#Junesploitation picks are here! It's your last chance to take part!
June 27 - Italian Horror!: Black Sabbath (1963, dir. Mario Bava) One of my favorite horror anthologies, Black Sabbath features Boris Karloff as not only the star of one of the segments but also the master of ceremonies. Unfortunately, Netflix has the AIP cut, which is inferior to the European cut you can find on DVD. Among the changes are Karloff's interstitials and the fact that AIP decided to put the scariest segment first. It's called "A Drop of Water" and it's awesome.
June 29 - Free Space!: Grand Piano (2014, Eugenio Mira) Wow, Elijah Wood is crushing this B-movie phase of his career. Grand Piano is maybe 3/4 of a really good movie until it comes crushing down with a meh ending. But before that, the photography and suspense alone make this one worth watching on Netflix. It is comparable to Phone Booth, but more fun.
June 30 - Revenge!: Oldboy (2013, dir. Spike Lee)
Based on the quick exit this one got from theaters, I doubt many of you have seen Spike Lee's Oldboy as of yet. It's something. Something extremely strange and yet also fascinating. Not much of it works, but as a curiosity it's worth a look. Lee is too talented a filmmaker to make a boring movie, so instead he makes a crazy one. I think about the random scene with the bellman eating popcorn all the time. If for no other reason, watch this so we can talk about the bellman eating popcorn. And Elizabeth Olson who is a fox. And Sharlto Copley, who is a terrible actor, especailly here. See? There are many reasons to watch Oldboy.
June 27 - Italian Horror!: Black Sabbath (1963, dir. Mario Bava) This Italian horror movie has two things going for it that many other Italian horror films don't: It features Boris Karloff and was distributed in the United States by American International Pictures. In the strange, inconsistent, and often befuddling world of spaghetti nightmares, those two factors go a long way toward making Black Sabbath much more watchable than its peers.
June 29 - Free Space!: Madhouse (1974, dir. Jim Clark) Vincent Price stars as a has-been horror actor whose career has sabotaged. He's out to revitalize it by any means necessary in this collaboration between the fantastic English studio Amicus and American International. There's a heavy revenge element, too, so you if you miss it on June 29th then you can watch it on June 30th.
June 30th - Revenge!
Death Wish (1974, dir. Michael Winner) Okay, you got me. I've already recommended Death Wish once this month but if you haven't seen it then this is your LAST CHANCE EVER to see it...before Junesploitation is over this year. It's really good! Maybe not as good as Death Wish III (which you probably watched on June 10th for Cannon Day), but this is one of the big studio attempts at exploitation (it's a Paramount movie) and I can't believe how satisfying it is. If you don't watch it, Chuck Bronson will come back from the grave and get even with you.
June 27th - Italian Horror:
The logical pick for this day would be Black Sunday, available on Netflix Instant, but if you are reading this column, I’m guessing that you have probably already seen it. May I then suggest two other Mario Bava titles?
Warning: Mario Bava is an acquired taste:
Baron Blood (1972):
or Black Sabbath (1964):
They are both pretty cool; Black Sabbath is an anthology film featuring the one and only Boris Karloff.
June 28th - Mockbusters!:
Robin Hood: The Ghosts of Sherwood (2012, dir. Oliver Krekel)
This “film” seems to be cashing in on all sorts of things: Robin Hood, ghosts, zombies, the popularity of Renaissance Fairs, the availability of Kane Hodder and Tom Savini for a few hours, and the gullibility of Netflix Instant customers.
Remember—exploitation doesn’t always mean GOOD.
June 29th - Free Space!: Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957, dir. Roger Corman)
Might I suggest we return on this most holy of free space days to the beginnings of drive-in exploitation cinema? Watch Roger Corman’s Attack of the Crab Monsters and see just how it’s done. The film features great use of (free) locations, a monster you could have made in the sixth grade out of paper mache, and Russell Johnson, the professor from Gilligan’s Island!
June 30th - Revenge!:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1982, dir. Jack Sholder) Patrick has waxed eloquent about this unique film in the past on this very website. I offer this viewing choice in celebration of last Tuesday’s federal court ruling that struck down same sex marriage bans in many states.
June 27 - Italian Horror!: Nightmare City (1983, dir. Umberto Lenzi) This is not a very good movie, but if you're looking for an Italian horror that's gory and stupid and ugly and mean-spirited (the way most of them would become from the late '70s forward), this is the movie for you. This is one of the movies we watched in the middle of the night during last year's Basement Massacre. See it and understand why Doug immediately went to sleep.
June 28 - Mockbusters!: Starcrash (1979, dir. Luigi Cozzi) There are a lot of days where I'd rather watch Luigi Cozzi's Starcrash than Star Wars, the movie it's shamelessly ripping off. The low-budget, hand-made effects have a ton of movie magic charm. The set pieces play like little dreams. The gorgeous Carolyn Munro becomes Han Solo, only she spends the whole movie in a black bikini. The movie also stars Christopher Plummer, Joe Spinell, Birdface William Katt (Marjoe Gortner) and David fucking Hasselhoff. I genuinely love this movie.
June 29 - Free Space!: Almost Human (2014, dir. Joe Begos) After 28 days of watching stuff from the '70s and '80s, it might be fun to watch something brand new -- even though it's made to feel like it's from the '70s or '80s. I reviewed this indie horror movie earlier this year and liked it for what it was and the way it did a lot with very little. Be sure to hang in there for the last half hour.
June 30 - Revenge!: Lady Vengeance (2005, dir. Park Chan-wook) Listen. The South Koreans have the market cornered on revenge movies. I'll have more to say about this one early next week, but it might be my favorite of Park's Vengeance Trilogy (yes, that includes the original Oldboy). The movie is beautiful and horrifying and heartbreakingly sad. It's not as "fun" as stuff on Netflix like Act of Vengeance (aka Rape Squad), but you'll come away from it feeling like you've seen a work of art.