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Monday, July 15, 2013

"What? You've Never Seen . . . ?!?" Movies At Dog Farm Shares The Shame Of A Bloated Watch List

Island Of Lost Souls (1932) poster
Nifty old poster for Island Of Lost Souls (1932)
     So tonight, after a lifetime of reading about it and mooning over still shots, I finally had the opportunity to watch Island Of Lost Souls (1932) for the first time.  It was great, of course, but that's not really what this post is about.  You see, I should have watched this nearly two years ago when Criterion first released it.  I've had it on hand for nearly a year.  It's only seventy minutes long, for Pete's sake.  Why did it take me until now?  Well . . .

     Too many movies, too little time.  No matter how many movies on my Watch List I finally get around to watching, there's always dozens more waiting in the wings.  I used to foolishly believe that I'd already seen pretty much everything worth seeing, but a slew of late-in-life first time viewings have proven otherwise.  Following is a greatly abridged list of movies I enjoyed thoroughly when I finally made the time to watch them:  Demon Seed (1977), Fiend Without A Face (1958), The Flesh Eaters (1964), Horror Express (1972), Lemora: A Child's Tale Of The Supernatural (1973), Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1971), Private Parts (1973), and The Quatermass Xperiment (1955).  I could name dozens more, but you get the idea.

     Really, then, this post is for me.  It's a public admission of laziness.  It will linger in the Dog Farm's list of recent posts, shaming me each time I see it, until I finally make the time to watch the thirteen titles that follow.  If any of you feel inclined to browbeat me into watching any of one of these titles sooner rather than later, please post a comment below.  I'm sure at least a few of them will blow monkey nuts, but I'll never know until I see them.  There's bound to be a gem or two in there, too.  Help me to help myself, and badger me relentlessly until I get this done.


Abby (1974) poster
Abby (1974)
      Director William Girdler was a B-movie titan.  He's the man that gave the world Asylum Of Satan (1972), Three On A Meathook (1973), and Grizzly (1976).  He also directed The Manitou (1978), a personal fave, just before dying at thirty years of age in a helicopter accident in the Phillipines.  Abby was Girdler's blaxploitation riff on The Exorcist, and I just can't imagine how that could be anything other than pure, cheesy heaven.   



Alucarda (1974) poster
 Alucarda (1974)
      Demonic possession, Satan worship, and vampirism - Oh my!  Director Juan Lopez Moctezuma was also responsible for Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon (1973) aka The Mansion Of Madness, a film I stumbled across on one of those fifty movie public domain sets.  I haven't been quite the same since.  That combined with the fact that stills from Alucarda always make me a little giddy means I have no valid excuse for having kept this one on the back burner for so long. 




Amer (2008) posterAmer (2008)
     I was jonesin' pretty hard to see Amer from the moment it first crossed my radar, and yet somehow it got lost in the shuffle anyway.  Being produced in the style of a 1970s giallo should have guaranteed a timely viewing of this one, and yet here I am five years later still making excuses.  I love a good giallo - hell, I love a bad giallo - so the time has come for me to buck up and commit the ninety minutes necessary to at last be able to mark Amer off of my List Of Shame.


  
Aswang (1994) posterAswang (1994)
     A film about a mythical creature from Filipino folklore that eats fetuses?  . . . and it was produced in Wisconsin?  Well, of course it was.  That makes perfect sense.  Both Joe Bob Briggs and Phantom Of The Movies' Videoscope sing Aswang's praises, so why haven't I watched it yet?  I suspect this will be one of those cases wherein the actual movie can't possibly live up to the promise of its central conceit, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.  Did I mention it was produced in Wisconsin?  Scary.  


  
Calvaire (2004) posterCalvaire (2004)
     I wasn't a big fan of director Fabrice Du Welz' Vinyan (2008), but my first and thus far only viewing of that was shortly after a surgery.  I was doped up on painkillers, so perhaps I wasn't catching all of the subtler nuances.  I'm pretty sure I started to watch Calvaire once before, but maybe I wasn't up to reading the subtitles that day.  I should just learn to speak French.  Or maybe I should just wait for the English language remake.  That's right - my excuse here is adult illiteracy.  If I wanted to read a book . . .


  
The Devils (1971) posterThe Devils (1971)
     I've yet to determine just exactly which cut and/or assembly of The Devils I have.  It's an hour and forty-eight minutes, if that means anything to anyone.  I suppose I'll just have to keep an eye out for the infamous "Rape of Christ" scene to figure it out.  Given the movie's spotty availability and the censorship to which it's been subjected, I'll be happy to have seen it at all.  It's hard for me to believe that director Ken Russell whipped up such an inflammatory depiction of sex, violence, and religion over forty years ago that Warner Brothers still fears releasing it.


