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December 22, 2014

Movie Review: Deck the Halls (2006)

Day 8 of the David Hayes 12 Days of Christmas Crap Review-a-Palooza is here! Betcha thought I would quit before now, didn’t you? You don’t know me! Nobody knows me!

Oh, sorry. I think this project is getting under my skin. Not as much as that damn Little Drummer Boy song, but close.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the Head Cheese gave to me… four more days of crap, uugh.

I love ridiculous, slapstick comedy. Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle are silent film geniuses. The best part of Mad Magazine was always Spy vs. Spy and Tom & Jerry holds a special place in my heart. Slapstick can be done well, it really can. Just not by Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito. Although I can still feel the intense pain of watching the Americanized version of Godzilla starring Broderick, his turn as Ferris Bueller always had me, no matter what piece of crap I had just watched, feeling as though I liked the guy. Not anymore. Prior to this holiday travesty I felt that Danny DeVito could, quite possibly, do no wrong. He made the best choices as an actor and any project would benefit from his performance. Again, not anymore. There is only one film that could cause me to turn my back on two iconic American actors. One film that rips off, quite possibly, every other holiday film ever made in one fell swoop. Come with me, then, into the cozy little cabin. We’ll sit by the fire and I’ll tell you all about Deck the Halls… before we burn the DVD.

Buy Deck the Halls on DVD!

December 17, 2014

Movie Review: The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

Directed by Stanley Kramer

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

The year is 1943 and fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has met his bullet-ridden fate. The Italian mountain town of Santa Vittoria has largely escaped the ravages of World War II. Bombolini (Anthony Quinn), the town drunk begins to erase his pro-Mussolini graffiti off the town water tower and has to be coaxed down. The town's fascist sympathizers, fearing bloody reprisals from the villagers, hastily make Bombolini the town's mayor, much to the chagrin of his overbearing fish wife Rosa (who else but Anna Magnani). The still drunken Bombolini surprisingly institutes much positive change in the town. Word reaches his ears that a Nazi contingent, led by Captain von Prum (Hardy Kruger) will arrive shortly, to confiscate the town's only asset, millions of bottles of wine. Bombolini convinces the villagers to transfer the countless bottles of wine to a nearby mountain stronghold by hand (lots of spectacular footage here). When the Nazis arrive, will the village give a united front that there is no more wine left in town …?

The Secret of Santa Vittoria is a most welcome surprise. Directed by Stanley Kramer, it's possibly the sunniest and most carefree movie ever involving Italy in the throes of World War II. (The definitive filmed retelling on the effects of fascist Italy on small town life remains Federico Fellini's Amacord (1975), but that's neither here nor there –) The emphasis on this film, in spite of its many scenes of spectacle in wide-screen photography, is Quinn's struggle to redeem himself. The elements driving the conflict at large are still there. The villainous fascists remain present, still trying to hold their influence on the townspeople. But as it has been noted elsewhere, the character of Captain von Krum is the nicest Nazi this side of TV's “Hogan's Heroes.” As played by Kruger, it appears that this soldier is very much aware that the Axis is rapidly disintegrating, and is chiefly there to quaff some regional spirits and chase some Italian skirt about. T must be noted that some of the fascists meet their comeuppance in an ironic way, but this is all kept off-screen.

December 16, 2014

Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby (2014)

Trust me. If this remake hadn’t been included in my latest CHC package, I never would have watched it. It’s not necessarily a film that makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork previously used by a leper with herpes but it’s not something I would recommend anyone else watch. Ever.

Rosemary’s Baby, for those of you that don’t know, was a narrow book written by Ira Levin in 1967. It was originally adapted for the screen in 1968 starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, and directed by Roman Polanski. The basic premise of the story is as follows (again, for you newbs - spoilers ahead):

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a high rise apartment building. Quickly befriended by an older couple, Minnie and Roman Castevet, who seem to be benefactors and meddlers at the same time. Guy is a struggling actor but things quickly fall into place for his success, mainly by the competition going inexplicably blind. Coincidence this happens AFTER Guy befriends the old couple? Wait and see, young viewer.

Guy and Rosemary decide to have a baby and on the night of conception, Rosemary is drugged and hallucinates being raped by a demon. Or does she? Now pregnant, her first few months are agony - constant pain, nausea, weight loss. Though her friends try to convince her to seek help, she trusts the advice of the doctor recommended by the Castevets. When her pregnancy improves, she seems to forget about all her previous worries.

December 10, 2014

Movie Review: Anna (2013)

“Memories can’t be trusted but it’s all the truth we have.” Based on a true story... Just kidding. This flick isn’t based on anything real. If it were, we’d all be so far up shit creek I can’t even think of a funny punchline.

