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  • Carny

    Carny 1980

    ★★★★ Rewatched 15 May, 2012

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    A project originated by director Robert Kaylor (who had previously helmed the documentary DERBY and the underrated, black & white short MAX-OUT, both of which were recently released to DVD by Code Red) and The Band’s Robbie Robertson, CARNY is a movie that received lukewarm reviews upon its original release, subsequently flopping at the box office, never to be heard from again. Which is a shame, as there’s much to admire here, not least the fantastic ensemble cast: alongside headliners Robertson…

  • Chain Gang

    Chain Gang 1984

    ★★½ Added 1

    Once a fairly notorious z-flick producer and studio head during 1970s and ‘80s, North Carolina’s Earl Owensby (dubbed both ‘the redneck Roger Corman’ and ‘Dixie DeMille’) seems to have since been all but forgotten in this digital age: to my knowledge, apart from HYPERSPACE aka GREMLOIDS (which Vipco released several years ago), none of his cheapjack genre epics have so far made it to DVD (although a few can be bought direct from Owensby's own website).

    His brand of low-tech,…

  • Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

    Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel 2011

    ★★★½ Added 7

    Overall, CORMAN'S WORLD is a solid documentary charting the career of a genuine movie maverick, but there are a few issues that stopped the film from being all that it could be:

    Undoubtedly, the biggest thrill was hearing Jack Nicholson talk at length about his pre-EASY RIDER exploitation career, something I've never previously heard him do. For once, Julie Corman and Gene Corman are given their due and Scorsese is also as eloquent as ever, but then he has never…

  • Crawlspace

    Crawlspace 1985

    ★★★★ Added 2

    It took four years for David Schmoeller to climb back into the directorial chair following the critical drubbing he received for what was supposed to be his 'breakthrough' picture, the 1982 Razzie nominee The Seduction. Instead, the only work Schmoeller could find in the wake of his much maligned stalker pic was the overseeing of New World's Warriors of the Wind, a re-dubbed, re-edited bastardisation of Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki's earlier animated opus Kaze no tani no Naushika. But…

  • Enemy Territory

    Enemy Territory 1987

    ★★★★ Added 6

    Before we begin, it must be stated that Peter Manoogian's 1987 urban survival pic ENEMY TERRITORY most resembles an unsophisticated, scrappy late-1970s AIP rip-off of John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976); even the closing credits cue from old-school rap crew The Boogie Boys contains none-too-subtle allusions to Carpenter's seminal synth scores for both ASSAULT and HALLOWEEN (1978). Now, to some reviewers higher of brow than myself, this would no doubt be considered harsh criticism, but to this old hack…

  • Gothic

    Gothic 1986

    ★★★ Added

    Another movie in my long line of 'films I should have seen by now but didn't because there always seemed to be something better to watch', I recently got around to viewing Ken Russell's much-maligned literary chiller via MGM's UK DVD release.

    Now, I must confess that the first half-hour of this film is almost comically bad in places, particularly with regard to the clunky dialogue that the poor leads are forced to spout (Byron & Shelley were literary geniuses; needless…

  • I Want What I Want

    I Want What I Want 1972

    ★★★½ Added

    To be perfectly honest, I recently purchased Scorpion’s R1 DVD of I WANT WHAT I WANT as I quite fancied laughing into my sleeve at some 1970s Brit-kitsch, and the thought of scene after scene of a suburban, bell-bottomed transvestite swishing around the Woolworths pick 'n' mix was just too much to resist. But this 1972 obscurity from John Dexter (director of the sorely underrated THE VIRGIN SOLDIERS (1969)) turned out to be a far more sober affair than I…

  • The Dead Mountaineer Hotel

    The Dead Mountaineer Hotel 1979

    ★★★★ Added

    Wow, quite an experience... an Estonian sci-fi detective flick from 1979, THE DEAD MOUNTAINEER'S HOTEL is a truly stylish, atmospheric and near-hypnotic movie with a fantastic soundtrack that veers between atonal synthesised noodlings and cracking, tripped out prog-rock.

    DMH also appears to point the way to Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER (released three years later) through the way it approaches 'neon noir'. The DVD I have from Tallinnfilm seems to be rather grainy and murky, but maybe the original print was…

  • Vicious Lips

    Vicious Lips 1986

    ★★½ Added 40

    Hard to imagine today, but following the $39 million box-office bonanza of his debut movie (the okayish-in-a-better-than-HAWK-THE-SLAYER-kind-of-way SWORD AND THE SORCERER (1982)), director Albert Pyun was a hot property in Hollywood for around 10 to 15 minutes during the early 1980s. Following his surprise smash for Brandon Chase’s Group 1, Pyun was swiftly snapped up by the De Laurentiis Group to helm the likeable but alarmingly erratic, post-nuke noir RADIOACTIVE DREAMS (1985). However, both films would prove perhaps the pinnacle…