Short Eyes (1977)
I saw this in the 90s but totally forgot about it until I got a few minutes into the blu-ray. This obscure prison drama is a lost gem. A middle class white pedophile is chucked into a prison. Will he find his comeuppance while inside or have his flimsy case dropped? Short Eyes is very very realistic because they used actual criminals in the cast à la The Wire. Rough, hard boiled and highly recommended. Look out for Curtis Mayfield as an inmate.
At Close Range (1986)
Stan added this to their movie list the other day so I thought I'd give it a go. Turns out I had never seen it. At Close Range is pretty slow to the point of being boring. But it does star Sean & Chris Penn with Christopher Walken as their criminal low-life father. The soundtrack kept making me think it was gonna break out into a Madonna song, I thought I was just being mental until the final scene where it does break out into Live To Tell. An 80s curio worth a look if you dig the aforementioned actors and Mary Stuart Masterson, whatever happened to her? Oh....and Crispin Glover.
Had not seen this since I was a teenager. I must be conflating it with another movie because I thought there was going to be cannibalism along with the buggery rape. Deliverance is so well done it keeps you transfixed from the start right up until the very end. John Voight, wow! The rest of the cast are great too. Deliverance is a timeless masterpiece. I'm never going bush for the rest of my life. No canoeing for me thank-you.
48 Hrs. (1982)
Wow imagine if this film was released today? Imagine the think-pieces! 48 Hrs. is a sometimes entertaining buddy cop film with Eddie Murphy & Nick Nolte. Not as good as I remember....still...I remember Another 48 Hrs. being a lot worse. One for the nostalgists only.
North By North-West (1959)
Thoroughly entertaining conspiracy thriller from Alfred Hitchcock. It's a tad long innit? He most definitely could have trimmed some fat off here and there. North By North-West contains some of Alfred's most spectacular scenes, you know, the drunk driving, the crop-duster and Mount Rushmore scenes. A film that oozes cold war paranoia and nefarious tones.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
I was expecting to love this but er...it's just not my bag. Why it's much loved by twits and legends is lost on me. 70s remake of a 50s Sci-Fi horror flick. I liked the human dog things. I found the rest rather tedious for some reason despite the best efforts from Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum plus an outstanding performance from Leonard Nimoy. Maybe if Cronenberg or Carpenter had directed it I might have liked it. I'll give it a year or so then give it a Space Debris reappraisal. It's mainly that me and sci-fi just don't get along anymore or maybe I was a bit grumpy.
In The Mouth Of Madness (1995)
This is the best movie that nobody ever says is the best movie. I remember going to see it in a cinema in Bourke St. Melbourne. Shout out to SJ who used to call me Philippa Hawker* because I was such an opinionated critic. Anyway we left this film saying 'What was that???' but ultimately agreeing it was silly rubbish. Hey, I'm still perplexed but now I love it. The only other film that has any kind of parallels to this is Lost Highway. John Trent (Sam Neil) is hired to go find missing blockbuster horror author Sutter Kane which takes him on a journey to an apocalyptic non place and back again. In The Mouth Of Madness is a gripping film right from the get go and Sam Neil is at an acting apex. Quite possibly John Carpenter's finest hour.
Death In Brunswick (1990)
They were the days. Alright this one is a bit of a nostalgia trip for me but maybe it's a good film....I just dunno. It's all too close to my heart as I lived in Brunswick for most of the 90s. Good lil story and top performances from Sam Neil and Zoe Carriddes though. This was an instant cult classic in Melbourne at the time like Romper Stomper was.
Prince Of Darkness (1987)
Kinda silly but funny satanic horror from John Carpenter. He's not at his best here but not at his absolute worst either. I'm not sure any of it makes a hell of a lot of sense but there are some truly memorable scenes. Death by half a bicycle, the chosen evil one's head is chopped off but she just grabs it and puts it back on, lots of gross spitting of evil liquid into each others mouths and Kelly & Catherine getting lost forever to the other side through a mirror. Then there's the great shared dream sequence that changes slowly in small increments throughout the movie. Donald Pleasance, Victor Wong and Dennis Dun are great but fuck me the rest of the cast suck. This feels rushed, a lost opportunity.
