All The Movies I Watched in 2019

MOVIES 2019
January
The Laughing Policeman (1973)
The Worm Eaters (1977)
Guns And Guts (1974)
Of Unknown Origin (peter weller) (1983)
Paradox (SPL: Sha Po Lang) (2017)
Mandy (nicolas cage) (2018)
Dark Song (2016)
The Meg (2018)
Tintorera: Killer Shark (1977)
Carlos the Terrorist (1979)
Hilda (2018)
Curious Creations of Christine McFadden (2018)
Treasure of the Amazon (donale pleasence) (1985)
Rawhead Rex (1986)
Island of Lost Souls (1974)

FEBURARY
Forty Guns (fuller) (1957)
Deadly Bees (1966)
Ants! aka It Happend at Lakewood Manor (1977)
Tarantulas: Deadly Cargo (1977)
Savage Bees (1976)
Savage Weekend (1979)
Terror Out of the Sky (1978)
Sweet Sixteen (1983)
Carnival of Blood (1970)
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)
Curse of the Headless Horseman (1972)
Beyond the Darkness AKA Buio Omega (1979)
The Mole People (1956)
The Wife (2017)
The Pyx AKA Hooker Cult Murders (1973)
Bird Boy: the Forgotten Children (2015)
Finders Keepers (2014)

MARCH
Mad Dog (melissa mel) (1977)
Red Sun (bronson, mifune) (1971)
Hills Run Red (2009)
Perfect Blue (1997)
Trouble Man (1972)
Society (1982)
Overlord (2018)
What Keeps You Alive (2018)

APRIL
Shoot First…Die Later (1974)
Wake in Fright (pleasance) (1971)
Hell Fest (2018)
Love Sex and Robots (2019)
Bloody Spear of Mount Fuji (1955)
Vampire Clay (2017)
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
The Killer Nun (1979)
Sinful Dwarf (1973)
Sisters Brothers (2018)
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Girly (1970)
Ice Station Zebra (1969)

MAY
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
The Gardner aka Seeds of Death (1974)
Cannibals (1980)
Grapes of Death AKA Les Raisins de la Morte (jean rollin) (1978)
The Big Knife (palance)
Bring Me The Head of Alfred Garcia (1974)
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
2000 Maniacs (1964)
The Visitor (1979)
Apache (1954)
Cross of Iron (peckinpah)
Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019)

JUNE
Vera Cruz (1954)
Ash Versus Evil Dead Season 3 (2018)
Ulzana’s Raid (1972)
Bacchanales Sexuelles (1974)
Dead Don’t Die (2019)
Payday (1973)
The Escapees (1981)
Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Hidden Fortress
Requiem for a Vampire (rollin) (1973)

JULY
Killing Car (rollin) (1989)
Midsommer (2019)
Slaughterhouse Rock (1988)
The Hole in the Ground (2019)
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
La Belle Captive (1983)
Hellboy (2019)
Crater Lakes Monster (1977)
Alita Battle Angel (2019)

AUGUST
Book of Blood (2009)
Bad Boy Bubby (1993)
The Being(martin landau) (1983)
P2 (2007)
Mindhunter Season 2 (2019)
Shatter (hammer) (1974)

SEPTEMBER
Yellow Teddy Bears AKA Gutter Girls (1964)
Miss Zombie (2013)
Prime Cut (lee marvin) (1972)
Pat Garett & Billy the Kid (peckingpah) (1973)
Mighty Peking Man (1977)
Missing Link (2019)
Pusher (1996)
Black Torment (1964)
Rick and Morty Season 1
Return of Sabata (van cleef) (1971)
Rick and Morty Season 2

OCTOBER
Navajo Joe (1966)
Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
Alien (1979)
Blind Man (ringo starr western) (1971)
The Beast aka Rough Justice (kinski) (1970)
Rick and Morty Season 3
Between Two Ferns The Movie (2019)
One Dollar Too Many (saxon) (1968)
Brightburn (2019)
November
Night of the Demon (1957)
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)
MA (2019)
Into the Dark: The Pilgrim (2019)
Into the Dark: Pooka (2018)
Last Circus AKA Balada Triste de Trompeta (2010)
Hamburger Hill (1987)
We Go On (2016)
JoJo Rabbit (2019)
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
The Dead (2017)
Into the Dark: Pure (2018)
The Lighthouse (2019)
Chernobyl (2019)
Deathwatch (2002)

December
Ready or Not (2019)
Blood Money aka el Karate, el Colt y el Imposter (van cleef) (1974)
Neon Genesis Evangelion Series (1995)
Thirsty Dead (1974)
Attack (alrich/palance/marvin) (1956)
Shack On the 101 (marvin) (1955)
Seven Men From Now (marvin) (1956)
Dog Day (marvin) (1984)
Good Boys (2019)
Killer Barbys (franco) (1996)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2019)
Sadist of Notre Dame (franco) (1979)
Point Blank (marvin) (1967)
Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Dracula’s Fiancee (rollin) (2002)

Ulzana’s Raid (1972)

tail dogThe third movie Robert Aldrich and Burt Lancaster made together, ULZANA’S RAID is not an commentary on colonization, nor aborigine versus super power (Viet Nam), rather it is a horror story.

