Back in action! June features some good cops, some bad cops, and some zombie cops.
June 2: No potluck.
June 9: Dead Heat (1988) — The only thing better than a dead cop is an undead cop. In this case, Joe Piscopo. Along with his partner, Joe uncovers a shady company developing a “resurrection machine.”
June 16: Maniac Cop (1988) — Directed by Bill Lustig (Maniac) and featuring Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell! A serial killer terrorizes New York City while wearing a police uniform. Or is the murderer actually a cop?
June 23: No potluck. (Show at Eli’s.)
June 30: Beverly Hills Cop (1984) — Come listen to a story ’bout a man named Axel… It’s hilarious culture clash when a Detroit cop ends up on a case in Beverly Hills. I haven’t seen this in a long time, but I think maybe in the end he finally earns the respect of his colleagues and everyone’s happy. *THIS MAY BE CANCELED DUE TO SHOW AT GILMAN.*
February’s theme is “VHS tapes I bought at Amoeba for $1.” I know, I know – I’ve been busy, give me a break! Anyway, here’s the lineup. Even though the selection was a bit haphazard, I’m still excited to watch these.
February 3: Malone (1987) — If this movie doesn’t contain at least one scene of someone shaking their fist and yelling “MAAAA-LOOOONNNNE!” I’m going to be very disappointed. I mean, scroll down and just look at this cover. Burt Reynolds and his mustache are looking to leave their sordid CIA past behind them and start a quiet new life in a small town. Then some stuff happens and guns and explosions.
February 10: Dr. Giggles (1992) — Tagline: “The doctor is out … of his mind.” More text from the box: “Larry Drake, who won back-to-back Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Benny Stulwicz, the mentally retarded office boy on L.A. Law, stars as a diabolical doctor with a sharp wit—and even sharper scalpel—in this horrific tongue-in-cheek thriller.”
February 17: Slaughter High (1986) — Tagline from the VHS box: “Marty majored in cutting classmates.” OK, let’s review. First of all … high-school students don’t have majors. And if they did, they wouldn’t major in “cutting class.” And … well, anyway, there’s an additional tagline that’s even better: “Where the student body is going to pieces.” Hah! Now that’s some good slasher-movie humor. This movie is about a guy who received disfiguring burns in a high-school prank and then, five years later, hosts a “class reunion” for those who done him wrong so he can off them in various creative ways while dressed up like a jester. Because why not? While writing this summary I realized that I’ve actually seen this movie before on one of Joe Bob Brigg’s late-night shows, probably when I was about twelve.
February 24: The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge (1979) — This “martial-arts actioner,” according to the VHS box, is the ORIGINAL CLASSIC and the third in a series “which are thought to be particular favorites of director QUENTIN TARANTINO.” Sonny Chiba stars as a martial artist who has to stop gangsters from stealing synthetic heroin from a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
It’s time for my favorite potluck theme…our annual “holiday horror” extravaganza! This December, we’ll be watching five Christmas-themed horror movies. Some oldies, some new ones, all of them extremely special in their own way.
December 2: Saint Nick (2010) — In this Dutch yuletide gorefest, St. Nick gets a dark makeover as a sinister medieval cleric who returns to Amsterdam’s snowy streets to avenge his death by killing innocent children. Can a high school student and a disgraced cop stop the rampage?
December 9: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out (1989): Another direct-to-video masterpiece! Ricky Caldwell awakens from a coma and stalks a blind teenager with psychic powers. Because the third installment in a horror movie series always involves a blind teenager with psychic powers.
December 16: Feeders 2: Slay Bells (1998) — Extra-terrestrials who feed on humans wreak havoc during the holidays. This looks like it was shot on video over a weekend with the director’s family and friends, so brace yourself.
December 23: The Dorm that Dripped Blood (1982) — A group of students cleaning out a condemned college building over the Christmas season find themselves stalked by a killer.
December 30: Rare Exports (2010) — In Finland, local reindeer herders race against the clock to capture an ancient evil: Santa Claus. (This is actually an excellent black comedy, made in Finland—possibly too good for potluck…)
And in case you’re curious, here’s the list of Christmas horror movies we’ve already watched:
Black Christmas (1974)
Black Christmas (2006)
Don’t Open Till Christmas
The Gingerdead Man
Jack Frost II
Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys
Silent Night, Bloody Night
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
This month we celebrate the undying love between John Carpenter and Kurt Russell.
