the Queen’s good graces is equal parts funny and despicable. A fantastic, devilish film all around.


5. I like a film that can manage a good tone. African Kung-Fu Nazis (2019) strikes a fine balance between being a great kung-fu movie and being a cheeky, low-brow comedy. According to the movie, Hitler escaped Germany after WWII with Hideki Tojo and they started brainwashing the people of Ghana (turning them into white-faced Ghan-Aryans). When Hitler (Sebastian Stein) kills the leader of a peaceful martial arts school, surviving member Addae (Elisha Okyere) has to fight back and rescue his girlfriend. Cue the training montages. The fights are shot very well, and like a few other micro-budget genre films coming out of Africa, it is self-referential, winking, and plunges you into a whole new world of cinematic possibilities. Oh, and the music is great too.

A drifting cowboy: Best Chatsworth Movies -- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

4. The more things change, the more they stay the same. John Ford’s famous adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Dust Bowl novel might seem shockingly prescient despite documenting a real chapter of American history. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) is the story of the Joad family. When the banks kick countless Oklahoma families off their land, all that’s left is to make the long trek to California in the hopes of getting work as fruit pickers. Along the way, the family endures much hardship together and frequently gets abused and lowballed by greedy big farms. It’s human and bleak, but not quite as grim as the book. Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, and a host of other craggy faces and character actors round out the cast.

Blood Simple: Director's Cut to screen in UK cinemas for first time with 4K  restoration overseen by Coen brothers | The Independent | The Independent

3. How have I gone this long without seeing the Coen Brothers first film? Blood Simple (1984) is a perfect film. A gritty neo-noir where every piece that is set up remains in play until the end of the game. Like many a classic Coen Brothers movie, much of the plot is instigated by an unfortunate murder gone awry. I went in knowing very little about it and maybe you should too. You’ll figure it out. Stars Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, and John Getz, but it’s M. Emmett Walsh that steals the show.

Modern Times | Remai Modern

2. I must have watched Modern Times (1936) at least a dozen times, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t due for a re-watch (and Chaplin double feature). Widely regarded as one of his very best, it certainly is the Tramp’s most political work (well, at least on par with The Great Dictator). The dehumanization wrought by the advent of cold industrialization and the plight of those living in abject poverty during the height of the Depression are on full display, so you may forgive its maudlin overtures. And 84 years later it’s still expert filmmaking, laugh-out-loud comedy, and a piercingly prescient social commentary. Paulette Godard is also probably the very best Chaplin girl, playing a spunky barefoot vagabond. Chaplin, despite his age at the time of making this film, still proves to me an absolute master of physical comedy.

1. Modern Times may be more socially significant, but The Gold Rush (1925) is my favorite. We ended up re-watching the 1942 re-release that cuts out a few elements for narrative expediency and adds a robust Chaplin voiceover narration that is alternately poetically compelling and just a tad in the way. The Gold Rush is a perfect movie, adroitly mining the humor out of snowbound starvation and desperation. Visually, it is Chaplin’s finest and every gag fits into the plot snugly and propels it while upping the stakes. No matter how many times I see it, The Gold Rush never disappoints. Honestly, the Tramp Cinematic Universe might be my favorite. 95 years on and it is still an undeniable masterpiece of the medium.


Primal: Genndy Tartakovsky on His Adult Swim Caveman Show

Legendary animator, Genndy Tartakovsky, turns his creative team towards something I was genetically engineered to love. Primal (2019-2021) is a wordless Frazetta-inspired adventure about a caveman and a t-rex trying to survive in a prehistoric hell world populated by bloodthirsty monsters and weird cultures. It is a work of art. A glorious, gory work of art.

Last Few Movies: Comfort Re-Watches for Dark Times

I watch a lot of new movies, but this pandemic lockdown has me seeking some familiarity. So I’ve been revisiting a few more movies I know (and introducing them to my roommates) to stay sane. Some new ones to me too though.

Enemy At The Gates: Poor Reviews & A Lack of Star Power | Bomb Report

23. I found Jean-Jacques Annaud’s WWII epic about snipers during the Battle of Stalingrad, Enemy at the Gates (2001), to be kind of tedious despite some solid production value.

The Amazing Bulk - movie: watch stream online

22. The Amazing Bulk (2012) feels like a superhero origin story made entirely on 20 square feet of green screen and just chock full of free animated elements. It’s shockingly lazy, ugly, and stupid, but I did laugh at the title character’s adorable little trot.

The Protector (1985) – Mike's Take On the Movies ………. Rediscovering  Cinema's Past

21. The Protector (1985) might be my least favorite Jackie Chan movie. First action scene Jackie is gunning down people while their blood paints the walls. There’s a lot of nudity in it too. Jackie is cursing a lot more than usual. His partner (Danny Aiello) is kind of a gross creep. And not much actual hand-to-hand combat. Feels like American filmmakers had no idea how to use their talented star.

Blast from the Past: Layer Cake | Movies | San Luis Obispo | New Times San  Luis Obispo

20. What if a Guy Ritchie movie had less charm and style? Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake (2004) is a bit of a convoluted British crime drama with a great cast, but not enough character.

My favourite film aged 12: Young Sherlock Holmes | Film | The Guardian

19. I used to love this movie. Gave it a re-watch. Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) is so dumbed down it’s like Sherlock Holmes for children. Oh, I get the title. At least the special effects are still fun and scary and I dig the theme song.

president-hot-shots-part-deux | Movies, Films & Flix

18. More wacky sight gags and sendups of movies like Rambo in Jim Abraham’s Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993). Fun cast and most of the silliness lands, although it’s no Airplane.


17. This is one weird time travel adventure. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988) directed by Vincent Ward. The Plague has come to a small village and one boy has a vision of them placing a cross on a steeple. Arty and atmospheric Australian flick.

Sherlock Holmes – fxguide

16. Guy Ritchie adapts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth into a rough-and-tumble action flick in Sherlock Holmes (2009). We had to see this again after the Young Sherlock Holmes debacle and, although it is a bit more fun, it’s too long and messy to be a true classic. Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. are fun and it has a few exciting scenes. The convoluted mystery’s intrigue takes a backseat to the spectacle, probably because they knew it wasn’t that interesting.

Who Did The Visual Effects For 'Animal World,' The Chinese Action Film  Coming Soon To Netflix

15. Visually, Animal World (2018) is speaking a whole other movie language. A desperate nobody is caught up in a secret underground game of rock-paper-scissors. I don’t know what the aliens and clown fight scenes have to do with anything, but they are fun to look at. It ends on kind of an anti-climactic note, but it functions as set up for a sequel that, frankly, I’d be down to watch.

Dr. No (1962) Review | Movie Moore

14. In honor of Sir Sean Connery’s passing, we gave Dr. No (1962) another go. Originating a lot of the 007 tropes we’d come to know and love and roll our eyes at, this British spy flick set in Jamaica gives its suave star plenty of time to shine amidst all the campy silliness of the plot. It gets really dumb by the final act, but it’s never boring and Ursula Andress is a pleasure to behold.

Fantastic Fest Interview: Jim Cummings Hunts The Wolf of Snow Hollow: The  actor and director talks bloody myths and drive-in premieres - Screens -  The Austin Chronicle

13. An alcoholic cop is trying to solve a string of grisly murders townsfolk are attributing to a werewolf in Jim Cummings’ The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020). The great cast and well-balanced levity throughout make this chilly police investigation an engrossing tale from start to finish.

johnlink ranks BRONSON (2008) | johnlinkmovies

12. Nicolas Winding Refn gives Tom Hardy space to flex his acting muscles in the prison biopic, Bronson (2008). I am always interested to see what newcomers have to say about it, because structurally it can be a bit frustrating and unpredictable. It’s on its own wavelength. But it works because its subject, Britain’s most famous prisoner, is an erratic and strange beast on his own sort of evolving quest for meaning.

Name of the Rose, The Review | Movie - Empire

11. Jean-Jacques Annaud gets to make up for Enemy at the Gates with The Name of the Rose (1986) starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater. I recalled this 14th century monastic mystery fondly, and it does hold up. The gritty atmosphere, grotesque clergy, and paternal Connery performance make this a memorable film experience. Ron Perlman also shines as a crazed hunchback.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) YIFY - Download Movie TORRENT - YTS

10. I revisited Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and, while it wasn’t my viewing partners’ favorite, the slow lyricism resonated with me more than it had in past viewings. There is no glamor here. Sweaty conquistadors are lost in the jungle, drifting aimlessly down the Amazon as their numbers dwindle and their hope and sanity wanes. Send in the monkeys. Klaus Kinski, with his craggy, maniacal face, is perfectly cast as the greedy author of their misfortunes.

The Gentlemen' Review | Movies | Santa Fe Reporter

9. The Gentlemen (2019) plays like Guy Ritchie’s greatest hits. All of the sharp action, folding plot, and tough-guy dialogue you’d expect from Lock, Stock, and Two-Smokin’ Barrels, Snatch, RocknRolla, and the rest, but distilled here to perfection, aided by a fantastic cast. If you love quick-witted British gangsters guided by their own sort of rigid principles then you’ll definitely enjoy this slick caper.

Punishment Park - movie: watch streaming online

8. Peter Watkins faux-documentary Punishment Park (1971) paints an America where political dissidents (artists, civil rights activists, pacifists, etc.) are tried in a tented kangaroo court and released into a fatal desert hell. The thing that struck me most was how literally every single issue the prisoners are confronting are things that haven’t gone away. This movie is as applicable now as it was in the early 70s.