Anna is a present day story but in this reality, the world has something called Memory Detectives. There are certain people who can enter the memories of others. This is particularly helpful when trying to solve crime. Granted, the found memories don’t hold a lot of weight in court (which they tell us a bazillion times) as DNA is truly the best evidence but they can play key roles in finding out hidden truths.

John is one of these detectives. His boss, Sebastian, brings him in on an old case involving a young girl named Anna. Sebastian treated her years ago, when she was just barely out of knickers (or whatever the female equivalent is of a boy from the 1920s) but could not help her. She’s now gone on a hunger strike and her parents are desperate.

December 4, 2014

Movie Review: Ashes of Eden (2014)

Truth is a rare thing at this level of feature film production. It is incredibly difficult to provide a product in a certain budget range, regardless of genre, that completely upholds the suspension of disbelief that is the contract between filmmaker and audience. This isn’t to say that no film can accomplish this, they can. It is just indicative of the time and care utilized in creating the film. This is exactly why writer/director Shane Hagedorn’s Ashes of Eden works… it feels honest and is a poignant tale of violence and redemption even with its modest budget.

Playing out like a gritty, urban and modern Les Miserables, Ashes of Eden tells the story of Red (Steven Sutherland), a troubled kid that is generally in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wants to do the right thing, but the world of this story is not black and white. In order to help his police officer mother (Melissa Anschutz) from financial disaster, Red makes the wrong choice to steal from ruthless drug dealers and gets wrapped up in the brutal world that two rival dealers (Carlucci Weylant and indie stalwart D. J. Perry) have created. Red’s life will never be the same.

December 3, 2014

Movie Review: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

Day three of the David Hayes Christmas Crap Review-a-Palooza and we’re cooking with gas! Hopefully someone leaves the burner on and lights a smoke so I can blow the hell up and not watch anymore of this garbage.

On the third day of Christmas the Head Cheese gave to me three ghostly visits that caused me, within my pants, to pee.

Last night I was visited by three ghosts. The first was the Ghost of Jedi Past and he showed me the glory of the original Star Wars trilogy and I marveled, like in my youth, to the adventures of Luke and Leia and that weird incestuous thing they had going on. Then, merely an hour later, I was visited by the Ghost of Jedi Present and he showed me the horrible, computer-generated filth that passed for films as George Lucas perverted his legacy, ably aided by Jake Lloyd, with the ‘new’ trilogy. As I lay awake in bed, shuddering from fright with the voice of Jar Jar shrilly echoing in my head, another ghost entered my bed chamber. Hunkering below the covers, only peeking out of cat-killing curiosity, I noticed that this ghost was smaller than the rest. And it limped. This ghost also had a hunchback and a wheezing cough that punctuated each step. Unafraid of this new ghost, I threw off my blanket and confronted it. This… thing announced itself to be The Ghost of Jedi A Little After Past. I laughed, mocking it and calling it Quasi-Ghosto. As the retarded little thing grabbed my hand, though, my laughter turned into a scream. You see, gentle reader, this malformed, raised in a basement, step-child of a ghost was taking me on the scariest adventure yet. It took me to The Star Wars Holiday Special.

November 30, 2014

The Many Faces of Emmanuelle: A NSFW Photographic Journey

I love erotic fiction. One of my all time favourite novels is Emmanuelle (or Emmanuelle: the Joys of a Woman). Most believe that it was written by Emmanuelle Arsan (real name: Marayat Rollet-Andriane) but there are plenty of rumours of it being written by her husband (Jacques Rollet-Andriane).

The reader is experiencing the story through the point of view of the title’s character, which has sex with a variety of people. It was originally published in its country of origin in 1967 and in English a few years later (it was first published anonymously in 1959, but it didn’t became the phenomenon that it meant to be in the ‘60s and ‘70s.), just when the first wave of commercial adult films was thriving and that shouldn’t be too surprising as the novel’s structure works like one.

The book was adapted by director Just Jaeckin into a film, Emmanuelle (1974), with Sylvia Kristel in the starring role, and was met with enormous success both in its production country (France) and internationally. It led the way for numerous erotic films to flood the market [Jaeckin also made Histoire D'o (1975) which was also based upon a provocative novel], and it was only a matter of time before various sequels materialized (official and unofficial). And then there was the Black Emanuelle (note the difference in the spelling). And so the legendary character was played by many attractive young actresses. This article is about them, the performers that brought Emmanuelle to the big screen.