The plot is simple an Apache war party sets out on a rampage across the white settlers’ homesteads. The brutality and inhumanity of the Apache is on full blustery display. The torture, rape, and mutilation of the white farmers baffles and disgusts the young Calvary Lieutenant sent out to kill the war party. As the son of a minister, this young Lieutenant harbored naive hopes for the goodness in all God’s creatures, but his faith is destroyed as bears witness to the cruelty and suffering.

This naive solider stands in for the rage of the white american in 1972 – brutalized by minority populations demanding better treatment. By focusing on the demands of the downtrodden and criminally marginalized as an attack, the white reaction becomes boogeyman fears – the golem coming to punish and reclaim the lands and wealth that was stolen in the first place.

Further proven by the fact that the white man’s genocide is completely missing from this narrative, ULZANA’S RAID focuses on the terror of a marauding Indian party’s mayhem and murderous antics. The Apache are shown as ruthless, silent, remorseless killers. Their only expressions are grim frowns, determined pointing, and some jubilant whooping. All meant to heighten and intensify the inborn terror of the traditional Western story- the fear of the Indian war party as visceral terror. A terror that would cause a solider to shoot a white woman and kill himself rather than allow either to fall captured to the Apache.

This is a depressing movie of endless fear and depressing violence of the vigilante. Where one’s violent end is the only end one seeks.

Vera Cruz (1954)

gatlinRobert Aldrich’s VERA CRUZ  is essential a heist caper set in Mexico during the rule of Emperor Maximillian I.  Starring Gary Cooper as a defeated Confederate Colonel and Burt Lancaster as a degenerate gunslinger, the movie rehabs the defeated racist’s noble cause.

The two lousy Americans are hired by the Royal Court to act as mercenary protection for a Countess’ convoy to the port city of Veracruz. But along the way they discover that the Countess’ coach is loaded with gold being smuggled out of the country. Plots are hatched. Double crosses are interwoven as the gold and the plots are known to all greedy scammers.

The movie ends in a prolonged ambush/shootout that was copied by Peckinpah for THE WILD BUNCH  – namely the Gatling gun turned on the entire Mexican army. In addition, the final standoff between Cooper and Lancaster is slightly silly.

The biggest problem with the movie is the Cooper character. He is down in Mexico because he lost everything in the Civil War. He is hoping to make his fortune back to rebuild his plantation – slaves excluded, but one never knows. But he has a soft spot for the Mexican rebels. The audience is asked to forget the racist cause of the Civil War and accept that all rebellions are morally equal. Of course, that is hogwash. And the fact the Cooper leaves the gold with “the people” has more to do with hot ladies than it does with lost causes.

Anyway…

Cross of Iron (1977)

cross_of_iron_04Sam Peckinpah’s CROSS OF IRON takes place as Second Army is retreating out of Russia – demoralized and beaten. It is this backdrop of deadly defeat and despair that Peckinpah delights in unrelenting nihilism.

Be warned this movie is full of Nazis. Real fightin’ Nazis. This is James Coburn at his most coke sniffing, bench pressing, chiseled jaw, squinty eye malcontent. The fact that he plays one of the most successful Nazis on the Eastern Front is beside the point, right, he stands for the absurdity of war, the inhumanity of social climbing, and the denigration of German heroics.

Coburn plays awesome solider, Steiner, who is given a new commander, Maximilian Schell who plays, Hauptmann. The new commander is of high social standing, meticulously clean uniform, and a sneering disdain for the common solider. Hauptmann is an over-the-top villain, all but twisting his mustachio in delight as Steiner is put in harm’s way. All this hatred and double dealing is because Steiner refuses to say Hauptmann was valiant and brave when he was really cowardly and sniveling.

Hauptmann, you see, feels he needs the IRON CROSS to prove his worth and validate his family’s social standing by proving his heroics in war.  While Steiner, completely disillusioned by Germany, bureaucratic morass, and the futility of war, sees the CROSS OF IRON for what it really is – a hypocritical acknowledgement by corrupt generals for acts of dumb luck and chance survival.

As war pictures go, this one is solid. It has some detailed action, a bit of suspense, and a faceless enemy. With the sole exception of the kid solider that Hauptmann refuses to shoot and might just be an angel…or something.

