Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review

Movies that you love to watch over and over.

Black Moon Rising

Release Date: January 10, 1986

Genre: Action, Thriller  

Director: Harley Cokeliss (as Harly Cokliss)   

Writers: John Carpenter (Story & Screenplay), Desmond Nakano & William Gray (Screenplay)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Lee Ving, Bubba Smith  

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

Hope you enjoyed the batch of Halloween movies that were presented on Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review! I’m going to be taking a break from horror reviews to focus on other genres. I have a handful of movies ready to go and trying to write as many reviews as I can in between working my day job, writing and editing for Braindead Network and finishing up my monster movie script that I’m particularly proud of. But enough of my time management issues, let’s get to the next non-horror movie review which will be the 1987 action cult film Black Moon Rising!

Written by horror auteur John Carpenter (ironic since I said I’m not going to mention horror movies for a while on this page), the film features Tommy Lee Jones in a rare leading role as Sam Quint, who is a former thief that is hired by the FBI to steal a computer disk which contains incriminating evidence against a company called the “Lucky Dollar Corporation.” On his tail is a former acquaintance of his Mavin Ringer (Lee Ving) who works for the company. Quint crosses paths with Earl Windham (Richard Jaeckel) at a gas station. Windom just tested a new prototype vehicle called the Black Moom, which can  reach speeds of 325 MPH. Quint hides the disk in the Black Moon which makes its way to Los Angeles. Upon intercepting the Black Moon, a group of auto thieves led by a woman named Nina (Linda Hamilton) steal the car along with some other vehicles at a restaurant. Now Quint needs to retrieve the disk to complete his task.

bmr1

John Carpenter wrote Black Moon Rising during the time he was working on Escape From New York. The script floated around until it was picked up by New World Pictures, which hired Desmond Nakano and William Gray to re-write parts of it and tasked Harley Cokliss to direct.

The movie is essentially a “got to get back a stolen car” story filled with some great chase sequences, ample amounts of action and solid performances from the cast. It’s too bad Carpenter didn’t direct the movie because it does have a style that is suited to his work. Black Moon Rising reminds me a lot of Knight Rider considering the car looks like if KITT had a son.

As previously mentioned, this is a rare lead role for Jones who doesn’t disappoint as Sam Quint. His charm and witty sense of humor is displayed all throughout the move even in the most dire situations. He is observant of his surroundings and uses his skills as a thief to elude his pursuers. Linda Hamilton does a stellar job as Nina. Her story is developed right as she appears on the screen. Throughout the run time, you understand Nina’s background and why she chose the profession she chose. Any bitterness you have towards her in the movie turns into sympathy. She becomes an intriguing partner to Jones’ Quint whose relationship also moves as quickly as the Black Moon car. Other noteworthy performances include Lee Ving as Marvin and Bubba Smith as FBI Agent Johnson, whom Quint reports to.

bmr3

Director Harley Cokeliss has been a B-movie filmmaker for most of his career, although he has credits directed numerous action sequences for The Empire Strikes Back. That experience paid off as he creates some thrill-seeking action sequences most notably with the car. I could feel my toes curl and my heart race when Jones gets into the car and presses all the buttons to get it to do certain things kind of like the various cars James Bond has used to get out of sticky situations.

The only thing I didn’t care for in the movie is the love scene between Jones and Hamilton. I don’t think the term ‘Awkward’ cuts it when describing the scene. You could easily list it in a top 10 list for “Worst Lovemaking Scenes!”  I understand its part of the movie and trying to fit a romantic dynamic in the movie, but they probably could’ve shown it another way.

bmr2

Despite some of the predictability, Black Moon Rising is a fun picture that is a wink and a nod to many classic action movies. I appreciate it for its technicality, style and a cast that works together. It’s a perfect viewing for a rainy Saturday afternoon or if you’re looking for a thrilling low budget affair. It impressed me the first time I watched it and it hasn’t changed my opinion since re-watching it again not too long ago.

TRIVIA

  • This is actually the first screenplay that John Carpenter ever sold. The film had been in development for over 10 years.
  • Linda Hamilton despised working with Tommy Lee Jones. Jones had been struggling with alcoholism at the time.
  • Tommy Lee Jones did most of his own stunts.
  • A lot of Tommy Lee Jones’ wisecracks were improvised by the actor himself.
  • The stunt driver of the Black Moon had virtually no idea where he was going as he was in a semi-recumbent position whilst driving. His windshield was also made of Plexiglass that reflected every single surface, obscuring his vision even more.
  • The Black Moon was based on a Canadian car prototype design called the Wingho Concordia II which was first unveiled to the public in 1980. Only one of these were ever actually built so the car seen in the film is a copy cast from molds.
  • Tommy Lee Jones uses an original H&K P7 9mm pistol in the film. He carries the pistol without a round in the chamber, even though it is widely known to be among the safest handguns ever built and purposely designed to carried with a round in the chamber. He also used an identical P7 in Under Siege (1992).

