Another month of unique movie watching. I finally got past a bunch of arty “horror” films, which, as much as I liked them made me long for the simple pleasures of straight horror. But I didn’t watch as much stuff as usual because I had guests and lots of work.
There’s a lot that’s been sitting around. I just got a collection of blaxploitation films (one of which is below). I also got a collection of monster movies. I should probably avoid these because most of the films in these low-cost collections are usually available online for free. But I also think I should reward people who go to the trouble of putting worthy films on disk.
- The Big Boss (1971): My brother was a huge martial arts film fan. The main thing I remember from those days was the over-the-top sound effects — a punch sounding like two-by-fours colliding. That’s mostly what I notice now.
- The Black Gestapo (1975): This film could really use a bit more second-unit coverage. But overall, it’s pretty fun and has something to say. And that’s a pretty awesome title.
- Blood of Dracula (1957): Don’t mistake this for the Warhol film. This is a 1950s teen horror film. And it’s quite good! If you’ve seen I Was a Teenage Werewolf, you know the plot.
- Clownado (2019): this one was recommended to me by a friend as one of the worst films ever made. I liked it. It’s low budget and campy with some of the most disgusting gore around. The filmmakers seem to think the insides of humans look like a shepherd’s pie.
- Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968): This one is a lot of fun in the way those 1960s British horror films usually are. Although they are supposedly the stars, Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee aren’t in the film that much. But that’s okay.
- Dead & Rotting (2002): This is the only film David Barton ever directed. And it’s pretty good! Personally, I identified more the “bad guys.” But it still works. It has some decent make-up effects but little gore.
- Demolition Man (1993): Films like this are always a problem because at base they push a very reactionary political theory. But the first half of this is incredibly clever and worth checking out. The end is by-the-numbers action.
- The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967): Roman Polanski’s vampire film spoof. It’s okay but I didn’t find it amusing at all. I’d love to hear from someone who did. I’m sure some do. It’s really well made regardless.
- The Fuzz (2014): A surprisingly good cop comedy with puppets. If you like silly movies with puppets, I don’t see how you can go wrong.
- I Am Not a Serial Killer (2015): All my life I’ve believed that Christopher Lloyd was a space alien serial killer and now I have proof! When it comes to arty horror films, you can’t go wrong with this one. And it’s very sweet. This film ages well in the mind.
- Jug Face (2013): This film shows how much you can do with a limited budget, but my main takeaway is just, “That was Sean Young?!” It’s a film where you feel sorry for pretty much everyone.
- Knights of Badassdom (2013): Here is a silly one. It’s about a group of LARPs (live-action role players) who accidentally unleash an evil creature into the world. It’s my kind of film but I like The Last Lovecraft a lot more.
- Let Us Prey (2014): International horror has exploded over the last decade or so. This Irish film (set in Scotland) has echos of about a dozen past horror films. It’s really serious for an hour and then goes completely crazy for a half-hour.
- The Mummy (1932): I’ve loved this film for a long time. It’s rare a horror film manages to make the villain just positive enough that you really aren’t sure who you want to win. This is also Karloff at his best.
- Night Moves (1975): This is one of those great 1970s paranoia films — as a PI film. The first time I saw this film, the ending lost me. So watch closely, but do watch!
- Night of the Demon (1957): They really like their occult films in the UK, don’t they? This one isn’t really scary, but you do care about the main character and the way he gets out of his trap is clever.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): although I have problems with the ending, this is one of the best horror films ever made. You simply must watch it.
- Nina Forever (2015): Now that I think about it, this is kind of like the prototype of Her Name Was Christa. The film is a lot of fun even with all the young angst. But if you can’t make it through it, don’t attempt Christa.
Slow month, I suppose. I’ve been disorganized because I know I watched some new films that I didn’t get around to writing about. Unfortunately, I have no memory at all. I had to look up some of the films in this list just to remember what they were.
Films like Blood of Dracula really highlight just how hard it is to even begin to cover all the low-budget films that have been made. And it only gets worse. The number of movies that deserve to be seen is only accelerating.
There are three films that everyone should see if they haven’t already: The Mummy, Night Moves, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Of the recent films, I think I Am Not a Serial Killer and Let Us Prey deserve attention even though they have a few problems.
But every one of them is worth watching.