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John’s Horror Corner: Mystics in Bali (1981; aka Leák), a wild Indonesian horror movie about the occult, black magic and a flying disembodied head dangling its guts in tow.

September 16, 2022

MY CALL: If you’re in the market for green-screened guts, black magic curses, boobed pig monsters, and birth-robbing crotch-vampirism, then look no further! The very premise of this film is the product of unfettered screenwriting lunacy and, thankfully, subsequent filmmakers stood on the shoulders of the minds behind Bali to get even weirder. MORE MOVIES LIKE Mystics in Bali:  For yet more bonkers Asian horror, consider Seeding of a Ghost (1983; aka Zhong gui), The Devil’s Sword (1984), Evil Dead Trap (1988; aka Shiryô no wana), Lady Terminator (1989), The Boxer’s Omen (1983; aka Mo, Black Magic 4) and, of course, Black Magic (1975). Though not Asian, I’d also recommend the Demon Seed (1977), The Manitou (1978), Re-Animator (1985), From Beyond (1986) and Bride of Re-Animator (1990) for some wild horror that packs some awkward insanity laughs and out there concepts.

Boasting a movie poster labeling this “the Holy Grail of Asian Cult Cinema,” Mystics in Bali has always been something I wanted to see. For decades I’ve seen images and posters in Fangoria magazine and websites and horror convention artists’ booths, building to the eventual day that I finally just bought the movie! And having just recently enjoyed another Asian cult movie (The Boxer’s Omen) also featuring a flying disembodied head dangling its guts below, today just felt like the day to watch it!

Based on the novel Leák Ngakak, the story follows American occult researcher Cathy (Ilona Agathe Bastian) who is interested in learning the practices of Leák black magic solely for the purpose of writing a book about it. So her friend Mahendra (Yos Santo; The Devil’s Sword) arranges for her to meet a monstrously disfigured evil witch (Sofia W.D.; The Queen of Black Magic) known as the greatest master of the Leák, who agrees to teach her. What could possibly go wrong?

The dialogue with the elderly witch has the maturity and exposition of a child’s fairy tale, and Cathy’s first lessons in black magic are visually just as silly. The animal transformation scenes are… well… they tried. But the major special effect of this movie is when Cathy’s head flies away from its body with her bodily organs and guts in tow. The effects are done by some pretty poor rotoscoping, and lack the grossout appeal for which we’re accustomed in newer movies. However, in concept, the movie remains an oddity in that Cathy has become a sort of floating head vampire which feeds on unborn children still inside their mother during childbirth. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yup, I’m reminded of that scene from Re-Animator (1985) as well!

Unfortunately, we only witness this gag three times, and only once with any “feeding” action. So it’s mostly just a head flying around with its lungs and intestines dangling about, often on a hokey zipline cord when not green-screened. Personally, I’d prefer more birth-robbing crotch-vampirism. But that’s just me.

How crazy one considers this movie will be inversely affected by the number of crazy Asian movies they’ve seen prior. If you’ve seen few such insane oddities, then this will be a ridiculous delight. If you’ve seen many, then it will seem less provocative; even tame for its wacky subgenre. So all told, (for me) this movie isn’t super exciting at all. However, it clearly paved the way for subsequent, and even more nutty movies. So for his service to wild cult cinema, we owe director H. Tjut Djalil (Dangerous Seductress, Lady Terminator) a great debt. And speaking of wild cult cinema, the final fight would lead me to suggest The Manitou (1978)—which is also an amazing piece of completely unfettered cinema lunacy. This final fight in Bali is extremely clunky with wooden acting and yet more rigid action choreography. The “laser fighting” is laughably stupid, the “boobed” pig monster was ridiculous, and when the battle ends… so does the movie! Huh? Just roll the credits? Alright, I guess.

I’ve seen a lot of wild Asian horror, and this one is very patient and thorough in its storytelling and exposition. In fact, the story actually makes more sense than most of these zany Asian movies. Given the far slower pacing of Mystics in Bali, I’m inclined to consider The Boxer’s Omen (1983) the far more bonkers and vastly superior of the two films. But credit must be given that Mystics clearly influenced Omen. This film is… special.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 448 – Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of Malignant

September 12, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome.

