Rockie Juarez writes for Isle of Cinema(www.isleofcinema.com) and works at the great Vulcan Video in Austin, Texas. Vulcan has become the hub of a new series on Ain't It Cool News called "The Vulcan Vault" where they highlight an obscure movie from the store:
#1: THE LONG SHOT(1986)
#2 TWICE UPON A TIME(1983)
Rockie can be found on twitter @RockieWarAntz.
Comin' At Ya! (1981) - This is a film that plays by old school spaghetti western rules. Much like the Great Silence or many others in the genre before it, a man is done wrong and he's going to slay, with extreme prejudice, the guilty parties at all cost. The main difference in this crazy ride the entire film was shot for 3D. And they go out of their way to remind you at every single damn turn. Each scene pokes and prods your eyes with an 'in your face' gag giving the film's title two meanings: shit will come at you constantly in 3D and our protagonist is coming to kill ya! Gags include beans raining down on you, a pitchfork threatening to take your vision, a horse eating a watermelon(my favorite one)and the bat-shit crazy(pun intended)sequence of a bat attack where a group of kidnapped women are stuffed into a spiral staircase only to have a ton of bats scaring them to death. Did I mention the film is entertaining? Because it is. The well never runs dry on the 3D and you are seriously rooting for our hero to get his due. Seeking this on home video can be achieved but unfortunately it will not be in 3D. But who knows, the print I was a new stellar digital restoration and they may drop it on Blu-Ray they way it was meant to be seen. I highly recommend this unsung gem. Having never heard of it before hand, it floored me. And most importantly stuck with me.
Roger Corman's The Pit And The Pendulum (1961) - Ashamed to admit, I'm really bad with old school horror films. Meaning I haven't seen very many. So when this film was screening for one night only I jumped on it. It was my first time diving into the series of Vincent Price/Edgar Allen Poe films directed by Roger Corman and based on my reaction to it, it will not be the last. A slow burn with a spectacular finale, it's a classic in the truest sense of the word. Vincent Price plays Nicholas Medina, a wounded soul who is deeply affected by the loss of his wife. He and his brother in law do their best to get to the bottom of her mysterious death unearthing unknown horrors mainly stemming from Nicholas' past. You see, Nicolas had a Daddy with a rough job and as the layers peel away, so too does Vincent Price's mind! Just witnessing that is a true joy to behold and worth all your coins alone. Vincent with that lovely voice, slowly going bonkers deserves a hyperbole shower like no other. I'm purposfully not diving into much of the story too much because I'm afraid of ruining a great thing. The well timed twists and turns will keep a crooked grin on your face for the entire third act. Another highlight is the old school special effects used to drive the narrative forward, my favorite of which being the matte paintings! Horror fans if you've not seen this, please find it and soak up the greatness. It also might turn you on to more Roger Corman gems which in my experience is never a bad thing. Highly recommended.
Marwencol (2010) - A facinating documentary about a rowdy drunk who after a near death experience finds peace by recreating World War 2 events in his backyard using dolls. An oddity of a story. I heard whispers from critics back in 2010 but ultimately it left my memory until one day I was shelving movies at Vulcan Video(located in Austin,TX) and I was reminded of it once again. Mark Hogancamp was the kind of drunk that could not stop drinking once he started. A demon. The kind of drunk demon that would argue with complete strangers over nothing thereby ruining their evenings. Mark also had a thing for dressing up like a lady, which he kept to himself expect for times when he drank himself stupid. Well, one evening he tells a group of men about the Eddie Izzard within him. The group of men wait for Mark outside the bar and proceed to beat him within an inch of his life. He goes into a coma and is thought to never recover from his injuries especially the brain damage part. Against all odds he does recover only to have some remarkable things happen to him. He finds a job at a local bar and although the bar is obviously surrounded by liquor, Mark NEVER partakes. In fact he's over liquor entirely. He also starts to create a fake town in his a backyard called Marwencol, where the WW2 With Dolls journey begins. He photographs the false moments, breathing new life into his world as well as these seemingly inanimate objects. Things get nuttier as his photos make the rounds into the art community and are deemed as high art! An odd journey from start to finish, Marwencol is a slept on documentary that is worth a visit. Mainly so you can visit the town of Marwencol, a town of so many emotions you might make it real in your mind as I did.