Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '99 - Daniel Budnik ""

Friday, May 24, 2019

Underrated '99 - 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.

Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris – There are three trilogies I make sure to watch every year: the Back To The Future trilogy, Bergman’s “Silence of God” trilogy and the 1990s Gamera trilogy. It’s brilliant, isn’t it? Taking the completely ridiculous flying turtle from the 1960s and 1970s films and making everything ultra-serious… and succeeding! (Note: I love the original eight Gamera films. Don’t get me wrong when I call the Big Guy “ridiculous.”) The first film sets out the mat for what they’re doing. The second improves in leaps and bounds. The third ties several threads from the first two together and is a completely satisfying ending to the whole thing. (With the final moments being as awesome as the closing moments of Back To The Future Part III.) It’s a beautifully exciting series of films that I can’t recommend enough and you should discover with as little foreknowledge as possible. Go Forth For Gamera!
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

Idle Hands – I have never seen Idle Hands. However, I hear that it’s a very funny horror comedy that I should have seen by now. Why is it on this list? Because in the Spring or Summer of 1998, I was an extra on Idle Hands for three lovely days. Some extra work was tedious beyond belief. Sometimes it was annoying. Sometimes it was incredibly fun. These three days were incredibly fun squared. They were shooting at a very 1970s-looking fast food restaurant. I met a bunch of really great people. We laughed and laughed the whole time. On the second day, I was the guy at the Drive-Thru who has (I believe) Devon Sawa throw a bag of fast food at him. (I had to get hit with the bag and drive away fast. Even though I was under a tent and the tent ended about 20 feet in front of me and there were people standing there.) I’ve never seen it so I don’t know if you can see me in it. I imagine I’m delightful. On the third day, I had Phil Hardy’s The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies in my car. We spent downtime flipping through the book and reading about Microwave Massacre and Jess Franco films. It was so much fun. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of those people again. But, as I type this, it occurs to me that I can watch the film and maybe (if I’m looking in the right spots) I can see them again. That thought will finally get me to watch the film.
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

Lover’s Lane – It was a fine time to be a slasher fan post-Scream. For every “self-aware” slasher, which I can take or leave unless it’s called Student Bodies, there would be a slasher that acted as if Wes Craven’s Scream* never happened. That acted as if we were launching ourselves right back to 1981-ish for a good time. I adore slasher films. I adored them before I had the ability to watch them without being absolutely terrified. Lover’s Lane is a worthy addition to the canon. “The Hook” killed some lovers on Valentine’s Day 13 years ago. Has ‘The Hook’ returned in the ‘Present Day’ to kill some more? Yes is the answer. “More or less” is the qualifier I’m adding to account for twists. This was around the time of Valentine, which I’ve never seen. I generally watched slashers that I’d never heard of around then. That’s how I saw School’s Out, which is a joy. Lover’s Lane won’t change your life, but it does everything slashers do. It does it pretty well, throws in some twists and, when it ended, I nodded my head and said “Well done, everybody.” In my living room, that’s the highest praise I can give.

*I am differentiating between Craven’s Scream and Quisenberry’s Scream. And I always will.
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

Sweet and Lowdown – I have not seen this since opening weekend. However, it was the first film my wife and I saw in the theater together soon after we started going out. We were completely charmed by it. Sean Penn is strident but funny. (“Let’s go down to the dump and shoot some rats!”) Samantha Morton is lovely and so sweet. It’s not one of Woody’s major films. It’s a faux-documentary on a Django Reinhardt type guitarist from the 1930s named Emmet Ray. I’d put it in the same category as something like Zelig. A charmer with laughs but probably nothing that will change your world. Having said that, my wife and I adored it when we saw it. We quoted it for years. It’s a very special movie to me, to us. I recommend watching it this weekend. (Not just to you but to me too.)
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

Three Kings – This is another one I have not see since opening weekend. I remember really enjoying it. It’s David O. Russell’s comedy about a group of bored soldiers after the Gulf War pulling a heist. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be particularly funny. But, remember Spanking The Monkey? When you read about that did you think “That’s going to be hilarious!”? You didn’t. Neither did I. But, it was pretty darn funny. Russell has a wonderful knack for pulling humor from situations in unexpected ways, even when they involve torture. Mark Wahlberg getting excited about his post-torture T-shirt had me in hysterics. I’d gladly watch the film again right now but I’m too busy writing this list.
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

Witchouse - A bunch of attractive people wind up in a house that is lorded over by the evil, demonic Lilith who proceeds to kill them all. While I prefer the second one, this film has a lot of late-1990s Full Moon Features charm. Yes, Lilith is full-grown and not a little creature of some variety as in most of the Full Moon canon. Don’t let that stop you from watching. Like most of the Full Moon pictures from this time, it feels a bit assembly line. Sort of “We are trying! Not that hard but we’re trying.” It has a decent pace, some fun kills and is entertaining throughout. The real joy of the film though is seeing the always cool Ariauna Albright as Lilith. (She returns in several roles for Part 2.) I’ll watch pretty much anything she appears in. She’s under a lot of makeup here but I can tell it’s her. Plus, the great David DeCoteau directs. ‘Nuff said.
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

Zombie Doom – I’m part of a podcast called Podcastmania. One of us recommends a horror film for the others to watch and we chat about it. Last year, a well-bearded mailman named Vaughn had us watch the Violent Sh*t movies. I had only seen One a long time ago and came away rather depressed. Now, I watched all of them. (Are there four? Did I dream a 4th one?) One and Two are hilariously over-the-top and One still depresses me. But, 3 (renamed Zombie Doom for American release) is a hoot. They seem to have found their sense of humor. It’s filled with gore and general craziness but it also has ninjas, which boosts the whole thing. Overall, this is a pretty fun and crazy horror film with some action mixed in. Sounds like a winning combination to me. Plus, it’s German! Your mileage there may vary. Think of this as Andreas Schnaas All Grown Up! (I know it was shot in 1993 but it came out in 1999. I’m celebrating the year we could all see this together. And no, I can’t in all honesty recommend Anthropophagous 2000.)
Amazon Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

1 comment:

SteveQ said...

I just learned that the reason I haven't seen Witchouse is that I've been misspelling it!