The Howling VI: The Freaks (1991)

It was bound to happen; we’ve made it to the 90s! So, obviously, it’s time for a story set in what feels like a 70s backwater town, somewhere in the midsts of rural Americana. This particular story of werewolf shenanigans has everything you would expect from the kind of cod-gothic the era became renowned for; overacting, excessive self-importance, and men in incredibly frilly shirts. But there is still fun to be had, as we enter the world of The Freaks.
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The Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)


After the blatant sexploitation of The Howling II, it’s time for new producers and a new direction: Ozploitation! The same director though, as Philippe Mora managed to buy the rights to make this one and is now the writer and the producer. So we now have an idea of what would have happened previously if Hemdale Film hadn’t decided to repeat Babel and Sybil Danning’s boobs to the point of absurdity. It would have been different, to say the least…
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Starcrash (1978)

StarCrash is a 1978 space opera written and directed by Italian filmmaker Luigi Cozzi, and you’ll work out within the first two minutes that this is a blatant Star Wars cash-in. It was filmed in and around Rome, using an extensively Italian cast and crew, but it’s technically an American movie because the money came from the Wachsberger Brothers, and Roger Corman was the distributor. Today we would probably call it a Mockbuster, but, unlike everything churned out by companies like Asylum, this is actually quite a fun watch.
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The Devil All The Time (2020)


Continuing with its run of “it’s okay, if you like that sort of thing” films from big-name producers, Netflix has entered into the world of American Gothic with “The Devil All The Time”. Adapted from the book of the same name, and with its author Donald Ray Pollock acting as the narrator through its 138 minutes run-time, it follows the life paths of Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård) and his son Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as they deal with violence, death, and religion in ’40s, 50’s and 60’s Knockemstiff, Ohio. Intertwined with them are the various lives, challenges, and horrific murders of everyday rural America, resulting in a road trip through an Appalachian heart of darkness. Unfortunately, for all the wonderful scenery and charming locals, it never really ends up going anywhere.
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Meet The Feebles (1989)


Before being corrupted by Hollywood, and forever tainted by the evil of production budgets, Peter Jackson had a highly respectable career in New Zealand cinema as the foremost auteur of splatter comedy. Bad Taste, with it’s exploding sheep was his breakthrough moment, and Braindead arguably the highlights of his filmography and unarguably the bloodiest film ever at that time. But it’s his adventure into the world of puppetry that is “Meet The Feebles” that got run through the Trash or Treasure grinder this time, because what we really need right now is a meanspirited laugh and a hippo with a machine gun.
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Wild Zero (1999)

Rock and Roll and horror movies have always been connected at the swaggering hip. From the ’50s onward they have shared an undying bond of heightened emotions, juvenile daydreaming, cheap production values, the mystique of delinquency, and high tempo drama. So, getting Guitar Wolf, arguably the finest garage rock bands to have come out of the 80’s Tokyo punk scene, and putting them in a zombie movie is a bit of a no-brainer. That the movie is this fast, chaotic, and unwilling to slow down for anyone just makes it even more perfect. That Takeuchi Tetsuro, a prominent music video director, directed this 1999 psychotronic rock-&-roll fable is just the cherry on top of the Molo
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Wedding Bells for the Otaku (2017)


Because it’s always good to go outside of your normal world, for this trip into obscuria we’re having a watch of a Japanese romantic comedy-drama. Based on the 2015 comic series “BL Mangaka Desukedo Kekkon Shitemo Iidesuka” by Haruki Fujimoto, who is also credited at writing the screenplay, Wedding Bells For The Otaku is an hour-long made-for-TV special. Directed by Toshimitsu Chimura, who probably got the job due to working on other nerdy TV series, it’s the kind of show that Japanophiles will probably wax lyrically about for many moons. Well, I’m not writing for them and any of their apologist behaviour, so my advice is that if you ever find this in a bargain-bin you should leave it there. Unless you know a J-Drama obsessive you can up-sell it to.
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Battle Beyond The Stars (1980)

If there’s one thing Roger Corman likes in his movies, beyond wild excitement and firm budgetary control, it’s knowing that it’s going to make money. Sometimes that means going with a hunch and betting on an outsider idea capturing, and monetizing, the zeitgeist. Sometimes, like here, it means going with what’s been proven to work and hoping that there is enough of a wave of other people’s work to ride into the black on. Or, more specifically, several somethings that have been hammered together and, hopefully, won’t show the welds too much.
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Cats (2019)


Yeah, I got bribed/sponsored into watching this one as well. However this time it wasn’t my choice of film, and my “delightful” readers decided I needed to watch Cats: the CarCrash dejour of the end of the year. Whilst others had the glory of watching it on opening night or ripped off their tits on an assortment of drugs, I got to do it on a damp Monday with one coffee to keep me going. I have to say that waiting for that coffee was the highlight of my trip.
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Love Actually (2003)


So this viewing came about because I wanted a real Christmas movie for this Trash or Treasure, and I couldn’t think of a festive film I’d rather not watch. This isn’t because I want to be edgy, but because most “touching romantic comedies” are filled with unlovable psychopaths. I then realized I really didn’t want to watch it, and you’d need to pay me £100 to do it. So the readers of this column did, and it’s going to charity and that’s the only reason I don’t regret watching two hours and fifteen minutes of raw trash.
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