What if a bunch of tropes were combined into one plot like a bizarre chimera of sci-fi romcom? The result would be SAME BOAT, a new independent film from co-writer/director/star Chris Roberti in which a time traveling assassin stalks his prey on a cruise ship while gradually falling love with her and out of love with his given task. SAME BOAT boasts a lot of inventiveness in both its story and its production, but is undercut by a few missteps that rob it of being as excellent as it could have been.
BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is celebrating the 55th anniversary of its release in the United States. The importance of this film, and that of Italian director Mario Bava, cannot be overstated. Without Bava, the genre of horror films would be in a much different place. Between A BAY OF BLOOD and BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, Bava nearly single-handedly jump-started both the giallo and slasher subgenres of horror.
“There’s a lot of glare comin’ off of that dome of yours, SQUIRREL NUTS!” With a $24 million budget and whopping $12.5 million box office tally, you must wonder why I am writing about READY TO RUMBLE 20 years later. This cult classic appeals to a very specific audience. The…
As COVID-19 continues to alter best laid plans and more events are canceled due to the pandemic, the list of film festivals shuttering continues to grow. Cannes, Cinepocalypse, and more have all been announced as, at the very least, being postponed with most skipping 2020 outright. SXSW 2020 was one…
I think we all have a film, or even multiple films, that have had either an important impact, mark some sort of milestone, or are turning point in ours lives. Maybe it’s the first time you saw an R-rated movie (mine happened to be ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST at a wildly inappropriate age) or the first David Lynch picture you watched (THE ELEPHANT MAN, in case you’re interested). Honestly, I’m not always good with remembering such things unless it’s really significant, like the two above instances. I couldn’t tell you what was the first VHS tape I bought nor the first DVD. I’m continually amazed to see people are able to answer those Twitter “Questions of the Day” with the first Blu-ray they ever bought. There are those few select films, though, that made such an impact on my life, where they changed the entire way I looked at film or the world, for that matter. One of those was Michael Powell’s 1960 career-derailing but utterly amazing, PEEPING TOM.
By the time HAIRSPRAY became a smash hit, John Waters had been writing and directing his own films for two decades. Making over four times its $2 million budget during its box office run, the 1960s-set Charm City comedy took Waters’ notoriety and packaged it in with the next, more candy-coated stage of his career. While keeping his sensibilities and attraction to society’s outsiders intact, now Waters was going outside of his Dreamlanders acting stable and hiring Hollywood stars within the traditional studio system. In 1990, this brought us the musical CRY-BABY, which put then-21 Jump Street heartthrob Johnny Depp and pre-Melrose Place Amy Locane into a retro high school landscape.
If you spend your life watching every movie you can get your hands on, especially in the horror genre, you’ll inevitably encounter titles you love and hate. Sometimes your wires cross and you watch a classic title that just doesn’t click with you (that’d be ROSEMARY’S BABY for me), but you’ll also come to love titles no one else on Planet Earth seems to give a shit about. For me, that’s THE FIRST POWER, which never comes up in conversation even among genre folks and which critics definitely didn’t like upon its 1990 release. That I’ve been watching this thing since I was a kid—waaay before I’d refined my ability to differentiate between legitimate quality and mere entertainment (and there is a difference)—has a lot to do with that.
In order to truly understand DOUBLE TEAM, a noble scholarly effort that everyone eventually undertakes in their lives, you have to look at the incredibly idiosyncratic elements that collided together resulting in an action comedy directed by a Hong Kong filmmaking legend, led by a Belgian martial arts expert, with…
STREAM WARRIORS is a weekly feature on Daily Grindhouse where a different contributor recommends a few things to check out on streaming services and around the net to watch. The platforms being used are U.S. versions (unless otherwise noted), content availability does change between countries. This week, Brett Gallman weighs in with some suggestions.
Filmmakers, producers, distributors, and more have tried to innovate the moviegoing experience in all sorts of ways. Incorporating cutting edge technology, hokey schtick, all manner of stunts and gimmicks to make seeing their film in the theater a singular experience that can’t be beat. Ballyhoo has always been a part…
[STRAIGHT OUT OF STRAIGHT-TO-VIDEO] ‘DRIVE ME HOME’ Is The Necessary Millennial Road Movie For Right Now
Every generation needs an epic road movie that helps define who they are. The only thing more exhilarating and truthful than going on a driving journey is being able to vicariously live through and enjoy a road movie that has adventure, drama, and a life-affirming thread woven throughout it. A…
CULT OF THE COBRA came amidst a waning period for behemoth in the genre film world. In the 1950s, Universal Studios finished out their great run of science fiction, fantasy, and horror pictures they’d been excelling at since the monumental releases of DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN in 1931.