 

AUDIO CLIPS

Show Our Car Off

We Used To Be In Competition

I’m Getting Too Old For This

You Are A Thief

You’re In For A Long Lonely Night

I’ll Take The Keys

They’re Stealing The Cars

I Was Here

Don’t F**k With The Government

Oh No, Molina

It’s An Interesting Machine

Iron John

I’m Not Going To Open The Door

Just How Many Names You Got?

Come On, You Worked At NASA

I Would’ve Grabbed At Anything

You Just Gave A Whole New Meaning To The Term Breaking And Entering

 

Advertisements

Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

Release Date: January 13, 1995

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Action

Director: Ernest Dickerson  

Writers: Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris & Mark Bishop

Starring: Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Thomas Haden Church, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, John Kassir (Voice)

 

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

Happy Halloween! We’ve reached the final review for the month of October. As you could tell by now, most of the movies featured on this site were monster movies and anthology movies. This movie that I’m presenting is a little bit of both. It’s a monster movie presented by an anthology series. What could I be talking about? None other than the first Tales From The Crypt movie, Demon Knight which was released in 1995.

The Cryptkeeper goes Hollywood in this first full-length feature from the series. He presents the tale of Demon Knight in which a drifter named Frank Brayker (William Sadler) is being pursued by a man in cowboy attire (Billy Zane) who turns out to be a demon.  He is in pursuit of a relic that Brayker carries that once it is in his possession, he would be able to take over the universe. After a car chase which results in a big explosion, Brayker makes his was into a small New Mexico town where he meets a bum named Uncle Willy (Dick Miller) who guides him to a motel in the outskirts. In it contains the motel owner Irene (CCH Pounder), work release convict Jeryline (Jada Pinkett Smith), prostitute Cordelia (Brenda Bakke), postman Wally (Charles Fleischer) and later café worker Roach (Thomas Haden Church). The Collector along with the town sheriff (John Shuck) and his deputy named Bob (Gary Farmer) track Brayker down at the hotel. The Collector takes out the Sherriff and Brayker uses the key to drive The Collector out of the motel. Determined to get the key at all cost, The Collector cuts his own hand spewing out green blood which he splatters all over the dirt which creates other demons to help him. Now Brayker and the rest of the inhabitants must survive the night and prevent the demons from getting the key.

The cast of Demon Knight featured familiar character actors who fit their parts perfect like Cinderella’s glass slipper. Billy Zane as The Collector played it loose but menacing. He brought that soft charm that he is known for but has the skills to manipulate his victims in order to get what he wants. He essentially is the devil in this movie as he temps the survivors with anything they want in exchange for their soul. Few of the characters in the movie succumb to their impulses. Zane played it a little over the top but not in a way that annoys you. Zane has publicly stated this was his favorite part and helped him get the part of the bad guy in Titanic.

Tales-From-the-Crypt-Presents-Demon-Knight-horror-movies-18259824-900-506

William Sadler is a seasonal vet on the show. He appeared in the pilot episode The Man Who Was Death and he appeared in cameo segments as The Grim Reaper (his character from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) and later as a mummy in the second film Bordello of Blood. I couldn’t think of a better actor to play Brayker than him. He’s a man who didn’t ask to become the guardian of the key, but when it was bestowed upon him, he felt a duty of responsibility to keep it safe. When he gets the survivors involved, he does what he can to protect them even though at times they overrule his suggestions. Sadler’s Brayker is reminiscent of a western gunslinger. I don’t think you could convince me that the producers casting Sadler in the role is a coincidence. It felt like the producers gave him a tribute by having him in the second billing.

As for the rest of the cast, I enjoyed their roles especially Dick Miller’s Uncle Willy who played it like a lovable family member CCH Pounder’s Irene who rules her motel with an iron fist and Church’s Roach who was a slimy thick-headed character that was loathsome from the beginning. And I can’t forget about Jada Pinkett as Jerryline. What I thought would be a throw away character turned out to be one of the more important characters to the story. While there’s not much of a background on her except for her being on work release, you see her come into her own during the movie.

demonknightjada

The film was directed by Ernest Dickerson whom prior to getting this job directed the movies Juice, which featured Tupac Shakur and Surviving The Game starring Ice-T and Rutger Hauer. He was a unique choice to make this movie, but he did an amazing job creating something that captures the look and style of the television series while getting the maximum effort from the cast and crew.  The concept of the movie is easily inspired by the films Rio Bravo and Assault on Precinct 13 since the movie takes place in a central location and you a group that’s trying to storm the location and you have the inhabitants of the location defending it with their lives. The entire film is set in the nighttime which gives it this dark cold look. The use of the green colors for the demon’s eyes and blood along with the red used in the blood barriers that Brayker creates gives it a rave like glimpse. The make up work of the demons was well done despite at times I couldn’t make out the detail since their skin blended with the dark setting. The kill scenes in the movie have a mix of Evil Dead style kills and ones that would see in a Tales From The Crypt episode.