Mark and David Cross (@ItsMeDavidCross on Twitter) celebrate the one year anniversary of the beautiful horror film Malignant. Directed by James Wan, and starring Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, and an awesome villain named Gabriel. In this episode, they talk about chair throws, horror weapons, and the brilliance of James Wan. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker.

John’s Horror Corner: Glorious (2022),  a gloriously gory, gross and squishy cosmic horror chamber thriller in a rest stop bathroom.

September 11, 2022

MY CALL:  Awesomely disgusting cosmic horror with a heavy dose of well-written, feisty dark comedy. If you love Lovecraft and indie squishy tentacle horror, then step right up. This was a very pleasant surprise. Very well made!  MORE MOVIES LIKE Glorious:  Wanna keep things gross and cosmic? Easy… The Color Out of Space (2019) and Mandy (2018).

After breaking up with his girlfriend (Sylvia Grace Crim; The Hunt, Unhinged) and swan diving into depression, Wes (Ryan Kwanten; True Blood, Flight 7500, Dead Silence) finds himself trapped in a rest stop bathroom where he is coerced to save all existence by a self-proclaimed God named Ghatanothoa (J.K. Simmons; Dark Skies, Jennifer’s Body) preaching cosmic mysticism though a glory hole in toilet stall. Yes, you read that right. Through a glory hole.

By some manner of supernatural means at Ghat’s disposal, Wes is trapped in the restroom, presumably until he submits to Ghat’s rather robustly intimate request to save all humanity. Ghat challenges Wes’ sense of self, guilt and responsibility, while trying to convince him to act on behalf of the universe. Outside the bathroom, strange signs cue us to the obvious weirding that has afflicted the area—e.g., a strange purple flower dripping thick ooze.

Curious to put a face to the enigmatic voice, Wes’ attempts at glimpses into the mysterious stall reveal squishy, squirmy, wet tendrils attached to a grotesque mass largely obscured from our most curious view. What is this thing? This… God? Is this Wes’ mental breakdown fueling psychotic hallucinations? Is this some twisted Jacob’s Ladder scenario of his troubled purgatory after falling asleep drunk at the wheel? Or is this… really happening?

The tone readily shifts from ominous to happy-go-lucky, going from shocking glimpses of imagery of alien morphology to gleeful scoring as we first meet a road-weary Wes. At times, the scoring is even cartoonish, playful, feisty. The same can be said for JK Simmons’ lines; playfully provocative, amusingly inquisitive, self-satisfied in his own mystique. There is a strong dark comedy vibe, and I dig it very much.

This film does an excellent job capturing the provocative nature of something you mustn’t see, for if you do you may go mad simply by viewing and comprehending its maddening, indescribable form. Yet the temptation itself is somewhat maddening. Ghat warns again and again not to look upon him, and Wes again and again is tempted. For a chamber horror, this film is imbued with a strong grasp of cosmic horror—and I love that sensation.

Director Rebekah McKendry (All the Creatures Were Stirring) has come a long way since her first feature film, and I am impressed. This is probably nothing I need to own, but I’m so glad I watched it. I love cosmic horror and, on an indie budget, this is cosmic horror done so very well. It may not be the ultra-dark, inside-out gory stuff of Brian Yuzna (From Beyond) and the creature effects may be limited, but this was cool. Moreover, it was very well acted, produced, written and directed. It’s kind of like a one-act play… but with tentacles and blood.

MFF Data – Nicolas Cage, Sleeveless Shirts, and His Filmography – An In-Depth Study

September 9, 2022

Quick Note – This Nicolas Cage data is silly. Enjoy the randomness of a thoroughly detailed, slightly pointless, and time consuming dumb movie data article. Also, make sure to listen to our podcast episodes about this data and the time he ran around in a bear suit in The Wicker Man.

