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August 30, 2016

Movie Review: "Don't Look in the Basement 2" (2015, Horror/Terror; RDM Pictures/Legless Corpse Films)

...for most avid cult film fans, public domain movies...the amassed number of which tends to rise and fall, like some unstable stock market entity, based upon...on one end of the spectrum, occasional, flavor-of-the-moment interest in the film's, a whole lotta stale, albeit tasty cheese...and on the other end, total lack of interest, whatsoever...are, for lack of a better term, 'embraceably negligible' classics. Recognized classics, to be sure...but negligible, in the sense of the now-invariable ho-hum standard that they once set...many of them set on the path to obscurity, once relegated to mere truncated late-night TV viewing, and now, generically found on countless multi-movie collections (...these days, a la 'Echo Bridge' and 'Mill Creek', just to name a couple of the 'majors', in the venue)...

...Alas...Forlorn. Abandoned. Forgotten (, nudge, nudge)...

...and yet, some...given an attentive study of a numerous select few...seem hardly worthy of the misfit, nary-hand-waving, matter-of-fact abandonment and ignorance, which coins a large number of those films...with certain and resignated finality, relegated to the 'public domain' category, and as such, have been underliningly rallied and championed by their equally eclectically select fan bases; and let's face it: knowing that certain films are, in fact, public domain...well, is genuinely jaw-dropping, upon close examination ( a revelating 'for instance', it's probably no secret that the grand pooh-bah 'holy grail' of all flesh-gnashing zombie flicks...yes, director George Romero's immortal 1968 horror classic, "Night of of the Living Dead" is indeed one of them...sliding in and out of the public domain realm, all the time...Go figure, right??)...

...hell, it's even more so intriguing and fascinating to make the acquaintanace with someone who respects and appreciates a PB movie so ardently...for whatever reason...that in their creatively keen sense of vision, a 'so many years later' follow-up, might well prove amiably in order; take, for example...
...for those un-privy, unfamiliar, or perhaps merely need an aptly-injected jostle of memory, with regards to the harrowing events of...well, setting the way-back machine to...say, some 40+ years' past...there's some rather unconventional goings on, taking place over at the Stephens Sanitarium...some might even go as far in suggesting that they are more-so disturbing. Seems that the practicing psychiatric head physician there, Dr. Stephens, has initiated a rather unusual form of patient rehabilitation, whereby he openly allows his patients to assume the roles dictated by their inner disillusioned realities, with hopes of said delusions, clashing with actual reality, and the doctor's invariable theory that this clash would knock some sense into his troubled patients. Unfortunately, in the midst of this rehabilitative recourse, the doctor falls victim to one of his patients, who takes the role play too far. And a concerned, seasoned nurse...witness to the attack on the doctor...who herself is very much put off by the unorthodox treatment, and wants to end her also fatally dispatched by another of the disturbed patients...
...soon after...enter, a rather attractive, ambitious, albeit naive young nurse named Charlotte, who arrives at the reputed mental rehabilitative facility, supposedly at the hired beckoning of Dr. Stephens, some time earlier. She is met and tended to by Dr. Masters...the lead nurse at the facility, and now head physician...who initially attempts to deter Charlotte from taking the position, which was offered her, but eventually and reluctantly takes her in. Masters introduces Charlotte to the whole of the patient lot...among them , a loved-starved nymphomaniac...a rather lumbering, mentally disturbed ex-judge...a crazed young woman, overly possessed of a doll, which she believes is her actual baby...a burnt-out, mentally skewed ex-sergeant, reliving his time during the Vietnam war...a bizarrely recitive elderly woman, tending to a garden, as if the flowers were her children...and a seemingly gentle & childish, mentally retarded man, with his sole pleasures, being...frozen pop-sickles, and an obsession with boats...
...and as Charlotte begins to settle into her position...slowly being accepted by the patients...she begins to get progressively wary and uncomfortable with their behavior and talk, as unbeknownst to her, they are privy of certain secrets, which they are unable to fully illicit, due to their mental deliberation and derangement. And when some of them get too close to revealing these hallowed, mysterious and sinister secrets, well...let's just say that some of this cast of characters herein, are not necessarily who they present themselves to be, and shockingly gruesome mayhem, mutilation & murder become the invariably standard running order, as poor Charlotte begins to afford doubt to her own well as finding that she is unable to escape the madness, taking place at this ghastly sanitarium...
...and that, boys and girls...purposefully barring the reveal of the surprise left-field twists, turns and the whole of the horrific and oh-so disturbing events that take place in director S.F. Brownrigg's classic, independently produced, drive-in flavored flick, from 1973...entitled "The Forgotten"...or more prominently, for the purpose of outright exploitation, "Don't Look in the Basement" (...released and alternately titled, on the heels of the violent and maniacal Wes Craven/Sean Cunningham production of "Last House on the Left", it even borrowed the intimidating, albeit alluring and irresistible advertising campaign, which grimly read, " avoid fainting, keep's only a's only a movie...only a movie...only a movie..."). Indeed, a deliciously macabre-flavored, simmering potboiler cross between edge-of-your-seat mystery, and uncomfortably disturbing psychological horror, which draws in and captivated the hapless viewer, with it's creepy, unnerving and serpentine-unraveling fervor, is the salaciously sinister stuff that entrances hapless and unprepared witnesses to "...Basement"...the grotesque and gruesome imagery of which, well-lingers in daring audiences' minds, as it has done so, for many years previous...
...barring the long-winded, though matter-of-necessity 'I told you that story, in order to tell you this one' (...but then, as the saying goes, "...why ask why??", right?? Heck...herein, you're virtually getting two reviews, for the price of one), we now fast-forward through countless...and quite well edited, glow-in-the-darkened-room, over-the-air-&-into-your-home cathode-tube broadcasts, as well as the inevitable...and seemingly even more countless (...though fortunately, for the most part, unedited) incarnations of the classic cult film, on every home video medium, up to & including that of today's most recent digitally-rendered medium...we find ourselves ever so abruptly deposited, some 40-plus years later, and...well, since we're all here anyways...what the heck, right?? Let us peer in on some rather sinister and arcane developments in this particular story, shall we?? (...uh, can you say, 'famous last words'??)...

