Thursday, January 8, 2015

William's Wacky Winding Down of 2014

Wow, another year gone by and the only thing I have to show for it is my millions…of hours wasted watching bad movies.  My total was 274, down from last year's total of 289. 219 were films I had never seen before and 55 were revisits.  Here’s a quick breakdown of some things I watched.

First film seen in 2014: NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR (2013)
Last film seen in 2014: PUPPET MASTER 5 (1994)
Films seen in theaters: 5 (matching last year's all time low for me)
Best film seen theatrically: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014)
Worst film seen theatrically: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014)
Biggest surprise: SCREAM BLOODY MURDER (1973), ESCAPE PLAN (2013), and THE MACHINE (2013)
Biggest letdown: LEGENDARY (2013) and RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH (2013)
Oldest film seen: SAFE IN HELL (1931)

Video Junkie Moment of the Year:

I’m actually going to cheat because I have three.

1. I was extremely proud of my write ups on the histories of TORMENT (1986) and PULSE (1988).  The former was brought to my attention years ago by Bill Picard and, naturally, I waited years to watch it.  When I finally saw it, I was impressed by the filmmakers (it was a co-directing team) and curious what happened to them.  I was able to track down Sam Aslanian and he was more than accommodating when it came to talking about his film and related some amazing stories.  The latter was recommended to me by Edwin Samuelson and the movie blew me away.  What was even more surprising was writer-director Paul Golding never made another film and there was zero information on the making of the film online.  This had to change and I was able to contact Golding.  Thankfully, he was open to talking about the film and was awesome to talk to. In depth write ups on lesser known pictures like these are one of the reasons we keep doing this kind of stuff.

2. Damn, another case of a friend leading us astray…uh, I mean, taking us to a prosperous land.  In early 2014 our buddy John Charles pointed out that no one had reviewed the Bud Spencer detective series EXTRA LARGE online in its entirety.  A dimly lit bulb went off over my head and I mentioned to Tom we should think about doing this.  Now before I go any further, I should mention Tom is a Spencer-o-phile and has been since I’ve first known him. So it seemed only natural to tackle the two seasons of this series.  After racking our brains trying to figure out the actual order, we settled down and did it.  It was a bumpy ride (both Tom and I still flinch when we hear the word “Indians”), but damn well worth it in the end.  Now if I could just get this damn theme song out of my head.


 3. The biggest one – the blog redesign!  Truth be told, this was all my work and Tom just sat around doing nothing.  Oh wait…it was the other way around.  Yes, Tom took the initiative to redesign the site in July and it came out looking fantastic.  After all, we want the people looking at our porn reviews…er, our dear readers to have a slick looking page for their eyeballs.

Video Junkie’s “What were we thinking?” Moment of the Year:

Again, I’m cheating and adding two.

1. This is an odd one because it actually didn’t happen.  After covering the EXTRA LARGE films, we were full of ego and bravado.  We figured, “Hell, if we can tackle something this big, let’s keep the party going and review Spencer’s earlier series BIG MAN.”  Yeah, they were really creative when it came to naming his TV shows.  Both Tom and I watched the first episode and then waited to see which one of us would say “I think we should move on” first. I’ll just pretend we both said it at the exact same moment.  Unlike heavy marijuana users, we had enough of the Bud.  Of course, we may work up the courage one day.  One day.

2. This one isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a funny example of a slippery slope that Video Junkie-ism can bring.  In the spring Tom randomly sent me a movie, KAIZOKU SENTAI GOKAIGER VS. SPACE SHERIFF GAVAN (2012), and I watched it in early June and was freaking blown away.  I quickly emailed him and said, “Dude, have you watched this?” We were both convinced Japanese children had severe ADHD thanks to movies like this.  We also both then wondered, “Gee, I wonder what Kamen Rider has been up to?” Bad, bad move.  Full disclosure: We both totally dug Kamen Rider stuff in the mid-90s but soon feel out of it.  So to discover the character had been in, oh, say 700 million shows/movies since pretty much sent us into overdrive.  I swear my viewing list for that summer was 99% Kamen Rider flicks. “Who needs drugs…” was the subject of one of Tom’s emails about these shows. They were over-the-top and insanely creative.  Sure, burnout eventually occurred but not before Tom wanted sugared donuts and I was walking around randomly saying, “Ta…to…ba!”  Glad to know we still have our addictive tendencies.

Films watched more than once:
-THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING (1989) - twice
-WARLOCK MOON (1973) - twice

Directors most watched (individual films):

-Osamu Kaneda (8) - a bunch of KAMEN RIDER movies
-Alessandro Capone (6) - a bunch of EXTRALARGE w/Bud Spencer movies
-Enzo Castellari (6) - a bunch of EXTRALARGE w/Bud Spencer movies
-Lucio Fulci (6)

Best films that I saw for the first time in 2014:

-WILD BOYS ON THE ROAD (1933)
-ASK A POLICEMAN (1939)
-SCREAM BLOODY MURDER (1973)
-MAN ON A SWING (1974)
-MIRRORS (1978)
-SIERRE NOIRE (1979)
-GOODBYE PARADISE (1983)
-POSITIVE I.D. (1986)
-PULSE (1988)
-SPLIT (1989)
-THE MAN WHO SAW FRANKENSTEIN CRY (2010)
-ODD THOMAS (2012)
-FINDING VIVIAN MAIER (2013)
-JODOROWSKY'S DUNE (2013)
-THE MACHINE (2013)
-NEBRASKA (2013)
-PRISONERS (2013)
-DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014)
-LANCE ARMSTRONG: STOP AT NOTHING (2014)

Worst films that I saw for the first time in 2014:

-ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN (1970)
-THE HEADLESS EYES (1971)
-FEEDERS (1996)

Best “kind of cinema I live for” I saw for the first time in 2014:

-REVOLT (1986) – thanks Richard!
-NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE (1986) – thanks Patryk!
-FAST GUN (1988)
-DRAGON FIRE (1993)

Moments of Clarity:

4 Reactions:

  1. I've not seen TORMENT, but I remember coming across PULSE back in 2002 in an now-defunct video store that had such a great collection of hard-to-find VHS flicks. (I also saw rare beast THE SHOUT thanks to those brave misguided souls.) And ain't SCREAM BLOODY MURDER a treat? I saw that a few years ago on one of those 50Packs from Mill Creek and thought, "What the hell??? Why don't more people know about this flick." Stephen Thrower covers it in his epic Nightmare USA - good stuff. Somehow I missed that you saw HONOR AND GLORY for the first time this year - I watched it after seeing Donna Jason in ABDUCTED II and UNDEFEATABLE and darned if it isn't a hoot, although it's John Miller's show all the way. I find it somewhat amusing that you were "let down" by RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH. I mean, it's Troma. They're in the LetDown Business, although I suppose there was reason for hope since Lloyd was back in the chair after the non-suck POULTRYGEIST.

    Anyway, great write-up! Off to do battle with Tom's list next.

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  2. Thanks for reading!

    I wouldn't say I had high hopes for RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH, but I found all of Troma's stuff post-2000 "big" features (CITIZEN TOXIE, POULTRYGEIST) to be fun. RETURN was just grating for me, the movie equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

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  3. Yes! WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD is so good, saw it on a double bill with another of Wellman's social issue pre-Code classics, HEROES FOR SALE, a few years back at Film Forum. And I really wish someone would do a pristine special edition of SCREAM BLOODY MURDER.

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  4. I found Escape Plan and Planet Of The Apes very dull...I guess after seeing the original Ape movies and the superior Lock Up it's to be expected.

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