Rupert Pupkin Speaks ""

Monday, January 15, 2018

Just The Discs - Favorite Blu-ray Discoveries of 2017 with Patrick Bromley

Kicking off what will hopefully be an annual tradition, this episode finds me running down a list of five of my favorite "Film Discoveries" from 2017 that I came to on Blu-ray. I am joined by guest Patrick Bromley (of the F This Movie! website and podcast as well as the Daily Dead podcast  Corpse Club) to see what he came across for the first time on disc throughout last year. Enjoy!

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Listen to the Episode to hear our lists and then check them out below!



Brian's Favorite Blu-ray Discoveries of 2017:
5. THE VIOLENT YEARS (AGFA)
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And Also:
THE GORGON (Indicator)

4. THE SCAR (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
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3. OUR MAN IN HAVANA (Twilight Time)
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2. CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (Twilight Time)
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1. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF (Twilight Time)
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Patrick's Favorite Blu-ray Discoveries of 2017:
5. FROM NOON TILL THREE (Twilight Time)
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4. SWEET SUGAR (Vinegar Syndrome)
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3. PRIME CUT (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
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2. TEXAS DETOUR (Code Red)
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1. THE DEVILS HONEY (Severin)
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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - John Knight

John Knight does not host a blog,but he is a regular contributor to The Hannibal-8, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings and Riding The High Country.
As far as my attitude to cinema goes I would best describe myself as a dedicated
B Movie Junkie!

THE STORY OF MOLLY X
(Crane Wilbur; 1949)
I am a huge admirer of writer/director Crane Wilbur's better known prison films CANON CITY and BEHIND THE WALLS OF FOLSOM PRISON the latter made such an impression on a young Johnny Cash that it inspired his classic "Folsom Prison Blues" I'm glad I checked out THE STORY OF MOLLY X it's pretty much on-target with it's social conscience and Feminist vibe.

Molly (June Havoc,sensational),is one tough cookie.This is demonstrated in the opening scene when a hapless sailor tries to chat her up in a bar. Molly,to be fair,never had the best start in life;losing her beloved father as a child;as a teenager fending off the unwanted attention of an abusive stepfather;which Molly describes as a constant cat and mouse situation.

It's 1945, Molly now an adult is a career criminal-she leads a gang of three male bank robbers. After a bank heist goes horribly wrong, Molly is sent to a "progressive" prison in scenic Tehachapi, California. No stern wardens or drab grey uniforms here,the women are encouraged to design and make their own from a choice of attractive fabrics-all part of the rehabilitation process. There is also a prison cat and dog,the latter bonds with Molly as soon as she enters the prison gates, so we know she's a softie at heart despite her constant efforts to buck the system.

There are however,more sombre tones to the film;the prison also acts as a holding facility to women who's cases are under review.Occasionally,these unfortunate women are transported at dawn to San Quentin to await the gas chamber;these scenes are both poignant and chilling.

Molly also has to contend with her nemesis,nasty femme fatale Dorothy Hart. There is a doozy of a punch up between the two,no hair pulling antics here,the pair deliver a series of blistering left and right hooks that would shame many a male action star. As if all this is not enough,tenacious cop Charles McGraw is convinced he can nail Molly with an old murder rap.
THE STORY OF MOLLY X is a fascinating social document and a darn good thriller as well.

OUTSIDE THE WALL
(Crane Wilbur; 1950)
Incarcerated as a juvenile Richard Basehart ends up serving 15 years in the slammer after killing a guard,albeit by accident.Now 30 Basehart is released into a strange,somewhat alien world what's more he has a lot of life to catch up with having never had a relationship or tasted liquor. His first taste of liquor he finds unpleasant and as fate would have it three women enter his life. This trio include gold-digger Marilyn Maxwell,femme fatale Signe Hasso and "good girl" Dorothy Hart.There is also the matter of a million bucks worth of stashed ill gotten loot and a trio of gangsters lead by a very creepy Harry Morgan. Harry's idea of fun is to insert a scalpel under victims fingernails; nasty,very nasty.

