Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/26/20 — 11/1/20


I hope everyone had a good Halloween and I want to thank everyone who participated in Horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens!  Horrorthon is always a little bit exhausting but I love doing it every year.  I can’t wait to do it again next year.

This upcoming week, Jeff & I are going to be on a mini-vacation.  However, as always, I’ve got some reviews scheduled to post while I’m gone.  I hope everyone had a good October and good luck with whatever happens this upcoming week!

Here’s what went on this week:

Films I Watched:

  1. The Alien Dead (1978)
  2. Boiler Room (2000)
  3. The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009)
  4. Chopping Mall (1986)
  5. Compulsion (1959)
  6. Death Curse of Tartu (1966)
  7. Downhill (2020)
  8. Eat Locals (2017)
  9. Eye of the Devil (1967)
  10. Fear and Desire (1953)
  11. From Beyond The Grave (1973)
  12. From Hell It Came (1957)
  13. Fury To Freedom (1985)
  14. Halloween (1978)
  15. Halloween 2 (1981)
  16. Her Secret Family Killer (2020)
  17. The Indestructible Man (1956)
  18. The Killer Snakes (1974)
  19. Kung Fu Beyond The Grave (1982)
  20. Mad Love (1935)
  21. Madhouse (1974)
  22. The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
  23. Night of Dark Shadows (1971)
  24. Nothing Underneath (1985)
  25. Ophelia (2019)
  26. Out Cold (2001)
  27. The Outsider (1951)
  28. Regarding Henry (1991)
  29. The Return of Dr. X (1939)
  30. Saved By The Bell Hawaiian Style (1992)
  31. Somewhere (2010)
  32. The Sound of A Stone (1955)
  33. Understanding Others (1958)
  34. Vampire Circus (1972)
  35. The Walking Dead (1936)
  36. White Zombie (1932)
  37. The World’s End (2013)
  38. You Should Have Left (2020)

 

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Amazing Race 32
  2. The Bachelorette 16
  3. Big Brother 22
  4. Dancing With The Stars
  5. Fear the Walking Dead
  6. freakylinks
  7. Ghost Whisperer
  8. King of the Hill
  9. The Love Boat
  10. Lovecraft County
  11. The Powers of Matthew Star
  12. Saved By The Bell
  13. Saved By The Bell: The College Years
  14. Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult
  15. Survivor: Thailand
  16. The Undoing
  17. The Voice
  18. The Walking Dead
  19. The Walking Dead: The World Beyond

Books I Read:

  1. Bad Moonlight (1994) by R.L. Stine
  2. Blind Date (1986) by R.L. Stine
  3. The Perfect Date (1996) by R.L. Stine
  4. Road to Nowhere (1993) by Christopher Pike

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Britney Spears
  3. The Chemical Brothers
  4. Danny Elfman
  5. Goblin
  6. Jakalope
  7. John Carpenter
  8. Niki DeMar
  9. Pretty Reckless
  10. Royal Blood
  11. Saint Motel
  12. Soccer Mommy
  13. Steve King

Horror on the Lens:

  1. Phantom From Space
  2. The Lodger
  3. Baffled
  4. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
  5. Carnival of Souls
  6. Night of the Living Dead

Horror on TV:

  1. Freakylinks 1.1
  2. Freakylinks 1.3
  3. Freakylinks 1.5
  4. Freakylinks 1.7
  5. Freakylinks 1.11
  6. Freakylinks 1.13

Trailers:

  1. Halloween Kills
  2. Songbird
  3. The Midnight Sky
  4. Don’t Click
  5. Survival Games
  6. Parallel
  7. Smiley Face Killers

Links From The Site:

