BLOOD-SUCKING FREAKS: THE [FINAL FOUR] DANCE!Michio Yamamoto's LAKE OF BLOOD (1971, CON-TV) for the first time. TWO OPTIONS: YouTube (English Dub) or CON-TV (Japanese only with no English subtitles). After a prologue showing a little girl going through the same frights she will experience as a young woman 18 years later, Akiko (Midori Fujita) and her dog Leo return to a hotel near a lake she hasn't visited in years. Cat-and-mouse game ensues that will drag Akiko's doctor friend (Osahide Takahashi), her sister Natsuko (Sanae Emi), friendly boat operator Kyûsaku (Kaku Takashina) and other civilians into Akiko's nightmarish visions. The second of a trilogy of vampire movies Toho produced in the early 70's, "Lake of Dracula" is dripping with great atmosphere and production design. Some great gore/rotten corpse effects too, plus great make-up on the nameless vampire (Shin Kishida) that also looks scary when not showing off his fangs. Though its attempt to transplant the vampire mythos to a rural community in Japan makes no sense, neither did having "The Grudge" or "Ringu's" very Japanese-specific horror tropes in American form translate well here (my opinion). It's all about creating a mood of dread and despair, and in that regard "Lake of Dracula" delivers the goods. I tried something different for this one. I watched both the CON-TV and YouTube versions simultaneously with the former's Japanese audio while reading the latter's CC English translation. Vampire movies are all about mood, and watching "Lake of Blood" without knowing what the characters are saying (not recommended) still startles with its solid widescreen anamorphic framing. Worth a look just to see how adaptable (or in this case not) the Dracula myth is for this particular Asian culture. 3.5 WHITE COFFINS DELIVERED BY ACCIDENT TO THE WRONG ADDRESS (OR WERE THEY?) (out of 5).
Yamamoto's vampire films are fascinating examples of adapting the story forms of one culture into another. Lake of Blood is the only one I have not watched. The film I can speak of is Evil of Dracula, which has the traditional gothic tropes but still feels like a Japanese film. As you say, J.M., Yamamoto created great visuals in his films.The Vampire Doll is my favorite of what I have seen of his work. Beautiful to look at and poignant, it was among my top watches last October. It is an unmistakably Japanese film, too.
Agree, Casual. LAKE OF DRACULA (not "Blood"... ARRGGGH!!) has many problems, but visually it's nothing but net. It's gorgeous to look at, and watched properly (at night in silence) it's moody and atmospheric as... hell?
Lake of Blood would be a good title for a vampire flick, though.
CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER (1974, Hulu) for the first time.Young maidens are dropping like flies in the remote village of Durward, their life energy sucked from the rapidly-aged corpses left behind. So Dr. Marcus (John Carson) calls on his good friend Kronos (Horst Janson) and his assistant (John Cater's Professor Hieronymus Grost) to come save the day. The duo obliges and even pick a new companion on the way to Durward, Gypsy girl Carla ("Starcrash's" Caroline Munro), for the willing pleasure of Kronos' needs. No, really, Carla serves just two functions in the movie's plot: sex object (this is the closest Caroline Munro came to showing on-camera nudity) and bait to capture the "monster." Too-obvious-to-be-responsible red herring aristocrat siblings Paul and Sara Durward (Shane Briant and Lois Daine) are introduced to mope about their elder widow mother, and many locals resent Captain Kronos to the point they want a piece of him. Naturally our dual sword-wielding hero comes out on top because his righteous mission is never over. Armed with a sword made from a melted iron cross (because why not) Kronos readies himself for an ultimate showdown with the forces of darkness. It's not only his life calling, but now it's personal.Had to get in a Hammer picture before Junesploitation! ends, and this one came around the beginning of the end of the studio's horror cycle. It suffers from 'meh' direction by a one-and-done helmer (Brian Clemens) and has a heroic theme by composer Laurie Johnson that Kronos doesn't earn until the movie's last showdown. You can tell Hammer wanted this to be a new franchise to replace their aging monster flicks, but the too-obviously dubbed leading man doesn't do the dialogue any favors. There are fun stand-alone segments, especially when Kronos and the Professor test multiple death options (hanging, fire, stake through the heart, etc.) to arrive at the correct method to dispatch the big bad they're up against. Typical end-of-the-month 'it's fine' (TM) blues. 3 "TOADS IN THE HOLE" (out of 5).