...wasting no time in cutting to the chase, "Don't Look in the Basement 2" draws open curtain on the gruesome, grisly, brutal and bloody aftermath of events...a violent crescendo of massacre, not really giving too much away...took place at the end of the original film. To that affect...we fade out, then fade back in, some 40-plus years, into the throes of the in-progress routines and rehabilitative activity of Greenpark Institution...a psychiatric facility, servicing it's own unique cadre of mentally deliberated residents. And in attendance, a seemingly ragtag crew of physicians and facilitators...including Dr. Lucy Mills (Adrianne Martin), who's approach to her position, is one of a yawningly ho-hum, matter-of-fact and indifferent fervor...Dr. Lance White (Frank Mosley), a self-serving opportunist with certain underlining motivations, having little patience, rendering very unconventional methods of treatment, and exploiting any opportunity to step ahead & call attention to himself, above all others...there's Bishop & Billy (Scott Tepperman, Jim O'Rear), a clueless and bumbling pair of orderlies, who unbeknownst to all others, seem privy to some of the dark secrets & grim history of the facility, where they are haplessly employed...and finally, there's Emily (Camilla Carr), the strict and uncompromising seasoned facility administrator, who is harboring sinister secrets of her own, some of which threaten to haunt her from a dim past, and as such, she becomes mysteriously drawn to an undefined, albeit compelling calling, by someone, or something unknown...
...and into this eclectically odd fold of characters...enters an unwary Dr. William Matthews (Andrew Sensenig)...dedicated, intentful, open-minded and inquisitively curious...recommended into to Greenpark facility, after having served a well-reputed physician's residence in New York...not to mention, now engaging a much needed change of pace, in the aftermath of his recent divorce. And no sooner in settling into the new position afforded him, Dr. Matthews finds himself taken aback...not merely as the result of the growing and incestuous buzz of the arrival of a 'star' patient, which the facility is almost ceremoniously preparing the arrival for...but the suggestion, by none other than Emily herself...for whatever reason or motive, yet to be revealed...that Dr. Matthews take exclusive and personal charge, in the reception, orientation and rehabilitation of this new and oh-so special resident...
...and just how 'special' is this newly-instilled patient, you might ask?? Well, his name is Sam...initially silent, grim-looking and expressionless...grizzled with age...quite simple-minded and mentally retarded...eventually finding voice, he joyfully speaks of his passion for boats, and his love of frozen pop-sickles...assuming a childish innocence and knowledge of what he may or may not have done in the past. You see, it seems that Sam is the last surviving soul of the massacre at Stephens Sanitarium, those many 40-and-change years ago...a massacre, which Sam...having long since been incarcerated into a life of perpetual observation and nonetheless reputed and documented to have been the sole perpetrator of...
...and though Sam begins to get comfortable with his newly-assigned residence, and it's seemingly able-bodied medical staff...well, despite his simple-mindedness, there's no denying that Sam progressively begins to feel...well, feel something oh-so terribly familiar. A sinister, underlining familiarity, as far as his surroundings, even that of the very building, if there were ghosts incestuously present, to which he is the only one privy to...a gnawing, inescapable familiarity, in regards to how people all around him, are becoming affected, since his arrival...especially the medical staff...the staff, mind you, not the patients...some of whom start exhibiting initially odd and strangely reminiscent behavior. Behavior, which quickly shifts from odd & strange, to outright psychotic, maniacal, blood-curdling and murderous...
...and so, with an underlining, albeit festering diabolical intent, rearing it's head, menacingly among the Greenpark Institution residents...if indeed, going in, that is the facility's true seems that ghosts from the past, have clearly not rested easily, despite so many years, the Stephens Sanitarium Massacre picks up and resumes it's bloody legacy, from where it once left off...albeit, with a vengeance.....
...well, now!! Isn't that special!! Have to'd be so damn easy to dismiss "Don't Look in the Basement 2" as some negligible piece of sleaze, running the same story, albeit so many years later, and solely produced to snatch up that quick buck, and run away with it. On the contrary, such a thing is far from the truth, as though the film most assuredly re-captures the flavor of the original film's unnerving tension (...that is, despite the passing of time in the storyline, as well as the film's more contemporary filmmaking sensibilities and production values)'s best facet, to be sure..."...Basement 2", nonetheless does succeed in picking up the ball and running with it, in a wholly unexpected, yet sensible direction, and in considering that observation, "...Basement 2", in of itself having very little to criticize, richly deserves more on the 'praise' end of this review, and less on the 'critical' side; one might even go as far to say that the follow-up film is actually better than it really deserves to be, considering it's oh-so sleazy and provocative predecessor...and well, nothing wrong with that, right?? The film does harbor some well, maybe 'flaws' might be too potent a suggestion; think more along the lines of eyebrow-raising 'quirks', which nonetheless, prove hardly the fault of the film, itself. To back-burner that suggestion for the moment, it should be elatingly said that "Don't Look in the Basement 2" is, in being more specific, a nice little chilling and engaging piece of psychological horror, which...very much like the original film...intricately weaves and interlaces it's macabre & horrific proceedings, at an almost restrained and inescapably captivating slow pace; it's not unlike a book that takes a bit to get into, but once things start to get rolling...with an uncomfortably chilling, albeit eyebrow-raising intrigue & interest...a subtly heightening, unnerving and creepy embrace, from which there's no escape...and well, there's just no putting this one down, folks...
