Project Nightmare (1987) is bad and you should watch it


Currently, this bit of obscure techno-thriller is sitting at 4.4/10 on IMDB. This is quite fair, as it’s quite badly and very cheaply made. But, when I watched it as part of the Bela Lugosi’s Shed Poor Quality Film Club, I unironically enjoyed it. It’s possibly because I spent most of the time working out the film director and writer Donald M. Jones was trying to make, or I just have an unquenchable thirst for proto-cyberpunk concepts. Either way, I wanted to share news of its existence.
Continue reading

10 Items Or Less (2006) was a joyful watch


I can vaguely remember this making a splash as an indie darling when it first came out, with the buzz being split between the marketing gimmick of Morgan Freeman doing something quirky and the marketing gimmick of being officially available online at the same time it was in the cinema. It got a reasonable amount of sofa-based interview TV, made some noise as “a touching, romantic comedy”, and then dropped out of view. So when we picked it for viewing, based mostly on the title but also because of Morgan Freeman, and had very little expectations as to what would happen next.
Continue reading

The Undertake (1988) is underwhelming


Whilst this 1988 film has nothing to do with the most successful persona of Mark Calloway, of the great wrestlers of all time, it does have a lot of the hallmarks of professional wrestling of this era. Bad acting, weak camera, incredibly cheap tricks, a near-incomprehensible plotline, and the audience constantly having to work to maintain the willful suspension of disbelief are all on show here. The end result is something that is utterly unenjoyable as intended, and only marginally fun as a beguiling slice of bad cinema.
Continue reading

Future Shock (1994) isn’t worth your time


It’s time for an exciting three-way combo of amazing opportunity: a horror anthology with a bit of a cyberpunk taste to it! It’s also got a spectacular cast of “oooh, it’s them! From that film!” actors, and, in a random act of trivia, the music was done by J.J. Abrams. This can’t possibly go wrong, as nothing JJ Abrams has been involved in has ever been a shonky rip-off of better things that totally misses what made them good in the first place.
Continue reading

Lieutenant Jangles (2018)

The inherent danger of making parodies of bad movies is that if you’re not careful, what you end up with is a bad movie. This 2019 released parody of Ozsplotation and general 80s renegade-cop action movies skirts dangerously close to that outcome, and then dives headfirst into it whilst literally pissing all over the place. This is a shame, as it had the potential to be really good.
Continue reading

Studio 666 (2022) is good dumb fun


According to Dave Grohl, this movie happened because whilst recording the Foo Fighter’s tenth album he had an idea to do a very cheap slasher video about the band and the studio, like a little youtube home movie, and then suddenly there were millions of dollars in production money and John Carpenter doing the soundtrack. I’ve got no way of knowing if it’s true or marketing hype, but I imagine that kind of thing happens a lot in his world and it probably explains why this film exists. It also explains why it can only exist because the Foo Fighters are in it, and why this ends up being “A Hard Days Night” done by Hooper and Craven.
Continue reading

FairyTale: A True Story (1997)


As a long-time reader of The Fortean Times, and having a general interest in the more esoteric bits of social history, I was keen to find out what this dramatization of the Cottingley Fairies story would be like. I could remember it making some noise when it first came out, but that was mostly because it was a British costume drama that had some bits of CGI in it rather than because it was a great film. So I was also curious if was going to be bogged down with The Great British Worthiness that meant we had tried to pretend we never had a genre cinema industry after the 70s. Continue reading

The Green Sea (2021)


There were two ways you heard about this film, and for most it was because Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany, rewilding enthusiast, vegan advocate, and death metal fan, directed it at his family estates. The other is because Katharine Isabelle is in it, and you are willing to give it a go because Ginger Snaps is an amazing bit of werewolf and feminist horror cinema. Either way, you’ve heard the hype and you want to give it a go, so what can you expect from the 105 minutes of Irish psychological thriller?
Continue reading

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) is an okayish disappointment.

If psychotronic cinema, or, when you get down to it, any cinema, is about experience then The Texas Chain Saw Massacre must be one of the greatest movies of all time. It is an unrelenting, exhausting, almost total-body experience; be it during its moments to shocking terror, its nightmarish social observations, its frequently disjointed surrealist turns, or its nihilistic horror spectacular. Even its soundtrack, which for the final third of the movie is dominated by the constant screams of its Final Girl being dredged through a stygian hellscape, is an emotive and evocative tour de force.

Obviously, it’s not to everyone’s tastes and the bulk of its greatness comes from pushing the boundaries of genre conventions, seeking to indulge the worst excesses of exploitation cinema, budget and talent constraints, and just plain dumb luck. But it is a singular, majestic vision that few have come close to matching. Especially its sequels, which for the most part cranked up the gore they thought was in the original and pissed away the cultural commentary that they clearly thought was an irrelevancy. So, when I heard (in the same week it was being released) that Texas Chainsaw Massacre* was coming out I was filled with indifference towards it.

Then I spotted it on Netflix, draped across the front page as its big welcoming offering, and it was Friday night and it would be rude not to.
Continue reading