Sunday, September 05, 2021


  1. Bloodsuckers - Tonight I strapped #1D into her chair and slid Bloodsuckers into the DVD player. She was suspicious at first but perked up when she saw Peter Cushing's and Edward Woodward's names on the opening credits. Lulled into a false sense of security, the full on assault of crash bang wallop "we'll get a movie out of this fucking footage if it kills us!" editing that starts the movie left her wide eyed in terror. This is a TERRIBLE film. Apparently (and if this was the film I would now be doing a British 1960s advertising voice over some random footage of Greek fishermen) the money for this baby ran out during principle shooting in Greece and various attempts were made to get a coherent film out of what they had - new sequences were were shot with new actors (including someone adding a seven minute druggy hippy orgy sequence) and it didn't work. The film is a glorious mess and D#1 and I had the most fun MST3King the hell out of it.
  2. Night of the Living Dead - #1D finishes her whistle-stop introduction to zombie movies by finally getting me to watch which she's been trying to do for years. It's not bad.
  3. Volver - Almodóvar watched with #1D who loved it.
  4. X-Men 2 -
  5. Angry Red Planet - a rewatch of a strange little film that alternates between being really boring and very trippy with brief interludes of almost good in between. Some of the techno-babble in here makes sense and shows an understanding of, if not hard science then, at least, hard science fiction. One of the crew of the First Manned Earth Expedition to Mars that Goes Horribly Wrong (it's one of those films) is a woman who, in the final scenes comes up with the solution to the Horribly Wrong bit. (Though points are deducted because - as D#1 who watched it with me pointed out - she has her explanation of the solution is immediately reiterated by a male scientist in case the audience didn't believe it coming from a mere female - even if she was wearing the ubiquitous, "I'M A F*%KING SCIENTIST!", white lab coat that all scientists wore back then.)