...but then, in spotlighting the talent behind the making of "...Basement 2", it's quite relevating to know rolling out that dusty, old and cliched, though still quite aptly-coined-when-necessary mantra, 'the apple doesn't fall from the tree'...the film's writer and director is none other than Tony Brownrigg, the filmmaking jack-of-all-trades offspring of the original "...Basement" director, ol' S.F. Brownrigg himself. Then again, with the film sight it a first impression, so to speak, upon seeing the trailer ( was the case with this unwary, albeit suspicious reviewer, upon previewing the trailer, nearly two and a half years ago, at the Texas Frightmare Weekend horror film convention), one might suspect that 'junior'...whether by intent, or not...might be riding the coattails of his seasoned, albeit very under-appreciated father's work. Well, one can lay those concerns and suspicions to rest, for with "Don't Look in the Basement 2", S.F.'s son, Tony, has not merely 'taken the ball', run with it, and re-captured the flavor and spirit of his father's original classic film, but to his own applying some of today's more slick & streamlined filmmaking sensibilities, technological resources and much higher production values...thus infusing a somewhat greater depth of character, as well as adding to the mix, a hint of humor, as well as a subtle, supernatural feel to the macabre proceedings..."...Basement 2" easily comes off as an embraced and fitting tribute to S.F. Browning, and at the same time, plays out as a slyly written and logical continuation of the original film, as well as an invariably unique piece of work, in it's own right...
...but the downright compelling and entrancing effectiveness of "Don't Look in the Basement 2" hardly rests solely upon Anthony Brownrigg's keen & able-bodied manipulation of the material; the film's eclectic, albeit well-rounded cast...whether new to the "...Basement" fold, seasoned in having been featured in the original film, or having embraced & ably rendered characters, last seen some 40-plus years previous, with the younger counterparts seemed almost seamless, as compared to the older, present-day renderings...genuinely brings the material up to a level, well above that which might have been initially assumed as generic 'slasher film' dreck, produced merely for quick bank... Andrew Sensenig...noted for a wide variety of eclectic movie and television roles...headlines herein, as Dr. Matthews, the inquisitive, brandee-newbee of the group...his portrayal, a rather relatable mix of determination, frustration and witnessed irresistible character, in the sense that, despite the unnervingly repulsiveness of the horrors, occurring all around him, he is nonetheless compellingly drawn into the mystery, despite the adversity and horrors. Frank Mosley, also having derived from an exceptionally wide-spectrumed field of film and television work, seems the exclusive brand of character actor, by which his face is destined to be more familiar to most, than his name; as the underliningly self-serving and self-granduous Dr. White, actor Mosley exudes, in an over-the-top performance, in which White character flaw proves to be a definitive weakness...a weakness that is exploited, whoops!! Wouldn't want to let that cat outta the bag, would we??...
...a couple of interesting far as having viewed "...Basement 2", include the addition of well-seasoned, carry-over actress Carmilla of S.F. Brownrigg's cast 'regulars', who was not only featured in the original "Don't Look in the Basement" ( the original film, she was one of the disturbed patients; in the new film...well, let's just say that we wouldn't want to give that secret away, either...right??), but also starred in latter Brownrigg films, such as 1976's "Keep My Grave Open", and 1974's "Scum of the Earth". In "...Basement 2", Carr's character, the stern and immovably dictative facility administrator Emily, haunted by past events of violence and horror...on the surface, believes that she is righting a great wrong, in bringing in a 'star' patient into the facility, with whom she has had a heavily veiled past with, but instead, haplessly finds herself inadvertently opening a sort of Pandora's Box, in being manipulated by forces considerably greater and more sinister than anything she might have considered...
...the other surprise characterization in the film, comes from veteran actor Willie Minor's performance as the naive and simple-minded Sam. Minor's rendering of the Sam character, as compared to the same character, played by the late William McGee, in the 1972 film (...whom we unfortunately lost, in 2007), is amazingly seamless in the new film...seamless, in the sense that of the kind of aged, carry-over character portrayal, which one might expect, given the passing of 40 years-plus between the younger caricature, and the new one. Despite his innocence and simple-mindedness, Sam seems to know...nay, Sam outright feels the terribly familiar, albeit intangible sinister presence...feels the horror...once he first steps foot into the Greenpark rehabilitative facility...a presence that goes well beyond his scattered and faded memories of what had happened in the dim past. Yes, despite his mental deliberations, Sam invariably knows all too well that the ghosts from the past, are hardly finished with their reign of terror and bloodshed...
...we earlier suggested the film's 'flaws'...or rather, the film's rather unusual quirks, so to speak. For starters, those who have caught the "...Basement 2" trailer...well, many will recognize that the filmmakers who put this capsule tease of the film together, they chose to borrow the exploitative and now-rather cliche ad-line, originally used by the first 'Basement'...the foreboding warning of " avoid fainting, keep's only a movie...only a movie...and so on". Well, in all honesty, that line mainly served to help amplify the almost 'forbidden' provocativeness of the original film, much as it did when originally used in the previous year's terror excursion, Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left". And although the "...Basement 2" filmmakers do have a sort of maniacally grim, albeit giddy fun in using the ad-line in the trailer of their film...well, the film itself, despite the new & unexpected twists & turns, the bits of comedy relief, the film's updated production values, not to mention...hey, the film is a potent one, and at times quite unsettling...though really isn't any more, or any less provocative than the original 'Basement', when laid in side-to-side comparison. Not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing, per say, as to raise the film's overall provocativeness to today's almost taboo level of 'whoa...they actually went there' (...and without a doubt, that 'line in the sand' has been drawn and moved oh-so many times since the original 1972 film), would genuinely take away from the more aptly subtle and restrained flavor, as reflected in the original film. In other words, the fine folk behind "...Basement 2", keenly knew to leave well enough alone, in that respect. Hey, good for them...

