Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Caretaker (300th Review)

(thanks Nafa)


Good morning, my friendly demons. It turns out that The Caretaker is Doomed Moviethon's 300th review. Are you serial? Are you 4 rael? Yeah, it's all true. Maybe I cannibalized some of my blog posts to get there but it's all good in the neighborhood (I guess). I also cannibalized my friend's brains for some reviews as well. A huge DUDER THANKS goes out to my budz Eric, Nafa, Shelly and Jeff who have contributed to Doomed Moviethon over the years. I couldn't have done this shiznit without ya. My huge huger hugest thanks goes to all of you fine folks in the Internetland that have been keeping up with my lousy site all these years. And to all of you DM newbs out there, hello and welcome to my crap!

So yes, The Caretaker will be my last review for a month or so while I prepare for Doomed Moviethon's 5 year anniversary. I'm going to be working on new content as well as a new look for the front page of DM so that on March 1st, there will be some celebration of epic proportions to be celebrated. The biggest thing is consistency. After many years of constantly changing the format of my web pages, there's a lot of shitty looking shit on my site and I am trying very hard for uniformity. So if you happen to notice dead links or some fugly ass layout, please mock me silently and know that I'm doing everything I can to end the funk.

I'll still be around here in a diminished capacity to annoy and disappoint you all, I promise.


My very first review: Death Factory

And the rest of 'em: 300 DM Reviews

Monday, January 25, 2010

Innocent W

Makoto is a witch who puts his powers to good use as a private eye. One day, he gets a lucrative offer from a client to travel on a certain bus to a certain location in order to uncover the identity of a witch. This easy assignment sounds too good to be true and it is. It seems that everyone on the bus is a witch and someone has arranged for this bus to crash in a remote place in the woods. Within moments, gangs of witch-hunters show up intent on destroying the survivors of the crash. Makoto and his new friends must fight for their lives using their magical talents to make it out alive.

Innocent W by Kei Kusunoki is a decent little 3 volume horror manga series. My only complaint about Kusunoki's style is her action sequences are a little confusing. There were several occasions where it felt like frames were missing and I just got lost. Another issue I have: I think that TOKYOPOP, who published Innocent W back in 2006/7, kind of screwed up the translation. This might be poor writing on Kusunoki's part but to me it just reads like awkwardly translated text.

I'm very forgiving when it comes to horror manga so I got a great deal of enjoyment out of Innocent W. The story is convoluted but I was drawn in by the backstories of the witches and the excellent art. There's also some disgusting gore and a little nudity thrown in to make things nice and trashy. Another cool thing is that it's only 3 volumes. Had this been a long series, say 10+ volumes, I definitely would have gotten burned out before its end. So I kind of half-recommend Innocent W. If you see it cheap somewhere, pick it up.

Guest Blogger: Captain Sinus Headache!

Do they award medals for bravery in the face of pop culture juggernauts? Well, they should. Today, my good friend Jeff reports on New Moon because I was too scared. Check it:

by Jeff Chaffee

First off, thanks to Rich (or as I know him, Sliz) for asking me to write a little bit. This is akin to asking Pete Rose to lay "a little bet" or Amy Winehouse to do "a little blow," but I welcomed the opportunity anyway.

I will cop to being more a music guy than a movie one, and my street cred for horror is even more bargain-basement than that. A few years back, I hit Rich up for some suggestions to add to my then-burgeoning Blockbuster Online queue. He tossed a few titles my way, mostly Asian/Japanese horror stuff, a few good slices of onryō ghost stories. I should've stopped after the original Ju-On: The Grudge, but decided "Eh, one more can't hurt." The "one more" was the acid trip of 2000's Uzumaki, which my then-girlfriend/now-wife still has not forgiven me for. In fact, the last "scary" movie I watched was,,,wow... The Strangers. That's fatherhood for you; the 6 o'clock news is all the terror I can handle with a 14-month old.

Speaking of, it was during one of baby Sean's naps that I picked up Twilight, mostly out of curiosity for what the big damn deal was (ditto for my wife). As Kelli's literary picks were often very good, I trusted her judgment. I enjoyed the book's prose, but found it to be DREADFULLY slow; anything that makes me pine for the action-packed tent epic of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is clearly doing something terribly wrong. A few months later, Sean was napping again (he did that a lot in those days) and we watched the film version. It was nice to have the time to do so, and I found myself liking that way more than paying much attention to the movie.