  6. Kingdom of the Spiders - another rewatch. Directed by another of my small stable of interesting, but strangely overlooked, directors. This time John "Bud" Cardos, a man whose career is littered with films full of heroes who fail. It's better than I remember, a low budget monster movie with Jaws echoes (The mayor want to keep the story of the Spider invasion out of the news because the upcoming State Fair is the towns big annual money maker) which segues into a low budget disaster movie with an ecological message (there's one, rather impressive, low budget aeroplane crash - a seriously well executed bit of practical effect work) before one of those downbeat endings which Hollywood is too chickenshit to do any more. Kingdom of the Spiders is one of those films in which, in the end, everyone dies - or it is implied that they are about to die. Our hero here is the wonderfully named Rack Hansen, a country vet, played by William Shatner who spends the entire movie doing the wrong thing and ending up with himself, the hot lady scientist, the tough female bar owner, his little niece and a couple of passing tourists about to become spider food, trapped in a giant web, with no way out. There's no producer's ending here. No - "Hang on lads, I've got an idea." They're all well and truly fucked. Every speaking part in this film ends up dead. The biggest name in the show, Shatner does a reasonable job - he is a much better actor than people give him credit when he wants to be - but it does contain one glorious piece of Peak Shatner. His character, bitten by multiple swarming spiders whose venom is 'five time more toxic' than the usual tarantula bite, struggles up the cellar steps. He's been down in the cellar trying to fix the lights after the spiders had fused them. As he struggles up the steps spiders crawl over him. Some are obvious fakes but there are some real one too. He's brushed off many and is struggling to retain consciousness as he goes for help, he keeps a firm grip on his flash-light but, true Thespian that he is, manages to make sure it is pointing at his face the whole way up so we don't miss a moment of his "I'm in AGONY!" acting as he goes. Kudos to the film makers too for having strong female characters capable of doing sensible things, and doing them without being told too by a man, and kudos too to Cardos for some colourblind casting, black actors Woody Strode, and Altovise Davis play a couple of regular farmers.​
  7. Finding Fortune - another masochistic wallow in the tedious world of Robbie Moffat's "tell not show" home road movies. Like most of Moffat's films I have watched this one was mostly amateurish travelogue footage interspersed with a car pulling up somewhere and the occupants spending the next few minutes telling each other mostly irrelevant backstory stuff because it says to in the script. To be fair to Moffat he (or his DP) did manage to get his eyelines under control and I don't remember any the egregious line-crossing which often clutters his films. Finding Fortune was made slightly more interesting to me than the usual because the film crew drove past my village a couple of times and shot footage which the editor slid in at random anytime anyone in the film went anywhere. Which they did... A lot.... From one ill-defined location to some other ill-defined location by driving up and down the same road past my house. Anyone with even the smattering of local knowledge could be baffled how people heading 'north' to Loch Ness would head Over Rannoch Moor through Glencoe, Through Tyndrum (30 odd miles back the way they'd just come) and then end up in Oban which is to the south of any of those places - though, to be fair, the next shot did have the heroines parked at the side of the road with a map spread out over the bonnet of their car. At the 40 minutes mark I was almost interested to notice that one of the characters was wearing hand-crafted earrings made by my ex and the second most interesting moment of the film came in the end credits which I had to rewind to confirm that Script Supervisor, Carl Rexter, had managed to get his credit in twice on the end title crawl - once just after the Story Editor's credit and (again as Script Supervisor) after the Set Construction credit. That's some going. I don't ever think I've seen that before. (Mind you he didn't manage to get his name in the IMDb, so maybe he was getting his compensation in first.)​
  8. Elvira's Haunted Hills - not as funny as the first one but it still had its moments.​
  9. The Rocketeer - watched with Number One Son (11) which turned out to be a lot more fun than I remembered. It still sagged a little in the middle but was fun to watch with the lad.​
  10. The Torture Chamber of Doctor Sadism - (aka The Blood Demon) a 1967 German Horror based on Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Pit and the Pendulum" (Yeah. Right) Almost plotless and strangely dreamlike.​
  11. Frightmare - and​
  12. Adventures of a Plumber's Mate - Number One Daughter and I have a double bill of the High and Low points of British 70's film making.
  13. Outerworld aka Beyond the Rising Moon - 1987 SF film full of (by today's standards) lumbering computer effects, minimal cast with sketched in characters, and a meagre plot but somehow it held my attention for 84 minutes. It almost worked. Some nice visuals though the direction was a bit floppy. Lots of standing around not sure what to do acting, odd eye lines, and line crossing but written by someone who has obviously read a few SF books and didn't insult the intelligence too much.
  14. Women's Prison Massacre aka Emmanuelle Escapes from Hell - Utter s**t.
  15. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - for the umpteenth time. Silly fun shared with Number One Son and Daughter.
  16. Thirt13n Ghosts - #1D shares her peculiar obsession with Mathew Lillard by making me watch a remake of a William castle film. Some nice set design and good to see the only black member of the cast's character make it to the end of the film. Apart from that... meh.
  17. Horrors of the Red Planet - Yet another of the endless number of 'The First Manned Expedition to Mars Goes Horribly Wrong' movies. This time a crew of four really bad actors spend 10 minutes sitting in nice chairs in their spaceship doing meaningless, endless, technical babbling at each other before crash-landing on Mars. Once the dust has settled they find they only have four days worth of oxygen and their only possible hope of salvation is the main-stage of their rocket which they jettisoned earlier and now lies lies in a desert somewhere to the south of them. What's IN the 'main-stage' and how it is going to help them survive is never explained but I'm happy to take their word for it. After ten minutes of watching these bozos sitting in comfy chairs reading gyro compass readings at each other, I'd accept anything to get them out of the ship and start encountering some of the horrors of the movie's title.