November 4: Escape from New York (1982) — Set in the far-off future of 1997, New York City has been turned into a maximum-security prison. When the president of the United States accidentally ends up there, it’s up to criminal/war hero/badass Snake Plissken to get him out—in exchange for his own freedom.
November 11: Big Trouble in Little China (1986) — Kurt plays truck driver Jack Burton, who has to help his friend Wang Chi rescue his fiancee from dastardly bandits and an ancient sorcerer beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown.
November 18: The Thing (1982) — Kurt Russell is among a group of scientists working in Antarctica who have to fight a mysterious, shape-shifting alien.
November 25: Escape from LA (1996) — Snake is back! This time around, an earthquake has split Los Angeles off from the continent, and the new president decides to use it as (surprise) a penal colony. Then there’s something about a terrorist group and a doomsday device, I dunno, the important thing is that Snake somehow ends up on another prison island and has to escape from it.
The best month of the year is upon us once again. This October, we’re watching four classic gialli–Italian thriller-slasher films. The name giallo stems from the color (yellow) of the pulp crime novels that are the predecessors of the film genre. (Much like the film noir gets its name from the black covers of French crime novels.)
Want to read more about gialli? Check out these posts over at Paracinema.
October 7: Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972) — One thing you learn really quickly when watching gialli is how unusual and seemingly irrelevant some of the titles appear to be…at any rate, I can’t say anything interesting about this movie without giving away the ending, so I won’t. One of Lucio Fulci’s more interesting entries in the genre.
October 14: Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970) — Mario Bava directs your standard “Ten Little Indians” story about a group of people on an island vacation who get picked off one by one by an unknown killer.
October 21: NO POTLUCK. We’re going to see The Mob (UK) at the Metro.
October 28: The House with Laughing Windows (1976)—Stefano arrives in a rural Italian village to restore a fresco of the slaughter of Saint Sebastian which is painted on a rotting church wall. While living temporarily in a house previously owned by the two sisters of the long-dead artist, he hears from various townspeople that the painter was a madman who created his art from real life. The artist, assisted by his two equally insane sisters, had viciously tortured people to death as inspiration for his horrific paintings. Some of the villagers are brutally killed and Stefano comes to believe that the murderer is trying to stop him from learning even more of the village’s depraved secrets.
Wuxia is a form of Chinese literature and film that is loosely about martial arts. Loosely. As these five movies show, they can also be about vampires, supernatural powers, gender-bending, and feminist vengeance witches.
September 2: The Bride with White Hair 2 (1993) — Where to begin with this one? Here are some enticing sentences from the writeup on Wikipedia: “On the wedding night, Lian Nichang appears and kidnaps Yu Qin, leaving behind a trail of destruction and corpses.” “She builds a feminist cult that accepts women who were exploited by men.” “Meanwhile, Zhuo Yihang awaits on a snow-capped mountain for a rare flower to bloom, as he believes that it can turn Lian Nichang’s hair black again.”
September 9: Encounter of the Spooky Kind (1980) — Master Tam is sleeping with the wife of Courageous Cheung and enlists a Taoist priest to kill him. Cheung assumes it’s a simple test of bravery. But as he goes up against feats of black magic, he realizes he’ll need his brother’s supernatural skills.
September 16: Swordsman 2 (1992) — Linghu Chong, Yue Lingshan and members of the Mount Hua Sect are planning to retire. They learn that Dongfang Bubai has seized control of the Sun Moon Holy Cult and is secretly plotting with some pirates to rebel against the imperial court and dominate China. Dongfang Bubai had castrated himself in order to master the skills in the Sunflower Manual, and his appearance has become more feminine — when Linghu meets Dongfang by chance (without knowing his true identity), he mistakes him for a beautiful young woman, and falls in love with “her”.
September 23: The Dead and the Deadly (1983) — A story of a young man who works in a funeral home and experiments with the dark arts. The ghost of one of the corpses that passes through his place of work takes over his friend’s body in order to take revenge. Then things get weird.