This data article came about because earlier this year I was talking to someone about Con Air (because I’m the co-host of Con Air – The Podcast), and Nicolas Cage’s 1990s action run, and the conversation led us to discussing the mythical being known as “Tank Top Nic Cage,” the man who has appeared in Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Con Air, Kiss of Death, Valley Girl, Birdy, The Boy in Blue (watch the trailer please), Wild At Heart, Red Rock West and The Croods (both of them). These are some of Cage’s most well-regarded movies, and they also feature him wearing a sleeveless t-shirt. I began to wonder if there was any correlation between his clothes selection and the critical/audience/box office averages. Also, I recently watched the 2019 movie Primal (listen to the episode we recorded about it) and noticed that he wears a henley throughout. Then, I thought back to Dying of the Light, Rage, Inconceivable, A Score to Settle and Looking Glass and remembered that he wore a henley in those low rated movies. These two clothing choices were enough to fuel my research to see if “Tank Top Nic Cage” is the ultimate Nic Cage. 

To figure out the data, I watched every Nic Cage movie (thank you every streaming service invented, Hoopla and my local library) and logged all the instances in which he wore a sleeveless t-shirt, leather jackets (which he is known for), suits/tuxedos, or a henley t-shirt. I didn’t count uniforms (the pilot uniform in Left Behind doesn’t count as a suit, it’s a uniform), and included all other clothing options in a “None” category. In 8 MM, Cage wears all four of the clothing options I researched, thus, 8 MM is included in all the categories. 

Quick Note – In movies like World Trade Center, he’s buried underneath rubble for the majority of the screen time. I didn’t feel the need to watch every minute of the film. I don’t want you thinking that I slacked on my research though. There are blink-and-you-miss-it sleeveless shirt moments in Looking Glass and Joe, so I knew I had to take the data collection seriously. I’ve just known when I could fast-forward. I also had to rewatch many of the films because I originally only planned to cover sleeveless t-shirts. However, I noticed the suit/leather jacket/henley trends so decided to include them. 

Here are the overall averages throughout his career. 

  • IMDb User Score Average – 5.89
  • Rotten Tomatoes Average – 48.6%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $102 million
  • Academy Award Wins – One – 1996 – Best Actor in a Leading Role – Leaving Las Vegas (1995) – He was nominated for Best Actor in 2003 for Adaptation. 

Sleeveless T- Shirts or Tank Tops (Vests not included)

IMDb User Score Average – 6.12

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.58
  • VOD Average – 4.9

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 54.9%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 62.5% – Highest of all the averages
  • VOD Release – 30.8%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $89 million
  • # of movies – 22
  • # of Fresh movies – 12 (54.5% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 7 (31.8%)

Quick thoughts – With Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Valley Girl, Red Rock West, Birdy, Joe and The Incredible Weight of Massive Talent in this category, it’s easy to understand why it has the highest IMDb and Tomatometer average. The category is loaded. Toss in Racing With the Moon, Wild at Heart, Kiss of Death, The Croods and The Croods 2, and you have a solid group of Fresh, but not wildly loved (by critics) movies. 

The 0% rated Deadfall didn’t help the “Tank Top Nic Cage” category, BUT, if you are a Cage completist, you need to watch it (Arsenal too).

Cage performances you need to watch 

  1. Kiss of Death – Little Junior Brown is a beast.
  2. Joe – It’s proof Cage was crushing it in the 2010s
  3. Valley Girl – Cage is a solid romantic lead
MOVIEIMDb ScoreTomatometer ScoreYear ReleasedWorldwide Box Office
Valley Girl6.483198317
Racing With the Moon6.76019845
The Boy in Blue5.3NA1986NA
Raising Arizona7.390198723
Fire Birds4.710199015
Wild at Heart7.267199015
Red Rock West797199310
Kiss of Death5.968199515
Con AIr6.9571997224
Captain Correlli’s Mandolin5.928200162
Bangkok Dangerous5.39200847
The Croods7.2722013573
Between Worlds4322018NA
Looking Glass4.6212018NA
A Score to Settle4.7152019NA
The Croods 26.9772020215
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent786202225

Suits/Tuxedos/Suit Jacket

IMDb User Score Average – 6.04

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.54
  • VOD Average – 5.02

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 48.2%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 56.5%
  • VOD Average – 28.2%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $94 million
  • # of movies – 55
  • # of Fresh movies – 23 (41.8% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 12 (21.8%)

Quick thoughts – There are some beautiful movies in this category (Adaptation, Face/Off, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Leaving Las Vegas), and it makes me happy that his prison trilogy (or Beige Volvo Trilogy) features him wearing suits in Face/Off, The Rock, and Con Air

It’s worth noting that Leaving Las Vegas (won an Oscar) and Adaptation (Nominated for an Oscar) feature him wearing a suit AND dying. Is that his Oscars formula?