As far as Peckinpah movies go, this one fits the formula – men fighting the odds and rising above their situation to take on all comers to face down certain death. You know the masculinity of the lost cause. Flex.

Apache (1954)

broncoapachebr2Robert Aldrich’s APACHE is a testament to the not so old timey racism of Hollywood movies. The fact that stars are white actors are in “red face” isn’t even the most egregious aspect of the movie. The dialogue is incredibly racist and sexist, too. In addition, the movie has a studio forced ending that sees the hero submitting to the white man’s heel.

Burt Lancaster plays the “last Apache warrior” Massai – who is loosely based on a real person by the same name, who did some of the same things, but was probably murdered in cold blood with his family by US Troops while travelling back to a Reservation.

Jean Peters plays Nalinle, Massai’s woman. She suffers greatly at the hands of the movie. She is brutally tortured by Lancaster, made to crawl across mountain rocks, and finally wins him over through her diligence and sacrifice. In fact, she taunts Massai into storming out to his death and thus becoming legend. Of course, he does not – instead he drops his rifle, hangs his head, and returns to his family hut.

So. There is an interesting tension in the first half of the movie. After Massai escapes the prison trains, he encounters a fellow Native American who has adapted to the life under white domination on the reservation. He hands Massai the keys to the kingdom – CORN.

Massai returns to his people and is immediately betrayed. Nalinle’s drunkard father alerts Charles Bronson to Massai’s presence, thus smashing the dreams of a peaceful agricultural future. This is a pregnant metaphor – as social control alcohol is more effective than farming because it reduces the Native American to a subservient tattletale.

Overall, this relic is not as offensive as others, but is still highly problematic to the point where I was genuinely uncomfortable watching it.

The Visitor (1979)

visitorthe_03Michael J. Paradise’s dueling space alien, evil child magic mushroom day tripping movie THE VISITOR is amazing. Seriously. Its a movie unlike anything I’ve ever seen. But it is a shambles, a tragic mess overstuffed with lumbering performances, hokey dialogue, and cheapo special effects.

Before talking about anything else, this cast needs to be named, the shame includes: Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, directors John Huston and Sam Peckinpah, Lance Henriksen, Mel Ferrer, and Franco Nero.  Powerhouse cast fueled by cocaine and bad decisions.

prod-db-brouwersgracht-investments-fvi-swan-american-film-dr-the-visitor-stridulum-de-giulio-paradisi-as-michael-j-paradise-1979-usaita-avec-glenn-ford-science-fiction-PP3RCHFirst and foremost, let us address Glenn Ford’s herpes sore or dog bite or whatever. It is poorly covered up with makeup, but is a distracting reminder of the frailty of the human condition in the late 1970s America. Even our most iconic heroes were conscripted into movies where children call you a pervert and filming can’t be delayed until your sexual virus clears up. But, really, disco.

Secondly, let us now address, John Huston. His entire presence in the movie consists of him walking up and down stairs and standing on roof tops with his arms spread-wide. He plays a godlike alien who returns to earth to stop the offspring of his arch enemy, a space warlord known as Saateen. Get it? Anyway, Huston manages to save NO one but does kidnap the little girl to take her back to the romper room run by Franco Nero’s Space Jesus.

If that makes sense to you, then you will enjoy watching Shelley Winters stalk around the edges of the kitchen slapping little girls. You will marvel at Lance Henriksen’s attempts to marry Joanne Nail, a single mother who was married to the muttering, strung out abortionist Sam Peckinpah. There are birds of prey and a little girl who can toss bullies through windows at the skating rink. Also, there is a fifteen minute, real time basketball game that opens the movie.

Sound fun? I know, right.

2000 Maniacs (1964)

2000Maniacs4Herschell Gordon Lewis’ 2000 Maniacs has taken on a new odiousness since 2016. That’s right. TRUMP and the re-mainstreaming of white racism and Confederate Pride.

Is that a fair reading? Well, the horror of this movie, beyond the torture and gore, is the supposed fear Northerner’s have of the South rising again.

The idea of Southern revenge for the crimes of the Northern Aggression is a well worn trope in the Lost Cause narrative.  An idea drummed home by the scariest, most horrific scenes in this movie – the folk singing trio, Pleasant Valley Boys’ awful singing. SHUDDER.

Again, the trope hicks torturing and killing uppity, sinful, and waaay too sexy northerners has become a cliche’ at this point. So much so that the over the top yelling performances of the town folk, the mayor, and the bumbling greasy baseball cap nincompoops is more annoying than humorous. Its frightening in its tone deaf offensiveness.