So this weekend, for our monthly date night, Kelli and I went to see New Moon, her having finished the book about a week before (I'd been working on The Road by Cormac McCarthy...I win that round). Being the music guy that I am, and a snobbish elitist at times at that, I had heard many rumblings about the fantastic indie-riffic line-up on the soundtrack. I too was intrigued by the red-robed figures I'd seen parading around in the trailers for the film. So with that, the promise of a night out and dinner at one of our favorite little spots, I figured I couldn't lose too badly. I was pleasantly relieved. I'll allow myself one dovetail here to talk music: having only heard it (and loved it then), I was happy that Thom Yorke's breathtaking "Hearing Damage" was utilized well in the movie. His solo stuff has been sort of hit-or-miss with me, but "Damage" is just the right scratch for a recent synth/techno itch of mine, and to see it used on the vamp/wolf chase scene to both set the tone and mood of what was to come and to keep the people running throught the forest was just a fantastic post-production stroke. The heavy and muted bassline of the track amped the tension, with his ghost-in-your-laptop vocals layering over the breaking point of vamp vs. Indian vs. wolf kept my usual ass-wiggling at the dark danciblity of the song in check long enough to really dig how it meshed with what I was seeing.

While the movie (and book, per Mrs.'s report) teetered dangerously close to mopey emo vomit a good chunk of the time (see the not-for-30-year-olds spinning camera montage after Edward's Act 1 departure), my favorite part early on was the scene where Bella, trying to get Edward's ghost (WTF? really?) to tell her to stop doing idiotic shit jumps aboard a motorbike, tears ass down a sodden Washington State dirt road, and promptly takes a face-plant into a boulder. HA! This said, though, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't hate the whole thing.

Being a cellar-dwelling fantasy nerd during the horrible years of puberty, I'm big on the classics and on the rules for them. Case-in-point: veering closer to heresy by contemplating and nitpicking some of Michael Jackson's: "Thriller" video, I asked my wife "Where's the Zombie Lord? I mean, is Michael him? He got all these zombies dancing; he must be some kind of necrosavant or something" and so on. Too much D&D/Magic: The Gathering. This in mind, I liked that New Moon got werewolves (or even were-DIRE-wolves as the fuckers were just massive) right: they're WOLVES. They are not wolf-men. Important distinction; I even, after the movie, asked my wife if she thought NM's wolves kept any of their sentience post-transformation. She replied "Dunno. I mean, he [Jacob]looked at Bella a few times, you know?" and then had another bite of french fries. It's not enough to make up for sparkling vampires (really?) but it was refreshing to see that Stephanie Meyer and the screenwriters did get the wolfies correct. To this end, using the tales of American Indians as a backdrop was a neat touch, as was keeping it contemporary by making the wolves genetic vs. gypsy curse. All this said, I'm still done with this whole vamp vs. wolf thing. How did those two get picked to oppose each other? I'd think that pretty much anything would be anti-vamp and that there have to be better pairings out there in the sum-total of folklore.

I've mentioned disliking Twilight's vamps. Yes. Yes I do. At least when "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was making TV vamps warm and cuddly they still ate blood and made it interesting (see Spike's Wheetabix recipe in Season 4) and were still treated as the inhuman demon THINGS that vamps are. The MANY criticisms I have of Twilight's vampires may never even out. New Moon introduced something that did catch my interest though. Pulling influence, perhaps, from the tribal aspects of Blade's vampire families and such, New Moon gives us the Vulturi, old-blueblood type vampires who serve as kind of a world police for the blood-sniffing undead. Knowing nothing beyond the first two books, I do hope that the Vulturi are given more ink as their story seems interesting and they helped to advance Twilight's vamp mythos: they uphold vamp law; they're OLD; they have bitchin' thrones; they punish vamps who break the rules; apparently, vamps are all gifted of some kind of unique gifts over and above the ability to smell good, move fast, and alter their eye color. And for some of the build-up in the first book, I was happy that the scene with the Vulturi answered some of the foreshadowing as to what the hell makes Bella ( thought I write bad female characters...) so damn special: she's like a great big anti-vamp power-sink...telepathy, Cruciatus-cursing, etc. haven't any effect on her. This is another aspect that I hope is given more time in the later books.

THE BOTTOM LINE: I am usually very anti when it comes to vamp romance fiction. One, it's done to death; two, done badly more often than not; and three it leads far too many impressionable and quiet girls to start wearing corsets and eyeliner all the time. Twilight, thus far to my cynicism, is at least told with good writing despite some cardboard cut-out characters and sparkles. The films are fluff just as the novels are; a good way to kill some time. Hardliner horror people will hate them, dabblers will just kind of not get the hype, and 14-year-old girls will need revived with smelling salts. Not exactly "something for everyone," true, but I've seen way worse try to pass itself off as way better (lookin' at you Dark Water). I'll end my editorial with a kind redirect to internet comic strip The Oatmeal and his exploration of "How Twilight Works" availale at (PS: stick around his site and read his work; you'll likely need to change your pants from peeing after laughing too hard).