I saw this last year (I guess) - and I don't remember a lot, other than that I had a good enough time with it.
The comic book sequels are really good!
Anthony Hickox's SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT (1989, Amazon Prime) for the first time.Coming to Vestron Collection Blu-ray this August, "Sundown" is one of the most ambitious failures I've experienced this month. What starts as a then-contemporary comedy about a community of vampires trying to survive on synthetic blood in the isolated desert town of Purgatory (basically HBO's "True Blood" but INTENTIONALLY funny :-P) becomes a full-on western by the time the ultimate showdown between good and evil vampires comes about. How and why these vampires end on separate factions of shoot-outs with wooden-tip bullets (get it?) delivers half of "Sundown's" sparse but well-earned laughs. The other half comes from director Anthony Hickox ("Waxwork," "Hellraiser III") assembling an amazing and large cast of character actors to either deliver standout individual work (John Carradine as benevolent vampire leader, Bruce Campbell as the bumbling distant relative of a famous vampire hunter, Maxwell Caulfield as a grudge-nursing preppy businessman, etc.) or play great against everyone else (George "Buck" Flower, "Twin Peaks'" Dana Ashbrook, John Ireland, pop singer Gerardo Mejia, M. Emmet Walsh as the "smarter" in a trio of gatekeeper elders, Deborah Foreman as a horny twenty-something vamp, etc.). This looks like it was a fun set to work at, which is why I'm looking forward to the bonus features in the upcoming Vestron Collection Blu-ray more than the actual film. I want to hear all the war stories. :-) I could easily write a 10,000 page essay on "Sundown." It's the type of so-bad-it's-good-but-punches-below-it's-light-weight ambitious, frustrating film that is a few extra million dollars, different actors, a few edits and some extra juice to the script away from becoming a classic. Chief among its many problems is that the Harrison family of humans the plot centers around are lame and uninteresting. Every comedy needs a straight man, but "Sundown" focuses too much on the conflict between David and Sarah (Morgan Brittany and Jim Metzler) at the expense of hanging out with all the weirdos in Purgatory. Love that these aren't All-American vampire types, but a mixture of nationalities/ages (Caribbean sheriff, European artists, German diva, etc.) because those were present in western/vampire movies of lore. The small budget is obvious, but that only adds to the charm of the low-tech special effects, minimal sets (Hemotechnics headquarters sure looks empty inside) and wacky tone of most performances. I struggled to rate this one, so I'm going with an extremely generous and biased-in-favor-of-grading-on-a-Junesploitation!-curve 3.25 STOP-MOTION BAT RAPE ATTEMPTS (out of 5).
And for my 14,685th review of this month (not really, but it sure felt like it! :-P) and last movie for Junesploitation! 2021... drumroll please...Douglas Schulze's MIMESIS: NOSFERATU (2020, CON-TV) for the first time. Also streaming with ads on TUBI.Was going to review Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu: The Movie," and even had the link to Patrick's review that made me want to see it ready to go. Alas, Amazon Prime dumped "Nosferatu '79" a couple of nights ago so I had to scramble. Found this low-budget 2020 feature that somehow roped Kristy Swanson to pull a Drew-Barrymore-in-"Scream" opening scene cameo and Lance 'I'll do anything for a paycheck' Henriksen to sit in a dark room and deliver ominous lines to be played back on a monitor. We start with a never-seen kid becoming so obsessed with watching the '22 "Nosferatu" over and over (on a film projector!?) that, spoilers, he kills his mother (a nice round of applause for Kirsty Swanson!) and disappears for ten years. In pre-COVID present times, a pretentious high school theater teacher (Joseph Scott Anthony) changes his plans for a "Dracula" theatrical production and switches it to an avant-garde interpretation of "Nosferatu." A typical cadre of students joins/drops out of the project, bringing their off-stage personal problems (dumped girlfriend, lonely rich kid, bullied artist, etc.) into their performances. Leading lady better be careful with those eye contacts, because the understudy is hungry for some on-stage time. This is the part of the review where I tell you how bad the acting by the mostly-unknown young cast is, how up-his-own-ass writer/director Doug Schulze (the fuck? :-P) is for naming characters 'Prof. Kinsky' or 'Mr. Dandridge,' how the low-budget is obvious, the gore effects decent but generic, the Henriksen scenes embarrassing, etc. But holy crap, you guys... it works! The cast and filmmakers are in synch, the story takes turns I didn't see coming by marrying the slasher tropes with a genre I wasn't expecting this feature would morph into. Apparently Schulze has another "Mimesis" film from 2011 that does for Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" what this one tries to do for "Nosferatu." Since Patrick, JB and Dracu-Doug met in high school and worked on putting up plays, I'd love to get their opinion on a horror slasher/genre-not-spoiled focused on someone's obsession with Nosferatu driving them batty. Yet another amazing Junesploitation! find in places I wasn't expecting to find them. 3.25 FOUR-WAY LUG WRENCH STABBINGS (out of 5).And my Junesploitation! 2021 odyssey is done! Thanks to everyone who read my reviews (sorry, really tried to make them short and failed miserably), loved reading everybody else's reviews. So many great year-long viewing suggestions come from this month-long event every June. And most importantly, HAPPY 4th OF JULY HOLIDAY! Or 'Happy Next Monday' if you live somewhere else. ;-)[Drops dead].