  
Eyes Without A Face (1960) posterEyes Without A Face (1960)
     Not many genre movies get any love from Criterion, and how many movies of any stripe can claim to have been an influence on both Jess Franco and Billy Idol?  Eyes Without A Face was released in the U.S. as The Horror Chamber Of Doctor Faustus and was paired with The Manster (1959) for its U.S. engagements.  Have you ever seen The Manster?  Someone was smoking reefer with the hipsters when they created that double bill. 

  

The Innocents (1961) posterThe Innocents (1961)
     A moody, black and white psychological horror movie shot by ace cinematographer Freddie Francis and praised by the likes of Martin Scorsese should have made the cut years ago.  Marty didn't steer me wrong with the Val Lewton flicks, so I'm not sure what my hesitation was here.  Director Jack Clayton's Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) is another movie I could cop to having never watched properly, but this list is long enough already.  I'm usually not crazy about ghost stories, so maybe that was the rub.



Quatermass II (1957) posterQuatermass II (1957) aka Enemy From Space and
Quatermass And The Pit (1967) aka Five Million Years To Earth
     These two are - to my mind, at least - the most egregious and inexplicable examples of "movies I should have already seen" on this list.  I'd never seen The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) until recently, and I could have put a foot up my own ass for letting that one elude me for so long.  Xperiment's recipe of science fiction and horrific imagery was freakin' awesome.  I sought out Hammer's other two Quatermass movies immediately, and then . . . I didn't watch them.

   

Race With The Devil (1975) posterRace With The Devil (1975)
     Peter Fonda and Warren Oates do their damndest to outrun pursuing Satanists behind the wheel of a bitchin' seventies style RV.  Sounds like drive-in fried gold, doesn't it?  I let you know as soon as I finally quit procrastinating and watch it.



Targets (1968) posterTargets (1968)
     Peter Bogdanovich directs Boris Karloff in his final significant role before his descent into Mexican made cheapies.  Karloff plays a fictionalized version of himself, an aging horror movie icon making a final public appearance at a drive-in theater in California before his retirement.  A Vietnam vet on a murder spree turns up at the drive-in, and a face-off between an old school movie monster and the newer breed of serial killing "human" monster ensues.  It's no secret that Karloff could act his ass off when called upon to do so, and Targets seems like a likely opportunity.  I've shied away from this one for years, so it definitely earns its spot.



Taxidermia (2006) posterTaxidermia (2006)
     Rue Morgue Magazine declared Taxidermia "The Best Film You Didn't See In 2009".  Cut to 2013, and Movies At Dog Farm can now declare Taxidermia "The Best Film I Didn't See In 2009 That I Still Haven't Seen In 2013".  The trailer looks intriguing, and I'm pretty sure I want a poster of the image to the left (WTF?), so I suppose the time has come for me check out this recommended oddity.  I'm often guilty of giving the newer movies short shrift, and Taxidermia is a perfect case in point.


     So what genre movies are you ashamed to admit you haven't seen?  Confess your sins of omission by posting a comment below, and I promise you (almost) no one will see it . . .





Posted by Brandon Early

6 comments:

Carl B said...

One film that got me hooked on horror when I was a kid was Gargoyles.



This was not the cartoon with the cast of Star Trek the Next Generation (although that was goood!) This was a made for TV movie with Stan Winston doing the effects work. I think it's a great precursor to _Jeepers Creepers_.

If you have the chance, hunt it down and enjoy it!

Brandon Early said...

I've seen Gargoyles! It's been years, though. A quick Google search tells me it's available on disc. Great. Now I'll have to start a "Watch Again" list, too. lol

Fake Shemp said...

Great post :D

I recently, well sometime in the last year, picked up Island of Lost Souls (Eureka! here is like your Criterion) its a nice BD Steelbook too, and yet I've failed to watch it either.

I've been trying to watch older horrors I've always wanted to see, and bad ones with awesome VHS covers I remember from my youth... currently watching The Prowler (1981) for the first time.

I'd say Calvaire and Taxidermia are worth a watch and you've made me remember that I've always wanted to see Something Wicked This Way Comes (all the way through not just clips of it that I've seen) and Eyes without a face, movies I know about but never have seen.

I'd much rather catch up on genre films than big block busters any day!

Brandon Early said...

I love The Prowler. Some of Savini's finest work. Already, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't watched a single one of those movies on the list yet. I'll sing it from the rooftops when I finally do.

Fake Shemp said...

I now, thanks to you, have seen The Prowler. In agreement the effects are fantastic but I'm "meh" on the rest of it. Glad to have checked it off my "never seen" list.

You've given me inspiration to get my ass to see more movies I've failed to see. Thanks :D

Brandon Early said...

I’ve made my first dent in my List Of Shame! Just watched Race With The Devil (1975)! Not really scary, but not bad. That’s one down.