The Wisdom Of Crocodiles

*Originally written in 2003

Decapitated Zombie Vampire Bloodbath: #101: The Wisdom of ...

A moving, beautifully told, and original vampire movie, and one which has vanished into the unknown. Jude Law, probably in his best performance, is a modern day vampire. Naturally, this being a modern movie which strives to be original, Law’s character has few of the vampire traits we would recognise; he can live in sunlight, crucifixes hold no power over him, he cannot transform into other animals, he does not have fangs. However, he is semi-immortal, and must drink human blood to survive. Indeed, it is this fact which drives the story, and it is a tragedy rather than a horror. With great acting, beautiful and subtle camera-work, a touching story and a fitting soundtrack, The Wisdom of Crocodiles bears all the markings of a good movie; unfortunately it is little known, and of course has flaws which likely hindered it from becoming more widely seen.

Law is Stephen, an attractive, clever, charming young man who happens to be a vampire. In his quest for the ‘perfect’ woman who can save him from his torturous life, a strong woman with the ability to love him, literally changing her blood. All the women he has found in the past have been scared of him, so he has killed them. When he does this, he takes a fang like object from them. In his desperate search for love he finds Anna, (Lowensohn) a beautiful young woman and they begin to fall for each other. She is enchanted by him, but is also cautious, and when he saves her from a gang of muggers she becomes scared. The truth soon comes out in parts, and all the while the police are interested in Stephen’s involvement in the death of his ex-girlfriend. The story builds to a suitable emotional climax, and never at any point can we predict what will happen.

The film failed at the box-office because it is very downbeat, and only features one big name star. The director is also little known, but shows immense talent and gets the best from the cast. Hoffman’s script has some of the best dialogue in years, clever, and full of metaphor and depth. It is definitely a film crying out to be rewatched as you will find something new with each viewing. There is imagery to suit the script, and Law’s charismatic performance could not have been bettered. Lowensohn is also very good, her intensity growing as she finds out more about Stephen. Of course, as a vampire movie people will expect blood and scares. Here there is little blood shed and few scenes of violence, though all are handled suitably, and of course it is not that kind of film. The cop storyline adds further depth, but for some the proceedings will be too slow. The film has its own pace, and rarely gets out of first gear, but this is the way it should be. An underrated film, but as Jude Law’s stardom rises hopefully he will not forget this, and his fans will discover it.

Let us know in the comments what you think of The Wisdom Of Crocodiles!

Best Cinematography – 1978

Official Nominations: Days Of Heaven. The Deer Hunter. Heaven Can Wait. Same Time, Next Year. The Wiz.

Two major front runners this year, with Nestor Almendros coming out on top for his glorious work on Days Of Heaven. Famed for his work with Truffaut his collaboration with Terence Malick recalls the natural beauty of Barry Lyndon with a preference for natural light over studio artificial and electronic lighting. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but I love films which frequently are set during or show heavy usage of sunrise/sunsets, and Days Of Heaven is maybe the finest example of this with many key scenes filmed under those conditions. The legendary Vilmos Zsigmond followed up his 1977 win with another nomination, this time for The Deer Hunter, a film which finely balances the grotesque nature of war against the beauty of nature and the futility of the players who exist in both. From the dew and mist covered hills and sullen industry of the US, to the heightened colours and overcrowded chaos of Vietnam it drifts between sensory assault and introspective calm.

William A Fraker got his second nomination in a row – something which often happens in this category – for Heaven Can Wait. I’ve always found the Heaven scenes in this to be little different from all those standard tropes you’ve seen before in everything from Tom And Jerry to A Matter Of Life And Death and there isn’t anything out of the ordinary back on terra firma. Same Time Next Year gets nominated purely because it was nominated in other categories and as a veteran nomination for Robert Surtees, while The Wiz is notable for its staged musical numbers and transposing the world of Oz into our world but still feels like a veteran nod. It’s a tough call between the top two, and either is a worthy winner.

My Winner: Days Of Heaven

How 'Days of Heaven' Was Filmed With a Visually Impaired ...

My Nominations: Days Of Heaven. The Deer Hunter. Big Wednesday. Death On The Nile. Halloween. Superman.

Two make it over to my list, joining four personal choices. Of my personal choices, Death On The Nile seems like the most plausible possible nominee. The legendary Jack Cardiff was already a veteran and Oscar winner by this point, and with Death On The Nile he helped give the film a more authentic period feel while exploiting the usual Egyptian landmarks with typical flair. Big Wednesday is a frequently gorgeous film – most notably in the surfing and beach shots – with Bruce Surtees using his experience working with Leone and Eastwood to provide many memorable long shots. Frequent Carpenter collaborator got his first chance to work with John on Halloween – a film with a look so iconic that it remains to me what the Halloween season should look like – wide Autumnal streets which seem tame and ideal during the day, becoming a looming ominous maze under the cover of darkness. Finally, Superman saw Geoffrey Unsworth receive a posthumous BAFTA nom, but his work which laid the foundations for every Superhero movie which has followed, was overlooked by The Academy.

My Winner: Days Of Heaven

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman Listens To – Ringo Starr – Sentimental Journey (Non-Beatles Series)!

Sentimental Journey: Amazon.co.uk: Music

Greetings, Glancers! You know, throughout my life I’ve heard quite a few songs by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison that they wrote, recorded, and performed outside of The Beatles. Ringo Starr though? I can’t think of any off the top of my head. That’s why I was surprised that he has made so many albums – surely I’ve heard something. As I make my way through this journey, I’m sure I’ll find out. And yet, Ringo’s voice was probably more familiar to me than any of the other Beatles when I was young, thanks to his work on Thomas The Tank Engine. 

