BARBARA CRAMPTON!'s PAIR OF GOODIES: :-PDavid Schmoeller's PUPPETMASTER (1989, 90 min.) on Hulu for the first time.A little bit of a cheat since Crampton only has a brief 'Special Appearance' as a woman having her future read by Dana Hadley (Irene Miracle), one of four people with psychic abilities being "called" by the spirit of recently-deceased former paranormal investigator Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs) to the Bodega Bay Inn hotel he'd been restoring with wife Megan (Robin Frates). As the opening 1939 flashback shows, this was the place where puppeteer Andre Toulon (William Hickey) went to his grave to keep the secret 'Egyptian spells' to transfer life to inanimate objects from falling into German hands. 50 years later, Toulon's puppets are awake and the psychic human guests can't see what's crawling beneath their set-up-for-kinky-sex bed posts.I've never seen a "Puppet Master" movie before this one, but I have seen Stuart Gordon's "Dolls." This is basically co-writer/producer Charles Band stripping the latter's corpse of its signature features (Richard Band's score, David Allen's stop-motion effects, etc.) and creating an infinitely-expandable mythology conductive to many sequels. It lacks the creative driving force of Stuart to bring it all together as a feature, but the designs of the puppets (Tunneler, Torch, Leech Woman, etc.) are instantly iconic. I miss the days when Paul Le Mat could be the lead of a horror movie in which the "hero" does nothing heroic. I see, I see... more "Puppet Master" sequels in my Scary Movie Month/Junesploitation! future. :-)Jackson Stewart's BEYOND THE GATES (2016, 84 min.) on Netflix Instant for the first time.Since Mr. Stewart was kind enough to help Patrick with the Italian Horror Party! podcast I'm returning the favor by sampling his "Stranger Things"-meets-"Friday the 13th: The Series" low-budget feature. Two estranged brothers (Graham Skipper and Chase Williamson) and one of their girlfriends (Brea Grant) are forced to play a sentient VCR board game that may explain why their loner father disappeared seven months prior without a trace. Cue the spooky atmosphere, brief-but-intense moments of graphic gore and unsettling mood from VCR game hostess Evelyn (Barbara Crampton, because BLACK-AND-WHITE-IS-BEAUTIFUL-SPLOITATION!) silently staring into the camera. Using an abandoned movie rental store as one of its key locations strikes a note of nostalgia for a bygone era of movies that, thankfully, co-writer/director Stewart doesn't use as a crotch to get viewers to buy the homage to 80's horror fantasy he's selling. Even when the budget/acting limitations show, "Beyond the Gates'" well-chosen core cast and decent execution of its simple premise carries it to a satisfying conclusion and inevitable set-up for a take-it-or-leave-it sequel. As 'F heads' like to say, 'it's fine.'
As a quick aside, that video store is the legendary Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee, the first video rental place in the L.A. area, which is also still open and operating.
From Beyond (1986)andSun Choke (2015)Patrick has already expressed in detail what makes these movies great, and Adam Riske also has a good review on this site for Sun Choke so I don't need to go into too much detail aside from saying that I really enjoyed both. Time permitting I'm going to try to work at least one more movie into my day and one of the great things for this day is that so many of Barbara Crampton's movies are available on various streaming services (in the U.S. anyhow, YMMV).
Beyond The Gates (2016)Next costume party I am donning a blond wig and going as Witchy Barbara Crampton. She goes large, and I love it! This movie really grew on me. I don't have the exact same nostalgia for the VHS or the VHS board game as others. But as J.M says, it's not the most important feature of the movie. Even though I liked the 80s retro feel, for me most of that was in the background (well except for my girl B-Cramps). For me it was a movie about the relatonships between the characters, they felt mature real, and well developed. Yes, the ending was a little rushed, but I could have spent in that house with those characters.
We Are Still Here (2015)This is very much my favourite of the night. Barbara Crampton is great as a grieving mother, she plays it very still and very quiet. In fact I love the stillness of the first chunk of the movie, how nearly every creak of the house mattered. I liked what this movie has to say about grief in general. Then Larry Fessenden eats a sock and then it all kicks off. There is more I want to say but I am worried I am going to ruin it for those who haven't seen it more than I already have.
