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]
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]
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!
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The main plot focuses upon a mad doctor who develops a means to keep human body parts alive.
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.
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In the Florida Everglades, a pair of larger-than-human, intelligent leeches live in an underwater cave.
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.
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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.
Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!
When Entertainment premiered at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival, the response it garnered was somewhat predictable. Numerous walkouts peppered its first showing, indicative of its uncomfortable confrontation. Certainly a test of patience, it’s a work that demands significant effort on the part of the audience. However, this is a recurring feature of the creatives involved: director and writer Rick Alverson, star and writer Gregg Turkington and writer Tim Heidecker. It’s easy to take against their approach, labelling it as pretentious and lazy. The sad truth is, that would be all too often accurate of others. … [continue reading]
At first I was going to make this piece an overview of trailers in their entirety, using two from this year as examples. Instead, it occurred to me that i’d simply be stealing an upcoming subject from fellow writer, Ben Mulholland. As such, I thought it more befitting of me to look in depth at the two examples. One staggeringly bad, another breathtakingly good, there are a lot of meaty tangents to go off on from both.
Trailers, on the whole, are mere promotional tools to rally the populous. … [continue reading]
Ridley Scott’s Alien is one of the most obvious science fiction classics ever committed to film. Every single aspect of this masterpiece is tightly woven and meticulously constructed. It’s probably that, along with its great tale, keeping it so richly alive over the years since its release. Now drowning in accolade, it seems the critics most definitely do get things right from time to time. It’s still the best film in the series that followed it too, itself a notable collection of flicks (even if it does devolve across its course). … [continue reading]
Hear Lee and Ben B. discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!
Having recently enjoyed its 15th Anniversary, Donnie Darko is more than a good candidate for a Secret Cave write-up. While it’s gotten a bit of a bad rep lately as a teen-angst movie with dark mystery enough to entice in the Emo crowd, what lies within is actually an intricate sci-fi jaunt of rich detail. Despite its generally positive reviews and cult following, it’s still an extremely underrated movie – since most go along with its mystery without ever expecting to truly fathom its machinations. The ending of Donnie Darko, for example, is not open to interpretation as many often claim. … [continue reading]
Werner Herzog will always be remembered as one of Germany’s greatest directors, and creative forces in general. A man with numerous classics to his name (such as Fitzcarraldo, Nosferatu the Vampyre or his impressive array of non-fiction documentaries), it’s easy to overlook some of his less lauded works. Indeed, sometimes this is a fair reaction to pockets of such an immense body of material. In the case of The Wild Blue Yonder however, we have a film truly deserving of brighter spotlight.
The concept is a captivating one from its inception, if at first – deliberately – alienating. Beginning with an intense introduction from Brad Dourif in one of his strangest, and most tragically unsung, roles, we slip ethereally into his story of alien colonisation. … [continue reading]