The Evil (1978 USA)

During the 70’s there were tons of haunted house flicks that were either TV films or for the big screen. Among this avalanche popped up The Evil– a brave, camp, even humourous attempt to make a haunted house film in the same style as 1963’s The Haunting. But in a very low budget lackluster way. It’s not too bad but there are a number of reasons why it barely works. The story is very simple…a number of people rent a large old house for a prolonged stay only to find, once they moved in, that something sinister lives there. But they find out too late and become locked in – many terrible things happen before the few remaining survivors confront the evil entity itself and try to defeat it. (There may be some epic spoilers there) [Read more…]

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Maleficarum (2011 Bolivia)

Here we slip into one man’s trash maybe another man’s pleasure territory. I’ll try (and fail) to be respectable for this one…The technical quality of the cinematography, and the authenticity of the sets and costumes gives this film a definite sense of “big budget theatrical release,” which is completely unexpected for a product in this genre. Particularly one made on a stated budget of only $105,000.The name of the film is an obvious reference to The Malleus Maleficarum, also known as the witches’ hammer – which is a guide on how to prosecute witches. It was written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic clergyman, and it describes the process of how to interrogate and extract a confession from a witch, its proposed methods include horrible and savage tortures in order to get a confession. [Read more…]

Wonder Woman (2017 USA)

Mainstream films get dumber, louder and tackier all the time, and they substitute mawkishness for real emotion and character development. Banned in Lebanon, but to really do it justice this pile of crap should be banned everywhere! WW is really the same as every other cartoonish, overblown comic-book action flick, except with a female protagonist. Actually, this is worse than the average comic book movie, because it preaches to the audience about pacifism but then hypocritically celebrates “heroic” violence. In other words: Wonder Woman is an alleged pacifist who enjoys killing lots of  people. But wait!, all is not lost, WW delivers on three things – lots of slow mo, dodgy special effects, and painful clichés. [Read more…]

The Wrong Quarry (Quarry #11 by Max Allan Collins)

What is it about “hit man” books that attracts some of us? I suspect it’s the lifestyle, the hunt, the tracking, etc. The Walter Mitty quality of it all. I think it would be great fun — except for the killing part. There I draw the line. Guess I’d be a lousy hit man. For those new to Quarry, he is a hitman with a difference – he is attractive, funny and mixes business with pleasure. (Btw, this tale is set in the early 1980s). You know he is invincible. It’s entertaining, smartly written, not at all challenging fare. Like a McDonalds Happy Meal for Adults. I just had to not read too fast, as I wanted to digest each part without missing anything essential. [Read more…]

The Gauntlet (1977 USA)

This motion picture gets a bad rap for it’s implausible story line and outrageous shoot outs, but if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing, it’s a hard one to top. For the sixth time Clint Eastwood does his civic duty as the film’s director and leading man, here sharing the screen with live-in companion Sondra Locke. (This was before a real life drama where he changed the locks on the house they shared when she was away–years after this) The pasty Locke always struck me as a good looking woman, but only if you caught her at just the right angle. [Read more…]

The Warriors (1979 USA)

a film posterThey look a bit like the Village People. Little did they know they would end up as an Xbox video game. Or that people in the future would view the savage brawl in the public toilet as not The Warriors against a rival gang of young thugs, but what appears to be some kids’ TV presenters (one of whom chooses to fight in roller-skates). You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a man dressed as a toddler hurled, upside down, through a wooden toilet door. But to give credit, this was a spot–on portrayal of New York in the 70s. The city was a mess, on the verge of bankruptcy. Many neighborhoods that are now full of $5 million apartments were war zones. One did not ride the subway at night and the gangs ruled most of the city’s turf.
[Read more…]

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974 Mexico/USA)

alfredogarcia4-1600x900-c-defaultIf you haven’t bought this in some format then you can never really call yourself a man. Or a woman. Or a loser. I mean, where was this artistically heading for director Sam Peckinpah? Maybe he was just trying to keep a head of his time. It’s as if Peckinpah had been on an IV drip of morphine for so long that he gave up trying to peer through the lens or follow events. He just told Warren Oates to wing it. And like all the great ones, the actor did it on the fly. [Read more…]

The Hills Have Eyes (1977 USA)

film 1The plot similarities to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are extensive. A station wagon full of city folk are driving through the desert to ultimately find themselves struggling for their very lives, at the mercy of a sinister and disturbed ‘family’ living completely apart from civilization. And if that is not enough similarities, they are also cannibals. [Read more…]

First Blood (David Morrell)

First-Blood_book-coverIf you read this novel expecting a replica of the well-known Sylvester Stallone action classic, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. The novel is far better than the film. Each chapter is short and sharp and to the point. David Morrell is one of the best writers I have read and he is definitely the very best I have read from the action genre. [Read more…]

Where Eagles Dare (1968 Britain)

500px-Where_eagles_dare4This is typical Alistair MacLean, with all the plot twists and set ups that are completely unbelievable, but if you are not expecting anything more it is one of the most enjoyable action flicks of that era. The Ron Goodwin score, very Shostakovitch in tone, is one of the most exhilarating while the sullen dark cinematography adds the atmosphere. [Read more…]

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