Sunday, December 31, 2017

Holiday Lost in Translation: Terror Train

I'm out of obvious New Year's Eve Films.  To make up for it, here's a double-dose of Poster Insanity...

The first one is not too uncommon, but I might as well highlight its insane glory again...
The other comes to us from Thailand and, damn, it is crazy...
Both are crazy.
Both don't tell you what to actually expect.

What would you think if you never watched this Film?!?

Here's the originals for comparison...
Just a bit of color and polish.

Happy end of 2017, folks!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top 10 Films of MY 2017!

This time, it is the best Films that I watched this Year that didn't come out in 2017.  If I didn't see something you like, well, tough.

Honorable mentions: The Creature Below, Brainstorm and The Birth of a Nation.

10. Nothing Left to Fear: A dark, random Film that was surprisingly-good. It sure came out of nowhere! A solid, reliable DTV Horror Film with some good visuals and finale to boot.

9. The Love Witch
: A fun and stylish romp.  The Film does quite well when it tries to match the 1960's/70's aesthetic.  The only downside is that it is a bit too long for my taste.  If it were simpler and 90 minutes, it would be closer to the Top 5.

8. Of Unknown Origin: A tense Thriller about a man chasing a rat in his house.  It's better than it sounds, thanks in no small part to Peter Weller.

7. Under the Shadow: A Period Piece Horror Film that is also set in a unique Country *and* partially-deconstructs the whole Genre. It's an 80s Horror Film set in Iran. What's not to love?

6. Alphaville
: A French Classic.  Do you need ME to explain why this is a Classic?

5. Better Watch Out: A fun, simple deconstruction of Slasher Film Clichés.  Without SPOILing too much, the Film puts you in the place of following a bad person on their one-night-journey into infamy.  Do you want them to succeed?  Do you want to see them brought to justice?

4. Beware the Slenderman/Batman and Bill: These two Documentaries cover very different subjects- a killing made in the name of a fictional monster and the life of an underappreciated man-, but both affected me in a good way. Unfortunately, only one of them has a good ending (of sorts) so far in real life.

3. Toni Erdmann
: Is this one good enough to lure Jack Nicholson out of retirement?  This Best Foreign Film Nominee is quite good and talks of a Remake are in place.  They sure can't keep all the Nudity in, right?  Good stuff.

2. Train to Busan: Korea breathes a little bit of new life into something routine. While the Film breaks no major ground, it was made so well that it deserves all the praise it gets. It's just not a fun romp.

The Void: Dark and freaky. This one is good enough to not fall solely into cliché. As a bonus, Dale Cooper's nemesis from Twin Peaks returns to mess with a new Generation. This one is a must-see for Horror fans.

Those are my picks.  I had to really look back and make sure that I didn't miss any.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Top 10 Surprises of my 2017

Here's the basic rule- if it wasn't what I expected, it makes the List.

It can be in a good way.  It can be in a bad way.  It can be in a 'WTF am I watching?!?' way.

All clear?  Good.

10. Beware the Slenderman: A serious Documentary?  Why not?  I didn't know what to expect when I was given a digital version of this Film, but found it to actually be quite interesting.  I'm certainly not just mentioning it since a Verdict for one of the Defendants just came out last week either.  Good Film.

9. Demonwarp: I knew that it would be weird.  The Poster featured a Swamp Zombie-thing, George Kennedy with an axe and Alien Spaceships flying in the background.  Actually watching it, however, proved that it was still even crazier than I thought.  Aliens turn men into Bigfoot to kill people to fix the ship while a 19th Century Priest worships it- why not?!?

8. Czechoslovakia's Beauty and the Beast: Earlier this Year, I watched 2 different Versions to connect to the new Disney one.  The French one is a Classic and generated many of the ideas in Disney's versions- like everything in the Castle being alive.  This one is way more obscure and turns the Beast into a Bird Man that drinks Deer blood.  No, really.

7. Wild in the Streets: That got unexpectedly-dark!  The first of two Films that got its Plot outdated very first- the other being Daddy's Gone A' Hunting-, this one is still darker.  Daddy's featured a man hunting down and terrorizing an ex-girlfriend that aborted their child (back before Roe v Wade).  This one outdoes it, however, by featuring a megalomaniacal Singer becoming President, rewriting the Constitution to let his fans under 15 vote themselves into the Senate AND forcibly dosing anyone over 30 with LSD.  Holy shit!

6. Nothing Left to Fear/Under the Bed: Two low-budget Horror Films that sound forgettable.  They both didn't suck!  Good for you.