How? How do you manage to see this many movies?
One simple word: Unemployment. 😢😭
That is sad to hear. Mhh - you're a good writer (in my opinion, I'm not native in this language), but I don't know if there is any money to make with this skill and your knowledge about movies.
Not at all, good writers about any subject matter are a dime a dozen. 🙁 Traffic on text-only web sites is down, people want to see movie reviews only in YouTube-style short form videos (or elaborate long ones like Red Letter Media's).I'll find a job eventually. And when l do no more 4-8 reviews for Junesploitation! 2022. 2-3 per day, max. 😉😁
I also went through a bout of unemployment a couple years ago, during June, and while it made perhaps the best Junesploitation ever, it was pretty stressful and overall not a time I want to revisit. Hope you land something soon J.M.I kind of hate the YouTube "Here is my movie review" things. They're most often a few thoughts stretched out over a 5 minute span (get to the point!). While your mini-reviews here contain as many or more thoughts, and only take me 20 seconds to read, absorb, and appreciate.
CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE/ TERROR IN THE CRYPT (1964, dir. Camillo Mastrocinque) As a fan of Italian gothic cinema, I love an atmospheric film like Crypt of the Vampire. It is an adaptation of J.S. LeFanu’s Carmilla novella. This one I have watched several times on Amazon Prime as Terror in the Crypt, and now I own the Blu-ray through Severin’s Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee set. Though the presentation is not completely pristine, it is a big improvement on the 4:3 ratio version I have been watching. A young woman named Laura, a member of the aristocratic Karnstein family, is having nightmares about her family being killed. What troubles her is that the nightmares are turning out to be true. As the killing comes to the castle, everyone scrambles to determine who the murderer is.With a plot that is relatively weak, Crypt of the Vampire succeeds because of the black-and-white visuals and the atmosphere. This is a pretty film to look at and, though not particularly scary, has its creepy moments. The one major drawback is that the finale is seriously muddled, but few would say that Italian horror films exhibit much logic in the first place. I like the film for what it is and will probably have it on sometime in October.
Twilight (2008) - 4.5/10 Taylor Lautner wigs
Le Frisson des Vampires (1971 - Jean Rollin)I want to say that this movie is a poor excuse to get Sandra Julien naked on the screen, which is fine (I guess), she is beautiful. I also want to say that the acting and staging of some scenes is ridiculously bad. I want to admit - I had fun nonetheless. Hippie vampires in an old french castle (you can see that someone carved names in the walls, it looks really abandoned but beautiful) who try to make a just married woman a vampire, in conflict with her husband that doesn't want this to happen, interwoven with tendencies of poor vampire philosophy. It's bad, it looks beautiful, it's great. Does any of what I write make sense to you? I'm unsure at this point. This month is over for me, it was a blast.
