Movie Related Ramblings

A hodge podge of writings by me that warranted a little more gravitas than a blog post. This particular sub section filters down to only posts about movie related things.

Halloween Movie Nights Part III

It was a rainy Halloween here in Chicago so my usual program of manning the front door, blasting creepy sound effects records and watching old (mildly) kid-friendly horror movies was cut a little shorter than usual. I did manage to watch Mario Bava's Baron Blood. Not his best work but it has its moments. If you think burnt pilgrims are scary, this is the movie for you.

I also re-watched Four Flies on Grey Velvet. This is another Argento film that gets better with every viewing (I gave it a 7 when I first saw it). The plot is full of holes and has a vital clue that relies on such phony, crap science that it's hard to suspend disbelief at all. But this is another Argento that is filled with humor, stunning visuals and another great, experimental Morricone score. So, if I were to rank Argento…

Halloween Movie Nights Part II

I managed to watch a couple more Halloween themed films this weekend. This included another Fulci film,  A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, which I rank as his best along side The Beyond. Unlike most of his other work, this one is tightly plotted and suspenseful. It features a bunch of deranged hippies, surreal dream sequences, a fantastic Morricone score and a compelling performance by David Horowitz of TV's Fight Back:

Crimefighting David Horowitz

I got the entire family to watch the "Drop of Water" segment from Black Sabbath. This is Mario Bava at his best with loads of colored lights, sets that look like renaissance paintings and a super creepy corpse. I like the rest of the film too, but the slow pacing probably wouldn't have kept the attention of the crowd that evening.

Halloween Movie Nights

Each year around this time I always tell myself that I am going to watch a different horror movie every night in the lead-up to Halloween. I never seem to get around to it and end up cramming two or three films in at the last minute’usually Halloween evening while the rest of the family is out trick or treating. Well, this year I have managed to be a little more on top of things. Especially now since we have a DVD-ready laptop positioned in front of my treadmill. There's nothing like a bit of Fulci close-up gore to motivate the fat burning.

Speaking of which, this evening I completed Zombi 2 which I gave a rather terse review some time ago. I forgot just how creepy the zombies are in that film. It's very bleak and dread-filled and has some really gross and disturbing effects. Modern zombie…

Romantic Fish Eating

The Italian thriller Death Walks on High Heels is not terribly noteworthy even within the tiny cinematic sub-genre of giallo. There is, however, one scene in the movie that does jump out like a breaching marlin. It is the only film that I know of that sexualizes the eating of a grilled fish dinner.

Death Walks on High Heels - The Fish Seller

Nothing foreshadows an evening of passionate romance like a cart of dead fish.

Death Walks on High Heels - Griller's Blend

The flames of love have erupted beneath a pile of gnarly meat and scales.

Death Walks on High Heels - Plate of Fish

That's right, no silverware required. The best way to appreciate good food is by touch.

Death Walks on High Heels - The Fish Eater

Next step, start ramming globs of flaky white meat into…

2010 Best of the Year

Well it's the first day of the New Year. This day means different things to different people. For my wife it means washing off the post-New-Year's-Eve-bash Sharpie moustache that she woke up with this morning. For me it means it's time to assess what I thought was the best of the media I consumed this past year.

Movies

Like last year, there really wasn't anything that truly amazed me this year. My best rated films were Moon and The Maltese Falcon. I watched more T.V. than I have in recent years, so I suppose I could add Lost, V or The Walking Dead as honorable mentions.

Books

Towards the second half of the year I started reading a bit more than usual and found several books truly grabbed me in ways that no movie or show did this year. If I had to pick a favorite from this year it would be…

Movie Week Continues

My Halloween movie fest continued last night with a re-watching of Mother of Tears, the third film in the Three Mothers trilogy. When I first watched the film I pondered if it would get better on rewatching. Nope. It was actually more painful on the second viewing. What a rambling mess of a film with awful acting and dialogue all around. No screengrabs for this film. It doesn't deserve that level of respect.