She was born on the 28th of 1952 in Utrecht, Netherlands and began modelling before she was 18 (she won the Miss TV Europe award). Emmanuelle (1974) may not be her first part, but it was the one that sky-rocketed her career in film. The next year she reprised her role in Emmanuelle II (1975). Then she collaborated with legendary Avant-Garde director Walerian Borowczyk in The Margin (1976) and Art-House auteur Claude Chabrol in Alice or the Last Escapade (1977). Her natural features were once again explored in Goodbye Emmanuelle (1978). In the late ‘70s he worked with famous actors such as Alain Delon [in The Concorde Airport ’79 (1979)] and Ursula Andress [in The Fifth Musketeer (1979)].

Just Jaeckin directed her again in another erotic novel adaptation, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1981). Emmanuelle IV (1984), Red Heat (1985) with Linda Blair, and Bert Gordon’s The Big Bet (1985) kept her busy in the mid-‘80s. In the late ‘80s she was the female lead in Christopher Coppola’s Dracula’s Widow (1988).

November 27, 2014

Movie Review: Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher (2014)

“Based on a true story.” Are you fucking kidding me?

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher begins with a grandpa and his three grandkids during story time. He thinks The Bouncy Bunny is lame piece of shit and decides to tell the little half-pints the story of the Hillbilly Butcher. Because nothing says family bonding like sharing tales of murder, mayhem, and cannibalism with children under 10 years old.

Carl Henry Jessup grew up in the backwoods of...does it matter? It’s the backwoods. His parents owned a butcher shop and the local rumors swirling around told tales of long-pig being served up from that establishment. Grandpa says the meat was rather tasty but let’s skip over that part, and the granddaughter’s “what the fuck” face, and let us gentle viewers know that Carl’s parents were killed and he now basically lives like a hermit on the family land.

And let me tell you. He don’t like folk on his land. There are three things you need to know about Carl:
1. The law ends at his property line.
2. No hunting on his property.
3. No fucking on his property.

November 26, 2014

Movie Review: Carnal Haven (1976) and Her Last Fling (1977)

Directed by Carlos Tobalina (as Troy Benny and Bruce Van Buren, respectively)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

It's the Seventies – in San Francisco – and porno workhorse Carlos Tobalina has gathered the usual gang of idiots in order to make skin flicks! Tobalina is so proud in his part of this sexual revolution for profit that he hid behind not one, but two pseudonyms to rush these features to the Adults Only movie houses. Suddenly, the prospect of an evening of washing dishes and dusting bookshelves seems more enticing …

Under his nom de porn Troy Benny, Tobalina gives us Carnal Haven. In a lengthy introduction told in title cards, Benny/Tobalina says his negligible flesh feature will change our lives for the better! How, we don't know. We are introduced to some married couples in the Baghdad by the Bay, doing what married couples do best, i.e. kvetching about money. “Blacks tend to have larger families. Does this mean they are happier?” asks the voice-over narration. We are then introduced to sex therapists who tend to the couples' mounting sexual frustration with group orgies. “Shell,” the actress playing the female therapist does a fairly good job laying down a good pseudo-scientific line of patter on sexual positions, in spite of her filthy, disheveled hair. Ken Scudder, who played the lovable doofus hitchhiker in Curt McDowell's Thundercrack! (1975) doesn't quite cut it as the male half of the therapeutic duo. The film's raison d'arte is indifferently filmed orgy scenes, which gobble up (pun intended) the majority of the film's running time.

Cinematic Hell: Blood Freak (1972)

Directors: Steve Hawkes & Brad Grinter
Star: Steve Hawkes

It's hard to imagine a film like Blood Freak existing and it's even harder to imagine what possible motivations the filmmakers had to make such a thing. It's not just that it's so far out there that it becomes truly surreal, which it is; it's that it seems to be an anomaly in the careers of everyone involved. I can only assume that it carried the message that its financiers wanted to be carried, but once their money supply had run out and they abandoned the film, it fell to Brad Grinter and Steve Hawkes to finish it on their own. How much they obscured the original message I have no idea, whether deliberately or accidentally, but it's certainly an unholy mishmash of a number of genres, tones and styles and apparently Hawkes, when asked about the film later in life, called it 'a sad chapter in my life.' So what is it? Well, it's a pro-Christian, anti-pot, biker movie about a man who turns into a bloodthirsty freak with the head of a turkey. You know, the usual.

November 25, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Brooks and The Boz

Kevin Moyers does a documentary double feature of Mel Brooks: Make a Noise and the 30 for 30 profile of Brian Bosworth, Brian and the Boz.