Life Between Frames: Panos Cosmatos's Mandy

7. Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy (2018) exudes a cosmic darkness. A truly psychedelic cinema experience. It’s a revenge thriller that feels like a surreal horror. I’ve seen it a couple times now and it is never less than captivating. Brutal, but captivating.

Hausu (1977) by Nobuhiko Obayashi | Japanese horror, Japanese film,  Japanese horror movies

6. I have loved Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977) since I first stumbled upon it over a decade ago. This gleeful, candy-coated nonsense is exactly my speed and its unabashed zaniness makes it my all time favorite haunted house movie.

The NeverEnding Story (1984) | THE CINEMATIC FRONTIER

5. Watching NeverEnding Story (1984) again as adult is like confronting some serious demons. Beneath the special effects and AMAZING music is a deeply existentially heavy journey through depression and the horror of identity. This movie has more layers than Layer Cake. It holds up. The bleakness is matched only by its imagination. This is a movie that respects kids and wants to scare them. Of course, it’s a German production.

The Grand Budapest Hotel's Humane Comedy About Tragedy - The Atlantic

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) remains my favorite Wes Anderson film. He achieves maximum style, symmetry, and comedy in this gorgeous living cartoon that pits the lavish excesses of pre-war mentality (embodied wonderfully by Ralph Fiennes’ foppish and promiscuous concierge) against the onset of fascism and its eventual decay. The story celebrates how goodness, even if ultimately short-lived, can echo throughout the passage of time. Worth a re-watch these days.

14 Unknown Facts About Kung Fu Hustle

3. Comfort food doesn’t get tastier for me than Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle (2004). The music, the action, and the comedy are all perfection. Brilliant writing and emotional impact if you let it take you away. Honestly, this and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon might be favorite kung fu movies. And yes, I put them on the same level.

The Thing (theatrical release vs network television broadcast cut) (John  Carpenter, 1982) – Offscreen

2. The perfect film for a snowbound quarantine doesn’t exi— John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) has been written about to death. It’s brilliant. Just watch it if you haven’t or watch it again if you have.

David Warner: Evil Genius - Time Bandits | Terry gilliam, Bandit, Evil  geniuses

1. Always a favorite, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (1981) gets deeper with every viewing. On its surface, it’s a silly time travel adventure with wacky situations and funny characters (also another great appearance by Sean Connery), but it was the nihilistic depictions of God (Sir Ralph Richardson as a stuffy, aloof schoolmaster) and the Devil (David Warner as an insecure pseudo-intellectual) that I found most revealing this time around. Gilliam appears to be wrestling with some deeply ingrained religious ideas and reducing them to parody was perhaps therapeutic. Lord knows I can relate. John Cleese as Robin Hood is laugh out loud funny, as are the Shelley Duvall/Michael Palin bits. Like NeverEnding Story, it’s a movie for kids that doesn’t really care if it traumatizes them.

From Aliens to Zombies

Vampires, witches, and ghosts. Old hat. Let’s get some solid scary alien and zombie flicks on the TV tonight.


The Thing from Another World (1951) - The Stalking Moon
The vegetable man cometh.

This Howard Hawks production is a great example of 1950s sci-fi sensibilities. The Thing from Another World (1951) comes from the golden age of sci-fi and perfectly blends elements of horror. An alien is thawed out in a remote polar research facility and proceeds to pick the personnel off. Classic American science versus military narrative (but science is the villain here). Crackling, witty dialogue and some spooky snow terror mayhem.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) — Science on Screen
Don’t look now. It’s communism! Or maybe nationalism.

Embrace the paranoia of everyone you know being replaced by an alien pod copy. It’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)! An absolute classic that feels straight out of the Twilight Zone. The terror of conformity surges through our button-down protagonist’s veins.

Film Reviews: Village of the Damned (1960) & Children of the Damned (1964)  | Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews
There’s a Visine for that.

Evil kid movies feel like their cheating a bit. Kids are already pretty weird and creepy and Village of the Damned (1960) casts them as demonic alien entities invading a small town and causing trouble by controlling people’s minds. And only George Sanders can save the day!

Now See This, Ep. 2: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - Ampersand
Donald Sutherland holds Brooke Adams.

I enjoy this Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) more than the original. It dials up the grit and goo and the horror, while still remaining classy. Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum co-star in this masterful invasion flick.

What 'Memory: The Origins of Alien' Reveals About the Sexual Metaphors in  the 1979 Film [Interview] - Bloody Disgusting
H.R. Giger creature designs put to good use.

Ridley Scott’s best movie, for my money, will always be Alien (1979). Sigourney Weaver kicks ass on board the spaceship Nostromo as we follow the horrific life cycle of a xenomorph. Absolutely brilliant film.

Review: The Thing (1982) — 3 Brothers Film
Kurt Russell is perfection.

I do love the original, but John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing (1982) is something wholly unique. This time the alien is a changeling. It becomes the snowbound men it kills, ratcheting up the paranoia and terror. Great practical effects from Rob Bottin make this a truly memorable sci-fi horror flick.

COMMUNION (1989) • Frame Rated
Let’s simulate a probing. I’ll use my index finger.

I still haven’t seen Fire in the Sky, but I will recommend Communion (1989). Christopher Walken plays a man who has been having weird dreams that are hard to remember. Is he going insane or is he the victim of recurring alien abductions? The scenes with the aliens are the stuff of nightmares. They don’t make sense. The logic becomes muddled and the images are confounding. And that’s part of the point. We are perhaps not meant to understand.

The Quarantine Stream: 'Attack the Block' is an Underrated Gem of a Genre  Movie – /Film
Forget Star Wars. This is the John Boyega sci-fi flick to watch.

Part action movie and part crime drama, Attack the Block (2011) is an explosive bit of British sci-fi filmmaking. Inventive monsters and plenty of cockney hip-hop swagger.

The Classics – “The Cornetto Trilogy” – donttalkaboutmovies
What a cast.

Edgar Wright closes his Cornetto Trilogy with some biting satire and robotic aliens full of blue goo in The World’s End (2013). A midlife crisis pub crawl reminds us all that “you can’t go home again.”

What To Watch: Who's The Monster In Scarlett Johansson's 'Under The Skin' |  That Moment In
Who am I?

Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) may be a bit slow and arty, but for those with patience, it is an elegantly tragic slow-burn horror. Scarlet Johansson is an alien on a mission to lure young, horny Scotsmen to their nightmarish deaths. It may not be for everyone, but I absolutely loved it.

Color Out of Space (2019)
This movie needed more Tommy Chong.

Richard Stanley enlists Nicolas Cage for his adaptation of Color Out of Space (2019). A meteorite lands on Earth and starts to change everything around it. Imagine a brainless, schlocky version of Annihilation with a touch of The Thing and you’re probably on the right track.


White Zombie. 1932. Directed by Victor Halperin | MoMA
I think Bela’s widow’s peak is giving Dracula’s a run for its money.

While White Zombie (1932) may not be a spectacularly great film, it does have a couple things I like: Bela Lugosi and a creepy sugar plantation operated by zombies. Believed to be the first zombie movie, its monsters are more of a conceptual horror. The idea that your body can be controlled by voodoo magic rather than flesh eating monsters is the real threat.

10 great breakthrough American indie films | BFI
“They’re coming to get you, Barbara…”

George A. Romero invents a new kind of monster in Night of the Living Dead (1968), a prescient and frightening bit of American horror with some added social commentary. The dead rise and trap several strangers in a house.

When It's Darkest: George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead as an Indictment of  Consumerism — Moviejawn
There’s a sale on.

Romero dials up the satire and the gore for Dawn of the Dead (1978). Zombies have taken over and a small gang of survivors try to get supplies from a shopping mall that has been abandoned by all but the walking dead. Night may have invented the genre, but Dawn perfected it.

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) – Is there a monkey in it?
The 80s belonged to the punks.

Dan O’Bannon took zombies in a slightly different direction. Tonally, Return of the Living Dead (1985) is goofier, but no less bleak. This time, you can’t kill the zombies…presenting a bit of an obvious problem for our heroes. Maybe not as insightful as the Romero movies, but Return is still one of my favorite examples of the genre.

Night of the Creeps Original Rubber Static "Slug" original movie prop
I love these little slug guys.

Space aliens jettison a pod of some unknown pest off their ship. Turns out they’re brain eating slugs that turn their hosts into the undead. And they’re loose on Earth! And on prom night!! Night of the Creeps (1986), directed by Fred Dekker, boasts some creepy crawlies and maybe Tom Atkins most fun performance.

Nothing | 1+1=3. Everything is true.
Caption this.

Romero can make the list twice, so can Carpenter. They Live (1988) is classic 80s American anti-consumerist satire starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. When a drifter discovers a box of mysterious sunglasses that allow the wearer to see the world as it truly is (a corporate zombified hellscape of propaganda and conformity), it becomes his mission to tell the world. Or at least have a comically extended alley fight with Keith David.

Film Review: Bio-Zombie (1998) | HNN
Zombies just want some love.

Hon Kong horror-comedy, Bio Zombie (1998), puts a pair of two-bit hoodlums, Woody and Buzz (and their girlfriends, Jelly and Rolls), in an underground mall that is becoming infected with a zombie virus that might just end the world. Fun, funny, and as grim as any of the films on this list.

28 Days Later Review | Movie - Empire
Cillian Murphy wanders the empty streets of London.

I generally don’t like my zombie movies super serious and literal, but 28 Days Later (2000), directed by Danny Boyle, is the exception. It actually treats its undead threat with a seriousness that usually doesn’t work, but the characters are so compelling that it does become a solid suspense thriller.

