Monday, October 12, 2015

More Guilty Pleasure Films!


Just taking a break from writing Alpha Blue.  Kickstarter campaign ending in just over a week!

These are all second tier cheese, the kind of movie you should see at least once to see if you like it.  None of these are award winning films.  They're B-grade fare that's not on everyone's Must Watch, Top Ten, or Best of the Best list.  I liked these enough to watch them more than once.  That's good enough for me.

Let's get started (in no particular order)...

1.  Simon King of the Witches - This is the film that inspired me to create this blog post.  It's a little known film about 70's real world sorcery and witchcraft.

2.  Burial Ground - A weird little zombie film.  There's some creepy atmosphere, cool deaths, and unintentional humor - which just makes it funnier, in my opinion.

3.  Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things - I remember seeing the VHS box for this in a number of video rental places in the 80's.  The title and artwork alone horrified and fascinated me as a kid.  Though it's "badly" filmed, acted, scripted, and everything else, I can't help but love this film.  Things don't really get going until the end, but there's plenty of entertaining shenanigans and awful (well, I think it's kind of awesome) dialog.

4.  Class of 1984 - A high school in the mid-eighties... cranked up to 11.  Gangs, punk rock, drugs, sex, Michael J. Fox, and Roddy McDowall.  It's a dark film.  Perfect to watch before enjoying a night of No Escape From New York (available here).

5.  Humanoids from the Deep - Roger Corman and Deep Ones.  What more can I say?  The pacing could be better, I think.  I remember a couple moments being bored or, at least, not thrilled.  But then a half-naked woman gets raped on the beach by a fish-man and you're like... Wow!  Didn't expect that.

6.  Maniac - This is a great exploitation film with an insane protagonist who is actually the antagonist.  If it had more of a plot besides guy-being-creepy-at-night-and-killing-women, this would be first-tier slasher trash!  As it is, Maniac has a great look, vibe, and practical effects... but it lacks something.

7.  Stage Fright - The only reason this is here and not on some better list is because it's a cheesy Italian film from the 80's that takes place in a musical, during rehearsal.  It's part giallo, part slasher film that's a bit too colorful and lacking in suspense.  Still a good watch, though.  If you love Demons and Demons II, you'll probably also get a kick out of Stage Fright.

8.  Planet Terror - I think most people were disappointed with the Rodriguez/Tarantino grindhouse double-feature that came out back in 2007.  This one was written and directed by Robert Rodriguez and is the better of the two (the other being Death Proof).  It feels more like an extend short film than a feature-length production, but it packs a decent punch.  Interesting characters, some nice humor, well shot, good acting, etc.  The running time is only half of what makes it feel "less than enough" - the rest might be character goals.  I think "getting the Hell out of dodge" is the primary motivation for everyone in the film.  While that should be plenty for a zombie film, Planet Terror still seems to come up a bit short.

9.  Terror Firmer -  Yeah, Troma!  Whereas Planet Terror left you wanting more, Terror Firmer will leave you screaming, "Enough, that's enough already!"  I haven't seen this in many years, but looking over my massive DVD collection this morning reminded me that I should put it on real soon.  It's funny, stupid, gratuitous, and there's something interesting happening all the time.  The plot doesn't really matter, does it?  It's Troma!  And one of Troma's better films (but still not as good as Blood Sucking Freaks and Redneck Zombies).

10.  My Science Project - Compared to the rest of these films, My Science Project is straight-laced and clean-cut.  It looks like an ordinary film - but it's about time warps, weird dimensional anomalies, and area 51 type stuff.  If this had been directed by Steven Spielberg, this film would rank right up there with ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Jurassic Park.  But as it is, My Science Project is kind of a sleeper.  Low-key, but big on cool ideas.

11.  Prisoners of the Lost Universe - This almost belongs on the "C list" of films to watch after you've seen everything good.  It's a film I really enjoyed back when I was ten. Imagine a session of Crimson Dragon Slayer (available here) but without the super-gonzo encounters and humor.

I bought it on DVD a few years ago and watched it with my extremely pregnant girlfriend, thinking it was going to be as awesome as I remembered.  It wasn't.  Halfway through the movie, her water broke.  We watched the remaining 40 minutes a couple days later... with a brand-new baby girl!

I know it's almost Halloween, but this isn't a scary movie list... even though some of them qualify as "horror".  To reiterate, these are just some pretty cool movies that I like - and think you might like, too.

Thanks for reading!

VS