THE TELEPHONE BOOK (1971) at Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinema for the first time.An in-your-face avant-garde/"comedic" take on sexual repression/liberation from the NYC underground movement of the 1960's and 1970's, "The Telephone Book" is basically a road-trip-movie-within-Manhattan 'X' rated series of skits, one-offs, animated segments and direct-to-camera monologues wrapped around the journey a young single woman (Sarah Kennedy) embarks on to find in the Manhattan phone book the obscene caller 'John Smith' (James Harder) she has fallen in love with after hearing his cadence. Cameos by such names as Jill Clayburgh and Ultra Violet (friend of Andy Warhol's, whose cameo for this flick was deleted) go by, leading up to a climax in which the movie literally 'gets off' by switching to color from its mostly B&W photography and bringing some naughty cartoons to life. This is what passed for 'obscene' and 'explicit' back then that, viewed with fresh eyes now, comes across as middle-aged-or-older man's view of women as unattainable sexual goddesses while men are basically horny clowns (which is better than the misogynistic pigs they're shown to be in "V/H/S" I guess). Sarah Kennedy kind-of holds things together and saves the movie, giving a sweet and dopey innocence to her dumb blonde persona that never loses audience sympathy (even when saying/doing pretty stupid things), especially during what amounts to a final act 'talkathon' with a very chatty masked extra from either Kubrick's "The Shining" (the ending) or "Eyes Wide Shut" (the party scene) that (a) won't shut up and (b) redefines the term 'unreliable narrator.' I'd rather watch "Nymphomaniac" or "I Am Yellow/Blue" again because at least those exploitative European arthouse movies earned their laughs, unlike "The Telephone Book's" 'throw-crap-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks' approach.
Fright Night (1985)Quick Thoughts: Its been a little while since I've seen this gem and it holds up better then ever, fun performances, gross/awesome fx work,and a lovable Carpenteresque score from Terminator theme man Brad Fiedel. This one is straight up fun and never gets old. If you havent seen this vampire flick do it, it fills many spots on Junesploitation.8 Word Review:Your a good vampire killer Charlie Brewster! #Sarandonsploitation
Night of the Creeps (1986)Enjoyable romp through various B-movie genres, most notably “alien possession” and “zombie” flicks. Writer-Director Fred Dekkar clearly loves this stuff, and his affection for it shines through every scene. All the main characters are named after horror or sci-fi directors, and they all go to “Corman University.” I particularly liked the friendship between the two guys, and JC’s recorded message to Chris is genuinely moving. Then of course there’s Tom Atkins, playing his embittered detective at just the right level of unhinged. A winner all the way around.
Thank you for mentioning that scene with the recorded message. That gets me every time, and it's evidence of great character work from both Dekker and the actors. Night of the Comet has a similar scene that's emotionally affecting despite being part of a goofy, self-aware genre mashup (more on that in a week or so).That trope of naming characters/locations after famous horror icons makes me crazy these days, but I'm forgiving of it in Night of the Creeps. Maybe because it was one of the first movies I saw that did it. Or maybe it's because it's just an extension of the obvious affection the movie has for all things horror, as opposed to just a cheap shortcut to impress us with the writer's bonafides.
Another scene I really like is between Atkins and our hero in Atkins' apartment. There's something odd going on with Atkins, and it takes a second to realize what it is. But the movie doesn't feel the need to spell it out - a nice track-in to a stove is enough. Also, that scene begins with my favorite line in the whole movie (hero's first words to Atkins when he finally opens the door). I won't spoil it here, but it's my "They got the Giggler!"
R.I.P. The Giggler.
The Beyond (1981)This film doesn't like eyes. they get gouged out and popped out, and if you are lucky enough to keep them they get covered up with white out.Zombies and haunted house and beautiful woman and dull male hero and blind soothsayer and her guidedog who gets turned into a zombie in the haunted house then attacks the blind woman by eating her head. It has its moments. Eyesploitation
This is the best-known Fulci movie that I still haven't seen, and as I continue to force myself to like Italian Horror through immersion, I really, really want to see it. There's a Blu-ray available in the UK but I'm not yet region-free. As soon as I am, this is at the top of my list. I don't know if I can handle all that eye shit, though.
Its only my second giallo movie. It was better than Twitch of the Death Nerve but Im still not sold on the genre. This one does the hook really well but it lacks any real momentum. I found my attention drifting off in between the kills.