No movie Jean Rollin ever directed made any goddamned sense. It's all about the sleepy pace, atmospheric locations and gorgeous naked chicks (extra bonus points if they're vampires, lesbian and/or both). Rollin's an acquired taste l'm quite fond of, since his movoes and Lucio Fulci's were my early entry into point into international horror back in the late 90's/early 2000's. 😎🤟😍
As J.M. states, Rollin is not about the story. If you come away from a Rollin film with good feelings, that is all that matters. Even with his not-so-good films, there generally is an image that will stay in your mind.
I can agree to both of your replies. The visual aspects, especially of the outdoor scenes, were great... and I had a good time.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979, dir. Werner Herzog)An inauspicious end to Junesploitation. I’d had Herzog’s interpretation of Dracula in my queue for several years and was grateful for the excuse to finally pull the trigger. As with most of Herzog’s movies, the things I find fascinating is his lens on the natural world. In this film, the fantastic supernatural elements are juxtaposed with bats and rats. And the rats. Hundreds of them. They’re used to represent a real killer, the black plague. And it’s unsettling and it works.Even from the title, it’s clear that Herzog’s vision owes more to Fritz Lang than to the Universal Monsters. Klaus Kinski’s performance, replete with his broad gestures and looming shadows but it’s his eyes that add something new and tragic. Red, and sullen and constantly on the verge of tears, Kinski’s eyes exemplify his singularly enigmatic acting style which propels this otherwise a fairly flat Herzog picture.Whew, 30 days of Junesploitation. I think my stand out discoveries this year Uncle Peckerhead (2020) and Infernal Affairs (2002). Thanks to Patrick and the gang, and all of your magnificent F-Heads keeping these daily comments alive.
My only regret is that I can't edit my posts to correct typos.
This is infuriating to me, too. :D I always see so many mistakes after my post is done... :(
*Auspicious! I meant auspicious!!!
Not being able to edit is indeed frustrating at times. I think Patrick has mentioned that he would have liked to have moved to a new platform, but didn't because he wanted to preserve the "history" of comments etc. that have been done here. And it seemed like it was impossible to migrate everything somewhere else.I'm just happy this community still exists after all this time, so it's easy to forgive any shortcomings about the format.
Blood for Dracula I’ve had the Criterion version of this movie on my shelf for a while, so when Severin re-released this film for their summer sale, I decided that it was the vampire movie that would close out my first ever Junesploitation.Also known as Blood for Dracula, this was written and directed by Paul Morrissey, despite the fact that some prints had director Antonio Margheriti listed.A day after the principal shooting for Flesh for Frankenstein ended, Morrissey had Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro and Arno Juerging get shorter hair cut and start filming. You can spot several directors in this film, like Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves) and Roman Polanski.The Dracula in this film (Udo Keir) is not the romantic master of women. Instead, he’s sick for most of the film, whining about his lot in life and the fact that there just aren’t many virgin women left. His familiar, Anton (Arno Juerging), has brought him to Italy in the hopes that a more religious country will have more virgins, as they are the only food that vampires can eat outside of a vegetarian diet.Il Marchese di Fiore (de Sica) believes that one of his four daughters would be perfect to marry Dracula, but he doesn’t realize that two of them, Saphiria (Dominique Darel) and Rubinia (Stefania Casini, Suspiria), have been deflowered by the Marxist handyman Mario (Dallesandro). Dracula soon learns that they are not pure by drinking their blood. While he is weakened, he is able to make them into his slaves.Dracula does succeed in drinking. the virginal plasma of the plain eldest daughter Esmerelda (Milena Vukotic) but not the youngest, Perla (Silvia Dionisio, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man).hat’s because Mario assaults her to destroy her virginity, which is somehow trying to be protective.Throughout this film, the noble traditions of the past are undone by the common man, much less the modern man. You can ascribe artifice to that or just realize that Dallesandro was not doing an accent, no matter what, and you got what you got. Which is kind of like how this movie has Andy Warhol’s name on it, leading people to wonder what he had to do with the making of it.He answered, “I go to the parties.”Here's all my Junesploitation reviews:https://bandsaboutmovies.com/2021/06/30/junesploitation-recap/Thank you for having me!
