I’m a little under the weather so I’m just gonna phone this one in.
But I was doing my annual Paul Schrader marathon when I got to Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. A few thoughts: 1.) it’s a shitty movie but 2.) Vittorio Stararo was the DP?!!! How did that get past me?
And it’s such a shame that this film didn’t work because it is very much in line with the themes that occur throughout Schrader’s work. I haven’t bothered with the retooled Exorcist: The Beginning, but I’m glad Schrader stuck to his guns and at least attempted to make a cerebral film rather than make a run-of-the-mill horror. That’s what made the original Exorcist so interesting: director William Friedkin stated that it never occurred to him that he was making a “horror film” (he could be bullshitting though).
Schrader probably should have had a bigger say in the screenplay. Much of the introspective philosophical back-and-forth that, in my opinion, slightly bogged down The Last Temptation of Christ (which clashed with Martin Scorsese’s rather “extroverted” direction) would have been quite effective for Dominion. Additionally, the event that caused Father Merrin’s lack of faith should have been revealed later in the movie. And while there was some good stuff with the British colonial troops, I felt that there was no payoff for any of it.
(Plus the special effects REALLY sucked ass)
I also saw Touch for the first time. I don’t remember a damn thing about it other than Skeet Ulrich was in it.
Whatever happened to that guy? That dude was like, super fucking hot. Shouldn’t he have had a bigger career?
Were people disappointed to find out that he wasn’t Danish?
“I found him!” Allen Funt screamed through the torrential rain. It was our second day of hunting for the surprisingly evasive Mr. Shitz. The terrain in the sprawling forest proved to be formidable.
Archibald, shotgun in hand, ran towards Allen’s screams. Darla and myself weren’t far behind. “Where is he?” Archibald asked as he approached.
“Right there,” Allen said.
The butler looked down and was puzzled. “That’s just a hole in the ground,” Archibald replied.
Allen cocked his head. “But I thought that’s what this was,” Funt said, pointing to his ass.
Darla had enough. “This excursion is pointless!” she yelled. “Just let my father die naked and shitting himself in the woods, just as he wanted!”
Allen Funt seconded the notion.
Archibald tuned out the noise as he gazed into the woods ahead. “There,” he pointed.
Less than a 100 yards away was the majestic arctic fox. The creature contrasted like an apparition against the wet and drab forest. “Follow that fox,” Archibald ordered.
The butler proceeded forward while Darla and I followed in his footsteps. Allen Funt fell into the very hole he pointed out moments before.
“Help!” he screamed.
No one came to his aid.
We watched closely as the fox trotted forward a few feet. As the animal neared a meadow, a totally nude Mr. Shitz fell out of a tree and onto Darla’s shoulders. “Father!” she cried, but Mr. Shitz was delivering a rear naked chokehold, quite literally, as he was hanging on to her rear, he was naked, and had her a chokehold.
“Release her!” Archibald ordered.
Darla lost consciousness and fell to the ground. With an open shot, Archibald raised the shotgun and fired. But the spry Mr. Shitz dodged the shrapnel and disappeared into the shadows.
“Goddamn, he’s like the Vietcong,” Archibald said as he reloaded the shotgun.
“What are we going to do?” I asked.
“He’s too dangerous like this,” Archibald replied. “If you see him, kill him.”
Right then, Mr. Shitz swung around a tree and knocked Archibald out cold. The shotgun flew forward to my feet.
I kneeled down to pick up the weapon. But Mr. Shitz was close enough that I could see the rainwater dripping off his ballsack. I slowly picked up the shotgun and returned to my feet.
It was nearing dusk and the rain was falling harder. But the red in Mr. Shitz’s eyes pierced the dark through the booms of thunder and brilliant flashes of light.
I’m a completionist. I hate to give up on a film because it’s so shitty but that’s what happened while watching Abel Ferrara’s The Driller Killer. So take it from me, that film is only good for two things: reminding you 1.) that it must’ve sucked to have lived in NYC during the late 70s and 2.) first wave punk was GODAWFUL.