...another aspect of the new film, which might draw out from viewers, an eyebrow-raising 'hmmmm'...are things and ideas carried over from the first film, which...for the sake of the storyline...aren't really made privy to the characters in this terror play, and in fact, seem exclusively notable by the film's audience alone. For instance, when things start to go psychologically awry, and the medical staff starts acting...well, to put it mildly, 'not themselves'...they take on the personalities and behavior patterns of the various institutionalized residents of the original Stephens Sanitarium setting of the original 'Basement' (...i.e., one of them is shell-shocked, another adapts a doll as a 'real' baby, still another takes on an uncontrollably nymphomaniacal fervor, and so on); even the structure setting of the new film, at least at first, seems an exclusive domain to those witness to the film, as it is obvious that the same building was used in both films (...another secret associated with that, though one of the more predictable ones, to be sure). Interestingly enough, this approach to the story development is actually more appreciative, then merely putting off, as it makes the film viewer something more than merely 'one who is watching a movie'; the audience is unconventionally placed more in the position of 'witness'...even going as far as suggesting a sort of 'voyeur'. In other words, to a degree, the audience genuinely gets involved, and in a way, feels a part of the proceedings. And once again...hey, ain't nuttin' wrong with that...

...Distributed by Legless Corpse Films, the multi-disc blu-ray edition of "Don't Look in the Basement 2" contains a plethora of extra goodies, over and above the pristine-looking print of the new film. There's the expected trailers and commentaries, of course; however, two of the more amusing extras in this set, include an almost day-by-day-documented video journal of the making of the film, with the film's comedy relief duo of Scott Tepperman and Jim O'Rear, furthering their character amusings, in covering the behind-the-scenes doings & antics of the film's inception and production. In addition, on the second disc of this, whoa!! An actual print of S.F. Brownrigg's original 1972 masterpiece of terror...namely "Don't Look in the Basement" featured here, for the first time, on blu-ray. Left merely at that shoulder-shrugging matter-of-fact, the inclusion of a print of the original 'Basement' is hardly cause for a rousing 'yippy', considering that one can get the original film, just about everywhere, courtesy of the film's public domain status. However, all is for naught, boys and the print of the film, included on this blu-ray set, is an exceptionally degraded, scratchy, color-faded and well-worn print of the film...far and above weathered in condition, as compared to any of the infinite number of public domain prints out there. In other words, this is a deliciously satisfying addition, as the trashy and extremely degradated condition of this special print, recalls the appearance of the overly well-worn prints, which were repeatedly filtered though projectors from town to town, at one's favorite drive-in or grindhouse theater. All in all, an extraordinary package, well worth seeking out...