I love when a filmmaker’s ambition outpaces their skills or resources. The collision of weird tones that results sometimes creates something truly unwatchable, but at other times, the result is a piece of outsider art that causes the viewer’s brain to nearly break as it tries to process what is…
Now in 2020, the greatly anticipated sequel Doom Eternal has finally been pushed to consoles and let me tell you—the wait was worth it. As in 2016’s entry, Doom Eternal is light on plot, with the game’s primary plot focusing on killing three Hell Priests so that their continued harvesting of Earth’s energy will not lead to total decimation of the planet’s resources. It’s A to B to C, really, with your main goal being maiming, murdering, and massacring anything and everything that gets in your way. I get a thrill out of the way the DoomGuy (or Doom Slayer, as he is canonically known here) is revered as a hero to those who seek his help or feared by the innumerable demonic enemies that get in his way towards finishing his quest.
We could all use a good laugh right now. Several shorts in the SXSW programming did a remarkable job of cracking me up—like BASIC, for example—but few made me smile as much as DADDIO. A mixture of sorrow and silliness that is surreal but oddly grounded, the film packs a lot of emotion, truth, hilarity, and humanity into its short running time.
Radio, television, and film has a special place in my heart and is my connection to my past experiences and memories. When TOMMY BOY comes on, I remember that time my brother ripped my jacket running around the house as the fat man in a little coat. I remember my…
Andy Sidaris, now there’s a name to conjure with. Before he became the man who directed classics like HARD TICKET TO HAWAII and SAVAGE BEACH, Sidaris was an Emmy award-winning television director for ABC’s Wide World of Sports. According to Slate, Sidaris was the man who created the “honey shot” for that program. You know the one—where the camera focuses on an attractive woman, be it a cheerleader or a woman in the stands. Sidaris also “helped develop techniques that are standard today, including instant replay, slow-motion replay, and split-screen views.” Sports fans around the world owe a debt of gratitude and not just for his talents directing sporting events.
I loved making mixtapes. The excitement I felt when creating a unique playlist for another person’s optimum aural pleasure was palpable. The chance to channel my personality in the form of a playlist of favorite songs was an opportunity I relished, hoping the first song made a strong impression (always start with a loud, kick-out the-jams song (i.e. The Smugglers’ “Coffee, Tea or Me?”) and end with a quirky short song, often a hidden track (remember those on CDs?). I made mixtapes for friends and women I fancied, hoping the playlist would appease the former and convince the latter that I was worthy enough as a prospective suitor. To me, making a mixtape for a girlfriend was an ideal expression of love, a physical symbol for words I couldn’t articulate (which would explain my multitude of short-lived relationships).
Even though it is dabbling in the occult and supernatural, Cursed Films, comes from a very natural and normal starting point. Humans want things to make sense. It sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s a very specific drive that makes a huge impact on how people perceive and act in the world. Probably the most benign example is that of the montage in film: Eisenstein showed that if a film is edited with images/scenes next to each other, audiences will naturally preclude that they are related (somehow) and add it to their own accounting of the narrative (while possibly amping up their emotional response depending on the visuals).
Something that always dispirits me at film festivals is how often makers of shorts say that the next project they are working on is a “feature-length” version of the movie that was just screened. Of course, there have been many instances of short films successfully transforming into features by the original creators—DISTRICT 9, THE BABADOOK, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, THE EVIL DEAD, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, THX-1138, WHIPLASH, LIGHTS OUT, MAMA, BOTTLE ROCKET, etc. And there are certainly ways to expand on these under-40 minutes stories, by worldbuilding or deeper character backstories, or other avenues that come about with more time, money, and other resources. But often this statement occurs after seeing a very strong short film that gets in, gets out, all killer no filler and works perfectly as is and it simply feels like either the safe choice or a matter of padding to go back to the well.
In 1987, when the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES animated series first aired, America was in a tumultuous situation. Ronald Reagan was more than halfway through his 2nd term as president on the United States, and was destroying the very fabric of what made this country great. Hope had nearly died out with middle class and working-class families.
Many comparisons will be made of Joseph Ellison’s skin-crawling psychological blow torch, DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE, with that of William Lustig’s more heralded MANIAC. After all both feature an unhinged, middle-aged white male who was raised on their mother’s abusive knee. Both dabble in waking nightmares in which the deceased mother torments from beyond the grave, and both unleash their nasty brutalities on women in unflinchingly torturous ways. Each revel in their own cruelties to the point of sobering disgust, bringing cinema teetering on the edge of stylized snuff; and it’s precisely why they symbolize a rather hard flex in the horror genre.
With the recent death of Stuart Gordon, we look back at his long legacy in the arts. Whether it was his work in theater in Wisconsin and Chicago (writing, directing, and/or producing all manner of plays including a lot of collaborations with David Mamet), his groundbreaking horror films, bizarre sci-fi movies, grim noir pieces, screenplays and stories for a variety of titles many aren’t even aware of (HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, for example), and even a handful of TV episodes—he made a lasting impact on the arts for decades (and for decades more to come).
I’m a fan of The New Mutants—by which I mean the ’80s X-Men comic spinoff. I remember discovering them as a kid and being perplexed but utterly fascinated. Firstly, they were young…like me! Secondly, they had odd powers that didn’t make a ton of sense. (Magik was kidnapped and raised by a demon and has a soul sword? Cannonball turns halfway on fire and flies around while talking like a hayseed? Wolfsbane is…basically an Irish werewolf lady?)