Happy to have read your reviews and watched a couple of your suggestions, sir. You're doing the Lord's work. 😃👍
VAMPIRE OVER LONDON (1952) Bela Lugosi plays a mad scientist who is maybe also a vampire, who is suspected in the disappearance of women all over London and he’s also creating an army of super-robots to rule the world. Sounds pretty rad, right? Sadly, one of the robots ends up with a shopkeeper named Old Mother Riley (played by a man in drag) and hackneyed slapstick ensues. There’s apparently a whole series of these Old Mother Riley movies, but I’m already done. Bela is of course the best thing about the movie, as he’s clearly delighting in poking fun at his own image. The robot suit is also great, in that clunky 1950s way. But this guy-dressed-as-an-old-grandma gag is tedious at best, offensive at worst. Bela deserved better (as he so often did). 30 days of Chinese fantasy movies, day 30 MOJIN: THE LOST LEGEND (2015) Some down-on-their-luck treasure hunters take one last job, running into supernatural freakiness. Reminded me of Army of Darkness, in that it’s a horror-comedy-action hybrid. There’s some attempt at a big sweeping romance at the heart of the story, but I fear the audience will be more into the tomb raiding and the undead killing. MOJIN: THE WYRM VALLEY (2017) Now our hapless adventurers are in explorer mode, searching for treasure in an uncharted monster-filled wilderness. This one feels more like the Jurassic Park sequels, in that we’re just running around the jungle getting chased by monsters the whole time. That’s appropriate because both of these movies are basically overblown theme park rides. Thanks as always to Patrick and the F This Community for another excellent #Junesploitation! This has been a rough month for me, so an excuse for some extra escapism has helped greatly. To paraphrase Bela Lugosi, “Exploitation movies of the night… what gore, boobies, and cheesiness they make…”
Jakob’s Wife (2021)Some couples need better communication, some couples need therapy, and it turns out some couples need vampirism. The always amazing Barbara Crampton (who also produced) stars as Anne, the wife of pastor Jakob (Larry Fessenden, always a welcome presence), and when we first meet her she is stuck in a rut, defined only by being the pastor’s wife. One late-night encounter with a vampire later and she’s headed on a hell of a journey of self-discovery. The movie as a whole is pretty great, helped along by a treasure trove of fun supporting performances by the likes of Bonnie Aarons, Robert Rusler, Jay DeVon Johnson, and CM Punk (I know he goes by his actual name these days but he’ll always be Punk to me). Add in a handful of well-staged scares, a story with something to say, and a very large bucket of goopy practical effects and you’ve got yourself a good time at the movies. I’m glad it was the last movie for this year’s Junesploitation for me too because it’s got probably my favorite final shot I’ve seen all year, a terrific note to end the movie on and also to put a button on this year’s festivities. Thanks as always to all who participated! Reading all the comments has been great and my to-watch list has grown exponentially as it does every year. ¡Viva Junesploitation!
Full Tilt Boogie (1997, dir. Sarah Kelly)Feature-length documentary on the making of From Dusk Till Dawn. Things sure have changed a lot since the '90s.
Wow, I had never heard of that. Thanks, I'll definitely seek it out.
Sweet, it's on Prime in Canada.
Vampira aka Old Dracula (1974, dir. Clive Donner)Originally called Vampira, this was renamed Old Dracula in the US in an effort to ride Young Frankenstein's coattails.David Niven's Count Dracula is alive and well in the 1970's, having turned his Transylvanian castle into a tacky tourist attraction and picking off tourists and random passers-by to keep his blood supplies up. But he's also trying to bring his bride Vampira out of her decades-long slumber, and believes a transfusion from the right young woman will do the trick. When a group of beautiful models visit the castle, Dracula takes blood samples from them all, and after mixing up the samples, gives her bride the black girl's blood, reviving Vampira but also turning her skin... *gasp* black!Well, it's not as problematic as it sounds. Unfortunately, it's not at all funny either. I mean I recognized the bits where the movie expected me to laugh, it just didn't happen. Not once. And then in the final moments it goes exactly as problematic as I was dreading the whole time. So, you know, not a recommend.
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)After watching all the Punisher movies yesterday I had to resist the urge to follow it up with all the Blade movies today. Fortunately I picked up the 4K of Bram Stoker's Dracula cheap on Prime Day, not that I think this is a movie the hugely benefits from 4K (but I didn't own it on blu-ray so the purchase made sense). I've always had a fondness for this movie though going back to seeing it in the theater when it opened, so it's maybe not the most adventurous pick for me to close out Junesploitation with, but it's a comforting one.
