Mail Order Murder: The Story of W.A.V.E. Productions (DVD/Tubi) – A 2020 documentary that covers the story of a dude who made shot on video movies like no other as he flooded the market with his no budget stuff. Interviews with Tina Krause, Art Ettinger, J.R. Bookwalter, Mike Gingold, William Hellfire, and some other actors that have worked on these numerous productions with Gary Whitson tell the story of what his production unique. What separated this production company if you want to call it from the other low budget stuff was he took requests, scripts from fans and made them! Or what some fans call this genre “Custom Fetish Films”. More than likely if you are over 30 and been to a video store you have rented one of these movies by accident as I give this fun doc 4 stars all the way as it was fun watching people explain the impact these films had on the Indy scene.
Strangeville Home Movies (DVD) – Kevin Strange has recently returned to the independent scene like a hurricane with comics and movies. Always been a fan of Kevin’s work as I was a huge fan of the Nixon and Hogan stuff. So knowing there was new stuff released thought it was time to start with something that could be a lot of fun and that was this collection of never seen before short films, promos, and unreleased skits Kevin and friends did as far back as 2005 before a lot of the features Hack Movies became known for. If you are a fan of Hack Movies this will the sweet spot as there is some funny Nixon and Hogan stuff here and “The Pumpkin Reaper” playing Kevin in a board game of “Life” during one of the short films. The independent genre is better for Kevin and Hack Movies being back going full steam again as I give this collection 3 out of 4 stars.
Death Mask (DVD/YouTube) – James Best writes and stars in this 1998 feature where he is a part of a circus for the past several decades because his father scarred his face as a child. He plays Wilbur a shy aging man that is being threaten by the new circus owner to be fired until a young lady (Linnea Quigley) Angel comes along and takes interest in the old man unlike all that work there. Wilbur hell bent on wanting to change things of course goes with Angel to visit a swamp gypsy because he is told his death masks are fake? Wilbur sells his soul, makes a mask, it becomes pure evil, and he kills people because he becomes possessed by it… I guess. By far not the most interesting film but you know I had to see it to believe it as I give it 1 star. Also look for one of the most awkward shower scenes done by Linnea in her career, weird stuff.
Shingles the Movie (DVD) – This time out super talented independent filmmaker Steve Rudzinski directs a film that starts off promising as it looks and feels like an Indy “R” rated version of Goosebumps. A small group of friends sitting around a campfire as they are part of the “Cooter Scouts” wait for their scout leader. To pass the time they discuss life lessons and tell stories to entertain and scare each other. The stories consist of a messy comedian; foreign exchange students challenged to a beer Olympics, cocaine filled talking gnome, and a zombie apocalypse. The cast is wonderful and might be the best yet to be in a Rudzinski film as there is a few of the usuals that you will see like a Ben Dietels who is glorious but the one that may catch your attention is Michael Varrati (super talented and one of my favorite people to ever work with) as the voice of the cocaine filled gnome! This entertaining low budget film (I believe $50,000) has a great professional higher budget look to it as I like the “Goosebumps” and even a splash of “Wishmaster” vibe I get from the film. I enjoyed everything about it except the running time… two hours. This could be a me thing in general with independent stuff as I respect the hell out of Steve and that crew but once it hits the 80, 85 minute mark the film feels like it loses the steam or momentum it had early on in their story telling with the Cooter Scouts discussing things. The people playing the scouts were perfect but in the end the stories felt like they were a little long to fit into this feature as I give the film 3 out of 4 stars. http://www.silverspotlightfilms.com
Ghosts of Amityville (DVD/Tubi) – Once again I felt a disturbance in the movie force as I had a feeling entry #46 (if yinz are still counting?) was streaming and it was… Anyhow, this entry has clowns… again and from Spain. Believe me not that matters much but this story has a little girl named Oliva being haunted by a clown that might be some kind of Amityville force? Because they had a few quick shots of the Amityville house at the beginning and some words scrolling across the screen explaining some deaths occurred there. So of course this means a little girl gets haunted by some stupid clown whether she in the woods, dreaming, in her bedroom, or in some random hotel looking thing that the filmmaker thought would be cool like “The Shinning”. Who in the fuck knows as this was hot garbage from beginning to end. How bad was it? I put this right behind: Mt. Misery Road, Vanishing Point, Thanksgiving, then this entry, then Scarecrow most likely. You know for those people who think I am completely insane for watching all these films and laughing with me as I keep writing about these complete disasters as this entry was no different as it gets 0 stars.
Terminal Island (DVD) – Before: No Escape, that one with Stone Cold Steve Austin, and even Turkey Shoot there is this 1973 edgy fun cinema that stars a young Tom Selleck. It is called the San Bruno initiative where convicts that have been convicted of murder are sent to an island about 40 miles off the coast of California because it is cheaper for taxpayers for them to live out their lives there. Little does the public know it’s all about survival as men and women break up into two groups of convicts because one of them is trying to control everyone? But remember they are all killers and their instinct kicks in quickly in this gritty but wonderful movie you may never heard of as I give it 3 stars.
Mortuary Academy (DVD/YouTube) – Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, and two dumb ass dudes that inherit a mortuary and its school program but must attend and graduate in order to get the inheritance. Yep, go no further as I am always in for something late 80s like this where the Grim brothers must fumble through mortician school as Paul and Mary’s hilarious characters try to stop them so they get the inheritance. Paul and Mary steal the show as I give this 3 ½ stars.
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