Road Games (2015, dir. Abner Pastoll)It's not a remake of the Australian movie, which means it pulled a Planet Terror-esque deliberate title mislead, which I love. It's good-looking and has good performances, but it's a twist-based story with an easy to predict path, and doesn't have terribly good taste. It all stacks up very satisfactorily, just not very interestingly.Cold Harvest (1999, dir. Isaac Florentine)Hot facking dockedey dang yow! A post-apocalyptic Escape From NY style sci-fi western starring Crampton and Gary Daniels!!! (and Gary plays twins!!) I was giving this an 8 out of 10 before it'd even started. It didn't hurt that this was completely ridiculous, stupid, and fast-paced. Too much fun. Highly recommended. And why the fuck is it called Cold Harvest?? Who cares?!Kidnapped (1987, dir. Howard Avedis)Barb is visiting L.A. with her younger sister, and the sister gets kidnapped by crooks who hook her on heroin and put her in porno movies. David Naughton is the cop with a pet chimp helping track the girl down, who says "Screw the warrant! I'm gonna nail these guys!!" twice to his Lt., Charles Napier. Jake from Savage Streets is one of the thugs. And so is Chick Vennera (who you might know from one of several Andrew Stevens '90s skin flicks... I know I did), who knows karate, apparently. I immediately recognized the sinister mansion where the sister is sequestered as the same one all the action takes place at in They're Playing With Fire; a quick check with imdb later, I realized, "Oh yeah, that's because it's the same director's next movie immediately after that one!" It was also his last!The Sisterhood (2004, dir. David DeCoteau)Intolerable sub-soft-core dreck from a not-even-trying DeCoteau. I love Creepozoids, Dr. Alien, and especially Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, but 90% of his stuff is straight up unwatchable, especially during the past 15 years; I'm part of the camp that doesn't understand what's so hilarious about A Talking Cat!?! (At least not when you're having to actually sit there and watch it.) This is a soft-core lesbian vampire movie with no nudity. Let that sink in. There's quite a bit of making out, but that's as racy as this movie gets, and it's clearly more focused on the guys (as you'd expect from D.D.) This is a movie that gives the impression of a plotline without bothering to have one. It's like if, for some reason, someone saw The Howling: Reborn, thought it was incredible, and tried to shoot something comparable in about two weeks with $3000 (and Barbara Crampton was their next door neighbor who agreed to help out for a weekend.) They'd make something, but it'd be crazy and exhausting nonsense, just like this is.
Beyond the Gates (2016)Very enjoyable!Feels at home with the high concept/low budget, films of my youth. And of course, as the characters repeatedly say, Barbara Crampton is amazing.
Body Double (1984)Yes, Barbara isn't in this one very much, but she's there in a bit role and... not clothed. I've seen most all the Crampton classics, but I'm woefully uneducated on DePalma.This sleazy thriller is fantastic and so much fun! It's incredibly well made with fascinating shot composition and a score that is out of this world. I absolutely loved it!
Uh oh, I feel a DePalma rabbit hole starting here - get ready!!
haha I think you've guessed right.
De Palma is my second favorite director and I am proud to say I finished watching all of his films last year (except for a couple shorts that are unavailable or hard to get). From his very first feature - "Murder à la Mod" (1968) you can tell you are in for something special.
Well now you've got me in suspense as to who your first favorite is!
Oh sorry! Thought that was common knowledge around these parts - Lynch.
That comment I just wrote reads back to me as douchy - like people give a fuck or know my fav. director. Apologies, man!
Aside from Melanie Griffith's star-making performance, Body Double was pretty much panned when it first came out. Fortunately, it's gotten a much better reputation as time has gone on. The score (by De Palma favorite Pino Donaggio) is great - especially the cue that plays during the first appearance of our "favorite neighbor."
Yeah, and so was "The Shining".
If I made a top 5 favourite list Body Double would be on it.
Everyone should have at least one De Palma in their top 5.
Hmmm. Based on your avatar, Ross, I've got a pretty good idea of what your top De Palma film would be...
lol I must have missed the announcement Chaybee. ;)
Lindsay have you NOT made a top 5??? #Handshake5
I'm trying, the 5th handshake is proving difficult.
