Night Train Murders (1975) (Video Nasty review #10)

It is my intention to eventually watch and review all 72 movies on the ‘video nasties’ list released by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK in 1983. In a time before videos were classified by the BBFC, each of these films were considered so shocking by the DPP that any video shop owner found to be selling or renting it could have faced prosecution. To see my other video nasty reviews so far, click here.

Night Train Murders posterDirector: Aldo Lado

Starring: Irene Miracle, Laura D’Angelo, Flavio Bucci, Macha Méril, Gianfranco De Grassi, Enrico Salerno, Marina Berti

Also known as: Late Night Trains (UK VHS release), Last Stop On The Night Train (US), New House On The Left (US)

“We’re only gonna cut her a little.” (Curly, Night Train Murders)

In 1972, Wes Craven wrote and directed The Last House On The Left.

Based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 film The Virgin Spring, it was a bleak film in which two teenage girls are encountered in the woods by a trio of criminals – two men and a woman – who proceed to rape and murder the girls.

Fleeing from the scene, the three seek refuge in the home of a friendly couple, who by sheer coincidence are the parents of one of the girls. When the parents discover what has happened, they decide to get revenge, with gory results.

The Virgin Spring had come and gone without much hullabaloo, being a classy Swedish art film and all. But The Last House On The Left was grim and sleazy enough to spark a grindhouse genre of its own: the revenge film. Continue reading Night Train Murders (1975) (Video Nasty review #10)

A Haunting At Silver Falls (2013) review

haunting_at_silver_falls_posterDirector: Brett Donowho

Starring: Alix Elizabeth Gitter, James Cavlo, Tara Westwood, Steve Bacic, Erick Avari

LARRY – “There’s a lot of dead people in Silver Falls. Didn’t anyone tell you? It’s, um, Ghost City USA.”

JORDAN – “Right. So, who died?”

LARRY – “Who didn’t die? I’ve been to six funerals. There were several suicides, a car accident, a bulimic whose stomach exploded…”

Often, when I watch a film about ghosts, I like to apply my patented Louise Test™.

My wife (and co-presenter of the That Was A Bit Mental podcast) isn’t a massive fan of ghost movies, so usually when I want to watch one she’ll sit at the PC instead and browse the internet.

Occasionally she’ll look over at the telly and, should she see a ghost, audibly express her dismay at having done so. That’s when I can tell the film’s ghosts are effective.

A Haunting At Silver Falls offers more screen time to its ghosts than any other film in recent memory, except for maybe Casper. And yet, as Louise looked over to the screen numerous times throughout, she didn’t bat an eyelid. Continue reading A Haunting At Silver Falls (2013) review

Series Overview – Twin Peaks (1990-1992)

When discussing the most important TV dramas ever created, it’s more or less impossible not to mention Twin Peaks.

David Lynch and Mark Frost’s bizarre tale of murder, infidelity, possession and… um, owls gripped American audiences when both series first aired in the early ’90s, and continues to find new fans watching it for the first time to this day.

A third season is currently planned for 2016.

Click each poster for the full review.

twinpeaks_s1_poster

Twin Peaks: Season 1 (1990)
“The first season of Twin Peaks remains a masterpiece 25 years after it first aired. There’s enough going on in these eight episodes to fill three seasons of any other show, but it’s presented with such expert pacing, direction and dialogue that it never overwhelms, at least not in that sense.” Continue reading Series Overview – Twin Peaks (1990-1992)

Twin Peaks international pilot (1990) review

And so we come to the end of Twin Peaks week on That Was A Bit Mental. To ensure you haven’t missed out on anything, be sure to read back on my reviews of season 1, season 2, Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces. Hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews!

twinpeaks_internationalpilot_posterDirector: David Lynch

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Eric DaRe, Everett McGill, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Al Strobel, Frank Silva

“Through the darkness of futures past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds, fire walk with me.” (Mike, Twin Peaks international pilot)

When David Lynch and Mark Frost originally pitched the idea of Twin Peaks to TV network ABC, they agreed to fund the pilot episode on one condition.