Instead of making an anthology movie like Creepshow or the Tales From The Darkside movie, the producers of Tales From The Crypt elected to present one story that would cover the full length of the movie. The gamble paid off. It’s a roller coaster of a flick. There wasn’t a moment for me where I watched it that I was getting bored. Demon Knight is unquestionably the best film of the three that were released. It’s one that fits in right with the box set of the television series.

Demon-Knight-1

I hope you enjoyed these horror movie reviews for the month of October. I’m going to be taking a break from reviewing horror movies and will be focusing on other genres. Have a few movies already in development for future postings. Make sure you’re hitting that follow button to keep tabs on all the updates! Again, I wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween!

 

TRIVIA

  • Purposely released on Friday, January 13 because the Tales From The Crypt movies were originally to be tied with traditional “horror weekends” such as Friday the 13th or Halloween.
  • Birds had nested in the rafters of the set, which caused audio problems, so before each take the crew would shoot off a blank gunshot to startle and quiet the animals.
  • The studio originally wanted Cameron Diaz for the role of Jerryline, but director Ernest Dickerson convinced the producers to cast Jada Pinkett Smith instead.
  • The entire set was constructed practically in an abandoned airport hangar in Van Nuys, California. Since the bulk of the film was set over the course of a single night, this allowed the crew to shoot during the day.
  • The green slime was taken from Glowsticks which the FX crew disassembled.
  • Brayker says he received the key from a soldier named Dickerson, a reference to director Ernest R. Dickerson.
  • This movie marks William Sadler’s third appearance in “Tales From The Crypt”. He appeared as the lead character in the pilot episode “The Man Who Was Death” and had a brief appearance at the end of “The Assassin” playing The Grim Reaper, his character in “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.” He would later appear as a Mummy in the second “Tales From The Crypt” Movie “Bordello of Blood!”

 

AUDIO CLIPS 

Cryptkeeper Introduction

Too Late To Give Them A Ticket

Airbags, You Gotta Love Em

I Think He’s Looking For A Room Of His Own

Town Is That Way

Get That Pussy Off The Table

My Nipples Are Smoking

This Property Is Hereby Condemned

Give Me The Key

Right In The Eyes

Assholes Don’t Have Friends

You’re Gonna Have To Take It From Me

This Is For Four Years And Minimum Wage

You’re Talking Genesis

I’ll Get Back To You

You Wouldn’t Hurt Your Old Uncle Willy Would You Babe?

Come On Out Everybody

They’ll Look Like Last Week’s Leftovers

Creepshow 2

Release Date: May 1, 1987

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Fantasy  

Director: Michael Gornick    

Writers: Stephen King (Stories), George A. Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: George Kennedy, Tom Savini, Domenick John, Lois Chiles, Dorothy Lamour

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

We’re only a week away until Halloween (my favorite holiday of the year). As you could tell by the reviews that have been released this month, they are all horror related reviews. If you were reading Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review last year I did a special called Guiltiest Pleasure Horror Movies! This time around I tried to find some unique movies to review and discuss. For this week’s review I chose a movie that gets overlooked but has had a resurgence due to the new original series being played on Shudder.

What am I talking about? Of course, I’m referring to Creepshow! The original film from the team of Stephen King and George Romero which was an anthology film based on the old Tales From The Crypt EC Comic series from the 50s was a huge success with its frightening stories, amazing makeup and special effects and its macabre sense of humor. The television series on Shudder has been a big success as well as it returns to the look and feel of the original movie. Not many people realized there were not one, but two film sequels that were made. Unfortunately, Creepshow 3 is absolute garbage and is ranked among the worst horror movies ever made, so I chose to review Creepshow 2!

While the original film had five stories, Creepshow 2 shrinks the number down to three with animated wrap around segments featuring The Creep, which is voiced and played physically in the beginning by make up effects legend Tom Savini (whom also worked on the original film). The first story in the movie, Old Chief Wood’nhead stars screen legends George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour who play an elderly couple who run a general store that has a giant cigar store Native American “Old Chief Woodenhead” who guards the front then comes to life after thieves rob the store and kill the owners. The second story The Raft is about a group of college kids who go swimming in a lake that has a wooden raft in the middle. As they head to the raft, a floating black blob emerges and surrounds the kids as they reach the raft. After one of them is engulfed by the blob and dies, the rest are trapped on the raft trying to figure out how to get away from the blob before it consumes the rest of them. The final story in the film is titled The Hitch-Hiker, where an adulterous businesswoman, played by Lois Chiles who quickly tries to get back home before her husband does to avoid suspicion that she’s been at her lover’s house. She slips on a corner and kills a hitchhiker on the road. She leaves the area not helping the hitchhiker and continues to race home only to be followed by the hitchhiker at every turn.