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

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November 23, 2014

Movie Review: Rage (2014)

Directed by Paco Cabezas

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

“This whole mess stinks,” weary Irish Mafia hit man Danny (Michael McGrady) sighs at one point. You're telling me. It was with deep dread that this DVD was submitted to ye humble reviewer, Nicolas Cage's distorted mug prominently featured on the cover. Sure, Cage previously turned in some good performances in halfway decent movies before such as Raising Arizona and Vampire's Kiss, but those days are long past. Cage last starred in the Christian rapture film Left Behind (2014), itself a remake of a 14-year-old film in the role Kirk Cameron played in! Let that sink in for a moment.

Yes, Cage's acting career has long gone down the porcelain convenience by this point, but just before he signed on to Left Behind he found time to star in the violent actioner Rage, released sans rating by the MPAA. Cage stars as Paul Maguire, a successful businessman with a highly shady past in the Irish mob. Fixing to host his lovely daughter Caitlin's Sweet Sixteen party at his former colleagues' dive bar (Max Ryan and McGrady), these plans are put on ice when after she's abducted in a break-in burglary and kidnapping at home with two male friends. After she turns up dead with a gunshot wound to the head, Cage vows vengeance on those responsible. Rallying his buddies, Cage begins the methodical thinning out of the local Russian Mafia. His friend the police commissioner (Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon series – not looking so good these days) advises him to let justice take its course. There are some good car chase scenes and a shock, surprise ending – due to some shoddy detective work on the part of the police in this film! If anything, Cage's character was justified in taking the law into his own hands.

November 21, 2014

Movie Review: Companeros (1970)

Directed by Sergio Corbucci

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Franco Nero is a most unlikely Swedish arms dealer named Yodlaf Peterson out to make easy money in revolutionary 19th Century Mexico. Franco's English track voice has a defiantly Italian accent – of no consequence, it just adds to the fun). Eurotrash favorite Tomas Milian plays a Mexican bandito out to have good time, and give Yodladf a hard time along the way. Both are recruited by the local warlord to retrieve a pacifist college Professor Xantos(Fernando Rey) who holds the combination to a safe that holds gold bullion to fund the ongoing revolution. Nero and Milian trek great distances to Texas in order to spring the professor, playing a series of practical jokes on each other along the way. Jack Palance, as a one-armed villain with faithful pet falcon – he could have walked off the set of the “Batman” TV series – is out to get both of them.

Many have cited Companeros as their favorite “spaghetti western.” It's an easy film to like: very light on plot, powered by the charisma of its two male leads. Both Nero and Milian thwart disaster at the last minute at every turn, but make no mistake: director Sergio Corbucci was the mastermind behind the brutally nihilistic The Great Silence (1968). Companeros has a moral that many would disagree with, that violence is frequently necessary to protect the good and innocent. But fear not, as the film is not intended as a sermon, but as an undemanding popcorn muncher.

Movie Review: Forever's End (2013)

Directed by JC Schroeder

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Sarah White (Charity Farrel) lives on a bucolic farm in the middle of nowhere where it is eternally springtime six years after an unspecified apocalypse has left her the last person on Earth. She whiles away her days doing housework and harvesting organic vegetables, occasionally drifting into reveries about a terrible tragedy involving herself and her father in an urban alleyway. One day her sister Lily (Lili Reinhart) shows up on her doorstep during a rainstorm. She refuses to tell Sarah where's she's been but drops ominous hints … “You really don't remember what happened, do you?” A male figure comes snooping around the farmhouse late one night and Sarah shoots him dead, stashing the body in the barn.  A tall, dark stranger named Ryan then appears, who assures Sarah that the world didn't end, and that they're people and cities a few days walking distance away. Lily isn't keen on Ryan; like her, he's playing mind games with our heroine: “You don't remember who I am, do you?” Tensions arise among the various personalities involved, and the aforementioned traumatic past event comes colliding into the dream-like present. Sarah learns the real reason behind her isolation – for better or worse. 

Movie Review: In the House of the Flies (2013)

Directed by Gabriel Carrer

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Steve (Ryan Kotack) and Heather (Lindsay Smith) are a young couple out for a night of fun when they return to their car. Their booby-trapped vehicle is permeated with knockout gas, and the two lovebirds pass out unconscious to awake into a nightmare scenario: A filthy cellar made of gray cinder blocks without a means of escape. Left with a wastebasket to hold their bodily wastes, Steve and Heather are then subjected to a series of tests by an unseen madman (Ryan Barrett) who communicates with them through an old dial telephone sans its dial. Starved and denied water, Steve and Heather are commanded into a series of degrading tests in order to live another day. Things get worse and worse and worse until Heather drops a bomb on Steve: She's carrying his child. What do you suppose happens next? It does …

In the House of the Flies is an especially grueling horror film, devoid of any aesthetic beauty and a story that can only go from bad to worse to even worse. The film is an endurance test for the viewer, which, as these types of projects usually are, dares the audience to see what happens next. Grisly and relentless, it must be noted, however that since the couple's ordeal goes into weeks, that Heather's hair remains fluffy clean and Steve's beard barely goes past the two-day stubble phase. A story with a starkly simple premise makes these little inconsistencies stand out.