Jeff Chaffee is a speech therapist originally from Ohio. Don't hold that against him; he lives about 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh now with his wife and son. In his off time, a rarity these days, he writes garbage that he's too chicken to try and publish, and has recently tried his hand at table-top game designing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bloody Movie

I'm a little sad after watching Bloody Movie AKA Terror Night and it's a little hard to be coherent about it. If I had turned it off after an hour, I would be okay. That's around the time where the first ending happens. Then the shit goes on for another 25 minutes where an entire scene of Shakespeare's Othello is performed. Not joking. I am totally serious. After an opening scene where a duder is tied to a tree and a moving vehicle and then ripped in half, I didn't expect things to go quite so sour. (Who am I kidding? If this had been Italian, I would think it was genius. DOUBLE STANDARD!)

The prolific and terrific John Ireland stars as Lance Howard, an old time movie star who will stop at nothing to protect his fortune. When a gang of useless college students (I think) show up to explore his 'deserted' mansion and make off with his loot, Howard begins dispatching them in the violent styles of the roles that made him famous. Shit, I just realized this movie has three fucking endings. What the hell is that about? Anyway...

Actual dialog from this scene:

Jo: "Oh yeah? Up yours!"
Angel: "Oh yeah? Up yours!"
Jo: "Up yours!"
Angel: "Up Yours!"
Jo: "Up yours!"

The cameos:

There a number of cameos in this flick: Alan Hale Jr.("Gilligan's Island"), Dan Haggerty ("The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams"), B-movie legend Aldo Ray, and my favorite goofball: Cameron Mitchell. Unfortunately, Mitchell doesn't show up until near the end (the second one) and gets about two minutes of screen time. However, he does make the most of it by hamming it up as a disgruntled detective.

There were three actors in Bloody Movie from Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama so I think I set my expectations way too high. I'm glad I got see Carla Baron once again. She plays Lorraine in this film, a woman whose single greatest talent is coitus interruptus. Michelle Bauer gets a ridiculously long nude scene. Another oddity: trash directors David DeCoteau and Fred Olen Ray are in the SPECIAL THANKS section of the credits.

So yeah, this dumb ass flick has gore (some good, some lame) and gratuitous nudity but trust me, I suffered for it. Cheesy metal and boobs for sure but there's also way too much exposition. Thanks for explaining the details of that land deal, Grizzly Adams. That's entertainment!


Here's a better review of Bloody Movie

Friday, January 22, 2010


You know, I've never liked wrestling. I remember watching it as a kid and being unbelievably bored. It seemed like hours between matches and even when the throwdowns started, I had a hard time getting into it. My mom sold Tupperware to the Iron Sheik's wife back when we lived in Georgia. I'd say that makes me old school.

Anyway, my cohort Nafa reviewed Wrestlemaniac. And I must warn you now that there are some major spoilers in his review which you can read right here. Well kids, have a great weekend. I might be popping by for some reason (probably just to waste your time). Take care.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scream of Fear

The less I say about the plot of Scream of Fear the better. In short, someone is trying to drive wheelchair-bound Penny Appleby (played by the gorgeous Susan Strasberg) insane to get at her inheritance. This Hammer Studios production has plenty of atmosphere and some eerie moments. Frequent Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster (Paranoiac) creates a grim storyline that is perfectly complimented by the black and white cinematography of Douglas Slocombe. There's a whole bunch of shocks, twists and melodramatics for your evil brain. Recommended.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Vampire and the Ballerina

The Vampire and the Ballerina
AKA L’amante del vampire
Directed by Renato Polselli
Released: 1960
Starring Hélène Rémy, María Luisa Rolando, Tina Gloriani, Walter Brandi, and Isarco Ravaioli
Running Time: 85 minutes

A rock and roll ballet troupe stays in the countryside in order to practice before their next gig. The nearby village lives in fear of a local vampire who inhabits a medieval castle nicknamed ‘the Castle of the Damned’. One of the dancers, Louisa (played by Hélène Rémy) gets bitten by the vampire and her friend Francesca (Tina Gloriani) tries to save her from becoming enslaved by the undead. If I go any further into this convoluted plot with its extraneous characters, we’ll be here for a couple of hours.

Equal parts early 1960s pop-kitsch and gothic horror, Renato Polselli’s The Vampire and the Ballerina is a wacky good time flick. Aside from its silliness, the biggest problem with this movie is the pacing. It drags towards the end but it’s worth sticking it out. Bad movie enthusiasts will no doubt be able to get a laugh out of the incredibly cheesy dialog and half-assed dance sequences. Fans of the Italian gothics will enjoy the beautiful scenery, moody cinematography and effective lighting. The soundtrack by Aldo Piga is nothing to get excited about as it seems just a tad old fashioned though the upbeat pieces for the dance numbers are decent enough.