Since the pilot was going to cost $1.6 million to make, ABC wanted Lynch and Frost to write and film an ending, revealing Laura Palmer’s killer and drawing a line under it all by the end of that single episode. Continue reading Twin Peaks international pilot (1990) review

Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (1992/2014) review

Both season 1 and season 2 of Twin Peaks and the film Fire Walk With Me may have already been reviewed on That Was A Bit Mental, but Twin Peaks week isn’t over yet! Today I look at the recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces before finishing on Friday with a review of the international pilot.

twinpeaks_themissingpieces_posterDirector: David Lynch

Starring: Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Moira Kelly, Chris Isaak, Keifer Sutherland, Kyle MacLachlan, Dana Ashbrook, Phoebe Augustine, Pamela Gidley, James Marshall, David Lynch, David Bowie, Madchen Amick, Michael J Anderson, Frank Silva, Walter Olkewicz

“Is it future, or is it past?” (Man From Another Place, Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces)

The shooting script for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me came in at around five hours long. Naturally, nobody in their right mind would find that acceptable, so after shooting all the footage David Lynch got to work cutting loads of it out.

As a result, Fire Walk With Me was released with a runtime of two hours and 15 minutes: still fairly long, but with more than half of its content relegated to the cutting room floor.

For over 20 years Twin Peaks fans have discussed these mythical deleted scenes, with only the shooting script and the occasional mention of them in cast and crew interviews as indication that they did indeed exist. Continue reading Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (1992/2014) review

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) review

It’s day three of Twin Peaks week on That Was A Bit Mental! Having already reviewed season 1 and season 2, today I look at the controversial movie Fire Walk With Me. Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing the recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces before finishing on Friday with a review of the international pilot.

twinpeaksfirewalkwithme_posterDirector: David Lynch

Starring: Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Moira Kelly, Chris Isaak, Keifer Sutherland, Kyle MacLachlan, Dana Ashbrook, Phoebe Augustine, Pamela Gidley, James Marshall, David Lynch, David Bowie, Madchen Amick, Michael J Anderson, Frank Silva, Walter Olkewicz

“When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all goodness is in jeopardy.” (Log Lady, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me)

After the second and final season of Twin Peaks ended in June 1991, fans still had a bumload of questions.

Two queries in particular were most pressing. What was Laura Palmer really like before she died? And just what did the show’s ending really mean, especially regarding Agent Cooper?

They wouldn’t have to wait long for reassurances that answers were coming. Only a month after the show was cancelled, David Lynch announced he was making the first of three Twin Peaks movies that would fill in the missing gaps and explain what was really going on.

Ultimately however this first film – entitled Fire Walk With Me – was the only one released, following a massively negative reception from critics and fans alike. The result is a movie that answers a lot of questions, but also raises a lot of new ones that may have eventually been answered had the other two films been made. Continue reading Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) review

Twin Peaks season 2 (1990-91) review

Twin Peaks week continues on That Was A Bit Mental with the review of the second season of David Lynch’s cult ’90s TV drama. If you missed the season 1 review then you can catch up here. Tomorrow it’ll be a review of the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, then recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces and finally the European pilot of the show, which featured a different killer.

twinpeaks_s2_posterDirectors: David Lynch, Lesli Linka Glatter, Todd Holland, Graeme Clifford, Caleb Deschanel, Tim Hunter, Tina Rathbone, Duwayne Dunham, Uli Edel, Diane Keaton, James Foley, Jonathan Sanger, Stephen Gyllenhaal

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Eric DaRe, Everett McGill, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, David Duchovny, David Lynch, Heather Graham, Billy Zane, Kenneth Welsh

JUDGE: “Mr. Cooper, how do you find our little corner of this world?”

COOPER: “Heaven, sir.”

JUDGE: “Well, this week, heaven includes arson, multiple homicides, and an attempt on the life of a federal agent.”

COOPER: “Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir.”

The first season of Twin Peaks was such an enormous success it was a no-brainer that TV network ABC would give David Lynch and Mark Frost the green light to do a second.

This time, however, ABC wanted an assurance that the main talking point of season one, the death of Laura Palmer, would finally be resolved in season two.

