Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shock Cinema Volume Two (1990)

...aka: Shock Cinema, Vol. 2

Directed by:
Robert Hayes


Volume 2 (unfortunately) follows the same format of the first, so if you must watch be prepared to see nothing but a bunch of people (referred to as "renegade independents") sitting in front of posters, props, potted plants or in pitch black rooms talking about things only the most die-hard of horror fan is going to care about. Again, there are no film clips to alleviate the monotony of a full hour of yapping, but this one actually is slightly better put-together and has a more colorful array of interview subjects who I'd never seen interviewed elsewhere. Hostess and producer Brinke Stevens - whose name and image have always been plastered all over the publicity material for the series - has a little more face time this time out. She not only opens and closes the film (in a video store and on Hollywood Blvd., respectively), but also gets to conduct an interview with Famous Monsters of Filmland's Forrest J. Ackerman about his screen career and how his magazine influenced countless future genre luminaries, such as Joe Dante, John Landis, Stephen King, Wes Craven, Steven Spielberg and others.

A grumpy-looking and sarcastic Robert Quarry, arms crossed half the time, is pretty amusing to listen to as he talks about his start as an extra, how COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1971) started as a soft porn but (thanks to his suggestion) turned into a straight horror film and how most modern horror films are "garbage." 50+ year old actress Deanna Lund (of Land of the Lost fame) talks about how she felt the need to do her own nude scenes after being criticized for using a body double on the hilariously awful ELVES (1989). Gary Graver (possibly the most important cinematographer of the video boom era) discusses his terrorized-babysitter flick TRICK OR TREATS (1982) and how he didn't make a penny off it. Scream Queen Melissa Moore (who made her film debut in the shot-on-video SCREAM DREAM), director/writer Ted Newsom (who made the 1988 documentary MONSTERS & MANIACS, which was also hosted by Stevens), writer/actor Frederick Bailey (DEMON OF PARADISE), director/editor Joel Bender (THE IMMORTALIZER) and fx artists Steve Neill, Michael Burnett and John Goodwin are the others interviewed. Interestingly, many of the interview subjects seem to look down upon explicit gore and unnecessary nudity in modern horror films, though all of them actually work on films with explicit gore and unnecessary nudity.
.
Initially distributed on VHS by Cinema Home Video and now (priced rather cheaply) on DVD from Tempe. It was followed by SHOCK CINEMA VOLUME THREE (1991), which was just a rip off and nothing other than recycled clips from seven films with some bloopers from DR. ALIEN (1988) and NIGHTMARE SISTERS (1987) thrown in for good measure. SHOCK CINEMA VOLUME 4 (1991) dealt with the special effects from the movies covered in Volume 3.

★★

2 comments:

CavedogRob said...

Vol. 2 sounds pretty funny and entertaining. There was always a "rumor" that Yorga began life as a soft core porno so I guess Quarry has confirmed it. I think it's the only non-porn movie Marsha Jordan ever appeared in! Great review!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thanks! Quarry seemed to have a strong distaste for sexploitation and horror during his interview, which is strange considering how often he appeared in Fred Olen Ray films. I'm not familiar with the work of Marsha Jordan but I do have a copy of something she's in called "Swinger's Massacre" to review here sometime.

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