Before the SyFy Original movie really came into its own, before Mansquito was a blink in Tibor Takács eye, the icky sounding Turner Broadcasting System aired Charles Robert Carner’s Red Water, a film you could sell to me as part of the SyFy cycle any time. It has everything you’d expect from this sort of film:….
"Dry your tears, internet! The Infernal Brains Podcast has returned! Why Tars Tarkas and myself, after our long hiatus, chose to stray from the familiar and tackle the subject of movies with all animal casts I cannot say. But I can say that a single viewing of The Secret of Magic Island will change your life forever. Download the episode here, or watch it below with a terminally adorable slideshow. Or, even better, check out our brand spanking new YouTube channel and subscribe to the madness!”
Again, a maniac kidnaps a bunch of people, stuffs them into a decrepit warehouse, and plays games with them. Only this time around, the kidnapper will later turn out to be played by Gordon Liu Chia-Hui, his victims are all successful professional killers with martial arts skills (with Ammara Siripong, Johnny Messner and Tim Man as the central characters), and the only game Gordon likes - apart from gloating - is seeing them fight one-on-one to the death, promising survival to the last one standing.
At some point in time between the World Wars. Kit Walker (Billy Zane) is The Phantom aka The Ghost Who Walks, the newest in a long line of adventuring pulp-style heroes, ruling about some “native tribes” while wearing ugly purple costumes and having something of a skull fetish. When he’s not chatting with the ghost of his father (Patrick McGoohan), Kit’s in the habit of smiting evil in a semi-competent manner a bit too semi to not leave ghost dad rather exasperated from time to time. The evil Kit has to smite this time is a megalomaniac business tycoon from New York, the excellently named Xander Drax (Treat Williams).
“Fighting Femmes, Fiends and Fanatics, winner of the completely made up Bannister Award for competence in webcasting, is back! In this episode, series producer Steve Mayhem takes a fascinating look at the violent Mexican exploitation genre known as “Narco” cinema, and in particular the films in the long running Iron Prosecutor series. There will be blood.”
The couple of Uday (Raj Kumar Yadav) and Ragini (Kainaz Motivala) are going on a trip to a place owned by a friend of Uday’s in the country for a romantic weekend, or really, to get rid of Ragini’s pesky virginity. What Ragini doesn’t know: Uday doesn’t just act like a sleazy prick most of the time, he has also agreed to help a movie producer friend of his to secretly make a sex tape, so the house is full of hidden cameras ready to turn the unknowing Ragini into a very special kind of celebrity. He’s a charmer, Uday is.
"Bless Kenneth Brorsson’s mohawked head for inviting me back to co-host the latest episode of his Taiwan Noir podcast. In this installment, we salute Taiwanese screen queen Elsa Yeung with a discussion of Thrilling Sword — which those of you who are creepily attentive will know is a favorite of mine — and Country of Beauties, which asks the question “How many beautiful amazons does it take to cut a dude’s wiener off?” (The answer may surprise you!) Get the deets and stream the episode here.”
Policewoman Goldie Ho (Sammi Cheng Sau-Man), excellent at the physical aspects of her work but not much of a detective, hires the blind master detective Johnston (Andy Lau Tak-Wah) to solve a disappearance that has bothered her since her childhood. Johnston likes reward money, good food, and solving age old cases for a living, so things should be set for a quick solution but things tend to get in the way, particularly Johnston’s ways of finagling himself into Ho’s apartment (so she can learn the art of detection from him, or was it because his own apartment needs repairs?), and using her to assist him in solving other crimes. Then there’s this pesky little thing called love.
Oh, look, it’s the third movie in what is now officially the premiere Nazi zombie movie franchise (by sheer virtue of actually being a franchise). Not that the Outpost movies aren’t fun enough to watch, but I’ll come to that a bit later.
First, let’s get that “plot” thing out of the way. Despite the very obvious “to be continued” ending of Outpost 2, the movie at hand is not a sequel but a prequel, so if you want to learn the origin story of the bunker in film one, or maybe film two (the films didn’t impress so much I actually remember much of what was going on in them beyond Nazi zombies and underground bunkers, which is probably for the best), this was made directly for you.
"Most Cult TV fans probably only know Roberta Leigh as a footnote to the career of Gerry Anderson. It was Leigh, an author of children’s books, who came to Anderson’s fledgling production company with her character Twizzle, a meeting that resulted in Anderson producing his first puppet series, The Adventures of Twizzle, in 1957. Thus launches the narrative of Anderson as the creator of Supermarionation and powerhouse of 1960’s British sci-fi television. But if one doesn’t take that detour, and instead follows Leigh along her own path, there is a lot to be found that is surprising, noteworthy and pretty delightful…”
Still, as far as intellectually and emotionally empty experiences that try to distract from their failings by copious amounts of - real and metaphorical - shouting go, The Conjuring is pretty awesome.
A prison for young women has a curiously high lethality thanks to a peculiarly high density of inmates with very weak hearts; nobody seems to care much, though, until young progressive social worker Carol Adams (Charlotte Austin), new to the facility, starts to take an interest. What she doesn’t know is that most of the staff consists of the original mad scientists led by a Dr. Murdock (Victor Jory) who learned at the feet of the Count de St. Germaine how to siphon young women’s bioelectric energy and become immortal in the process.
Secret - so secret we never even learn what organization he’s working for - agent Jacques Kristoff (Jean-Claude Van Damme, obviously) has a very bad day in front of him. Not enough that his people take him off his birthday vacation to help the thief Galina Konstantin (Laura Harring, totally Eastern European) escape from Slovakia carrying some very secret loot she’s selling to his people, a thing sure to anger his wife (Susan Gibney) and kids (Jessica Bowman and authentic Van Damme son Kristopher Van Varenberg) who think he’s some sort of business person.
Even in the rather sad state it is in right now, Hong Kong cinema can sometimes still offer positive surprises. Case in point is the anthology movie Tales from the Dark 1, which features three independent yet thematically connected horror stories by different directors (Simon Yam Tat-Wah in his directorial debut, Lee Chi-Ngai and Fruit Chan), all based on the stories of Lillian Lee Pik-Wah.