    For the next 50 minutes (though it seems like forever - the irony of which will become apparent later) the four of them wander about barren landscapes following the faint signal that's leading them to their ill-defined salvation. Sometimes they wander about in very small inflatable dingies, sometimes in vast (very well lit) cave systems, sometimes edging along crumbling paths by the side of an active (underground) stock footage volcano, but ALWAYS stopping every few minutes, mid frame, to have inane conversations like, "I wonder how deep this cave is?" "I don't know - but well soon find out." Given the fact that most of the actors' lips were obscured as they delivered these pointless lines by the cunningly placed suit mikes (I would hazard a guess that this film's exteriors were shot without sound and were looped later and could have been made to say anything without anyone noticing) it is unbelievable that during the whole of scriptwriting shooting and post production no one came up with anything better than variations of, "I wonder how deep this cave is?" "I don't know but we'll soon find out.".

    Eventually they stumble upon a decayed ancient city and the movie suddenly becomes strangely, weirdly interesting. The city is a mausoleum populated by the giant-brained, superintelligent members of an ancient, galaxy-spanning civilisation whose collective mind (personified by the disembodied head of John Carradine floating over some stock astronomical photos) explains that they managed to screw up a bit by stopping time. (This explains why the crews' watches have all stopped and why the previous 50 minutes of the film felt like two and a half weeks). Having stopped time, the ancient, big-brained ones are unable to fulfil their destiny because.... well, actually I got lost a bit here - as did the scriptwriter - because it got all mystical and 'Laws of the Universe'-ridden but, essentially, unable to take corporal form, it's up to the four gallant crew (being physical beings) to put the Dingus of Doodaa back into the Whatsit of Eternity and get time started again - and all will be well. So they do. And it is. And they all wake up back on the ship dirty, dishevelled, and sporting beardygrowth make-up (apart from the girl) and only TWO minutes have passed and they haven't crashed at all... Yet... Or something...

    The star of the show - as always - was John Carradine whose ability to deliver screeds of semi-mystical info-dumping bollocks, as he was so often asked to, is a wonder to behold. He has a wonderful voice. Years of stage training and gallons of booze rich, deep and sonorous, and always, somehow, so sincere. I don't know how much he was paid for this gig (more, I hope, than the rest of the cast put together) but he was worth every penny.

    Apparently the film was originally called The Wizard of Mars the only female crew member is called Dorothy, they reached the decayed city by following the ruined remains of a 'Golden Road' and encountered a giant floating head... I think someone thought they were being arty.
Abandonized in January
48 Weeks Later - known as Last Rites and Gangs of the Dead in the US and renamed to cash in on the Danny Boyle films with similar names. We lasted about 10 minutes before giving up. DTV shite.

  1. Tenabrae - Dario Argenta
  2. The 10th Victim - long on my list of trash films I have needed to see and now knocked off. A slick piece of 60s Italian pop culture that was the first Murder as Televised Sport film and so the great grandpappy of Battle Royale and all those other films which took the idea far too seriously.
  3. Voyage of the Rock Aliens - for the third time! ( I have no shame.) This time Number One (who has seen it before) and I had the sadistic enjoyment of watching Number Two Daughter's slack-jawed incredulity and disbelief.
  4. Scooby Doo - Daughter Number One gets her revenge for Voyage of the Rock Aliens by A: singing the bloody awful songs from it at me all day and B: making me watch Scooby Doo: the Movie. (Truth be told she lured me into it by waving the promise of a real life Velma Dinkly at me.)

  5. The Parallax View - as good as I remember. As i get older I really appreciate how darn GOOD so many movies made in that weird little early 70s grown up golden age (between the calamitous failure of Hello Dolly and the stupendous success of Jaws and Star Wars) actually were.
  6. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed - apparently this was in revenge for having "made" D#1 watch Starcrash "more than 5 times" (a fib). A pile of stupid nonsense made bearable by one or two semi-decent jokes and the distracting hotness of Linda Cardellini.

