Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 (Part 2) ""

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 (Part 2)

So as I mentioned in part 1 of my list, 2012 was a banner year for me as far as film discoveries went. Had to split the list up as to provide a few more recommdations(and also cause I was having trouble cutting down the group of titles I wanted to include). Anyway, there will be one more segment to this epic-osity in the form of my Honorable mentions list, coming at the end of this month. Hope it's all not too overwhelming! 

BLOOD RAGE(1987; John Grissmer)
Quite an entertainly silly slasher. Bonkers would be a better descriptor. Have a look back at Zack Carlson's Film Discoveries of 2010 list for a nice encapsulation:

Found this in the 'Cult' category over at Warner Archive and made a blind buy of it. It's kind of a MALTESE FALCON-y/KENNEL MURDER CASE-y kind of thing. Has a neat ending reveal that I liked.


CRIME WAVE(1985; John Paizs)
Difficult to describe. Not like too many films I've ever seen.

DEATH IN SMALL DOSES(1957; Joseph M. Newman)
A hoot of a "trucker noir" that's kinda like REEFER MADNESS meets WHITE LINE FEVER, but with 'bennies' instead of weed.
Newly released from Warner Archive!

DEATH VALLEY(1982; Dick Richards)
Affable little thriller/slasher. Good cast bumps it up a bit. Feels a touch like 'THE HITCHER Jr' (even though it preceded that film). Peter Billingsley's 1st feature I believe. Available on VHS only for years, it was neat to see it get a Blu-ray release via Scream Factory this year.

DUDES(1987; Penelope Spheeris)
Another one of those movies I swore for years that I'd seen when in actuality I'd only watched the beginning on a few occasions. A lesser seen cool & quirky film from Penelope Spheeris. Deserving of it's cult status.

THE DUNGEONMASTER aka RAGEWAR(1984; Dave Allen, Charles Band...) 
Starts off ELECTRIC DREAMS-y and then spins off into seven crazy little movies in one. Wonderfully WTF.
Available on Netflix Instant: Here
My 3rd favorite Warren William film of the year(after CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE). He is absolutely dynamite in this. And Loretta Young is gorgeous.

ENEMY TERRITORY(1987; Peter Manoogian)
Well-crafted little low-budget, claustrophobic thriller. In the JUDGMENT NIGHT/TRESPASS vein, but precedes both. Also has a kinship with SELF DEFENSE(1983).


FANTASTIC PLANET(1973; Rene Laloux)
Mesmerizing. The 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY of animated films.

FASHIONS OF 1934(1934; William Dieterle)
William Powell doing what William Powell does. And Dieterle is a director I recommend looking into if you haven't(JEWEL ROBBERY is a great place to start as well). 
 Available from Warner Archive: HERE

If I recall, I heard somewhere that Joe Dante was a fan of this one. It's quite well done and very prescient in an election year and in our current political climate.
 Available from Warner Archive: HERE

THE GEISHA BOY(1959; Frank Tashlin)
Tashlin and Jerry Lewis go well together. This movie is adorable. Given a lovely Blu-ray release from Olive Films.

THE HALLOWEEN TREE(1993; Mario Piluso)
Kudos to Warner Archive for putting this out. Should be an annual Halloween classic. Based on Bradbury and narrated by him.  And with Nimoy to boot! One of my little girl's favorites for sure. 
 Available from Warner Archive: HERE

HOOTENANNY HOOT(1963; Gene Nelson)
Lives up to it's title. Sort of a silly film, but I have to say that the musical numbers were oddly kind of infectious for me. Got caught up in the movie for sure. Needs some kind of DVD release. Thinking it'll come out MOD at some point. Had to add it to my Favorite Musicals list:
Cinefamily has screened it a few times, wish I'd caught one of those shows:
From their review:
"If you like early gentle folk rock, the circus and Hee Haw, you’ll love Hootenanny Hoot!"

HOTEL(1967; Richard Quine)
Enjoyable soaper with a solid cast. Rod Taylor is smooth as hell.
 Available from Warner Archive: HERE

KILL SQUAD(1982; Patrick G. Donahue)
Outrageously fun flick from the director of PAROLE VIOLATORS. I owe Paul Corupe for steering me to this one.

LOOPHOLE(1954; Harold D. Schuster)
Really excellent obscure little noir with Barry Sullivan and Charles McGraw butting heads. Also - Dorothy Malone(raawwr). A great recommend from Kim Morgan:


THE LOST EMPIRE(1985; Jim Wynorski)
Certainly one of Wynorski's great crowning achievements. Jam-packed with all kinds of ridiculous goodness. Like BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and ENTER THE DRAGON by way of Russ Meyer. Seek it out. 

LOVE STREAMS(1984; John Cassavetes)
I am quite thrilled Cassavetes filmography is widely available for the most part. This is one that I wish was out there more for folks to check out. One of his best. Good companion piece to A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

THE MIND READER(1933; Roy Del Ruth)
More Warren William! A Warner Archive Podcast favorite. This film would make a nice double with NIGHTMARE ALLEY. Part of Warner Archive's excellent Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 5.

 Available from Warner Archive: HERE

NANCY DREW - DETECTIVE(1938; William Clemens)
I was turned onto this one by The Futurist's Discoveries list from last year. Some might compare it to something like THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, in that it similarly involves a youngster solving a mystery(albeit on a much smaller scale). Bonita Granville is much more charming than Tintin though.

A Miyazakian version of DUNE.