Sentimental Journey was released in 1970 and is apparently the first non experimental, weird, avant-garde album by any Beatle. I was looking forward to this until I saw the tracklist and released it was a cover album. Ah well, I suppose Ringo had to work through his shit before making something good too. Lets do this.

Sentimental Journey: We open with a song I don’t recognise. It threatens Country, then Jazz, then settles into some easy-listening crooning once Ringo starts singing. I know Ringo’s vocals tend to get a lot of criticism – he can sing fine, it’s just that he’s limited. His vocals work well for things like With A Little Help. The problem here is that the song is junk. There’s a lot thrown into the arrangement – droopy horns, backing vocals, and some unusual voicebox work. A slow, yet detailed opening.

Night And Day: Big band wank. If there’s one other genre I typically cannot find any worth in beyond Country (and Irish) it’s Big Band/Swing stuff. Ironically, Starr’s vocals do suit that style, though he probably doesn’t have the strength or supposed sex appeal the singers in this genre are supposed to have. But the melodies, the brass, the beat, the swagger – everything about this is abhorrent to me, aside from some of the snazzy drum fills, but it’s not Ringo’s fault – it’s just a crap song in a style I can’t stand.

Whispering Grass: More big band jazzy stuff. At least this song has a discernible, appealing melody. The strings are whining, the song is boring, and Ringo’s voice doesn’t have the chops to quite pull it off. It takes a certain level of talentlessness to put violins in a song and make me wish they weren’t there.

Bye Bye Blackbird: Is this Paul McCartney? Or Arthur Askey? It’s the sort of jaunty piece of novelty crap McCartney would have written then passed over to Ringo to sing. Funny for about three seconds, then tragic. It should also be noted that I was listening to this while trying to untangle my Laptop power cable before the battery died, and I almost headbutted the monitor in rage.

I’m A Fool To Care: More brass. More ass. I’m not sure I would have survived in an era when music was this bad – pre 1950. Then again, I’m alive now. If I had been alive then, I’m fairly certain I would have single-handedly invented Metal. Somehow.

Stardust: Oh no. I see the whole album was meant to be a selection of his parents’ favourite songs. That would explain it – parents haven’t a fucking clue. This has some interesting pronunciation.

Blue, Turning Grey Over You: Dear Jeebus, so much useless noise. All that brass makes me feel how pensioners must feel when they hear Cannibal Corpse. The melody is almost non-existant, the trumpets run over everything else making the song nothing more than a predictable selection of brass farts.

Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing: Another of the songs I know. Of course it’s a song I never liked. He keeps the awful choral backing vocals, but his vocals act as a counterpoint and somehow improve things. This is absolutely a song which should be performed solo with quiet vocals and as little backing arrangement as possible.

Dream: I know a version of this. This isn’t much better. Ringo’s verse vocals don’t work at all. It’s just another boring pre-rock ballad with the same rhythm as the others. Nigh on unlistenable.

You Always Hurt The One You Love: At least this one starts interestingly, before the verse arrangement gets things all wrong. More wanky jazz in the middle. Terrible.

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You: We all know this. Apparently Elmer Bernstein had a crack at arranging this. It’s somewhere between a complete mess and something that weird ginger kid in your class who usually said funny things and sat with one hand in his pocket all time would write.

Let The Rest Of The World Go By: Twinkling and tinkling. Then more brass. And the same rhythm as the other dreary ballads. Worse than Love Island. 

Well, the title was right. Kind of. It probably was a Sentimental Journey recording these for his parents. For everyone else (me) it means absolutely nothing and is as pointless a piece of shit I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing. What do you think? Actually, forget it – I never want to think of this again.

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: Seriously?

My Blog – July 2020

We only went and did it! 30 years. 30 Years of near misses and nowhere nears. 30 Years since Liverpool Football Club was last crowned Champions Of England. Last Season of course, we were Champions Of Europe (6 times) and even after a club record of 97 points in the League, we still missed out on winning it by a single point. Most clubs would shatter after doing everything possible to win, beating records left and right, and still not winning, but the never give up mentality which has always been a part of the club and the city, and which has been rejuvenated and solidified under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp meant we simply pulled up our socks and went one better this year. With a 25 point lead at the top before the outbreak of COV-ID halted things, it was always inevitable that this was finally our year. I for one wasn’t taking anything for granted until it was mathematically impossible for anyone to catch us – which it now is, even with seven games remaining. Being 37 years old, I don’t really remember the last time we won. I remember us being Champions but none of the details. In the years between, we’ve seen some of our greatest players and managers come and go without getting their hands on the biggest price in British football, and the running joke from critics and naysayers was ‘maybe next year’. The jibes are no more. The critics and naysayers have been soundly destroyed on and off the pitch. As the clock ran down, at the poignant 96th minute in the match between rivals Man City and Chelsea, we knew that anything less than a City win would have crowned us Champions. Of course it would have been nice to have done the job ourselves – beating Everton and then Crystal Palace to have the celebrations on our own turf, but you don’t always get everything your own way. No matter – we got over the line in style – like no other club in history, and no have a claim to being the greatest football squad the Country has ever seen.

