Simon, King of the Witches (1971)

The explanations I’ve read on online for “Simon, King of the Witches” insist that the obscure Andrew Prine movie is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s strictly dark comedy. But then you watch one of the most nonsensical unnecessary opening monologues ever filmed, and wonder if the writer himself was high while creating this genre confused tedious mess. “I really am one of the few true magicians,” Simon insists in the prologue, while declaring his affinity for magic, and aspirations to be a god. It is then followed by the man being arrested for vagrancy while being hulled away from his home: a sewer.

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The Poison Ivy Collection [Blu-Ray]

For all three of you fans of the “Poison Ivy” movie series wondering when we’d finally see all four of the films from the series on Blu-Ray, Shout Factory finally brings it to us with extras and restorations. Truth is I’m eagerly awaiting the “Devil in the Flesh” duology on Blu-Ray (Sidenote: Do you think anyone has the balls to release the entire “Wild Things” saga?), but for now we have this neat box set of some of the best worst erotic trash that’s ever been brought to movie fans from Warner bros. And just in time for Valentine’s Day and Women in Horror Month, too! You can ogle a pre-career renaissance Drew Barrymore, or up and comer Jaime Pressly, or a post-“Degrassi” Miriam McDonald.

There’s no wrong option, is the bullet point of my explanation.

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Shorts Round Up for the Week (12/1/18)

Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In what we hope will become a new feature, “Shorts Round Up of the Week” is a column where we’ll be reviewing a round up of short films of varying quality.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.

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You Have to See This! Cool World (1992)

“Sweetheart, I’m the biggest ripped-off cartoonist in the history of the world, and that’s all I’m going to say.” – Ralph Bakshi

Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” is a movie without a specific audience in mind, and doesn’t seem to know who it’s appealing to. It’s too dark and adult to be considered another “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and much too juvenile to be taken as an adult film. I vividly remember collecting comic books as a kid and seeing full page ads for “Cool World” in every single issue I bought, and yet the movie clearly was not intended for a nine year old, and was too underground for teenagers. In a decade where everyone was trying to be Disney, I doubt many audiences were in the market for a dark erotic animated neo-noir satire involving an animated seductress trying to have sex with her creator so she can become a human.

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X-Rated Alley: Virtual Encounters 2 (1998), 42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 20 (DVD)

“Virtual Encounters 2” is from Surrender Cinema, one of Charles Bands’ sub labels that specialized in the type of movie you’d usually find on late night Fridays and Saturdays on Cinemax back in the nineties. It’s always a good sign when you enter in to a new movie and the first thing you see are a woman’s erect nipples. “Virtual Encounters 2” is the okay sequel to the okay original film. The sequel follows a new group of characters, setting down on two dorm mates at Midvale College. Mel has wet dreams about the girl of his dreams and is discovered by his roommate Sam who actually can score with women. Sam convinces Mel to attend an art class with nude models and Mel is shocked to see one of the nudes are the girl of his dreams.

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X-Rated Alley: The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page [Blu-Ray], 42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 19 (DVD)

In case you missed it, here’s what has happened so far in “The Peepshow Collection” movie series: The first nineteen volumes were filled with a lot of adult porn performers having sex, and engaging in general sexual acts. The next volumes will likely have those events unfold, too. Now that you’re caught up, for folks that value this kind of nostalgia and once thought lost series of stag films and porn theater shorts, “42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 19” from Impulse Pictures is back to the basics once again. As always the volume, which clocks in at almost two hours, is split in to man on girl, girl on girl, and basic shorts with orgies, threesomes and the like.

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Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.

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The Trouble with Terkel (2017)

An animated re-release/recycling of a hit Danish animated film, “The Trouble with Terkel” was released in 2004, and rather than remake the original animated movie, this new version is re-released with a new title, and a hastily recorded American dub was slapped on to the film. There’s no update to the animation, no re-editing, or anything of the sort. 2004 feels like a whole other century ago, so it’s not surprising “The Trouble with Terkel” watches like a painfully outdated mess. It also doesn’t help that the producers kept all of the country’s background signs and whatnot. So when our characters are in the candy store buying “Sukkerfryd Slik” with “Fedt Nuder!” it’s impossible to not get pulled out of the paper thin narrative.

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