After all, viewers were less than pleased that the show, incredible though it was, had ended its initial run without revealing the identity of Laura’s killer.

Lynch grudgingly agreed that the second season would indeed identify the person responsible for her death, but the 22 episodes created would ultimately be memorable for much more than this. Continue reading Twin Peaks season 2 (1990-91) review

Twin Peaks season 1 (1990) review

It’s Twin Peaks week on That Was A Bit Mental! Over the course of the week I’ll be reviewing both seasons of David Lynch’s cult ’90s TV drama, as well as the movie Fire Walk With Me, the recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces and the European pilot of the show, which featured a different killer.

twinpeaks_s1_posterDirectors: David Lynch, Duwayne Dunham, Tina Rathbone, Tim Hunter, Lesli Linka Glatter, Caleb Deschanel, Mark Frost

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Eric DaRe, Everett McGill, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Russ Tamblyn

“You know, this is – excuse me – a damn fine cup of coffee. I’ve had I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee in my life and this, this is one of the best. Now, I’d like two eggs over hard. I know, don’t tell me, it’s hard on the arteries, but old habits die hard, just about as hard as I want those eggs.” (Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks)

Recently Eastenders celebrated its 30th anniversary with a story based on the death of teenage character Lucy Beale. “Who killed Lucy Beale” was the question on the lips of numerous Brits for the past few weeks, and 9 million viewers tuned in to find out it was some kid nobody gives a seventeenth of a fuck about.

Now imagine a similar question being asked 25 years ago, in America, with nearly four times as many viewers and a brand new series nobody had heard of. And imagine the question had remained unanswered and much-discussed by the American public for almost an entire year. That’s Twin Peaks, innit. Continue reading Twin Peaks season 1 (1990) review

That Was A Bit Mental – The Podcast!

That Was A Bit Mental is a few years old now, and as its audience has slowly grown there have been increasing requests for a podcast.

For a while I’ve resisted, mainly because I hate podcasts with only one host, and I don’t really know anyone who would willingly watch the same shit movies as I do and talk about them on a regular basis.

Thankfully, I finally realised the solution was right under my nose all the time, and as such I give you That Was A Bit Mental: The Podcast, complete with super-secret special co-host.

Episode 1 features reviews of Ghostwatch and My Little Eye, as well as shorter reviews of Ginger Snaps and The Taking Of Deborah Logan.

We also discuss which horror series should be allowed to die, and which we just can’t get enough of.

First though, a disclaimer: This is only a pilot episode. It’s fairly rough, there’s plenty of “umming” (mainly coming from me) and we’re just messing around with ideas at this stage to see what works and what doesn’t.

Please do give it a listen, then, and get back to me with feedback: what you like, what you hate, any other ideas you think we should incorporate.

For now it’s only available on the embed below or, if you’d rather, this direct MP3 link. I’ll look into sticking it on iTunes soon.

Real-Life Mental – Movieland Wax Museum, Niagara Falls

I love shit places. This should already be clear to you if you read about my previous trip to Popeye Village in Malta. So when I travelled to Canada in 2013 to visit my then-fiancée’s family and was told of the cheesiness that could be found at Niagara Falls, a trip to said Falls was arranged post-haste.

Let’s get the obvious stuff out the way first – Niagara Falls is amazing to see. Check this shit out (click the pics to embiggen):

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

If I’m being honest though, as impressive as that was, it was something else that I fell in love with at Niagara. On the way to the falls I saw a novelty street filled with loads of cheesy shops and attractions, including Movieland: Wax Museum Of The Stars™.

Movieland

As I’d hoped, Movieland’s wax creations are of varying quality, and with all respect to them the majority of them aren’t very good.

In fairness, whoever decorated the place did a great job, because the environments the waxworks are placed in are much better than those in Madame Tussaud’s in London in my opinion, but obviously it’s the waxworks themselves that are the star attraction and it’s here where Movieland struggles.

Still, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have great fun – fun I will now transmit to you via the medium of photography. As ever, click on the pics to see them in all their grisly detail. Continue reading Real-Life Mental – Movieland Wax Museum, Niagara Falls

Reviews of films that are slightly less than sane

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