September 30: Battle Wizard (1977) — All you really need to know about this movie:
Teenagers can be real monsters….muah ha ha ha ha!
Seriously, though, this month features four movies about adolescence, young love, and the pain of being an outsider. And, y’know, werewolves. And witches. Also zombies and vampires.
July 1: NO POTLUCK. Go to Sabrina’s birthday party at The Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco!
July 8: Teen Wolf (1985)—Michael J. Fox is just your average, run-of-the-mill teenage werewolf basketball player. If folks are up for it, perhaps we can watch the sequel with Jason Bateman as a boxing werewolf in college!
July 15: My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)—Johnny gets himself killed trying to win over the cutest girl in school, but he soon comes back from the dead to get a second chance. Missy sticks by her new boyfriend despite bullies’ taunts, small-town prejudice … and his recent craving for human flesh.
July 22: NO POTLUCK. Yosef’s birthday dinner, location TBD.
July 29: The Lost Boys (1987)—The best teen vampire movie, ever. I probably listened to the soundtrack about a thousand times in high school.
In the 1980s, in the wake of Mad Max, there came a slew of low-budget features that are so bizarre and convoluted that you might mistake them for surrealist masterpieces.
March 4 — Land of Doom (1986): Roving motorcycle gangs rule the post-apocalyptic future. For more, check out this ridiculously detailed description (SPOILER WARNING) on Wikipedia.
March 11 — She (1982): Ostensibly based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard, this incredible film features werewolves in togas, a psychokinetic communist with an SM cult, a robot Frankenstein’s monster, and chainsaw-wielding leprosy mummies. And that’s just a small portion of the craziness.
March 18 — Future Kill (1985): In a world where anti-nuke protestors dress up like mutants and roam the post-apocalyptic city streets, frat boys find themselves in a vicious battle with real mutants. Wait, what? All I really know about this movie is that H. R. Giger did the theatrical poster artwork, and I seriously doubt that it reflects in any way the content of the movie.
March 25 — She-Wolves of the Wasteland (1987): Yeah, it’s called “She-Wolves of the Wasteland.” I guarantee there are going to be lots of scantily-clad women wrestling with each other. That’s pretty much it.
Yosef chose the name and theme for this month. Can you tell?
I am actually a huge fan of Christopher Lee, and not just because he and I share a birthday. (Also born on my birthday: Vincent Price. It’s true.) This month is really going to test the limits of my Christopher Lee appreciation, though.
February 5 — Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970): Just one of the fifty million movies Hammer Productions made with Christopher Lee as Dracula.
February 12 — The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968): Whooo, boy. Are you ready for Christopher Lee in yellowface? I don’t know if I am. Directed by the legendary Jess Franco, this episode of the Fu Manchu series involves a remote jungle hideout, a deadly poison hidden in lipstick, mind control, and, naturally, a plot to take over the world.
February 19 — The Crimson Cult (1968): A (very) loose adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Dreams in the Witch House.” Boris Karloff co-stars.
February 26 — Dracula A. D. 1972 (1972): Dracula is resurrected in modern London by a group of hippies dabbling in the occult, including one who calls himself “Johnny Alucard.” Sigh. Peter Cushing co-stars, of course, as Van Helsing.
“He’s ready to freak you out—right out of this world.”
Did you know that there have been over a dozen low-budget evil-clown movies made in the last decade? It’s true. (Note that this list may change depending on whether or not I can get a couple of movies…)
January 1: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) — I’ll admit it: this movie scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. The clowns, not so much, but being encased in a bubble of cotton candy to later be sucked out through a straw and eaten…gah.
January 8: It (1990) — Pennywise. Is he not the most iconic evil clown of all time? Creepy, creepy, creepy.
January 15: The Clown Murders (1976) — It seems like this one isn’t actually so much about scary clowns as it is about kidnapping the boss’s wife while wearing clown suits, and then some people get killed or something. Apparently, it also includes a sex scene with a very young John Candy.
January 22: Killjoy (2000) — Billing itself as “new urban horror,” this Full Moon Features production looks like it might be as good as Leprechaun in the Hood.
January 29: Herencia Diabolica (1994) — An evil clown doll murders people that are mean to him. Hopefully I will be able to find a subtitled version of this amazing-looking Mexican horror movie…