Should You Heed “The Warning” ?

Trash Film Guru


My recent forays into the depths of Amazon Prime’s streaming horror queue have yielded some interesting results — indeed, on the whole I’m ready to feel reasonably optimistic about so-called “micro-budget” genre filmmaking again — but then along comes something that not only confirms, but unquestionably amplifies, everything that all the nay-sayers who don’t even bother with this sort of thing assume to be true : the acting is laughably bad, the script is loaded with cringe-worthy dialogue, the plot is hopelessly redundant and unoriginal, the low-rent production values are embarrassingly amateurish, yadda yadda etc. etc. It is, therefore, my distinct displeasure to present perhaps the —errrmmm — finest example of all these frequent criticisms writ large that I have yet some across, director Dirk Hagen’s 2015 atrocity The Warning.


Honestly, the word “bad” seems too simple — and frankly too kind — to describe what’s on offer…

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Hillbilly Deluxe: MURDER, HE SAYS (Paramount 1945)

cracked rear viewer


George Marshall has long been a favorite director of mine. Though he excelled in all genres (particularly Westerns), it’s his comedies that first caught my attention. Marshall guided W.C. Fields through his first for Universal, YOU CAN’T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (with radio foils Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy), did some of Bob Hope’s best films (THE GHOST BREAKERS, MONSIER BEAUCAIRE, FANCY PANTS), and directed MY FRIEND IRMA, the debut of Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, later teaming with the pair for SCARED STIFF. He’s also responsible for the classic comic Western DESTRY RIDES AGAIN with James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich, and the remake with Audie Murphy. But his wackiest comedy is undoubtably the off-the-wall MURDER, HE SAYS.


This black comedy gem stars the underrated Fred MacMurray as Pete Marshall, pollster for the Trotter company (“Like the Gallup Poll, but not as fast”), sent to tiny rural Potowanamie to find missing coworker Hector P…

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Music Video of the Day: Call It Whatever by Bella Thorne (2014, dir. Mickey Finnegan)

I figured since I did Anger by Thor yesterday, I would jump forward about 30 years to a music video just as cheesy that I still enjoy regardless.

I think director Mickey Finnegan did this perfectly. The songwriters also deserve credit. Lets face it. Bella Thorne can’t sing to save her life. She also can’t do dramatic acting. However, she is funny. One of the things that made The Duff (2015) so bad was that Bella Thorne was criminally underused. The few minutes where she shows up to push around Mae Whitman–who is about 10 years her senior in real life–made me laugh, which is more than I can say for the rest of the movie. She’s funny. I think this music video is a great example of working around an artist’s limitations and playing off their strengths instead of trying to make them something they aren’t, like Hailee Steinfeld in Starving.

The diner is Cadillac Jack’s Diner in the San Fernando Valley and is part of a structure that includes The Pink Motel, a drive-in, a pool, and other easily identifiable structures. The same diner used in at least Want U Back by Cher Lloyd, Fuck You by CeeLo Green, La Da Dee by Cody Simpson, Free by Haley Reinhart, and Candy by Mandy Moore. There’s probably a good reason that diner has been reused so many times. Want U Back, Fuck You, and I Feel Everything all used the same location services company called The Pink Motel. There are other music videos that use the same sets next to the diner as well such as Good Girls (Don’t Grow On Trees) by Cris Cab feat. Big Sean and Wyclef Jean and Let’s Get It Crackin by Deuce. The drive-in was used by Neon Trees for their song Everybody Talks, which is also the Drive-In from Guys My Age by Hello Violet. The motel even got its own movie back in 1982 called The Pink Motel. It was used in Drive (2011), The House Bunny (2008), House of Sand and Fog (2003), Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999), The Whole Ten Yards (2004), Grease 2 (1982), and many other places, including an episode of The Rockford Files and MacGyver. The more I look, the more things I find were shot at this placed that at least in the case of the diner, opened in 1946.

You can read more about them here. Someone compiled a little history and list of places, with screenshots, of films and television shows that have used the location. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for them in music videos from now on. It seems to be the Tommy-Verse of music videos.

I was able to find quite a few people who worked on this music video. I have included them in the tags. The noteworthy ones are Luga Podesta, Brandon Bonfiglio, and Trevor Durtschi who have each worked on 100+ music videos.