Creepshow-2-Troll-1

Michael Gornick takes over directorial duties from George Romero for the sequel and Stephen King returns to write the stories and the interludes (he even appears in a cameo). While Creepshow 2 is not as memorable nor iconic as the first movie, its satisfactory to those who like these kinds of movies. There’s plenty of gory moments, laughable dialogue and brings a moral framework to the stories. The animated interludes bring a new layer to the film series.

The special effects and makeup work in Creepshow 2 is passable, but it doesn’t match up to the work that Savini did in the fist movie (no one can, Savini is the master) . The movement of Old Chief Wood’nhead is authentic, and his facial expressions are slightly creepy. The blob in The Raft looked like they stretched out a black trash bag and had it float around, but the effects team gives it life through strings of tar as it pulls its victims into the water and the victim melts into nothingness. There’s plenty of blood along with some creative kills most notably in the first story.  Ed French was the original effects artist but left due to a falling out he had with Gornick. Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero replaced him. Nicotero is currently the executive producer of the Shudder series and has directed a couple of the episodes. No doubt his work on this film help get him this role.

Creepshow-2-the-raft-e1548791328270

The stories themselves are slightly distinguishable, but I felt there should’ve been more of a variety. You essentially had all three stories of some kind of monster whether it was a ghost, creature or in this case the human beings. The Raft was actually an original short story written by King that was featured in the adult magazine Gallery back in 1982. This was my personal favorite of the three stories. The blob is reminiscent of an oil slick and King was influenced by pollution in the environment and the effects that it has on our earth.

Finally, the acting. While the first film had a barrage of familiar faces, there’s only a few established actors in this sequel. I’m always thrilled to see George Kennedy in a movie. He plays the friendly compassionate store owner in the first story which is a role that suits him well. Lois Chiles, best known as Bond girl Holly Goodhead was a surprise in the film thinking this was something out of her league, but she did a fine job as the sexaholic businesswoman Anne Lansing. My favorite performance of the movie comes from Holt McCallany who plays Sam Whitemoon in Old Chief Wood’nhead. He’s the leader of the group who ransack the general store and kill the owners. He’s detestable but has quite a few memorable lines which you’ll hear in the audio clips below.

Creepshow-2-Pic-10-1024x543

I would have to say that Creepshow 2 is a movie strictly for the fans. For those who haven’t seen the original movie, I highly recommend watching that first before moving on to this film and the television series. While more could’ve been done in this particular film, it’s a satisfactory sequel. It would rank in my Top 10 Horror Anthology movies with its predecessor undoubtedly claiming the top spot.

Stay tuned next week as there will be one more horror film to be presented before Halloween on Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review!

TRIVIA

  • Daniel Beer, who played Randy in the segment, “The Raft”, almost died from hypothermia, the water was so cold, his body turned green. The crew wanted him to continue acting, but Director Michael Gornick said if they get him to keep working, he will walk off the set and never return. So they took him to the hospital, and he made a full recovery, and completed the segment of “The Raft”.
  • Dorothy Lamour’s last film (segment “Old Chief Wood’nhead”).
  • Make-up Artist Ed French left the film amidst the filming of “The Raft”, after being snubbed by Director Michael Gornick, who turned to Howard Berger for advice on how to fix the blob monster in the lake. Berger and Greg Nicotero finished the remaining effects in the film without French.
  • David Holbrook appeared in the segment “Old Chief Wood’nhead”. His father, Hal Holbrook, starred in Creepshow (1982) (segment “The Crate”).
  • Barbara Eden was originally cast as the hit-and-run driver Annie Lansing during the last segment, “The Hitch-Hiker”; but had to drop out prior to filming, due to her mother falling ill.
  • Much of the soundtrack was performed by legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman of the English prog-rock band Yes.
  • CAMEO: Stephen King: The truck driver in “The Hitchhiker” segment.

 

AUDIO CLIPS

Creep Introduction

Jimmy Crack Corn

Shove This In His Mouth

Why Don’t You Run Us Out Of Town?

Move Lady

This Hair Is Gonna Get Me Paid And Laid

Venus Fly Trap Bulb

I’m Pre-Med

Balls Are Going To Turn Into Ice Cubes

Don’t Tip The Raft

It’s An Oil Slick

I’m Gonna Smoke You

Well Swimmers

I Counted Six Orgasms

That Really Is Impossible

I Went To Get Laid, George

You’re Seeing Things Bitch

Thanks For The Ride, Lady

Time For This Boogeyman To Boogey

Inhumanwich!

Release Date: December 15, 2016

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Comedy

Director: David Cornelius   

Writer: David Cornelius

Starring: Matt Laumann, Michael Peake, Jack Burrows, Kayla Clark, Jake Robinson

 

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

Since we’re in the middle of Halloween season, we’re going to go from one creature feature movie to another. We go from an alien parasite who injects his victims with a drug like juice to a giant monster made of human, radioactive substance and ground beef. This next movie in “Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review” came out of nowhere like something falling from the sky. The first thing that caught my attention was the movie title followed by the image of a Sloppy Joe with teeth. The title of the movie was called “Inhumanwich!”