Ghosts of the Confederate Dead are very hard to sympathize with, but that is kinda the point. The movie casts them as a town of loonies intent on gruesome revenge. And just like Gordon Lewis’ other splatterfests, the plot gets in the way of the gore. In fact, these movies are structured just like old time porno theater porns – there is a plot but all of it is over the top filler for the special effects gore scenes. Those scenes are less effective than say BLOOD FEAST, in part because the movie had a bigger budget for the non-gore scenes.

It seems odd that such a racist loving gore porn would serve as the titular inspiration for the soft rock indie band, 10,000 Maniacs.

Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

bringmethehead3Sam Peckinpah’s BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is not his best movie, but it is a good Peckinpah movie. And by good Peckinpah movie I mean you can feel the dirt heat, smell the alcohol sweats, and gag on the stale cigarette smoke.

Peckinpah used Oates as raw muscle. Warren Oates lives in the filth of his character, greasy and stained and surging toward painful insanity. He mutters his lines between sun-baked swirls of whiskey and grabs at Isela Vega with a calloused panic. The desperation of his plight underscoring the helplessness of the scuzzy loser on his last caper. So basic Oates role for the period.

The plot of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is pretty much summed up in the title. In the quest to achieve the titular goal, there is grave robbing, nasty bikers, fist fights, and a whole wild bunch of violence. So basic Peckinpah flick.

Having said that, this movie has its definite merits. Oates is fantastic as he chews his teeth after being resurrected from the dirt nap. His madness is profound and the scenes driving alone across the Mexican desert with a decapitated head are palpably uncomfortable. Not to mention the flies and the nosy children. All amazing.

Peckinpah and Oates in the 1970s were increasingly more famous for being Sam Peckinpah and Warren Oates, than they were for the work they were producing. Wild bad boys of the cinema – hard drinking, drug taking, assholes. The storied history of these films allows them to endure to a wider audience than the movies probably deserve.

 

Big Knife (1955)

martinisRobert Aldrich’s BIG KNIFE is a heavy handed noir look at Hollywood studio system. Its an insider’s look at corruption, lust, and cover-ups. The men and women swoon around box office bruiser, Charlie Castle, played by Jack Palance. And Castle is up to his neck in it.

The plot is a slow peeling onion of lies and intrigue – which all begins with Charlie Castle wants out of his exclusive contract with corrupt and shady, Stanley Shriner Hoff (played by Rod Steiger). While Castle continuously drinks himself into a stupor, his estranged wife, his agent, the film studio’s goon, a parade of loose women, and finally, Shelley Winters thunder across the stage. Each brings with them new, damning revelations about the misdeeds of Castle. The same sins that lock him in with the sleazy, bottom dealing Hoff.

Jack Palance may be the star of this picture, it is Rod Steiger that eats the scenery out from under him. Steiger rages, twirls, and swoons as he ham-fistedly beats his cash cow leading man into submission. It is this tension between boss and employee, patron and artist, that underpin the danger and tragedy of the plot.

And the women. The long suffering, underused, and exploited women who are chased after and thrown aside at the mere whim of powerful men. Shelley Winters steals her scenes, burning with a carelessness and drunk intensity that will end up being her hallmarks.

A bit over-long, especially, in the third act, THE BIG KNIFE manages to illustrate the downfall of man very well.

Grapes of Death AKA Les Raisins de la Morte (1978)

Grapes-of-Death-3Jean Rollin does zombies, sorta, in GRAPES OF DEATH. The zombies are not technically zombies, they are the pesticide infected. Which makes this more like Romero’s THE CRAZIES than it does NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

GRAPES OF DEATH is a wild, careening ride into madness among the ruined world of a French village. Our hero is Marie-Georges Pascal, who is trying to reunite with her fiancee and vineyard owner. She is the wide eyed witness to the rolling chaos wrought by the insensitive, callous owners who did not take proper precautions with their staff before spaying the vineyard down with a new, deadly pesticide.

While Pascal never blinks her gorgeous eyes, Mirella Rancelot is completely blind. As the two stumble across the rocky terrain, Pascal silently witnesses the death and terror as Rancelot, arms in front of her, cries out for her caretaker and pleads for information.

The infected are still conscious, though, clearly insane. While they hunger not for brains or human flesh, they crowd around the uninfected subjecting them to unspeakable horrors and nasty torture.  Especially, nasty is the end of Rancelot who is nailed to the door of her house, before losing her head.

Brigitte Lahaie steals the show in so many gorgeous ways. First as a creepy squatter with a nonsensical story, then as the queen of the infected, only to finally reveal herself to the two hunters who are taking care of business, shotgun style. The fiery crash that ruins Lahaie’s face is one of the high points of the end of this weirdly entertaining movie.

One of Rollin’s more coherent and successful genre pictures, I’d say.