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September 30, 2016

Cinematic Hell: The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

by Hal Astell

Director: Ray Kellogg

Stars: Don Sullivan, Fred Graham and Lisa Simone

One of two features produced back to back in 1959 by an independent production company in Texas called Hollywood Pictures Corporation, such a generic name that it was the second such company, this was the half that didn't even get the title right. At least The Killer Shrews starred a bunch of killer shrews, along with James Best from The Dukes of Hazzard, but this one just has a Mexican beaded lizard. Perhaps the filmmakers felt that The Giant Gila Monster made for a better title, even though most of the people watching couldn't pronounce it properly. It has two selling points today, beyond being a bad but fun film. Firstly, the font used on the promotional posters, though not on the title card, is the one memorably borrowed by Glenn Danzig for his bands The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. Secondly, this is a monster movie with a real monster, because instead of putting a fake monster into real sets they put a real monster into fake sets.

September 27, 2016


Infamous Horror Movie Classic Now Back In Theaters!

For Immediate Release

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Grindhouse Releasing, the award-winning "Criterion of cult movie labels", has set a Nov. 8 street date for the new deluxe Blu-ray edition of David E. Durston's gruesome and graphically violent 1971 horror favorite I DRINK YOUR BLOOD. It's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD meets the Manson Family in this gore-drenched tale of LSD-crazed hippies who go on a murderous rampage through a small town after consuming rabies-injected meat pies!

Grindhouse Releasing's deluxe 2-disc Blu-ray set not only presents the ultra-violent, uncensored director's cut of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD in a new hi-def transfer but also includes two more vintage exploitation films in their HD debut: Del Tenney's I EAT YOUR SKIN (1964) and Durston's long-unseen, X-rated psychedelic shocker BLUE SEXTET (1969). Packed with new bonus features not seen on Grindhouse Releasing's 2002 DVD release, the I DRINK YOUR BLOOD Blu-ray is the ultimate edition of a notorious "Blood Horror" classic.

The first film to be rated X for violence, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD was a huge-grossing hit at drive-ins and "grindhouse" theaters but was severely censored during its original release.

Trailer: v=2utB1RDV4gc

September 22, 2016

Movie Review: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Blu-ray, Twilight Time)

More often than not, when the late Sam Peckinpah casted actors for his films their personas emulated the tough and rebellious attitude that the director was known for. These guys (and gals) had some grit! Whether it’s Steve McQueen in The Getaway, L.Q Jones, Ernest Borgnine and William Holden in The Wild Bunch or Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs, machismo was never in doubt for any characters. Okay, I was kidding about Hoffman.

Bring Me the Head of Afredo Garcia star, Warren Oates, is definitely towards the top of the Peckinpah tough guy regulars. Here’s a man who probably ate nail sandwiches, slathered in dirt and would wash them down with motor oil -- all with a smile on his face. Even with a very slight stature Oates is so believably bad-ass. His portrayal of the lead character of “Bennie”, a hard-on-his-luck bartender looking to cash in on the bounty of the head of a dead john is truly one of the finer performances in the actor’s career (until he passed away at at 52 in 1982). Twilight Time has taken the Peckinpah classic and given a very deserving Blu-ray release with all the fixins'.

September 15, 2016

Movie Review: La Notte (1961)

Over the course of a day and through the night, an unfaithful couple go through the city of Milan; together and separate.  It is very apparent that the two have grown distant and now must figure out what is next in their lives.

I like that this film doesn't quite have a direction other than where the world takes each of the characters.  The visuals throughout Milan, Italy are amazing.  from walking the streets to the elitist house party(which boasts one of the most awesome pools I've seen).  Michelangelo Antonioni, the director of the film, has a fantastic eye for bringing the audience into a day in the life of this couple.

The husband, played brilliantly by , is a novelist who is quite well known.  He does have an eye for other women but does not seem to want to disrupt his home life.  The wife, played by , can see the two have become distant and seems encouraging of her husband being with another woman() who can give him what she cannot provide.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film.  While not conventional in how it is filmed, the audience is treated with getting a great visual of the psyche of the characters.  All of this film takes place within a day and concludes the next morning.  This film is definitely worth a viewing and I'm glad I received it in the Boxwalla subscription box.  You can read my reviews of Boxwalla's movie subscription boxes at HelloSubscription.

Movie Review: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

"Hiroshima Mon Amour" is a French film directed by Alain Resnais based on the screenplay by Marguerite Duras.  The film follows the one night stand of a French actress() and a Japanese architect() that blossoms in what appears to the characters as love.  The film follows the two characters in their final day together as the actress must leave for Paris in the morning.