“Inhumanwich” is a Sci-Fi/Horror/Comedy about an astronaut returning back to earth from a space mission. As he prepares to eat a Sloppy Joe sandwich his wife made him for his trip, he gets caught in an asteroid field damaging the ship’s reactor core. Radiation leaks out which gets on him and the sandwich. When he crash-lands in a wooded area, he slowly turns into a meat monster with tentacles. From there it wrecks having in a small southern Ohio town eating one human to another causing it to grow in size. The scientists at NASA team up with the military to stop this creature before it consumes any more victims.

MV5BMzgwYWFiZDUtNDg1ZC00MjcyLThlNTctZTE1ZmQ4YmMyMTkwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk1NDg0OTE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_

Written and directed by David Cornelius, “Inhumanwich!” is a throwback to the silly sci-fi monster movies of the fifties. It’s shot entirely in black and white which gives it that authenticity of being a movie from that era. The look of the film is amateurish in nature complete with a local cast and crew, but they all work well together to create a film that doesn’t take itself seriously which makes it enjoyable.

I love the fact that the movie takes place in Ohio. The crew is from Cincinnati and the entire film is shot there. The filmmakers decided to give Dayton (my hometown) its own NASA Mission Control Center. I’m telling you right now, we don’t have an actual Mission Control Center here, but we do have the National Air Force and Space Museum. Other than that, the film does a good job showcasing the area with its suburban neighborhoods and heavily wooded areas.

inhumanwichbanner

Like a cheesy monster movie from the fifties, the performances are filled with familiar characters found in most of those films. You have the stereotypical housewife who shows concerns (or lack thereof) of her husband, scientists who come up with ways of stopping the monster only for it to backfire and the military officers complete with firepower who’s only remedy to the situation is to shower it with bullets. There’s plenty of gags and situations with the characters that it reminds me of something “Monty Python” would do.

As for the star of the movie, the creature is essentially a giant meatloaf with eyes and tentacles. The first time you see it, he is chasing a hunter using fast motion effects. I was literally chocking on my sandwich as I saw this. The creature essentially eats the meat of its victims leaving the bones behind as shown in various shots of skeletons that looked like they were bought from a Halloween Store. It has the ability to camouflage itself with any ground meat as shown in one particular scene. I have to give the filmmakers props for coming up with an ingenious creation.

inhugif40

The film makes do a good job of limiting the use of special effects in “Inhumanwich!”  There’s a mix of physical effects with ones that were done on a computer. They didn’t lessen my enjoyment as I continued through the structured and easy to follow plot. One thing is for sure is that David Cornelius made sure to throw every fifties sci-fi monster trope out there and many were able to stick.

“Inhumanwich!” is a great throwback to the monster movies of the era. I give the filmmakers much kudos for creating a funny and entertaining movie. If you’re sick of the big budget monster flicks, this is the total opposite. It makes you want to go back and revisit those style of films. Who knows? Maybe someday we can get a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” riff of this movie!

 

TRIVIA

  • N/A

 

AUDIO CLIPS

Introduction

Two Way Communication

Meeting The President

Meteors?

Talking To Lisa

Worse Than I Thought

Need A Minute To Stand Up

Meat Being Consumed By Meat

His Hunch And My Hunch Are The Same Hunch

Really Fast And Had A Lot Of Knives

Could Be Raccoons?

Radiation Turned Him Into A Merman

Like A Sloppy Joe

Lisa Speaking To Joe

Quite A Lot To See In The City

Need A Competitive Eater

Lakota

Release Date: October 11,  2019

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Director: John Sciarretta

Writer: John Sciarretta

Starring: John Sciarretta

As stated in previous postings here at “Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review” there will be times where we will break from the norms of reviewing movies that you may love (or hate) for some special reviews. This happens to be one of those occasions. Special thanks to John Sciarretta who reached out to me on Twitter asking me to check out his short film “Lakota” which he just released. I watched it last night and prepared a review for all of you to read. Because this is a short film, I will do my best not to give any spoilers or major plot points away.

I’ll start out with the synopsis of “Lakota.” Sciarretta plays Michael Garver, a shoe salesman from Exeter, New Hampshire who goes for a hike in a remote trail on the afternoon of September 23, 2019 to never return. Investigators find his phone in the woods and what they uncover would be traumatic.

“Lakota” is an eighteen minute short film which was filmed for no money and the medium used to shoot the film was an iPhone (which is becoming the new thing from recent articles I’ve read). It’s essentially a found footage film inspired by “The Blair Witch Project.” It focuses on a single character and everything that has happened to the character is through their words, descriptions and actions.

