King Kong (1933)

Because “Why not?”, and as it makes picking viewing easier, Trash Or Treasure is going through every movie in “Science Fiction – Double Feature”, the opening song for that trash culture classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This week

Then something went wrong
For Fay Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam


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Bats (2021) is, against all odds, enjoyable nonsense


Chekov said “The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them” so Scott Jeffery (writer and co-director) has produced some of the purest art available because I can’t think of a single one of the 83 minutes of this movie in which I wasn’t going “what the fuck?” at the screen.
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The Basket Case Trilogy is surprisingly good.


The general pattern for b-movie horror movie trilogies is, to my mind, a relatively established, disappointing and inevitable one. The first film is a success, frequently because the people involved in making it are new to the business or coming in as outsiders so don’t know/care about the preconceived notions of “how to do it right” (Evil Dead, Ginger Snaps, Night Of The Living Dead). The second, often not planned when the first was made and often with a bigger budget, is often made soon after as an attempt to cash in on the success of the first by building on whatever part of the mythos or scares stuck with the audience the most (Friday The 13th Part 2, Hellbound, Evil Dead 2). The third part is normally where the wheels come well and truly off the bus in spectacular fashion, as the core talent moves on (Halloween 3), the budget falls away as the makers realise the core audience will buy anything with its name on it (Wishmaster 3), or it shifts into a new direction (Army Of Darkness).
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Monster Island (2004)


Jack Perez is hardly a household name and MTV Studios is hardly a benchmark in quality entertainment, so to find out that they got together and made a Straight-To-TV ironic-comedy monster movie in the mid-2Ks is to fill your heart with low expectations. That the trailer is heavily focused on cameos by Carmen Electra and Adam West, and stars some generic, moody-heartthrob bloke you’ve never heard of is to possibly fill you with more inertia. But at Trash or Treasure we make a giant-bee line for that kind of thing, and this film reminds us why. Continue reading

Ice Spiders (2007) is cheap, disposable, fun


Films made for the Sci-Fi channel have a reputation for cheapness, dullness, and zeitgeist abuse that is rivaled only by The Asylum mockbusters. It’s not that they’re bad, so much as they always make you think of a better movie that you could be watching. So, when sitting down to watch this film from the renowned Hallmark Channel Christmas romance director Tibor Takács (who also did the well-regarded The Gate back in the 80s), expectations were set to “please don’t suck”. Thankfully, these heady heights were surpassed.
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Burnt Offerings (1976)


It’s time for some “Classic 70s horror” that you’ve never heard of, which mostly means a couple of well-known actors getting caught up in some supernatural shenanigans until their next big serious role comes along. In this case, it’s Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Burgess Meredith, and one of the first appearances of the soon-to-be “ooh, I know them! They were in the thing!” Anthony James. It’s all very intense, it’s all very moody, but is it any good? Read on or watch the trailer that follows the era’s trend of giving away all the best bits.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Howling (1981)


One more unto the horror-series-that-won’t-die breach, and this time it’s the furry favourite of The Howling series. Eight movies over a 30-year time span (so far), all kicked off by the eponymously titled 1977 best seller which doesn’t actually get made into a movie till Part IV. Still, the first movie meant that director Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell got to make Gremlins three years later, so it can’t all be bad.
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