The Bootleg Files: Murder in the Blue Room

BOOTLEG FILES 661: “Murder in the Blue Room” (1944 mystery-musical flick).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.


During the 1940s, Universal Pictures arguably produced the most entertaining films playing in American theaters. This is not to say that Universal had the most artistically extravagant or intellectually provocative output. But for sheer pleasure viewing, this scrappy little studio was aces when it came to noir, Westerns, jukebox musicals, cheesy horror and lowbrow comedies. Back in the day, nobody ever left a Universal film feeling bored.
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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

The best thing I can say about “Bohemian Rhapsody” is that it aims to become a surefire Oscar contender, and the only aspect deserving of an Oscar is Rami Malek (bad fake teeth and wigs be damned). If you have to absolutely see “Bohemian Rhapsody” see it for Rami Malek, whose portrayal of Freddie Mercury is heartfelt, sublime, and much too fantastic for a movie that’s pretty much a sanitized version of the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury. When you have a biopic of the group that’s been authorized by the surviving members and is PG-13, there’s only so much flexibility allowed, and Malek thankfully rises to the occasion. And then there’s the rest of the movie.

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Night Train to Terror (1985)

It’s not often I hear about a movie made before the nineties that took three unfinished films and cobbled them together to create an anthology movie, but here we are. “Night Train to Terror” is actually a pastiche of failed productions, with its three spooky tales actually re-edited and truncated remnants of films titled “Scream Your Head Off,” “The Dark Side to Love (aka Greta),” and “Cataclysm” You might think this would end up in a failed production, and a poorly constructed end product. And you’d be right “Night Train to Terror” is one of the top five worst anthology horror films ever made. It’s a film that constantly left me baffled, confused, bored, and muttering to myself “What the fuck is happening here?”

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Purple People Eater (1988)

“Purple People Eater” is a movie I vividly remember watching when I was a kid. I’d seen it on a fuzzy VHS tape from a local video store, and suffice to say I hated this movie when I was five, and I kind of hate it now. “Purple People Eater” is from the decade where studios either cribbed from “Gremlins” or “ET” in order to create their own kids oriented cash cow, and “Purple People Eater” is one of the laziest of a sub-genre consisting of “Mac and Me” and “Meatballs, Part II.”

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Funny Man (1994)

To say that Simon Sprackler’s “Funny Man” is a bizarre horror film is doing no justice. It is probably one of the most bizarre horror movies I’ve ever seen, and I’m sad to admit I’ve never heard of it until 2018. I’m usually very good about horror movies and slashers, but “Funny Man” jumped right over my head, and I was finally able to see it. I wasn’t so much entertained as I was genuinely baffled most of the time, and I’m not sure if that was a bad thing or not. It’s a good enough horror movie if you’re willing to accept it’s sheer insanity.

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Heavy Trip (Hevi Reissu) (2018)

While “Heavy Trip” may not be what we call horror in the conventional sense, Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s dark comedy musical has a lot of the DNA of a horror movie, right down to satanic worship, blood baths, and plenty of vomit. It’s not often you get to see an underdog tale of a band struggling to make it set to the tune of death metal, but Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio tap in to a distinct crowd that’s gone woefully overlooked. “Heavy Trip” will definitely stand out in the memory of their audience who are in the mood for something wholly unconventional but surprisingly crowd pleasing.

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Muppet Babies: Time to Play! (DVD)

Thirty years after the Muppet Babies made their cinematic debut, it’s been hard to imagine the Muppet franchise without them. They’ve become as big a fixture as their adult counterparts, and other properties have tried mimicking them to a lesser degree. “Baby Looney Tunes,” anyone? Remember “Tom and Jerry Kids” and “Flintstones Kids”? In either case, now with the eighties series in limbo, Disney Junior has revived the property for a new audience offering an educational adventure series with the Muppet Babies, and it’s a nice revamp.

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