Blade (1998, dir. Stephen Norrington)Had to rewatch something good to get the taste of Old Dracula out of my mouth. This did the job.Thank you to all involved for another fun month! Now excuse me while I star to compile my list for Scary Movie Month...
Habit (1995; dir. Larry Fessenden) Ending a terrific month of Junesploitation! with some arty vampy Fessendensploitation! Looked forward to every day watching these movies and reading the J! articles. So many good recommendations and first time watches and just good vibez all month. Here! Here!
Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968)Directed by Hajime SatoWatched about a nice a print as you could hope for on the Criterion Channel.Ok, long story, but a airliner crashes after a UFO encounter. (Surprisingly, the miniature sets and models of the plane crash are good, with super vibrant matte paintings in the background.) There’s two passengers who are terrorist bombers, a sadistic psychiatrist who wants everyone to turn on each other, businessmen, pilot, and senator alpha males, a drunk wife who would prefer anyone to her husband, and Kathy Horan (the sociopath from Nihonmatsu’s Genocide) is here as well. Sort of a LOST set-up here. One of the terrorists is killed in the crash, and reanimates, takes a hostage, leaves the plane and encounters the UFO, and some weird alien latex blobs, and his forehead splits open, and the blob crawls in, and he mutates into a vampire. Yeah, it’s weird and all over the place. There’s hypnosis, weird horny groping, alien possession, gaijin-hatred, proposals of human sacrifice, and bad craziness. All the survivors are in conflict, all trying to take control, and yelling at each other. Kathy Horan gets off some of the best quips: “I hate war! In it, everyone is miserable!” She’s getting pretty crazy by the end of this. The vampire has this vaginal slit going down his forehead and nose that would make Cronenberg proud. Eizo Kitamura, the senator, is a walking manga drawing brought to life, if you watch this, keep an eye on his expressions. Every time a victim is drained by a vampire they turn sort of silver. The whole movie is super-wacky, both intentionally and unintentionally funny, and worth yr time. There are weird moments when the alien silver blob (shit) enters or exits (poops and/or penetrates) the vaginal slits on the vampires’ foreheads that has to be some kind of weird fetish for somebody, somewhere. Great ending, totally bleak. Humanity’s doom is intimately tied to nuclear experimentation and warlike behavior. Good times. No, really!
Love at First Bite(!979)Dir: Stan DragotiGeorge Hamilton's Dracula and Arte Johnson head to America after being kicked out of Transylvania. Their goal? Locate a supermodel played by Susan Saint James whom Dracula thinks may be the reincarnation of his past love, Mina Harker. They meet in a disco and its instant attraction only heated up even further by the disco soundtrack. Much nightlife is loved. Much boogying is had.After Susan and Dracula's first night together Susan tells her part time lover and unpaid doctor of psychiatry, Jeffery Rosenberg played by movie MVP Richard Benjamin. Rosenberg whos real name just so happens to by Van Helsing quickly surmises that Dracula is the Dracula and sets out to save Susan. Confession. I am a Richard Benjamin fan. His directed hasn't really been my forte' but I really loved Actor Benjamin when I was a kid watching three of his movies whenever I could. Saturday the 14th(which sadly does not hold up), Scavenger Hunt(Holds up as of last viewing) and this one. While not the gutbustingly funny film my memory or my inner child claim it is I still found the film to be funny and a quick watch. Although Benjamin is the MVP all the actors give their 100%. Im glad to see while it didn't hold up completely and like all movies made in this era(era) its got some "product of its time issues" but I had fun with this revisit. Be warned my glasses may be a bit tinted. Its on DVD and Blu.
