Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2015 - James Branscome ""

Monday, January 4, 2016

Film Discoveries of 2015 - James Branscome

James Branscome is a Los Angeles filmmaker and video editor. Creator of trailers, walk-in reels, and other video insanity for Beyond Fest (Los Angeles' largest genre film festival). Visual artist and film programming for Rendezvous! (Monthly horror soundtrack music night). In February 2016, he'll be unleashing CINEMATIC VOID, a monthly film series over at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
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DEMONOID: MESSENGER OF DEATH (1981, Alfredo Zacarias)
I had zero expectations when I pop this in for the first time and thus I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to witness. 78 or so minutes later I had discovered one of my new favorite films. Holy fucking shit! DEMONOID goes off the rails in a matter of seconds and drives deep into the heart of cinematic insanity. Severed killer hands, demonic possession, fire walks, goofy gore, extremely slow car chases, dummies run over by trains … you know, the finer things in life. It’s as if the evil hand from EVIL DEAD II got its own feature film and was allowed to direct it as well.
THE BEACH GIRLS (1982, Bud Townsend)
My wife is probably going to get mad at me for revealing her secret: she loves 80s sex comedies. On nights I have to go to work and she’s home, she drifts down the YouTube black hole in search of hidden gems. An absolute diamond she unearthed was THE BEACH GIRLS. The plot follows Sarah, a typical good girl, who is staying the summer at her Uncle’s beach house. Of course two of her inhibited friends, Ginger and Ducky come to crash and thus the partying commences … and never stops after that. The beach house becomes an all consuming cult. Anyone who enters, be it pizza man or police officer, gets sucked in by the sex, surf, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.
PICK-UP SUMMER (1981, George Mihalka)
Sporting a pretty bitchin’ theme song, endless and aimlessly driving around, and of course pinball, PICK-UP SUMMER (AKA: PINBALL SUMMER) is the cure for the your summer time blues. From the director, and starring a few of the cast from the original MY BLOODY VALENTINE, this Canadian export follows two teenaged boys driving around in their van. Their mission: to get laid, eat some burgers, and play some pinball. For fans of Gredyon Clark’s JOYSTICKS, it makes an excellent double feature together.
WHERE THE BOYS ARE ’84 (1984, Hy Averback)
Although this remake isn’t as sleazy as most of the sex comedies being churned out in the 80s, what it lacks in smut, it makes up for with fun and charm. A group four of co-eds treks down to sunny Ft. Lauderdale for a spring break to remember. You have Carole, taking a separate vacation from her steady boyfriend. Jennie, who is being courted by her rich classic pianist she idolizes and a down to earth rock musician. There’s Sandra on the look for Mr. Right and Laurie who is looking for Mr. Right NOW! Once the girls hit the beach, partying, shenanigans, jail time, wet t-shirt contests, and love follows. The film climaxes in a musical showdown between Jennie’s suitors that culminates is everything one can ask for in an 80s movie.
THE REDEEMER: SON OF SATAN! (1978, Constantine S. Cochis)
This was a film I’ve been waiting years to see and I was glad when Code Red did a repress of their blu-ray recently. Six people meet up for their 10-year high school reunion and are sadistically picked off one by one by a psychotic preacher wearing various different masks. If you dropped acid while reading Flannery O’Connor’s WISEBLOOD while watching TERROR TRAIN in the background, this might be the end result.
SECRET ADMIRER (1985, David Greenwalt)
I’m not sure how I ended up being so late to the party on this one. I also don’t understand how this isn’t one of the most revered 80s teen movies ever made. It’s goddamn perfect. When Michael receives a mysterious love letter in his locker on the last day of school, he thinks it’s from the girl of his dreams. Turns out, it wasn’t. So his best gal pal, Toni advises him to write one of his own for her. He does, it sucks, so Toni re-writes it for him. I’m sure you get where this going and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who wrote the original note for Michael, but the every frame of this film is so enjoyable that it doesn’t matter. A true time capsule of the decade featuring a grooving soundtrack, one of the two Corys (Haim for those who are counting), Dee Wallace playing a mom, Fred Ward playing a Fred Ward role, and the perfect mix of sex, comedy, and heartfelt emotions. Can’t wait for February when the fine folks Olive Films put this out on blu-ray.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

I imagine you know by now about Greenwalt's interesting t work on the likes of ANGEL (and some more of the Whedon productions) and JAKE 2.0...