Wooley & Torgo's September Excite-o-rama!


Black Hole is one that I've been wanting to revisit forever. I sort of liked it as a kid, had picture books and so on, but never fully embraced it.

I think it's the latter bit that was my sticking point. (Didn't quite latch on to ST:tMP either.)
I remember thinking long stretches of it were dull (at age 8). Your review sounds about what I'd expect it to be, but I still want to give it a go. If I ever join Disney+ I guarantee this will be viewed within the first week.
It is nice that Disney+ has this movie, The Black Cauldron, Tron and other "alternative" Disney fare that was unsuccessful. No idea why they don't have Watcher in the Woods, though.

I never found it dull - even during slow stretches, there's amusement to be had in just taking in the scenery - but it is bland a lot of the time. Sometimes, mixing action and sci-fi is like mixing two flavors at the soda fountain that you'd think would go together, but are "meh" when you taste them.

I liked The Blackhole mostly for the robots. They had personality.
Same here. They have more personality than the humans! Reviews called them out for being annoying, but I disagree. They are amusing and insightful. "All sunshine makes a desert, as the Arabs say." Deep stuff.

Speaking of,
WARNING: spoilers below
I don't know what's more non-Disney: that ending, or that death scene where Maximillian chops up Anthony Perkins' guts.
Last Great Movie Seen
The Beta Test (Cummings, 2021)

Unfortunately, no. I was one of those kids who had so much useless (at the time) **** that it had to be culled every once and awhile.

I at least managed to squirrel away my Garbage Pail Kids. You know, ,the essentials.

Since I've only caught bits and pieces of this movie on cable over the years, I took this opportunity to finally watch it from start to finish. It reminds me of another sci-fi tentpole from the same year, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in that it tries to do crowd-pleasing space opera à la Star Wars and hard sci-fi à la 2001: A Space Odyssey at the same time. Even though it does not completely succeed at either, it does not totally fail. The titular anomaly - the largest ever charted in the movie's 22nd century setting - is where the presumed lost Cygnus has been drifting for the last 20 years. A ship called the Palomino happens upon the Cygnus, boards it and its crew (of '70s that guys and ladies from Anthony Perkins to Yvette Mimieux) become seduced or skeptical of seemingly the only remaining crewmember, Dr. Hans Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell), who's made discovering how to travel through the vortex his life's purpose.

The movie is a classic example of a mixed bag. For every good thing in it, another thing that is not so great immediately comes to mind. Most worthy of praise is the look and feel of the Cygnus, which is a masterclass of production design. The movie cost $20 million - the most expensive Disney production at the time - and I wouldn't be surprised if most of that went towards the sets and matte paintings. As a result, and while the stilted acting except for Schell may be to blame, the scenery chews the performers a bit. The special effects are nothing to scoff at either, but their bad science works against them. When it comes down to it, the black hole is about as scientifically accurate as the wormhole in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

There are a few positives that do not have corresponding faults, the first being the ending.
WARNING: spoilers below
A likely attempt to give the 2001: A Space Odyssey warp sequence a run for its money, it's trippy, open to interpretation and may be the most daring sequence Disney allowed filmmakers to get away with. My own interpretation: like the Nazis opening the ark at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, entering the wormhole is a move that compels God to act, condemning Dr. Reinhardt to Hell and to be encased by Maximillian - symbolic of him putting science first and humanity second - and sending an angel to guide what remains of crew of the Palomino to safety.
Oh, and John Barry's foreboding score is spectacular. Again, even though I'm compelled to qualify each good thing about the movie with a "but...," I like it on the whole. Its Frankenstein-like lessons about the dangers of scientific discovery that has no moral or human foundations still linger. Had Disney not tried to ride Star Wars' coattails so much and let it have more of its own identity, its big investment just may have paid off a little more because it had the potential to do so. Oh, and getting the science right would have helped, too.
I have a soft-spot for The Black Hole, despite its obvious shortcomings. Too many of the fun things are fun for me to write it off... yet it's not a movie I would want to revisit often.

It is nice that Disney+ has this movie, The Black Cauldron, Tron and other "alternative" Disney fare that was unsuccessful. No idea why they don't have Watcher in the Woods, though.