Champions Of Europe

Champions Of The World

Champions Of England

Oh yeah – here’s what I originally wrote for this blog post last week –

School’s Out! Here in Northern Ireland, we finish School in the last week of June before taking the entirety of July and August out – eight weeks to bask in the glorious lack of sunshine in whatever passes for Summer over here. Most people head to the Costa Del Booze for some unbegotten Continental flings or assorted lilo shenanigans with the family, but it’s a little different this year. Instead, all the Northern Ireland coastal resorts are being filled to bursting with chip-eaters from the rest of the Country, leaving their junk strewn over the beaches before heading back to the big smoke with sand in their cracks and resentment in their hearts. On top of that, the kids have been home schooled for the last few months, and we’re not even sure they’ll be back in September – which is a complete shambles given my eldest is going into her Primary 6 year – the most important year of School.

But that’s not what you came to read about. Last time out I told you about my current enjoyment of specific reaction channels. I love the idea behind some Reaction Channels – Americans watching British Sitcoms or trying British Snacks etc – that’s mildly interesting to me – but unfortunately most of the reactors are so obnoxious/low budget/have apparently just snorted 100 metres of coke as to make their content unwatchable. I enjoy seeing people experience things I am familiar with for the first time, whether it be food, TV, Music, Movies, but it really only works if they are people I’d like to hang out with IRL – not the self-obsessed bin lids who have cloned and spread all over YouTube.

Which is partly why I find myself drawn to different perspectives – people, who don’t seem to be dicks, who I may not usually have the opportunity to meet IRL. People from other cultures and countries, people with experiences and lives which may be truly alien to me. Plus, this also aligns neatly with the Post-Colonialist part of me which I have an inkling resides in all of us. When I was young, I wanted to be an explorer. Not because I had a desire to conquer and enslave like our forefathers, but because I wanted to visit places I hadn’t been before, or that perhaps nobody had been before. I still imagine visiting new worlds, parallel worlds, and sharing our culture and history – not with a view of showing we’re superior or trying to take over – but because what we’ve achieved as a species is pretty damn cool. So, in some way watching these Reaction videos is a harmless, vicarious way of living out these fantasies.

There are few unexplored places in our planet anymore. Places like the North Sentinel Islands – we’re unlikely to get Reaction videos from there… but places like North Korea, people who live in South American, African, or otherwise distant tribes, people who have grown up shielded or sheltered from World wide or Western Culture, people indoctrinated by Cults who have since escaped – people who have had lives so wildly outside of ‘the norm’ that they may have never heard of The Beatles, The Simpsons, Disney, Pizza, Canada – things the rest of us know by heart. I enjoy hearing stories and watching Reaction videos by people who escaped North Korea, but there are not many of them. Recently, Reactistan has been scratching this itch perfectly, as it has been publishing a series of Reaction Videos by people from Tribes in Pakistan. Videos include ‘Tribals React to Super Mario’, Tribals Try Nutella For The First Time’, ‘Tribals Try Coffee For The First Time’ – you get the idea. These wonderful, Meme-ready men and women have honest, often hilarious reactions to some of our supposed greatest exports. from the Elder who doesnt’ trust any food which is put in front of him, calling ‘Only God knows what is in this’ and claims his village has better versions of whatever he is reacting to, to ladies favourite Peer who is much more outgoing and willing to give thoughtful critiques. From dropping truth bombs to being surprised, disgusted, amused, or bemused by what is put in front of them, every episode is gold and it’s probably the most addictive thing I’ve watched in months.

When I first started watching the channel, they had under 20K subs, but at time of writing it’s over 100K – obviously I’m not the only one watching and enjoying. Plenty of people are commenting and creating their own memes in the comments so the community is growing, and fans are being asked for ideas for future episodes. Now’s the time to join in if it sounds like this is your sort of thing. If anyone reading this knows of any similar channels or wants to promote their own channels – feel free to share those here. I’m always interested to catch up with these, and it’s something I’d like to see more of online – less of the Buzzfeed type crap, more of the natural, truthful first time reactions. With that, kind of in mind, here are ten more TV shows I’d love to see individual Reactors React to.

Top Ten Shows NOBODY Is Reacting To (or probably are but just in vastly diminished numbers).

  1. Party Of Five

Party Of Five was one of my original personal obsessions. For early teen me, it had the hottest cast imaginable, with Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Lacey Chabert giving me special loin feelings, and Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf for the ladies. On top of that, it was such a wonderfully acted and written emotional show. While my brother and others were still stuck on shite like 90210, I was dining in the mire of the Salinger family’s trials and tribulations. Every episode featured some sort of MAJOR DRAMA and it’s one of those shows which made me yearn to be in the USA at the time – when Grunge was still on a high and where the beautiful people were not vacuous. It’s probably wouldn’t make for the most entertaining of Reactions – it’s not a show which relies on cliffhangers or outlandish plots or has a lot of comedy or surprises. Instead, it’s a powerful, authentic drama which will probably rip your emotions asunder. NOTE: I’m aware there has been a Latino focused remake of the series featuring an all new cast, and that it has Reactors. I’m going to assume the show has not done well as I have heard zero people talk about it, which sucks.

2. Medium

Medium is a show I only started watching after it ended, buying the boxset because I love Patricia Arquette and the plot sounded like a neat merging of Supernatural, Cop drama, and balancing family life. And that’s exactly what it is. I haven’t finished the show yet, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with these characters, thanks to excellent all round performances and the chemistry the cast has. Special mention must go to the chid actors here – they’re excellent. Again, not the most exciting show to watch others react to, but it’s a sweet show with a touch of horror, romance, humour, and mystery, and it is absolutely littered with guest stars who happen to be some of my favourite performers. No-one else is doing it, so go for those Blue Sky views.