......let me put it this way: in twistedly torrid terror film terms, "Don't Look in the Basement 2" is not unlike that of the kind of skewed, oddball 'friend' or 'relative' that many of us have, at certain times in our lives. It's a comfortable feeling...that is, if the definition of 'comfortable', is synonymous with 'disturbed', 'crazed mad' and outright 'insane'. 'Despite long periods of time, from which, for whatever reason, one hardly ever sees such an odd, misfit friend...when, after so long, one does get back together with that friend, it's like no time at all has passed, and one just embraceably picks up where one left off. Sure, that 'friend' might have changed a bit with the times...gotten older...a bit stranger and weirder around the edges...stranger...and weirder...stranger...and weirder. B-B-B-But...ahem...overall, it's the same old 'friend', as if was always there...always there...always-s-s-s-s-s-s....

...then again, it's 'head cocked to the side, with droll streaming from the corner of the mouth' commentary and logic like that, which might well assure me reserved psychiatric residence in the hallowed and haunted halls of ol' Stephens Sanitarium, among the mentally tainted, I mean, masses...

...and, oh what fun that would be...hmmmmmm??

August 26, 2016

Movie Review: Anna: Scream Queen Killer (2013)

Chemical Burn Entertainment. When that popped up on the screen I couldn’t help rolling my eyes and shuddering in disgust at the same time. My last experience with this production/distribution company brought me Piranha-Man vs. Werewolf Man. I still have nightmares... But once this flick got rolling, I was pleasantly surprised at its quality. Well, maybe ‘pleasantly’ is too strong a word. I didn’t vomit, let’s put it that way.

Anna: Scream Queen Killer is about Anna (duh), a well known horror actress who’s been called to audition for some upcoming work. It starts out normal enough - she works through several scenes calling for her to be infected by an alien virus, to become a vampire, be trapped and afraid, etc. But each scenario the director asks for becomes more and more twisted and sexual. She’s also required to remove more clothing each time. Though obviously uncomfortable, Anna continues to comply in hopes of getting the job.

As the audition process drags on (and on and on…), it seems the director just wants to get his rocks off but for Anna, the lines between reality and make-believe begin to blur.

August 24, 2016

The Ultimate Blu-ray Release of "Blue Sunshine" is Now Available From FilmCentrix!

Unexplained acts of violence and murder are occurring in Los Angeles, all with a couple of strange similarities: the killers have suddenly gone bald and are somehow connected to a drug known only as ‘Blue Sunshine.’

When Jerry Zipkin (Zalman King) is wrongfully accused of murdering 3 women whose real killer was his best friend, Frannie (Richard Crystal), another victim of Blue Sunshine, he sets out to clear his name and discover the secret behind the mysterious substance. With the cops hot on his trail, Zipkin carefully elludes capture, while he unravels the mystery, leading him into the secret world of political coverups and deadly scientific studies, where death and mayhem lurk around every corner.

FilmCentrix and legendary director, Jeff Lieberman (Squirm, Just Before Dawn), proudly present this 1977 horror classic in a brand new, director approved 4K restoration, made from the original 35mm camera negative. The ultimate trip!

August 18, 2016

Movie Review: "The Bandit" (2016, Documentary; Miles End Films/CMT)

...hey, no doubt about was a little '70's drive-in-flavored flick, with some rather big, rather big ambitions. Pretty much snubbed as mere exploitative dreck by just about every studio who laid eyes upon the script...yes, even by A.I.P., of all places...hell, even by the very studio that eventually, albeit reluctantly picked it up for production...and surprisingly (...considering his previous few films of similar ilk, playing the likes of 'Gator' McKlusky, W.W. Bright, or simply Lewis, from "Deliverance"), it was even resigned and relegated as virtually unreleasable by the film's proposed star, who called the script 'ridiculous', suggesting that no one, absolutely no one would buy into it (...though, with the added 'what-the-hell' notion of 'well, OK...if you can get the money and the studio, I'll do it'). Clearly, a gamble for the film's untried director...this pretty much unknown,  recklessly seasoned, albeit capable stuntman, albeit with 20 years of experience, having executed some of the most dynamic falls, crashes and fist-fights set to film, and still managing to walk away from it all, relatively unscathed. Indeed, a gamble for even the film's aforementioned 'star' who put his own reputation and superstardom on the line...nay, not for the money, not for the fame, not even for the experience...but for his dearest and most devoted friend, who's abilities, though not necessarily the project, he had the utmost faith in, even as everyone else was, outright insinuating that he couldn't do it...