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Matchstick Men – So so so good.
  • Vampire’s Kiss – It’s his favorite performance.
  • Adaptation – He plays two characters. Perfection.
MOVIEIMDBTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide Box Office
Fast Times at Ridgemont High7.178198227
Valley Girl6.483198317
Racing With the Moon6.76019845
The Cotton Club6.577198426
The Boy in Blue5.3NA1986NA
Peggy Sue Got Married6.486198641
Raising Arizona7.390198723
Vampire’s Kiss6611989NA
Honeymoon in Vegas5.865199235
Amos and Andrew5.71719939
It Could Happen to You6.471199438
Trapped in Paradise5.9519946
Guarding Tess6.256199427
Leaving Las Vegas7.591199550
The Rock7.4691996336
Con AIr6.9571997224
Snake Eyes6.1401998104
Gone in 60 Seconds6.5252000233
The Family Man6.8532000125
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin5.928200162
Matchstick Men7.382200359
National Treasure6.9462003331
Lord of War7.661200560
The Weather Man6.659200515
The Wicker Man3.715200638
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets6.5362007457
Bangkok Dangerous5.39200847
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans6.686200912
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice6.1402010218
Seeking Justice6.1282012NA
The Frozen Ground6.4612013NA
Dying of the Light4.5112014NA
Pay the Ghost5.1102015NA
The Runner4.7242015NA
Dog Eat Dog4.7492016NA
The Trust5.4632016NA
A Score to Settle4.7152019NA
Prisoners of Ghostland4.2612021NA
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent786202225

Other Wardrobe

IMDb User Score Average – 5.6

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.34
  • VOD Average – 5.02

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 47.5%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 59.9%
  • VOD Average – 32.5%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $94 million
  • # of movies – 31
  • # of Fresh movies – 12 (38.7% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 4 (12.9%)

Quick thoughts – With Pig, Kick-Ass, Mandy, Color Out of Space, Bringing Out the Dead and Army of One, this category features some legit films, but they can’t make up for Left Behind, Season of the Witch, Outcast, Grand Isle, 211, and USS Indianapolis. 

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Mandy – It’s a sensory blasting experience
  • Bringing out the Dead – Tired Nicolas Cage = Excellent Nicolas Cage
  • Pig – Dude should’ve been nominated for an Oscar. Maybe if he wore a suit…
MOVIEIMDB User ScoreTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide Box Office
Rumble Fish7.17519833
Time to Kill5.1NA1989NA
Never on Tuesday4.6NA1989NA
City of Angels6.7581998199
Bring out the Dead6.872199917
Christmas Carol – The Movie5.4132001NA
World Trade Center6662006163
The Ant Bully5.862200650
Astro Boy6.250200942
Season of the Witch5.411201191
Drive Angry5.447201141
Left Behind3.10201421
USS Indianapolis5.2172016NA
Army of One5.1252016NA
Humanity Bureau4.6252018NA
Mom and Dad5.5752018NA
Teen Titans6.791201852
Grand Isle4.602019NA
Running With the Devil5.4242019NA
Kill Chain5NA2019NA
Jiu Jitsu2.9282020NA
Color out of Space6.1862020NA

Leather Jackets

IMDb User Score Average – 5.75

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.05
  • VOD Average – 4.98

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 42.8%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 44.8%
  • VOD Average – 38.2%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $99 million
  • # of movies – 24
  • # of Fresh movies – 9 (37.5% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 5 (20.8%)

Quick thoughts – Call me crazy, but his most famous leather jacket moment was in Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s a part of his character. 

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Wild at Heart – Wowza
  • Lord of War – Cage is really good in Lord of War. It’s an appreciated performance but it’s not one of his most talked about (aside from cinephile circles)
  • Willy’s Wonderland – I love this movie. He has a great bathroom fight with an evil gorilla

Leather jacket fact – For years I thought he wore a leather jacket in Snake Eyes. He didn’t. Turns out it’s a rust brown-colored suit constructed from a polyester/cotton blend woven with narrow horizontal ribs and slubbed for a silky sharkskin effect of gold fleck detailing.