While this concept is nothing new, I did enjoy the film for its use of metaphor and giving a performance that is not forced or enunciates. Sciarretta starts out dictating on his phone what he’s seen throughout his hike and with every new update, there is a startling revelation. The realization that Michael is lost in the woods translates into Michael is getting lost in his mind. You see the slow breakdown of his psyche until it becomes uncontrollable. It’s a good performance because it is a real person in a real world scenario where most people would react the same way if they’re lost and start to lose hope.

Sciarretta’s performance is good, however if there’s anything he could’ve added to it would be he altered his appearance with every passing day. For example, I would’ve loved to see perhaps his clothes muddy, dirty or torn to show despair or perhaps scratches on his face to show that Michael is having a physical deterioration in addition to a mental deterioration.

“Lakota” is a decent short film that looks and feels like a real event that occurred. It’s a movie which can give aspiring filmmakers motivation to go out and make something for nothing. You don’t need a big camera or cheesy special effects to make your art. It comes down to the characters, story and the setting which this film hits all three on the bulls eye.

You can watch “Lakota” right here below! Thank you again to John Sciarretta for sharing this film with everyone!

 

Adam Cook is the Founder and Editor of “Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review” since it’s inception January 2018. He is also a contributing writer for “Braindead Network.  For inquiries please contact him at adam.cook87@yahoo.com and on Twitter @GPCRMovies

Brain Damage

Release Date: May 25, 1988 (France)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Director: Frank Henenlotter  

Writer: Frank Henenlotter

Starring: Rick Hearst, Gordon MacDonald, Jennifer Lowry, Theo Barnes, Lucille Saint-Peter, John Zacherle (Voice/Uncredited)

 

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

I’ve been wanting to do this review for a very long time. This happens to be one of my favorite Horror/Drive In/B Movies of all time. It was done by the great Frank Henelotter, who did the “Basket Case” trilogy (See last year’s Halloween Special for the review of “Basket Case”) and “Frankenhooker!” What’s great about Frank is that he’s only made a half dozen movies, but they’re all creative, original and super fun to watch. I rather have a filmmaker I like make six great movies than a filmmaker like Ridley Scott, who’s made fifty plus movies and thirty-five of them are forgettable. So, without further ado, here is the review for Frank’s 1988 movie about drug addiction in a creepy, funny style titled “Brain Damage!”

The movie is about a guy named Brian who is laying in bed feeling sick. When he gets up, he notices blood on his pillow all the way down to his bed sheet. He feels the back of his neck which is also bleeding. Unsure of what happens, he lays down again. Suddenly, he starts going on a psychedelic trip where he sees bright lights and colors. Knowing that someone or something is causing this, he asks for this person to reveal themselves. From behind his neck appears a long black/bluish phallic looking parasite named Aylmer (pronounced Elmer). Aylmer reveals to Brian that he has a juice in his body when injected directly into the brain will give the person a euphoric feeling. Brian starts to get addicted to Aylmer’s juice which causes him to isolate himself from his girlfriend, Barbara and his brother, Mike. As Brian goes around town dancing and living it up with this aura in his brain, unbeknownst to him Aylmer kills anyone near him and eats their brain. Brian is eventually confronted by an elderly man named Morris, who was Aylmer’s former host and warns Brian that Aylmer is looking to take over him and by continuing to be on his juice, his brain will continue to turn into mush and become dinner for the hungry parasite. Brian must find a way to get control of himself before he becomes Aylmer’s next victim.

braindamage-01

As the title suggests, the movie is about drugs, drug addition and the effects it has on the person taking them and their loved ones. According to Frank Henelotter, he came up with this idea after having a bad trip taking cocaine. Henelotter makes a visually compelling monster movie with a strong message. He takes the audience for a ride through the mind and body of a junkie. You go through the highs (pun intended) and the lows of the character. In between the movie you’ll be caked with blood, gore, brains and some dark humor.

Let’s start with the acting. The film is primarily focused on the two characters of Brian and Aylmer. Rick Hearst plays the protagonist, Brian. This was his first movie and does a dang great job of playing Brian. You don’t know much about Brian in terms of what he does for a living, where he came from. Brian gets easily manipulated once he starts getting high which can be common among addicts. When he goes on his trips, he’s very child like as he’s amazed by the colors and lights around him and how he can feel the music. Hearst plays a convincing addict through his physical appearance, his facial expressions and the hallucinations he sees. You’ll laugh, cry and be horrified by what he goes through. Next, you have Aylmer, who is voiced by the great John Zacherle (AKA Zacherle the Ghoul). If you’re not familiar with Zacherle, he was the host of ‘Shock Theater’ back in the late fifties/early sixties when NBC would play the Universal monster movies on television. Zacherle’s voice is soft and sweet which he gives to Aylmer. Aylmer’s voice is soothing to Brian which makes him feel calm around the devious creature. Aylmer is smart in not revealing his intentions to Brian until a crucial scene in the film. He has the characteristics of a snake. He slithers and sneaks around when in hiding but strikes quickly when he is ready to attack. The great use of stop motion animation, puppetry and Zacherle’s voice makes Aylmer one of the best movie monsters I’ve seen in a long time.

