We have a lot of films this month — partly because I finally finished off all of the films of JR Bookwalter. But I’ve also been trying to watch more films. There are so many that I feel ignorant even though I’ve watched way more films than a reasonable person has.
As you will see, I’ve gone back to films that I liked in the past. But I’ve been watching a lot more recent films. It’s easy to miss adding them to Short Takes because it’s harder to put them into any kind of perspective. It feels better to just let them marinate in my subconsciousness.
But for now, I have 31 films that were added this month with some final thoughts on them.
- The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958): probably my favorite Ray Harryhausen film. This one tells a compelling story and really would work without all the animation.
- Bless the Beasts and Children (1971): the perfect film for teenaged boys then and now. It holds up remarkably well. I still think Teft is cool and my heart bleeds for Cotton.
- Bride of the Monster (1955): probably my least favorite Ed Wood film, it still has its moments. It could be the perfect film to introduce people to Wood because it’s only up from here!
- The Briefcase (2011): the first feature film of Jason Krawczyk, it’s quite engaging and clever. It’s also funny. But it’s only a warm-up for Krawczyk’s masterpiece (see below).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992): a film I love even though it is very uneven. The denouement is particularly disappointing. But the clever dialog and excellent performances make it irresistible.
- Clash of the Titans (1981): another Harryhausen film. For some reason, I just don’t like it that much. But I suspect that says rather more about me than it does the film. It has everything you’d expect.
- Don’t Look in the Cellar (2008): a surprisingly good no-budget with good acting. And with such a cheeky title, how can you not love it?
- The Eyes of My Mother (2016): a Netflix production that proves death is not the worst thing that can happen to you. It features an amazing central performance by Kika Magalhaes and a simple, horrifying story.
- Future War (1997): the result of a troubled production, I still rather like this film. At worst, it’s good to keep your film appreciation skills exercised.
- He Never Died (2015): the best film I’ve seen in a long time. Jason Krawczyk makes everything work with a brilliant script and some idiosyncratic shooting techniques. The casting it great too — from Rollins on down.
- Koreatown (2007): from another of my favorite writer-directors who toils in obscurity, Michael Kallio. Although not as good as Hatred of a Minute, it’s still a solid story well rendered.
- El Mariachi (1992): the legendary $7,000 feature film. It’s just superb, regardless of its budget. I really like Robert Rodriguez’s work, and this film is as good as anything he’s done.
- Maximum Impact (1992): a surprisingly good no-budget action film. It’s things like this that give JR Bookwalter his mystique. How did he do this?!
- Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933): this is so much better than the Vincent Price remake — good though it is. I especially love Glenda Farrell’s fast-talking reporter.
- Orgy of the Dead (1965): a softcore fetish film with Ed Wood’s usual obsessions. This is a really enjoyable and beautiful film.
- Ozone (1995): JR Bookwalter’s masterpiece. Drugs are turning people into zombies and a cop tries to figure it all out before he too becomes a zombie.
- Phantasm (1979): pure horror mixed with male bonding. It’s no wonder this film spawned 4 further films — all of them good.
- Pietà (2012): if you’re into art films with torture and incest, this is the film for you! It’s really good with some great moments. But it’s not for everyone.
- Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959): according to many, the worst film ever made. In fact, it isn’t even Ed Wood’s worst film. It has some interesting parts although I never feel the need to put it on.
- Polymorph (1996): this is a really good film that combines science fiction and crime drama. Excellent script by James L Edwards.
- Rated X (2000): a surprisingly good bio-pic about the notorious Mitchell brothers. Stylishly directed by Emilio Estevez.
- Robot Ninja (1989): this is JR Bookwalter’s bloodiest film, and that’s saying something. The new release is far better than the original release, so if you haven’t seen it recently, you should do so.
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968): Polanski’s classic about a woman impregnated by Satan is as effective as always. Watching it recently, I was particularly struck by the exceptional body horror.
- Rounders (1998): although a standard melodrama, this film is just a lot of fun with all its details about the world of cards and con artists.
- Rubber (2010): the only film I know about a tire that comes to life. This is such a clever film, I never tire (haha) of it.
- The Rubber Gun (1977): this Allan Moyle and Stephen Lack collaboration is really compelling. It is very much like hanging out with a bunch of drug addicts for 90 minutes.
- The Sandman (1995): a lot of people really like this film. Although there are some things I really like about it (eg, Matthew Jason Walsh’s performance), I’m not that fond of it — at least relative to other Bookwalter films.
- The Sinister Urge (1961): one of Ed Wood’s lesser-known and better films. I prefer Jail Bait.
- Spring (2014): this is a weird combination of horror and coming-of-age stories. It has some excellent horror moments.
- Starry Eyes (2014): stardom presented as horror transformation. This film works well. I suspect it is also very funny for the right audience.
- Zombie Cop (1991): my least favorite Bookwalter film. But like all of them, it has its champions.
Some art films have been appearing in my recent viewing with films like Pietà and Spring. That’s okay. But I’ll get back on more pure genre stuff soon, I’m sure.