Twitch of the Death Nerve is in my top ten greatest movie titles ever. It destroys the real title, Bay of Blood.
Red Dawn (1984) & Red Dawn (2012)What better way to honour the ‘Free Space’ than to watch a terrible 80’s action flick followed by its even more terrible remake!While both are utter nonsense at least the original tries to (sort of) be about something, no matter how misjudged. It is basically a John Milius fantasy about the encroaching evils of communism that sees a group of kids take up arms against Russian and Cuban invaders. There is plenty violence, albeit oddly sanitised, and the film is pleasingly bleak. As a piece of right wing propaganda it has to be seen to be believed. Dan Bradley’s remake, on the other hand, takes most of the edges off and makes some incredibly bad choices along the way, making it even more stupid than the original. The film was originally supposed to have the Chinese as the invaders but they retroactively changed them to North Korean so as not to upset the massive Chinese market. You couldn’t make it up. The decision to turn Jed into a war vet makes some sense at least, but his speech about them now being the insurgents is horribly misjudged. The original also has the sense to try and explain what is happening; the remake doesn’t bother with such frivolities. So we’re expected to believe that the North Korean invasion launches in Spokane, Washington (no offence, Spokane, I had to look you up), and that there is no resistance whatsoever from the US Armed Forces. I buy Chris Hemsworth as an action movie star but he’s no Patrick Swayze and, honestly, he looks a little embarrassed about the whole thing.
Switchblade Sisters (1975) - First ViewingGANGsploitation. What I loved the most was how many characters kept violently slapping each other during conversations. Grungy, scuzzy, amateurish, completely entertaining. Textbook exploitation. This was so much fun to watch. Highly recommended.
I love that movie.
Nice - this was one of my favourites from last Junesploitation! (Badass Chicks!)
Breakin' (1984)Harmless fluff about a professional dancer joining with a pair of street dancers to...I don't know, lend them credibility or something. Fun dance moves, hilariously "hip" fashions, and an early appearance by Ice-T before he decided he wanted to be a gangsta. Nice to see Christopher McDonald not playing the villain for a change, too.
JP - way to stay true to watching this as you commented after Ninja III!
Glad I did, it was fun!
The Sacrament (2014)I'm glad I didn't read Patrick's excellent review before watching this, because I came down on about the same side of it. it's a decent and well-made movie, but in the end it's almost like in this case West didn't have anything especially deep to say about a tragedy like this. Nice job by Gene Jones as Father (I looked him up and finally figured out where I was recognizing him from; he's the gas station clerk Chigurh plays the quarter game with in No Country For Old Men).
I feel like I'm hearing a lot of confusion from fans on why Ti West decided to do a Jonestown movie. Personally, I believe it's for the same reasons that Eli Roth's new movie is a Lenzi/Deodato-style cannibal flick: Jonestown-inspired movies were their own, particularly tasteless two-movie horror subgenre (Guyana Tragedy, Guyana: Cult of the Damned,) not dissimilar to movies based on the Manson Family case, and, by extension, not dissimilar to other true-crime cult-based movies, like Ambush in Waco. I believe West is paying homage to a tiny strain of exploitation movies that only the staunchest horror fans would admit to being fans of.
And I will say that this particularly treatment is not, I think, tasteless.
Eating Raoul (1982)I thought this was going to be more cannibalsploitation, but it turns out it would have been a great fit for sexploitation day. Anyways, this low budget romp was a surprisingly engaging black comedy about two nice people who save up money to build their dream restaurant by murdering swingers with a frying pan. I like movies about average people getting pushed into despicable deeds, though the wife's infidelity aggravated me somewhat. But at the end of the day, I've never laughed so hard at a mass hot tub electrocuting.
Science needs to find a way to bring Paul Bartel back. Love that guy.
ATTACK OF THE 60 FT. CENTERFOLDS (1995)Fred Olen Ray has this reputation as one of the all-time great shlockmeisters, but his movies usually bore me, never delivering the cheese n’ sleaze they promise. As a straightforward comedy, this one would appear to be one of his better efforts. Three models are competing for centerfold of the year for (what else?) “Plaything” Magazine. One of the girls uses mad science to make herself more beautiful, they become giants, and it spoofs old monster movies. Ray knows this is a goofy comedy, and he embraces the campiness of it. The cast, on the other hand, takes this stuff seriously, and WOW this acting needs to be seen to be believed. It’s bad acting in just the right way, with every line reading being totally ridiculous. A dumb, dumb movie, but I had a little fun with it.