MOVIEIMDB User ScoreTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide
Valley Girl6.483198317
Fire Birds4.710199015
Wild at Heart7.267199015
Gone in 60 Seconds6.5252000233
The Family Man6.8532000125
Lord of War7.661200560
The Wicker Man3.715200638
Ghost Rider5.2272007230
Bangkok Dangerous5.39200847
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice6.1402010218
Ghost Rider 24.3182012149
The Frozen Ground6.4612013NA
Dying of the Light4.5112014NA
Between Worlds4322018NA
Willy’s Wonderland5.5602021NA
Prisoners of Ghostland4.2612021NA
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent786202225


IMDb User Score Average – 5.45

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.35
  • VOD Average – 5

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 32.3%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 48.75%
  • VOD Average – 25%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $45.5 million
  • # of movies – 13
  • # of Fresh movies – 3 (23% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 1 (7.69%)

Quick thoughts – Uff da. Willy’s Wonderland, Adaptation, and It Could Happen to You are worth watching. Also, Fire Birds and Seeking Justice are a good time. 

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Deadfall – It’s insane
  • Fire Birds – It’s Cage’s Top Gun. 
  • Primal – The guy who directed worked as the 2nd Unit Director on RRR (2022). 
MOVIEIMDb User ScoreTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide Box Office
Fire Birds4.710199015
It Could Happen to You6.471199438
Seeking Justice6.1282012NA
Dying of the Light4.5112014NA
Pay the Ghost5.1102015NA
Looking Glass4.6212018NA
A Score to Settle4.7152019NA
Willy’s Wonderland5.5602021NA

Fun Charts

Last stat – His movies are better off when he only wears one of these items. 

  • Only one item (Leather Jacket, Henley, Suit, Sleeveless T-Shirt) – 52.8% Tomatometer Average
  • Two items worn – 47.1% average
  • Three items worn – 39.8% average
  • Four items worn – 23%

Which is the best outfit and why?

  • Sleeveless T-Shirt – 54.9% – Tomatometer Average
  • Sleeveless T-Shirt AND a Suit – 52% 
  • Sleeveless T-Shirt AND a Leather Jacket – 48.75%
  • Leather Jacket AND a Suit – 46.25%
  • Henley AND a Suit – 32.3
  • Henley AND a Leather Jacket – 24.5%
  • Sleeveless T- Shirt AND a Henley – 16%

Which kind of clothing is featured most in his highest ranked films? 

Red Rock West97Sleeveless
Leaving Las Vegas91Suit
Teen Titans91NA
Raising Arizona90Sleeveless/Suit
Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent86Sleeveless/Suit/Leather
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans86Suit
Peggy Sue Got Married86Suit
Color out of Space86NA
MoviesIMDb ScoreClothes
Lord of War7.6Suit/Leather Jacket
Leaving Las Vegas7.5Suit
The Rock7.4Suit
Raising Arizona7.3Sleeveless/Suit
Matchstick Men7.3Suit
The Croods7.2Sleeveless
Wild at Heart7.2Sleeveless/Leather Jacket
Fast Times at Ridgemont High7.1NA
Rumble Fish7.1NA
Red Rock West7Sleeveless
Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent7Sleeveless/Suit/Leather Jacket
MoviesWorldwide Box OfficeClothes
The Croods573Sleeveless
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets457Suit
The Rock336Suit
National Treasure331Suit
Face/Off241Suit/Leather Jacket
Gone in 60 Seconds233Suit/Leather Jacket
Ghost Rider230Leather Jacket
Con AIr224Sleeveless/Suit
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice218Suit/Leather Jacket
The Croods 2215Sleeveless