3. Shooting Stars

This is where things get interesting; Shooting Stars was unlike anything else at the time, and while celeb based panel shows are all the rage in the UK now, they still haven’t come close to matching the majesty of Vic and Bob’s unholy spawn. I heard that panel shows aren’t really a thing in the US – I’ve no idea if that’s true or not. Basically, they are (typically) Quiz shows which feature celebrity guests. There’s no real prize on offer, beyond the honour of beating your opposing Team Captain. Typically there are Two Teams headed by an unchanging Team Captain, each week each team has one or two additional celebrity guests, and the show is hosted by an unchanging Quiz master. Sometimes the shows are based around Music, Sports, or Politics, but in the case of Shooting Stars, the subject matter was of course giant doves, True Or False questions (William Shatner’s real name is Bill Schitz?), and surreal video clips. There are a small number of, truly cringeworthy clips out there, of young US big-mouths watching the show uncomfortably and laughing at all the wrong parts, but I fell there are plenty of US viewers who would ‘get it’ and love it. The humour is both very British, and very Vic and Bob – you’ll either be a fan or you won’t, but it’s certainly their most accessible work with the bizarre tempered by the celebrity guests and the presence of Lamar, Jonsson, and Georgie Dawes. It’s one of my all time favourite shows, I used to regularly annoy people in school with my skits from it, and it’s one of those shows where you instantly have a sacred affinity and kinship with someone else who appreciates it.

4. The Outer Limits

Another seminal Anthology show, The Outer Limits is possibly seen as the little brother of The Twilight Zone. Honestly, I think the 90s version of the show may fare better with Reactors than the original. Maybe that’s because I grew up with the 90s one. A little more focused on horror, and on sci-fi, and with a touch more sex and violence, The Outer Limits is prime fodder for Reactors, mainly because not too many Reactors are watching Anthology shows (outside of Black Mirror) yet they offer provocative quick thrills and twists which the viewer will be anticipating – wondering if the Reactor will work it all out or be shocked.

5. Inside Number 9

I’ve talked about it multiple times before, it’s another Anthology show, but it is so clever, funny, scary, and offers something different with each episode while rarely dipping in quality, that I’m going to keep mentioning it until everyone has seen it. There are some Reactors doing bits and bobs of Inside Number 9, but we need some more dedicated Reactors following through and giving their Reactions to the whole thing.

6. Beavis And Butthead

Yes yes, it’s another personal favourite. Now, this is never going to happen due to licensing balls – the sort of which mean we’ll probably never get a good official Beavis And Butthead TV release on DVD/Blu Ray. Yes, I have the Mike Judge Collection, but it doesn’t have every episode, and it doesn’t have any of the music, which was 50% of what made the show appealing. Beavis And Butthead were the original Reactors, giving their beatdowns on MTv videos while slapping the bejesus out of each other, then going on anarchic adventures. In an ideal world, it would be Reactors watching every episode of the show, giving their thoughts not only on the humour, stories, and antics, but on the music. The 90s were a different time, it would be interesting to get some insight on how both people who were there, like me, and all you young cubs who weren’t born.

7. Eurotrash

What the hell was Eurotrash? If I’m honest I still don’t really know. A mixture of soft core pornography, reality, news stories with Europe’s sex oddities, and strange camp skits? Running for a marvellous 153 episodes, it was mainly helmed by the deadpan Antoine De Caunes, ably backed up on occasion by the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Melinda Messenger, Graham Norton, Lolo Ferrari, and a host of others, and each episode featured segments where the crew would visit some strange European festival or couple or group and see what sort of sex escapades they would get up to, from orgies to painting to fetishes. The segments would consist of amusing voice-over translations of what was being said and side voice-over anecdotes a la Come Dine With Me. Back in the studio, usually garishly adorned to make it look like some Deee-Lite video, De Caunes would offer up random thoughts, speak with guests, introduce regular features, and be past of surreal skits involving giraffes or nuns or French people. All of this would surely cause the average ‘I’m like, low-key, not gonna lie, but I have like, oh my god, like no frickin idea what is going on’ spouting Youtuber’s fragile ego to disintegrate. And that can only be a good thing.

8. The Fast Show

Like last time around, you may be sensing a theme here. This time, it’s the surreal – something which I have always enjoyed from as long as I remember. I don’t know why I like it or how I got hooked on it, but you know what they say? ARRRRRSSSSSSE. The Fast Show was a sketch show born out of the charred corpses of Harry Enfield And Chums and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Looking back, it is very dependent on catchphrases, with short sketches sometimes a build-up to a single one-liner that the audience has anticipated. But the key to The Fast Show was that there were hundreds of characters – some appearing only once or twice, some appearing for maybe 10 seconds, while others were given more screen time and back story. It would almost certainly be a case of your average US Youtuber being bewildered and not getting half of the humour, and waiting for that one strange soul that it would click with. Still, people reacting negatively can sometimes be as entertaining as people reacting and loving it.