Review: Shaun of the Dead (2004) — 3 Brothers Film
I realize Zombieland is not on the list. I saw it. I just don’t remember much about it.

Edgar Wright again. Shaun of the Dead (2004) was the first time a lot of North Americans saw Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. And we fell in love. This survivalist horror-comedy is soaked in gore, but for all the slick and quick wit, it always treats its threat with tragedy and terror.

Exclusive] 'Pontypool' Spinoff Coming Soon and Direct Sequel in the Works!  - Bloody Disgusting
Be careful what you say.

Pontypool (2008) is a brilliant Canadian horror movie set in a church basement radio studio. Stephen McHattie shines as the shock jock who keeps getting ominous calls and reports from the outside world until the scares are breaking in. This zombie virus is spread through a clever twist.

Stop-motion is an undead art.

Why not? Laika Studios’ ParaNorman (2012) gives kids a solid zombie flick they can call their own. Norman can see and talk to ghosts, but zombie pilgrims rising from the grave is a whole other story. Great animation, humor, and heart.

Last Few Movies XLIII: Oof

Not my best haul.

Mortal Kombat Annihilation: 38 Kool Movie Easter Eggs, References, And  Things You Didn't Know About The Fighting Game Se - GameSpot

29. My roommates and I decided to watch the Mortal Kombat movies. Whether you love the games or have no idea what they are, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) is hilariously juvenile garbage. The original feels like it was written by a 10 year old. This sequel feels like it was written by a 6 year old. Who knew the true meaning of a violent fight videogame was friendship?

Contamination (aka, Alien Contamination) (Luigi Cozzi, 1980) – Offscreen

28. Italian schlock master Luigi Cozzi gives us Contamination (1980). It’s a bit murky and slow, but the uniqueness here is that alien eggs are being smuggled into the US from the South America like cocaine. It’s an alien egg cartel. It’s an odd move, but kind of funny and fascinating. Also, people’s guts explode out of their bodies if the egg goo gets on them.

Octopus scientists love 'My Octopus Teacher' just as much as you do -  Australian Geographic

27. A man anthropomorphizes an oblivious cephalopod to assemble a narrative and justify his family abandonment in the lackluster documentary My Octopus Teacher (2020).

Is 'Da 5 Bloods' a True Story? A Guide to the Film's History

26. Da 5 Bloods (2020) is one of the Spike Lee movies that, for me, is tonally inconsistent and completely forgettable. Delroy Lindo is pretty good though.

De Palma Daydreams: On Hello Mary Lou Prom Night II -

25. I never saw the first movie, but somehow I don’t think that would have helped make much sense of Hello, Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987). It’s got some classic prom slasher bits, but it’s arguably more unhinged and harder to follow.

1990: The Bronx Warriors (Enzo Castellari, 1982) – Offscreen

24. Italian filmmakers imagine a distant future where comically ridiculous gangs have overrun New York City in The Bronx Warriors (1982). It’s dumb and dopey and kind of what you want from this sort of thing. Fred Williamson is the best part as the gang leader, Ogre.

Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa as Video Game Villains

23. Mortal Kombat (1995) is schlock for children, but it has a decent set up, some nice set design, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is absolutely owning every scene he is in as Shang Tsung. Recast Christopher Lambert and a few of the other characters, give the plot a bit more shape, and establish the tournament rules and the stakes a bit better, and this could have been pretty good.

Anna Falchi News Articles, Images, Videos & Clips and Reports

22. Cemetery Man (1994) is maybe five movies at once? Rupert Everett is a cemetery groundskeeper who must battle the undead when they emerge from the grave. If this was the whole movie that would have been enough. But then he keeps falling in love with women who look alike. The zombies plot kind of goes away. We follow his oafish sidekick being in a relationshio with a dismembered teen zombie head and then somehow we were in a snow-globe the whole time? Also, this is visibly Italy and everyone’s name is very Italian and yet everyone involved in intensely British. Does any of it work? Hard to tell. Cemetery Man is something else.

Foxcatcher: True Story Behind the Channing Tatum Movie | Time

21. Foxcatcher (2014) is everything I don’t want in a based-on-true-events movie. It has a distractingly famous actor cast against type in weird makeup doing a funny voice. It is slow and mostly uneventful. And it doesn’t shed any light on the actual events. But it is well shot and decently acted, so there is some craft here. Just wish it had been more.

New Year's Evil (1980) – The Goug' Blog

20. Finally. A slasher flick about New Year’s. New Years Evil (1980) is a laughably bad thriller that misguidedly makes the killer the protagonist (even if the movie doesn’t seem to think so). A maniac decides to kill someone at midnight in every American time zone, leading up to his confrontation with a punky radio hostess in California. Had the hostess or the detective been given more character, it could have elevated the plot and the stakes.


19. You have to really like sleazy schlock to get behind Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987), a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi retelling of The Most Dangerous Game but with scantily clad buxom bimbos.

Laurel and Hardy biopic 'love story of two friends at end of their careers'  - AOL

18. I grew up loving Laurel and Hardy. They were a truly legendary comedy duo. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly do amazing jobs at portraying them in Stan and Ollie (2018), even if the film may falter in showcasing why they were so great.

The Social Dilemma | Netflix Official Site

17. Facebook is bad. Our data is harvested for nefarious purposes. We are mentally and emotionally killing ourselves. It’s The Social Dilemma (2020), a documentary that confirms all of your deepest held suspicions just like the algorithms have ordained.

Oz Perkins on 'Gretel & Hansel' and feminist fairy tales | Fortune

16. Gretel & Hansel (2020) looks amazing. Fantastic visuals and atmosphere. It also needed a few rewrites to bring the characters to life. Worth checking out for Alice Krige as the witch and the sumptuous cinematography.

Filmiliarity: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

15. I’m a stranger to the Jason movies. I’ve seen the original and Jason X. So watching Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) was a confusing endeavor. Cartoonier than I was expecting, not scary or gory, and the twists were admittedly surprising, but don’t all seem to add up. But it’s Halloween and it’s a breezy, fun slasher flick with a high body count. Have at it.

Gothic (1986) | Nostalgia Central

14. Ken Russell tells the tale of the night Mary Shelley stayed at Lord Byron’s house and was inspired to write Frankenstein. Gothic (1986) may not go down easy or make much sense, but it’s a wild, sweaty, frenetic, haunted sex house with enough movement to keep you entertained.

Red Sun (1971) — The Movie Database (TMDb)

13. I’m a sucker for samurai movies and putting Toshio Mifune in the wild west is just about perfect (even if the film foolishly makes Charles Bronson the main focus). Red Sun (1971) is a typical cowboy movie with buried treasure, quests for revenge, uneasy alliances, and lots of brothels. Ursula Andress co-stars.

Maniac Cop (1988)

12. Robert Z’Dar, Tom Atkins, and Bruce Campbell star in Maniac Cop (1988), a cheesy slasher flick that asks the adorably dated question: “What if a cop was bad?”

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2020) - Rotten Tomatoes

11. Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2019) is a documentary that traces the generational journey of wealth and power. It’s both a good history lesson and an prescient warning. Pair this with some Noam Chomsky interviews for a real uplifting time.

Borat 2 Review: Audaciously and Raucously Hilarious with a Surprisingly  Tender Heart – /Film

10. Sacha Baron Cohen grows his mustache back for another look at aspects of American culture in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020). While not as barbed and piercing as the original 2006 film, it makes up for a dearth of incriminating gotchas with the inclusion of Maria Bakalova as his daughter discovering herself. The narrative is stronger and the written jokes are solid, even if the raw interviews don’t hit as hard as they did in Da Ali G Show or Who Is America? This was a welcome dose of comedy at just the right time

Diamond.Cobra.vs.the.White.Fox.2015.1080p.WEBRip.x264-RARBG Torrent download

9. Deaundra T. Brown may be the female Neil Breen. And if that sounds interesting to you then watch Diamond Cobra vs. White Fox (2015) immediately. We went down a rabbit hole and watched most of her music videos and discovered she has a glut of other movies she made.

Ginger Snaps: Essential Feminist Horror - Wicked Horror

8. Werewolfism is a metaphor for female puberty in the edgy teen body horror, Ginger Snaps (2000). It’s funny, spooky, and Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle are fantastic as the leads.

Carts of Darkness - YouTube

7. Life can be hard when you’re homeless. Fortunately, you can always race shopping carts down mountains in Vancouver. The documentary Carts of Darkness (2008) gives us a peek into the lives of several down-on-their-luck men and the one, crazy thing that gives them joy.

BlacKkKlansman — Spike Lee's film has style, wit and inventiveness |  Financial Times

6. Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman (2018) is a superb crime drama based on a true story. Two cops (John David Washington and Adam Driver) go undercover to spy on the Klan. Heartfelt, harrowing, and prescient filmmaking.

The Changeling

5. George C. Scott moves into a haunted house after losing his wife and daughter in a freak car accident in The Changeling (1980). This is how you do a haunted house movie. The house itself has character, the mystery twists and turns, and the séance scene is wonderfully creepy.

A Brand New David Attenborough Documentary Is Coming To Netflix Next Week -  Secret Manchester

4. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) might be the 94 year old broadcaster’s last testimony. In this documentary, he reveals the depletion of the natural world he has witnessed just within his lifetime. This is an important film for our times. I just hope we can implement some of the solutions in time.