    Second film in a row to have Peter Boyle in.
  7. The Unbelievable Truth - Hal Hartley's first feature.
  8. Q The Winged Serpent -
  9. Les parapluies de Cherbourg - I've been wanting to share this with Number 2 daughter for a while and tonight, as she has her French homework to do, I somehow manage to convince Number One Wife that watching a French film with me would be just as good as actually doing what she was supposed to do, to help her get her ear attuned to the subtleties of pronunciation. I neglected to tell either of them the film's dialogue was entirely sung. Daughter#2 liked the film and I was in tears at the end of it... again. I promised her we'd watch something violent with explosions next time... Bloody girls.
  10. Hellboy - with #1D

  1. Meeting at Midnight - a mercifully short (though it felt like a lot longer) 61 minute Charly Chan movie in which Sidney Toler (as Chan) grimaced weirdly from time to time as he solved a crime involving frozen bullets made from human blood, incredibly powerful, made up hypno drugs (and their handy but not widely available antidote) and last minute Explainogrammes from Scotland Yard. Supporting cast Mantan Moreland and Frances Chan outshone all the rest of the tatty goings on.
  2. Wild at Heart - Half way through I realised this looked like a Cohen Brothers' movie that had been accidentally directed by David Lynch. Much as I love David Lynch's odd, dreamlike films this one just didn't work. I felt like he was phoning it in and just adding Lynchy bits to an otherwise unLynchy flick. Pity because Laura Dern was pretty terrific.
  3. Desperately Seeking Susan - not sure why his was in my To Be Watched pile but it isn't any more. It had its moment but not as dreadful as I was lead to believe. I gave myself Brownie points for intantly recognising The Time Travelers as the film within the film and then spent the rest of the film trying to work out its significance and failing. I guess it was just cheap.
  4. Double Dragon - Jackie Chan x 2
  5. Transcendence - better than rubbish bit of SF that lost its way a bit at the end. Looked great, and had a stonking cast that gave it all they had but, when it came down to it, the script just wasn't good enough.
  6. L'eau à la bouche - a 1960 French film in which six people swan about in a huge house and eventually have sex. Fifteen years later this film would have been a soft core romp shot in colour with Brigitte Lahaie, men with moustaches and tight jeans, lots of very soft focus bonking with curtains billowing everywhere, and, of course, an obligatory lesbian scene played out by half-hearted actresses trying not to actually touch each other. That or it would have been one the endless number of pointless, plotless, demi-angsty messes that Eric Rhomer turned out. L'eau à la bouche had some nice fluid camerawork to admire and some interesting architecture to look at... but that was about it. Available to watch free here for a few weeks:
  7. After Earth - I had read at the time of its release that this was not good but had this memory of most of the bad things I read about it being to do with Will Smith being deluded in trying to kickstart his son's stardom. I wasn't sure whether this was all part of some celeb backlash (or even lash) thing at the time because I don't do celeb stuff. I'm pretty sure I sat down to this with an open mind. Less than two minutes in I knew that Will Smith was being deluded in trying to kickstart his son's stardom. Even when Will Smith (who I generally like) reined back his performance down to zero - then took a step back - he still out-acted Jaden Smith who had all the screen presence of a paper cup. It didn't help that the script was paper thin. Enough to have made an interesting student 20 minute short but nothing like enough to sustain a feature.
  8. Lost in La Mancha
  1. Flash Gordon - Over the dinner table the other day my my 12 year old son looked blankly at me when I mentioned the name Flash Gordon during the telling of some geeky gag. "Who?" Blank incomprehension. "Ming the Merciless? Dale Arden? Professor Zarkov?" Nothing. Total blank. Not a flicker of recognition. Realising I had been a terrible parent and neglected my kid's education I remedied the situation as soon as possible.
  2. The Big Empty - David Lynchesque meh.
  3. Brazil - I watched Brazil with #2D (16). About half way through I realised what the film was about. It's not about overwhelming totalitarianism, or media manipulation, or out of control mediocrity liked I'd previously thought - it's just about being an adult and being scared of growing up into one. I nearly said as much to my daughter but wisely, I think, stopped myself in time. (This is why I love watching movies with people - they play differently when watched with an audience. It's not the same movie.)

