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The Enforcer, 28 March 2015

30 for 30 Shorts: Our Tough Guy (2014)

This ESPN short starts off with some Boston Bruins fans talking about how on the morning of December 2, 1977 they had found a new idol. We then flashback to the previous day when Bruins player John Wensink got into a fight on the ice but what everyone loved was the fact that he then skated over to the Minnesota bench and challenged anyone on the team to a fight. This here is another highly-entertaining episode in the series. I'm not a major hockey fan so I had never heard of this incident or even seen the video footage. I must admit, it was quite impressive and you can see why the actions would lead people to remember Wensink and this moment in history. We get interviews with fans of the Bruins, other players but the most interesting stuff comes from Wensink as he discusses that incident and the rest of his hockey career. He opens up about his first fight and what it meant to him when he got the role of the enforcer. Fans of hockey and especially those in Boston are going to love this entertaining short.

Episode: A

Badly Made But Laughably Entertaining, 28 March 2015

Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger (1976)

** (out of 4)

David Lee (Bruce Li) goes to visit Bruce Lee on the set of ENTER THE DRAGON when Lee tells him about some strange phone calls. Later that evening David learns that his friend is dead so he sets out to find out who murdered him.

When Bruce Lee died there were countless conspiracy theories as to what really happened. Very few people believed the official report simple because it was hard to believe that someone as young and healthy like Lee could die that way. The death of Lee also caused an entire sub-genre of the Martial Arts flick, which some call leeploitation. This film here isn't nearly as horrible as some make it out to be but you can see how fans or family of the real Bruce Lee might be extremely offended by it. The exploitation level here is pretty strong including them using real funeral footage to show Lee's death here.

Some of the conspiracy theories out there are mildly interesting but this cheap Hong Kong movie doesn't try to tell a good story. In fact, there's very little actual plot here outside of someone killed Lee and it's up to the friend to find out who. None of it ever makes too much sense and I'd argue that the producers weren't really interested in telling a real conspiracy theory. Instead this here is just an excuse to exploit Lee's name but we certainly know this wasn't the only one.

For the most part I found the film slightly entertaining but it certainly helped that it didn't overstay it's welcome as the running time is rather short and the film has a fairly good flow to it. On a technical level the movie is quite bad with some silly performances, laughable dramatic scenes and some incredibly awful editing. The editing here is beyond bad and especially during the final fight sequence. The main attraction to this genre is watching the kung fu and I will admit that the fight scenes here were entertaining. They're certainly not in the same level as a real Bruce Lee movie but they're fun. Li, one of the biggest imitators, is good here as well.

EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER isn't a film to take too serious. Even the offensive exploitation of Lee probably shouldn't be taken overly serious but if you're a fan of the genre there are certainly much worse out there.

A Must for Creep Fans, 27 March 2015

Thrill Me!: The Making of 'Night of the Creeps' (2009)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Highly entertaining five-part documentary on the making of the 1986 cult movie NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. The 58-minute documentary features interviews with writer/director Fred Dekker, producer Charles Gordon, Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Jill Whitlow, Steve Marshall, Michael Knue and many others. The first part takes a look at the pre-filming where the director talks about how he came up with the story. Part two talks about how the cast and crew got involved. Part three deals with the special effects used in the film and how they were created. Part four deals with the troubled post-production, the disastrous preview screening and the alternate scenes that were shot. The fifth part deals with the cult status that the film has gained since the original mediocre box office returns.

THRILL ME!: THE MAKING OF NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is going to be a must-see for fans of the movie. I was one who discovered this one VHS back in the late 80s and there's no question that it really stands apart from the majority of the horror films released around this period. Dekker goes into great detail about how he came up with the story and I enjoyed his honesty on the disastrous preview and how the box office results were disappointing for everyone. The cast and crew also tell some great stories as they discuss what it was like at the time of making the picture and how they found out that there was a good cult following. Overall there's really nothing that you'd want to know about the film that isn't discussed here.

Great At Times. Sleep Worth At Others., 25 March 2015

White Zombie (1932)

*** (out of 4)

Young couple Neil (John Harron) and Madeleine (Madge Bellamy) meet a man on a cruise who offers them his mansion to get married in. As soon as they arrive they realize things really aren't normal due to some zombie like people walking around. They eventually meet the man turning these people into zombies, Legendre (Bela Lugosi) who plans on turning the woman.