ODDBALLS(1984; Miklos Lente)
One of the best(and least talked about) camp comedies out there. I prefer it to MEATBALLS by quite a bit! Very spoofy. A bit like the AIRPLANE of camp films. Amazing use of sound effects. 

OTHER MEN'S WOMEN(1931; William A. Wellman)
One of those remarkable freewheelin' feeling 30s films. Wellman balances comedy and dramatic bits quit deftly. I feel like this is the tonal turf Wes Anderson is always shooting for.

THE PHYNX(1970; Lee H. Katzin)
I've heard that this rarely seen zany spoof didn't get much of a release at all so many folks will be discovering it for the 1st time via the recent Warner Archive DVDI wrote about it here:
I should also note that a good friend of mine pointed out to me that it's plot is very similar to the 2012 film ARGO, which I think is quite funny.

PORCO ROSSO(2003; Hayao Miyazaki)
Certainly one of my favorite Miyazaki films. Great use of Michael Keaton in the English dub.

PRIMROSE PATH(1940; Gregory La Cava)
Wonderful, gritty romantic drama. Ginger and McCrea really shine. 
Available from Warner Archive: HERE

SH! THE OCTOPUS!(1937; William C. McGann)
One of the most WTF films of the 1930s. Truly strange and wonderfully weird. Great showcase for Allen Jenkins. In Warner Archive Horror/Mystery Double features set.
Available from Warner Archive: HERE

SHE HAD TO SAY YES(1933; George Amy/Busby Berkeley)
My first exposure to Loretta Young and a great one. Pre-code ambience and the debut of Busby Berkeley.

SKYSCRAPER SOULS(1932; Edgar Selwyn)
One of my friend Cliff Aliperti's favorite Warren William films. I'm inclined to agree with him. Right now it's neck and neck between this and EMPLOYEE'S ENTRANCE for the the #3 spot, but it's sort of moving up in my estimation the more I ponder it. Very good and Maureen O'Sullivan dazzles.

STATE'S ATTORNEY(1932; George Archainbaud)
Not COUNSELLOR AT LAW good, but John Barrymore certainly delivers here in a similar role. And Helen Twelvetrees is certainly one of my favorite actress discoveries of 2012.
Available from Warner Archive: HERE

Kinda like a mix of MEATBALLS, IF... & LORD OF THE FLIES(or TAPS). Underseen 80s gem. Penelope Spheeris was one of the screenwriters.  

TO FIND A MAN(1972; Buzz Kulik)
Had never heard of this one before. A simple story, well performed by two great young actors. It was Larry Karaszewski's Trailers from Hell that put me onto it: 
Available on Amazon Instant Video: HERE

VIBES(1988; Ken Kwapis)
I am calling this a discovery for 2012 because though I was sure I'd seen it on VHS back in the day, I'll be damned if I could remember much of it at all. Very enjoyable and almost forgotten by most. Seems to have a certain kinship with ROMANCING THE STONE, but I prefer this film to that one. Since seeing it, Lauper's closing song gets stuck in my head quite often:


WHITE CHRISTMAS(1954; Michael Curtiz)
How I had miss this Holiday classic is insane, but it certainly lived up to its reputation. I must add that it is one of the most gorgeous looking Blu-rays I've seen. Stunning.

WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD(1933; William A. Wellman)
More of that remarkable mix of comedy and drama from Wellman.

XTRO(1983; Harry Bromley Davenport)
A film that truly earns the "holy fucking shit" moniker. Another mind-blowing Heavy Hitter Midnites event.


Cliff Aliperti said...

Wonderful to see Warren William dominating Part 2 of your list! EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE is actually my favorite of the bunch, the bunch being everything he ever did.

Also happy to see PRIMROSE PATH make the list, big fan.

I may finally have to shell out for SH! THE OCTOPUS! based on your recommendation. Damn.

MrJeffery said...

nice. i'll have to check out HOTEL. i love AIRPORT, so i'm sure i'll love it as well.

Ned Merrill said...

EMPLOYEES ENTRANCE was my first exposure to William via a TCM airing very early in the '00s. You have some others of his I still need to see. I have fond memories of watching GEISHA BOY with my grandfather when I was a little kid. Have not re-acquainted myself with it since. FANTASTIC PLANET, OTHER MEN'S WOMEN and WILD BOYS were some of my favorite discoveries in recent years past. Need to see ENEMY TERRITORY (have a download of it), LOVE STREAMS, MIND READER, PRIMROSE PATH.

My ex-wife and her family watched WHITE CHRISTMAS at least once every year and this Jew got to liking it (how could I not, what with the likes of Curtiz, Kaye, Berlin, Krasna, Frank, and Panama livening up the joint).

?uestion said...


Kev D. said...

That is a beautiful list. I've seen very few of them... seriously. Wow.

Honestly, RAGEWAR needs to have a proper DVD/Blu-ray release. Such a strange film. Strangely bad.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Cliff- Yeah that might be my favorite too, but I loved his Perry Mason stuff pretty good as well and SKYSCRAPER SOULS(thanks for the rec on that!). Very curious to hear what you think of SH! THE OCTOPUS. Unique film.

MRJEFFERY-I think I liked HOTEL even better than AIRPORT(and I like all the AIRPORT films). Check it out!
NED-EE was my first too. Great way to start! WILD BOYS was certainly one I sought out because of you. Still digging into Wellman's filmography. Have you see the WHITE CHRISTMAS blu? Looks so darned good.

KEV-Thanks very much! Yeah I can see RAGEWAR happening on blu in the near future for some reason. Maybe Synapse or someone will put it out.