The Quiet Earth – film review | mossfilm

3. The Quiet Earth (1985) may just be the best last-man-on-earth apocalyptic movie I’ve seen. Brilliantly acted and appropriately weird. The score is great.

Faust (Restored Version) - Kino Lorber Repertory

2. F. W. Murnau’s Faust (1926) is a visual feast to behold. Malevolent, humorous, and moralizing. Fans of silent film cannot skip this telling of the tale of the man who made a deal with the Devil.

Nordling's Samurai Sunday - Nordling Commits HARAKIRI (1962)!
  1. I said I’m a sucker for samurai films. And, biases aside, Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri (1962) is a goddamn perfect movie. A noble house is beset by beggars threatening to commit seppuku at their gates in the hope that the samurai will give them some money. It’s a simple set up, but this drama’s plot is tight as a drum and raises the stakes quickly and employs such delicious twists and turns that I’d find it hard for a cinephile not to love.


It’s October. Time to get spooky.

THE 80s!

Dick Hallorann and the Tragical Negro | by Christopher Paicely | Medium
Scatman Crothers up at night worrying about the Overlook Hotel.

Steven King may hate what Stanley Kubrick did to his story, but The Shining (1980) holds up as one of the all time great horror movies. A writer (Jack Nicholson) takes his wife (Shelley Winters) and son to a remote mountain hotel where they are to be caretakers and he is to write his novel. It soon becomes a nightmare as they descend into haunted insanity.

The Changeling (1980) Film Review - flickfeast
Melvyn Douglas ascends a fiery staircase.

George C. Scott plays a man who has recently lost his wife and daughter and ends up moving into an old, giant house that is haunted as all hell in The Changeling (1980). It’s got some good creepy scenes and the mystery is fun to unravel.

First Person Monster Blog: May 2011 | John carpenter the fog, John  carpenter, Scary movies
No relation to The Mist.

John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980) is kind of a schlocky ghost pirate yarn with a fun seaside town location. It’s not my favorite Carpenter movie, but it’s still pretty fun.

Thirty years of horror: Poltergeist (1982) - Quarter to Three
OK. Now THAT’S a ghost.

Poltergeist (1982) puts its special effects department to work. A family slowly realizes that their home is chock full of angry ghosts. And they’ve taken their daughter into the phantom zone or whatever. Luckily, creepy, little Zelda Rubenstein is there to help.

Original 'Ghostbusters' will appear with the new cast on Kimmel next week –  BGR
Who you gonna call?

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and lots of weird Lovecraftian ghosts. Ghostbusters (1984), directed by Ivan Reitman, has all the right moves for a perfect ghost comedy. I don’t think there’s been a more sarcastic movie.

23 'Beetlejuice' Quotes For Instagram Captions, Because "It's Showtime"
Now that’s a ghost.

Possibly the weirdest and most novel take on the haunted house genre is Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988). When a couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) dies in a car crash, they learn just how bureaucratic and confusing the afterlife really is. Enter Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a ghoul-for-hire to scare the living family out of their house. Visually wild and inventive. Also stars Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Jeffrey Jones, and more.

Funny Phantasms

Abbott and Costello: Hold That Ghost (1941) Joan Davis, Lou Costello and  the Ghost! (He's behind YOU!) | Abbott and costello, Ghost scene, Comedy  duos
Classic comedy and haunted house hijinks

Classic comedy duo, Abbott and Costello get stuck in a spooky old house in Hold That Ghost (1941). Classic haunted house elements alongside the goofy slapstick and wordplay of the comic actors. It’s one of my favorite movies featuring these guys. Maybe also check out The Time of Their Lives for a story where Costello and a lady (Jess Baker) get murdered and framed for treason during the Revolutionary War, come back as ghosts, and have to get Abbott and a modern day crew of folks to solve the mystery and clear their names so they can get to heaven.

The Frighteners (1996)
A recently ghosted Michael J. Fox guns down the Soul Collector.

Michael J. Fox can see ghosts in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners (1996), but uses his powers to con people. Until he has to battle a serial killer’s ghost and the Grim Reaper himself. Watch this one for the fun special effects and most especially for Jeffrey Combs absolutely owning every scene he’s in.

Prequel Comic Series 'Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers' Arriving  in 2018 - Bloody Disgusting
Ossie Davis plays a man who believes he is JFK with a birdseed brain.

Mummies are ghosts. Deal with it. Bruce Campbell stars as a bound geriatric Elvis impersonator (or perhaps someone who only thinks he’s Elvis) who protects a nursing home from an ancient butt-sucking mummy in Don Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep (2002). And if you need more than that to hook you, you’re on the wrong website.

31 Days of Halloween: Day 28 — MONSTER HOUSE (2006) | by Matt Penny | Medium
Kathleen Turner’s voice was a nice surprise.

Something’s up with the creaky, dilapidated house across the street. Monster House (2006), directed by Gil Kenan, is a fun animated haunted house movie with humor and delicious Halloween atmosphere.

Vintage ghosts from Japan

Ugetsu Monogatari | NYFF54
A moody and heartbreaking romance.

Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu Monogatori (1953) is a tragic period drama of war, family, and seduction. Two peasants leave their wives during the war. One winds up in a strange relationship with a spirit. It’s a beautiful and complex morality tale.

Onibaba | Electric Sheep – reviews
This may be the best mother-in-law from hell story ever told.

I absolutely love Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba (1964). Set in feudal Japan, a woman awaiting her husband to return from the war. Her mother-in-law awaits her son with her. Both strongly suspect he is dead. Together they kill lost samurai to sell their armor. When the woman falls in love with another man, the mother-in-law panics about losing her only companion and dons a haunted mask to keep her from escaping their life. It’s spooky, sexy horror-drama at its best.

KWAIDAN (1964) • Frame Rated
An eerie snow spirit tucks a man in for the night.

Why settle for one ghost story when you could have a whole bunch? Kwaidan (1965) is a beautiful anthology of Japanese ghost stories and folklore. Some stunningly colorful sets. I need to watch this one again.

The Forgotten: A Halloween Bestiary on Notebook | MUBI
A parasol ghost? Why yes.

Ghouls, ghosts, spirits, and sprites all feature heavily in Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters (1968). When nobles threaten to destroy some poor villagers’ homes, a host of angry monsters is unleashed. It’s more wacky than scary, but it has an abundance of different creatures to enjoy.

Introducing Kuroneko | The Current | The Criterion Collection
A ghost leads a samurai through a gorgeous bamboo forest.

Kaneto Shindo makes the list again with Kuroneko (1968), a rich folk tale full of wicked samurai and vengeful, lustful ghosts. Sumptuous cinematography and classic Japanese melodrama.

HAUSU!! aka House 1977 Free screening @ The Revue
She may never play the piano again.

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977) is legit one of my all time favorite movies. Visually, thematically, stylistically, whatever — the whole shebang is balls to the walls bonkers. A group of teenage girls spend the night in spooky Auntie’s house…which proceeds to bump them off in cartoonishly creative ways. Put on the popcorn, enjoy the music, and strap in for the wild ride this aggressively weird flick is.


Deborah Ker tries to maintain some decorum amidst all the spooky goings on.

Deborah Ker plays a governess in charge of two mischievous children in The Innocents (1961). It’s classic and atmospheric and reminds me that I need to see the 1963 version of The Haunting.

Jersey City Desk: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow | Sleepy hollow headless  horseman, Sleepy hollow, Headless horseman
Christopher Walken doesn’t even need a head to be awesome.

Turning the Washington Irving tale of Ichabod Crane into a supernatural steampunk detective thriller was maybe a weird move, but what Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999) lacks in a clean story, it more than makes up for with its rich Halloweeny art direction. Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, and a whole mess of classic faces.

The Devil's Backbone 2001, directed by Guillermo del Toro | Film review
An orphan boy makes friends with a dead child.

Few filmmakers seems to love monsters more than Guillermo del Toro. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) puts sympathies squarely on the ghost who haunts the orphanage. Like Pan’s Labyrinth, the story takes place during the Spanish Civil War.

Ghost Stories movie review & film summary (2018) | Roger Ebert
A horror movie for the skeptic.

A paranormal debunker (Andy Nyman) investigates a series of alleged supernatural encounters in Ghost Stories (2017). Some humor, some tragedy, some twists, and just some good, clean ghost scares lurking in this modern horror movie. Martin Freeman co-stars.

Witch Movies for October

Just a few witch movies for the Halloween season.

Witches for Kids!

A Bomb in the Lasagna: Disney Does Horror Right with “Something Wicked This  Way Comes” | Rooster Illusion
Jonathan Pryce is Mr. Dark, a mysterious figure who grants your fondest wish…but at a price.

I love a story about a traveling circus that happens to be evil incarnate. Based on a Ray Bradbury novel, this lesser known Halloween flick features Jonathan Pryce as a mysterious warlock ringleader and Jason Robards as an aging father. But Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) is really all about the kids.

The Witches - 27th Letter Productions
Angelica Huston about to slip into something more comfortable at the witch convention.

For me, Angelica Huston will always be either Morticia Addams or the Grand High Witch from Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches (1990). Watch this one again before you see the remake. Some great and creepy Jim Henson creature effects! Also Mr. Bean.

How Kiki's Delivery Service saved Studio Ghibli
Kiki flies high above her new seaside home.

Hayao Miyazaki makes films that are sublime and fresh and wholly original. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) is a charmingly beautiful story about a 13 year old witch in training. Eschewing a few typical witchy tropes, there’s nothing spooky or wicked in this movie.