I will start off this review with what I enjoyed from the film.  The visuals were stunning.  The beginning alone had some of the most haunting imagery as we were brought back to Hiroshima just after the atomic bomb was dropped.  You are able to look back and see the destruction that was caused and really see why nuclear war should never be a thing.  The director did a superb job of showing the deformities, hair loss, damage to food supply and death.  The actress is recounts the events while the architect constantly reminding her, "You saw nothing in Hiroshima."

This movie will never let you forget that it takes place in Hiroshima.  You are repeatedly beat over the head with the fact that this is where the movie takes place.  Well, other than Nevers, France.  The two characters constantly remind each other where the other is from.

And what of these characters?  You get to hear plenty of backstory from where they want to tell the other.  We hear very little about their spouses.  We are just reminded that one night together was so wonderful, that it's painful to be apart from each other.  We spend ninety minutes of the architect attempting to convince the actress to stay with him in Hiroshima(even though his wife will be there in 3 days).  The actress spends ninety minutes trying to push him away despite the fact he'll listen to her stories from her youth.  Well, he listens until she gets too emotional and then slaps her a couple times.  The bartender and patrons raise their eyebrows to see what was going on but the actress seemed very approving of the smacks across her face and everyone went about their business.

I received this movie in the Boxwalla subscription box and you can read my reviews for the boxes themselves at HelloSubscription.  This wasn't my favorite film that I've received but at ninety minutes, it was worth checking out.

September 10, 2016

Island of the Cannibal Death Gods (2011) Movie Review

Apparently someone at CHC wanted me to be surprised and delighted with the next film in the DVD stack as it had no writing on it. Kind of like one of those grab bags you get at the Dollar store - could be toys, could be housewares, could be a pile of dog shit for all you know.

Guess which one I got?

Island of the Cannibal Death Gods (are you FUCKING kidding me right now? Gods damn you, Hayes) is the story of David, Steve, and Derek (celebrity, his agent, and brother-in-law respectively) who decide to charter a fishing boat for a nice weekend away. Seems Dave fucked up (literally - he cheated on his wife) and the press are getting all up in his business 24/7. 

So they hook up with Captain Robin Murphy (a female captain who’s tough and independent? How unique and unexpected.) and tootle around some tiny islands while the Captain entices the men with local pirate legends, hidden treasures, and stories of cannibals! Before they can decide whether they want to go hunting for buried treasure, they come across an abandoned boat. While searching for survivors they’re picked off one by one. Could it be the cannibals Captain Murphy was talking about? Will they stop bickering long enough to survive this threat? Do any of us fucking care?

All together now. One…two…three….NO!

Let’s cover everything wrong with this film.
  1. Sound: very uneven; mismatched vocals; the generic ‘realistic punch’ sound effect made the fight scenes even more pathetic.
  2. Visuals: I’m guessing it was the low budget but it basically looked like someone grabbed a camcorder and started filming; lots of shaking and unsteady work - I actually got a little motion sick from it; the ridiculous ‘cannibal cam’.
  3. Characters: dear lord there was no one to get behind; cliche bad guys; douchebag and extremely WHINY main characters.
  4. Acting: lackluster and awkward; the cannibals themselves were utterly ridiculous (especially considering their zebra loin cloths - pretty sure there are no wild zebras in Florida - and their awkward tribal dancing).
  5. Story: unoriginal; predictable; pacing was very slow; death right out of the gate but then it took FOREVER for the next one; lots of exposition dumps.

Okay now the few things right with this movie:
  1. Florence LeMerle as Robin Murphy. She was the best actor in the bunch. I enjoyed her screen time immensely and the scene where she’s telling a story to the guys and screams at them, like a jump scare while telling a ghost story around a campfire, was awesome. I got a good laugh at that.
  2. The ‘twist’ ending: while the actual plot twist has been done dozens of times, the reveal of it was HILARIOUS!
  3. Effects: you don’t really see much in the way of kills (most are done off screen), the few we see include awesome practical effects. I’m so glad they didn’t do any of that CGI bullshit. The dangling eye was my particular favorite.
So as you can see, the good does not outweigh the bad in this flick. While there are parts that were enjoyable, the overall quality is just awful and really not worth your time.

1 hatchet (out of 5)

September 7, 2016

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Super Mansion (Crackle, 2015)

Kevin digs into a Crackle original superhero series from the people behind Robot Chicken.

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

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September 4, 2016

Movie Review: Der Bunker

Reviewed by: James D.
Der Bunker is one of those films that once you watch it, you will have something to digest well after the credits. If “ Serbian Film” was about a typical family in the underground of Serbia. This film can be seen as a typical family in a very odd part of Germany. The story revolves around a young man who is renting a bunker. This room could be seen as a rubber room for the mentally damaged. It has no windows, and is pretty depressing looking. On the surface, this could work because he can throw himself into his passion and work. Also, in this house is a mom and dad and their son Klaus.