From Beyond (1986, dir. Stuart Gordon)Like Ross said above, go read Patrick's excellent write-up from today if you need convincing on why you should see this movie. But you should see this movie. Re-Animator is definitely my favorite of the Gordon/Yuzna Lovecraft movies (haven't seen Castle Freak though), but From Beyond gives Crampton a lot more to do, which is a big plus.And thank god for physical media. I did a quick search and found exactly two Babs movies available to stream here in Finland (Little Sister & Road Games). That's counting Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes and Google Play Store. Shudder's not available here, don't know about Full Moon.
Sun Choke (2015)Um....uh....I kind of feel like a kid giving a book report on a book that he read, but it was above his reading comprehension level. While the disturbing tone was very effective, I have no idea what I just watched. In fairness, I may have just not been in the right mood for something so obtuse, I'll definitely have to rewatch this one at some point.Sarah Hagan (excellent, by the way) is Janie, a woman held in captivity by her (therapist?) Irma (the always wonderful Barbara Crampton) after experiencing some sort of mysterious trauma. Janie ventures out and brings another woman (Sara Malakul Lane) into her situation, and the proverbial excrement hits the cooling device. Like I said before, I definitely need to see the movie again to really give it a chance to click, at the moment it's all just semi-random haunting imagery dancing around my mind. I'm sure there will be other Junesploiters watching this one today, I'm looking forward to reading other takes. I'm stumped.
"a women held in captivity by her therapist after experiencing mysterious trauma". Wait, is this a remake of Friday the 13th: The New Blood?
You're Next (2011)It was time for a re-watch of this psychological thriller (everyone, it's a horror. Even Netflix agrees)
Cold Harvest (1999) Dir. Isaac FlorentineBased on E.S.A.D.D's recommendation and being that I've seen a large chunk of Crampton's filmography I figured this was a worth a shot and boy was it ever! I should have known being from the director of "Undisputed" II and III, both Adkins "Ninja" films and "U.S. Seals II" (which I watched earlier this month and is a batshit crazy and overlooked action film) this has all of the quality you would expect from Florentine. From the zoom-in/close up/slow-mo, Hong Kong style fight mojo to the "PM Entertainment" vibe to Gary Daniels' glibe (I made this word up to rhyme, it means "swagger", btw) I can't agree more that this was a ton of fun! Crampton isn't given much to do (though she does perform a couple minor stunts!) but her presence is all I ever need anyway. During a very odd scene where Crampton is sponging herself off and shows some side boob, Gary says "You have beautiful back. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that". Thanks for putting this on my radar, E.S.A.C.H.A.N.G.E.Y.O.U.R.F.I.N.G.N.A.M.E.A.L.R.E.A.D.Y.D.D!
Isaac Florentine is awesome! I watched a clip on Youtube (in French, sped up, and split into 2 simultaneous playing screens) and this looks awesome! Only available for physical purchase, so it'll have to wait for Augustsploitation.
Super glad you were into it, man! I've noticed that an immediate tell that someone's a lousy actor is that they'll let out a deep breath right before or after a line, like somebody's disappointing them. Gary D. is the king of this. If you took a drink every time he does it, you'd turn into a supermassive ball of flaming gas.
HA!!! Perfect name! :)
BEYOND THE GATES (2016) Had a feeling everyone would be talking about this today. It’s described as a nostalgia-fest, but there’s more to it than that, with an undercurrent of sadness throughout the movie. Even the nostalgia is sad, with the camera slowly wandering through the rundown video store at the beginning, as if to say, “This is the distant past.” I liked the movie a lot, and will definitely return to it in future Octobers. ROAD GAMES (2015) On IMDb, this is Crampton’s only executive producer credit. Two young hitchhikers fall for each other, and then run afoul of a mysterious husband and wife. It's Before Sunrise, but with murder. Some great performances and some nifty twists and turns. The acting and character work is so strong that it’d still be enjoyable even without the horror/thriller stuff. FRATERNITY VACATION (1985) A nerd tags along with two super-cool frat guys for fun in the sun. I’m totally not an expert in these things, but does this movie strike anyone else as being just a little homoerotic? The three guys have a trying-on-clothes montage, they hang out in the sauna together, and one guy’s nickname is “Mother.” That’s subtext, though. On the surface, it’s your basic bikini comedy, with practical jokes, comedic misunderstandings, and lots of awesome '80s synth-pop-rock tunes.