Thankfully, Tubi saved the day with two BANGERS, both with ‘skin’ in the title and both released in 1990.
Skinned Alive (1990)
I low-key loved this movie. So much so that I might add it to my Tubi Hall of Fame. It possesses many of the qualities I look for in a film, chiefly having a short runtime.
I almost certainly wasn’t the only one taken with the film. One of the many grotesque deaths bears a strong resemblance to Hitler’s death in Inglourious Basterds because Quentin Tarantino is a senseless hack (so am I, btw).
There’s also a striptease scene that made me absolutely sick to my stomach 👍
But what I find most charming about this movie is how it absolutely shits on the state of Ohio. Now I might’ve spent a grand total of 20 minutes in that state, but goddamnit, there’s something funny about that place.
What’s Skinned Alive about? Some insane family stops in a small town and raises hell. In case you couldn’t guess, this family skins people alive. Only a drunken, pathetic, ex-cop stands in their way.
The Reflecting Skin (1990)
I’m not sure that I would call this a ‘horror’ film, but I can see why many do. If you take the time to think about it, the story is absolutely terrifying and depressing.
An 8-year-old boy growing up somewhere in the midwest post-WWII gets verbally, emotionally, and physically abused while the bigoted police department investigate the deaths of local children. Meanwhile, the boy’s older brother, who’s probably dying from radiation poisoning, (and played by Viggo Mortensen), engages in a relationship with a woman that the boy believes to be a witch.
There’s no gore, few frightening images (worst of which is Viggo Mortensen’s ass cheeks), and no supernatural elements to speak of. So this might not satisfy all tastes. But it does have one thing going for it: NOTHING gets resolved and the movie ends with the boy screaming into the sunset.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of The Reflecting Skin. I had to turn to IMDB to find answers, and that’s when I found this review, written by an abuse psychologist who found this to be the “most accurate depiction of abuse” he/she/them has ever seen:
I’ve always wondered how well horror and drama would mix. The only well-known example of this would be The Exorcist. But much like We Are The Flesh, answers don’t come easy and what you find might be depressing AF.
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This was a STRONG week on Tubi. Right when I was about to give up (not just on Tubi, but on life in general) I got slapped across the face with three BANGERS.
This is why I say it takes a couple of decades after a film’s release before it can be properly critiqued. Audiences were probably pissed when they saw this in 2003. They probably discarded it as just another lame attempt at South Park-style humor, which many attempted, unsuccessfully, to emulate. But now, nearly 20 years later, Rectuma’s stupidity can be fully appreciated.
Just in case you forgot, I’ve taken a LOT of drugs. And as a result, my memory is nearly shot. So if you want an accurate plot summary, you’ll have to look elsewhere. But best I can recall, the story is about some schlubby dude who gets raped by a frog in Mexico and then he gets nuclear rods shoved up his rectum thus causing his ass to grow massive in size before it starts attacking LA. Plus his wife is trying to kill him.
In 2003, I was fully steeped in this low-brow, offensive, toilet humor (still kinda am, tbh). That was practically internet culture in those days. So watching this movie was like a walk down memory lane.
People forget, there was a time when “politically incorrect” humor (before it got relabeled as “anti-woke” humor 🤢) oddly lacked any political dimension whatsoever. Everyone laughed at it because it was after 9/11 and we all thought we would die soon anyway. Stuff like Rectuma was supposed to distract us from that horrible fact.
So to appreciate this movie, one must see it as an artifact of very early 21st Century life. It should be shown in colleges and history classes across the globe.
Both Monsturd and Rectuma were released in 2003 and were both seemingly filmed in Butte County, California. So I’m assuming there was some overlap in the productions of these two movies.
I don’t think Monsturd is quite of the same caliber as Rectuma, but I appreciate the effort nonetheless. The plot is simple: a gigantic, living turd -created by a mad scientist- terrorizes the citizens of a small community, and it’s up to the sheriff’s department to stop it.
