Friday, January 13, 2017

Death Race 2000

Date of Release: 1975
Director: Paul Bartel
MPAA Rating: R

In a dystopian America, the national sport is "The Transcontinental Death Race." This event is a brutal game where drivers get points for running over innocent people. The most famous racer of them all is Frankenstein, whom is a very mysterious man that has a face unknown to everyone except his navigator Annie. Throughout, a resistance attempts to kill the drivers, in order to have the race abolished in the future.

The film was produced by cinema legend Roger Corman, it was directed by Paul Bartel, and it stars David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Simone Griffieth, and Sandy McCallum.

"Death Race 2000" is a simple film on the surface. It looks and feels like a campy comedy, and it will fill you with laughter on many occasions. But like "South Park," this humor is used to entertain viewers while portraying deep political messages. As brutal and unnecessary the violence may seem, it all is used appropriately to show what the world will become if we let a totalitarian government take over. It also shows the hypocrisy of the resistance, because they kill to stop killing. All of this is successfully portrayed with great direction by Bartel, wonderful acting by the leads, and the supporting actors that perform as the spectators, because their obsession with the race satirically shows how desensitized the people of the world have become. This film is endlessly interesting, and it has great rewatch value.

Overall, there isn't really anything to dislike about "Death Race 2000." It is a hilarious and extremely effective film that proves to be a great example of the golden age of exploitation films. I highly recommend this movie to any fans of cinema, because it is a gem that should never be forgotten.

Grade: 10/10

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Release Date: 1980
Director: William Lustig
MPAA Rating: R

A man that was deranged by abuse throughout his childhood now enjoys the hobby of killing and scalping beautiful women.

The movie was written by its lead actor Joe Spinell, and also stars Caroline Munro as Anne.

Watching "Maniac," I was blown away by the storyline, Spinell's performance, and the gore effects by the master Tom Savini. The movie captured a realism that was the main ingredient of why it is an extremely terrifying film. The character of Frank Zito is one that is as disturbed as Travis in "Taxi Driver," but we only gradually learn why he is so messed up. He is a character that could absolutely exist in the real world, and just thinking that someone so sadistic could lurk around the streets of Earth is horrifying. What really brings out the depth in his character is the fact that he gets extremely upset after every time he kills. This shows that he is truly a maniac, like the title suggests, because he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he is never going to stop. Back to Savini's effects though. There have been many projects that he has impressed me with, whether it was "Dawn of the Dead," "Creepshow," "The Burning," etc, but this one may have taken the cake for me. The blood and gore looked disgustingly real to me, and there were multiple scenes that had me cringing. There was one scene that almost made my head explode(pun intended). If there's anything that this movie will be remembered for in a hundred years, it will definitely be Savini's contributions. The one other thing that I loved about the movie was the suspense that graced many scenes of the film. Lustig was very smart in the way that he made any scenes of horror very slow and unpredictable, because even though the audience could guess that something bad was about to happen, it was very hard to track down when it was going to happen. This personally kept me on the edge of my seat frequently, which is what I love about horror movies. The main flaw with the film is that there were plot holes that had me wishing for more. For instance, where was Frank getting all of these mannequins? Other than that, this movie was pretty great in my eyes, and is one of the better in the slasher genre.

"Maniac" is a movie that stands the test of time, because it doesn't hold back at all, and gives a realistic look of a seriously disturbed man. I definitely recommend this to any fans of the horror genre, but it is definitely not for anyone with a weak stomach.

B-Movie Grade: 8/10

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Room

Promotional poster for the film.

Release Date: 2003
Director: Tommy Wiseau
MPAA Rating: R

"The Room" tells the tragic story of the love triangle between Johnny, Lisa, and Marc. Johnny and Lisa are soon to be newlyweds, and Marc is his best friend. When Lisa begins to seduce Marc, the relationships of them all become doomed, and their lives will never be the same.

The film stars Tommy Wiseau as Johnny, Greg Sestero as Marc, Juliette Danielle as Lisa, Philip Haldiman as Denny, and Carolyn Minnot as Claudette.

When reviewing "The Room," it is important to remember that the film is widely known to be the worst movie ever made. With that in mind, it is also one of the most entertaining cinematic experiences I have ever had. It has laughably terrible writing and acting, especially because of the mere existence of Tommy Wiseau. This man is one of the most gifted failures of all time, because even though his initial vision was nonexistent in the content of this film, a true masterpiece of b-movie crap was created. This film also has some of the most quotable dialogue in movie history. Lines like "Lisa you're tearing me apart," "Johnny is my best friend," "Oh hi Marc," "I did not hit her, that is bullshit, I did not, I did not," etc will forever be stuck in my head, and they are so fun to use on friends. So while this film is barely redeemable in terms of quality, it will brighten your day like nothing else.

If you are a lover of cinema, you must watch "The Room." It is truly the canon of bad movies, and it is just great to be able to bond with other people about the film.

B-Movie Grade: 11/10

Monday, September 26, 2016

RIP Herschell Gordon Lewis(1929-2016)

Today I found out on Facebook that Herschell Gordon Lewis passed away. He was 87 years old, and he departed peacefully in his sleep. A legend of horror/exploitation filmmaking, Lewis' works will always have a fond place in mine and many hearts.

Some of the famous works of Lewis' career were "The Wizard of Gore," "Blood Feast," "Two Thousand Maniacs," "Color Me Blood Red," and my personal favorite "The Gore Gore Girls." Each of these films tested the boundaries(and stomachs) of audiences, and they paved a new way for gore in entertainment. 