HOLLYWOOD VAMPYR (2002)D/P: Steve Akahoshi(a frist-time watch via BRAIN DAMAGE FILMS dvd)There’s enough going on in this SOV goth scene melodrama to be the pilot of a TV series. Teen girls are turning up suicided after they get into goth. Kano from MORTAL KOMBAT (Trevor Goddard, the ’95 version) has a large, upside cross painted over one eye & a website. Fatal is a collegiate goth being tutored by her lip-glossed buddy, Tom, but she’s in too much turmoil to study. Kano goes by Blood in this flick. Blood & Anubus are on the outs, but Blood can’t get a liquor license for his club. Is this turf war turning violent? Was that an insurance scam? Is somebody gay? Is somebody pregnant? Is anyone a vampire? Goth-techno & ‘90s porno music fill much of the soundtrack to this movie that offers cops, upset locals, possibly vampyric powers, philosophy, rehab, Ayn Rand, a psychedelic dream & an annoying college professor. It’s pretty well put together, & while I want to say it’s goofball goth camp nonsense that doesn’t earn the Brain Damage “Helllooo Gorehounds” intro, I think I kinda liked it.
Near Dark (1987)First, let me just say that I love vampire movies. I vote that we always have a Vampire Day in June from now on.Now, let's talk about Near Dark, an unapologetically badass vampire western which slaps almost all the way through. Kathryn Bigelow (in her proper directorial debut) imbues the movie with a ton of attitude and visual swagger, even if the story isn't always as seamless as you'd like. The movie starts out strong and peaks in the middle with two fantastic back-to-back sequences: the roadhouse massacre and the bungalow siege. It's a shame that the third act doesn't really live up to all the great build-up (this includes a crucial plot twist which all-but derails the whole story by severely lowering the stakes), but overall, the movie is a dusty, grimy, gory delight, recommended to fans of horror and western alike. As a sidenote, I find it delightful that half of the bloodsucking hillbilly gang comes straight from Aliens (which actually is playing in a theater in the background of one shot). And to the suprise of no one, it's Paxton who steals the show.And that's it for my second Junesploitation. Despite some difficulty keeping up in the final stretch I managed to make it to the end in one piece. I crossed 30 movies off my watchlist, added dozens more in their place, and had a blast reading through everyone's reviews. Thanks for all the good times, FTM!If anyone's interested, here's my top 5 most enjoyable screenings this month:1. Night of the Comet2. Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion3. Hedwig and the Angry Inch4. House on Sorority Row5. Gas Pump Girls
This was my first choice for today until I found out I wouldn't have access until July. Looking forward to finally watching it!
Wrapping up Junesploitation with a Jean Rollin double feature.REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE (1971) This was one of the first films I ever streamed on Netflix back in 2011. It probably was my introduction to Rollin’s oeuvre, too. REQUIEM has all of his trademarks: two young women, vampires, nudity, graveyards, old ruins, and atmospheric night-time shots. The film begins with the two young women, dressed as clowns, having some kind of shootout with a pursuing car. The women flee across the French countryside and encounter vampires at a ruined castle. Will they get be able to get away before they are forced to join the world of the living dead? This film is all about the visuals. The scene in the graveyard with a piano be played at night with torches held by the other characters is truly beautiful. The close-ups of the two lead actresses can be mysteriously captivating. Having watched the bulk of Rollin’s 1970s productions, I can say that REQUIEM is not among my top films from him. It is not a waste of time, however, if you like Rollin.LIPS OF BLOOD (1975)This and Fascination, from 1979, are the Rollin films that left the biggest impression when I first went through his filmography. (Incidentally, I watched both of them in one night. It was a great night.) Seeing Lips of Blood almost a decade later, the film still holds up as one of Rollin’s strongest films. He had matured as a filmmaker, and the story is not merely a bunch of random events to attach pretty images to. A man sees a picture of a ruined castle, which triggers a vision of being at that castle one night as a child with a young woman dressed in white. With the trauma of his father’s death blocking out his childhood, he is not sure if it is a real memory or a delusion. What follows is not the most logical plot, but there is an emotional core to it that keeps the film moving along. The Rollin tropes I mentioned above are here, but everything is more heightened than in Requiem. LIPS evokes many feelings. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray looks terrific. It is a shame that Rollin's auteur period essentially ended with this film.
Thank you for another great Junesploitation, Patrick. I enjoyed reading about what everyone was watching the past thirty days. There is a sheet of paper full of titles I will be trying to get to at some point. Maybe next June. Around 80% of the films I saw were first-time watches. I largely stuck to my plan of viewing movies in my collection or on the DVR, which has meant that I have not gotten as crazy with my selections as past years. Still, there is a satisfaction in reducing the number of unwatched films lying around me in boxes. The problem is that I keep adding more discs to get around to.
