Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) review

Rock n Roll Nightmare posterDirector: John Fasano

Starring: Jon Mikl Thor, Teresa Simpson, Jim Cirile, Jillian Peri, David Lane, Denise Dicandia, Frank Dietz, Liane Abel, Adam Fried

Also known as: The Edge Of Hell

“You killed no one, Bub. Or is it less familiar to call you Beelzebub? Or do you prefer Abaddon? Or, as the Hindus called you, Shaitan? Or, as you are known to answer to, Ahriman? Belial? Apollyon? Asmodeus? Because, you see… I do know you.” (John Triton, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare)

Well, now. Where to begin.

If you aren’t aware of Jon Mikl Thor, his Wikipedia page describes him as “a bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician”.

Having now watched Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, which was both written by Thor and starred him in the leading role, I’m almost tempted to edit that page and remove “actor” and “screenwriter”. Continue reading “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) review”

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Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987) review

Evil Dead 2 posterDirector: Sam Raimi

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Denise Bixler, Richard Domeier

HENRIETTA: “I’ll swallow your soul! I’ll swallow your soul! I’ll swallow your soul!”

ASH: (points shotgun) “Swallow this.”

When The Evil Dead was released in 1981 it completely blew away the horror film industry.

With their titchy $375,000 budget director Sam Raimi, producer Bob Tapert, actor Bruce Campbell et al created a horror classic jammed fit to bursting with effective scares, laugh-out-loud moments and gallons of gore.

Usually a success like this leads to a sequel following soon after but fans of the original had to wait six years for Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn. Continue reading “Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987) review”

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”

The Last Exorcism Part II (2013) review

The Last Exorcism Part II posterDirector: Ed Gass-Donnelly

Starring: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, David Jensen

CHRIS – “Is it true that you’ve never had a boyfriend?”
NELL – “What? Who’s been saying that? It’s none of anyone’s business.
CHRIS – “No, I just… I think you’re really pretty. And…”
NELL – “No. No boys. I was pregnant though. But I think they took it away. Well, at least I thought I was. See, I told you I was nuts.”

In 1999, The Blair Witch Project was released. Masquerading as an unfinished documentary and winning audiences over with its found-footage style camerawork, it was massively succesful.

A year later, the inevitable sequel Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was released. Gone was the fake documentary gimmick and the first-person viewpoint, replaced with the typical glossy, commercial, high-budget presentation the first film was praised for subverting.

Most people despised the new direction the series had taken, and Blair Witch 2 was roundly panned. I actually quite liked it, but that’s for another time.

Why am I giving you this seemingly pointless history lesson? Because The Last Exorcism Part II is this decade’s Blair Witch 2. This time, however, I agree with the general consensus: it’s shite. Continue reading “The Last Exorcism Part II (2013) review”

The Last Exorcism (2010) review

The Last Exorcism posterDirector: Daniel Stamm

Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr, Louis Herthum, Caleb Jones, Tony Bentley

“I’m not comfortable that we’re in a house with someone who’s doing pictures of my head being chopped off.” (Daniel, The Last Exorcism)

In most exorcism movies, a priest has to convince a skeptical parent that their child doesn’t have mental issues and an exorcism ritual is needed to save them.

The Last Exorcism is interesting because it does the complete opposite. Instead, it’s the priest who doesn’t have faith in the ritual and it’s the parent who’s adamant it should take place. Continue reading “The Last Exorcism (2010) review”

The Taking Of Deborah Logan (2014) review

The Taking Of Deborah Logan posterDirector: Adam Robitel

Starring: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang, Ryan Cutrona

“I’m not interested in being exploited.” (Deborah, The Taking Of Deborah Logan)

It’s all well and good watching and writing about horror movies but there are some real-life horrors that are often far more terrifying than any creature that could be dreamed up by Hollywood.

A powerful example is Alzheimer’s disease, a horrendous condition that slowly eats away at the sufferer’s brain, initially inflicting short-term memory loss and ending with behavioural issues, an inability to recognise family members and ultimately early death.

This is a disease that can tear apart families and turn previously docile people into aggressive, sometimes violent shells of their former selves. As horrible as it is to say it, then, it’s a condition ripe for study in horror film.

It’s the central theme, at least initially, surrounding The Taking Of Deborah Logan, a found-footage style mockumentary about a film crew studying a woman’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and their discovery of something even worse. Continue reading “The Taking Of Deborah Logan (2014) review”