    The central character, Sam, unlike most Hollywood heroes still has a relationship with his mother - with (as becomes obvious the end sequence when his mother turns into his lover) all sorts of Oedipal issues that I'm no way qualified enough to fathom. He goes to lunch with her, resists her attempts to fix him up with a 'nice girl', resists her attempts to get him a good job. He's still a kid really. He's grown out of the short trousers and knitted tank tops that kids in the movie wear and lives in a flat by himself but he can't yet really look after himself, can't feed himself properly (it was joked up by the machines making soggy toast and coffeeless coffee but it's there.) Doesn't know how to buy his own clothes - 'not in that suit'. He's coping but he's not happy. Hasn't met the girl yet (I assume he's a virgin). His dreams of rescuing the unobtainable girl by fighting monsters is pure pre/early adolescent sexual fantasy.

    I've always thought of Gilliam as essentially a child trapped in a grown up body. And that Brazil felt like his most personal film. Sam is his alter ego dealing with the banal complexities of being a grown up and dealing with people just not letting you do the things you want to do to make yourself happy - like shagging your recently attained dreamgirl without her being gunned down by storm troopers.
  4. Get Smart - meh.
  5. Tristan and Isolde - some nice camera work, some seriously pared back writing, one pivotal scene had something like 10 words of dialogue - which I liked.
  6. Click - I got given a huge pile of DVDs the other day and while I was sorting through them I realised I'd never seen an Adam Sandler movie. I still haven't. About 30 minutes in I thought 'this is crap' and turned it off.
  7. Moulin Rouge - with #2D who has seen Baz Luhrman's Great Gatsby more times than is humanly possible and loved Romeo + Juliet but we'd never got round to watching this before. She loved it. So do I.
  8. Love on the Side - a kind of Canadian Local Hero without the budget, any of the charm, by the numbers 'follow your heart' Rom Com character development, and a vague mix of gay subplots that didn't really go anywhere. Far too long.
  9. High-Rise -
  10. The Beastmaster - don't tell anyone but I really like the The Beastmaster. It's one of my favourite 1980's Sword and Sorcery semi-naked warrior epics. As daughter #2 remarked "This is like Cleopatra 2525 isn't it? You're not actually watching it are you? You're just looking at it..."

Abandonised in the Month of April:
Jane and the Lost City - ploddingly slow and unfunny British Comedy which was hurting hurt too much at the 30 minute mark to go on with.

  1. The Black Hole - never seen it before and don't think I'll ever find the need to see it again. There were some nice visuals- some seriously impressive modelwork and some pretty nifty 'zero G' wirework to admire from the days before CGI made all that stuff redundant. But a dreadful story - how many times did Disney try to rework 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea? The film ended up in the usual explodofest - followed by a slightly trippy journey through some heavy handed religious symbolism to an unresolved ending promising some sort of...  what? redemption...?  hope...? sequel...?
  2. Jane and the Lost City - The film I abandoned last month. I had a fit of the stubborns and decided that no damn movie no matter how bad was going to get the better of me. So I ploughed on. It took me several days but I got to the end of it.
  3. Isle of Lesbos - Amazon's algorithms decided that I might want to watch this. Fool that I am I succumbed. It's a cheap, shot on a soundstage the size of a school gymnasium (with sets and costumes built by the kids), gay musical with a plot you could write on the edge of a postage stamp. (Not that there's much time for plot as most of the film's running time is taken up with musical numbers directed straight to camera like it was a TV show.) It is utterly tacky, tasteless, and slightly fun - in an utterly tacky and tasteless way. I now have this:
    stuck in my head:
  4. Adolescents (2019 last night's Teach yourself French by watching French movies with French subtitles exercise turned into a bit of a chore with this bum-numbing 2 hrs 15mins documentary watching stroppy French teenagers being petulant and arguing with their mums.
  5. Animal Crackers - I found a 8 disc box set of Marx brothers films in a charity shop yesterday for pennies. Happy bunny. I could watch Chico Marx play the piano all day.
  6. The legend of Tarzan (2016) - I'd never heard of this before buying it a charity shop the other day. (Since I stopped buying Empire magazine a few years ago I have very little idea about anything released after 2014.) About halfway through watching it I thought, "I hope this lost a shitload of money when it was released."
  7. La Cérémonie (1995) - My first Claude Chabrol film (I think). Not sure I liked it exactly but Isobel Huppert was bloody brilliant - as always.
  8. Inside Man (2006) - smart twisty-turny heist thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  9. Ella es Christina - slight Chilean tale of friendship.
  10. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (MST3K)
  11. Mystère au Louvre (2017) - French TV movie set in a not very well-defined turn of the 19th/20th Century about a beautiful gentlewoman thief - a kind of female Arsène Lupin - who, with the help of a poor street acrobat, heists a priceless necklace from the Louvre. Not very complex. I had no trouble following the plot and most of the dialogue without subtitles (in any language). The only big twist was clumsily signalled well in advance and then over-explained afterwards when our relentless villain, the murderous Inspector Thénard, realises how he has been duped.
  12. Carry-on Matron
  13. The History of Mr Polly
Abandoned in May
Jason X
- I think I gave up half way through the opening credits but stayed long enough to note Lexa Doig playing a human against Lisa Ryder's android. Roles they would reverse in their next acting gig together, the better than most people give credit, Andromeda Ascendant.


