FRIDAY THE 13th: THE ORPHAN (1977) – H.H. Munro must have turned over in his grave at this adaptation of one of his short stories. This quasi-horror film was re-released in 1979 as just The Orphan and despite the original title it has no connection to the Friday the 13th series of slasher flicks. At least, no REAL connection. I’m surprised some unscrupulous distributor never tried sneaking this into theaters in the 1980’s as a “prequel” to the slasher movies by presenting the insane young boy in the movie as the grandfather of Jason Voorhees.
Even so the title makes it hard not to think of our wealthy young protagonist “David” (Mark Owens) as an ancestor of the hockey- masked slice and dice man from Crystal Lake. In the 1920’s David’s mother accidentally shoots his African Big Game Hunter father Kevin to death during an argument about his frequent overseas trips. David not only witnesses this but sees his mother put the gun in her mouth and kill herself immediately afterward.
Next David gets VERY disturbed when a presumed family member (an uncredited Christopher Lloyd in a “blink-and-you’ll- miss- him” appearance) forces him to kiss his dead father as he lies in his coffin. Continue reading
The Halloween Holiday draws closer each day. Here’s a musical shoutout to the venerable old Movie Host Rich Koz, better known as Son of Svengoolie and later just plain Svengoolie. Sung to the tune of Castle of Love it’s Castle of Shock.
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with a look at four unjustly neglected horror films from Mexico.
SHE WOLF (1964) – AKA La Loba, this film features a female lycanthrope in all her violent glory. Generally a very good film, with La Loba making several kills in the opening minutes of the story. The special effects for its time and budget are very nice and the unique way the She Wolf leaps around like she’s practically flying is visually appealing and memorable. Think of the way Wonder Woman leaped around on the tv show, but even better.
And the movie takes the common sense approach of having La Loba sprout full- body hair when she transforms, none of this cheap “just the head and hands get furry” look. The transformation rips our female lycanthrope’s clothing to pieces, too, but her hair, already long in her human form, becomes even longer in her lupine form and discreetly covers the parts of her body that might cause a problem for the prudish. Continue reading
It’s been just over two weeks since the finale of the 18 episode run of new Twin Peaks chapters on cable. Like many other fans I’m still digesting some of those new episodes in light of the gloriously dark and nightmarish conclusion, so this particular blog post applies ONLY to the original Twin Peaks television series, the 1992 film Fire Walk With Me and its deleted scenes from The Missing Pieces.
Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m often surprised at the way so many detractors still try to insist that the show and the movie made no sense. And bear in mind I am NOT referring to the various theories over particular symbolism or the lengthy debates to be had over the ethical and philosophical implications of the storyline.
No, I’m referring to the way some people dismiss the entire project as if it’s a bunch of weirdness with no discernible plot or storyline. There IS SO a (very) easily discernible plot and storyline. And I’ll say again I’m NOT talking about deeper meanings which no two people may ever agree upon, but the basic tale. Continue reading
Here at Balladeer’s Blog my love of enjoyably bad movies has been well established. You can count me as one of the many “Human Breens” as fans of filmmaker Neil Breen are called.
Neil Breen (PBUH) started out as an architect and realtor with minor show-biz dabblings as a dancer in Madonna’s Vogue video and as a cop in Scream. Years later Breen surfaced once again in the entertainment world, this time as an independent filmmaker.
As with the best of the bad auteurs Neil churns out productions that are uniquely his own. There is no mistaking a Neil Breen film with a film made by anyone else. Picture The Room’s Tommy Wiseau trying to make a David Lynch movie. But with a LOT more needless violence against laptop computers.
Read on for a look at the first four examples of Breen Cinema.
DOUBLE DOWN (2005) – Neil Breen starred, wrote and directed this movie – and quite obviously he or an associate even wrote the IMDb description of the plot. That description calls Double Down “an edgy action thriller,” which would certainly come as a surprise to anyone who has actually SEEN the film.
Double Down set the pattern for all things Breen, which is to say it redefines Vanity Projects AND Mary Sue-ing. He casts himself as (insert some sort of human or superhuman paragon here) who (engages in some sort of activity) while looking down on everyone else with a judgmental air of disapproval and ennui. And needless to say, he’s the BEST at looking down on everyone else with a judgmental air of disapproval and ennui. Continue reading
What better way to mark the return of the school year than with the absurdity of those over-the- top Juvenile Delinquent films of the 1950s and 1960s?
HIGH SCHOOL CAESAR (1960) – John Ashley, who was about as menacing as Ned Flanders, plays a bitter rich teenage punk who runs illegal operations at his high school like a junior version of organized crime. The title is a reference to Little Caesar, the gangster movie with Edward G Robinson.
Ashley’s JD character peddles the answers to exams, rigs school elections and bilks money from his classmates. All of this is played so seriously you will die laughing. There’s also the obligatory Drag Race and OF COURSE someone dies while drag racing. My Bad Movie page has a full-length review of this one if you’re interested.
SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROCK! (1956) – In this hilarious movie Rock and Roll music is blamed for the Juvenile Delinquency epidemic of the 1950’s. Not only does one particularly irrational city ban rock music completely but it puts the local rock DJ on trial!
They hold him accountable for the vandalism and other JD activities that hit the town because, by their logic, the “wild” music he played CAUSED the teenagers to commit their crimes. This is Continue reading