9. Look Around You

Taking the bizarre to the next level was both glorious seasons of Look Around You – possibly the greatest unseen show ever made. The show took different approaches in each Season, but ostensibly was a spoof of 70s and 80s British Education TV shows for Children. The first Season was the sort of crap they used to show me in Primary school, while the Second was a longer form show which reminded me of several post-School ITV educational fare. The first season was made up of very short – less than 10 minute epsisodes focusing on a single topic, such as MATHS or GERMS, or GHOSTS. Most of the humour is dialogue based and I’ve heard several stories of people channel hopping, stumbling upon it and thinking it was a genuine educational show only to do a ‘wtf’ did he just say when one of the more bizarre turn of phrases was unleashed. The second season is more akin to something like Blue Peter or Tomorrow’s World and saw show creators Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper joining Olivia Colman and Josie D’Arby as hosts. Once again, each show centered on a a specific topic – Music, Sport, Computers, and featured a special guest with an invention hoping to be crowned Inventor Of The Year. Many cameos abound, from Simon Pegg to Edgar Wright, and the amount of detail and content puts other shows to shame – there’s so much here from visual gags to the script to the performances, that you’ll find something new each time. Primarily I want Reactors to watch this, because nobody ever talks about it and I fail to see how anyone wouldn’t laugh their nuts off at it.

10. Sliders

Sliders was one of the first non-kids shows I considered mine. In that nobody else in my family watched it, and none of my friends seemed to watch it. This was never a popular show at all in the circles I travelled in, and I kind of liked it that way. I think my brother caught on or two episodes and called it a cheap copy of Quantum Leap. That’s partly true, but equally unfair. It was a show about travelling to parallel worlds in an attempt to make it home – while Quantum Leap saw one man travelling in time in a roughly 50 year period, Sliders saw (initially) four people ‘slide’ through a wormhole to a parallel version of San Fransisco – some very similar to what they already knew, some very futuristic, some very technologically backwards. They had to stay in this place for a defined amount of time before moving on to the next randomly generated world, hoping they would make it back to their world. While it was very much an episodic show, it did have that overall Story Arc about Quinn, Wade, Arturo, and Brown getting home, and there would be smaller arcs involving double episodes or recurring threats such as the Kromaggs. It all went severely belly up after the third season, with cast changes and a loss of what made the first seasons so interesting, but it’s still the sort of show sci-fi fan Reactors should be watching while we wait for TV schedules and new shows to pick up again.

So that’s that. Oh wait, I did say there were two types of Reaction I wanted to talk about, didn’t I? Maybe I’ll save that for next month as this post is long enough already and I kind of want to make my own ‘Ten Shows Reactors NEED To React to Video’ now for Youtube. Yeah, there’s this channel called Reactistan – it has been going for a while now, but really found its niche recently when they began posting a series where ‘Tribal People’ react to common place Western shit. The link to their channel is above, but seriously go watch those – it’s gold. There are so many future memes, from ‘Only God Knows what it’s made of’ to ‘Well it’s free so I’ll take another bite’. Yeah, I guess I’ll talk about why I love those Reaction videos so much next time – by that point their channel will prob have a million subs.

Oh yeah, I actually went and made that Youtube video alluded to earlier, between the time I wrote the post and now (about an hour) – so here it is. It’s every bit as terrible as all my other videos, but it does feature some stellar original music so whack on the headset and max out the volume (seriously, DON’T).

Do you like Reaction videos? Why not – why do you hate them so? What would you like Reactors reacting to? What would you rather the youth of today spend their time doing? Let us know in the comments, and until next time, check around my site for more incoherent rambling!

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.

Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.

Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.

Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.

Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.

DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.

Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the definition into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.

Foreign Cinema Introduction: This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.

Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.

Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.

Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.

The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attention to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.

I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.

Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.

Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.

The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.

The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.

The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.

TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.

Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.

Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.

Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!

Best Original Score – 1978

Official Nominations: Midnight Express. The Boys From Brazil. Days Of Heaven. Heaven Can Wait. Superman. The Buddy Holly Story. The Wiz. Pretty Baby.

After last year’s bonanza, John Williams only received a single meagre nomination this time around. Superman is another classic with several rousing themes which go hand in hand with any discussion or review of the movie. Midnight Express was one of the official winners this year, Giorgio Morodor introducing movie audiences to the joys of synths. It’s a weird one – ranging from fast tracks which sound more like a cheesy action movie and love themes which now feel dated. It still feels like a worthy win, though I never feel any of the music evokes any of the horror, despair, or feeling of the movie. The Boys From Brazil probably sounded incredibly old fashioned alongside Morodor’s new-fangled beast, with its waltzes and strings – some good pieces but lacks that core theme.

Another yearly stalwart in this category is of course Ennio Morricone – his work on Malick’s Days of Heaven is ridiculously his first official nomination. Heaven Can Wait seems to have received nominations all over the place – we know The Academy loves Warren Beatty – but they apparently went overboard this year. It does have a memorable lead theme, but I find it veers too close to cheesy daytime soap. The Buddy Holly Story was the other official winner this year – as you would expect it features plenty of early rock’n’roll hits. The Wiz is your everyday African American Adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz featuring Michael Jackson and friends. It’s not really like anything else you’ll ever see. Quincy Jones brings the noise and while he, Ross, and Jackson had all and would later make better music, it’s still interesting and has some good moments. Finally, Pretty Baby is the one film here most people won’t remember, odd given that it’s Louis Malle directing Brooke Shields as a young girl working in a whorehouse. The soundtrack is essentially all Ragtime stuff which I’m not a huge fan of.