August 17, 2016

Movie Review: The Hawaiians (1970)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Directed by Tom Gries

The first film adaptation of the sprawling James Michener novel, Hawaii was the epic of the same name in 1966 (see my previous review here). That entry concentrated on the influence of American Christian missionaries on native islanders in the early 19th Century. The Hawaiians, which followed in 1970, would concentrate on the impact of Chinese and Japanese migrants arriving in the tropical paradise at the turn of the century. Presenting a wide diorama of various cultures struggling for dominance in an enchanting land, The Hawaiians maintains an intimate narrative while thoroughly entertaining its audience.

Preeminent American screen star Charlton Heston stars as Whip Hoxworth, an irascible seaman eager to leave his business of transporting Chinese immigrants – who are essentially “indentured servants,” or “slaves” to keep the bustling island's capital of Honolulu running. Among whip's latest batch is the shrewd Mun Ki (Mako) who plans to make the at-first slovenly and unappealing “mountain girl” Nyuk Tsin (Tina Chen, the film's true star) into a first-class prostitute. But as history proves, there are lots of variables, and in short order Nyuk Tsin becomes Mun Ki's “wife.” The Hawaiians then focuses on Nyuk's journey from a hapless victim to a strong-willed, industrious woman who galvanizes the large family she starts with Mun Ki into prosperity – in spite, or perhaps because of the limitations placed upon her as a low-caste Chinese woman.

The Dirty Sanchez (2013) and Leaf Blower Massacre (2012) Movie Reviews

I didn’t realize, until I started watching, that two of the shorts I received in my CHC tower of DVDs were written/produced/directed/etc., by the same folks - Cooney/Stephenson/DeQuattro as the various writers and T-Nasty Production. So I figured I might as well watch both and review them together.

I’m going into this with a sense of humor because how can these be anything but ridiculous? What I wasn’t expecting was the crazy short running time, particularly on the second one. I didn’t pull out a stop watch or anything but it couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes.

The Dirty Sanchez is about a masked psychopath running around killing random people with a pair of garden shears he stole from his first victim. When he’s not murdering folk, he’s eating canned dog food with his bare hands and raping women BEFORE shoving the shears up their hoo-hoos. The only call back on characters is an adorable couple planning a weekend of lovey dovey kissy bouncey times. At the end of the movie, they show back up in the killer’s sights.

*blank stare*

Seriously the best thing about this film is the cute bra and panty set worn by the pretty blonde. Otherwise it feels completely disjointed, a bunch of separate killings taped together with a common killer thrown in at the end because they forgot to include him in the original filming.

I just have three questions: Was the film quality total crap to make a grind house effect? Was the randomness of the victims supposed to make the killer scarier? Is it called Dirty Sanchez because the killer is a big fat slob who keeps yelling things in Spanish?

August 16, 2016

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Suicide Squad (2016)

Kevin and the Maskerpiece Theatre crew discuss the latest addition to the DC cinematic universe that includes some comparison to the Arrow-verse.

Click here to listen or right click and choose "Save Link As..." to download.

You can always email us at or tweet us @CinHeadCheese.

Support Cinema Head Cheese and Abnormal Entertainment by clicking the links on our Sponsors page!

August 9, 2016

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - For All Kings by Anthrax (2016)

Kevin reviews the latest release from the thrash metal icons.

Click here to listen or right click and choose "Save Link As..." to download.

You can always email us at or tweet us @CinHeadCheese.

Support Cinema Head Cheese and Abnormal Entertainment by clicking the links on our Sponsors page!

August 2, 2016

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016)

Kevin is joined by the Maskerpiece Theatre crew for a longer podshort about the best new show on Netflix.

Click here to listen or right click and choose "Save Link As..." to download.

You can always email us at or tweet us @CinHeadCheese.

Support Cinema Head Cheese and Abnormal Entertainment by clicking the links on our Sponsors page!

August 1, 2016

Movie Review: Bestseller (2016)

We all know that I can be a sucker for a single location film. The ability for a filmmaker to take a single location, invest it with enough malice (in this case) that allows a small cast to take us on a rollercoaster ride, and let the audience go. Bestseller, to a large extent, succeeds in that regard. There are classic examples of the genre, like Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin’s  Wait Until Dark and, more recently, The Strangers. What Bestseller has going for it is a sympathetic lead, a remote location and some very effective cinematography. Much like early John Carpenter’s work, the actor blocking and camera combine for an effect that allows us to immerse ourselves in Ann’s plight. These strengths, periodically through the film, also become the few instances that hold Bestseller back from its true potential as a thriller.


July 26, 2016

Movie Review: Inserts (1975)

Directed by John Byrum

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

In a crumbling Hollywood mansion at the height of the Depression, “Boy Wonder” (Richard Dreyfuss, fresh from Jaws that same year) a faded silent movie director who fell by the wayside with the advent of sound is grinding out porno loops to make ends meet. Alcoholic, slovenly and impotent, Boy Wonder's social circle includes former silent movie star Harlene (Veronica Cartwright, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) with a taste for smack; Rex, the Wonder Dog (Stephen Davies) his stud-for-hire not above paying lip service to those who promise him a part in pictures; Big Mac (a very young and slender Bob Hoskins), his tyrannical producer, and Miss Cake (Jessica Harper, Suspiria) a fresh-faced college girl who knows far more than she lets on.