Final thoughts  

  1. Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas featured a suit wearing Nicolas Cage. He won his Oscar for LLV, and was nominated for his performance in Adaptation. Also, in both films he plays a writer, and he dies. Dang. 
  2. His five highest grossing films feature him wearing a suit. 
  3. His recent run of Color Out of Space, Pig, and Mandy feature him not wearing a suit/leather jacket/henley or sleeveless shirt. 
  4. Face/Off, The Rock and Con Air feature Cage wearing a suit. 
  5. Red Rock West, Pig, Moonstruck, Joe, Mandy and Raising Arizona are some of his highest rated films. In them, he plays a blue-collar (or down on his luck) guy. I like this variation of Cage. Also in Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation his characters haven’t definitely seen better days. 
  6. If you want critical acclaim, have Cage play a blue collar guy who wears sleeveless shirts. It worked in Raising Arizona, Valley Girl, Birdie, Joe, Red Rock West, and Moonstruck
  7. If you want to make money, put Cage in a suit or leather jacket. It worked for National Treasure, Face/Off, The Rock, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Con Air, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Family Man and Snake Eyes

Final Final thought If he keeps it up, “Flannel Nic Cage” might be the ultimate Nic Cage. Adaptation, Joe, Mandy, and Color out of Space feature some legit flannel. There 

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 447: The Harder They Fall, Westerns, and Delroy Lindo

September 9, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome.

Mark and Norbert (@eddiecaine on Twitter) discuss the 2021 western The Harder They Fall. Directed by Jeymes Samuel, and starring Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield and some visually distinctive towns, the movie focuses on the showdown between two rival gangs. In this episode, they also talk about the western genre, stylish action scenes, and excellence of the stacked cast. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker

John’s Horror Corner: Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987, aka The Edge of Hell), B-movie Rock and Roll horror to scratch your bad movie itch.

September 8, 2022

MY CALL: This is a classic, very low budget, “so bad it’s good” kind of movie to watch with friends. MORE MOVIES LIKE Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare: For more evil rock and roll or heavy metal-related movies (in theme, story or plot-device), try Deathgasm (2015), The Devil’s Candy (2015), Jennifer’s Body (2009; podcast), Queen of the Damned (2002), Slumber Party Massacre II (1987), Black Roses (1988), The Gate (1987), Trick or Treat (1986), Hard Rock Zombies (1985) and Rocktober Blood (1984).

This movie leaps into action with cheesy gory macabre effects in scene one with a bloody skeletal Muppet dying in an oven. If only it could keep up with this opening scene—but it makes the best effort it can with a small budget.

Seeking a quiet place with no distractions, the rather mild-mannered hair metal band Triton plans to stay in a farmhouse in Canada to rehearse and record songs.  While they’re practicing in the barn, we observe what I can only describe as a one-eyed penis monster drooling thick white fluid into a cup. Really… I’m not having fun with this description at all.

That’s sort of a trend in this movie… little penis-headed muppets. Apparently, the farmhouse is infested with these weird little phallic rubber monster minions, and they serve a gangly-limbed Prince of Darkness FX’d as a man-sized marionette (that is clunky and looks terrible).

Following no real theme whatsoever, there’s also a green slimy zombie, and a sexy piranha-mouthed succubus bites a ground beef chunk from a dude’s neck. Perhaps compensating for the weak creature effects, the “romantic” scenes are frequent and long, with a healthy dose of gratuitous nudity.

The story and script are understandably pretty weak, but nevertheless the writing and cast are doing their darnedest as director John Fasano (Zombie Nightmare, The Jitters, Black Roses) calls for the penis-minions to wear wigs and smoke cigarettes to kill screen time.

The lead singer of the band John Triton (Jon Mikl Thor; who also wrote this movie) is an 80s weightlifter. So naturally, there’s a laughably stupid, vanity-driven, muscle-flexing, devil-fighting scene. The fight is terrible.

It’s awful, but we smile and laugh and shake our heads as we watch this nonsense. All in all, this was a rather enjoyable “so bad it’s good” kind of watch. Best viewed with friends (and abysmal expectations) to share in the silliness, for sure.

John’s Horror Corner: Mortuary (1983), a weak 80s pseudo-slasher.

September 7, 2022

MY CALL:  Really, the only reason I can muster to sit through this is for love of Bill Paxton. No other reason… none. 

Concerned by the suspicious circumstances of her father’s accidental death, Christie (Mary Beth McDonough; The Waltons) and her boyfriend Greg (David Wysocki; Humongous) are drawn to a local mortuary, most likely riding the coattails of Phantasm (1979). And this movie is no Phantasm (1979)!