Intruder (1989): NMS - Even though this is a pretty standard invasion film it worked for me and I thought it was built well with some enjoyable moments.
A Blade in the Dark (1983, dir. Lamberto Bava)I keep trying to make myself like Italian horror. The best I can say right now is that I have developed a tolerance. This was a completely by-the-numbers giallo -- not bad, not good, just...there. The bright spot for me was a cameo by BOB from House by the Cemetery.
Keep trying! You'll get there! Enduring the pain caused by sitting all the way through these is the most satisfying part!
Ha! I've got a few more lined up for this month. I'm hoping by the end that I'll just suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and will give myself over to the nonsense.
The Big Doll House (1971)Classic women in prison exploitation! The beginning was pretty interesting as we learn the dynamics of the 6 women who share a cell. And because this is my first women in prison movie, that aspect was fascinating to watch. However, it totally dragged in the middle. Thankfully, it picked up at the end and included my favorite part - a bloody, dying prisoner shooting two machine guns and completely mowing down some guards. Awesome.
Godzilla vs Gigan (1972)Because I'm still watching Godzilla movies. Gigan is a space creature who resembles a metallic chicken with a saw blade in his stomach and with metal hooks for hands and feet. As I progress through these movies I've become way more interested in the B story revolving around what the humans are doing while giant monsters attack. This one didn't disappoint. A corporation with evil motives building a children's park centered around monsters? I'm in.
Frailty (2001)Because it's a winner. First time up, Paxton hits one out of the park. Not just a great directorial debut, but a FANTASTIC gothic horror classic. Dripping with atmosphere and dread. Excellent performances by Paxton and the boys (and McConaughey, seemingly auditioning for True Detective over a decade before the fact).This is just a great flick right here.
The Beheaded 1000 (1993)Fuckin' dope! Jimmy Wang Yu is an aging executioner in medieval China, nearing a landmark in his long career... his 1000th beheading! After he's beheaded 6 out of 8 of a notoriously murderous gang, a goddess beseeches that he deliberately botch the execution of the 7th so that he'll die in agony, appeasing the souls of those he's murdered. From there, things begin to get very strange (not Boxer's Omen-level strange, but pretty strange nonetheless.) This movie has superimposition gags and back-lit animation for days, and at least two instances near the climax that caught me so off-guard I neared the brink of plotzing. Best if you know as little as possible beforehand.
Get the GringoMel Gibson is stuck in a Mexican Prison. It has been a long time, since I have a seen a Mel Gibson movie. I was curious to see how his performance would be. The movie feels like a throwback to his earlier movies. I always enjoy watching an angry Mel Gibson out for revenge. The movie does get a little silly at times. The Clint Eastwood plan is terrible. I had a fun time watching this. It will be interesting to see what Mel Gibson decides to do next.
Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)Well, it got off to a great start with some Jocelin Donahue action but then, I don't know, it just never really pulled me in. There are a lot of talented people involved and everyone seems to be doing a good job, but I just never found it all that interesting. It's FINE for a PG-13 horror movie, but really good movies (of any genre) don't usually need those kinds of qualifiers. I feel like maybe I shouldn't have watched them both so close together as some things felt repetitive and I just can't take over 3 hours of terrified Rose Byrne, the poor thing.I look forward to listening to the podcast to hear what you guys thought - I have a feeling that if I had seen it in the theatre back then, with some breathing room between it and the original, I may have liked it more.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)OK, so this one's kind of a cheat too. But isn't that what makes Junesploitation so great? On this free space day, we get to watch WHATEVER WE WANT, which is what most of us do everyday anyway. So I watched this (read Adam Riske's review, here). If nothing else, this movie EXPLOITED how much I kind of ... love Keira Knightley? Maybe I'm still smitten by her character in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. REGARDLESS, this is a decent-to-above-average action thriller. #NOREGRETS
Above the Law (1988)First viewing of Steven Segal's debut feature. It's decent. Way too busy which detracts from the enjoyment of the movie. Segal is really good though. He's much looser in his early career and actually a charismatic actor here despite running like a girl (not an insult to girls, he runs worse than girls, it's an expression). Good location work.