Stills from Kill Baby, Kill

My Halloween movie fun-run continues with Mario Bava's Kill Baby, Kill. Not really his finest work, but it is memorable for the scenes of the ghostly child at the windows:

Kill Baby, Kill... The Screen that everyone remembers

This is a very creepy still, but, in the context of the movie, it doesn't come off as eerie as it could. I'm probably the 9000th person to post this screenshot on the Web, but any Kill Baby, Killpost must include it.

Kill Baby, Kill - Cursed

The film is filled with more great compositions such as this one in which a young girl is compelled to impale herself with a sconce.

Kill Baby, Kill - Spiral Staricase

Italians sure do love their spiral staircases. As a note to budding architects who work in cities with high counts of maniacs and vindictive ghosts: a simple straight flight of stairs is probably a bit better in emergency situations. Oh, and avoid the metaphysical endless room…

Stills from Inferno

Dario Argento's Inferno - Hands

My plans to watch a bunch of horror movies in the run-up to Halloween have not been going to well. I did manage to re-watch Dario Argento's Inferno the other day. I have always considered this to be one of Argento's weaker films of this era, but the more I watch it, the more I like it. It has much of the wonderful colored lighting, expressionist sets and dynamic compositions that made Suspiria so great. Also, despite the flawed and incoherent plot, there are plenty of memorable scenes.

Dario Argento's Inferno - Musicology

For some reason I especially like this scene where our hero, Mark, gets bewitched during his musicology class by The Mother of Tears...

Dario Argento's Inferno - Mother of Tears

This is only a brief cameo from the third mother, but it's very effective. Too bad the actual movie about her, Mother of Tears,  was so mediocre. They should have just looped…

Get Lamp DVD

Get Lamp Packaging What you see pictured here is some of the DVD packaging for the independently produced documentary film about text adventure games, Get Lamp. In the digital age, packaging matters and the creators of Get Lamp went above and beyond in creating a DVD package that satisfies collectable object fetishists like myself. The inner gatefold sleeve is covered with a nostalgic fantasy illustration that looks like it came straight off of an Atari 2600 cartridge. The DVD also came with a fancy numbered and editioned coin (mine's number 1540), which would seem kind of cheesy (alá the tin coin that came Ultima V) but is actually very well crafted and, dare-I-say cool. All this comes together in a well made cardboard DVD case that alone almost justifies the $40+ dollar price tag.

Birdemic®: Shock and Terror™ Chicago Premiere!

Me and James Nguyen of Birdemic: Shock and Terror Fame

Last night I attended the Chicago premiere of James Nguyen's Birdemic: Shock and Terror and got to shake hands and chat with the director (pictured above... he's the one with the menacing claws). Birdemic is a movie that has to be seen to be believed. It's an ultra-no-budget "romantic thriller" filled with tons of cheap digital bird effects, brain piercing eagle screeches, scenes of driving, hilarious dialogue, more driving and lots of, how shall we say, "creative" film editing choices.

Okay, it's a bad, bad movie. But, I can't deny that it is incredibly fun to watch’especially with a rowdy midnight movie audience. Much of the film's charm is the sincerity and enthusiam of its director, James Nguyen. He seems to be loving the attention he is getting, and, despite the howls of unintensional…

Images from Lucio Fulci's Conquest

Lucio Fulci's Conquest - Laser Arrow
The faceless LASER-bowman who threatens Ocron in her writhing sleep.

Lucio Fulci's Conquest
That symbol on my head means I have no friends, only enemies... and the friends you will meet in the next reel.

Lucio Fulci's Conquest
Random innocent killed so our heroes can steal his food.

Lucio Fulci's Conquest
The movie appears to have been filmed in smoke-o-vision.

Lucio Fulci's Conquest
Okay, I have to admit these cobwebbed zombie ghouls are pretty cool. Read my micro-review of the film.

Dolph Lundgren Awesome

Dolph Lungren's Cultural Sensitivity

Here's the mighty Dolph Lungren from the movie Showdown in Little Tokyo. I highly recommend it for lovers of bad movies. This movie just reaks of super-awesome-tude. In the above scene, Dolph looks like he is doing a little stand-up at the Improv. He is, in fact, getting connected with his Japanese cultural roots by dressing like a Karateman and then machine gunning pony-tailed Yakuzas who wear double-breasted suits.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 04/13/2010 - 16:06 in