by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.
Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
In terms of new-to-me recommendations, I’ve had a strong month. I finally got around to seeing the Bob Balaban romantic zombie comedy My Boyfriend’s Back, which I’ve wanted to see since 1993 but never have. It’s really cute and I admire how “Yes and…” it is in its comedic stylings. Here’s a movie that could have stopped cold so many times for characters to react to the situation, but it never does that. The '90s were a good time for retro-'50s/'60s nostalgia on film, and My Boyfriend’s Back scratched that itch for me. Plus, Traci Lind!
Carnival of Souls (‘60s black and white horror) and Spring (doomed romance between man and creature). A few minor quibbles aside, I got really involved during the movie and it has a wonderful sense of setting (taking place at a seaside amusement pier). The other one was the 1993 remake Body Snatchers, starring Gabrielle Anwar (omg) and Meg Tilly. This movie moves. It’s around 90 minutes but felt like 30. It’s scary, stylish, and very moody.
Event Horizon, which I hadn’t seen in a theater since its initial release in 1997. That movie’s always been a favorite of mine and it gets a boost in the theater where the visuals look great and the sound overwhelms (plus you get to hear the end credits song by Prodigy in movie theatre stereo!). The crowd was fun. Every time Laurence Fishburne would say “We’re leaving” or “Fuck this ship,” people cheered. I also stayed for Alligator with Robert Forster (RIP), which was okay (the pink 35mm print at 3:45 A.M. didn’t help), Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers was a first-time watch that I enjoyed. The surprise of the bunch was Retribution, directed by Guy Magar. That movie’s bananas and very entertaining (and neon). To my delight, I learned last weekend that Magar was one of Mike Pomaro’s teachers in film school. I want to go back in time to audit that class and ask hundreds of Retribution questions. The guy clearly knew what he was doing, taking a goofy premise and ‘80s-ing the shit out of it.
Lastly, I revisited Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Kristy Swanson (omg everlasting, but her politics) and Luke Perry (RIP) and went from being mixed about it to really liking it this time around. I’m not sure what happened, but it completely worked for me in a Night of the Creeps kind of way. I know you’re a big fan of the TV series, did you like the movie too? I miss Michelle Trachtenberg. Where did she go?
Rob: I am a huge fan of the series! I always mean to revisit the movie (the Blu-ray seems to have taken up permanent residence in the Best Buy bargain bin), so I’ll make a point to do it before the end of October. I’m glad you’ve had so many positive revisits and new discoveries this year!
Next up was Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), an alleged horror/comedy starring Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley, Jr. as a pair of tabloid reporters investigating strange goings-on in the ancestral home of Dracula, himself. This movie made me uncomfortable. Goldblum is Goldbluming as best he can in the straight man role (his wardrobe deserves a chef’s kiss), and ‘80s comedy regulars like Jeffrey Jones and Carol Kane give the whole thing a broad, Mel Brooks-y vibe, but it feels too dated and desperate to engender any good will. It’s Ghostbusters-sploitation, a formless pitstop for up-and-comers on their way up to more prestigious roles. Worst of all, its final ten minutes are spent paying off a joke that is far too elaborate to ever be funny. I’ll give it credit for this, though: It has a funky theme song.
Shaun of the Dead podcast, it’s definitely suffering from the limitations of low-budget filmmaking (look out for the clever way they make a clearly empty bar seem crowded), and the acting is sketchy, at best. Still, There’s an earnestness that compels me to wish Van Dam-Bates and her crew luck in their future projects. Watching it reminded me how much an indie film can live or die by its tone: we tend to forgive low-budget comedies for their rough edges, but there’s something about a more serious effort that makes the seams show a little bit more.
Plans for the rest of the month include choosing one of my remaining “must see” movies (I won’t get to all four), and finally filling in a major Movie Shame with Salem’s Lot, which I realized recently that I’ve been confusing with Pet Sematary for years. Friend of the show Rob Galluzzo was showcasing some Blu-ray deals on his Twitter feed the other day, and Salem’s Lot was among them. Felt like a good blind buy with which to end the month.
Adam: I’ve owned Salem’s Lot for a couple of years but haven’t seen it either. Let me know how it is. I’m planning on closing out the month with a sneak preview of Doctor Sleep and binging the Turner Classic Movies lineup on Halloween night, including The Seventh Victim, From Beyond the Grave, The Bat, and Bride of Frankenstein. It’s been a fun October, but I’ve been fading towards the end. As of this writing I watched 55 horror movies in total during Scary Movie Month. I’m looking forward to watching some non-horror starting on November 1st. I’ve been wanting to see Western Stars, Parasite, and Motherless Brooklyn and I can’t wait for The Irishman, which is starting to play in theaters by me on November 8th. Are there any new releases (or older non-horror titles) you’ve been holding off seeing until November?
Rob: I mean, Charlie’s Angels, obviously. Happy Scary Movie Month, everyone! We’ll be back next week with more Reserved Seating. Until next time…
Adam: These seats are reserved.