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy Are Reuniting for a  Virtual 'Hocus Pocus' Party | Travel + Leisure
The fun these ladies are clearly having onscreen is contagious.

Fine. Hocus Pocus (1993) is a glorified Disney Channel movie, but Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are a lot of fun as the three witches.

Keynote: Kirikou And The Sorceress / The Dissolve
A unique animation style brings this folktale to life.

One more, just because we need more animation. Michel Ocelot’s Kirkou and the Sorceress (1998) is a unique West African adventure about a tiny boy battling a powerful witch.

Witches From Europe

New book examines 1922 silent film that billed itself as a "documentary of  witchcraft" | Hub
Never underestimate silent films.

The mother of all witch movies has got to be Swedish-Danish silent pseudo-documentary horror flick, Haxan (1922). A bit of history, some gnarly re-enactments, and wild visions of hell. Lick the devil’s butthole and boil up some babies. This is a movie to put on in the background at your Halloween party or turn the lights out and watch attentively.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) – Carl Theodor Dreyer – A World of Film
Joan is shorn in preparation for her execution.

You may think this is a stretch, but she was tried as a heretic and a witch so Carl Theordor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) counts. And it is a mesmerizingly beautiful and tragic film, compassionately depicting the torturous trial and spiritual torment of Joan of Arc (played compellingly by Maria Falconetti). Dreyer would again extend some sympathies to persecuted witches in The Day of Wrath (1943).

Viy | Broadway
Never cross a witch.

A Russian religious scholar tangles with a witch on a fateful cold night and is demanded to hold vigil over her dead body for three nights in Viy (1967), based on a story by Nikolai Gogol. Each night her evil powers grow stronger and she conjures more horrors to plague the scholar. Flying coffins and gargoyles galore!

IN GENRE-VISION! Post Mortem on Folk Horror - Villains Live
A villager awaits the devil at a wooded crossroads.

The beautifully shot Estonian folk horror November (2017), directed by Rainer Sarnet, is a sumptuously realized tale with tragedy, humor, and lore to spare. A witch is caught in an unrequited love triangle with a farm boy and a foreign noblewoman.


Pin on Villians
Margaret Hamilton absolutely stealing the show.

Perhaps the most iconic and legendary witch of all time can be found in the Technicolor musical based on the L. Frank Baum novel, The Wizard of Oz (1939). Magic and whimsy aside, the villain and her legion of flying monkeys were spectacularly menacing.

Rosemary's Baby (1968) – MUBI
Mia Farrow beholds the unspeakable.

Mia Farrow stars as a woman who dreams she has been impregnated by the Devil in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). As she spirals into paranoia and begins to question her own sanity, the coven of witches next door grows ever closer to their diabolical ends. Also features Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes, and more.

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is an Underrated Holiday Classic

I know there’s not much love for the oddball Michael Meyers-less Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), but I kind of love this movie. It’s got haunted masks, evil witchy schemes, and Tom Atkins. Slasher films are a bit boring to me so this was a welcome change of pace for the series.

The Witch (2015) | The witch movie, Black phillip, American horror movie

Robert Eggers’ The Witch (2015) is an eerie slow-burn folk horror that does a pretty good job of recreating the feel of Puritanical life in the 17th century New World frontier. Rich themes of family strain, the forces of evil, and cosmic nihilism. Beautifully shot and deeply unsettling, if you have a taste for witch flicks, this one one should definitely make your list.

Double Feature Remake

Why Guillermo Del Toro and Others Are Fighting to Salvage 'Suspiria' |  IndieWire
Jessica Harper darts around Argento’s funhouse of horror.

Arguably Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) is the insane giallo Italian filmmaker’s finest work. It’s wild, weird, and colorful. This phantasmagoric tale of a strange European ballet school operates on pure dream logic and is punctuated by some ridiculous, Rube Goldbergian, splattery kills. And it’s all set to an unyielding, rhythmic musical score by Goblin. Style over substance never looked or sounded so great.

Review: Suspiria (2018) - Geeks Under Grace
Tilda Swinton instructs Dakota Johnson on how to use her body.

I love the original, but Luca Guadagnino does remakes right with Suspiria (2018). This witchy yarn uses the architecture of the 1977 film to craft a horror that is tonally, stylistically, and thematically different (but in all the best ways). Witch politics and bizarre dance rituals abound. More mature and atmospheric than schlocky and psychedelic, this remake explores its characters and their world more deeply to paint a truly haunting portrait of power shifts and female relationships. Goblin’s bombastic, groovy synth pulse is replaced with melancholic Thom Yorke compositions.

Vampire Movies to Die For

Whether you like your vampires evil, sexy, or ponderous (or bit of everything), here’s a few freaky films featuring blood-sucking monsters I’d like to recommend this October.

Classic Draculas!

Dracula (1931)
Often imitated Hungarian actor, Bela Lugosi, in his most iconic role.

You can’t go wrong with the original 1931 Universal flick directed by Tod Browning and starring the legendary Bela Lugosi. While it has a bit of stiltedness at times (mainly due to it being an early talkie film), the foggy, gothic atmosphere makes it more than worth a watch. Plus some fun performances from Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan (as Van Helsing), and wild-eyed Dwight Frye. The Mexican version shot on the same sets but filmed at night is also worth checking out.

Dracula (1958) – The Queens of Geekdom
Christopher Lee chewing some scenery.

England’s Hammer Studios produced several horror re-imaginings of classic Universal monsters and their 1958 version of Dracula starring Christopher Lee as the Count and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing is a good place to start. There are several sequels too. Lee and Cushing did several movies together and are always fun to watch.

Blacula (1972), Tampa FL - Oct 29, 2019 - 6:00 PM
William Marshall rises for an evening of mayhem.

Weirdly, the blaxploitation retelling borrows the plot of The Mummy to tell its tale. Blacula (1972) is fun and funky and, honestly, no one ever brought more gravitas and regality to the role of the Count than William Marshall.

Bram Stoker's Dracula' at 25: Would Gary Oldman return as the blood-sucker?  'I never say never!'
Gary Oldman licks Keanu Reeves’ blood off a straight razor.

Francis Ford Coppola had a bold vision with 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Utilizing all in-camera special effects, this adaptation returns to the dreamy roots of the 1931 original but with added sex and gore and a bit more sympathy for the eponymous ghoul. A lot of really bad accents and some hammy acting can’t stop this one. Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, and more co-star.

The Gnarled Rodent Count

Nosferatu | George Eastman Museum
Max Schreck as the embodiment of the Plague.

F.W. Murnau’s German iteration tried to circumvent copyright issues by calling their vampire Count Orlock, but changed name or not, Nosferatu (1922) was a blatant bit of plagiarism against the Stoker estate. It’s still a solid silent spooky flick though.

Splatter Time Fun Fest 2010: Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht (Nosferatu The  Vampyre, 1979) | Bill's Movie Emporium
Klaus Kinski prepares to snack on Isabella Adjani.

Werner Herzog’s slow and moody take on Nosferatu (1979) is one of my favorite remakes. For my money, the best Draculas ensnare you in a weird, creaking, nightmare and boy does this one do that. Like Coppola instilling more pathos into the classic Dracula, Herzog endows his Nosferatu with an added layer of inner torment and pain. How Herzogian.

Stills, My Beating Heart on Twitter: "shadow of the vampire, max schreck,  willem dafoe, vampire, e. elias merhige, lou bogue… "
Willem Dafoe is Nosferatu! Repeat! Willem Dafoe is Nosferatu!

But what if the guy who played Nosferatu in the silent German movie was so convincing because he in fact was a literal vampire and director Murnau was actually inadvertently making a supernatural snuff film? So posits E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire (2000). It’s a fun premise and has a macabre sense of humor and did I mention Willem Dafoe plays Nosferatu? Also stars John Malkovich, Eddie Izzard, Catherine McCormack, and Udo Kier.

Classic 80s Blood-suckers

Fright Night (1985) - Moria
Chris Sarandon is a sexy pansexual vampire who will 100% steal your girl.

What do you do if you suspect your new next door neighbor is a vampire? You reach out to local TV horror host (played by Roddy McDowall) to help you slay him, that’s what. Fright Night (1985) doesn’t take itself too seriously, but takes itself just seriously enough to merit a re-watch.

The Lost Boys musical: G Tom Mac gives update, says Joel Schumacher had  input
80s movies had the best hideouts.

Plenty of vampire flicks have used vampires as a metaphor for addiction, lust, and wealth. Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys (1987) makes them punks. And who could resist the seductive allure of the punk scene in the 80s? Stars Kiefer Sutherland, Jamie Gertz, Corey Feldman, and Corey Haim. Cry little sister.

Twists on the Formula

Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders / The Dissolve
Czech cinema is something else.

More of a surreal journey through female puberty, but there is a creepy vampire in it. Jaromil Jireš’s Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) is probably the weirdest entry on this list, but it’s worth a look.

Cronos (1993)
An ancient relic holds a dark secret.

Guillermo del Toro knows how to build a mythology and Cronos (1993) does a marvelous job of exploring the price of immortality. Federico Luppi gives such sympathetic performance as the antique dealer who inadvertently unleashes an ancient curse.

From Dusk Till Dawn - Still Biting 20 Years Later - Cryptic Rock
If you can get through Quentin Tarantino being on screen for the first bit, you get to watch Harvey Keitel, Fred Williamson, George Clooney, and Tom Savini battle evil.

Robert Rodriguez knows schlock and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) delivers. It’s unabashedly sleazy and crazy. Some bad acting and questionable casting can’t suck too much fun out of this wild horror thriller. Memorable cameos: Selma Hayek, Danny Trejo, and Cheech Marin.

