I’ve come to appreciate “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” more and more over the years, as it’s managed to separate itself from the other vampire films in the sub-genre. While other of its ilk manage to flaunt the concept of the vampire without much substance, John Hancock and writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Lee Kalchiem take an opportunity here. Here, the monster is brilliant used as a means as a dread filled allegory for paranoia, fear of unraveling sanity, and our latent fear of infidelity.
There’s a ghoul in school! And “Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory” is one of the weirdest and darkest werewolf movies I’ve ever seen. It’s tough to believe a movie from the early sixties is filled with such dread, violence, and sexual implications that becomes the backdrop for the narrative. Despite being a werewolf movie, Paolo Heusch’s movie carries with it a lot of giallo vibes, focusing on a mostly obscured villain that stalks and strangles their victims. Although there is the stalk and chase of the sub-genre, Heusch relies on a whodunit mystery that feels much in the vein of Argento.
It’s too bad when you go in to a Troma movie and know that this isn’t them at their best. While you can kind of blame it on lack of funding, “Volume 2” of the “Nuke Em High” movie series leaves a lot to be desired and never quite sticks the landing in regards to its slew of sub-plots and sidebars. Director Kaufman spends a lot of the first twenty minutes of the movie catching us up to what went down in volume 1 (with the help of narration by the late Stan Lee) and this gives the movie a chaotic pacing that’s tough to focus on.
“Hot Dog… The Movie” is that film right at the end of the “Animal House” spectrum and the beginning of the “Police Academy” phenom, where every single work place or setting had its own wacky, madcap plot and array of cartoon characters. Most of the eighties were all about taking what worked and truing to copy its success. In the decade the followed, “Animal House” gave way to a large library of comedies (often teen based) that borrowed from its formula. Some of the titles were pure dreck and some of them were humongous gems. “Hot Dog… The Movie” is the absolute former.
I’d be lying if I said that I’m the biggest Scooby Doo fan around. Hell, I’m still stunned that Hanna Barbera has placed so much stock in the franchise for so many decades, but I digress. I had high hopes going in to “Scoob!” as every generation is introduced to Scooby Doo once again in some new form, and “Scoob!” seemed like the right avenue. Not only does it give us a new vision of Scooby Doo, but it makes tweaks to the mythos that I liked, while also establishing a shared Hanna Barbera universe. And yet, at the end of it all, I’d still rather have seen “Scooby Doo on Zombie Island” or “Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost,” again.
The idea of the cult movie and the birth of the cult phenomenon is a tricky concept that can’t be answered in one shot. While Danny Wolf approaches film fans with a three part feature length look at some of the best and most controversial cult films of all time, there isn’t a lot of examination of the cult film. Despite a round table of people like host Joe Dante, and guests John Waters, Kevin Pollak, and Illeana Douglas, “Time Warp” is a lot more a celebration of cult and indie films. If you want something more cerebral that discusses the whole idea and anomaly of cult films then you may probably want to look elsewhere.
I’m a big fan of the thought provoking documentaries that can usually be found on Turner Classic Movies, but every once in a while, I also adore documentaries that just celebrate the magic of film. “Time Warp” is a fun and insightful look at some of the all time greatest cult films, films that have helped shape the cinematic landscape. Before the internet age, cult films were often accidental. They were films that were usually born from word of mouth or crept up from the corners of studios and captured some sense of awe from the gradually growing fan base.
TNT undergoes a massive task with “Snowpiercer.” After coming to the big screen as a massively underrated and underseen 2013 science fiction masterpiece from Bong Joon Ho, their next phase is taking the graphic novels by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, and transforming it in to a weekly series that puts us on board the Snowpiercer once again. This series’ newest aim is to take us so much deeper in to the lore and world of Snowpiercer, as while the central setting is a train, it’s a massive train that houses its own ecosystems, as well as its own turmoil that threatens the entirety of the haul including the bubble that many passengers have built for themselves.