  1. Case reviewed Dracula Parts One, Two, and Three!
  2. Erin counted down to Halloween: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0!  Then she wished you a happy Halloween and then she said goodbye to Halloween!  She also shared The Covers of Thrilling Wonder Stories and: Another World, Argosy, Nightmare, This Trick’s The Best, Mutant Duck, Ghost, and BountyShe congratulated the Dodgers!
  3. Doc delivered a holiday message!
  4. Jeff played and reviewed Amazing Quest, Congee, BYOD, and Doppeljobs!  He watched and reviewed The Offence, Relentless 1, Relentless 2, Relentless 3, Relentless 4, and The War of the Worlds!  He wrote about Silent Hill, The Tomb of Dracula, Doctor Who, Doctor Druid, and Captain Freedom!
  5. Leonard reviewed Demon Knight and Love and Monsters!
  6. Ryan reviewed Ultra8 and Untitled!
  7. I shared music videos from Danny Elfman, Goblin, Goblin again, Goblin a third time, John Carpenter, Niki Demar, and the Pretty Reckless!
  8. I paid tribute to James Whale, Dan Curtis, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, John Carpenter, George Romero, and Sean Connery!
  9. I shared scenes from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, House of Dark Shadows, City of the Living Dead, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, The Fog, and The Nightmare Before Christmas!
  10. I shared: The Sound of a Stone, What About Juvenile Delinquency, Understanding Others, Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and Dracula, James Earl Jones Reading the Raven, Christopher Lee reading the Raven, Basil Rathbone reading The Masque of the Red Death, and Boris Karloff drinking coffee!
  11. I shared an AMV of the Day: Secret.
  12. I shared my Oscar predictions for October!
  13. I shared six trailers for the Thursday before Halloween and 6 Trailers for October 30th!
  14. I read and reviewed Road to Nowhere, The Perfect Date, Blind Date, and Bad Moonlight!
  15. I watched reviewed Bunco Squad, Madhouse, The Alien Dead, Kung Fu From Beyond the Grave, You Should Have LeftDownhill, Compulsion, Chopping Mall, The Killer Snakes, mother!, Squirm, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Fury to Freedom, Edge of FuryNothing Underneath, The Butterfly Effect 3, Her Secret Family Killer, The Silence, We Summon the Darkness, Victor Crowley, The Crazies, and Eye of the Devil!

More From Us:

  1. For Reality TV Chat, I reviewed the latest episode of The Amazing Race!
  2. I wrote about Big Brother for the Big Brother Blog!
  3. At my music site, I shared songs from Steve King, Royal Blood, Goblin, Goblin again, John Carpenter, John Carpenter again, and Above & Beyond!
  4. At her photography site, Erin shared Meditate, Halloween Cookies, Halloween Cake, Crying, Janus, Happy Halloween, and Green Field!
  5. Ryan has a patreon!  Consider subscribing!

Want to see what went on last week?  Click here!

“Happy Halloween!”

The Offence (1972, directed by Sidney Lumet)


After a suspected child molester named Baxter (Ian Bannen) dies while being interrogated in police custody, Detective Superintendent Cartwright (Trevor Howard) head up the internal affairs investigation.  Baxter was beaten to death by Detective Sergeant Johnson (Sean Connery), a 20-year veteran of the force who has seen the worst that humanity has to offer.  Did Johnson allow his anger over Baxter’s crimes to get to him or did something else happen during the interrogation?

When Sean Connery agreed to play James Bond for a final time in Diamonds are Forever, he did it under the condition that United Artists agree to back two of Connery’s non-Bond film projects.  UA agreed, though they did insist that neither film cost more than $2,000,000.  One of those projects was an adaptation of Macbeth, which was canceled in the wake of Roman Polansi’s version of the Scottish play.  The other project was The Offense.

Based on a play by John Hopkins, The Offence is the type of movie that probably would have never been made if not for the interest of a big star, like Connery.  The story is downbeat and grim and audiences are essentially asked to spend nearly two hours in the presence of two very unlikable men.  Baxter is an accused child molester while Johnson is a bully who has been driven so mad by the things that he’s seen that he’s not only violent on the job but also on at home.  Director Sidney Lumet directs with a cold and detached style, refusing to provide any sort of relief from the intensity of the film’s interrogations.  The film is set up as an acting showcase for Connery and Bannen, giving both of them a chance to show what they could do with two unpredictable characters.

Unfortunately, not many people got a chance to see their performances.  Even though Connery kept the budget under a million dollars and despite both the film and his performance being critically acclaimed, United Artists barely released The Offence and it took 9 years for the film to make back it’s meager budget.  It didn’t even get released in France until 2007.  Connery, however, often cited The Offence as being one of his best films and said that his performance in the film was his personal favorite.