5. Astro-Zombies M3: The late Director managed to make this boring.  How did a tale of mutants who kill people with machetes get so dull?  I'd ask him, but, well, you know.

4. It Comes At Night: Is it Horror?  No.  Is it about Survival and in-fighting?  Yes.  Is it depressing?  Hell yes.

3. Twin Peaks: I knew that it would be weird.  Who could have ever predicted that it would be THAT weird though?  Focusing on random, new people.  Barely-explaining anything.  Spending over 75% of the time making you follow a version of McLachlan that you don't care about.  Even for you, Mr. Lynch, this was weird and random!

2. Instant Death: Lou Ferrigno's Taken.  In his '60s, the guy is trying to be an Action Hero again.  The actual Film is super-dark and super-violent. a thing.

1. Batman and Harley Quinn: You turned Batman into Porky's!  Actually, that one is a Cult Classic. turned Batman into Porky's Revenge.


So those were my biggest Surprises of the Year.  Did I miss one?  Let me know.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Top 10 Films of 2017 (That I Reviewed)

Just like the worst List, if I didn't Review it here, it doesn't make the List.  No offense to all the good Films that I just didn't see and/or talk about.

Honorable Mentions: Blade Runner 2049 and 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri were really good Films.  If I Reviewed them, they'd rank pretty high.

The Guardians was not good in most regards, but is so blatantly just 'The Russian Avengers' that I love it.

Justice League Dark and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract were both fun, enjoyable DTV Films.

10. Kong- Skull Island: Considering how disappointing the 2014 Godzilla Film was for me, this one is just so much better by default.  While by no means perfect, this makes for a great Creature Feature and, most notably, a legitimate start to a Cinematic Universe.  It stands on its own and sets up other things.  Why is that so hard to do?

9. Dave Made A Maze: A quirky Film that gets 1,000 points for Style and Creativity.  Does it make much sense?  No.  It is just the right kind of quirky for me.

8. Raw: It is certainly not for everyone.  In this case, it is a deep, dark and divisive Film that is for all you meat-lovers out there.  While it is a slow burn, the final product is delicious.  Food references over.

7. Batman vs. Two-Face: The best Animated Batman Film of 2017 is also the least celebrated.  Adam West's final Film (AFAIK) is a good one, giving him a new Villain to match up against.  It has the look and fun of the original Series while also giving you a deeper Plot than you'd expect.

6. Wonder Woman: Sisters are propping up the DCCU by themselves!  This one is just a good Film.  How did this come from the same Studio as a bleak Batman v Superman, a badly-edited Suicide Squad and a tonally-confused Justice League?  It's just good.

5. Thor- Ragnarok: I've been going back and forth on which spot this Film belongs in.  The Film is quite fun and has some depth to it.  Overall though, it is just not quite as deep as the other two and soars based on the fact that Thor is finally fun in a solo Film.  My enjoyment of this will probably grow on repeated viewings.

4. Spider-Man- Homecoming: Thank Heaven that Marvel got their hands on the license!  This one gives us a fun, but also balanced Spider-Man, a surprisingly-deep Vulture and even fun with Happy Hogan.  For being a quality Film that delivers in ways that you didn't expect, it rises up the chart.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy- Vol. 2: While many complain about it being 'more of the same,' I got a lot of fun and depth out of this one. This one built off of the last one and actually gave everyone more depth. It is the second-best Comic Book Film for me to get a genuine emotional reaction (you know the scene). Where do we go from here?

2. Get Out: A brief respite from Comic Book Films. It was a tough fight for #1 and this narrowly is #2. On most people's lists, this wouldn't be a contest. I really liked this one and it is certainly no insult to place it at this spot. As a great standalone Film, it is a winner. I just have to go with my gut on this one...

1. Logan: The best and most gut-wrenching Comic Book Film of the Year. While I could care less about most of Hugh Jackman's output (like him playing a famous abuser of Animals right now), he was a great Wolverine. In this non-canonical Film, he has a big ending. If he doesn't come back to the role for Marvel, this is a great send-off. If he does take the big pay-day, this one will still be remembered fondly.

That's my List.  I'm sorry that more of the usual fare isn't on here, but...that's just not what he do very often.  C'est la moi.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Triple B Flix: Enemy Gold (1993)

The return of Andy Sidaris...kind of.  Today's Film is Enemy Gold, a 1993 Film released the same year as the planned end to the LETHAL Ladies Series.  By this point, the Cast was mostly changed out and that Film would prove to be the last thing that Dona Speir would do.  Don't misunderstand me- she's currently alive at the time of Writing; she's just not Acting.  So why make another Film so soon?  Well, he didn't.  Instead, his Son named Christian Directed this one, with Dad and Mom as Producers.  In other words, they paid for it.  The Film is Co-Written by Drew Sidaris.  Who is that, you ask?  Why it is...Christian Sidaris, being credited by his middle name first...for some reason.  I don't get it.  In any event, this is not an official Film in the 'Series,' but is basically the same Film with minor tweaks.  Let's see what the Son can do, I guess....
I used this German VHS Box, so I had to blur it!
This one begins quite differently than the rest with some footage of Civil War re-enactors.  Odd.