I loved how you described Beyond The Gates. There is a sadness of how the characters relate to each other and how they try and deal with the past.
Chopping Mall (1986, dir. Jim Wynorski)Barbara Crampton and Kelli Maroney? Count me in. I'd heard the name lots of times before (most recently in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), but this movie was a total blind spot for me. Based on the title I was expecting a slasher.It's not in the pantheon of classic 80's horror, but it's fun enough and the 76-minute runtime means it keeps moving at a brisk pace. Babs is the MVP.
Oh, it's definitely a classic of the 80's. I rented this movie over and over and over again. It's one of my favorites! Definitely a robot-slasher! I LOVE this film so much!
Oh sure, that comment was entirely subjective. For me, it's not on the list of 80's classics I want to revisit.
Oh, cool. Understood.
It's ok Chaybee, I love Chopping Mall. It's definitely different, and I understand why it's only ok to some, but it's right up my alley.
Beyond the Gates (2016)Really enjoyable, and worth your time. The ending was a little anticlimactic for my tastes, but the rest of it appealed to me so much that I can get over that. The first key scene with the X marks the spot stuff was so creative, and absolutely made the movie for me. I'll probably return to this in October, and enjoy it even more.
Chopping Mall (1986)Murderbots disrupt a totally bitchin' party at the mall furniture store (DEFINITELY the happening place to be in the 80s), leaving our brave, horny 20-somethings to fight their way out. Barbara Crampton is funny and charming at first, but when the trouble starts she's saddled with being the whiny, panicky one. Still, the movie has a fun sense of its own silliness, without sinking into camp. It also has good life lessons, such as how paint is really a dangerous explosive.
Castle Freak (1995)As a horror movie it's fairly slow-paced, but the focus is more on a family who have been unsuccessfully trying to move on from tragedy. Combs has to deal with his alcoholism and his feelings of guilt, while Crampton has a built-up resentment for her husband and at times is also overprotective of their blind daughter. There aren't a lot of gory scenes here likely due to having a direct to video budget, but when they do come they're fairly well done. Probably wouldn't be that entertaining for people who don't already have some built-in affection for seeing Combs and Crampton together on screen but for those who do it's absolutely worthwhile.
Beyond the Gates (2016)Why didn't someone tell me this movie was so great?!For me, the anxiety starts almost immediately - look at all those VHS tapes OH MY GOD THEY HAVE TO PACK THEM UP WHAT A FUCKING NIGHTMARE! I mean, do they have special VHS boxes that fit a certain amount perfectly? How many boxes is it going to take? Are they trying to keep track of the order? I'm on edge from the get-go.Love that it's heavy on relationship stuff (even the awkward handshake/hug stuff that feels a tad forced pays off so satisfyingly in the end, it's totally worth it) but with some really good horror set-pieces. It may not be best showcase of the complete Barbara Crampton package but she's totally captivating whenever she's on the screen. I love it early on when she's just waiting for them to do something. She has this great look that's like, "I'm waiting for you but I'm happy to wait forever if I have to." I don't know, there's something subtle about it and it doesn't seem like an easy "acting move".I haven't used Netflix for anything but kids shows in awhile and I'm so glad I happened to notice this was on there the other other day - I've been hearing great things about it for so long and I was not disappointed!
Reanimator (1985) This was too awesome. Anytime someone can pull off a Lovecraft adaption I'm always very impressed but this was next level! I absolutely loved this.
Sun Choke (2014)Well, that certainly was a movie.
Replace (2017, dir. Norbert Keil)There's certainly stuff to like in this movie, about a woman with a bizarre skin condition who requires constant skin transplants to stay healthy...but new skin becomes harder and harder to come by. It's well made enough and the score is kind of cool. B. Cramps is really good in a supporting role as the doctor who created the procedure, even though I feel like she's starting to become somewhat typecast in a certain type of role. In the end, though, the movie just doesn't stick with me and has a fairly disastrous ending. Oh well. Glad to have seen it. Also, Richard Stanley is a co-writer! That Richard Stanley!