Blue Thunder (1983)
Is this the best action movie ever made? It's unbelievably impressive. Blue Thunder must have been such a dangerous film shoot. These helicopter stunts are mental. Warren Oates, Roy Scheider and Malcolm McDowell star in this OTT 80s action epic.
White Of The Eye (1987)
All I knew about this one was that it was a crime movie or maybe a slasher that was rated by the VHS nerds as a high watermark in batshit crazy film making. Halfway through I was nearly falling asleep but yeah I gotta say by the end I was thinking 'WTF?' I dunno if I liked it but the second half was so engaging and just fucking bizarre. What does it all mean? I'm not sure. I definitely have to watch it again then probably again after that. I'm not even gonna try and do a mini synopsis of White Of The Eye suffice to say whether it makes sense or not it's truly bonkers. I think it was based on a bestselling novel(?). This one is for the out there and cult film buffs.
I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
One I had to check off my list before I died. But did I? Yes indeed I did, a classic. This is the most brutal movie I've ever seen. I Spit On Your Grave is the ultimate rape revenge movie which is totally compelling from start to finish. Only people who think they are hardcore need apply. I spit On Your Grave is a beautifully shot and tightly made film.
Wait a minute here we have another Charles Bronson film I like. Sometimes I wish all movies were like this ie. plenty of action and crazy stunts that I'm pretty sure were seriously dangerous. Then you've got all the early 70s glamour of the beautiful interior design, houses, cars, fashions and hair. Not forgetting that the spectacular action is taking place in exquisitely shot exotic locations. Of all the Michael Winner films I've seen so far this is at the top.
Very excellent cover version of the classic disturbing 1980 slasher Maniac. It's POV all the way from Elijah Wood's character Frank Zito. I can't remember if the original was like that or not. This is a primo example of how to do a remake. 2012's version might even be better than the original. Oh the Sacrilege. What will the VHS nerds say? Love the score from Rob too. Now I wanna watch the old Maniac. Which I remember being very creepy, perhaps a bit crap and maybe just a tad too unpleasant but with a great score.
Death Wish 3 (1985)
Vigilante shit is so satisfying innit? This is now the third Charles Bronson film I like. Charles Bronson goes OTT with his WW2 weaponry as he takes on a neighbourhood of young hooligans who are running amok in 80s NYC. I'm even thinking about watching the first Death Wish movie again just to see if maybe I'll like it this time. The freedom of being able to change your mind and not be a slave to a certain set of aesthetics is an exhilarating feeling.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Totally missed this when it came out. It features 4 vampires from 4 different classic eras living in a share house in current day Wellington. New Zealand. Clever little light comedy that vampire fans will love and everybody else will get a laugh from. Hey, It's got Jermaine Clement and Rhys Darby from Flight of The Concords.
Maniac Cop 2 (1990)
Another spectacular horror/action hybrid written by Larry Cohen and directed by Bill Lustig. The indestructible Maniac Cop Mathew Cordell befriends a serial killer who specialises in the murder of strippers. Look out for remarkable scenes of Cordell attacking others whilst being fully on fire amongst an array of other memorable scenes. This is where the style meets the sleaze and creates riveting entertainment.
Another mega mix pastiche horror film. This movie doesn't know what it is. Don't waste your time on this bollocks. The berserk swelling drones of the score were very fucking cool though. Best soundtrack of 2018?
Oh dear....anyone wanna be sledgehammered to death with a biblical and climate change allegory? I'm pretty sure this an insult to my intelligence and yours.
Onya once again Bill Lustig. The original Maniac is way better than I remember (I love it when that happens). Joe Spinell is so fucking great as the creepy yet charismatic serial killer Frank Zito. Frank has a variant of agalmatophilia where his mannequins have to have human scalps, hair included. I've gotta say this movie is also excellent like the remake and not one bit crap as speculated above. None of this is POV, so the 2012 version of Maniac is quite different but still very faithful to the original story. Joe Spinell should have been bigger than Jack Nicholson. The score is still in top 10 territory for me, onya Jay Chattaway. Maniac goes into to the Space Debris movie hall of fame!
* Philippa Hawker was a critic and a sex/relationships columnist for The Age newspaper in Melbourne during the 90s or was it The Australian? I also think maybe she worked for Cinema Papers in the 80s (?).
**I'm aware of the run-on sentences but hey I'm mentally rusty and it's a blog.