While it is completely tame by today’s standards, this flick is quite the sexualized little vampire tale and things get pretty hot and heavy. The vampire’s bite causes a rapturous sexual frenzy in his (always female) victims. Ladies affected by fangy charms look like they’re about to cream their dang jeans (or leotards, in this case). To add to the naughtiness, all of the female characters in this movie show a lot of skin. There’s plenty of practically see-through nighties and low-cut gowns (don’t forget those leotards!) to keep you perverts out there satisfied (or thoroughly teased).

Polselli would go on to direct some real trash in the 70s like the idiotic giallo Delirium and the supernatural head scratcher The Reincarnation of Isabel. On a much more successful note, this is insanely prolific genre screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi’s first writing credit and I have to say this is pretty good, all things considered. The Vampire and the Ballerina is a humble, awkwardly plotted but fun beginning of a nearly 40 year screenwriting career. This man lent his talents to so many incredible films, that it is simply mindboggling for an Italian film nut like me to even ponder.

The Vampire and the Ballerina is a lot of fun thanks to its hilarious badness but there is enough decent material stashed in the camp to make this a worthwhile Italian horror film. There is also strange twist to the vampire legend here (elaborated on below) and some weird, painfully obvious sexual overtones. I can’t say much good about the makeup though; the vampire looks like a crappy old lady with a skin condition. Hopefully, this film will turn up on DVD someday. For now, you can probably find this for download somewhere. Good luck.


“Get back into your coffin; it is your coach to the land of the living dead!”


One thing I really dug about this film is that the vampire (who turns out to be the butler Hermann) feeds on the blood of lovely young ladies so that he can be a vessel for Countess Ogda (played by the lovely María Luisa Rolando). So the vampire gets to keep her under his thumb in the castle. When his victims come back to life, he digs them up and stakes them because all he really wants is the Countess. That’s some pretty good kink right there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't Cry For Me, Argento

So I'm trying to figure out how Dario Argento fits into my plans for NEHF. Argento's output since 2001's Sleepless has been all over the place in terms of quality. The only thing I really hate from the last decade is The Card Player. Most Argento films get better with multiple viewings. This is not the case with The Card Player which grows more and more annoying every time. Video poker, ladies and gentlemen, video poker. And that's all I'm going to say about it.

Argento's contributions to "Masters of Horror" are okay and his newest, Giallo, though quite dumb, is a wildly gory, entertaining and visually striking film. Why does this director keep making police procedural movies when he clearly has no interest in police procedure? I've only watched Giallo once and I have to say that it's a bad movie but I can't wait to watch it again. It is certainly no worse than a 70s giallo. Argento fans know that the man is past his prime and isn't likely to make another Suspiria. After Opera, the director's style completely changed. If one looks at his contribution to Two Evil Eyes and Trauma and then tries to compare it to Inferno or Tenebre, you'd think it was two different directors.

For my money, Argento's last truly great picture was The Stendhal Syndrome though Sleepless is pretty dang awesome. His films may be dropping off in quality but I will always make a case for the guy for two reasons: 1. he's Dario frickin' Argento and 2. he's alive and is still making Italian genre flicks. Now I'm not saying that his films can't be bad or can't be criticized but I'm of the opinion that I want more. Even though some of Lucio Fulci's final output is pretty miserable, I'm still glad these films exist. I wish the late Joe D'Amato had never gone into porn because I want another Death Smiled at Murder. As long as Argento keeps going, I'll keep watching.

The reason I'm getting all worked up is due to a round table discussion on Dario Argento's The Mother of Tears in Video Watchdog #147. Film critics Maitland McDonagh, Tim Lucas, Kim Newman and others rip on Argento's long awaited conclusion to his Three Mothers trilogy which began in 1977 with Suspiria and continued in 1980 with Inferno. This was a pretty lively discussion and I highly recommend that you pick up the issue but I couldn't help but feel just a little sting of annoyance with the crew. Comparing Argento of 2007 with the Argento of 1980 is pretty foolish. Expecting the director who released his craptacular version of Phantom of the Opera on the world in 1998 to make a significant follow up to his best work after a 27 year gap? Really? No, you shouldn't do that. Let's look at The Third Mother for what it is: an Italian horror film.

