Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE WILD BUNCH (1969) - Cinematic Trauma

I recently recorded a guest spot on the excellent podcast Cinema PSYOPS to discuss one of my favorite movies - THE WILD BUNCH. But the format of this particular podcast isn't tied to talking about movies you love. No, no! The idea is to talk about movies that you saw at far too young and age for the content or tone to be healthy. Exploring the often self-inflicted cinematic trauma of childhood is a ripe topic and hosts Cort and Matt do a great job of digging into why and how when quizzing their guests.

When they graciously asked if I'd be willing to participate I was thrilled and knew immediately what movie to discuss because the screen magic of Peckinpah's grandest work is something I could talk about any day of the week. Of course, what disturbed me about THE WILD BUNCH when I was a lad is no longer what gives me tsursi as an adult viewer. I had a blast on their show going through this brilliant film and it was a lot of fun to really compare notes with friends about a movie so good on so many levels. But there is the problem for a lunatic like me - I had so much fun I forgot to talk about dozens of the ideas bouncing around inside the film. I never mentioned the old vs. new theme, the concept of the regrets of middle age and its attendant creeping fear of obsolesce, the problems of maintaining an ethical code in a complex world and what is means to betray and be betrayed. Nope! I talked about the things that messed me up when I was a kid!

As you might expect, when I was younger it was the obvious stuff that made me go wide eyed. The violence and callous disregard for other humans laced with bloody violence shocked and stunned me. But now that I'm older and watching the film those things don't disturb me nearly as much as watching what seems to be positioned just to the side of that violence almost all the time - the children. In every major action sequence expect the train robbery Peckinpah goes out of his way to show children put in harm's way by the violence around them. And then the final shot that kills Pike is fired by a child playing at war. It's this running theme that bothers me these days and it's a much more troublesome concern. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Some of these I do NOT understand! 
Of course, this is the film we'll be covering next on The Bloody Pit podcast! Join us.....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ray Milland Extols the Virtues of Schlitz circa 1959!

I have a mild fascination with old celebrity TV commercials that advertise products of questionable morality or respectability. Not that beer is immoral but I see these commercials and always think of Fred Flintstone hawking cigarettes! By the way- in the above clip watch to the end to see how certain terms have changed over time! Whew!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Brief Thoughts - NIGHTFLYERS (1987)

I'm going to have to find a copy of George R. R. Martin's source short story to discover if there was anything coherent in the original idea for this film's script.

Let me back up.

I have been aware of NIGHTFLYERS (1987) for decades but have never sought it out because the few opinions I had heard were negative. The other day someone on Facebook mentioned it as one of those 'how can it not be on DVD yet' titles and my interest was rekindled. So, a few taps later I sat down to finally see this somewhat lost science fiction horror effort adapted from the writing of one of my favorite writers.

Oh, god! I was initially  heartened to see that the film's run time was a short 90 minutes which made me think it was going to be a quick blast of genre fun. Oh, my, no. This is one of the slowest, most draining movie experiences I have had in a long time. On multiple occasions during that sad hour and a half I felt myself start to drift away and had to stand up, move around and refocus my attention just to stay awake! This is easily one of the most boring SF movies I have ever seen and I have seen some pretty terrible stuff. I have watched ALL of the original runs of Battlestar Galactica AND Galactica 1980, so I know boring, tedious SF, people. This is worse than those! I kept trying to follow the thread of the story but it's so poorly related and crappily staged that there were times I forgot that there was a reason these characters were talking to each other or doing things. And by the end (oh, blessed ending!) of this mess I realized that the story had deteriorated so much that the film didn't even bother to finish the damned thing! The instigating plot revolves around a group of people recruited by a professor to venture into intergalactic space and seek out the location of an alien race....or something like that. It's all fuzzy now, just like the film's very 1980's diffused photography. Seriously, watching this movie is like watching a play through a fogbank.

But enough about this deadly dull film except to say that if anyone out there is an actual fan of NIGHTFLYERS please contact me in the comments below. I want to know what you see in this thing other than 'it's not available on DVD'. If I ever need to get to sleep I have my problem solved! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Darwyn Cooke 1962-2016

In so many ways it feels like he was just getting started. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Have I seen this movie? - LAND OF DOOM (1986)

A few weeks back  I had the DVR grab this post-apocalyptic flick because I wanted the chance to revisit it now that - for some reason best left unexplored - MGM has mastered it in HD for their cable channel. I knew I had watched this one in some bootleg/VHS rip form at some time in the past but my memories were vague enough to be a little excited to check it out - again. 

But now I've watched it and I have to confess that I'm confused. Not by the film itself which is terrible in every way that a 1980's low budget sand & motorcycle exploitation movie can be. No- I'm confused because I'm pretty sure I have seen this sucker but while watching it I have no memories of anything I'm seeing. Not to say that the film is at all unique in it's imagery, story, characters, setting, action, dialog or any other aspect of filmmaking that you care to name. In fact, it is so damned generic in every respect that, for a fan of the post ROAD WARRIOR sub-genre, it is almost the cinematic equivalent of wallpaper. Nothing stands out about it. Nothing. It's a terrible movie but it oozes across the mind's eye and then evaporates, leaving only the faint idea of a film in it's wake. Strange. 

So, I'm not sure if I have ever watched this awful piece of crap before but now I know I have. Consider this my marker for future questions about it.