I also mostly was watching well known movies that I had somehow missed before, without delving into anything obscure. Like what Christmas does to some peoples waistlines, Junesploitation does have a way of bulking up the already bulky watchlist!
Thirst (2009)A priest turns into a vampire after a medical experiment. Lots of fingernail trauma. Recommend.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014, Persian, Hoopla) The girl is the vampire, and she is alone much like the vampire in Let the Right One In. The movie strives hard for a very cool vibe w/ black and white cinematography, snippets of Morricone and a detachment by all of the characters. The movie did not engage me because it was determined to stay chilly, but I did enjoy seeing a vampire in a full hijab riding a skateboard.
I adore this movie. Not much in the way of 'sploitation, true, but what a vibe.
Let Me in (2019, dir. Matt Reeves)I liked this one a lot. Twilight it is not!! I can't compare it to the original material - Let The Right One In - which I know is held in high esteem. Did that help my enjoyment? Perhaps. Michael Giacchino's score was gorgeous too. Welp, another successful Junesploitation in the books. Thanks, Patrick and Company!
Nosferatu (1922)Dir: F.W. MurnauGlad I can finally check this one of my list. I Can respect this film for what it is and imagine it probably terrified its original audiences. Schreck has haunted many peoples dreams for years just due to how many times clips of him in this film pop up. As a historical artifact and for all its contributions to horror cinema and film in general its a classic. That said while I respect it as a narrative feature I can admit this was not for me. Maybe it like what killed John Carter for others. I have seen so films using stolen bits and pieces of this movie in an homage or just outright theft that when I finally see the original it falls flat. Im not sure but I was hoping to love this like Scarface. Instead I'll just admit to myself I got to this one a little late.its on Shout TV and Tubi (warning the Shout TV version took 2 and a half hors to watch a 1 and a half movie due to commercials. Multiple breaks I had to sit thur 6 ads. So I recommend Tubi or just renting it)
Blacula (1972) - Wrapped up Junesploitation with my first viewing of this classic. While the budget certainly shows, there are some effectively scary moments, interesting subtext, and a compelling lead performance by William Marshall as the title character (thankfully they get the "Blacula" name it of the way early and never mention it again).On a side note, this has been an awesome month of movies! So glad I could finally dive in after years of wanting to.
Blade 2 (2002)I watched Blade for the first time several months ago, and had been saving this for Junesploitation. I almost half convinced my kids to watch it with me (they hate anything that sounds scary, even though they watch anime that is 10x more brutal and scary than anything here), but they backed out at the last second. Wow, great sequel. It really built up on everything from the first, added a whole new part of the mythology, a few surprises and twists, some badass Snipes, and just really worked. My favourite part, as kitschy as it sounds, was at the end when the old mentor guy throws something (is it a ninja star? Is he trying to kill him? Another twist?) at Blade near the end, but finally it's just a pair of sunglasses that Blade perfectly no-look catches, then puts them on like the motherfucker he is. Love it!
I managed to watch a movie a day this year (with a 5 movie marathon on Sci-fi day), with the exception being the last Free Day a couple days ago. But very late last night after celebrating/imbibing a bit with a friend (It's Canada Day, so bit of a holiday here), he asked me to put something on, and scrolling down the list through his Prime algorithm, I saw Highlander!. So that's my Free Day pick.I didn't know much about this, except that people were immortal and trying to kill one another. When the otherwise normal people started brandishing swords in parking garage, I knew I was in for a good time. Despite the hour being late, I ended up staying up and watching the whole thing. Thanks for Fthismovie for hosting this wild month! It was a joy to participate as always. My kids participated in 6-7 days as well, and although they were protesting a bit by the end ("do we have to? Let's just watch Brooklyn 99 instead"), they enjoyed watching a variety of movies that they wouldn't have otherwise watched. I think the weirdness (not to mention uncomfortably long sex scenes) of Conan The Barbarian will stick with them for a while.
BTW, it was my first watch of Conan. I didn't intentionally expose them to long explicit sex scenes with Schwarzenegger. I had to step out and "do something or another in the kitchen", and was surprised it was still going minutes later when I returned.They said their favourite of the month was The Quick and the Dead (1995) which hopefully means they'll be open to watching more westerns in the future.