WHITE ZOMBIE is a film that horror fans usually end up in a heated debate about. Some people love every second of the film while others have a hard time reaching the end credits because they fall asleep. To me this film could easily be called an incredibly flawed masterpiece and I think it proves that you don't have to be a great director to create something special. I say this because director Victor Halperin has created some incredibly great moments here but when you take a look at his other films like SUPERNATURAL, REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES and TORTURE SHIP, there's none of the "talent" on display that you see here. In fact, I think it would be very fair to say that WHITE ZOMBIE is good simply by luck.

What I love about the film is its creepy and rather surreal atmosphere. Right from the opening shot you can just feel the darkness of the area and there's no question that you really do feel as if you're in this location and it's a place you'd want to get out of as quick as possible. There are some terrific moments scattered throughout this film but I think one could argue that the opening sequence right up to when we first see Lugosi, is among the best moments in any horror film from this period. There are other great moments including the drum beat that is used throughout the picture and there are some beautiful matte shots of the castle, which are quite haunting.

Another great thing going for the film is the performance of Lugosi. Who knows where the truth and the myth goes but after not getting the monster role in FRANKENSTEIN you have to wonder why Lugosi wanted to do such a low-budget film. Again, there are countless theories out there but this role certainly isn't the "sexy" role that Dracula was. Lugosi is quite evil here and he manages to do it without every going over-the-top but instead he stays pretty calm and collective throughout. He's given a terrific look and there's no question that the actor knows how to use his eyes to display coldness. The supporting players really aren't all that memorable but each of them are good enough for what they're asked to do.

There are many flaws to be found in WHITE ZOMBIE. The film moves at a snail's pace and while this might help the atmosphere, after a while the movie really begins to drag. In fact, I've seen this movie countless times and I always feel like I've accomplished something great when I can make it through in one sitting without falling asleep. Another flaw can be. It's hard to bash the direction for some at times silly looking stuff when you're at the same time praising him for the atmosphere he brings to the picture. WHITE ZOMBIE really is a hard film to judge but it remains an important part of horror history and there are enough strengths to make it worth viewing.

The Cinema Snob: Zombie Lake, 25 March 2015

The Cinema Snob (2009)

"Zombie Lake"

In this now long-running series, writer-director Brad Jones play the title character, the Cinema Snob, a mainstream or high art critic who decides to review some of the most notoriously bad movies ever made. Since the original episode this series has grown to have a very high cult following and fans from around the world.

It's surprising that it took so long for ZOMBIE LAKE to appear in front of The Cinema Snob since it does have one of the worst reputations out there. At one point I called it the worst movie ever made but over time I started to enjoy it's badness but there's no doubt that the Snob hated every minute of it. He points out the countless logical flaws in the film like the timeline but also scenes where drowned people are still able to swim and breathe somehow. There's also a pretty good joke about Jess Franco's co-written credit and the highlight, and perhaps funniest thing to happen in any Snob episode, is a joke about had Hitler watched this movie.

Episode: A-

The Cinema Snob: The Hand of Pleasure, 25 March 2015

The Cinema Snob (2009)

"The Hand of Pleasure"

In this now long-running series, writer-director Brad Jones play the title character, the Cinema Snob, a mainstream or high art critic who decides to review some of the most notoriously bad movies ever made. Since the original episode this series has grown to have a very high cult following and fans from around the world.

The final entry in The Cinema Snob's three-part look at sexploitation from Something Weird Video has the critic going nuts when he realizes it has the same actor and director of the previous film. This third part isn't quite as good as the previous two but perhaps the Snob was just running out of things to say about sex and nudity. There's a pretty hilarious moment towards the end when he talks about all three pictures and how they've ruined sex for him. There are also a couple other funny moments where he makes fun of the lead actor and some fake oral sex going on.

Episode: B+

The Cinema Snob: Terror at Orgy Castle, 25 March 2015

The Cinema Snob (2009)

"Terror at Orgy Castle"

In this now long-running series, writer-director Brad Jones play the title character, the Cinema Snob, a mainstream or high art critic who decides to review some of the most notoriously bad movies ever made. Since the original episode this series has grown to have a very high cult following and fans from around the world.

The second of The Cinema Snob's three part look at a triple-feature from Something Weird Video. This film here, in case you haven't seen it, is pretty much a sixty-minute softcore film that has no plot and just wall-to-wall sex. This here is enough to get the Snob going as he's pretty violently angry at this movie and it leads to some very funny moments including a hilarious joke about Meat Loaf. The film is bad enough to make for some very funny comments from the Snob including one dealing with the boyfriend's narration in the film where he talks about being terrified yet his character never bothers to just leave the castle. There are many funny moments here making one realize that the Snob's review is much more entertaining than the actual film in question.