The movies is too stagey and talky to be entirely successful but Connery was right about his performance.  It’s one of his best and it retains its power to disturb to this day.  Connery often chafed at being typecast as James Bond.  With The Offence, Connery plays a character who is nothing like Bond.  Everything about Johnson is brutal and seedy.  While it’s impossible not to initially sympathize with his anger towards the state of the world, Connery reveals that Johnson’s self-righteous anger is actually a shield for his own dark thoughts and desires.  He’s a bully, an angry man who grows more and more insecure as the film progresses and Baxter continues to see through him.  Connery makes Johnson sympathetic, frightening, pathetic, and dangerous all at the same time.  The Offence is a film that proves that Sean Connery was not only a good Bond but also a great actor.

 

30 More Days Of Noir #1: Bunco Squad (dir by Herbert I. Leeds)


Welcome to Noirvember!

Yeah, yeah, I know.  That sounds kinda silly, doesn’t it?  However, November is traditionally the month that classic film bloggers tend to concentrate on writing about film noir.  It provides a bit of grit and cynicism in between the horror fun of October and the holiday schmaltz of December.

I have to admit that I’m a little bit torn when it comes to taking part in Noirvember.  On the one hand, I love a good film noir and there’s quite a few obscure and underrated ones available on YouTube right now.  On the other hand, as a natural-born contrarian, I don’t like the idea of hopping on any bandwagons.

In the end, my love of film noir won out.  So, welcome to my first entry in 30 More Days of Noir.

The 1950 film, Bunco Squad, tells the story of Tony Weldon (Ricardo Cortez), a con man who specializes in using a phony psychic routine to swindle rich people out of their money.  He runs a fake enlightenment center and he claims that he can speak to the dead.  His latest target is the wealthy Jessica Royce (Elisabeth Risdon).  After he finds out that her son was killed during the invasion of Normandy, he and his associates go out of their way to trick her into believing that Tony can contact her son and that her son wants her to leave all of her money to Tony’s organization.  It’s actually kind of interesting watching as Tony and his gang manage to track down information about Jessica and her son, asking the most mundane of questions to find out things that Jessica believes only her son would know.  Watching Tony operate, I was reminded of those documentaries and news reports that you see about phony faith healers and other people who claim they can speak to the dead but who actually just go on very vague fishing expeditions.  (“I’m sensing something about the letter L.  Does that mean anything to you?”)

Tony is not just a con artist.  He’s also a murderer, one who specializes in cutting brake lines on cars.  If you try to expose Tony, you’re probably going to end up driving off of a cliff.  I guess you can get away with that when you’re a con artist in California.  Myself, I live in North Texas where the land is totally flat.  Someone could cut my brake lines and I would probably just keep going forward until I eventually ran out of gas.  Once that happened, someone would probably pull over and offer to give me a lift to the nearest gas station.  That’s one reason why someone like Tony Weldon could never pull off any of his crimes in my home state.

Fortunately, the detective of the LAPD’s Bunco Squad know what Tony’s doing.  The only problem is that they have to get some proof that Tony is swindling Ms. Royce and they have to manage to do it before Tony gets a chance to tamper with all of their brakes.  Leading the Bunco Squad is Steve Johnson (Robert Sterling) and you better believe that there’s no way someone named Steve Johnson is going to be anything other than honest and upright.  Working with a real-life magician named Dante, Johnson attempts to expose all of Tony’s tricks.

It’s probably open for debate whether or not Bunco Squad is a true noir.  On the one hand, Tony and his schemes are very noirish.  On the other hand, Steve and the members of the Bunco Squad are so upright that there’s none of the ambiguous morality that you find in the best film noirs.  I guess I would call this a half-noir.

The best thing about Bunco Squad is that it’s only 67 minutes long, which is all the time that it needs to tell a compact and occasionally interesting story.  There’s no excessive padding to try to force the story out to an unwieldy 90 minutes.  Instead, Bunco Squad jumps right into its story and it doesn’t let up until things come to an end.  The other good thing about Bunco Squad is that you’ve got Ricardo Cortez, giving a charmingly evil performance as Tony Weldon.  The film’s heroes are a pretty dull bunch but Cortez brings a nice charge of danger to the proceedings.

Bunco Squad is an obscure film but it moves quickly and the story is interesting enough to hold your attention for an hour.  It can be found on YouTube.