Despite being the lesser of the two films, like peanut butter and chocolate, this goes well with Rectuma.
Deadbeat At Dawn(1988)
I saved the best for last. Outside of one Ouija Board scene, this really isn’t a “horror” film. But I’m glad, that in Tubi’s infinite wisdom, they recommended it.
Filmed on the mean streets of Dayton, Ohio, Deadbeat At Dawn is about one man’s revenge against rival gang members for killing his girlfriend. The final confrontation at a train station is simultaneously amateurish and utterly fucking brutal…and it concludes in the most satisfying way: the bad guy gets his throat ripped out (this was released a year before Road House, btw).
The violence in Deadbeat At Dawn is delightfully absurd, but the highlight of the movie is when, in his darkest hour, our hero goes from getting drunk to snorting coke to shooting up heroin before finally dropping acid. Self-destruction never looked more hilarious.
This is definitely one of the great underrated action films of the 80s.
Have you ever taken a long, painful shit and didn’t have anything to read? Or have you ever sat in a jail cell overnight (because you had one too many drinks and made a fool of yourself at Applebee’s, of course) and thought “if I only had something strange and unusual to read while I wait to make bail”?
Well this wouldn’t be a problem for you if you’ve ever ordered from Dead Star Press, dummy!
I’m sure Italy is a wonderful place: nice people, delightful food and wine, rich history, beautiful scenery, etc, etc. But ‘giallo’ films and Italian horror as a whole…I’ll just say they make me absolutely sick.
And I think I know why:
Now Caligula can’t be considered ‘giallo’ OR horror, but it might as well be. If you recall, that film absolutely scared the shit out of me as a kid and I never quite recovered. So my response to Italian horror is similar to having alcohol poisoning: if you get it once by drinking vodka, you can’t quite stomach vodka again. The Italian style of tight closeups, zooms, disorienting music and editing, and fixation on gore and nudity just make me a little queasy.
But I have a job to do. And that job is to watch EVERY cheapass horror film on Tubi. That includes the filmography of the legendary Lucio Fulci. So I started at the worst possible place:
A Cat in the Brain.
The movie forced me to do some research while I was watching it, largely because I had no idea what the fuck was going on. Fulci plays the lead: himself as a film director that’s slowly becoming disturbed by a movie he’s making. As we watch him descend into madness, we’re shown random clips from prior films, almost as if this movie was thrown together in the most halfassed way possible.
A Cat in the Brain was produced towards the end of Fulci’s distinguished career, so there’s no telling where he was mentally. But I’ll say this: Fulci did a much better job of cobbling together this Frankenstein of a movie than Godfrey Ho did for Robo Vampire.
I neglected to mention that A Cat in the Brain is considered a “comedy” (thus deploying the “covering your ass” method over decade before Tommy Wiseau did for The Room). Maybe the humor went over my head, but I was too petrified watching some guy beat his wife’s face off to laugh.
You needn’t worry though, because this movie has a happy ending: a disgusting Fulci sails off into the sunset with a bikini-clad woman that’s at least a third his age.
I hated A Cat in the Brain. But Fulci fans love it. Just check out the reviews at IMDB.
After watching that shitshow I needed a palate cleanser. That’s when I found the 1984 Wings Hauser and Bo Hopkins (RIP) classic , Mutant.
Perhaps calling Mutant a ‘classic’ is a bit of a stretch, yet despite its lackluster script, it is competently made. It’s a story we’ve seen a thousand times before: strangers roll into town, weird things happen, everyone turns into zombies, heroes save the day in the most ham fisted way, blah blah blah.
Of course, none of the character archs pay off. Least of all Bo Hopkins’, the alcoholic town sheriff with a dark past. Nevertheless, Hauser and Hopkins’ performances carry the day, ALMOST to the point where you don’t feel cheated out of your time or money.