My Winner: Superman

SUPERMAN – John Williams | MOVIE MUSIC UK

My Nominations: Superman. Days Of Heaven. Midnight Express. Jaws 2. Grease. Halloween. American Hot Wax. Big Wednesday. Dawn Of The Dead. Damien: Omen 2. I Wanna To Hold Your Hand. Animal House.

Seriously people – if Pretty Baby and The Buddy Holly Story are getting nominations here, there’s no way Grease should not be nominated. I’m not a huge fan of the film, but its songs and its music are part of our culture much more than most of the films nominated. It was the highest grossing film of the year, one of the biggest selling soundtracks ever, and with some of the most famous movie songs ever – there’s no way it doesn’t get a nomination. Although it’s long forgotten, if we’re including soundtracks on the strength of their songs then we have to include American Hot Wax – it ain’t American Graffiti, but it ain’t far off. While we’re on the subject, we have to also include I Wanna To Hold Your Hand for all those Beatles songs.  And Animal House too. Jeepers.

Here’s an interesting one – I picked Jaws as my winner when it was released but I think Jaws 2 is the better score. It has everything the first one had, but some inspired additional pieces too. I’m not sure I can pick it as winner though given that so much was created for the original. Sticking with horror sequels, and Goldsmith’s work on The Omen 2, while not as effective or creepy as the first one still does enough to be worthy of another nomination. Halloween kick started a hundred horror clichés, music and musical cues among them – Carpenter’s score is one of the best horror scores ever with chilling themes which evoke not only the era but the timeless nature of the season. Speaking of timeless horror soundtracks and we have Dawn Of The Dead – much lesser known outside of horror circles than Carpenter’s work, but Goblin’s score is beloved by everyone inside the genre.

Basil Poledouris is one of the most underrated composers in history and sadly passed away without a single Academy nomination. We change that now, with his work in Big Wednesday much softer and nostalgic than his later work yet no less notable. As you may know, Jerry Goldsmith was on a roll this year – along with The Omen 2 and The Boys From Brazil,  he did Coma, Capricorn One, Swarm, and Magic, the last of which is creepy and dramatic enough to earn a nomination from me.

My Winner: Halloween

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman Listens To – Bon Jovi – What About Now!

What About Now (album) - Wikipedia

Greetings, Glancers! I’ve now listened to two ‘new’ Bon Jovi albums with Lost Highway and The Circle with the general consensus being that I thought they were better than I was expecting, particularly the latter. With today’s listen-though, I haven’t even heard of the album title before and know absolutely nothing about the songs or music or style. I was aware that Richie Sambora left the band at some point, but it turns out that this was the last album he worked on with the band. I don’t know anything about the background or his reasons for leaving the group, but maybe that has some sort of effect on how the album sounds. I don’t know, I’m clutching straws. I don’t think that, even though I was pleased with the last two albums, that I’m going to raise my expectations in any way so I’m still placing the bar quite low for this one. Let’s do this.

Because We Can‘ has a very poppy opening – lots of layered vocals and keyboards, light on the guitars. John’s vocals sound a little strange, not sure if they were being tweaked in the studio. I quite like the verse melody, it’s an easy ear worm while the chorus has lyrics which are easy to remember and sing along with. It feels like a dedicated attempt at making waves in the charts and it’s quite a distance from their harder rock roots.

I’m With You‘ is more like what we know from the band, even if they guitars lack whatever bite they may have once had. I’m happy they’ve returned to a focus on melody, something they had slipped a little from but have grown back into in the last album. I am drawn more to the verse melodies on this one, same as the first, and in the chorus here the mass vocals feel over produced and possibly modified a little from how they originally sounded.

What About Now‘ is the title track, and sounds like another obvious single. It’s much more generic and middle of the road than the first two songs, but it’s still going to appeal to their core fan group. It’s a little more emotive in the second verse but I don’t see it having the power to draw in any new fans.

Pictures Of You‘ continues the full melodic sound. The songs may lack punch and are ever more pandering towards fans of the softer side but they’re not overly repetitive in terms of this album yet. This is sweet enough, obviously another love song but with a fast enough tempo to keep it out of ballad territory. If you already like the band, you’ll enjoy this. If you don’t like them, this will be more evidence. It’s not strong enough to convert any newbs if we compare it to their big hits.

Amen‘ is straight into ballad land, starting with an acoustic guitar as soft as a harp and lots of loving metaphors. There’s not much to it – the odd swell of strings and organ as it proceeds, but very simple and not any new ideas. Once the vocals and strings soar it gets better, but he needed to take the vocals one notch higher – in the past he would have. One for the ladies… just not enough force to get it into that A class of ballads.

That’s What The Water Made Me‘ increases the pace once more with a clattering of drums. More poppy melodies, very commercial, very much ticking all those ‘how to make a hit’ boxes without hitting the ‘how to make a classic’ ones. It’s fine and another great song for existing fans.

Whats Left Of Me‘ is more of Jon aligning himself with or imagining himself as the working man, and jotting down his thoughts on blue collar life. There’s an ever so quiet hint of Nashville similar to what they were doing a couple of albums ago. No new ground here and not strong enough of a copy to make any impact.

Army Of One‘ opens with a drum beat which should be familiar to most Bon Jovi fans. The organ grows as the vocals prepare for an anthem of some description. The guitars and bass join in slowly but the sudden chorus blast breaks this rhythm and any crescendo falls apart. The chorus is too simplistic and repetitive to drive its point home with any conviction. Instead it sadly comes across as the sort of attempt at an anthem or rallying call that a one year’s success boy band’s manager would devise. It’s supposed to be inspirational and I hope it reaches the ears of those who need it and who it would work for, but it misses the mark wildly for me.