Låt den Rätte Komma In | Let the Right One In (2008) | CinemaClown
Nothing like a cold, dark Scandinavian winter to give you chills.

If Twilight‘s summer-winter romance is awkward and problematic then I don’t know what to make out of Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In (2008). But it’s a mature and brilliant riff on the vampire genre.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night' Review: Toothsome Fantasy in an Alternate  Iran - WSJ
Too subversive for Iran, it was shot in California.

Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) is an atmospheric black-and-white modern horror. Like many vampire flicks, it too deals with longing and isolation, but it also has a vampire femme fatale in a chador on a skateboard.

Et Cetera

Film and Music Preview: NOSFERATU & VAMPYR (Theatre at the Ace Hotel and  Disney Hall)
Del Toro often cited this film as an inspiration.

While not as recognized as Dracula, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) is a lyrical and poetic vision of obsession, death, and vampires. Visually stunning, but what can you expect from the director of The Passion of Joan of Arc?

Chilling Scenes of Dreadful Villainy: Daughters of Darkness, Part 26 :  Mirror Ball - Sharon Tate is the main attraction at the vampire ball in  FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (1967)
Forget Mel Brooks’ Dead and Loving It.

Roman Polanski wanted to do an homage to Hammer films and while Fearless Vampire Hunters (1967) isn’t exactly trying to be scary, it’s got some great snowy sets and a fun theme song.

Vampires With Bite: Celebrating 25 Years of Damnation with INTERVIEW WITH  THE VAMPIRE - Nightmare on Film Street
She doesn’t seem to mind being taken out by mid-90s Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

Neil Jordan adapts Anne Rice’s novel Interview with a Vampire (1994). It’s long. It’s brooding. It’s sexy. Great costumes. Also stars Kirten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, and more

Only Lovers Left Alive: Jim Jarmusch and the Vampire Genre
Too bored to prey upon the living.

I like Jim Jarmusch and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) shows his sardonic style infuses quite well with the vampire genre. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are immortal lovers watching the world change.

what-we-do-in-the-shadows-2014-petyr-coffin-viago-taika-waititi-ben-fransham-review  – Films and Things

Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement know how innately silly the New Zealand accent is coming out of a vampire’s mouth and What We Do in the Shadows (2014) delivers plenty of laughs while playing with old and new vampire tropes within a mockumentary format.

LAST FEW MOVIES XLII – Attack of the Strong Female Leads

I watched too many movies. Some schlocky. Some great. Some great schlock.

Discover the co-ed carving thrills of this classic '80s slasher

20. Despite a young Kristin Davis looking like one of the Chipettes, Doom Asylum (1987) is ultimately a bit of a disappointing bore. A disfigured maniac murders a bunch of horny teens, but it tries to be a farce about it. Bad jokes and utter tensionlessness made me struggle to get with this slasher’s tone. I wished this had been a bad straight horror rather than a bad comedy.

The Slayer Blu-ray Release Date August 22, 2017 (Blu-ray + DVD)

19. Set on a lonely, windswept beach somewhere, a woman confronts an unspoken horror from her past in The Slayer (1982). It has some decent acting from lead actress Sarah Kendall, but ultimately the mystery unfolds too slowly, becomes increasingly silly, and, *KINDA SPOILERS* is not even really solved. At minimum, it’s a windup that goes nowhere and makes no sense. I like the beach house and location featured in this flick, but this one is a bit of a dud.

The Final Terror (1983) | Horror Amino

18. Young Joe Pantoliano and Darryl Hannah feature in this clunky thriller about some young foresters who are plagued by a mysterious and murdery hag that haunts the woods in The Final Terror (1983). It has some better acting than you might expect for this type of movie, but the kills aren’t that memorable (save the very last one which, while completely absurd, is pretty cool) and the script doesn’t have much going for it.

Watch Vampire Circus online - BFI Player

17. There’s a plague sweeping the land and some typical burgomaster village types are worried about a curse placed upon them by a vampiric count they killed in the pre-credits sequence. The Vampire Circus (1972) is coming to town and it is bringing with it all manner of dangerous big cats, dwarf clowns, and blood-sucking travelers. I dig the concept of a circus of vampires, but it doesn’t exactly deliver as much atmosphere as I had hoped. It has its fair share of sexy bits and fun sequences so worth checking out for Hammer horror fans.

Ninja III: The Domination (1984) – Midnight Only

16. What happens when a ninja attacks a bunch of rich randos on a golf course and is then gunned down by the cops in a hail of bullets but then he still gets away only to meet an electrician up a telephone pole and with his dying breath bestows to her a sword to which he binds his ghost so that he can exact revenge on the cops who killed him for murdering randos, but then the girl he possesses through his ninja sword is also dating one of the cops who killed him? You get the incomprehensible nonsense that is Ninja III: The Domination (1984). It’s pretty hilarious and fun if you’re into that sort of thing.

2016_reset-modernity_verena-paravel_leviathan_001 - BMIAA

15. This one might be a hard one to recommend, but if you have the stomach for a plotless voyage through dark waters and a fish’s eye view of life on a fishing boat then Leviathan (2012) is the documentary you’ve been waiting for. Be prepared to get seasick.

Midnight Pulp on Twitter: "🎬 Robotrix (1991) #midnightpulp Watch it on #PrimeVideo… "

14. Chow Yun Fat gets mixed up with a mysterious girl and an ancient evil in Witch from Nepal (1986). This is a cute romantic adventure with plenty of silly jumping around and fights and one really hot love scene in the rain. Emily Chu plays the adorable witch who tries to enlist the man’s help to stop an evil wizard.

The Astro Zombies - The Grindhouse Cinema Database

13. Schlock factory, Ted V. Mikels, begins a series of sequels to his 1968 sci-fi flick (which I have yet to see) with Mark of the Astro-Zombies (2002). This was such a low-budget, amateurish production that we found it captivating. A lot of older actors – which adds to the weird atmosphere. The story barely matters. Aliens are trying to kill people with machete-wielding robot men or whatever. None of this matters. But there was one older villainess who captured our hearts. She commanded the screen in such a way that made you realize she used to be somebody and was 100% aware of what she was doing and what type of movie she was in. This was our introduction to Tura Satana, a buxom pulp actress with a tough no-nonsense attitude. This led us to watch another film that will appear on this list. As for Astro-Zombies. It’s bad. But you know me. I like bad sometimes.

The Chilling Sweetness of “Paddington 2” | The New Yorker

12. I’ve never seen Paddington, but I did watch some of the old show and Paddington 2 (2017) was highly recommended. It’s cute and sublime and reminds you that movies can have positive morals about being peaceful and kind and always looking for the good in people and how one person (or bear) can change the mood of a whole community simply by being kind. Paddington is wrongfully accused of burglary and winds up in the slammer while his family on the outside tries to clear his name. Brendan Gleason, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, and the whole cast all bring wonderful notes to this adorable yarn that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Blu-ray Review: Bride of Re-Animator

11. Cue the synthesizer. Brain Yuzna directs this wacky, gore-filled sequel to the Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) saga. Bride of Re-Animator (1989) may not be as wry as the first Stuart Gordon film and its budget may highlight how much it pales in comparison and scope to the film to which it is pays homage, Bride of Frankenstein (1935), but the wild, stitched-together creatures of Dr. West’s experiments are so insane and imaginative that one can easily enjoy it for the silly horror romp it is. It’s got enough fun ideas going for it to keep it engaging until the monster-filled finale.

30 Years Later, the Searing Critiques of Hollywood Shuffle Still Sting | Vanity Fair

10. Whatever happened to Robert Townsend? Anyways… writer/director/producer/actor, Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle (1987), in many ways, is a lot like what Spike Lee was trying to do with Bamboozled as well as being a bit of a parody precursor to Weird Al’s UHF. Townsend’s film is breezy and fun, but it skewers the Hollywood landscape of limiting Black actors to playing slaves, pimps, and hoods. With strong influences from sketch comedy, this farce lampoons sitcoms, popular movies, commercials, and a famous film critic duo all through its wacky, satirical lens.

I'm Thinking Of Ending Things: Charlie Kaufman's Netflix Horror Gets First Trailer | Movies | Empire

9. Charlie Kaufman movies always require a bit of unpacking. I’d rather not spoil any of the weirdness or surprises or hidden meanings to his latest work, I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020), but I will say I found it both fascinating and maddening. A woman (played wonderfully by Jessie Buckley) is visiting the parents of her new boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) during a snowstorm. But this is Kaufman we’re talking about so it’s really not about that at all. Memory, perception, time, point of view, dream, and regret all fold back in on each other like a surreal origami depiction of depression. David Thewlis and Toni Collette play the parents.

The Black Ninja (2003) - Kung-fu Kingdom

8. For bad cinema to be truly remarkable, it needs that cringe-worthy hubris pulsing through every frame. The Room is remembered so fondly not just because it is an epically bad movie, but because Tommy Wiseau’s singular delusion and seeming lack of introspection. The Black Ninja (2003) follows in this tradition with Clayton Prince being our self-indulgent star and auteur. By day he is a seemingly unscrupulous yet undeniably talented defense attorney for gangsters. But you see, he only defends them so well to highlight the problems inherent in the criminal justice system. By night, he’s a ninja who maims the criminals he’s spent all day defending. And whenever he’s not onscreen, characters both good and evil cannot stop talking about how unparalleled and awesome he is. It is very bad and I loved it. This movie is hilarious.