Actually, I just LOVE saying ‘Wings Hauser’. It sounds like Wings of Desire, the 1987 Wim Wenders film. Then I imagine Wings Hauser being in Wings of Desire and it makes me happy. His might be my most favorite name of anyone who has ever had a name.
I’m starting to really scrape the barrel of Tubi. I’ve probably seen every horror film from the 80s offered. So I might have to dip into some 90s and 2000s stuff soon.
This goes against my longstanding theory that it takes at least 30 years after the movie’s release before we can actually appreciate and judge its merits. Clearly I violated that policy by reviewing We Are The Flesh last week, but I only did that because I’m a disgusting pervert.
Yet, I have a duty to perform. And that duty is to find terrible and/or forgotten movies. I have to do what must be done.
The only thing of note I watched this week was a Dario Argento-produced joint called The Church. Really the only part that stuck out was it’s Philip Glass-inspired soundtrack. At one point, a woman is smashed to bits by a train to that inspiring score. If you’re a fan of Argento or Italian horror, this might be up your alley. Otherwise, fuck it.
The other film is Crawlspace starring Klaus Kinski.
Apparently this film has some notoriety, which I was unaware of when I started watching it. There’s even a short film called Please Kill Mr. Kinski that discusses the making of this movie.
Allegedly, Kinski was so disruptive on the set that the filmmakers tried to have him fired. Supposedly, a producer tried to have him killed (which wouldn’t be the first time someone tried to kill Kinski on a film set). The actor himself caught wind of this and became more disruptive.
But what about the movie itself? Is it any good?
Eh. It’s well made, I’ll say that much. Russian Roulette plays a big part in the story. And I give it bonus points for being really short.
But despite Kinski’s antics behind the scenes, he’s kinda subdued in a role about a Nazi doctor that rents out apartment rooms to unsuspecting women. Maybe I’m just used to watching Kinski be so insane that I forget that he was also an actor.
So what if you came across some information about an alleged “horror” movie which featured unsimulated sex between two adult actors who were, by the way, playing siblings…AND this film happens to be on Tubi?
Would you go “nah I’m good?”
Would you say “yup, that sounds right up my ally”?
Be honest now, God’s watching.
Unfortunately this movie hit me at the right time. Not because of the sibling fucking and rock hard penises (and some vagina) throughout, but because the film’s subject matter appears to be “truth” itself.
What’s We Are The Flesh about? I honestly don’t know. Click the link above if want to find out more. It’s a Mexican film. I didn’t watch it with subtitles on. And I don’t speak Spanish. 🤷♂️ Plus I’ve got a terrible memory.
Nevertheless, I think it got its point across, which makes it a success in my book.
As the review above stated, it will draw comparisons to other movies in the “shock film” genre, but it lacks a little less punch. That might come as a disappointment to horror film buffs, but I think this was done deliberately.
In fact, the movie concludes (if my memory is correct) with someone getting up from a completed orgy, leaving the set, and walking out onto a normal busy street.
I’m assuming that person was meant to be “us”…the audience…just getting up and leaving the theater then going about our normal day after watching an hour and 15 minutes worth of people fucking and occasionally killing/raping on a very claustrophobic set.
I don’t recall the violence being particularly brutal, at least compared to other films in this genre, but the sex, of course, was. At one point, we’re just staring at a bare vagina and anus and then a penis and ballsack.
But as the review pointed out, we’re being forced to ask ourselves if there’s any artistic merit to any of this.
“Sounds pretentious,” you might say. And I agree. But the film is slapping you across the face with this question…because you’re staring at a penis and vagina for a GOOD 30 seconds each…almost as if it’s a commentary on filmmaking itself!
When it comes to the finer philosophical points to the film, I’ll defer to the review, as it explains them in far better detail than I ever could. But this movie really did break my mind.
I’ve never seen any film…or any piece of art PERIOD (except for a piece of long fiction that I recently completed, which I might go into detail about at a later time)….say SO much while simultaneously saying absolutely NOTHING.
When a movie informs you that it’s a Shapiro-Glickenhaus production, you’re in for a ride. And Black Roses did not disappoint.