The best part of the film are the early stages where Basehart tries to adjust to the outside world; these scenes are presented as a series of vignettes strikingly shot by Irving Glassberg. Crane Wilbur's film is somewhat contrived but is also involving and engaging. Many thanks to UK Noir expert Nick Beal for sourcing these two very hard to find Crane Wilbur films.

THE TATTERED DRESS
(Jack Arnold; 1957)
Philip Reed plays a local big shot married to a tramp Elaine Stewart. Facing a murder rap for gunning down his wife's lover Reed hires hot shot New York lawyer Jeff Chandler,despite the fact there is little love lost between the pair. Chandler, in turn is framed by corrupt sheriff Jack Carson,for bribing a juror,Gail Russell. Chandler, perhaps unwisely,decides to defend himself.
Jeanne Crain is Chandler's dutiful ex wife. An involving legal thriller with great photography by Carl Guthrie.

Director Jack Arnold (and indeed,producer Albert Zugsmith) were on a roll in 1957 with the classic INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN and the modern day Western MAN IN THE SHADOW also starring Chandler.

CRIME OF PASSION
(Gerd Oswald; 1957)
Barbara Stanwyck plays an over ambitious,frankly neurotic wife married to police detective Sterling Hayden. Stanwyck will go to any length including murder to further Hayden's career. This leads to tragic and indeed, ironic results. Apart from the Stanwyck Hayden duo the film has two other interesting pairings;Virginia Grey and Royal Dano and Fay Wray and Raymond Burr. I was surprised to see schlockmeister Herman Cohen's name listed as producer of this high quality beautifully shot and directed Noir.

We normally associate Cohen with cult classics like I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF and HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM. Mr Cohen obviously appreciated underrated Virginia Grey as he hired her in his earlier TARGET EARTH and the much later BLACK ZOO.

CRIME OF PASSION was recently restored in high definition by Classicflix
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UNDERTOW
(William Castle; 1949)
The "frame up" has always been a staple ingredient of Film Noir. UNDERTOW is a good example of this. Scott Brady is framed for the murder of a big time racketeer. To complicate matters Brady's supposed girl friend Dorothy Hart is the racketeer's niece. I use the term supposed because Dorothy is duplicitous, to say the least. Wounded and on the run Brady has the cops and the mob on his case. He is given refuge by ever so sweet schoolteacher Peggy Dow who he had met briefly in a Reno casino. UNDERTOW packs a lot into it's brief 70 minutes,the film is so fast moving it seems longer. UNDERTOW's bar is raised by outstanding location photography from Irving Glassberg.

UNDERTOW is one of several good Noirs William Castle made for Universal. After leaving Universal Castle made 17 films for legendary producer Sam Katzman. The Castle Katzman films (including three 3D specials) ran the whole genre gamut; but Sam being Sam,their ambitions were compromised by their budgets. One of the best of these,a very decent little Western, THE LAW VS BILLY THE KID also starred Brady.
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Daniel Budnik

Dan Budnik's second book, '80s Action Movies On The Cheap, is available now and can be ordered from Amazon. His first book, Bleeding Skull!: A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey, is out of print but can still be found by those who look hard enough. His writing is on the Some Polish American Guy Reviews Things blog and the Bleeding Skull! website. He is host of the Eventually Supertrain and the Dan's Drive-In Double Feature podcasts, located at eventuallysupertrain.blogspot.com. He is also co-host of The Made For TV Mayhem Show and part of the Podcastmania horror discussion.


Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962)
I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this. I’ll just say three things: Doris Wishman, Blaze Starr, Nudist Colony. ‘Nuff said.
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A Dragonfly For Each Corpse (1975)
Paul Naschy Goes Giallo! And he does a pretty darn good job of it. He plays the tough Milanese cop who is after someone killing “undesirables” and leaving a dragonfly ornament-thing on their bodies. He’s gruff and harsh… but he’s married to Erika Blanc and they have a sweet relationship, which I really liked. (Plus, Erika Blanc. Holy Moley.) You know how you’ll sometime see in reviews the writer remarking “It’s a rip-off of [whatever] but it feels like the filmmakers didn’t actually see that film so things feel weird.” (I’ve said it myself.) This one is the opposite. It feels like Naschy saw a bunch of giallo and did exactly what they were doing, which means everything is VERY giallo throughout. It’s Spanish but set in Milan because giallo films came from Italy. The motive for the killings is exactly what you think it’s going to be. Each of the suspects is exactly the sort of suspect you’d except in a giallo. The music is stock music… most of it from other giallo films. My favorite example: the title. Most of these films had cool and semi-lyrical (sometimes nonsensical and obscure) titles. This one seems like it’s a poetic flourish of some variety until you actually say it aloud. It’s not a weird turn of phrase or something exotic. It’s a blunt statement describing what the killer does after he kills, which only seems to be slightly weird and obscure. That’s Our Naschy!
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Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975)
I’m a big fan of giallo. I’m a big fan of poliziotteschi. This one mixes the two together (like Shadows In an Empty Room) and is a super good time. An unorthodox cop is trying to find out who killed a young woman. The whole film is slightly off-kilter and features odd scenes popping up almost randomly, including my favorite use of a movie theater ceiling ever. I don’t want to ruin anything for you. I knew nothing going in, just that it was an Umberto Lenzi film and it was supposed to be nutty. Both things are definitely true. The Arrow Blu-Ray looks amazing. Pick it up!
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The Intruder (1975)
Super fun proto-slasher that Garagehouse Pictures plucked out of the air and put on Blu-Ray this year. A bunch of people go to an island and they start to get killed one by one, including Yvonne DeCarlo, Mickey Rooney and Ted Cassidy. If you (like me) love this sort of movie, that’s all you need. You know you need to see it. If you don’t like this sort of movie, you’ve just broken my heart. I think this would make a great double feature with Have A Nice Weekend. I take that back. I KNOW it would make a great double feature with Have A Nice Weekend.
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Death Machines (1976)
Madame Lu and her giant hair has three programmed killer hit men at her disposal. And they kill a lot of people. When the bazooka shows up, you know this film is going to be fantastic. I’d seen the poster art for this for years but had always thought it was an Al Adamson film. And, as Al’s films generally make me sleepy, I avoided it. But, it’s a Kyriazi! He made Weapons of Death, which I quite liked. And Ninja Busters, which I’m less thrilled with. So, I picked up the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Ray and finally saw it. It is Screwball! I loved it. It’s constantly finding new ways to be crazy and I can appreciate that. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Recommended for everyone including Your Mama.
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Magic Lizard (1985)
This Thai film is one that I have no proper cultural context for. It’s (according to Wikipedia) about a giant lizard that guards a crystal that aliens are after. But, to me, it looks like a guy in a goofy lizard suit fighting characters from Ultraman, getting attacked by giant crocodiles and kicking lots of guys in the ass. I love it! For all I know, every third film made in Thailand is like this. It’s pure crazy to me. I never understood what was going on but… to hell with that. At first, I thought it was a kid’s movie. But, by the end, I wasn’t so sure. And then, I realized I didn’t care. Fun Fact: Magic Lizard was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards that year. It lost to the Argentinian film The Official Story. Actually, don’t quote me on that. No, wait… DO quote me on that. See what it gets you.

Ladykillers (1988)
At the hottest male strip club in Los Angeles, someone has killed a big, hunky stripper. And everybody’s worried! And everybody’s a suspect! And everyone has huge hair! Lt. Marilu Henner and Officer Her Boyfriend investigate! This TV movie is so 1989 and so gloriously ludicrous that I think someone was having a laugh but not everyone got let in on the joke, which makes for great times. I watched it for the Made For TV Mayhem podcast and had a blast. You Will Believe A Man Can Strip!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Stephanie Crawford

Stephanie is a Co-host on Screamcast, minion at Splathouse, and writes and does podcasts for places like F This Movie!Check out her favorite Blu-ray Releases of 2017 here:
http://www.fthismovie.net/2018/01/stephanies-10-favorite-blu-rays-of-2017.html

One of my few saving graces of 2017 was the films I watched, so I’m just going to blindly dive into them again and wrap myself up in their comforting glow.