Thick As Thieves‘ feels like a more honest ballad. There’s a dual keyboard and organ, smooth in your eye vocals, and a slow pace. It’s touching, I can see it working for most fans. It’s not perfect, it doesn’t have the emotional peaks I look for in ballads, instead going for a more matter of fact approach. Their existing fans who prefer the ballads will surely adore this too.

Beautiful World‘ gets the pace back on track, though we’re hardly getting out of third gear. Plenty more hooks, more positivity, and another big chorus with enough bounce and energy to serve it well in the live environment. There are quite a few songs on the album which feel like singles, but none of them would crack the band’s own top twenty or my personal favourites.

Room At The End Of The World‘ starts with great promise – straight in with no messing or elaborate intro. The melody and atmosphere I look for are there and it feels like it’s building towards something interesting. The chorus hits and it’s… well it’s like any number of the band’s choruses in their previous ten years. They’re very interchangeable and don’t stand apart from the crowd. I keep saying it, but long time fans shouldn’t mind.

The Fighter‘ draws the album to a close. It starts with promise – uncomplicated guitar which Jon follows with his vocal melody. It’s very sweet and the lyrics aren’t as obvious. The chorus for once feels like an extension of the verse and melody rather than an attempt to sound as commercial as possible. A pleasing ending.

Well, another good album better than what a cynic like me would be expecting. It doesn’t leap out of the stereo, it doesn’t challenge, but it does give fans what they want. It’s wonderful for the fans that the band keeps giving the fans what they want and that the band are happy to keep doing what they do. They’re probably doing what they do better than anyone else, even if they’re not doing it as well as they used to. That’s the part which is to be expected as few artists can continually reinvent themselves or get progressively better. Most hit a peak and stay there or tumble off the other side into oblivion. Maybe there are songs here with the strength and quality to bring in new fans, if only the listeners had regular easy access, but as healthy and fun as most of the songs will be for existing fans I don’t see the audience growing. On a personal note there are fewer songs that I’d chose to listen to again than on the previous album, but I was never really the target audience.

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: Because We Can. I’m With You. The Fighter.

Let us know what you think of What About Now in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs – Resistance Is Futile

This is more like it. The last album was a step beyond the one before, and this one takes things further again, delivering the melodies I’ve come to expect from the band that just keeps coming back. The band delivers a whopping six singles, though these mostly download only and therefore came with no B-Sides. Still, a few extras appeared due to the different editions of albums and singles though the higher overall quality of the album tracks mean it’s harder for me to switch anything out.

  1. Hold Me Like A Heaven
  2. People Give In
  3. Distant Colours
  4. In Eternity
  5. Liverpool Revisited
  6. International Blue
  7. Sequels Of Forgotten Wars
  8. Broken Algorithms
  9. A Song For The Sadness
  10. Vivian
  11. The Left Behind
  12. Dylan And Caitlin

There are a couple of very good extra songs which would have been superb if squeezed into a single whole – one has a fantastic verse, the other a great chorus. As they stand, I’d add those in and take out my bottom two:

  1. People Give In
  2. International Blue
  3. Distant Colours
  4. Vivian
  5. Holding Patterns
  6. Liverpool Revisited
  7. Sequels Of Forgotten Wars
  8. Hold Me Like A Heaven
  9. In Eternity
  10. Broken Algorithms
  11. A Song For The Sadness
  12. Mirror Gaze

And that’s us up to date. Will there be another Manics album? I sure hope so – the idea of a world without The Manic Street Preachers is almost unimaginable, especially as so many other greats have fallen by the wayside. Let us know your rankings in the comments!

Best Picture – 1978

Official Nominations: The Deer Hunter. Coming Home. Heaven Can Wait. Midnight Express. An Unmarried Woman.

The late 70s saw an uptake in realistic war movies – thanks to the grit and realism which filmmakers had sought to provide since the start of the decade, and when merged with the injustices of the Vietnam war, Hollywood and audiences were ready for such films. The Deer Hunter is one of the greatest War movies ever made – impeccably directed and acted, and with any number of iconic scenes. It’s incredibly tense, tragic, and draining, but also beautifully shot. For anyone not in the know, it follows a group of friends from a small industrial town who are all heading to Vietnam – we meet them before heading off and see their relationships and personalities. One gets married, they have a final bonding Deer Hunt, and then the film abruptly jumps to ‘Nam. The rest of the film deals with their part in the war, coming home to find out how the world has moved on, and each dealing with their personal changes.

Coming Home has been overshadowed by The Deer Hunter, but it’s great too and shares a lot of similarities with Cimino’s movie. There is Vietnamthere is a paralyzed guy, there’s a girl waiting at home, there’s a guy with PTSD – it’s a very strong movie but lacks the overall power of The Deer Hunter. Heaven Can Wait is another one of those ‘guy dies before his time and argues with the powers that be to send him back to Earth’ movies. We’ve all seen one of them, and this is the best version, charming, sweet, funny. On the other end of the scale is Midnight Express – as stark and chilling a prison movie as you’ll ever see. It’s not an easy watch, the direction as cold as the unfolding events – it’s about a college student buying some cheap dope in Turkey while on holiday and trying to get home. He gets caught and goes through a lot of bullshit before being imprisoned. Prison life is tough, but he meets other friendly inmates. When he gets decades added on to his sentence he decides to escape, but more terrible things happen and he eventually loses his mind. It’s one of those movies everyone should see once, but once will be enough for most.