I’ve always been intrigued by the psychological/political dimensions of the 80s. Poltergeist kind of touches on this in the most subtle way, how family dynamics were altered during this decade. Black Roses picked up on this concept and ran with it.
The film shines a spotlight on the contradictions within Reagan-era politics: parents being appalled yet titillated by youth culture (and a complete lack of awareness that these tensions exist). The story of Black Roses centers on some “heavy metal” band coming to small town USA and corrupting its youth. The youth become demon-possessed and start killing their parents. Only a mustached English teacher stands in their way.
Of course, the band is entirely blamed for the “corruption”. Despite the shitty parenting throughout, the adults never once ask themselves: “are we to blame?”. But I guess parenting styles in the 1980s didn’t include things like paying attention to your children. Additionally, because parents were unable to take responsibility for themselves, we now have “culture wars”…which stem back to this decade…on which adults can use as a scapegoat for why they have shitty children.
Now I’m probably giving the filmmakers WAY to much credit for this analysis. They probably just wanted to show rock n’ roll and boobs with a few demons thrown in for good measure. But all good art is a reflection on the time it was produced. And Black Roses certainly pulls back the curtain on Reagan’s America.
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: I am to Tubi what raccoons are to trash. So if Tubi puts something up there to watch, by God I’m watching it and leaving a godawful mess while I’m at it.
Why though? Why would one put themselves through pointless agony?
I’ll tell you why: Mindkiller and Night Vision.
Before you read this, you probably never heard of either of those films. But now you have. So I’m providing a FREE public service: finding overlooked gems before they are totally and completely forgotten. I’m a historian, this is what I do.
Both films were directed by Michael Krueger and both…according to IMDb…were released in 1987. Unfortunately, Krueger died in 1990, presumably leaving both films to lie in obscurity until their resurrection into the public consciousness by Tubi.
You might think I’m being facetious over my praise of Krueger’s work, but I assure you, I genuinely enjoyed both movies. Sure, they might look like cheap after-school specials…the sound editing is particularly atrocious in Mindkiller…but a few technical issues aside, aspiring filmmakers should take note: where you lack a budget, you can make up for with heart.
As you all know, I have a horrible memory. So I don’t recall too many plot details. But Mindkiller, roughly, is about a dork librarian who reads some outlandish shit and he begins to control minds. I think. He then begins to control the mind of his love interest, played convincingly by Shirley Ross as a strait laced librarian.
Ross then flips the script for Night Vision, also as the love interest, as she plays a street wise video clerk showing her boyfriend the ropes. The streets of Denver have never looked so mean. Remember, this was the 80s, before all the hipsters moved in and gentrified the place. But supposedly Night Vision is also a horror film. I think a VCR is demon possessed or something. While I don’t remember being scared, I do remember being taken in by the film’s earnestness and Ross’ performance.
It’s a shame that Krueger didn’t have a longer career. But I am thankful for what we did get.
As we celebrate this nation’s independence while an unelected US Supreme Court does it’s damage, I’d like to discuss the British film Unmasked Part 25.
It’s been a a couple of weeks since I wrote about my journey through the dumpster that is Tubi’s horror catalog. It’s not because I haven’t been watching any films, it’s because none of them have been worth writing about.
That is until I came across Unmasked Part 25.
An important question this movie asks is: what if Jason Vorhees was just a normal guy in need of a romantic companion? And the movie follows through with that question in earnest.
As usual with these types of films, not all of the jokes land. And while it’s competently shot and lit, the sets look super cheap.
But the performances are pretty good. The actors are assisted by a solidly written screenplay and dialogue. Obviously this film was meant to be tongue in cheek, but you’ll probably be more emotionally invested than what you were expected to be.
Honestly, the script is better than it had any business being.
As for the gore, there’s a decent amount of it. Most of it is front loaded in the opening act, but those are some pretty good killings tbh.
So if your family has abandoned you for Fourth of July, you should check out this small and unusual film.