Tag Archives: Willard

YouTube Round-Up

Howdy there, loyal readers! This weekend wound up being a real doozy, so I don’t have a new review ready for today. Never fear though, because there is some good stuff coming up later this week, particularly as I start delving into my accumulated archive of bargain bin acquisitions.

In the meantime, I decided to round up a lovely bunch of full movies that are currently available, totally free, on the wide world of the internet. Enjoy!

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Willard

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I have had the damnedest time finding a physical copy of this 1971 classic, but luckily it has been hanging around on YouTube unimpeded for a while (though it is obviously a VHS rip). I particularly like “Willard” because of the way it blends a revenge story with a monster movie. The hybridization worked splendidly, and has been mimicked many times since. You also can’t help but identify with Willard, even as he starts going over the edge with his rat-fueled rampage. It is definitely worth a watch, particularly as it seems to be fading from the public consciousness. Here’s hoping it gets a blu-ray treatment at some point.

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Martin
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“Martin” is a clever 1977 George Romero vampire movie that has managed to slip through the cracks of history, and is one that the writer/director highly regards as one of his finest films to this day. On debut, it wound up being overshadowed by “Assault on Precinct 13” at Cannes, and never managed to get much off the ground. I recently read about the film in Shock Value by Jason Zinoman, and the described counter-supernatural style really stuck out to me. The question of whether Martin is actually a vampire follows throughout the movie, and Romero uses this to poke at the over-tired tropes of vampire movies. It sounds like the sort of film that would work well today, so it may just have been long ahead of its time. What luck that this forgotten gem is hanging around in the annals of YouTube!

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A Bucket of Blood
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I absolutely love “A Bucket of Blood,” and think that it might just be Roger Corman’s true masterpiece. This film has been popping into my head quite a bit recently, particularly while re-watching Martin Scorcese’s “After Hours” and the modern cult classic “Murder Party.” Both of these films feature over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek assaults on the contemporary art world, something that has never been done better than in “A Bucket of Blood.” The story follows an awkward and incompetent aspiring artist who is shunned by his local arts community. Through a bizarre series of accidents, he winds up becoming a hit artist after plastering a mold over his neighbor’s cat, which he accidentally killed out of frustration. Loving the attention, he decides to replicate the success by going on killing spree, an immortalizing his victims by coating them with plaster. The movie horrifying, hilarious, and has one of the most relate-able and sympathetic serial killers that I have ever seen in a film. If you haven’t seen this, it gets an enthusiastic recommendation from me.

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Walking Tall
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Nothing gives me quite as much joy as seeing Joe Don Baker show up in movies where I am not expecting to see him. I covered a few of his movies back in the IMDb Bottom 100, but I still hold that he is the best part about all of those awful movies. And, honestly, I kind of like “Mitchell.” I’m planning to cover Joe Don Baker in at least one upcoming review, but I think “Walking Tall” deserves a special little mention. Not only is this the Joe Don Baker-iest of all the Joe Don Baker movies, but like “Willard,” it has really fallen out of the public consciousness. I have likewise had no luck finding a physical copy of this movie, apart from the recent remake starring Dwayne Johnson. However, that flick definitely lacks the odd charm and grittiness of the original flick. I hope this gets a re-release of some sort in the near future, but for now, you can catch Joe Don Baker whacking people with a slab of wood to your heart’s content on YouTube.

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Hercules

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There are an awful lot of Hercules movies out there. In fact, I’m going to be spotlighting one of the lesser ones later this week. However, I don’t think any of them are as entertainingly bizarre as this 1983 Italian film by Luigi Cozzi. And, of course, it stars the Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno.  If you thought that either of the 2014 Hercules flicks were disappointing, then this one is sure to never let your hopes get up again. The bear fight / tossing sequence has become particularly infamous, but there are a whole lot more things to enjoy in this film than just that brief clip. This one is almost certainly worth your time, if you are up for wasting an hour and change on YouTube. It is an experience. And, if you are up for more, there’s even a sequel out there!

Bargain Bin(ge): January 2015

Half Price Books is a significantly-sized chain of physical media buy/sell/trades, located primarily throughout the Midwest and Texas. I had never been to one until I moved to Ohio, but they have quickly become go-to spots for my DVD hunting here.

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Though their selection is primarily books, all of the locations I have been to have also had significant stocks of DVDs, and every visit has yielded something interesting.

In keeping with the name, the prices are pretty great: I’ve rarely spent over $5 on any one DVD (usually in the $2 – $3 range). Additionally, I’ve found a lot of movies I haven’t found anywhere else before: everything from Lucio Fulci movies to shitty Saturn Productions kung fu flicks to a special edition of the razzie-nominated “Supergirl.”

This time around, I wound up with a handful of interesting / cheap finds. First up:

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series
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This isn’t the sort of thing that I would normally pick up. In fact, I left a couple of Mario Bros. animated show DVDs on the shelf the last time I was in the store. However, I actually remember watching bits of this show way back when I was a kid, and I figured the nostalgia of blasting through these would be worth a couple of bucks.

I don’t actually remember if this was any good as a cartoon or not. I seem to recall some later incarnations, but I don’t recall if they were better or worse than this original one. Aren’t chili dogs involved somehow?

Slither
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“Slither” is almost the perfect median between the James Gunn who created “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the James Gunn who interned with Troma and wrote “Tromeo and Juliet” for peanuts. You can tell that he has some real skill here, but “Slither” still has a lot of those Troma-tic, cheesy body horror roots. Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker are both really awesome in this thing, and it still stands as maybe my favorite James Gunn movie so far. Somehow, I had never picked a copy of this up: $3 is a good enough price for me.

Dragon Force Operation
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Oh boy, it is another Saturn Production DVD! These are almost always horrible kung-fu movies, and I suspect this one won’t be an exception. It has ratings from a whopping 12 users on IMDb, so I am guessing this isn’t exactly a well-known feature. Here’s hoping there is some entertainment value to be had from this one: the last Saturn Production I watched was Godfrey Ho’s “Dragon Against Vampire,” which was (to the shock of no one) fucking atrocious and complete nonsense.

I am a little disappointed that the synopsis of “Dragon Force Operation” doesn’t feature martial arts trained surgeons, but I am not giving up hope yet.

Willard (2003)
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I’ve actually been looking for a copy of this for a while. The original “Willard” is one of those films that I have always heard of, but never seen. I recently caught a trailer for it before a Fritz the Nite Owl screening, and it reignited my interest in digging up a copy. I had actually completely forgotten about this2003  remake until one of the Video Central clerks mentioned it. I think Crispin Glover is a pretty impressive and intense actor who has the ability to shine in otherwise poor movies, so I’m looking forward to checking this one out. The original is on YouTube, but I’m keeping my eyes open for a physical copy of it as well.

Time Changer
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This one initially caught my eye because it looks, at first glance, to be a typical low-budget sci-fi flick. However, after reading the blurb, it is looking like it has real potential for a (God)Awful Movies review: it is apparently about a time-traveling Bible professor from 1890 who is shocked by the secularization that he sees the present day (and, y’know, just kids these days in general).

After doing a little research, it turns out that this movie only has at most two degrees of separation from the abysmal “Escape From Hell,” which has me super-excited to check it out on top of everything else. Also, the director’s most recent film is a rip-off of “God’s Not Dead.” Again: this guy made a worse version of “God’s Not Dead.”