It's a disastrous morning. Harlene dies abruptly of a heroin overdose before Dreyfus can administer the hardcore footage needed for his opus (the “inserts” of the title). While Big Mac and Rex dispose of Harlene's body, Miss Cake entices Boy Wonder to “put her in the movies.” The second hour of this two-hour film is devoted exclusively to Dreyfus and Harper's bantering, with Harper breaking a world record for continuous nudity by a mainstream actress. Everything ends horribly, with Boy Wonder literally failing to answer the knock upon the door to revamp his career.

As this wholesome synopsis suggests, Inserts was never really intended to be a barn burner with the popular movie-going public. As Julie Kirgo points out in her liner notes for this Twilight Time Blu-Ray release, limited to 3,000 copies, Inserts belongs to the sub-genre of self-loathing Hollywood epics that include such titles as Sunset Boulevard, The Day of the Locust and The Last Tycoon. The motion picture industry, these films proclaim, take the stuff of dreams and turn them into nightmares that prey upon the naïve and innocent.

The motion picture itself – Inserts, suffered a fate that  only Hollywood could dish out. Completed in 1975, after Dreyfuss completed Jaws – he said that he did the film to distance himself from such a crowd-pleasing blockbuster, go figure – Inserts sat on the shelf for two years and was given a limited release, slapped with an “X” rating. The film retains an NC-17 rating today. Rest assured, there's nothing the slightest bit erotic about Inserts. The porno film within the film lies uncomfortably close to a “Snuff film,” with Harlene being manhandled and nearly strangled by Rex. The malaise is thick and palpable throughout. The stuff that fuels this film's narrative has very little to do with sex and erotic fulfillment, boiling down to a war between the sexes. Audiences who lined up to see a hopefully snarky bit of naughtiness set in the 1930's were soundly turned off.  Inserts' thin plot does pay off with a cathartic ending, but it's not possible to leave this film's cramped universe – a mammoth set constructed on British sound stages that plays out in real time, with a slap and the tickle.

Very few extras this time around, this Twilight Time release has English subtitles for the hard of hearing and the film's original theatrical trailer. Inserts remains an interesting curiosity, a grimly uncompromising project on the fragility of dreams and the high cost involved in recording them for the whir of the motion picture camera. 

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - California by blink-182 (2016)

Kevin reviews the latest album from a pop/punk trio with a long history.

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July 24, 2016

Music Review: Did You Mrs. Me? by Driving Mrs. Satan (2016)

I am a huge fan of cover songs. I don't know what it is, but hearing an interpretation of a classic song is an exciting thing for me. I don't care if it's Limp Bizkit covering The Who or My Chemical Romance covering Queen. Sometimes a band or singer can surprise you. There are bands that striclty do covers, like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes or Richard Cheese, and I love them both. In this case, I'm looking at a band I found randomly called Driving Mrs. Satan. On their album Popscotch, they covered Anthrax, Metallica and Faith No More in spectacular ways, and I was hooked.

July 23, 2016

Cinema Head Cheese Greatest Hits: The Podcast! #35 - Blue Valentines

Jeff, Dave and Kevin welcome Abnormal Entertainment alum Camm Harston to this week's special Valentine's Day edition.

In honor of their new sponsor, Adam and Eve, the quirky quartet shares some of their favorite adult titles in an all Blue Cheese edition of the show.

Dave talks about Grub Girl, Jeff brings up Naked Came the Stranger, Camm reminisces about Taboo and Kevin looks back at The Dinner Party and the documentary Inside Deep Throat.

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July 20, 2016

Book Review: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (2012)

Growing up in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, I heard a lot about serial killers and mass murderers. John Wayne Gacy and Richard Speck were from Chicago, and they were both executed for their horrendous crimes. We were also affected by another bizarre killer at that time. He wasn't from Chicago, but he often traveled there, and some of his victims were part of the Chicago gay scene. I am speaking of Milwaukee's cannibal killer, Jeffrey Dahmer.

Dahmer was a strange case. When an intended victim escaped and led police to his apartment, what was discovered was a nightmare that Wes Craven couldn't imagine. A refrigerator full of human remains was only the tip of the iceberg. Dahmer had a long and unnerving history. My Friend Dahmer dips into the early part, up until his first killing. How do we know it's accurate? It's written by one of his high school friends.

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016)

Kevin, Jeremy, Jeff and Mandy discuss a disastrous sequel to a childhood classic.

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July 19, 2016

Column of the Dead #1: 1930s

Urban legends of Haiti, tell of zonbi, which is what the western civilization calls zombie. It is essentially a corpse that woke from the dead, a living dead if you will. Said corpse is controlled by the priest who raised it from the grave; usually a voodoo priest or priestess, who can keep the zombie eternally as his/her slave.

