Friday, June 7, 2013
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 29
June 7th - Zombies!: Tales From The Hood (1995, dir. Rusty Cundieff) & Creepshow 2 (1987, dir. Michael Gornick) DOUBLE FEATURE! If we're talking zombies in the "living dead" sense, these two horror anthologies fit the bill and will make a hell of a double feature. The first story in Tales From the Hood (one of my all-time favorite horror movies) features a murdered politician who comes back from the dead to kill the police officers who murdered him and disgraced his name. The last story in Creepshow 2 (underrated, as it has two good stories out of three) concerns a hitchhiker who comes back from the dead to terrorize the woman who left him for dead after a hit and run. And guess what? Both "zombies" are played by the same guy: Tom Wright! Make it a Tom Wright night, aight!
June 13th - Vincent Price!: House on Haunted Hill (1959, dir. William Castle) Super fun and schlocky. Come for the Vincent Price. Stay for the Elisha Cook Jr.
Tremors (1990 dir. Ron Underwood) Put this one in your back pocket for Junesploitation's "monster" day, or put it on just because. This throwback to '50s monster movies is worth watching, and not only because it connects the Six Degrees dots between Kevin Bacon and the dad from Family Ties. The desert setting provides effective isolation for this tale of subterranean beasties terrorizing the residents of a small town. Not everything holds up as well as kid-me remembered, but I still love the creepy build-up and the clarity of the stakes in the finale. It's a fun movie.
Hit & Run (2012, dir. David Palmer, Dax Shepard) This movie has gotten several recommendations from people in our circle, so I knew I would probably enjoy it. However, I was not prepared to fall in love with it like it did. Sometimes a movie just hits you in the right place at the right time, and that's what this movie did for me. This seems to have been Dax Shepard's passion project for the last couple of years, and it really shows. Most of the cast members are his friends, he co-stars with his long-time girlfriend and baby-mama Kristen Bell, and it has the authentic quality that only the most personal movies possess. I figured this was a good pick for our month of exploitation films because not only is this a car movie disguised as a revenge movie (disguised as a relationship movie), but it was made for two million dollars without funding from a major studio. I didn't have much of an opinion on Shepard before this movie, but now I'm a big fan. He seems like an incredibly interesting, funny guy, but he's also a certified man's man. It looks like he does most of his own stunt driving in the film, which sometimes consists of some pretty impressive stuff. This is actually one of my favorite movies of 2012. I wish I'd seen it then, because it would have been near the top of my list.
June 7th – ZOMBIES: White Zombie (1932, dir. Victor Halperin) Shot in seven days, this film became iconic enough to inspire the name of Rob Zombie’s band! Bela Lugosi plays “Murder” Legendre; that character name alone should make you want to see this. Warning: glacial pace.
June 8th – Charles Bronson: Once Upon A Time In The West (1968, dir. Sergio Leone) Goddamnit, Netflix needs to get more Charlie Bronson flicks! Where are the Death Wishes? Where’s The Mechanic? Where’s The Magnificent Seven? Where’s The Great Escape? Where’s House of Wax? Sigh.
June 9th – Prison: Caged Heat (1974, dir. Jonathan Demme) Netflix describes it as “raunchy.” Meaning: boobies. Who would have thought the director of this women-in-prison flick, just a scant 17 years later, would win the best picture and best director Oscars for Silence of the Lambs? This one gives me hope.
June 10th – Cannon Films: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogalooo (1984, dir. Sam Firstenberg) The very essence of exploitation: Cannon Films takes a NYC dance fad that lasted all of fifteen minutes and squeezed TWO whole movies out of it. The title is still the source of constant jokes about unnecessary sequels.
June 11th – Badass Chicks: The Woman (2011, dir. Lucky McKee) Patrick wrote eloquently about this amazing film when it was first released 18 months ago. You can find the original review here.
RUNNER-UP: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991, dir. James Cameron) Sarah Connor will not only kick your ass in this one, but she will also divorce you and take half of your Titanic profits. Now that’s badass!
June 12th – Spaghetti Westerns: Once Upon A Time In The West Goddamnit, Netflix needs to get more Spaghetti Westerns!
June 13th – Vincent Price: House on Haunted Hill (1959, dir. William Castle) One of William Castle’s famous gimmick films, this one featured “Emergo” where at a specific point in the movie (you will know it when you get to it) an inflatable skeleton was lowered on a string above the audience’s heads. According to John Waters, there followed in most theaters a five-minute melee in which young boys tried to knock the skeleton down by throwing empty popcorn boxes at it. Using the photo below as a model, make your own little skeleton and recreate “Emergo” above your laptop while you watch. Go on—just do it.
Pontypool (2008, dir. Bruce McDonald) This is what I'll be watching for Junesploitation! Day 7. Just one of those little stories where a guy is on the way to work and notices that things are a little ... odd.
Zombies!: Dead Heat (1988, dir. Mark Goldblatt) Sure, if you want to get the "true" grindhouse experience you're better off watching something like The Living Dead Girl, but there's no reason your pick for Zombie day shouldn't be FUN. Dead Heat combines the goofiness of '80s horror comedy with the stupidity of the buddy cop movie, casting the great Treat Williams as a zombie cop trying to solve his own murder. Written by Shane Black's brother Terry and co-starring Joe Piscopo, Darren McGavin and Vincent Price (so you can also watch it on the 13th!).
Charles Bronson!: There are literally only two Charles Bronson movies on Netflix Instant, so I'll have to recommend Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, dir. Sergio Leone). It's a GREAT movie, but it's really better suited for Spaghetti Western day and JB already recommended it. TWICE. For Charles Bronson day, you're better off tracking down one of his crazy vigilante/cop movies from the '80s. You can (and should) watch all of Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects on YouTube. Better yet, watch Death Wish 3, an insane movie that's my favorite thing Charles Bronson did in the '80s. It's so great.
Prison!: Ricki-Oh: The Story of Ricki (1991, dir. Ngai Kai Lam) Recommended without comment. Just trust me.
Cannon!: I would have suggested Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (because I'm kind of a fan), but JB got that one. And since I already recommended Revenge of the Ninja, I'll go with Over the Top (1987, dir. Menahem Golan). While decidedly less violent and sleazy than most Cannon films from the '80s, it's a good pick because a) it's one of two Cannon movies Sylvester Stallone made (the other is Cobra) 2) it was actually directed by Cannon studio head Menahem Golan and d) the thing it is exploiting is ARM WRESTLING. Cannon made a whole movie about arm wrestling. This is why they were the best.
Badass Chicks!: Switchblade Sisters (aka The Jezebels) (1975, dir. Jack Hill) The best badass chick movie ever made, and one of my favorite exploitation movies ever. You're crazy if you don't watch this. Joanne Nail is so hot.
Spaghetti Westerns!: My Name is Nobody (1974, dir. Tonino Valerii) Netflix recently dumped a lot of good spaghetti westerns during their purge. This one is not the best (you should probably just watch Once Upon a Time in the West, which IS the best), but it's decent and I'm trying to offer some variety. A little more comical than I usually like my spaghetti westerns to be, but Henry Fonda is always great. He's even better in Once Upon a Time in the West, though, so you should probably just watch that.
Vincent Price!: Madhouse (1974, dir. Jim Clark) Vincent Price's last movie for AIP isn't as good as most of his earlier work, but it's an entertaining enough cap on a good run. I like when his movies are self-referential, and this one (in which he plays a washed up horror star framed for murders that resemble his old movies) has plenty of that. The whole "murders in the style of X" is just another rehash of The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood, both of which are better movies.