When you know going in that any “plotting” that may occur will be exceedingly dubious at best if considered for even a moment, so you just abandon any such notions from the start… because there’s gonna be magic laser-arrows, a villainess who's nude for the entire film, and, sure, why not wolf-men.

I saw this film when I was young. Based on the U.S. release date, I would have been 11 years old. I thought I was even younger than that when I saw it, but that appears to be the correct date. It made an impression on me. There were blue laser arrows. There were wolf-men. And the villain(ess) was nude for the entire film. It's a little fuzzy to me how I got to see this movie, like who the hell takes an 11 year-old boy to see this, but I never forgot it.
I also never saw it again.
It was lost to memory for years but every once in a while I'd have a flash of it in my mind and remember something magical and amazing. When the internet began to be genuinely helpful maybe 15 years or so ago, I tried to find it by just spitting out search terms into Metacrawler like laser-arrow, but had no luck. Finally the internet caught up with me and I was able to discover what it was but still waited another decade - until last night - to re-watch it. Because I didn't realize it was Fulci.

So, this is a really strange narrative and I'd have to give a decent bit away to explain why it is, but it is an unconventional narrative. On the other hand, it makes a lot more sense than most of Fulci's films. It just doesn't go down like you would expect.
A young man is given a magic bow by his father in a sort of mystical ceremony to see him off into the world to pursue his destiny of heroism. The bow will fire arrows until such time as he truly becomes a man when it will awaken and shoot laser-arrows. Which is ****ing awesome.

He very quickly comes across some evil, in the form of a bunch of bad guys who either have cool helmets or are actual wolf-men, so his quest of heroism seems to be off to a good start... until he promptly gets his ass kicked and before the nomadic fighter, Aragorn - er, Mace - saves his bacon. The two set out together, one determined to defeat evil, the other just happy to survive and not get involved against the evil Ocron, who is a sort of witch-queen with a gold mask she never takes off and, presumably, some clothes which she never puts on.

She drinks the fresh brains of attractive youthful people. Because Fulci.
From here, it seems pretty clear where this all has to go but the movie actually has some pretty strange detours as well as some fun little battles and such before it all climaxes in a way I really didn't see coming.
There's also occasionally some zombies.

Because Fulci.
So, is this movie good? I have no idea. I mean, in many ways it's bad, but as we all know, that doesn't really make a movie bad. It's a pretty low-budget Italian/Spanish/Mexican rip off of Conan The Barbarian, Clash Of The Titans, and The Beastmaster (did I mention that Mace has some weird psychic bond with animals or something), and it is true that the wolf-men kinda look ridiculous if you actually care, but hey, they're wolf men that like leap through the air at people in service to the witch-queen, which is awesome. And the run-time is definitely padded so it drags in the second act, but it's also wonderfully gory. But it really kinda comes down to how awesome early 80s, Italian, low-budget genre cinema can be in the right hands, and those hands belong to Lucio Fulci. So this movie is dreamy and kooky in all the right ways. Laser arrows? Check. Nude witch-queen? Check. Wolf-men? Check. Crazy gore? Check. Some zombies just for the hell of it? Check.
So a 37 year-old itch is scratched and Wooley is a happy man.

Refresh my memory since it's been a few years since I've seen Conquest and I was pretty tired at the time (it was part of a double feature with Four of the Apocalypse, and I remember being so tired I fell asleep during the latter) - the consumption of brains, it was through a straw, yes? Somehow in my memory it's become a snorting of brains. My memory is probably conflating it some other brain consumption movies at this point.

I definitely remember scalping with lots of exposed brain, though. Because. Fulci. He really loved his brains for a period there.

Refresh my memory since it's been a few years since I've seen Conquest and I was pretty tired at the time (it was part of a double feature with Four of the Apocalypse, and I remember being so tired I fell asleep during the latter) - the consumption of brains, it was through a straw, yes? Somehow in my memory it's become a snorting of brains. My memory is probably conflating it some other brain consumption movies at this point.

I definitely remember scalping with lots of exposed brain, though. Because. Fulci. He really loved his brains for a period there.
Almost as much as eyeballs.
But in answer to your question, no straw, just slurping out of the severed head-cup.

