Thursday, August 27, 2015

Canada's Most Haunted

Canada's most haunted sites are investigated in this recreation-heavy documentary. Utilizing the old-fashioned technique of interviews and recreations instead of the modern ghost hunting technique of night-time investigations, Canada's Most Haunted tells the paranormal histories of some of the Great White North's spookiest locations. Unfortunately, there's a very sensible skeptic interviewed between each vignette discounting every single story, tossing a wet blanket over the entire proceedings, so Canada's Most Haunted is very, very boring. To make matters worse, they also investigate the Memphremagog Lake Monster, and while I don't have any problem with lake monsters per se, lake monsters aren't ghosts at all, but Memphremagog is a really interesting word, and it's fun to say. Thanks to Wikipedia, I just found out that Lake Memphremagog has a lighthouse named Witch Shoal Lighthouse, and while I don't know if it's haunted, I wouldn't mind visiting if there's the possibility of seeing a ghost, a witch, and a monster all at the same time.

Central State

Repetitive and gimmicky, Central State follows the paranormal history of the Central State Asylum For The Insane, and it's a lot like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, or Most Haunted, except shaky cam, distracting editing, voiceovers, and sound effects obscure any 'evidence' uncovered. A former patient is interviewed, but his features and voice is obscured, and it's a lot like the rest of the film, where any so-called proof of paranormal activity is hard to see or hear. If it's paranormal entertainment you're looking for, I would stick with the affable guys from Ghost Adventures and avoid Central State.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Patch Town

I'm very disappointed in Patch Town. Although well-shot, well-acted, and featuring good art direction, I believed it to be a horror film. It is not.

It's a musical.

It's a fantasy musical about a mystical Eastern Bloc American city where gooey infants are born in a cabbage patch and turned into dolls. One of these dolls grows up, and searches for his mother.

Yeah, I know, that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. But the kicker is the singing. Everybody sings, and I just can't handle it. I've never understood musicals, and I don't want to. If I wanted to see actors inexplicably burst into song, I'd watch a music video.

OK, I'll have you know I'll go to great lengths for comedy, and I watched every second of that video, and it nearly killed me. I deserve a medal of some sort.

Anyway, Patch Town starts pretty interestingly, where workers saw cabbages open with scalpels and pull drippy infants out of them, umbilical cords and all, but that's tossed aside for a character's search for the little girl who abandoned him when he was a doll. There's a few moments of absurd comedy from a henchman and a truck driver, but overall Patch Town is a musical letdown. If you're scared of musicals, avoid Patch Town.

Here's a remarkably song-free trailer:

Fiend Without A Face

Invisible thought creatures strangle townsfolk and suck out their brains in this sci-fi thriller that's atmospheric, well-shot, and remarkably gory for its time. After a cameraman's fedora'd shadow is visible on the hood of a moving jeep and some stock aircraft and radar equipment footage, a woman is strangled by an unseen force as she's feeding chickens. An autopsy reveals that her brains AND her spinal cord have been sucked out by a 'mental vampire', and I'm just as surprised as you are by that finding. Some plot happens for a while, then an air force major investigates a cemetery. He enters a crypt which has a winding stone staircase that inexplicably leads deep underground because it's in the script. He discovers a clue and an partially open casket, and then the crypt door suddenly closes by itself, presumably by an invisible brain-sucker that didn't find is brain to be that delicious, to it could have been the wind. Who knows? After he breaks his flashlight, he uses some convenient crypt candles (because dead people like ambiance), then he passes out from lack of oxygen just before being rescued, because it's awfully likely he breathed up a two-story house-worth of air in two minutes.  Suddenly, brains in trees lurk outside a house, and they fly and creep and dangle from strings and attack people before being shot by guns and cut open with axes in a grisly stop-motion sequence that has to be seen to be believed. Fiend Without A Face drags a bit in the middle, but it more than makes up for it with a WTF ending. It's wholeheartedly recommended if you like stuff that kind of sucks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monster Madness: The Golden Age of The Horror Film/Mutants, Space Invaders, And Drive-Ins

A clip-heavy multi-part documentary of the early history of the horror genre, Monster Madness: The Golden Age Of The Horror Film concentrates on the Universal Monsters, with Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the rest of the gang.

