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  • The Big Cube

    The Big Cube

    ★★

    Some cool crossover plot themes (gold-digger gaslighting via LSD!) with trippy hallucination sequences, and there are some cool wardrobes, but holy shit this has some horrible acting. It often feels like a bad, slow soap opera. Also, are we supposed to believe the main character is completely naïve about drugs and has a full-on accent because she went to school in Switzerland? The movie almost qualifies for so-bad-it’s-good status, but the slow pacing ultimately holds it back.

  • Deadwood: The Movie

    Deadwood: The Movie

    ★★★

    Solid acting and production (no surprise) and a much more satisfying cap to the series than the original finale. I don’t remember the dialogue being so full of 19th-century verbosity in the original show but that was more than 10 years ago so maybe my memory has just faded. In any case, even though they were technically speaking English, I had to turn on subtitles at one point to get any sense of what the hell people were talking about.

  • Chernobyl

    Chernobyl

    ★★★★★

    Bleak as fuck. Some of the best production work in recent memory. The filming, coloring, makeup, costumes, locations – everything contributes to an overall atmosphere that is profoundly grim. It feels like a film-based incarnation of brutalism: raw, spare, and gray.

    The acting is excellent (if you can get past the fact that all these eastern Europeans have British accents). Some characters like the miners or soviet administrators are a bit cartoonish, but I suppose some caricature and simplification is…

  • Mad Love

    Mad Love

    ★★★★

    Peter Lorre is perhaps the best actor that ever lived when it comes to portraying a creep. In some ways it’s a shame he was always typecast in such roles but it’s also understandable why. In this movie he’s next-level creepy, even when providing sincere charity work for children. So when he goes all in with the metal hands, neckbrace, maniacal laugh, etc, it feels fully twisted.

    One of the great things about Lorre’s character in this movie, however, is…

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    ★★★

    I’ll start this review with the disclaimer that I’m a big Godzilla fan and will probably go see any Godzilla movie in theaters even if it looks horrible.

    The storyline for this one is completely stupid. I want to like the whole idea of an eco-terrorism-themed monster movie, but the writing is completely horrible, filled with too many ridiculous plot holes to keep track of. Kyle Chandler’s performance is embarrassingly over-acted. There are so many monster fight scenes they end…

  • Mausoleum

    Mausoleum

    ★★★

    This movie is pretty weird and definitely fucked up. It falls squarely in the over-the-top, so-bad-it's-good category. The demon make-up is particularly out there – especially when the lady goes full evil and her boobs turn into little biting monsters.

  • One Dark Night

    One Dark Night

    ★★★★

    It takes a while for this to pick up steam, but the final act makes it all worth it! Tons of awesome practical effects, skin sliding off skulls, feet kicking into maggoty cadavers, dramatic lighting, coffins sliding out of wall crypts, shriveled undead feet sliding across the floor, etc, etc, etc. I have no idea how they were able to get permission to film this stuff in a real mausoleum.

    I was surprised to see Batman in a supporting role,…

  • The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

    The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

    ★★

    Even for a giallo flick, the plotlines of this are so convoluted it makes it hard to stay interested. There are some cool gothic and occult elements, but mostly it feels like something written while it was being filmed.

    Cool poster though!

  • The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

    The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

    ★★★

    A textbook giallo, with tons of melodramatic depravity, served with a subtle gothic twist thanks to the German setting. As with most gialli, the plot is convoluted as all hell, but that’s part of the fun. This one is super stylish: a large part of the story revolves around a fashion studio so there are plenty of hip outfits, plus lots of cool coloring, framing, interior decoration, and small European cars.

    Even though it’s only shown briefly, the mask of the murderer is creepy as fuck, and one scene with rats pouring out of pipes is the stuff of nightmares.

  • The Initiation of Sarah

    The Initiation of Sarah

    ★★★

    This could have been titled Carrie Goes to College.

    It’s pretty underwhelming as far as horror goes, but is still somewhat entertaining as a ’70s college flick. It’s also a relatively rare example of a genre film from that era that passes the Bechdel Test with ease (even if it fails in other measures of gender representation).

  • Death by Invitation

    Death by Invitation

    I love the theme of a badass feminist witch coming back to wreak havoc on her oppressor’s bloodline, but – wow – this movie really drops the ball on all that. Except for one notable (if odd) monologue scene, the vast majority of this feels like watching paint dry. It’s not entirely clear if the slowness is supposed to be an intentionally arty, contemplative thing or if it’s just horrible editing, but either way it was a chore to get through.

  • Devils of Darkness

    Devils of Darkness

    ★★★★

    A classic satanic flick that feels a lot like something Hammer would have produced. The plot is fairly typical for the genre, but unfolds with good pacing. As with many British horror films from the 1960s, the execution is done well, with cool ritual scenes, gothic scenery, and decent acting. It was also cool to have a sprinkle of mod Britain thrown in the mix.