Recent Additions: Mar 2020

Psychotronic Review

This post is coming out a bit late because I’ve been so busy doing the Anniversary posts. Those take a lot of work. And as long as I keep them going, I don’t really need to do this monthly post. But I’m not sure how long I’ll keep up with the daily posts. We’ll see.

There weren’t as many films last month and many of them I’d seen long ago. As a result, it’s probably a better selection than usual.

  1. Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957): There is something about Roger Corman. Regardless of the film, he tends to do a better job than other low-budget directors. That’s fully on display here. Also, the 60-minute run makes for an enjoyable experience.
  2. Billy the Kid vs Dracula (1966): As is often the case with such films, I like this one a lot because of the sweet romance. Who would have thought a title like this was a great date film?
  3. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010): This film is horrible, but not in the ways people say. I have already started using it to help people see all the things that most low-budget films get right. Filmmaking is vastly more difficult than most people realize. Regardless, there are things that this film does well and Whitney Moore is great.
  4. Born in Flames (1983): This is an iconic feminist/queer film that proves that social justice advocates can be very funny. When I got to the place where a woman is rolling a condom on a man’s erect penis, I had to go back. I thought I imagined it.
  5. Bride of Frankenstein (1935): The film that made 7-year old Frank throw up! After they are done terrifying us, the best horror films inspire us in other ways. For me, the best moment her is when the Monster pats the hand of the Bride. It’s so sweet. And tragic.
  6. Bury Me an Angel (1971): What a strange film this is! Much of it is directed like the Keystone Cops. But its undertones are all dark and the ending is shocking.
  7. The Conqueror (1956): Most universes collapse on to themselves when John Wayne plays Genghis Khan. And face it: it’s been downhill ever since we survived it. I can’t really recommend anyone see this film, despite it being well made. But everyone should watch at least 20 minutes of it just to have the experience of Wayne being so badly cast.
  8. Dark City (1993): Before The Matrix, there was this. It’s shockingly good and repays multiple viewings.
  9. Demon Slayer (2004): This is a fun but forgettable film. It’s mostly just a teen drama with horror laid over it. It would have worked without the horror. But I could have used more.
  10. Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! (2006): Timothy Muskatell is a real find. He is vile as hell in this film and it’s nice watching him die. The supporting cast is also really good. Excellent film to show on Easter if anyone did anything for the holiday.
  11. Evil Clutch (1988): Sure, it’s a rip-off of Evil Dead. But the plot has more focus and the gore is wonderful.
  12. Frankenstein (1931): Even though it isn’t as good as Bride, there’s a reason it’s a classic. Later monster movies lost sight of the fact that monsters can be both terrifying and sympathetic.
  13. Hell Asylum (2002): Another Timothy Muskatell film where he plays a disgraced TV producer trying to make a come-back with a horror-related reality show. He makes the mistake of staging it in a place that really is haunted. Great, often amusing, horror.
  14. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966): Not as good as Billy the Kid, which was made at the same time. But it’s still fun.
  15. Jim, the World’s Greatest (1975): Don Coscarelli’s first film is about a high school boy who tries to protect his younger brother from the anger of their alcoholic father.
  16. Kenny & Co (1976): Coscarelli’s second film puts the rest of his career into focus. He’s really interested in the world of guys and their culture of cool tricks you learn from The Anarchist Cookbook. I need to write about this some time.
  17. The Long Good Friday (1981): I first saw this at a small movie theater in Los Angeles a few years back. I mostly remember feeling really bad that there were no longer theaters like this near me. The film is great.
  18. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008): This is the only one of the franchise that I’ve seen. It’s okay. It goes at breakneck speed through most of it. But it’s hard to care too much.
  19. Mutant Aliens (2001): This animated feature by Bill Plympton is really good and disturbing. It’s what you expect of him.
  20. Puppet Master II (1990): I know this one as “the Nita Talbot one.” It’s not one of my favorites, but I’ve had a crush on Nita Talbot since I was a kid.
  21. Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994): I’m always amused when a franchise announces that a film is the final one. The 13th or 14th Puppet Master film will be released this year. And yet, this film was kind of the end of that first series. Of course, the third (and best) one moves out of that timeline altogether. But I like this one more than most.
  22. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): I didn’t see this film when it first came out. I was too afraid to do so. But when I saw it, I was amazed to find that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. For one thing, it’s a lot funnier and more political than I ever would have expected. And unlike most horror films, its chilling nature stays with me. In particular, that house is as ghoulish as ever. It may turn me vegan yet.

Summing Up

There’s an incredible diversity of the films here — both in terms of content and budget (and technical abilities, at least when it comes to one of them). And that is what I want to capture, even if my main focus is on low-budget horror.

It gets harder and harder to keep track of all these films. Just for this post, I had to go back to what I had written in Short Takes to remember what some of the films were.

Remembering more distant films is that much harder. Just now I was wondering, “Is the blind man in Frankenstein or Bride of Frankenstein?” (It was Bride.) But I think this says a lot more about me than it does the films. I’ve always been this way.

One funny aspect of this is that I will often start watching a film only to notice that I’ve not only seen it before but written about it. Oh well. I continue watching.

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