This tribute to Lewis is longer than a lot of my other articles about departed celebrities, and this is because of my love for his movies, and the fact that I once had the opportunity to interview him for this site. I was so grateful that him and his producer James Saito allowed me to conduct my article, and I will always remember it. 

Rest in peace Herschell, you'll always be a legend. 

Friday, May 6, 2016


Director: Ted Nicolaou
MPAA Rating: R

An evil vampire named Radu steals a powerful treasure called "The Bloodstone," which has an endless supply of blood, and his father and brother must stop him and his little minions "The Subspecies." Unfortunately, this is a hard task to complete, and the entire town is now at risk of being terrorized by the villains.

The movie stars Anders Hove as Radu, Angus Scrimm as the King, Irina Movilla as Mara, Laura Mae Tate as Michele, Michelle McBride as Lillian, and Michael Watson as Stefan. 

Being a Full Moon direct-to-video film from the 1990's, I did not have the highest standards for the quality of "Subspecies." I just wanted the typical B-Movie fun that I love. Luckily, I got that, and a whole lot more. This underrated gem features one of the coolest and freakiest vampires of all time(Radu), some amazing makeup and gore effects, wonderful stop animation by Dave Allen, and a very interesting story. I felt like the acting was hit or miss, with Hover being out of this world, but the girls being mediocre at times. The overall tone of the movie was outstanding, because it was like an amped up version of gothic classics like "Black Sunday." This was possible because of the beautiful filming location of Romania, the classical score, the mysterious cinematography, and suspenseful pacing. I thought that the ending was magnificent, because I was on the edge of my seat in excitement. There really wasn't anything that bad about the movie, outside of small flaws like acting that don't matter much for this kind of film. 

I totally recommend "Subspecies" to all fans of low budget cinema, because it is one of the finest of its kind. It is a top notch vampire flick, horror film, and movie in general. It will be a very enjoyable watch for all those interested, and I promise it will not disappoint. 

Grade: 9.5/10

Puppet Master(1989)

Director: David Schmoeller
MPAA Rating: R

"Puppet Master" tells the haunting story of a group of psychics that are tormented by murderous puppets, while they are investigating the hotel of their recently deceased colleague. 

The movie stars Paul LeMat as Alex, William Hickey as Andre, Irene Miracle as Dana, Jimmie F. Skaggs as Neil Gallagher, Robin Frates as Meghan, and Matt Roe as Frank. 

This Charles Band classic is a very fun installment of the horror genre. Being the first film of Full Moon Picture, it is cheesy with its low budget stop motion effects, which adds to its charm. There is some shocking scenes of gore and violence, the acting is very well done, and the overall story is creative and neat. Each of the puppets had their own personality, which made their characterization very successful. Their weapons of choice were also very unique. The conclusion was also super suspenseful, and extremely fulfilling for fans of this category of cinema. The only thing that I wish was different is that the first half should've have been paced a little better, because it was dry at times. 

Overall, I highly recommend "Puppet Master" to fans of B-Movies and horror flicks. It is a very enjoyable and well made film, and it will not disappoint. 

Grade: 8/10

Friday, April 8, 2016

Day Of Anger(1967)

Theatrical Poster

Director: Tonino Valerii
Rating: M

"Day of Anger" is a Spaghetti Western film that tells the story of Scott Mary. Mary is a poor "bastard" that cleans the streets of his town Clifton. He is constantly bullied by everyone, until he meets Frank Talby. Talby is known to be one of the greatest gunmen ever, and Mary instantly begins to admire him. After saving Talby's life, Mary is taken under his wing to teach him to be the best at gun-fighting.  What Mary doesn't know is Talby's real motives, and no matter how much people warn him, he does not listen. A tale of betrayal and revenge then begins, making a climax one will never forget. 

The film stars Giuliano Gemma as Scott, Lee Van Cleef, Walter Rilla as Murph, and Christa Linder as Gwen. 

The Spaghetti Western genre has always been hit and miss for me, because there are the occasional movies that tell very powerful stories, and some that are just plain boring. Luckily, "Day of Anger" created a schema of what every Western should be. There was beautiful cinematography, wonderful scenes of action, engrossing characters, a grandiose and triumphant score by Riz Ortolani, and grit that will leave an impact on the viewer. I really love how the film balanced the action and story, because a lot of Westerns have too much of one of those, and not enough of the other. Also, the plot was much more than your typical "Cowboy flick," as it brought up themes of morality and corruption. I watched the hour and 53 minute Italian version of the movie, and while I believe it could have been a little shorter, there was not a moment that I was bored. 

Arrow Blu Ray Release

The copy of "Day of Anger" that I acquired was the Blu Ray/DVD set from Arrow Video. This three disc collection gives the viewer the definitive look at this film. On the Blu Ray disc, there is the original Italian version of the movie with option of Italian or English language, and there is also a shortened version that is only in English. All of these are available on the two DVD discs also included. The transfer for the film was absolutely beautiful, with a picture so clear that the movie didn't look its age, and the sound filled the air. The special features included are also good, with interviews with direct Tonino Valerii, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, and film critic/author Roberto Curti. Also featured is a deleted scene, trailers, a booklet by Howard Hughes, and a reversible sleeve with artwork approved by Reinhard Kleist.  This set is so worth the money, because it gives a full look at the movie, and truly does it justice. 

"Day of Anger" was a pleasant surprise in my movie watching, and I can honestly say its one of my new favorites in the Western genre. It is a very powerful and action packed flick, and it will not disappoint. Definitely check out this criminally underrated film, because it will blow you away.

Grade: 9.5/10
Blu Ray Grade: 10/10