To Serve Man: Why 'Ravenous' Is the Greatest Cannibal Western Ever - Rolling Stone

7. Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle square off in Antonia Bird’s Ravenous (1999). A starving and frostbitten traveler (Carlyle) happens upon a snowbound military outpost and recounts to them a horrifying tale of homesteaders forced to cannibalism. Things get increasingly grisly from there as the curse of Wendigo is unleashed and the characters’ sanity is tested. It’s a clever bit of frontier horror that compares an unquenchable hunger for human flesh to the western expansionist ideology of Manifest Destiny. The good direction and a solid cast are only enhanced to absurd heights with the help of the twangy, unsettling, and darkly comical score composed by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman.

Coming to America

6. This was always on TV when I was a kid. Eddie Murphy is Prince Akeem of Zamunda in Coming to America (1988), directed by John Landis. He journeys to Queens with his servant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to find a wife who has brains and is independent and will not simply worship him because he is royalty. Classic fish-out-of-water comedy ensues with Murphy and Hall also playing multiple roles as some of the seedy denizens of the wintry New York neighborhood. It’s an iconic comedy film for good reason. And James Earl Jones is the embodiment of regal as the King of Zamunda. What an absolutely commanding presence. Some great, long cinematic Landis gags as well.

Greener Grass movie review & film summary (2019) | Roger Ebert

5. I’m a simple man. I like my comedies scary and my horror funny. This next flick is The Stepford Wives with a heavy dose of surreal sketch comedy sensibility. Directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe present life in the suburbs as a absurd nightmare of social games and backstabbing in Greener Grass (2019). When Jill (DeBoer), in a moment of overly generous haste, lets her neighbor, Lisa (Luebbe), have her baby, a sequence of increasingly ridiculous social faux pas and weird occurrences cause her worldview to crack. This is a ballsy and funny comedy with a hypnotic aesthetic and hilarious cast.

Review Bonanza: Dawn of the Dead (1978) Review – Views from the Sofa

4. Took me long enough. I finally watched George A. Romero’s sequel to Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (1978). As much as I love Night and Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead, this might be my new favorite zombie flick. Zombies, for me, work best when they present bleak social commentary and a grim sense of humor. A random group of people hideout in a mall to gather supplies, but the walking dead and roving biker gangs don’t make life in this apocalyptic hell much easier. This movie ticks a lot of boxes for me and has a pitch perfect tone. Glad I saw it at last.

The Devils': 1971 Horror On Abuse Of Power Couldn't Be More Timely | IndieWire

3. My favorite Ken Russell film is also his most daring and controversial. I saw The Devils (1971) years ago and thought I should revisit it with fresh eyes. It is one wild ride. Famously banned in multiple countries and notoriously difficult to find, The Devils chronicles the fate of a small French towns walls in 17th century France. It’s a vast political chess game for power, but most of the drama centers around a libertine priest (Oliver Reed in one of his best roles), the deformed nun (Vanessa Redgrave in what might be one of her best roles) who lusts after him from the shadows, and the nightmarish witch-hunt that sends the cathedral into debauchery and insanity. The Devils is unapologetic and aggressive and justifiably controversial (even today), but it is such a devastating and powerful film about corruption, penance, martyrdom, church and state, and the complexities of human desire that I do recommend it to those who are interested.

Fantasia 2012 Review: MONDOMANILA

2. Descend into the world of Filipino kid gangs in Khavn De La Cruz and Norman Wilwayco’s Mandomanila (2010). It’s an abrasive crime drama loaded with comedy, break-dancing, and rap. Just because half the folks in the slum are pimps, prostitutes, and pedophiles, doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. This movie is City of God on crack.

Episode 59: Russ Meyer — Director's Club

1. We fell in love with Tura Satana in Ted V. Mikels’ Z-grade sci-fi flick, Mark of the Astro-Zombie, and so we had to see more. I’ve been familiar with Russ Meyer’s name, but I’d never seen any of his work. He’s a pretty infamous independent filmmaker best known for casting women with huge breasts. Naturally, I had written him off as an artist. I can’t speak to his other work, but Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1966) is a raw, stylistic bit of pulp awesomeness. Three rebellious go-go dancers (Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams) go to the desert to race cars, but tough-as-nails Varla (Satana) beats a man to death for like no reason so they hit the road with the victim’s unconscious girlfriend until a gas station attendant tells them that an old recluse (Stuart Lancaster) has a fortune hidden somewhere. The deadly trio take a detour to see if they can con the man and his two adult sons out of the money. Every scene is golden. This is pulp and it knows it. Gleefully sleazy, yet somehow a tasteful morality tale that is way more clever and well-acted than you might expect. It could be said that the women are on display simply for the male gaze (and, yeah, there’s definitely that), but the women own their sexuality so hard that I’d argue it’s pretty empowering and subversive for the time. Or maybe it’s a fetish piece. Either way, I dug the cast, cinematography, plot, and cars.

Last Few Movies XLI – Monster and Mayhem

My quest to find and revisit the most interesting movies every made continues.

Once again, films are listed in the order that I enjoyed them.

Movie Review: Never Too Young to Die (1986) - As Vast as Space and ...

25. John Stamos (Full House) and Vanity (The Last Dragon) star in Never Too Young to Die (1986), a pretty forgettably bad B-action movie that does at least boast a truly gloriously camp hermaphrodite villain played by Gene Simmons of Kiss. Also Robert Englund appears briefly as a nerd.

Fireproof - Available Now

24. Christian movie icon, Kirk Cameron, is a firefighter who learns not be such a dick to his wife and his wife learns the importance of valuing her dick of a husband in Fireproof (2008). As far as hokey religious flicks go, the production value isn’t the worst and, despite some alienating dogma speech and strict adherence to gender roles, it does mean well.

What the 'Big Short' Movie Gets Right—and Wrong—About the ...

23. Adam McKay’s The Big Short (2015) is a sprawling real-life drama peppered with a multitude of characters vexing about the housing market bubble of the early 2000s. It’s an important issue. I just found it rather tedious and don’t remember a single thing from it.

Trilogy of Terror: Solarbabies (1986) - Noiseless Chatter

22. Imagine a post-apocalyptic desert world where fascists run orphanages and the orphans form roller skate ball game squads and then an alien orb that can conjure water shows up and stuff. This is Solarbabies (1986). It’s all very stupid, but it has Jamie Gertz and some pretty decent production value.

C Me Dance -

21. Weirdly I’d seen this one before. C Me Dance (2009) is another low-budget Christian production that features a ballet dancer whose mom dies and then she gets cancer but then God gives her the ability to convert people and make them repent just by looking at them, but then Satan tries to intimidate her into knocking it off. And honestly, with a plot this wacky, had this been an Italian flick from the 60s, it would have made so much more sense. It’s got a few inadvertent laugh-out-loud moments, but not my favorite of the genre.

Brian Clark on Twitter: "death spa is really good… "

20. A slasher movie set in a bougie health club? Cue the killer lightning strike opening of Death Spa (1989). Death Spa is a bad slasher film that doesn’t quite make my cut for great schlock, despite its bonkers plot. Two things that Death Spa needed more of: more spa and/or gym equipment-related deaths and a clear point of view (do the filmmakers view the health spa trend with disdain?). As it stands, it just reads as a random location that hadn’t been done yet. A bit more location-specific gore and a dose of satire would have pushed it up a few notches. The ghost/computer nonsense was marvelously stupid though.

Dagon (2001) directed by Scott Gordon | Eldritch horror, Cosmic ...

19. Legendary horror director, Stuart Gordon, falters slightly in the mostly fun Lovecraft misfire, Dagon (2008). A young couple gets shipwrecked and winds up in a remote Spanish fishing villages where the townsfolk are turning into fish creatures. It’s decent schlock that could stand to be a bit schlockier, but like I said: it’s mostly fun. I’d give it a look if you’re into Lovecraft adaptations. It’s no Re-Animator or From Beyond, but it’s not without its charm.

Green Screen: The Oral History of 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ...

18. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) is still the best. Before it became a recognized franchise, you have to appreciate just how insane the premise was here. Humanoid surfer dude karate turtles get trained by a rat in the sewer so they can take down an evil gang that grooms children to be ninja. Corey Feldman is reading all of his lines at an 11.

Eugene V. Debs and the Endurance of Socialism | The New Yorker

17. I knew nothing about Eugene V. Debs. We didn’t really learn about the American labor movement in school. I only knew Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, had mentioned him in a few interviews, and recently tweeted about the documentary The Revolutionist: Eugene V. Debs (2019). So I watched it. It’s a great primer into the socialist, activist, and trade unionist, Eugene V. Debs. People interested in the history of unions and the labor movement in the US should find this character pretty interesting. It really goes to show how much we take for granted and how long people like Debs have been fighting and how far we still have to go to improve the conditions and protect the rights of employees everywhere.

French Can Can – 1954, Jean Renoir | Wonders in the Dark

16. Jean Gabin stars as the man who brings the working-class Parisian café-concert to the wealthier elite in Jean Renoir’s French Cancan (1954). It’s a love letter to 19th century showbiz and painters like the director’s own father, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It’s breezy and enjoyable, especially if you’re into costumes and getting a glimpse into the art scene of Paris’s past.

Argoman the Fantastic Superman (1967) - Backdrops — The Movie ...