  1. The Magnificent Seven - hard to believe but we're twelve days into June and this is trhe first film I've watched this month. And what a bloody good film it is too. I must get round to watching the original some day.
  2. Crazy, Stupid, Love. - A slightly engaging tale of love which would have been a lot better if it had been a bit shorter and the protagonists hadn't been upper-middle class successful Californians in the first place. I'm afraid I'm fed up with the First World problems of rich Americans. Halfway through I came to the conclusion that this would have worked much better with a lower budget and relocated to somewhere less photogenic even with the Hollywood bullshit ending - basically the "Follow your heart and stick in there and all will come good in the end" ending - though in this case that comes pretty close to (and possibly steps over the line) our male protagonists stalking the women who have rejected them. Next day I wondered if it was a much better European film remade (Carrell, the producer star of Crazy has form in his fecking awful rehash of Diner pour cons) but it wasn't. Great cast.
  3. Still Crazy - a seventies rock band get back together. Mildly amusing fun.
  4. What Planet are You From? -
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger
  6. Captain Marvel - Daughter Number One and I start an assault on the MCU movies we plan on watching them all in order.... I wonder how long we'll last. I was fun far better than most of the MCU movies I've seen and Co-incidentally the second film I've watched this week with Annette Bening playing a 3D computer projection, and a planned alien invasion of earth. She was also in What Planet are you From? .
  7. Iron Man The MCUathon part 3
  8. CQ - A film I had seen before and filed in the 'umm... okay?' drawer in my mind but, on a second viewing, has gone into the Aww! what a sweet funny little film drawer. A love letter to 60s European film making with lots of knowing nods and allusions to films like Danger Diabolik and La Dolce Vita which I may well have missed the first time I saw it. I wonder how many more I'll see the next time I watch it a few years down the line?
  9. Fire - occasionally in my endless searching through the DVD shelves of my local charity shops, between the endless Harry Potters, and Pirates of the Caribbeans, and Jason Statham's entire back catalogue I'll spot something that I've never heard of before and know no one who appears in it. (I try not look at the back too much so I'll have as little idea about what I'm going to watch until I'm actually watching it.) Fire is the story of two Indian women ( Sisters in Law) who have dreadful husbands but find they love each other so leave them. A simple lesbian love story with a hopeful ending. Despite the heavy foreshadowing (and the title!) of the story within the story of innocent Sita coming unscathed from the trial by fire I was really upset that I was in for a bout of Dead Lesbian Syndrome at the climatic house fire. I guess a film that throws that much foreshadowing at you - the Sita & Ram, trial by fire story is played out twice on screen; once as a TV show, once as a live performance that takes up a LOT of screen time - and still has you guessing at the end must be doing something right.
  10. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
  11. Iron Man 2 - The MCUathon part 4

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