The premise sounds good, but executes poorly. Someone is abducting and embalming people while they’re still alive. Sounds cool, right? Yet it manages to turn out so unthrilling. The death scenes are not what I expected—they’re hardly passable compared to B-movies of the era. This movie features perhaps the least convincing baseball bat assault in film history, a B-movie Satanic ritual of typical hokey quality, and… yeah, I have no way to sell this movie. I was hoping for so much more. Truth be told, the only upside here is seeing a young Bill Paxton (Frailty, Aliens, Near Dark).

Director and co-writer Howard Avedis has mostly made racy, sexy thrillers, and his proclivities are made abundantly clear when considering wardrobing Christie’s mother Eve (Lynda Day George; Pieces) and the embalming scenes. You’ll know when you see it.

Yeah, this movie isn’t great. Ultimately, pretty boring.

John’s Horror Corner: La Pasajera (2021; aka The Passenger), a surprisingly heartfelt Spanish horror about slimy, infectious, alien “zombies.”

September 6, 2022

MY CALL:  Very gross, and equally sincere. From character dialogue and development to goopy slimy monster tongues, this film was satisfying and fun. The story is “just another infectious zombie” deal, but it has a lot of warmth behind its mucousy goop.  MORE MOVIES LIKE La Pasajera:  This would be a good double-feature with DashCam (2021). If you seek more Spanish horror, I’d recommend The Platform (2019; aka El Hoyo), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and [REC] 1-3 (2007-2012).

The opening scene and ensuing scoring of the opening credits smack of the kind of tone enjoyed in [REC] 3: Genesis (2012), the most feisty and cheeky of the [REC] franchise. A minivan rideshare driver in Spain and not blessed in social grace, Carlos Blasco (Ramiro Blas; [REC] 4: Apocalypse) tends to easily find tension with his female passengers—mostly deliberately. Marta (Paula Gallego; The Elderly), her mother Lidia (Cristina Alcázar), and a Mexican tourist Mariela (Cecilia Suárez) impatiently endure Blasco’s comically misogynist banter until they come across what appears to be a small, crashed spaceship and a slimy pulsating organism at the side of the road. Just farther up the remote road they hit a woman in the dark… who turns out to be some sort of infectious demonic zombie thing. Then, well, there’ll be more.

One infected woman is like a gnarly, diseased, crawler from The Descent (2005) covered in boils and lesions; whereas another has a Frankensteinian face with a rather normal body. But all of them love their thick, lip-dangling, mucousy drool! It’s delightfully gross.

This lower budget Sci-Horror enjoys in its splattergore on the few occasions it flexes as such. Slimy gooey regurgitated slime seems to infect victims akin to The Hidden (1987); the flesh of a melted face is torn off and thrown like macabre soggy fatty chicken skin; and long mutant tongue assaults abound. We never learn the origin or reason for anything going on here, and I don’t really mind. It doesn’t really seem important. Despite its zaniness, what moves this story along is its relationships.

Complemented by solid writers and actors, directors Fernando González Gómez (The Elderly, Zombie World 2) and Raúl Cerezo (The Elderly) introduce us to characters whose sympathy is earned through actions, and whose idiosyncrasies and insecurities are credibly explored. Their banter tells us a lot about them in an often enjoyable, if not sincere manner. We see a boorish man find compassion in his time of dread as a standoffish teen fearful of abandonment learns to trust an adult who won’t leave her; the last man she’d expect, in fact.

So from character dialogue and development to goopy slimy monster tongues, this film was very satisfying and fun. Now I’m especially interested in seeing The Elderly (2022), our directorial duo’s most recent film.

John’s Horror Corner: The Boxer’s Omen (1983; aka Mo, Black Magic 4), a Shaw Brothers bazonkers Chinese horror movie about the occult and black magic.

