Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '77 - Daniel Budnik ""

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Underrated '77 - 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."
Check out Dan's Underrated '87 list here:
Airport ’77
You love disaster movies. I love disaster movies. So, why don’t I hear people talking more about the best of the Airport movies: The one from ’77. I’m not going to mention here how cool it is that they put the year after the title in the sequels. (It’s super cool.) I’m not going to argue that the first one is historically more important. I’m just saying that you’ve got Jack Lemmon as the pilot, Lee Grant as The Awesome and a freaking plane underwater! On the edge of a cliff! What?! Look at the poster. That is incredibly exciting. You get Airport disaster mixed with boat-sinking style disaster and Jimmy Stewart! Each sentence I write makes me want to stop writing this and go see the movie again. In fact… (Update: Still wonderful.)
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Cracking Up
The Jerry Lewis Cracking Up is hilarious. The sketch comedy from ’77 less so but it definitely is quite charming. There is a huge earthquake in Los Angeles. Two news reporters (played by members of the Firesign Theater) interview people in the rubble. Their stories are the sketches. The actors within the sketches are all from LA improv groups (like The Ace Trucking Company). You’ve got Fred Willard, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Edie McClurg, David L. Lander and some other folks I didn’t know as well. The framing device is on film. The sketches are (almost) all on video transferred to film. In fact, they’re shot multiple camera like a sitcom. Clearly the sketches are ones the groups had fine-tuned to a perfect point. Some of them work. Some of them don’t. I love the diner sketch. The mattress salesman bit gets funnier as it goes along. I loved the Polish guys. I wasn’t so thrilled on the lawyers on drugs bit. And the evangelical sketch is so bad it actually goes into a realm of good. This isn’t the funniest comedy around but I’ve seen it about ten times. For some reason, I adore the heck out of it.
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Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
If you’re someone who needs to hear “Once you get past the premise of a bed that eats people” or words to that effect, you probably should skip Death Bed. This is a movie to dive into face first and love. It’s an imaginative, funny journey through a weird world that I wish was longer but I know in my heart is the right length. I’m not going to go into the movie. If you haven’t seen it and you like imaginative movies (not everyone seems to), this is one to watch. Hey, it’s one of Stephen Thrower’s favorites. That’s enough of a recommendation for me.
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Drive-In Massacre
I love Drive-In Massacre. I used to have the VHS. I have it on a Mill Creek DVD set. I bought the 88 Films Blu-Ray. I bought the Severin Blu-Ray. The two fat cops are brilliant. Garmy is fantastic. Mr. Johnson is everything you could want from a mean boss. I love that pervy Peeping Tom guy. (I always applaud guys who hang pictures of nude ladies right out on their living room wall. We’ve got a word for that type of man. That word is BOLD!) The scenes with the various couples getting killed have a real verisimilitude to them. The ending always sends a chill done my spine. (Even when I couldn’t see a darn thing on the old copies.) I also get a kick out of the scene with Buck Flowers and his daughter, which is 100% padding but I Don’t Care. From the soundtrack to the killings to the fat guys in-between, I am enamored of this film.
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The Force Beyond
Donn Davison Delivers! I am a huge fan of 1970s speculative films/ TV shows/ books. And this is one of the laziest. Therefore, it’s one of the best. Filmmaker Davison hosts the movie. He kind of meanders around, promising more revelations than Giorgio Tsoukalos did in In Search of Aliens and delivering nothing. Nothing but fun and stock footage, with some time for Bigfoot shoved in there. Davison, also, authoritatively sets out his stall to be the one to explain UFOS and everything else to us. Again, he doesn’t. And, again, I love it. I do wish the Bigfoot section was longer but I could say that about most movies. Where’s my Blu-Ray of this one?

The Spell
I think I consider almost all TV movies to be underrated. Any group of movies that requires a qualifier for most people (“It’s made for TV”) is automatically underrated, in my opinion. The Spell, however, is one of the less underrated of the bunch but I am being a bit self-serving here. Scream Factory has just released this Carrie-esque number on Blu-Ray. We just did a Made For TV Mayhem minisode with Jeff from Scream Factory about The Spell. And, my co-host on that podcast, the wonderful Amanda Reyes, has a commentary on the Blu-Ray. Yes, very self-serving. But, the movie’s worth it. A California family (including Lee Grant!) is having trouble with one of their daughters who may have some “special” powers. And not fun powers that can conjure up a peanut butter sundae. The kind of powers that hurt people. Please, buy the Blu-Ray and support TV movies. Thank you.
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Tentacles
There could certainly be more giant octopus footage in Tentacles. But, you get plenty of Shelly Winters in a giant sombrero. And you get an incredibly fat man floating in a lovely cove for what seems like hours before getting attacked. Plus, a baby gets eaten by the octopus in the first scene. Ovidio Assonitis knew what he liked. He liked ripping off other movies. This is The One That’s Like Jaws But With The Octopus. And, I have a lot of time for it. (Especially since I purchased the Blu-Ray, which looks really nice and is at the proper aspect ratio.) It’s not the fastest moving movie. It meanders a lot. A lot. Also, you know that the name actors are not going to get killed. It’s biggest sin? There IS NOT enough Claude Akins in it! But, I could say that about most movies. On the Swell Side, I do adore and covet the setting. I love the concept of a killer octopus running around. I love the overall look and feel of the film. And, I applaud the fact that he put that huge flipping sombrero on Shelly Winters’s head. I’m in!
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