Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - Mitch Lovell ""

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Mitch Lovell

Mitch Lovell runs the Video Vacuum and is also the author of the new book DOUBLE VISION: HOLLYWOOD VS. HOLLYWOOD which you can find on Amazon here:

His website is here:
Find him on Twitter here:
Check out his list from last year as well:

As a longtime Dario Argento fan, I’m ashamed of myself for not checking this out sooner. Part career retrospective, part behind-the-scenes look at the making of Phenomena (and to a lesser extent, Demons), Dario Argento’s World of Horror is enormously insightful and informative. The footage of Argento wrangling thousands of insects for a shot that will only wind up lasting a few seconds on screen will be sure to give you a greater appreciation for filmmaking in the days before CGI.
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The Boys from Brazil is basically They Saved Hitler’s Brain, but with Oscar-winning actors. Director Franklin J. Schaffner takes a potentially absurd concept and makes it ALMOST plausible thanks to his crafty handling of the material. It’s equal parts suspense and nonsense. I mean what other movie features Sir Laurence Olivier avenging the death of Steve Guttenberg? If that isn’t enough to make you want to see it, I don’t know what will.
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8. ANGST (1983)
This one really packed a wallop. Not since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer have I felt like taking a shower after a movie. Like Henry, it puts you squarely in the shoes of a serial killer and rarely gives you a chance to catch your breath. The impressive camerawork adds to the overall feeling of inescapable dread. Angst is a truly disturbing and unforgettable experience.
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The Killing of America is one of the most unsettling and effective Mondo movies ever made. It’s an unrelenting and repugnant look at the real-life horrors of the 20th century. (Everything from political assassinations to mass murderers to America’s fascination with guns is covered.) Even though it’s more aggressive and cynical, it feels less exploitative than something like Faces of Death (which is probably because none of this footage is faked).
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6. WILD BEASTS (1984)
Imagine if one of the directors of Mondo Cane made a zombie movie, but instead of zombies, he used escaped zoo animals on PCP. Oh, you don’t have to because Wild Beasts is exactly just that. Director Franco Prosperi’s documentarian’s eye makes even the silliest animal attack seem authentic. Only a true master of the medium could turn a chase scene involving a cheetah and a Volkswagen Beetle into a white-knuckle experience.
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Not only is Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge a wonderful throwback to ‘80s mall culture (have fun spotting all the now-defunct stores in the background), it’s also the greatest Phantom of the _________ movie ever made. I know everyone loves Lon Chaney and all, but let me ask you this: Did Lon Chaney ever partake in a kickboxing duel to the death while wearing his Phantom mask? Didn’t think so!
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Scream for Help was the film Michael Winner directed just before the immortal Death Wish 3. It was written by Tom Holland just one year before he went on to direct the classic Fright Night. No wonder Scream for Help is such a blast. The plot is basically Nancy Drew vs. The Stepfather. It’s much more than that though. Holland’s script contains equal measures of horror, humor, and suspense, and Winner’s nasty sensibilities give it a definite kick.
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3. GALAXY QUEST (1999)
I put off seeing this for years because I was under the impression it was a kid-friendly spoof of Star Trek. I’m happy to admit I was wrong. The cast won me over almost instantly, but I was genuinely shocked to discover that the film captured the spirit and heart of the old show better than most of the official big screen adventures. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that this is probably the second best Star Trek movie ever made.
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2. STRAY DOG (1949)
Stray Dog is one of director Akira Kurosawa’s greatest works. It plays like Kurosawa’s riff on American film noir thrillers and is brimming with style and mesmerizing sequences. The opening scene that chronicles the loss of a gun ranks up there with Kurosawa’s best stuff and the gut-wrenching finale is equally absorbing. Add in top-notch performances by Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura and you have yourself the makings of an all-time classic.
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I watched literally hundreds of films this year and none of them made my jaw drop lower than Bat Pussy. On the surface, it’s a XXX parody of Batman, but that doesn’t nearly begin to describe the utter WTF insanity that’s in store for you. All I’ll say is that this belongs in such hallowed company as Plan 9 from Outer Space and The Room as one of the best “bad” movies of all time. In fact, I’d love to see an Ed Wood/The Disaster Artist style biopic of the making of Bat Pussy. C’mon Hollywood, what are you waiting for?
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