bd-4

Like his first movie “Basket Case,” “Brain Damage” has a similar look and style to it. It’s shot on 35MM film. The atmosphere is gritty as you follow Brian through the various locations in an inner city. Henelotter fills every scene with as much detail to look at. No shot is hollow. You’ll be immersed by the transitional shot of Brian looking up at his ceiling fan which slowly morphs into an eyeball, or the blue colored water which fills up his bedroom as he slowly submerges into it. And like his previous film, there is enough blood and gore to make you squeamish. The most powerful scene in the movie (at least to me) is the confrontation Brian has with Aylmer in the bathroom at a cheap motel. After Aylmer reveals that he needs brains to stay alive, Brian refuses to go along with it and will no longer ask to get high which prompts Aylmer to challenge him that if he doesn’t get a brain, then Brian can’t have his juice. Brian agrees thinking he’ll easily win. There are several dissolve shots of Brian going through severe withdrawal symptoms that are common in addicts who haven’t gotten a fix or are detoxing. Each fade away shot shows Brian in more agony than the previous. On top of that you have Aylmer who gleefully taunts him which doesn’t help the situation. It’s heartbreaking to see Brian struggle, but it shows how powerful drug addiction is.

I’m not certain what the budget was for this movie, but Henelotter has always worked with a very small budget. He squeezes every dollar in his budget and this movie is no exception. The visuals and special effects work are so impressive that you don’t believe this was done on the cheap. I’ve always believed that you don’t need hundreds of millions of dollars to create a great movie. If you have the right story and actors and if the filmmaker can generate a coherent story, then you’ve got a great movie.

braindamage7

“Brain Damage” ranks very high on my all-time favorite movies. More than thirty years later, this movie is completely relevant to the issues of drugs and addiction that we face in our world today. This movie gives you a dark, gory and comedic tale of one who succumbs to drugs. While this movie is not kid appropriate, I believe is a good movie to scare straight anyone who thinks drugs are cool. After watching “Brain Damage” it will make them think twice before doing something that will give them a short ride, but a long wreck in the end.

 

TRIVIA

  • During the fellatio scene the crew walked out of the production refusing to work on the scene. A similar incident happened during the shooting of Basket Case (1982).
  • Brian has an unexplained cut on his lip all throughout the film. It was a part of a subplot involving him getting into a fight the night before defending his brother in a bar fight. But due to time restraints the explanation scenes were never filmed.
  • In a 2016 interview, Frank Hennenlotter said one of his favorite things about shooting in 35mm was that he couldn’t misplace the camera as easily as he did with the 16mm camera he used on Basket Case.
  • Film debut of Rick Hearst.

 

 

AUDIO CLIPS

These Are Beautiful

Could We See Your Bathtub?

Start Of Your New Life

Brian’s High

A Bit Underdone

Things Are Really Getting Weird Around Here

Nothing That Simple

Not Elmer, Aylmer!

Forgot Your Buckets

When It Comes To Blood In My Underwear

Aylmer’s Tune

I’d Be Happy To Help You

The Whole World’s Gonna Come To An End

What’s Your Problem, Man?

Yoo-Hoo, Brian!

Put Me On Your Neck

Critters 4

Release Date: October 14, 1992

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

Director: Rupert Harvey

Writers: Rupert Harvey & Barry Opper (Story), Joseph Lyle & David J. Schow (Screenplay)

Starring: Don Opper, Terrence Mann, Paul Whitmore, Anders Hove, Angela Bassett, Brad Dourif, Eric DaRe

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

In the early beginnings of “Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review,” I reviewed the 1986 classic, “Critters” the movie with the aliens that look like hairballs with red eyes and razor teeth and ate everything in sight. The “Critters” franchise is one of my favorite Horror/Sci-Fi franchises. Since the review, the franchise has had a rebirth with a miniseries on Shudder called “Critters: A New Binge” and a new movie coming out (or has been released by the time of this publication) called “Critters Attack!” In celebration of their return, I decided for this review to do one of their sequels. This is considered the worst of the original four movies by many fans, but I’m in the rare minority as it is my personal favorite. Yes, I think it’s even better than it’s predecessor which featured a teenage Leoardo Dicaprio. I’m of course talking about ‘Critters 4!”

