Empty Balcony: Walking Tall (1973)

Joe Don Baker is Buford Pusser, real-life Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, in this violent drive-in classic from 1973. Directed by Phil Karlson, Walking Tall is the fictionalized account of one man’s war on crime in rural America.

After giving up his career as a wrestler and returning home with his wife, Pauline (Elizabeth Hartman), and kids to McNairy, Pusser finds that his home county has been invaded by organized crime. Gambling dens and houses of ill-repute have opened in the once-lazy locale, and Pusser doesn’t hold with any of that. After getting angry and trying to beat up an entire casino, Pusser is cut to ribbons and left for dead on the side of the road. But, the bad folks of McNairy underestimated Pusser’s resolve. Being almost murdered just made Pusser angrier, and he continues going after the criminal element. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Walking Tall (1973)”

October Hammershow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Here we are. October 31st. Halloween. The end of the October Horrorshow. The final film in this look back at Hammer Film Productions is a departure from type. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up on from watching 31 Hammer films in a row, it’s that Hammer basically made the same film over and over and over again. That’s not negative criticism on my part. Hammer had a style, in the same way that a musician like John Lee Hooker had a style or an artist like Willem de Kooning had a style. Listen to an album or see a painting hanging on a wall and it becomes immediately clear who is responsible. Hammer films followed a theme. They developed over time into something that was very much their own. Towards the end, though, they began to switch things up in search of a new formula. Such is the case with today’s film. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers

Tom Latham thinks that life could only get better if he just kills himself. Turns out, he’s right! Tom (Nicky Henson) isn’t suffering from depression, nor is he a deluded youth who is incapable of processing the permanence of death. He’s the leader of an outlaw biker gang called The Living Dead. They get their kicks by driving mildly quickly on the roads of rural England and occasionally tipping over vendor’s carts at the local shopping center. How dreadfully frightful. But Tom has an idea that can make his little band of nihilists even more of a public nuisance. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers”

October Horrorshow: The Crazies (1973)

Is George Romero paranoid? It’s a possibility. At the very least, I would say he is mistrusting of authority. Night of the Living Dead, his seminal work, and all its follow-ups, showcase a horde of the undead rendering civilization waste. But it’s worth remembering that Romero’s zombies are not supernatural in origin. Rather, they are the result of government experiments gone wrong. Ergo, it’s not the zombies that are the greatest threat to civilization in Romero’s universe. It is the people who take our taxes. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Crazies (1973)”