Well. I grew up in the era of Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll and I saw this movie when I was just starting to hit puberty and I can tell you that it was about the greatest thing in the World. I'm sure it's not nearly so popular now and I have no idea how a contemporary audience would see it but I can't not appreciate it for the go-for-broke, end-of-the-70s, adolescent male fantasy that it is.

When a glowing green orb called the Loc-Nar is brought back to Earth from a trip to space, it quickly reveals itself to be "The Sum Of All Evil".

Cornering a young teenage girl it informs her that it must destroy her as she may be the last thing that can destroy it. First, it wants to show her what it is and thus begins the omnibus of Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy tales that makes up the bulk of the film. The Loc-Nar takes us from future dystopian New York to another planet in a more medieval and fantastic time, then a trial gone-awry on a space-station, to a World War II bomber, an accidental alien-kidnapping at The Pentagon, and finally to our climactic story of Good versus Evil on a fantasy world of magic, mutants, lasers, and legend.
Along the way we'll be treated to robots, disintegrations, double-crosses, beheadings, lasers, swords, guns, fantastic worlds, space, drugs, space-flights on drugs, mutants, giant bats, even zombies, lots of death, and of course, plenty of nudity and sex.

Yeah, it's just 90 minutes of all that, laced with a kick-ass soundtrack of Blue Oyster Cult, Dio-era Black Sabbath, pre-Halen Sammy Hagar, even Devo to give the right atmosphere to the bloody, spacey, sexy, funny, and stoned proceedings. And honestly, 35 years after I first saw it, it turns out I'm still here for it. Every minute of it. I loved it again and I suspect I always will, because sometimes I still, in the privacy of my own home where I can be no harm to anyone, want and need to be a teenage boy.

So that's where your old pfp was from.
Yes. And it will be again.

In the history of kick-ass-ity, is there anything more kick-ass than mutants riding giant bats as Dio-era Sabbath plays in the background? The answer is no.
Jesus, I forgot to even mention the music.
I'll have to go back and edit that post. Can't not even mention "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" or "The Mob Rules".

I've got an angle...

Heavy Metal is good fun. The B-17 segment is one of the coolest pieces of animation I've ever seen.

I'll post a couple more entries in this thread before the month is over. Stay tuned...

The Platform (2019) -

My desire to watch something like Cube led me to this Spanish Netflix movie. A sci-fi horror that could sort of be described as vertical Snowpiercer, it's set in a prison where the top floors get the first helpings of food while the subsequent floors get the leftovers until the bottom ones are left to play with the plates and cutlery. Our hero is Goreng (Frank Zappa lookalike Iván Massagué), a new inmate who becomes haunted by former cellmates on his path to fighting for the rights for those on the lowest floors.

If you're guessing that the prison, like the train in Snowpiercer, is an obvious (remember that word) metaphor for a first-world country, you'd be right. Goreng's path through it, however, hardly resembles Curtis's (Chris Evans) and it is hardly predictable. It's one that takes him to high floors, low floors, bonding with a rogue mother hunting for her daughter and almost becoming food himself. Making Goreng's path more interesting is the clever editing, which flits back and forth in time to how Goreng first found himself in such a place and offers glimpses to the seemingly five-star restaurant kitchen at the top, all the while thankfully not coming across as incoherent. The performances are also all of high quality, especially Zorion Eguileor as one of Goreng's more cynical and irascible cellmates. Also, for those who don't mind a little blood and guts in movies like this one, you'll get your fill.

As it is with similar high-concept horror, the rules sometimes left me scratching my head at times. Its approach still beats having them explained within an inch of their life in Christopher Nolan movies, especially since I don't believe every rule needs an explanation, but I felt like the guy in the "I have questions" GIF a lot of the time. I still think fans of high-concept and/or one-location sci-fi or horror would enjoy it. It's bound to be especially cathartic if you live in a country that treated COVID in a way that made you feel like a prisoner in your own home as well as rationing table scraps. Oh, and it's probably not an ideal movie to watch if you're hungry or just ate since the mere thought of any shot with food in it makes my stomach turn.

The Platform was OK. Also, I didn't think it was a typical modern political commentary but was more generally saying that people are crap. It was just dressed like Snowpiercer.