“Critters 4” begins with the ending to 3 as bumbling bounty hunter Charlie (Don Opper) does a thorough inspection of the burned down apartment building looking for any remaining Krties. He discovers two eggs in the dryer. Charlie takes them out and gets ready to blast them. He then receives a distress signal from his friend and fellow bounty hunter Ug (Terrence Mann) who tells him it is illegal to destroy those eggs due to a intergalactic mandate. He instructs Charlie to place the eggs in a pod, which crashes down on him to be transported back. Charlie places the eggs as instructed by gets trapped inside the pod when the door closes on him and is gassed. The movie jumps forward to the year 2045. A small group of pirates discover the pod floating in space and acquire it. They are contacted by a galaxy conglomerate called TerraCorp claiming ownership of the pod and instruct the team to head to their station where they will be rewarded. When the team gets to the station, they find that it has been abandoned. As they wait for their payment, the captain of the group, Rick (Anders Hove) decides to rip off the pod after being humiliated by co-pilot Fran (Angela Bassett) in a memorable shower scene. After opening the pod door, Charlie awakens and the eggs have hatched unleashing the Krites which kill Rick. With the two fur-balls on the loose it’s up to Charlie and the rest of the team to either stop them or escape the station alive without their reward.

critters_4_02

Like many reviews before “Critters 4” is truly a guilty pleasure movie. It’s another movie that would be played constantly on television and I thoroughly enjoy it. I get the criticisms of the movie for being cheap and having a boring plot. There’s a reasoning behind it which I’ll go into. The unbelievable cast of character actors keep this movie from being a complete waste.

If you’ve managed to check out the Shout Factory release of the entire Blu-Ray collection of the original four movies, they each come with their own little behind the scenes specials. In the documentary for 4 director and producer Rupert Harvey claimed that New Line Cinema gave them a combined budget for 3 and 4. Due to the team on 3 spending the most money out of that budget, there was very little left for 4 hence why they had to reuse scenes, lack of Critter monsters and other dollar store sets.

imagesZ5E4YBRE

Regardless of the budget, what made this movie was the acting done by the mixed of new and veteran cast. Don Opper and Terrance Mann reprise their roles from the previous films. I was enthralled by Mann’s performance this time around with Ug as he went from being a bounty hunter to a corporate bureaucrat. His promotion into that ranking corrupts his mind as he is only concerned with his mission rather than what happened to his friend. Guess the old saying goes, “Power can corrupt someone!” Brad Dourif once again steals the spotlight as engineer, Al Bert. He is witty and a smart ass but knows his way of computers as evident when he tricks the computer of the abandoned station to give him full security clearance. He essentially becomes the de facto leader as the movie progresses which suits him well as he is the most experienced actor. My other favorite performance in the movie was Anders Hove as the captain Rick. He is a pain in the ass leader when it comes to the crew members always scheming to get more than what he is offered. The other cast members include Angela Bassett in his film debut as co-pilot Fran, Eric DaRe best known for playing Leo Johnson in “Twin Peaks” as Bernie, who is obsessed with getting access to the station pharmacy and Paul Whitmore as the apprentice, Ethan who sees Al Bert as a friend and mentor and gets the brute of Rick’s temper tantrums. There was a rumor from fans that suggested that Al Bert and Ethan may have had a “more than just friends” relationship. There’s some evidence displayed in the movie, but it’s as big of a mystery as Bigfoot.

The Chiodo Brothers return for one final time providing the Critters and the puppetry work. The Critters look just like they’ve always been except they are somewhat bigger in size than what they were in the previous movie. They are still ruthless and won’t let anyone stand in their way of reaching earth. There’s very little special effects in the movie. You’ll see a laser that shows up in a couple scenes. There’s very little blood and gore, but I do enjoy the first kill scene. It’s one of the more creative kills in the franchise. The lighting and the setting are ok as the various corridors would be use for a defensive strategy during the climax of the movie.

Bernie

There’s plenty of flaws that this movie has including the repetitive computer that’s not up to date that gets on the nerves of the crew. I think it’s a failed attempt at adding comedy to a series that has comedic elements to it. Some of the sound design sounds distorted or frazzled like someone is playing on a broken synthesizer and the overall timeline of the story. I don’t think this movie needed to fast forward fifty years to get to where there at considering the advancement of technology and galactic lifeforms other than the Krites that appeared in the first movie.

I personally enjoy “Critters 4” more than “Critters 3”. It doesn’t stack up to the first two movies, but it’s good enough to satisfy your appetite for more Critters. While “Critters 4” is not the definitive conclusion to the franchise, it does close the chapter on the story line that was started from the first movie.
TRIVIA

– All external space scenes and many sets are lifted from one of Don Opper’s earlier films, Android (1992)

– Filmed simultaneously with Critters 3 (1992) from February 1991 until July 1991.

– Critters 4 is the only Critters movie where the Critters are unable to shoot poison darts at their victims.

 

AUDIO CLIPS

Too Much Coffee Again

You Got A Date Or Something?

Smells Like A Wet Sock

What’s That Chick’s Name?

Guess Angela Ain’t Going To College

Give It About A Month Before We All Glow In The Dark

Captain Asshole

Station Just Cut A Fart

I’ll Tell You What My Problem Is

I’m In Space Aren’t I?

Of Course I’m From Earth

Says You’re Expired

Man-eating Hairballs That You Do Not Believe In

That’s Not Normal

Stop Shooting The Gun In Here

You’re Not My Father

Where Are They?

Chill Out, Asshole

You Are The Stupidest Machine Ever