November 2021 picked up the pace for collecting all sorts of media once again, especially in the comics area.
The Retrogamer and EDGE magazines were missing (despite having bought the individual issues and an unknown subscription still running), but one can always count on picking up the LEGO Star Wars mag in a store.
These Disney boardgames were part of a 3 for 2 Amazon USA offer, and so was The Princess Bride.
I decided to start collecting a few comics again (which should make Paul Bowler from Sci-Fi Jubilee quite happy), and the Hellboy Omnibus was the perfect way to do this. Unlike the first two movies and more like the unjustly criticized newer one, the four books are very dark and had some great, even lyrical scenes full of mythology and religion in Dante Alighieri’s Paradise Lost style.
The reason why Harrow County and Hellboy Short Stories only came with their Volume 2 versions is that Amazon has recently had major problems with their delivery times. In addition, the first Hellboy compendium was also lost in the mail.
Comics based on videogames usually feel like a cheap cash-in with often inferior stories, but Injustice: Gods Among Us is a rather compelling read. Even though a bit of DC universe knowledge makes them more enjoyable (something I don’t have too much of), these first two volumes are very entertaining, especially with the surprising amount of violence and the high number of deaths much-loved characters suffer.
I’m not sure this panda plush toy was supposed to look so depressed, but the Penny store gave it away for 1 EUR… if you collected enough stickers for an album which obviously cost more with one’s weekly supermarket shopping.
Kingdom Hearts: Character Files is such a big tome of information and it shows that despite having played all the games, the storylines are so convoluted that it’s very difficult to make sense of it all.
Starting the overview of new movies with these two action flicks, one with Jackie Chan I have to watch (even if it’s the cut US version) and the other one being a really bonkers mix of Mad Max, Spartacus, punk rock, splatter, and feminism, which doesn’t always work, but is still unique and fun at times.
Porky’s might have been a big hit in the 80ies, and there are still a few funny scenes, but I’d rather watch all American Pie movies instead, as they have more interesting characters and memorable sequences.
The first Suicide Squad movie wasn’t particularly great, and I’m careful about Birds of Prey. Still, it could be fun. Yes, there were Marvel movies before Disney cashed in on the comics universe and made them too long and less fun. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely a movie that is so bad that it’s good, which says a lot about today’s play-it-safe cinema.
There seem to have been many criticisms leveled against this remake, but I found The Witches even better than the original, and taking into account that the ending is closer to the book (I still have to read), with Anne Hathaway’s performance being one of her best (which isn’t saying a lot), this comes highly recommended.
Horror time with Black Roses (or the German “translation” Freakshow), a movie that makes heavy metal look really bad. Still, it has some very fun and surprisingly brutal scenes justifying that 18+ age certificate.
I picked up the Holidays mediabook because it was cheap, but I didn’t remember I already had it on the Netflix watchlist: July 2017. Despite some weaker episodes, I rather enjoyed this episodic movie covering various holidays.
The original Castle Freak wasn’t particularly great, and even if this remake has unlikable characters and some pacing issues, the number of gory scenes and the (nonsensical) Lovecraftian ideas make it a guilty pleasure and more entertaining than the Full Moon movie. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (or the strange German “translation” Who set aunt Ruth on fire?) is less a horror and more like a psychological drama movie, mixed with a rather sick Hansel and Gretel plus Christmas story, so it’s pretty unique for the genre.
They Came from Beyond Space isn’t a so-bad-it’s-good movie, but a so-bad-it’s-bad flick that has a few ridiculous scenes, but isn’t unintentionally bad throughout, making it a rather tedious experience.
Terminal Justice might not be a great sci-fi flick, but it has enough action (plus Lorenzo Lamas and Kari Wuhrer) to be enjoyable.
Thrillers with lots of action scenes taking place in schools might have been more in vogue in the 90ies, but these are still pretty cool. Well, at least the first one, which also treats the students as human beings trapped in society.
These two Arrow Academy releases make two classics shine in 4K, although I still think Being John Malcovich to be less than a classic and more like a unique viewing experience that one doesn’t revisit very often due to the unlikable characters. The Apartment is still so good after all these years and rightly deserves the term “classic”.
The rather long list of Arrow Video releases starts with The Baby, a strange tale about a man acting like an infant, mothered and abused by a sick family; The Bloodstained Butterfly, a giallo I don’t remember much of; and Burst City, an overlong love letter to Japanese punk rock culture that doesn’t work with its sci-fi and coming-of-age story, as there isn’t much of either of them.