And what do all Italian horror films, from Bava to Fulci to Deodato to Argento to Freda to freakin' Bianichi, have in common? They are all ridiculous. They have silly shit goin' on in their movies. Dario Argento is one of the silliest directors in the world. Every single one of his movies has at least one of the following cheesy elements: a goofy plot, bad dubbing, awkward scripting, a monkey with a straight razor, pseudoscience, fractured logic (mostly intentional), etc. But this is part of what makes him so magical. The first time I watched Suspiria, I laughed my ass off. It struck me as exceedingly bad and campy. It wasn't until months later that a revelation hit me: I had to watch this movie again. These films get under your skin and a single viewing is never enough. How many other directors do that?

Dario Argento takes potentially boring and very silly material and makes it fun to look at. He almost always takes us on profoundly morbid journeys. And at nearly 70 years old, duder is still making horror movies! If he makes 50 more terrible movies before he retires, I'll be happy as hell. Granted, he is involved in a musical version of Deep Red and a rumored American remake of Suspiria but still... You can't honestly tell me that The Third Mother has nothing going for it. I've watched this movie and it is awesome. It's ridiculous, over-the-top, and it just works. I'm not saying it's a good movie but it beats the shit out of The Card Player, Pelts, Jenifer and Do You Like Hitchcock? (which I liked).

My biggest problem with Argento is that Tenebre should have been the final Third Mother film. As great as Tenebre turned out, it should not have been a giallo. From what I've read, Inferno was something of a flop (or at least a disappointment and there were a bunch of problems during production) and Argento wanted to switch gears. But the screenplay for what would become The Third Mother almost 30 years later was near completion when Argento abandoned it. I'd call this a grave tactical error. Even Luigi Cozzi saw this as a problem and made his own Third Mother film. It didn't work but bless him for trying.

Okay, I have no idea where I was going with this so I'll pick this up some other time.

Written in 1991, Maitland McDonagh's book is a stunning examination of Argento's work from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage through Two Evil Eyes (though a 1994 afterward in the American briefly discusses Trauma). If you haven't read this one yet, you should totally dig on it. I haven't been able to put this book down since I started reading it (I have about 90 pages left). Looks like it's getting a reprint in February of this year. Hopefully, there will be some updates. I'd love to see what the author has to say about everything from Trauma on.

And while I'm on the subject, there is also Alan Jones' Profondo Argento book which is a pretty bizarre (though essential) read. There are some annoyingly sycophantic moments in this book, particularly in the set visits which as the years go by look very silly. In an effort to get kids psyched about a new Argento flick, Jones goes on and on about how great such a such film is going to be. He recovers in the review section most of the time and there are a couple of anecdotes that make Argento look like a dick. In order to maintain his auteur status, Argento occasionally steals ideas and takes credit for other people's work. Eh, nobody's perfect. Fulci could be a tyrant on the set. Who cares? I'm not an actor.

The two reviews in Profondo Argento that just confuse me are The Stendhal Syndrome and The Phantom of the Opera. Now this comes down to personal taste so you can take or leave my criticism here. Jones freakin' hates The Stendhal Syndrome, one of my all time favorite Argento films. He just craps all over it and can't find anything good in a hypnotic and strange ass film that begs for multiple viewings. Then he reviews The Phantom of the Opera and can't praise it enough. There ain't no excuse for that. Even if you consider Argento's Phantom to be a comedy, it still comes up short. I love Asia Argento and I love Julian Sands but they can't save this thing.

One new book on the horizon is Dario Argento by James Gracey. I will definitely be checking this one out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Graffiti Bridge! It's just around the corner!

Jason. Freddy. Michael Meyers. Prince. The halls of horror just got a little more purple. What am I talking about? Ask yourself this: 'What is Richard not talking about?' Graffiti Bridge is one of the most aggressively terrible and hurtful films I've ever watched. It's an ego-maniacal fairy tale in a horrible land where funk is source of life. The fact that Prince wrote and directed this movie frightens me. The best thing you can say about this movie is that it is a collection of music videos tenuously connected together with filler material. WRONG! The parts in between the songs are some of the most bizarre, childish and quasi-religious (Funk is God(?)) load of claptrap and tepid symbolism I've ever been stupid enough to sit through. Do you remember that scene in Batman where The Joker and his cronies trash an art gallery to Prince's "Partyman"? Imagine that scene stretched for a half an hour film but with some PG-13 sex thrown in.

As you can tell, I love this friggin' movie. All I could think of was that this is Prince's Solarbabies. Okay, now I'm confusing myself. In Graffiti Bridge, Prince and Morris Day are competing for ownership of a club called Glam Slam and the affections of Aura (played by Ingrid Chavez), a poetry-writing angel. For some reason, Prince thinks the audience gives a triple fuck about this story. We don't. Why? First of all, how are we to believe that discerning nightclub patrons in Funk World (a post apocalyptic (not really) Minneapolis) would allow Prince's nightclub to falter when he's putting on a show? Morris Day and The Time marches in and steals Prince's fan base. How is this even remotely plausible? The fact that George Clinton has his own club begs the question: why the fuck isn't he the king of Funk World? Isn't that funk heresy?