Episode: A

The Cinema Snob: Evil Come Evil Go, 24 March 2015

The Cinema Snob (2009)

"Evil Come Evil Go"

In this now long-running series, writer-director Brad Jones play the title character, the Cinema Snob, a mainstream or high art critic who decides to review some of the most notoriously bad movies ever made. Since the original episode this series has grown to have a very high cult following and fans from around the world.

The Cinema Snob does a first here and this is just the first part in a three part series taking a look at a triple feature from Something Weird Video. The Snob starts off talking about sexploitation but then gets into this awful movie about a religious nut who hates men so she kills them. This is a pretty awful movie in case you haven't seen it and it leads to some very funny jokes. The Snob has a terrific alternate title for the picture and there's no doubt that there are plenty of funny jokes aimed at the bad simulated sex scattered throughout the picture. The one major highlight here involves a joke about why this woman hates men so bad. The child support thing is just classic Snob stuff.

Episode: A

The Cinema Snob: Blood Freak, 24 March 2015

The Cinema Snob (2009)

"Blood Freak"

In this now long-running series, writer-director Brad Jones play the title character, the Cinema Snob, a mainstream or high art critic who decides to review some of the most notoriously bad movies ever made. Since the original episode this series has grown to have a very high cult following and fans from around the world.

BLOOD FREAK is without question one of the weirdest films you're ever going to see and The Cinema Snob points out the various reasons in hilarious fashion. The Snob right asks why on Earth would someone make a X-rated gore film that in the end turns out to be some poor attempt to make hippie's quit drugs and find Jesus? You really do have to wonder what drugs the filmmakers of this thing were on when they came up with all the ideas. As for the Snob, there's some pretty funny commentary on the film including a very funny moment dealing with an awful edit in the film. Another funny sequence happens when the Snob talks about the actual turkey head used in the film. Fans of the series will certainly find the charm here.

Episode: B+

Third Time Is a Disaster, 24 March 2015

V/H/S: Viral (2014)

1/2 (out of 4)

The third film in the series has a loser seeking fame by constantly filming stuff hoping to capture something that will go viral and make him famous. During a police chase his girlfriend mysteriously disappears so he goes chasing an ice cream truck and we then flash to the anthology stories. In Dante the Great, a no-good magician finds a cloak that once belonged to Houdini and it gives him special powers. The only thing is that he has to feed it humans. Parallel Monsters has an inventor who makes a portal, which allows him to try out someone else's life. The third story, Bonestorm, has a group of skateboarders heading to Mexico for some fun only to run into a cult who needs their bodies.

I was pleasantly surprised with the first two films in the series and thought they were a fun and gory way to bring back the anthology film. Sadly, this third entry is beyond awful and really ranks down there with some of the worst sequels to good movies that have ever been made. Not only is this movie a disappointing distant from the previous two but it really goes down as one of the worst horror movies in recent memory. I really don't know what went so wrong with this film but there's really not a single good thing that can be said about it and the only reason it avoids a BOMB rating is that there's one moment involving a dog that is so downright stupid that it actually made me laugh out loud.

The rest of V/H/S: VIRAL is just downright awful and we can't start with the first film. The entire magician thing is just downright stupid and really doesn't fit in with the series as we're greeted to some interview footage with the magician and then we catch the rest of the story. There are countless problems here ranging from the awful acting to the downright horrendous CGI gore effects. Seriously, if this is the best you can do with the gore budget then perhaps you should wait until Halloween time and buy some of those $1 tubes of blood that Wal-Mart sells. It'll look more realistic. The second story is just downright awful, story-wise and contains the same awful gore from the first film. The third movie could have done something more with the material. I'm not sure if it was on purpose or not but the cult actually looks like the Templar knights from TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD. The gore here is a bit more realistic but the character are so annoying and the entire thing is so loud and obnoxious that it pains you to watch it.

The entire wrap-around story is, I think, supposed to have some message to it but it's just too annoying for anything else. There's really nothing good that I can say about this film and even though it lasts just 81-minutes the thing feels twice as long with each minute just feeling like an eternity and it's quite painful to sit through this. I really had high expectations following the first two movies but I guess the good ideas ran out. This third film is about as bad as it gets.

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