Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '75 - Spenser Hoyt ""

Monday, June 8, 2015

Underrated '75 - Spenser Hoyt

Hello, my name is Spenser Hoyt. I live in Seattle and work at the public library. I also serve on the board of directors of the Grand Illusion Cinema and am still involved with Scarecrow Video. I like to watch movies and eat toast. You can follow me on twitter (though I haven’t tweeted much lately – the handle is @hoytoid) and letterboxd.
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1975 was the first year I remember seeing movies in the cinema. I was young, dumb and hooked on film. I know I saw some movies before 75 but my brain must have finallydeveloped its long term memory so this year really sticks out. Trips to the motion picture house began making an impression and quickly became my favorite activity.

This first part of this list is stuff that made an impact on me then and I still dig now.

The Land That Time Forgot (1975; Kevin Connor)
I saw this film every chance I got in 1975. Probably at least 4 times. My parents were divorced so I guilt tripped them both into separate afternoons at the cinema. My dad even slipped the concessionaire a few bucks and got me the one sheet that I still have (in tatters) to this day. When I visited my great grandma in Florida I said, “Nanaw, you wanna see a good movie?” and the rest is history. TLTTF kicked off a series of flawed but highly enjoyable monster romps directed by Kevin Connor but this is the first and best.

The Giant Spider Invasion (1975; Bill Rebane)
Another one that made a big impression on twerp me. I get pretty cheesed with the “so bad it’s good” label dropped in this regional blast. Sure it’s cheap and stoopid but it’s entertaining as fudge so lay off! Despite the limited effects budget and marginal suspense I was pretty damn scared and me and my pal hid behind our seats for all the spider attack scenes. As a bonus this was shot really close to where my dad lives in northern Wisconsin and one of the spiders lived at the Vilas County zoo where I went all the time. They even had a lobby card next to the tarantula’s cage.  

Escape to Witch Mountain (1975; John Hough)
In 1975 I thought this was the best movie ever made and the Johnny Mandel theme song still sends shivers up my spine. Disney’s live action stuff was still solid at this point and I was always pumped for their next release. Along with Escape, 75 brought us The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Strongest ManIn The World, all three of which I loved. The sequel was acceptable but the remake is an utter abomination.

Race With The Devil (1975; Jack Starrett)
I walked out of two movies in 1975 and both have become some of my all-time favorite films. Young me just couldn’t wrap my head around Nashville (I was on a road trip with my mom and spent most of the movie eating popcorn in the cinema’s lobby). I was absolutely terrified by Race With TheDevil (once again I spent much of the running time cowering in the lobby). It’s amazing how intense PG rated movies used to be. This one features nudity, violence, rattlesnakes and a dead dog. I’m really glad to see this film showed up on a few other Underrated 75 lists cuz it’s a ripping picture that still holds up quite well. When I worked at Scarecrow Video I recommended it all the time both for its scary satanic elements and for Warren Oates.

These films I didn’t see in 1975 but, man oh man, they are some good ones.

Hard Times (1975; Walter Hill)
My Favorite:
1.Walter Hill Joint
2.Bronson
3.Coburn
4.Bare-Knuckle Boxing film
5.All of the above

The Yakuza (1975; Sydney Pollack)
1975 was a particularly kick ass year for Sydney Pollack with two damned good movies. Three Days of the Condor was well-received at the time but The Yakuza, not so much. I think this one has probably aged better. It’s got strong performances by Robert Mitchum and Ken Takakura (two of the coolest “tough guys” ever) and plenty of cinematic violence. There had already been a ton of great yakuza movies in Japan but this was the first introduction to western audiences and I think it stands up there with the best of the genre.

Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975; Ivo Caprino)
My God, if I would have seen this in 1975 my mind would have been blown and, most likely, remained in that state to this day. It’s a Norwegian stop-motion car race movie starring a magpie and a hedgehog. Evidently it is the most seen film in Norway (it is shown every year at Christmas), wasn’t released in the states until 1981 and is still pretty hard to find on home video but well-worth the effort.

Terror of Mecha-Godzilla (1975; Ishiro Honda)
Another one that would have smacked my shit up if I saw it in75 but it didn’t play in the states until 78 and never showedup on TV as much as other Godzilla movies. I think I finally caught up with this sucker on VHS in the nineties. It’s the last Showa era Godzilla film, the last one directed by Ishiro Hondaand the only Godzilla film with nudity. I guess it wasn’t commercially successful but it ain’t Godzilla’s fault! He worked his balls off in this one and had to fight two monsters single handedly. And speaking of underrated, how aboutTitanosaurus? There’s a cool kaiju you don’t hear enough about!

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