Finally, An Unmarried Woman lightens the tone. It’s an important film for the evolution of the roles women get on screen and touches on subjects such as the sexual liberation of the time. Basically it shows a wife who has a more or less perfect American life losing it all after her husband decides to leave her. She is thrown into the world of singles again, confused and angry, but as the film progresses she learns to stand on her own. It’s good, but it has no chance of winning.

My Winner: The Deer Hunter

My Nominations: The Deer Hunter. Midnight Express. Superman. Halloween. The Driver. Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers. Dawn Of The Dead. Big Wednesday. Animal House.

So, when I created my lovely top 250 films on IMDB many many years ago, no fewer than five of my nominations this year made an appearance. I don’t think I’d seen Big Wednesday at that point, or at seen it too recently to rank it. You wouldn’t think it is a John Milius film, it’s certainly his most personal, and it’s understandable that it didn’t do as well as it should have going up against the similarish Deer Hunter and Coming Home. At least Milius would get his surfing love into Apocalypse Now. Big Wednesday is a great coming of age drama about friendship – even though it is from a place and era I have no affiliation with, it still reminds you of your own youth and experience in a bittersweet way, its universal themes compatible with anyone.

Animal House wasn’t on my list either but as far as comedies go they don’t get much better or anarchic or influential. Frat Houses are not something we have any experience of in my country, and while I actually lived at home during my University years, I stayed with friends long enough to get a glimpse, a tiny glimpse of the sorts of antics the film presents – like the previous film there is a universal sense of camaraderie here which ensures the film keeps hitting the right notes with each generation. You’re unlikely to find many more comedies with as much energy and great performers as this. Superman was long seen as the greatest comic book movie ever – compare it was Marvel and DC’s efforts today and, well, there isn’t really much comparison. As much as I love it, I’ve always been more of a Burton’s Batman kind of guy – it appeared on my list, Superman didn’t. Reeve creates or restores an icon, the world had a new hero, everyone loved Lois, hated Luthor, and laughed at Jimmy, and Brando even pops up.

The Driver was on my Top 250 IMDB list, Walter Hill’s film as minimalist as it is cool – Ryan O’Neal has never been better while Bruce Dern is comically manic. I still say it’s the best car movie ever made, not that I know or care much about cars. Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers is the most acclaimed version of the story, though Abel Ferrara’s retelling remains my personal favourite. This one has the best cast and the best twist, with Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartright all excelling, along with Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum. There’s just something about this idea of soulless copies, of being hunted down and not knowing who to trust or who is an alien which resonates with me and I love this version.

That leaves us with two of the greatest horror movies of all time. How do you choose between two seminal classics – Halloween essentially created the slasher genre and the teen horror genre, while Dawn Of The Dead perfected every zombie cliché. I could watch both of these movies every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of them. Both are scary – in the immediate and lingering sense, both are technically brilliant, both have great performances, great music, and are defining moments for both directors. Halloween is a must watch every Halloween – no other film has nailed that sense, or essence of the season, and I’d go so far as saying no film about any season, Christmas included, has got it right. Dawn Of The Dead though… I’m not sure any other horror film has ever grabbed me so instantly and filled me with so many thoughts and ideas and questions to the extent that I’ll be thinking about it at least once a week. I love everything about this movie, even the stuff that doesn’t work, and for me it is never less than perfect.

My Winner: Dawn Of The Dead

What is your pick for the Best Film of 1978? Anything not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!

Knock Knock

I’ve mentioned it before on the blog, but I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Eli Roth. I love his enthusiasm, and the films he makes are generally made with love and have solid ideas driving them, but the execution is almost always lacking and he seems to give up part way through and inject unnecessary humour. I have nothing against humour in horror, but his always falls flat. Knock Knock is a remake of the notorious, yet little known 70s exploitation film Death Game – but is it a film which allows Roth’s strengths to overcome his weaknesses?

The film begins promisingly enough – Reeves is playing a wealthy husband and father who lives in a post modern glacial home. One night, while his family is out of town, two unfathomably sexy young women knock knock at his door claiming to need help finding a party. One thing leads to another and before long we are treated to a sleazy threesome. In true Bunuel style, the girls don’t seem willing, or know how to leave – all the more troubling when neighbour Colleen Camp stops by disapprovingly and when the girls destroy some artwork in the house. As matters progress, the sleaze and nonsense increase to silly levels.

Although that promising start eventually dissipates into a watered down tables turned version of Funny Games, with a lot less to say, it’s still stupidly watchable in the same way most exploitation movies are. The cast is a lot of fun, even if it is a little cringe-inducing seeing some of the things Reeves gets up to in the movie. There are many moments when the girls’ plan could have been foiled or come crumbling down, but silly contrived circumstance gets in the way. I’m not sure what precisely the film is trying to say, but it comes off as both hating men and women equally while still glamourizing the hollow and violent nature of both sides. It doesn’t come close to being a horror movie, and it’s not particularly funny to be considered a comedy – exploitation and a mish mash of genre tropes mean it’s more like a sleazy morality tale where the lesson seems to be ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’. Still, for all its faults, its more enjoyable than a lot of the po-faced horror out there, and it’s brief enough that you’re not sacrificing much by giving it your time.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Knock Knock!