Now that I’ve broken up the stream of articles, time to start linking the previous weeks.
May 21st-Peeping Tom from 1960 (Director: Michael Powell, Writers: Leo Marks, Stars: Carl Boehm, Anna Massey, and Moira Shearer, Runtime: 101 mins)
Last year I embraced podcasts. I listened to a few wrestling related ones but I jumped into all sorts. one of my favorites is Faculty of Horror. Two woman discussing horror films academically. After getting caught up (and along the way watching horror films new to me and rewatching ones I may have not cared for) I started doing my “homework.” Which is to watch films before the newest episodes. The next one up (which might be out by the time this is published) is focused on proto-slashers Peeping Tom and Psycho. As I write this I’m “rewatching” Psycho. Seen it a bunch of times so I don’t really need to pay attention. Peeping Tom, however, is a new one for me.
The story of a damaged man who works in film and as a photographer, he always has a camera with him. He begins a small killing spree, filming his victims. The film works on themes of child abuse, voyeurism, and more. Its a film that I think could’ve have been better. It looks great and the performance by Carl Boehm. The Austrian-German actor is incredible in this film. The way he moves, talks, and everything. He’s creepy but also comes off as vulnerable. Its fascinating that this performance, and Anthony Perkins Norman Bates happened in the same year. Yep, Peeping To not only shares the same film year as Psycho but came out first! Still, Psycho is a better structured, paced, and suspenseful film. Peeping Tom is a strong movie with an odd pacing and a few moments that make you scratch your head. I enjoyed this one and was glad to watch it.
(On the podcast I learned that the film ran only five days before being pulled and it killed the directors career. The film survived thanks to Martin Scorcese. I then read Scorcese and other fans of director Powell found an intact print, restored it, and rereleased the film in 79. Its now regarded as a classic.)
May 22-Razorback from 1984 (Director: Russell Mulcahy, Writers: Everett De Roche, based on Peter Brennan’s novel, Stars: Gregory Harrison, Runtime: 95 mins)
Sometimes you see a horror film with s much potential that falters. Razorback is hat kind of film. From the director of Highlander is a pretty looking film with several great sequences bogged down by horrible pacing and not focusing enough on the most interesting character in the film. Basically the first third is pretty spot on and then the wheels come off and it becomes kind of boring. Anyway a grandfather loses his grandson to a Razorback. He gets the co-star treatment to another character who is less interesting. The Razor back is kind of cool, best in limited shots. There’s a bunch of asshole kangeroo hunters. Yeah… started strong, went disappointing.
May 23rd-My Bloody Valentine from 1981 (Director: George Mihalka, Writers: John Beaird, Stars: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, and Neil Affleck, Runtime: 90 mins)
Maybe I just wasn’t in the head space for an early 80s slasher. This classic of the genre did nothing for me, mainly because I didn’t care for most the cast. I think slashers suffer when you don’t put an interesting woman in the lead. Or you don’t do more with the cop/authority figure. John Saxon in the first Elm Street or Black Christmas to even Leslie Nielsen in Prom Night. The setting is good, the story is weak.
May 24th-Destry Rides Again from 1939 (Director: George Marshall, Writers: Felix Jackson with Screenplay by Henry Myers and Gertrude Purcell and Based on the 1930 novel by Max Brand, Stars: Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart, Runtime: 95 mins)
There’s trouble in Bottleneck, the new sheriff looks for help from Tom Destry to clean it up. A mix of comedy and pure drama, its a fun cowboy movie. Haven’t seen too many James Stewart movies and no Marlene Dietrich films so this had to be seen. Also, shout out to my uncle Mike who suggested it. I brought up how I checked TCM on Marlene Deitrich’s birthday earlier this year and they did not show a single of her movies. Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this film but that it was entertaining and short. Which was nice. Just over 90 minutes. More films should be under 100 minutes.
May 25th-A Boy and His Dog from 1975 (Director: L. Q. Jones, Writers: L. Q. Jones and Alvy Moore (uncredited) Based on the novella by Harlan Ellison, Stars: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Ron Feinberg, and Jason Robards, Runtime: 90 mins)
Post-apocalyptic story of a teenage boy looking for food and sex, his telepathic dog that helps him forage. Its a cult classic based on a classic scifi story. I did not care for the movie. It was just… I don’t know… I’ve watched worse films this month but this one somehow just really annoyed me. I don’t want to talk about it.
May 26th-The Lair of the White Worm from 1988 (Director: Ken Russell, Writers: Ken Russell Based on the novel by Bram Stoker, Stars: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi and Sammi Davis, Runtime: 93 mins)
Hey kids, want to see a young Hugh Grant and a twenty-something Dr. Who battle a snake woman? So this film is based loosely on a Bram Stoker novel but, like, who knew Bram wrote anything other than Dracula? Apparently the book is bad and the abridged, rewritten version is also bad. So a guy digs up a skull and a crazy religious mosaic art piece on a farm where these two sisters live. One of their neighbors is a rich dude who lives in a castle whose family may have fought a giant evil snake. There’s also an immortal snake priestess. This is not a good movie but the performances, specifically Amanda Donohoe, are fun. Plus its just the right amount of over the top ridiculousness to save it from being just bad. This is fun bad. Shave off about seven minutes and it would have been even better. The ending was pretty cool. I liked it.
May 27th-Vanishing Point from 1971 (Director: Richard C. Sarafian, Writers: Guillermo Cain and Barry Hall (uncredited), Stars: Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, and Dean Jagger, Runtime: 98 mins)
1970’s were a time of famous car races, chases, and crashes. 1971 gave the race film Vanishing Point. the story is so thin you can miss it if you don’t pay attention. But its really a set up about a man who only finds joy on the open road. Running from troubles and frustrations of the past and the working class life. The cops in each state and city are trying to stop him. This film is very style and enjoyable. Barry is very subtle, low key in his performance. Cleavon Little, pre-Blazing Saddles, has a very fascinating part as a radio DJ “speaking” to our driver. Very counter-culture elements throughout. There is a remake with a libertarian bent, sounds like they added a lot to the story and character and changed the DJ’s role. Also removing all the counter-culture elements and the seedier parts. Sounds like a bunch of bullshit. Anyway, this is a classic and I liked it. Me and my uncle then watched countdowns of famous car chases in each decade from the 70s to the 00s. Good times.
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell
Destry Rides Again
The Way of the Dragon
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
La Belle et la Bête
The Lair of the White Worm
Jason and the Argonauts
Game Over, Man
My Bloody Valentine
A Boy and His Dog