...oh, this is supposed to be real.  Right!  So this one actually begins with the set up for the story- lost Gold.
We meet 2 new Agents- played by previously-seen Actors- and a new one.  They stop some drug dealers, but get busted by their Regional Boss.  Why?
Because he's corrupt- of course!  He's working for this Drug Lord- played by that guy who is in all of these- and suspends them.  The other villain wants more.
As for why their Boss can't help them, she's too busy posing naked for the Movie. 

Yes, she does appear topless and objectified before even being given a name or personality.
The bad guy hires a lady assassin and it's...Julie Strain...again.  She literally just played this role in the last Film!
The trio decide to go camping and start looking for the lost gold.  They find a Diary that leads them to it, which is notable because...
The man's story ends with both him and his companion dying after hiding the gold.  Did his diary cover this part?!?
Skipping past the random, drawn out Action Scenes and the numerous PG-13 Sex Scenes, the two villains both find the gold and fight over it.

In true Sidaris fashion, it is solved with an unusual explosive device (a crossbow bolt).
They celebrate by way of one guy having one more Sex Scene with the Boss and then a wrap-up...where they tease doing it some more.  The End.
Through a mirror badly.  This is NOT an Andy Sidaris Film.  This is an Andy Sidaris Film.  While he's not the Writer and Director, it is still clearly his Film.  It is kind of like how the Ninja Turtles Films weren't actually made by Michael Bay, but they also clearly were made by him.  In this case, it is a bit more over though.  There are still hot Government Agents fighting bad guys over some MacGuffin (be it gold or a gem or something else).  They all end up having sex with each other.  They always blow up the villain.  They always wrap up happily, despite murdering anywhere from 4 to a dozen people in the Film.  Christian Sidaris did nothing to change any of this.  He just made the same Film with some of the same Actors.  What's worse- he did it in the same year as the 'Finale' to the Series.  In other words, he sold the exact same thing less than 12 months since the last one.  Also worth noting- Hard Hunted and Fit to Kill also came out in 1993.  Damn.  The Sidaris Family must have been 'laughing all of the way to the bank' (assuming these made much money)...  
Next time, an obscure Italian Horror Film.  Will it be as interesting as the Title implies?  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Lost In Translation?: Black Christmas (1974)

Well, if I don't use this one now, it will sit there until next December!

One more look at the Poster for the Holiday Classic- this time featuring some festive colors and Spanish...
While it contains all the elements that it should, it is just all over the place.

Neat mix of foreground and background subjects though.

Here's the untouched version for all you completists...
I made it more colorful and mixed.  Ho Ho ho.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Holiday Quick Reviews: Better Watch Out (2016)

It took a Year to get to Audiences across the Internet, but now it is here.  Merry Deathmas, folks!
A pair of 'lovely' Parents- the Film's biggest stars- leave their kid alone with a Babysitter on Christmas.
He takes this opportunity to drink and partake.  Why?
He has a thing for his Babysitter and wants to make his move tonight!
Unfortunately, the pair are not alone as danger lurks outside.
What does the deranged person want with them?  What is their holiday endgame?
Well, so much for the rescue.  Who will live?  Who will die?

Since I'm all about no SPOILERS, you'll just have to watch and see.
Good stuff.  I obviously can't go too in-depth here, as I want there to be surprises for you lovely folks at home.  The Film has a nice, clean and stylish look.  I do wish they hadn't borrowed that 'Move the camera down with the Actors' bit from James Wan though.  That's just me nitpicking, since that is what I do.  The Film does a good job with the Acting, especially as things take all sorts of strange turns.  The Film may cheat *a little* at times, but it is acceptable.  It is one of those things where they had a really interesting idea and maybe had to finagle things a bit to make it all work.  As a whole, I really liked it.  It is one of those things that works when it is not done too often.  If there are like 3 more of these in the next couple of years, it will be played out.  Better Watch Out is a fun, inventive take on the Genre that should be checked out if you are a more jaded Horror fan.  If nothing else, you get to see Max's Brother from Stranger Things really get it!
A good, fun twist on the Holiday Slasher Film.  Only time will tell if it becomes a tradition or as forgotten as most Christmas Horror Films I cover here.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Holiday Trash: Silent Night, Deadly Night- Part 2