City of the Living Dead features a new 4K master, but hasn’t left a big impression on me, besides a few gory scenes with people having their intestines come out of their mouths and getting maggots blown into their faces. The Comic is even worse, with a pretentious “story” about a comedian who tries to take the spotlight (and life) of a competitor and kind of falls into the trap of fashism, resulting in utter boredom for the audience. Death Smiles on a Murderer is another giallo I didn’t remember much of afterwards, while Death Walks on High Heels at least has a pretty cool surprise ending.
Death Walks At Midnight might not be so memorable as a giallo, but just like the other Death Walks movie, it has some cool twists. DEF-CON 4 suffers due to its low budget, but its weird cannibal Mad Max future setting makes it a unique proposition. I never quite got Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas because of its headache-inducing storytelling, but revisiting it in 4K was still fun. Hagazussa is the opposite of fun and a clear indication that no matter how hard German (or Austrian) cinema tries to deliver horror, these endeavors usually end up in too much arthouse boredom, even if it’s atmospheric and tackles some mature themes like isolation and bullying.
Inferno of Torture is obviously an exploitation movie, but there are only very few scenes that can be called shocking today, as it becomes clear that the story built around these scenes (or rather the memorable beginning and ending) is pretty boring. The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire is yet another giallo that is fun while it lasts or rather as long as one tries to figure out who the murderer is/was. Lake Michigan Monster is a different beast and an acquired taste in very low budget production, but persevering through the terrible acting and often not funny jokes makes the ending all the more rewarding.
Lifeforce is another 4K remaster of a movie I didn’t have the fondest memories of and despite a visual upgrade, it doesn’t make it any better. Lords of Chaos was a surprise hit for me, being a very touching and also very violent portrayal of the Norwegian death metal scene based on a true story. Miracle Mile is an entertaining flick about a night gone wrong with an imminent nuclear tragedy involved. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times‘ Gothic story touch makes it more interesting that the actual plot.
The Suspicious Death of a Minor is a strange mix of giallo and comedy, but not something I’d watch again and again. Tenebrae in its new 4K master clearly shows that Dario Argento’s way of shooting a movie makes it much more memorable than all its giallo imitators. Warning from Space has some funny-looking aliens, but except for the apocalytic ending, it’s not the most thrilling sci-fi experience. Maybe I should give the US dubbing a try for obvious B-movie ridiculousness.
White Fire is another strange movie that mixes ridiculous action with nonsensical inclusion of a chainsaw and a very questionable sibling love story. Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key has a title that is more memorable than the content itself.
Arrow Video is always good for some very strange movies, and the Yokai Monsters Collection fits the bill perfectly. The limited edition certainly hints at some awe-inspiring silliness.
Unfortunately, the individual movies themselves are far from good, and it’s probably the creature design that had a lasting impression on those who watched them. Come to think of it, I remember the second one… at least some of the scenes, which is very weird, as I don’t know when or where I watched it, not even how old I was. The new version of Takashi Miike is certainly the easiest to digest, even if it features over-the-top bad special effects and a nonsensical plot… which the others did, too.
101 Films digged out the movie Spookies, and it’s a very weird one. This might be down to its troubled production history, with many directors trying to make sense of it, and new scenes added after the cast left. It’s far from good, but oh so strange and silly to watch.
The badly titled Iron Mask which is actually Viyy 2, a sequel to a Russian fantasy movie, should be an eye-opener in 3D, but I’ll give it a go after getting my hands on the original. Suffice it to say, both Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger aren’t really the heroes in this movie, so marketing did a poor job.
Silent Madness might not be the most inventive slasher flick, but it’s still better than most of the genre, with the 3D effect being quite cool at times. However, selling this for 30 Dollars is ridiculous, and I’m glad I got it during a 3 for 2 Amazon USA sale.
Wings of the Hawk is an entertaining 3D Western flick that is very forgettable, but unlike so many of the genre, it doesn’t take hours to watch it.
So here we are once again: with plenty of books and movies that I had the fortune to watch and review in time. This will be a bit difficult for December, as there have been even more additions at the time of writing. But we’ll see. I’m happy that I managed to write this BEFORE the end of the month and the New Year…
So I wish you a Happy New Year in advance… See you tomorrow!