15. This is basically Batman but in Casino Royale (1967) without the irony (I think). Argoman, the Fantastic Superman (1967) is classic Italian schlock with a groovy Austin Powers aesthetic. Argoman can (I think) do anything. He can use telekinesis and punch people and influence people’s wills and who knows what else. His morals are ambiguous (he’s a skosh rapey and he murders so many people) and when he’s not in his zany outfit, he looks like the archetypal man in vintage ad illustrations. This is for fans of camp.

American Factory Wins Oscar | ucomm blog

14. A Chinese company buys a defunct Ohio factory and brings it back to life in the hopes of expanding business in the documentary American Factory (2019) directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. This is a fascinating look at capitalism, culture clash, and the working class people caught in between. I highly recommend this doc for anyone interested in our ongoing global corporate takeover.

The Blob (1988) – film review | mossfilm

13. I never thought the original Blob from 1958 was that great. It had a kooky theme song and some fun set-pieces, but Chuck Russell’s 1988 remake, The Blob, is everything a good remake should be. A mysterious blob of goo crash lands outside a small American town and proceeds to absorb everyone that comes into its path. It has some added humor, well-done gross-out effects, and some classic 80s punk anti-government satire. The 80s heralded some of the great remakes of classic horror-sci-fi and The Blob deserves to be mentioned alongside Carpenter’s The Thing and Cronenberg’s The Fly.

Quick Gun Murugan: Mind it!

12. A reincarnating vegetarian superhuman cowboy goes head to head with a corrupt beef franchise restauranteur in the Indian comedy-melodrama, Quick Gun Murugun (2009). It’s like a live-action cartoon complete with outlandish plots and physics-bending action scenes. We laughed a lot. It’s loads of fun if you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter and silly.

Invasion of Alien Bikini - CinéLounge

11. This low-budget Korean sci-fi comedy romance starts super frenetic and aggressive before it settles you in for a rather unique slow-burn horror. Invasion of Alien Bikini (2011) takes place over one night, mostly in the apartment of Young-Gun (Young-geun Hong), a celibate oddball and runty vigilante. When he rescues a young girl (Eun-Jung Ha) from what he believes to be street ruffians, he unwittingly signs up for the date from hell. Plot twist: she’s an alien and needs his seed by midnight or else she’ll die. But Young-Gun is a chaste and honorable man (and battling a lot of childhood trauma and general social awkardness). Thus a frantic struggle to forcibly extract his sperm ensues. The film is darkly funny and imaginative. I found it reminiscent of another weird Korean film; Save the Green Planet.

The 1999 Satire Starring RuPaul You Need to See | AnOther

10. Before Saved!, there was Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) starring Natasha Lyonne, Cathy Moriarty, Clea DuVall, and RuPaul. Megan Bloomfield (Lyonne) thinks she’s just your regular, all-American high school girl. But her family knows there’s something terribly, horrifically, unforgivably wrong with her. She’s a lesbian! So Megan gets shipped off to conversion therapy camp. A comedic voyage of self-discovery ensues.

Film Freak Central - Phenomena (1985) - Blu-ray Disc

9. Italian cinema of a certain era was certainly a trip. Iconic horror and giallo filmmaker and most assured perverted psychopath, Dario Argento, gives us the works in Phenomena (1985). If you thought Suspiria was a bit nutty and hard to follow, buckle up. Phenomena is a lot of disparate pieces and half-baked fragments of ideas blended together with a sort of hyper-stylized insane dream logic that congeal to form a truly impressive and perplexing, grotesque mess. An America teen (Jennifer Connolly) is sent to a boarding school in a Swiss village plagued by a serial killer who is mutilating young girls. The heroine can also communicate with insects for some reason. Also she sleepwalks. Also she may be developing a split personality. Then there’s an old entomologist (Donald Pleasance) who has a chimpanzee nurse. And that chimpanzee nurse – I cannot stress enough – rules. There’s plenty of clunky dialogue, bizarre character interactions, and gory surprises. The soundtrack seems hilariously mismatched with almost every scene, despite some great standalone themes from Goblin.

Meantime (1984) | The Criterion Collection

8. No one does depressing working class British drama like director Mike Leigh. Meantime (1983) boasts some stellar performances by young Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, and Phil Daniels (also the Trunchbull herself, Pam Davis). Squalor and class dynamics play prominent roles in this story of two brothers stuck in a miserable East End flat with their parents. Cleanse the palate with Leigh’s lighter fare like Happy-Go-Lucky and Topsy-Turvy. And then gear up for Naked, which appears later on this list.

From the Camel to Machinery: The Construction of Turksib and the ...

7. Who would have thought that a silent Soviet documentary about the construction of the Turkestan–Siberia Railway would be so cool? Turksib (1929) is that documentary. It’s a fascinating portrait of the region and the peoples who reside there as well as a technical examination of the engineers that built the railway. It’s soft propaganda, but a unique film for fans of trains or folks interested in the history of documentaries.

Mighty Kaiju, Right Beside You. DAIMAJIN TRILOGY (1966) | by ...

6. Question: Is Kimiyoshi Yasuda’s Daimajin (1966) the best classic kaiju movie? It’s a definite contender. It might just be my new favorite. While not as iconic as Godzilla or Gamera, Daimajin has something special. It’s framed as a folktale and set during feudal Japan so we get some fun samurai hijinks before the colossal destruction in the finale. It’s a slower movie, but unlike a lot of kaiju movies, the human drama is a bit more engrossing. Around the midway point I was begging for the monster to make an appearance and finally wreak some havoc, but it all builds to a satisfying conclusion. There’s rituals and coups and prophecy and espionage and murder and, once you get to the third act, and that damn stone samurai god wakes up, it’s nonstop awesome. Do not anger the god of the mountain. It’s easy to see how the Daimajin series influenced the later North Korean film, Pulgasari (which also borrows a bit from Harryhausen’s 20 Million Miles to Earth).

Goregirl on Twitter: "Now watching (re-watching) Basket Case (1982 ...

5. Micro-budget indie horror doesn’t get much better than Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case (1982), the tale of a mystery man from upstate named Duane wandering the grimiest streets of New York City with a big wicker basket under his arm. What’s in the basket? That secret is revealed pretty early on. It’s his malformed twin brother. Psychically linked, the pair are on a revenge killing spree. It’s a wild premise, but the fact that every single character (no matter how minor) gets plenty of quirk and “business” to do just gives an added layer of humor and humanity. It’s great and I get why it’s been recommended to me so many times.

NorShor Classic Film Series: Duck Soup - Perfect Duluth Day

4. I grew up watching a lot of classic comedies from the 1930s and 40s. Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, the Three Stooges, etc. But the Marx Brothers were always my favorites. I recently re-watched Duck Soup (1933) and it is just as anarchic and silly as I remember. Watching it with people unfamiliar with the Marx Brothers was a treat. Comedy doesn’t always age well, but we were all impressed with how many jokes, puns, and gags were crammed into every single scene. If you don’t like a joke, wait three seconds and maybe you’ll dig the next one. Light on plot, Duck Soup features the wise-cracking Groucho wooing the regal Margaret Dumont while he acts as head of state of Freedonia, a peaceful bankrupt country on the brink of war with Sylvania. The hilarious Chico and Harpo are Sylvanian spies and the hapless Zeppo is a secretary or something. It’s a rather broad send-up of foreign diplomacy, politics, and modern warfare, but that doesn’t matter. Duck Soup boasts some of the Marxes very best gags and comedy set pieces (including the famous mirror scene). The first six Marx Brothers movies are their best (shout out to Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera in particular), and Duck Soup is squarely their funniest.

Original 'King Kong' returns to LI theaters | Newsday

3. I also got to introduce the original RKO Pictures King Kong (1933) to my roommate recently. This is the granddaddy of monster movies and it had always terrified and fascinated me as a kid. Re-watching it again, I will stand by this movie. It holds up (just ignore some of the casual ethnocentrism and misogyny or treat it as a product of its time). This is pure, primal adventure. It’s mysterious jungles, lost civilizations, and a giant gorilla god who kidnaps a hot blonde (Fay Wray) and battles dinosaur after dinosaur. Stop-motion pioneer, Willis O’Brien (who would be a huge influence on Ray Harryhausen), had to develop a lot of new techniques to achieve the myriad of impressive creatures and in-camera effects. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong is still a captivating technical marvel and shockingly violent adventure after nearly 90 years. As an added bonus, today it stands as a remarkable time capsule of 1930s NYC. Still one of my favorite movies.

Pin on Fireball McNamara

2. Another Mike Leigh film. Naked (1993) is truly a depressing portrait of both London and humanity itself. Johnny (played amazingly by David Thewlis) turns up at an ex’s house and just sort of kicks around the joint while psychologically and verbally abusing anyone in his path as he rants in long, snarky, nihilistic screeds. This is a real actor’s film and a real gritty slice-of-life drama. You may feel dirty afterwards, but if you can appreciate despair and pain portrayed in a bitingly human fashion, give it a look.

San Sebastian Film Festival :: Errementari

1. Classic European demons done right. Errementari: the Blacksmith and the Devil (2017) is a delicious Basque horror fantasy directed by Paul Urkijo Alijo. A blacksmith escapes hell and keeps a demon locked up in his workshop until a young orphan girl releases it. I will not reveal any more of the plot. Just watch it. It’s fantastic. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for stories about myth, monsters, and the arbitrary rules that they must follow. Errementari is gorgeously shot and really explores the humanity of its characters in addition to boasting some brilliantly realized makeup effects. And it’s funny too. If you like dark fantasy with rich and familiar yet mysterious atmosphere like November, Border, Tale of Tales, and Pan’s Labyrinth then check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.