There are no fat people in Funk World because Prince's drummer eats anyone who stops dancing, even if it's only for a second. And Prince may look like an alien but Morris Day looks like something that MC Hammer coughed up. How would a woman, even one of the wretched 1990s, have trouble figuring out who to sleep with? And Ingrid Chavez has a penis. There's a scene in the film where she's in the men's room in Glam Slam and she stands up to pee. Okay, that didn't happen but the sex scene she and Prince share is a clothed one. Yes, that's right. Prince humps her on his bike (or a brick wall or both) and they have their dang clothes on! I can't believe Prince couldn't go R for at least one scene in his movie.

If you are looking for your cult movie; something so unfathomably awful that you will scream at your TV and giggle until you shit your pants then check the $5 bin at your local Big Lots or Wal-Mart for Graffiti Bridge. If you hate movies like I do, then you will fucking love this. If anyone ever questioned Prince's sanity, this will be the one that puts him away. And if this is how (the artist formerly known as that symbol who is now) Prince (again) sees the world then he is clearly not a functioning member of society. Did I mention that I don't like funk? The genre, I mean. It's better than blues music, I guess. So yeah, my name is not Prince and I am not funky.

Remixed trailer:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wake up, y'all, it's the 90s!

Doomed Moviethon/Cinema Somnambulist 2009 Post Year End Spectacular!

Okay, so there is nothing at all spectacular about this post year end wrap up but I must pretend because if I don’t, there will be hell to pay (not really). If the Golden Girls can have multiple clip shows then I can have one a year, right? 2009 was a strange time for the DM and the Cin Som. Productivity was all over the place with bouts and droughts of activity raging throughout the year. The first big thing was ditching the old blog for the new one and then I moved into a new place (in the physical world). The next moviethon will be at the new Doomed Moviethon HQ. There was also another failed (though productive) attempt at Nanowrimo. And of course, I announced my plans for NEHF. Wow, this is all way, way more exciting than it sounds, I tells ya.

Moviethons Highlights

The Chowdown
Giallo Meltdown 3

Article Highlights

Doomed Discussiethon: The Day the Sky Exploded
Hausu Party
Say Uh... Phenomena!
"The blood in your family is crazy!"

Review Highlights

Indie Flicks

Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas
Isle of the Damned

Terrible Crap

Hollywood’s New Blood
Nothing But the Night
Cry For the Strangers

Just Plain Awesome

Deadly Sweet
Jack Be Nimble
The World's Greatest Sinner

Blog Stuff

Best/Worst Theater Experiences
More Best/Worst Theater Experiences
Halloween 2
More Halloween 2 (by guest blogger Nafa)

I know it's already two weeks in but have a happy new year, you crazy kids. I hope to have even better stuff for you in the 2010. Giallo Meltdown 4 is in the final phase of planning and who knows what else will happen. I honestly don't have a plan. One little hint is that Doomed Moviethon will be getting a mad facelift. I've got my art department (my wife) hard at work (I begged her) on some new drawings of the DM Girl. Plus, I am finally going to liberate myself from (I'm turning red already) freakin' Frontpage. Yeah, that's the kind of webmaster I am. :sobs: Here's a photo of my stepdad:

Before I go, there have been a lot of awards thrown around recently on the interflap and I was lucky enough to receive one for my meager and half-assed efforts over here at Cin Som. Because I'm a rebel and a lon(s)er, I'm going to share some links to some splendid blogs that I like. Check these folks out ASAP:

Basement of Ghoulish Decadence
Behind the Couch
The Cathode Ray Mission
Giallo Fever
The House of Self Indulgence
Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies
Satan's Orphans

Thursday, January 14, 2010


My friend Stanley texted me last week to inform me that Daybreakers kicks ass. So the wife and I took his advice and went to Regal Citrus Park 20 last night. I was kind of uneasy about this theater. It's attached to a mall so I figured there would be some obnoxiousness from my fellow patrons. I'm still so terribly attached to Muvico Starlight 20 but that is quite a drive since we moved to the other side of town. Citrus Park has a wildly ugly color scheme going on. Everything is in mauve and teal. I know this is Florida and all but what year do they think it is exactly?

