Shitty Movie Sundays: Summer City

Summer CityThis flick is a bad one. This is one of those zero-budget plodding messes that would have found a ready home on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s one of those flicks that lacks most endearing characteristics, and only survives because it featured a future Hollywood star.

Summer City, from way back in 1977, is the first feature film on Mel Gibson’s IMDb page. He’s one of four main characters, all friends, who head out from 1950s Sydney for some fun and sun at an Australian beach.

How do I know the movie takes place in the 1950s? Director Christopher Fraser and producer/writer Phil Avalon helped us viewers with that, by providing an opening credits stock footage montage of scenes from the 1950s. This extensive sequence is amazing, because so much of the footage seems to have been chosen at random — the only prerequisite being that it looks like it was shot in the ’50s. How else to explain the repeated use of footage of a long-distance runner in training? It has nothing to do with the plot. This movie is about surfing blokes. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Summer City”

October Horrorshow: Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Wyrmwood: Road of the DeadHere it is, the first zombie flick of this year’s Horrorshow, and it’s a good one.

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is an Australian film from 2014, written by Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner, and directed by Kiah. Taking place mostly in the middle of nowhere, Roache-Turner used a tried and true method — isolation — to stay within the bounds of a very small budget. But one of the great things about film in the 21st century is that budgetary constraints mean a whole lot less than they used to. Wyrmwood had a budget, as reported on the internet, of only $160,000. That’s extraordinarily small for a feature film, akin to films such as Clerks and Paranormal Activity.

In rural Australia, something is amiss. After a spectacular late night meteor shower, people begin to turn into flesh-eating zombies. But not everyone, of course, otherwise there would be no movie.

The opening scene stakes this flick’s place in the zombie subgenre of horror. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead”

October Horrorshow: The Babadook

There was a thread on r/horror back in December of last year. In it, OP was lamenting the fact that having seen so many horror films in their lifetime, they were having a hard time being frightened by horror films anymore. They, and other commenters, wished they could go back in time to younger days when the horror genre still held surprises, when they could still be scared by an apparition suddenly appearing in a bathroom mirror, or a slasher coming back from the dead to chase down and slaughter teenagers. Everyone seemed a little jaded. Here were people whose favorite genre of film is horror, and they felt that they had become desensitized to what drew them to the genre in the first place. What a shame. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Babadook”

The Empty Balcony: The Rover

I love a good post-apocalyptic tale. I have a pessimist’s fascination with the myriad ways everything can go wrong. Global catastrophe for the human race holds the same place in my mind as standing at the edge of a precipice and picturing flying off into the void. This isn’t a sign of some psychological damage or misfiring neurons. This isn’t a mental illness or a death wish. It’s just human nature to be drawn in wonder to these things. Some of us feel the pull more than others, but that doesn’t mean we want it to happen. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: The Rover”

The Empty Balcony: Wake in Fright

I can get the heart of this review out of the way quickly. Wake in Fright is the best movie I have seen in at least the last couple of years. Directed by Ted Kotcheff and written by Evan Jones, Wake in Fright has an interesting history. From 1971, it was close to being a lost film for a long time, with the only known copy in existence of such poor quality that it was unfit for transfer to home media. Twenty years ago, Anthony Buckley, who edited the original film, began to search for an intact copy. After much effort, he succeeded. A restoration was finally undertaken in 2009, and the film was released to the general public once again. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Wake in Fright”