Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Mitch Lovell ""

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Mitch Lovell

Mitch Lovell is the proprietor of The Video Vacuum ( His latest book, The Bloody Book of Horror is on sale at Amazon:
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I Like to Play Games plays like a slight variation on 9 ½ Weeks, with the big difference being that the woman (Lisa Boyle) is the sexual aggressor. If your tastes run towards the kinkier side of things, I Like to Play Games has you covered. It is full of well-shot, energetically acted, softcore sex and bondage scenes that are sure to get your pulse racing. The reason why it works as well as it does is due to Boyle’s sexy performance. She is excellent as the confident, dominating, and sexy businesswoman. She displays enough sexiness here to make you wish she had made a bigger splash in the industry.
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9. ROBOT NINJA (1989)
I was a fan of J.R. Bookwalter’s Dead Next Door, but this might be his ultimate epic. While that film had the help of Sam Raimi as producer, this one had David DeCoteau. It plays like a precursor to the likes of Super and Kick-Ass as it’s a non-stop ultraviolent R-rated comic book come to life. Not only was it ahead of its time, it’s probably ripe for a remake.
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8. WOLF DEVIL WOMAN (1982) (AKA: Venus the Ninja. AKA: Wolfen Queen.)
Wolf Devil Woman ranks right up there with Super Infra-Man for sheer bug nuts insanity. It often feels like an entire season of a TV show edited down into one ninety-minute feature. Stuff happens so fast that it will make your head spin and you never know what’s going to happen at any given moment. That’s code for I loved every minute of it. Folks, do yourself a favor and stop reading this and go see Wolf Devil Woman right this minute.
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7. UNINVITED (1988) (AKA: Killer Cat.)
Uninvited is the best mutant-cat-escapes-from-a-genetics-research-lab-and-stows-aboard-a-yacht-carrying-young-spring-breakers-and-old-character-actors-and-picks-them-off-one-by-one movie I’ve ever seen. It’s longwinded, preposterous, uneven, and downright bizarre, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Believe me when I tell you there is some truly special stuff in this flick. Remember in Alien when the alien opened its mouth and another mouth jumped out? Well, when the cat in Uninvited opens its mouth ANOTHER CAT jumps out and mauls the humans. Incredible.
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6. LAST HOUSE ON MASSACRE STREET (1973) (AKA: The Bride. AKA: The House That Cried Murder. AKA: No Way Out. AKA: Scream.)
The first twenty minutes of Last House on Massacre Street (which, let’s face it, is one of the coolest titles ever) would make a great contained short film. It stands on its own as a nifty piece of exploitation filmmaking with a potent set-up and an even better punchline. What’s surprising is that director Jean-Marie Pelisse (who unfortunately never made another movie) deftly maintains the same level of atmosphere throughout. Most directors would run out of gas after the spectacular first act. Pelisse is somehow able to keep the suspense brewing while the film spins off into wilder, weirder directions.
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5. AENIGMA (1988) (AKA: Enigma.)
Lucio Fulci is one of my favorite directors of all time. I mean I have a Lucio Fulci T-shirt. I can’t say the same for Alfred Hitchcock. Because of that, I’ll watch anything Fulci directed, no matter how bad it is, and trust me, he made some pretty bad ones in his time. For every Zombie, there’s a Manhattan Baby. Luckily for me, Aenigma contains some of the most bonkers imagery Fulci ever put on film. He made it just after The Devil’s Honey, and if you thought your jaw dropped on that one, wait till you check this out.
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4. HELP ME… I’M POSSESSED! (1976) (AKA: The Possessed.)
Help Me… I’m Possessed! would make a great double bill with Bloodsucking Freaks. It’s not quite as explicit as that flick, but it has the same anything-goes lunacy. In some ways, it’s so reminiscent of a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie with touches of Ed Wood along the way. Heck, there are some moments that might remind you of Manos, the Hands of Fate. What I’m trying to say is that this is a great bad movie. The low budget craftsmanship (or lack thereof) is endearing. Also, no one gets possessed, says, “Help me”, or says, “Help me… I’m possessed!”, which somehow makes it all even better.
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The Cat and the Canary is a spoof of Old Dark House murder-mysteries while at the same time being a sterling example of one, thanks largely to the dynamite pairing of Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. With Hope front and center bouncing off one-liners, it’s a given that this was going to be funny. What’s surprising about The Cat and the Canary is that the horror stuff is startlingly good. The climax is genuinely hair-raising and suspenseful too. It’s truly one of the best horror-comedies ever made.
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2. 3 GODFATHERS (1948)
3 Godfathers is one of John Ford‘s best films. Even though Ford is a rough-and-tumble manly man’s director, he still has a knack for pulling at your heartstrings. He does so in such a subtle manner that the emotional core of the story slowly sneaks up on you. By the end of the movie, you’ll be simultaneously holding back the tears while grinning from ear to ear. Toss in one of one of John Wayne’s best performances and you have yourself the makings of one of the genre’s all-time classics.
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Director Werner Herzog always had a soft spot for crazy dreamers. Being a crazy dreamer himself doesn’t hurt matters. Because of that, it feels like he’s the only one who could’ve told the story of one of the craziest dreamers the silver screen has ever seen, Fitzcarraldo. The character’s obsession runs concurrent with Herzog’s. He didn’t want to use any special effects or models because he felt it would look phony. Instead, he had the actual cast and crew pull an actual steamship over a mountain. In an age of rampant CGI, this seems improbable. Heck, it was even improbable in its day, but the dedication Herzog puts into the film gives it an undeniable allure. Because of that, I can’t include Fitzcarraldo without talking about Les Blank’s equally fascinating documentary of the making of Fitzcarraldo, Burden of Dreams (which I watched back-to-back). Blank shows us that Herzog was just as fanatical about doing getting the boat over the mountain as the character in the movie. With that, the line between Fitzcarraldo and Burden of Dreams begins to blur. That’s what makes both films so damned fascinating, not to mention inseparable.
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