There were only about a dozen people in the theater to catch Daybreakers and of course, some loser couple decided to sit near us and talk their fucking heads off during the entire film. The girl was actually heckling the movie. Now I'm not saying you can't heckle Daybreakers but her method: repeating the dialogue back at the movie in a sarcastic tone. Let me tell ya, I was pretty impressed. My wife claims that she didn't even notice this couple. She's very lucky. Okay, enough nonsense, here's my review:

God bless the Australians! The Spierig Brothers, who brought us the sweet Aussie zombie flick Undead, rock my vampire pants off with Daybreakers. (Please note: I do not own vampire pants. (Yet.)) In a future where vampires rule the world, human blood is becoming very scarce. It's up to Ethan Hawke and a band of renegade humans (who don't want to become cattle milked of their life essence) to find a cure for the vampire plague which threatens to destroy both the living and the undead.

Sam Neill (Event Horizon, In the Mouth of Madness, The Final Conflict) plays the evil head of a corporation who provides most of the world's human blood supply and as usual he is awesome. Scene stealer extraordinaire Willem Dafoe is great as a vampire hunter named Elvis who -hm, I better not say too much on that one. Ethan Hawke finally apologizes to me personally for that wretched version of Hamlet he starred in back in 2000 with his portrayal of Edward, a vampire desperately looking for an alternative for human blood to feed the starving vampire race. Claudia Karvan (Long Weekend) makes a sexy vampire hunter but I think her character could have used a little more development.

Though it bears some similarities to the New Zealand vampire flick Perfect Creature, Daybreakers is totally its own epic and eerie beast. What makes this flick special is that wacky Australian sensibility. No matter how ludicrous the plot or how campy the dialog, it's all good and totally straight-faced. The more you think about it, the more silly it all seems but damn it, I love this movie. The vampires are a mix of both the cool, emotionless yuppie variety and feral insatiable mutants. Most importantly, there's nothing half-assed about Daybreakers. The gore is bountiful, creature makeup and special effects rock, and there are even a couple of good scares.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Sweet House of Horrors

The Case of the Missing Review is finally solved! Actually, nobody was on the case. I just forgot that I ever reviewed this one. Well, I'm off. Have a good evening, y'all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blood of Dracula's Castle

Once again, I dip my toe into the cinema of Al Adamson and I come back with just a chewed up nub. While this is definitely more coherent than Blood of Ghastly Horror, I hate to report that Blood of Dracula's Castle is just plain boring. There are more than a few moments of pure genius in this terrible, terrible movie and the performances Adamson got out of these actors are fantastically hilarious. BODC has a little blood and some chicks in chains to spice things up a bit but the pace slows to a crawl in several places. Thankfully, the film recovers in the last reel. So what is this thing about anyway?

Glen Cannon (played by Gene Otis Shayne) is a fashion photographer who inherits a castle when his uncle dies. He takes his model fiancee Liz (Jennifer Bishop of Scream Bloody Murder) out to his new place where he discovers that a pair of vampires (Alexander D'Arcy and Paula Raymond) have been living there for centuries. Instead of leaving when he asks them to, the vampires sick their psychopathic adopted son (Robert Dix), their faithful butler (John Carradine) and their Igor-like groundskeeper named Mango (Ray Young) on Glen and Liz. There's some gobbledygook about virgin sacrifices and stuff but don't worry your pretty little head about it.

"Screams? What screams? I didn't hear any screams."

Here is all you need to know:

Dig that opening song!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Ghost

Love Ghost AKA Lovesick Dead, based on the manga by horror manga master Junji Ito, the creator of Tomie. There is a legend that if you go to a certain shrine in the middle of town, cover your face, and ask the first stranger who comes by if you will be lucky in love that you will receive some honest to goodness love advice. But some say that the shrine is cursed and a vengeful spirit will appear out of the fog and say you will be unlucky in love. This unwanted news is much more than just a bummer, man, it will lead you to commit suicide.

I didn't mind Love Ghost though it definitely encouraged me to doze off several times. Unfortunately, the budget couldn't handle the unbridled insanity that Ito's original storyline devolves into. The filmmakers also forgot to exploit what makes the manga so good: it's freakin' scary! What's worse is that instead of keeping things simple story wise, the movie shoots itself in the foot with a major plot twist that makes the confused conclusion anything but satisfying. First time director Kazuyuki Shibuya does a pretty good job with the film even with the screenplay problems but this is a tough flick to recommend. Some arterial spray and pretty girls in schoolgirl uniforms just aren't enough to make Love Ghost worth checking out. If you're going to watch every Japanese horror movie ever made you could certainly do worse but that's not saying much now is it?

Because Americans are lame, Lovesick Dead has not been published over here just yet. However, there are kind bilingual folks out in internetland who have been nice enough to do fan translations. It's worth the search, y'all. Trust me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dinner Theater/Dawn of the Dead

In case any of you were at last night's event and saw some creepy duder sitting there alone and looking very antisocial; that was me. Sorry if I didn't say hello. But I was a little out of my element. I don't get out much and I just had no idea what the fuck was going on. It's like my mother always says, well actually she hasn't said it to me that I can remember but she might yet one day, 'if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all'. Sigh...