QUICK CHANGE (1990)
Many of us have bright memories of the great VHS covers of our youth, but what about the really stupid ones that kept us from ever renting that specific movie? “Quick Change” fell in that camp for me, but I was lucky enough to look at the wonderful cast through adult eyes and rent it from the last remaining movie rental place in Las Vegas. The chemistry between Bill Murray, Geena Davis and Randy Quaid is almost startling in how warming and adorable it is, it’s genuinely very funny, and it’s one of the more upbeat “everything humanly possible is going wrong for us during this very long day” movies.
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THE ATOMIC CITY (1952)
I grew up in both New Mexico and Nevada and am the daughter of a physicist, so even though it was well before my time, the ghost of the mushroom cloud seemed to hover over my formative years. (Baby boomer filmmakers making great movies like MATINEE sure helped with this, too.) All that primed me for “The Atomic City,” which, while slight, is a tight, fun little picture that threw a little kid in the middle of some espionage in the middle of the desert. It’s almost like a school play version of “Pickup On South Street” mixed with an adventure serial, and I can see myself revisiting this one every summer.
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THE RATINGS GAME (1984)
Originally released as a TV movie, "The Ratings Game" hits on everything I love about 80s’ comedies. Hijinks, high-concept plot devices, boats, kidnappings and questionable outfits are all brought down to earth by Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman and their obviously perfect rapport. I think this would make a wonderful double bill with “Ruthless People”, and both of them should be watched on Saturday morning after a couple of cartoons.
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ROAD HOUSE (1948)
This one knocked me flat on my ass. As much as I love noir, I’ve come to accept that there’s a segment of them that may simply strike me as “ok.” I went in with low expectations, and Road House soundly beat me around the ears to really make a point of how stupid I was. Richard Widmark is always wonderful, but here he’s so menacing that I kept seeing him as The Joker who got away. Ida Lupino and Cornel Wilde’s eyes never stop darting along with the impeccable pacing, and if you ever thought a brawl in a bowling alley wouldn’t be a thrill-a-minute, well, pal, you’re as foolish as I was going in. As dark and as tense as this got, I have to file this under one of the most fun noirs I’ve ever far.
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SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968)
As a huge fan of “anthology” films, it’s a bit ridiculous that it took me this long to one centered around Edgar Allan Poe and featuring segments directed by Federico Fellini, Roger Vadim and Louis Malle. I loved how Fellini’s take captured the feverish, frantic and nearly-nonsensical fever pitch that Poe was the master of building to, and Terence Stamp’s Toby Dammit puts a lot of Klaus Kinski roles to shame. Vadim’s opening "Metzengerstein" segment is a sexy and unsettling slow burn, and he makes sure Jane Fonda and her outfits are as deliriously gorgeous and fetishistic to look at as they previously did in “Barbarella.” Malle’s "William Wilson" dragged the belly for me a bit, but it’s effectively mean-spirited, and Alain Delon’s perfect face is just right for both the cruelty and mysterious justice he doles out. It certainly stands out from the more traditional AIP Poe movies, and it's one of my favorite surprises of the year.
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THE CHANGELING (1980)
Like “The Exorcist,” this one has a reputation that precedes it until you see it, realize that it wasn’t hype, and you quietly gather it to your heart to become a new favorite. Somewhat a haunted house film, somewhat a ghost story, somewhat a tortured family story and definitely a psychological horror, The Changeling somehow manages to juggle a lot of subgenres and tropes to create its own unique masterpiece. There are countless films you can pair this with and use to figure out if you should recommend it to someone, but absolutely nothing left me feeling the way I felt after watching this—not even the original "The Haunting."
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THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980)
Speaking of films that would pair perfectly with “The Changeling,” this one was even released in the same year and also features Catholic medal! Based on a William Peter Blatty (Rest In Peace) book that isn’t “The Exorcist,” the uniquely gorgeous locations alone made me obsessively think of this film for at least a week afterward. As muscular as any film would be starring both Stacy Keach and Tom Atkins, this is a rare case of a movie throwing nearly everything at the wall and having all of it stick. Brains, brawn and heart all muscle their way into this relentlessly original film, and they somehow manage to have plenty of space for each other. For those who haven't seen this, I recommend taking a quick glance at the cast list and leaving as much of the plot a mystery as possible going in.
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