November 19, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: The Podcast! #141 - Dudley Has To Take His Shirt Off

Inebriated duo Kevin and Jeff get together to talk about their favorite sitcoms of the 1980s.

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!

November 15, 2014

Movie Review: The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

Directed by Steve Rash

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

It’s a good thing that Buddy Holly (Gary Busey) – real name, Charles Hardin Holley was one of the first rock and rollers as he went directly against everything we presume about rock and rollers. Long and gangly, sporting nerd spex and white socks, Holly loved his parents, was a hard worker, went to church, loved his wife, didn’t do drugs and most importantly – wasn’t afraid to use his fists to defend his artistic integrity. All of the above flies in the face of most rock musicians, in particular those who under the advice of impresarios are told to stop doing the type of music they want to play in order to court the recent, popular trends in popular music. Holly wrote the book on what today passes for rock music, and he was persecuted and misunderstood for doing so in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas. 

Holly truly broke down borders – both musical and racial with his rock and roll. A Nashville recording session where Holly’s hits are given a country-swing arrangement, the record producer telling Holly “We don’t do nigra music here” ending in fisticuffs. Buddy Holly and the Crickets were the first white band to play Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, where an initially dismayed audience quickly learned his brand of boogie. Marrying a Puerto Rican woman, Maria Elena (Maria Richwine) Holly would have the wind knocked out of him when his bandmates Ray Bob (Charles Martin Smith) and  Jesse (Don Stroud) head back to Texas, leaving him without backup in New York City. Encouraged to tour, Buddy has a fateful plane flight, ending his life and career at the impossibly young age of 22.

November 11, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - 30 for 30: Elway to Marino

Kevin Moyers is in a football mood, and he reviews a documentary about the famous 1983 NFL draft.

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

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

Movie Review: Raw Force (1982)

Directed by Edward D. Murphy

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

A cruise ship full of swinging singles and martial artists piloted by Captain Harry Dodds (Cameron Mitchell) and managed by loudmouthed harridan Hazel Buck (Hope Holiday) run afoul of jade smuggler Thomas Speer (Ralph Lombardi) who resembles Hitler in an ice cream suit. Speer sends his goons to sink the boat, and the survivors land their life raft on an island inhabited by cannibal monks (one of whom is played by perpetual Filipino trash film star Vic Diaz) who have the power to raise disgraced kung-fu killers from the grave …

In short, listing the exploitive elements that this Filipino feature DOESN'T have would make for a much shorter and more manageable list.

It’s not possible to dislike a film featuring cannibalistic monks and hordes of reanimated zombie martial artists. Such is the case with Raw Force. Add tons of tits and ass, gore that wouldn’t convince a pre-schooler and lots of slapstick and you simply can’t miss! This is exploitation cinema as it will never be again: no irony, no cross-referencing other films, a nonsense logic that only applies to the particular universe in which it is set … and the result is Movie Magic. Quentin Tarantino could bang on a typewriter for an eternity and never reach the joyous energy found on display here.

Movie Review: Beneath the Harvest Sky (2013)

Directed by Aron Gaudet and Kavita Pullapilly

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Casper (Emory Cohen) and Dominic (Callan McAuliffe) are best buds since forever. Counting the days they graduate or drop out of high school, the two burnouts do the best that they can in their rural Maine town across from the Canadian border: Make out with girls, chug beer, chase moose and deal a little drugs on the side. They dream of saving up enough money to move to Boston in order to see the Red Sox play. Dominic’s dad Clayton, (Aidan Gillen from “Game of Thrones”) has a somewhat lucrative illegal prescription drug business on the side, and he’s intent on schooling his son on the ways of this world, or in his words, being “spokes in a fucked-up wheel.” In the meantime, Dominic’s creepy uncle “Badger” (Timm Sharp) is working with law enforcement authorities to send Clayton up the river. Casper and Dominic have their hopes and dreams, but good things never come out of these types of scenarios. It all comes crashing down violently – who will live to see another day?