Blade Runner 2049 [REPORT & FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

This report features no plot details.

I wrote about Blade Runner 2049‘s first trailer here. Because the original film still stands as my favourite of all time (and has since I was fourteen-years-old), I was vitriolic in my ensuing cynicism. I thought a sequel would be ineffective in a number of ways. Firstly, Blade Runner itself is an enigma of spiralling complexity; all anchored by a simple central premise. Expanding on it, even faithfully, seemed a vacuous exercise in contrivance. More importantly, and of great concern, was the potential for a follow-up to dilute its parent. Trailers, and other promotional material, did nothing to quell my worries.…   [continue reading]

Predator: 420 (A Secret Cave Podcast Mini)

For this SCP Mini, we haven’t drawn from outside materials or our interview guests. Instead, for the first time, we’ve used clips from our very first season of podcasts. Within that season, we were a rather different beast. Season Two almost entirely consists of interviews with other creatives about their work. In our first episodes, Benjamin and I simply recorded casual conversations about pre-set topics. It was a very formative time for us, but I still feel there are some interesting relics there. It makes for the most entertaining listening when the two of us argued, which would usually feature my explosive temper.…   [continue reading]

Adam Volerich Interview: Magnalux Pictures, Anxious Intensity and Existentialism

Adam Volerich is a storyteller. His devotion to such narratives has brought him to develop talents in a wide array of disciplines. Be it through writing, directing, editing, producing or more, Volerich is always able to convey something evocative and interesting. His passion and, self-proclaimed, anxious intensity make him an extremely promising young creative, with an enormous weight to his catalogue. Volerich has no apparent interest in slowing down either, instead pushing ever-forward into new territory.

British fellow consumes media and regurgitates back what you should think about it.
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Reefer Madness (1936-1939) [COMMENTARY]

Reefer Madness
DIRECTOR: Louis J. Gasnier
STARRING: Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lillian Miles

Originally known as Tell Your Children, Reefer Madness has become infamous. Better known today as an archetypal “stoner” movie, it was first released in 1936 as church group propaganda.  As such, it’s full of nonsense.  Later re-cut in 1938 by Dwain Esper into an even more tawdry film, I honestly have no idea which version I have here.  Many consider it one of the best “bad movies”. For me, the current “bad movie” champion remains The Amazing Mr. X.  With a myriad of public domain movies still to come, there’s plenty of time for it to be dethroned….…   [continue reading]

Andrew DeYoung Interview: 555, Improvised Films, and ’90s VHS Tapes

Director Andrew DeYoung doesn’t get excited by scripts, beautiful lighting, or painstakingly manufacturing a perfectly orchestrated film. Andrew’s obsession is with the unintentional comedy of everyday interactions and tense situations. He often explores what happens when you mix actors with people who don’t know they’re on camera, and collates the best shots into a narrative.

After stumbling upon his first major release (555, which I reviewed here), I had to find out about him, his other films, his process and his inspirations. Partly because there’s very little information about it online, and partly because I needed to satisfy my curiosity after watching 555 and the rest of his work in one neurotic, coffee-fueled sprint at 5am.…   [continue reading]

Natural Signing Stone

One of the reasons I’ve lost interest in mainstream film is its utter unreality.  All too often, what I see portrayed on the screen holds almost no relation to the world.  However, i’m not saying I want every movie to be gritty and realistic.  It would simply be nice to relate on some level to the characters, setting or even pacing of a movie.  Rick Alverson, and directors like him, seem to be reacting to that with a tense fascination for the awkward.  That holds my interest much more, and i’m glad to see it increasingly seeping into popular culture.…   [continue reading]

555 Review: Greed, Jealousy, and Doomed Ambition in Nightmare Hollywood

Anyone who puts their work in the public eye — whether it’s writers, actors, musicians or directors — is torn between one main motivation and one main fear:

On one side, there’s the overwhelming desire to take the risk to show your work to other people. Go to an audition, pitch an article, send out demo tapes.

At the same time, there’s the crippling fear that you’re not worth anyone’s time. The fear you’re doomed to fail, living in perpetual obscurity, always looking for the one big break.

There’s no better setting to encapsulate this duality than Hollywood — the grim stage for nightmarish, disastrous satire like Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Maps to the Stars, and now 555.…   [continue reading]

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) [COMMENTARY]

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
DIRECTOR: Joseph Green
STARRING: Jason (Herb) Evers, Virginia Leith, Leslie Daniel

Completed in 1959, but not released until 1962, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die has one of the best titles I’ve ever come across. Produced in the same year as Attack of the Giant Leeches, it does a much better job of being coherent, likeable and gripping. Unfortunately, it devolves into a sexist and meandering plot. Its opening is strong enough to make it memorable, however. Overall an enjoyable hour with some genuinely disturbing moments!

From Wikipedia:

The main plot focuses upon a mad doctor who develops a means to keep human body parts alive.

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Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) [COMMENTARY]

Attack of the Giant Leeches
DIRECTOR: Bernard L. Kowalski
STARRING: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepherd

This mess, known alternatively as The Giant Leeches, should be ashamed of itself for being created in 1959. This is because Attack of the Giant Leeches is a truly terrible piece of work with, as far as I can tell, no redeeming features whatsoever. It’s hard to believe that this laughably awful dross has anything to do with the legendary Roger Corman, but it does.  However, it does make The Amazing Mr. X look like a work of genius.

From Wikipedia:

In the Florida Everglades, a pair of larger-than-human, intelligent leeches live in an underwater cave.

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The Amazing Mr. X (1948) [COMMENTARY]

The Amazing Mr. X
DIRECTOR: Bernard Vorhaus
STARRING: Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O’Donnell

First released in 1948, The Amazing Mr. X is a public domain film notable for being considered a bit ridiculous even in its time. This makes it a perfect first choice for a new long-running series, where i’ll be providing a contemporary commentary on top. As a side note, this film is also known as The Spiritualist.

From Wikipedia:

Two years after her husband’s death, Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) thinks she hears her late husband (Donald Curtis) calling out of the surf on the beach one night.

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