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.
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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.
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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

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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Grandmother’s House (1989)

It’s time for some more 80s horror, and this one is the directorial debut of Peter Rader! You know, the guy who then went on to be one of the people who wrote Waterworld. It stars no one I’ve ever heard of, is a title I’ve never seen mentioned anywhere, and seems to be one of those strange “aimed at teenagers, but just that bit too violent for them to see it” movies like The Gate. Still, it’s not a strong cover and is juxtaposing something nice with the promise of being terrifying so let’s crack this open!
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Dark Planet (1997)

Dark Planet is directed by Albert Magnolia, who also directed Purple Rain, Sign ’o’ The Times, and Tango & Cash. As such, it’s fair to say his carrier has been “varied” and that if you watched this without never having had me tell you that you’d call me a filthy liar. Then again, Michael York is also in it, so clearly a lot of people had cars to fix when the casting for this project was doing the rounds.
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The Kitchen (2019)

It’s big, it’s glitz, it’s starting three people I’ve heard of, and I only found out about it by it jumping up on Amazon Prime: yes, it’s another “as far as I know it’s straight to VoD” roll of the cinematic dice. I don’t normally watch gangster films, as they never catch my eye. So if one does make me interested I feel compelled to give it a go, because it deserves points for trying. Also, I really like the leads but would never have thought of putting them together like this.

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Theatre Of Blood (1973) Is Wickedly Watchable

Not quite sure how I didn’t know that Vincent Price and Diana Rigg started in a film together and that they both considered it some of their finest work. Probably something to do with Theatre Of Blood being a modestly budgeted British film, done half a century ago, and them having over 250 screen credits between them. The important thing is that I watched it as soon as I found out about it, and by reading this So Can You!
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Prayer Of The RollerBoys (1990) – Nazi skaters, naff off!

It’s sometime in the future, approximately a couple of years after the environmental apocalypse, and due to overwhelming personal debt generated by the Baby-Boomers, America is now owned by a variety of other nations. Obviously, that makes no sense, but neither does a movie’s antagonists traveling by rollerblade; something that requires the kind of well-maintained streets and pavements post-collapse societies normally don’t offer. Still, this is not a movie that’s going to let such things get in the way of having a good time.
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Growth (2021) – Comic Review

This is probably a redundant observation to make but Lockdown has been a total arse of a time for most people. Yes, measures had to be put in place to limit the spread and impact of Covid; but the lack of social contact has been utterly exhausting. This is addressed head-on in Growth, a 53-page comic by Jenny Allen.
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