So yeah, the original Dawn of the Dead (oh, was there a remake?), great movie. It was one of my favorites as a kid. My first encounter with the film was due to this stuttering kid at our school. (Have I told this story before?) Seemed like a nice enough chap so I would stand up for him when my loser classmates would make fun of his speech impediment. This kid was way into horror movies or so he professed and I was impressed as hell by his Dawn of the Dead t-shirt. It featured a person's exploding head. When I asked this kid about whose head was exploding, do you know what he said?

First, he told me that in Dawn of the Dead there were all these zombies. Check! He then told me that the figure on his t-shirt was the king zombie. Um... wait a second. He related to me how bullets wouldn't stop this creature and that the heroes had to use a rocket launcher to destroy it. That's how it's head exploded. Holy shit! I wish Dawn of the Dead had that in it! A couple of years later, when I finally watched Dawn of the Dead, I remembered this kid and was just felt kind of stupid. In order to make up for his stuttering, he was just a bold faced liar who had probably never even seen the dang film.

Anyway, Dawn of the Dead still haunts me. The film is urgently important in my heart. Seeing it when I was 13 and seeing it last night were the same. The setting didn't matter. I was creeped out and depressed by that film. Even when I was a kid, the film made me morose and I loved it. I had never felt that way from a movie before. It made me listless and thoroughly freaked me out the more I thought about it. The world looked bent, distorted and yet somehow even more real afterward. This is what good horror movies do. Tampa Pitcher Show, leave me alone. I don't want to talk to you right now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Classic Film Heaven/Hell

Turner Classic Movies plays some badass shit once in a while and the 1938 classic Vivacious Lady starring Ginger Rogers and Jimmy Stewart is truly badass. This film is funny, sweet, quirky and only mildly racist. Um yeah, there's a couple of black characters (played by Hattie McDaniel and Willie Best) who are not painted in the most favorable ways. Sometimes the person delivering a joke is also the butt of the joke. Not cool. Well, it was 1938 and Hollywood was full of racist dickheads, what can you do? People tell me that Swing Time is the best Fred Astaire musical. Really? There's a black-face number! Are you fucking kidding me? That's just depressing. (Besides Top Hat is better.) My mother-in-law had a good point though. It is better that these scenes exist so that no one can forget how things used to be. Very wise. Anyway, I'm getting off track here. Despite a couple of glaring 'why did they have to go there?' moments, I loved Vivacious Lady. Now let's go to hell.

Talk about your totally mismatched double features! It is so unfair of me to have started Blue Skies right after Vivacious Lady. This film is so awful because it is almost good. If this had been hilariously bad, we might have survived. I tried to heckle this fucker but no, Blue Skies just sucks all the life right out of the room. It's movies like this that give musicals a bad name. I'm not a big Bing Crosby fan, no sir. But I do like High Time, the one where he's a big time business owner who decides to finally go to college even though he's in his 50s. Now that is an awesomely bad and just plain weird movie. Forget Back to School, you gotta dig on High Time.

So this movie has Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby competing for the love of Joan Caulfield. Wait, who in the hell is Joan Caulfield? Look, I am not an expert on old movies. In fact, I only just started really mining TCM for their good stuff but after watching Blue Skies, I still don't know who this woman is. The minute it became clear to me that this dullard was going to be the love interest that Astaire and Crosby throw their lives away over, I almost turned the movie off. ALMOST! I really should have gone with my instinct on that one. I'm dumb! So we have this bland woman inspiring all this passion and despair in these two guys who are so out of her league it's just bizarre. However, Bing Crosby is ugly. He's got those tiny little freakish doll-sized ears on an oddly shaped head. And he's got that boxy physique! Duder has no waist! His legs start at his armpits. The fuck is up with that? Maybe Joan Caulfield isn't such a bad catch for him after all.

Blue Skies has one of the worst numbers I've ever seen. Astaire and Crosby go through their old vaudeville routines for some reason and it sucks and it goes on forever and maybe it was supposed to suck and holy shit I don't know! <--- Run on sentence! Hey look, here it is:

Really there are only three reasons to torture yourself with Blue Skies. Don't do it but if you're going to anyway... First up is Billy De Wolfe, he plays Crosby's right hand man and is perfect comedy relief. He has this weird comedy routine in the middle of the movie where he imitates a middle-aged married lady getting plastered at a bar. Very strange. Second reason to watch this movie is the lovely Olga San Juan. She is just adorable in her musical numbers and should have been the love interest for the two big stars. Her character does end up with De Wolfe's in the end so there's a spoiler for you. I could have watched an entire film just about those two's romance. And finally, the third reason is this: