When a b-movie from 1975 has a title like Trip with the Teacher, all sorts of filthy stuff comes to mind. That decade remains amazing because of what filmmakers could get away with.
Written, produced, and directed by Earl Barton, Trip with the Teacher tells the story of four high school girls and their teacher on a bus trip into rural southern California or northern Baja. The idea is to get these girls some life experience outside of the sunny confines of Los Angeles. The teacher and her girls are: Miss Tenny (Brenda Fogarty), Bobbie (Dina Ousley), Julie (Cathy Worthington), Tina (Jill Voight), and Pam (Susan Russell). They are joined by a bus driver named Marvin (Jack Driscoll). Barton didn’t do much to differentiate the girls from one another. He just made sure to cast actresses who were pleasing to the eye. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Trip with the Teacher”
The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow continues on with a putrid mess of a movie. From 1975, The Giant Spider Invasion comes to us via screenwriters Robert Easton and Richard L. Huff (who also produced). Bill Rebane handled the directing. According to the internet, so it must be true, this stupid movie, despite its low budget and general incompetence, was a moneymaker for Huff and company. How a movie this bad, starring a disguised Volkswagen as a giant spider, ended up being profitable is beyond me. It feels something of a crime against the art of film that this movie found success. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Giant Spider Invasion”
I knew nothing about this film when I began watching it. I found it on a YouTube channel that collects old grindhouse and drive-in movies that have fallen into the public domain. That copy was crap, but being in the public domain meant that the film could be found elsewhere. Amazon Prime has a much better quality copy, so should one actually want to seek out and watch this turd, I recommend doing so on Amazon. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends”
Gene Hackman is still alive! As of this writing he is, anyway. Throughout his career, beginning with a bit role in something called Mad Dog Cole in 1961, to his final appearance in 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport, it was odd for a year to go by without multiple films featuring Hackman. But, after Mooseport, Hackman decided to retire. Too bad. Thank goodness, then, that Hackman plied his trade on the silver screen rather than on stage. His work is still available for all to see, including this little neo-noir flick that has slipped into some obscurity. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Night Moves”
Alongside post-apocalyptic films, there exists another popular nihilistic genre of film — the dystopian tale. Civilization doesn’t have to have collapsed into a dense ball of suffering for the dystopian film to work. Rather, current mores and politics just need a little bit of tweaking and society becomes unrecognizable. Indeed, in some dystopian futures, it could be argued that humans are thriving. What is common in dystopian films is that some eroding of freedoms has occurred, brought on usually by technology, capitalism, communism, post-industrialism, or a conglomeration of every fear we have about the role of individuality in the future. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Rollerball (1975) & Rollerball (2002)”
I couldn’t say how many times I’ve seen Jaws. It’s been so many times that the film feels like a familiar presence in my life. My first viewing was so long ago that it’s mostly faded back into the ether, consisting of little snippets that have been distorted by time. I remember that I was young, maybe five or six years old, and that my old man was there to make sure I covered my eyes during the gory bits. Was it irresponsible to let someone so young watch a movie featuring such gruesome scenes of death as Jaws? Well, it was rated PG, for Parental Guidance, and that’s just what I got. I was too young for the gore, but there were about 120 minutes of really good movie that wouldn’t cause nightmares, and that I got to see until I was old enough for the rest. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Jaws”
This isn’t the original trailer, but this is the video that made me want to see this movie.
This movie had such shitty promise. For one thing, it was produced by William Castle, whose lasting contribution to film history was a series of horror flicks with gimmicky contraptions placed in theaters to enhance the experience for viewers. Much of the silliness of something like House on Haunted Hill doesn’t translate into a restrained living room viewing, but it’s still a well-regarded b-horror flick nonetheless. Bug is the last film in Castle’s filmography, and while it had the potential to be a spectacle of shitty proportions, it falls short. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Bug (1975)”
Has David Cronenberg ever made a movie that wasn’t about sex? On some level, probably not. There’s also nothing wrong with that, despite the prudish direction the moral majority has taken the United States in the last 35 years or so. Good thing for us that Cronenberg is a Canadian, right? Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Shivers”
VHS tapes, once upon a time, dominated the space below millions of televisions in American homes. They were in your house, a friend’s house, a family member’s house, stacked tall and deep in all sorts of cabinets upon which the TV was perched — cheap particle board constructions bought at the local big box with fake wood grain or flat black veneer, peeling up at the edges always. That awful furniture can still be found. The shapes have just changed a bit as tapes have disappeared and been replaced by DVD boxes. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Excalibur & Monty Python and the Holy Grail”