September 3, 2022

MY CALL: Loads of gory guts, kickboxing matches, black magic curses, cheap conjured monsters, Buddhist missions, gratuitous nudity and confusing storylines. This movie is pure lunacy; an acid trip of mixed concepts shoehorned into a single script and a glowing example of what marathoning cocaine could accomplish in the film industry in the early 80s. I enjoyed it. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Boxer’s Omen:  For more bonkers Asian horror, consider Evil Dead Trap (1988; aka Shiryô no wana), Seeding of a Ghost (1983; aka Zhong gui), Lady Terminator (1989), Mystics in Bali (1981) and, of course, Black Magic (1975).

The Shaw Brothers know how to produce movies that will entertain, shock, titillate and offend. Not even 10 minutes into this movie and we’ve already seen a wild kickboxing match, a gangland double-cross is trumped by the sudden appearance of a sprinkler Water God, and a rather tumultuous sex scene with amusingly abundant boobs-pressed-against-glass. And that’s before Chan Hung’s nearly-killed brother demands that his brother defeat the Thai boxer Ba Bo that crippled him in a fight. So naturally, Hung issues a challenge and Ba Bo (Bolo Yeung) accepts.

Much to my surprise, there are actually decent fight scenes in this movie—even some long cuts with a constant exchange of attacks. They’re nothing spectacular, but far better than I’d expect from a horror movie! Watch out for Bolo Yeung (Bloodsport, Double Impact) who was basically playing a younger Chong Li, fighting just as dirty and getting just as riled up with crowd love. That dude was a force of nature.

But truly, the silly, dumb and nonsensical shifts hard into gear once we are introduced to the black magic practitioner and his undead bony pet bat. There are stop-motion bat skeletons, a cursed man appears to be covered in paste and balloon-pustules, a goopy guts-covered skull gives hacky-sack spiders a stinger and proboscis, the corpse of a murdered Buddhist holy man guides Hung, Hung literally vomits a live leopard eel, and the black magician eats guts and vomit  in order to conjure a slimy disembodied goblin head from some gross gobbeldygoop.

Amidst all this madness, Hung becomes a Buddhist monk because he’s told he must and does his best to avenge his brother and now also appease the spirit of a recently deceased higher order monk. So now Hung has two very different goals with very different adversaries. The pinnacle of weirdness is when the bad guy magically has his own head tear away from his body and attempt to strangle Hung with its dangling guts (reminding me of Mystics in Bali). This movie actually has quite a few scenes featuring lots of chonky stringy gooey guts. The crocodile disembowelment scene is truly a gross spectacle of slippery sloppy gore.

Oh, but wait, this was originally all about a kickboxing match and revenge, wasn’t it? So back to that plotline, Hung faces Ba Bo in the ring. And even though he wins, some curse means he has to now win yet another another match! Or so says a random Buddhist monk. But because Hung broke a Buddhist vow (i.e., sex with his girlfriend), he needs to go find some relic for atonement. This is so convoluted. Meanwhile, more black magic monks are at work. A maggot-covered corpse is hatched from a bloated dead crocodile to reveal a very naked woman who is revivified by black magic monks feeding her nasty goopy regurgitated food. This… is… gross!

She turns out to be some kind of scantily-clad sorceress who conjures a giant crocodile puppet and some bodily-orifice-invading death caterpillars before inducing a weird sort of birth scene which produces “Seram wrap mummies” which then immediately commit suicide to create diminutive cyclopean Brontosaurus things that shoot lasers at a sacred Buddha statue… which is bad. By the time Hung “wins” we are so lost in all the different bad guys and hurdles and goals that we don’t even realize that he’s accomplished his goal(s).

This movie is pure lunacy; an acid trip of mixed concepts shoehorned into a single script and a glowing example of what marathoning cocaine could accomplish in the film industry in the early 80s. God bless the Shaw Brothers and, of course, director Chih-Hung Kuei (Curse of Evil, Bewitched, Corpse Mania). This was really something.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 446: Bad Lieutenant, Abel Ferrara, and Bad Bets

September 1, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

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Mark and Jonny Numb (@jonnyNumb on Twitter) discuss the 1992 crime drama Bad Lieutenant. Directed by Abel Ferrara, and starring Harvey Keitel, Zoë Lund, a lot of narcotics, the movie focuses on the misadventures of a terrible man who does many terrible things. In this episode, they talk about gritty cinema, Harvey Keitel and the filmography of Abel Ferrara. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker

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