Review Day!  This is Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2, the Film that inspired a Meme.  Show of hands for people who have seen more than just the Gif.  Yeah, not too many of you.  Back in 1984, a Film 'shook the Nation' by being about a guy killing teenagers...but dressed as Santa.  After a Trailer was released, protests began.  Why?  They didn't want kids to think that Santa was a killer.  I already did the Film where *the real* Saint Nick was a murderous Pirate, so I'll hold in my outrage.  A couple years later, someone wanted to *re-sell* the Film to people.  The idea: have Ricky (the Brother of the killer) be interviewed about what happened.  Somewhere along the line, they just kept shooting new footage with Eric Freeman and an actual Film was born.  The result is barely even a new Film- shocking.  The Acting is terrible, the Production is sometimes laughable and the whole thing is just ridiculous.  Let's watch, shall we?
Ricky here is the younger Brother of Billy.  His brother went crazy after numerous traumas and killed people about 10 years earlier.

Eric Freeman here is playing 'Ricky.'  He's an amusingly-terrible Actor, not aided by the Script.
The 'Film' takes up over 39 minutes just with Ricky talking to some guy in a Facility and recapping the first Film.  Yes, even the parts he was a baby in AND the parts that he wasn't there for.

Before you say the 'Billy told him,' just remember that some of these parts happen in the gap between the pair last meet and when Billy shows up for like a minute before dying (seen below).  He didn't recap shit!
Now that the Film is half-over, we see how young Ricky is scared of Nuns (sure) and then we see 15-year old Ricky kill a guy who tried to rape his girlfriend.  He doesn't kill her too, so he's better than Billy in one regard.

This Actor, by the way, is in like 100 Animes doing Voice-Acting.  Good for you.
On top of the random killings by Billy, Ricky gets in on the act.  This one is for you, Mythbusters.
Now an Adult, Ricky gets a girlfriend and goes to a see a Film with her. about a killer Santa.

Three things:
1) That is so META that it hurts.
2) Why is there a Film about this 10 years after Billy's small-time killing spree?
3) This is just footage from the first Film!  It's also in a WORSE Aspect Ratio than the same Footage from earlier in this Film!
With less than 20 minutes left, Ricky snaps and goes on his infamous killing spree.  Head shocking and choking galore!
While the 'Garbage Day' bit is hilarious, I almost find this one to be funnier.  Random Cop shows up and holds his gun right in front of Ricky.  It ends...poorly.
After killing folks and being locked up amount of time, Ricky escapes to kill the Nun.  We have 10 minutes left, so get in that costume!
He somehow tracks the Nun down (who now has facial scarring for some reason) and kills her...only to be shot by the Police like Billy.  Joy.  The End.
Ugh.  To be fair, this Film is funny as hell.  Mind you, it is NOT a Comedy.  It is just so juvenile and inept at doing the basics of what you'd expect from a Slasher that it makes you laugh.  Eric Freeman was clearly not given a good Script or direction (keep making mean faces- perfect!).  All of the Acting is pretty over-the-top, but never quite in the 'in on the joke' sort of way.  Obviously, half of the Film is a complete waste.  I have to ask one thing too- why is the Footage used as a fake Film Within A Film in a worse Aspect Ratio?  It is the same Film that they used seamlessly earlier in the Film!  It is also worth examining the amusing timeline of this.  First- the Intro is now clearly in 1977.  Second- the bulk of this Film now takes place in 1994.  Does it look like it?  It is kind of like how that last Universal Mummy Film from the Golden Age has to take place in 1995, mere years before the actual Reboot happened!  The Film is just chock full of questions.  Why cast a different Actor for 15 year old Ricky if he's only 18 as Freeman?  Why are there 5 people playing the guy (Baby Ricky, Original Young Ricky, New Young Ricky, 15 year old Ricky and Freeman's Ricky) in one Film?  How does he escape the facility?  How does he know where the Nun lives?  How does he cut her head off with an axe and then reset it so cleanly (since severed heads don't bleed) that she appears to be alive?  The guy made a quite literally-seamless cut across her neck!  The whole thing is just pure '80s trash...and I kind of love it.  It doesn't work as a serious Film, but it is the most amusing of the Series for me so far.  Yes, even funnier than 6th Ricky (aka Choptop) stalking a blind Psychic on Christmas.  I'm laughing...even if the Director isn't in his Cameo.
Next time, we skip past the Holidays with one last bit of Andy Sidaris.  Will the streak be broken?  Stay tuned...