The zombi word in English language literature goes back to The Unknown Painter which is a short story first published in 1838. Later, the letter “e” was added and the word became zombie. Also the mythology changed quite a lot, very liberally, and really quickly.

Now, this column will cover mostly U.S. films, and so it is appropriate to note that zombies first became of interest to American citizens during the occupation of Haiti (1915 – 1934), so it is no wonder that the living dead started appearing in film during the ‘30s. But first, they became famous thanks to William Seabrook's infamous The Magic Island book, about which I have heard and read so much, yet I’ve been able to track down a reasonably priced copy.

I’ve learned most of the above from Wikipedia ( There are many more studies published the last few years on the subject, and my favourite is Jamie Russell’s Book of the Dead: the Complete History of Zombie Cinema.

Through this new column I will try to catalogue and review every zombie movie made in U.S.A. and Europe, in chronological order. Serials and TV series will be ignored. It’s an insane task, but I’m too.

White Zombie (1932)
So much has been written about the first feature film to feature zombies... It is a low-budget affair shot in 11 days. It proved very influential (White Zombie, the band, anyone?) but not until the ‘60s when it was re-discovered (it was until then considered lost). The matte paintings look indeed very dated, but the whole thing is so good that you’ll probably be too engaged to it to notice.
A young couple [Madge Bellamy and John Harron] visit Haiti and very soon they will be surrounded by death as their journey temporarily stops at some funeral that was taking place in the middle of the road. They then meet Legendre [Bela Lugosi] who is backed up by zombies. The driver is acting fast and takes the couple away from him, but first Legendre manages to steal the young girl’s scarf. All this is happening in the first few seconds.
The couple visits Charles Beaumont [Robert Frazer from Black Dragons (1942)] who wants to steal the girl away from the boy and for this to happen he uses a magic potion that was made by Legendre. Said magic potion turns the poor girl into a walking corpse and Charles is not satisfied.

July 10, 2016

The Laughing Mask (2014) Movie Review

While I’m waiting on my next package of goodies, I was lucky enough to be sent the link to an on-line screener (and unlucky to receive another one but that’ll have to be someone else’s problem because SOOOO BAAAADDD). In the long standing tradition of masked serial killers, Michael Aguiar gives us The Laughing Mask.

Jake Johnson’s wife is murdered and daughter kidnapped by the crazed serial killer, The Laughing Mask. Despite all his efforts to find the mad man, Jake comes up with a deadly plan: he’ll write a book about the killer and call him out on national television for being a pussy coward. THAT’LL bring the Mask to Jake for sure and then he can get his revenge.

Or then again, maybe it’ll just unleash The Laughing Mask’s wrath onto everyone else that Jake cares about. Like the plucky hard ass cop, Kate O’Malley. Or perhaps his agent, Mark. You know, in-between dishing out vigilante justice, too.

Umm….I’m confused.

Let’s deal with some of the bad first.

The acting, needless to say, is pretty rough. I’ve definitely seen worse but not by much. Most everyone seems rather stiff and unsure of themselves. Or they’re trying to hard to emote and it throws off the flow. The characters they play are pretty cliche so that doesn’t help matters. And the director used his twin daughters to play two different characters in the movie. Made for some very confusing double takes throughout the film.

July 6, 2016

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Turbo Kid (2015)

Kevin, Dalyn, Sam and Mandy discuss the Canada/New Zealand joint throwback to 1980s cult cinema.

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July 3, 2016

Movie Review: The Great Beauty (aka La Grande Bellezza) (2013)

The Great Beauty(La Grande Bellazza) is an Italian film centered around the character Jep Gambardella(Toni Servillo), a journalist who is among Rome's social elite class.  Jep has turned 65 years old and the movie shows his interactions and his view of life after his birthday.

Toni Servillo as Jep is brilliant in this film.  He needs to be as this is all about hi as Jep and the way he navigates his life in Rome.  The film starts at Jep's 65th birthday and it's quite the party.  The beautiful people of Rome's social elite are there and it's a wild time filled with music and dancing.  This is where we start to see Jep pondering life.  Jep is in the social elite, not because he is a journalist, but because of a novel he wrote.  As the movie progresses, we see Jep's character progress and his sharp wit is on display when he grows tired of the elitism displayed by some of his counterparts.  I also really enjoyed when Jep decided to bring an unlikely someone into his inner circle.  The choice had some ramifications on his own psyche.  Again, Toni Servillo is brilliant.

The Great Beauty is directed by Paolo Sorrentino and you can see this is his homage to Federico Fellini.  The way Sorrentino was able to navigate through all of these lives but keeping Jep the central focus was wonderful.  I took notice in the focus on faces.  There were scenes of people at parties and we were treated with the focus on their faces which visually told you what was going on.  The film takes place in Rome so the backdrop to every shot had exquisite beauty.  Thhe Great Beauty was truly a pleasure to view.

I received this film in the Boxwalla Movie Subscription Box.  You can read my box review at