It's probably the better of the two films I watched, but I enjoyed Monster Madness: Mutants, Space Invaders, And Drive-Ins the most. Get prepared to see lots of strings! Featuring Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Giant Claw, Attack Of The Giant Leeches, and Beast From Planet Arous, crudely fashioned monsters from the golden age of horror dangle about, and there's a few drive-in intermission clips, too. The film hops around in time, and some of the star interviews seem out of place, but that's ok. Monster Madness is a fairly comprehensive primer on the beginning of horror film.

Giuseppe Makes A Movie

Utilizing the down-on-their-luck residents of the trailer park he lives in, former child actor Guiseppe Andrews makes no-budget underground films in this gritty documentary. From appearing in big budget films such as Independence Day and Detroit Rock City to buying booze and DVCs from the local drug store, Andrews uses alcoholics and eccentrics as his main characters, feeding them lines in seedy motel rooms, and shooting in extreme close-up with a camcorder. Tragic and absurd, Giuseppe Makes A Movie recounts some of the horrific lives of the actors Andrews uses, and his belief that his films helps his neighbors in some way and his genuine life as an outsider artist amidst terrible poverty and near-homelessness keeps the film from becoming exploitation, but just barely.


A down-and-out boxer gets a chance to fight the Heavyweight Champion Of The World in this quiet, character-driven sports drama. Surprisingly dialogue-heavy for a supposed sports film and saving most of the action for the ending, Rocky's heartfelt screenplay written by star Sylvester Stallone harkens back to crowd-pleasing underdog films of a much less pessimistic time, with the remarkably moving scene where Rocky finally accepts help from his former trainer Mickey, played by an irascible, fiery Burgess Meredith, as a standout moment. It's pretty easy to see why a triumphant, feel-good film about a small-time fighter getting a shot at the big time won for Best Picture over the more cynical nominees All The President's Men, Network, and Taxi Driver, but after the passage of time it's arguable it probably shouldn't have.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Alien goblin puppets grant unconvincingly wild fantasies as they try to kill 30-year old teenagers in this low budget horror/comedy that currently sits at #68 on IMDB's Bottom 100. After a young security guard enters a bank vault, he awkwardly dances on a stage set up for some tepid rock-n-roll, but he falls down and dies for some reason. A cast member makes a phone call to a sex line and he probably shouldn't have, then 2 other cast members fight with rakes for about a month.

Suddenly, after about 6 more months of movie, 4 unconvincing hobgoblin puppets take a golf cart for a joy ride. Then a cast member dressed like Cyndi Lauper rolls around with a hobgoblin puppet on the front lawn. After about 7 more years of movie, a hooker in gold satin pants tries to push a car over a cliff. Then the cast drives to Club Scum, where we realize these characters are the biggest squares in town, and an unconvincing nudity-free striptease lasts about 300 years. Then all of the extras explode, someone is engulfed in flames, and there's an unconvincing and very brief nunchuck battle.

I wouldn't call Hobgoblins the worst film I've ever seen, but it's pretty awful. However, considering a budget of $15,000, it's still pretty awful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


High school students are murdered off-camera by some unconvincing spirits in this dreadful Syfy Channel horror film. A student brings his collection of occult gold coins to school, and this somehow causes an unconvincing earthquake which awakens some unconvincing ghosts. A librarian is trapped within a melting floor, a kid is cooked within the school's duct work after some Die Hard jokes, and jars of dissected frogs attack. The head ghost is just chock-full of terrible puns, and all the kill shots occur off-screen. Do yourself a favor and avoid Ghostquake.

Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work Of Orson Welles

From theatre to radio to Citizen Kane to years of obscurity, Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work Of Orson Welles chronicles the history of the maverick independent film-maker, who fought against authority and was shunned after making the greatest movie of all time. Touching on all the hallmarks of Welles' career ups-and-downs, including the infamous War Of The World radio broadcast, the destruction of his second masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons, the most famous of all cameos in The Third Man, and his triumphant film noir A Touch Of Evil, Magician is quickly-paced and bittersweet.

Out Of The Dark

Stephen Chow stars in this Shaw Brothers comedy-horror film about an escaped mental patient who accidentally becomes a ghost hunter. After someone is hit in the head by a falling suitcase filled with bras, a rape joke, and a sodomy joke, a possessed TV chases someone around the house, then someone gets hit in the balls by a lightning bolt. A ghost gets her severed head kicked down a flight of stairs, and she's fairly nonchalant about the whole thing. Someone gets stabbed, and a woman dresses in a red dress and falls off the top of a building in the hope of becoming a poltergeist. After her fall, she's resuscitated by getting hit in the heart by a hammer, then she decides to shoot herself several times. She's resuscitated again by an electrical cord from a soda machine, then she's stabbed in the head. After someone decides against kissing a transvestite, someone gets feces wiped on their face, and then someone gets their teeth blown out of their mouth from dynamite. Everyone then wears blue ghost-viewing eyeshadow made from cows' tears, and there's a dramatic dolly zoom. A malfunctioning microwave oven causes bananas to foam, a guy's skin to bubble, and a woman's breasts to explode, but it was only a ghost-induced hallucination, I think. Then someone leaves their appendix on a desk. Someone throws a durian and slingshots some Malteasers, then a ghost is captured in plastic wrap and someone is killed with a chainsaw. After someone attempts to saw through some bamboo with a pair of fingernail clippers, the cast flies above the city while wearing magical newspaper hats, which means this was a fairly humorous, well-made, and appropriately wacky Shaw Brothers film.

How To Sell A Banksy

A man tries to conserve, mount, and ultimately sell a pilfered, crumbling piece of Banksy's street art in this intriguing documentary. After covertly removing an iconic piece of graffiti from a bridge and then stowing it away, an unemployed bloke spends a lot of money framing the enormous piece, hoisting it up the side of a building and swinging it in through a removed window, and finds that it's easier said than done to actually find someone willing to buy it. Interviews with movers and shakers in the art world only adds another coat of paint to an already grey art landscape where morality seemingly has a price tag.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bigfoot's Reflection

The elusive, hirsute, bipedal creature is discussed in this cryptozoological documentary. Featuring intriguing interviews from eyewitnesses with scientific backgrounds, Bigfoot's Reflection balances the outlandish and the skeptical, which was ultimately disappointing to me because I wanted to tear into this film like a stoner tears into a package of beef jerky.

Bigfoot's Reflection was surprisingly free of overt wackiness except for one dude wearing a Bigfoot bolo tie, and one guy brought up a good point that convincing Bigfoot evidence hasn't really increased in spite of technological advances. Another guy asks a valid question in wondering who would go to the effort to plant a phony Bigfoot track under a bush on a desolate mountaintop, and I can certainly agree with that because you can't get potstickers and a quart of vegetable fried rice delivered to a mountaintop, so why the heck should anyone go there? Seriously, the wilderness is a terrible, dirty, mosquito-filled, Chinese food delivery-free nightmare, and if Bigfoot is content to live in it despite being miles from the nearest Starbucks, well, let him live there in peace. I think it's a really bad idea, but whatever. If man or man-like creatures were meant to live amongst trees and bushes and bugs and crap without access to the occasional venti iced soy Caramel Macchiato, then someone would have built a Home Depot there by now. How else would you be able to get hedge clippers or citronella candles? Anyway, I truly hope that no one ever disproves the existence of Bigfoot, because he seems like a pretty funny guy in all those commercials.