Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/11/21 — 10/17/21


This has been a nice week.  The temperature is getting cooler.  It rained on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Fall feels like it is truly here …. and I guess it is!

Plus, I watched a lot of movies!

We’ve got two more weeks of Horrorthon to go!  Enjoy your October, everyone.  It comes only once a year.

Anyway, as you can probably tell from the randomness of the sentences above and my struggle to come up with unifying theme for this post, I’m exhausted right now so let’s go ahead and check out what I watched, read, and listened to this week!

Films I Watched:

  1. Amityville: The Awakening (2017)
  2. Amsterdamned (1988)
  3. Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
  4. Burnt Offerings (1976)
  5. Clueless (1995)
  6. Cry Macho (2012)
  7. The Dark Half (1993)
  8. Dead In Tombstone (2013)
  9. Escape From The Bronx (1983)
  10. The Fury (1978)
  11. The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
  12. Halloween Party (2019)
  13. Lansky (2021)
  14. Mystery Date (1991)
  15. Nightstalker (2009)
  16. Party From Hell (2021)
  17. The Phantom Carriage (1921)
  18. Poltergeist (1982)
  19. Seven Days In Utopia (2011)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Bar Rescue
  2. The Brady Bunch
  3. Friday the 13th: The Series
  4. Gabby Petito: ID Special Report
  5. The Office
  6. Parking Wars
  7. Saved By The Bell
  8. Survivor
  9. Talking Dead
  10. The Walking Dead
  11. The Walking Dead: World Beyond

Books I Read:

  1. The Boy Next Door (1996) by R.L. Stine
  2. The Hollow Skull (1998) by Christopher Pike
  3. The Lost Mind (1995) by Christopher Pike

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Adele
  2. Adi Ulmansky
  3. Armin van Buuren
  4. Britney Spears
  5. Broken Peach
  6. Chelsea Cutler
  7. The Chemical Brothers
  8. Coldplay
  9. The Crystal Method
  10. Coven
  11. Dillon Francis
  12. Dua Lipa
  13. Goblin
  14. Goblin Rebirth
  15. Hans Zimmer
  16. Icona Pop
  17. Jakalope
  18. John Carpenter
  19. Katy Perry
  20. Kedr Livanskiy
  21. Keith Emerson
  22. Kylie Minogue
  23. Lana Del Rey
  24. Lorde
  25. Muse
  26. Nine Inch Nails
  27. Rolling Stones
  28. Saint Motel
  29. Talking Heads
  30. Troye Sivan
  31. The Velvet Underground

Trailers:

  1. Scream
  2. Narcos
  3. The Black Phone
  4. Home Sweet Home Alone
  5. Black Adam
  6. The Batman
  7. Lisa Marie’s Grindhouse Trailers: 6 Trailers For The Second Thursday of Octobers

News From Last Week:

  1. William Shatner Successfully Blasts Into Space
  2. Will Poulter has been confirmed to be portraying Adam Warlock in the long-awaited superhero flick Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  3. Michael Caine clarifies statement on retiring after latest film
  4. Box Office: ‘Halloween Kills’ Scores Bloody Great $50.4 Million Debut, ‘The Last Duel’ Bombs
  5. Superman Changes Motto to ‘Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow,’ Says DC Chief
  6. After IATSE Strike is Averted, Hollywood Workers are Split Over Agreement: ‘It’s Not Enough’

Links From Last Week:

  1. Inside The “Madcap Motel!” Here’s Our Surreal Immersive Trip Into Pop Culture Madness – With Video!
  2. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 10/15/21

Links From The Site:

  1. Ryan analyzed the latest Superman controversy — Parts One, Two, and Three!
  2. Case reviewed Holiday Fear, The Cost of Living, MeNa, Deep Dish Apocalypse, Bioshock, and My Monster!
  3. Erin shared Funeral Home, Harlequin, Let’s Kill Uncle, Blood Sisters, Mark of the Werewolf, The Body Beneath, and Dracula Contra Frankenstein!
  4. Erin took a look at the mad scientists of the pulp era!
  5. Leonard shared the trailers for Scream, Black Adam, and The Batman!
  6. Jeff played Anonymous Connection, RetroCon 2021, Aside About Everything, The Last Doctor, How The Monster Appeared In The Wasteland, and Codex Sadistica!
  7. Jeff reviewed Dead Connection, Dinosaur Island, Daddy’s Girl, Open House, Against the Dark, and Terror on Tour!
  8. Jeff shared music videos from David Bowie, J. Geils Band, Robert Palmer, Shoes, The Tubes, Shoes (again), and Hilly Michaels!
  9. I shared Creation of the Humanoids, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Phantom of the Opera, Earth vs the Flying Saucers, Nosferatu, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Attack of the Giant Leeches!
  10. I shared the following episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series: The Electrocutioner, The Quilt of Hathor, The Quilt of Hathor: The Awakening, Double Exposure, Badge of Honor, Pipe Dreams, and Bottle of Dreams!
  11. I reviewed Amityville: The Awakening, The Dark Half, The Phantom Carriage, The Last Laugh, My Bloody Valentine, Amsterdamned, Nightstalker, Seven Days in Utopia, The Devil’s Rain, Mystery Date, Escape From the Bronx, Dead In Tombstone, Cry Macho, and Lansky!
  12. I read Spaghetti Nightmares, The Boy Next Door, You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, The Hollow Skull, Murder By Design, and The Lost Mind!
  13. I paid tribute to David Cronenberg, Bob Clark, Vincent Price, Jack Arnold, Dracula, Kevin S. Tenney, and Jeff Lieberman!
  14. I shared scenes from Scanners, The Shining, The Fly, Flesh for Frankenstein, Dracula 3D, Night of the Demons, and Blue Sunshine!
  15. I shared my week in television and reviewed the latest episode of The Walking Dead!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  You should subscribe!
  2. On Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
  3. On my online dream journal, I shared: Monday Morning’s AC Dream, Tuesday Morning’s Neighborhood Party Dream, Wednesday Morning’s Fragment of a Dream, Thursday Morning’s Cave Dream, Friday Morning’s Rain Dream, Saturday Morning’s College Dream, and No Sunday Morning Dreams!
  4. For Horror Critic, I reviewed The Giant Gila Monster, Haxan, The Beach Girls and the Monster, The Devil’s Hand and Attack of the Giant Leeches!
  5. At my music site, I shared songs from John Carpenter, Goblin Rebirth, Keith Emerson, Jakalope, Broken Peach, Nine Inch Nails, and John Williams!
  6. On SyFyDesigns, I shared This Week’s Rain and The Original Members of The Commission, Ranked!
  7. On Pop Politics, Jeff shared: The Best of the 2021 IF Competition So Far, John Yarmuth is Retiring, Behold The Forwad Party, Kristof is Running, David Amess RIP, The Return of Dan Lipinski, and Thank You Chicago!
  8. On her photography site, Erin shared Alley Clouds, The House, Vase, Garden, Abandoned, and Dracula’s Pub!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

Horror on TV: Friday the 13th: The Series 1.26 “Bottle of Dreams” (dir by Mac Bradden)


Tonight’s episode of Friday the 13th: The Series is the finale of the first season.  When the spirit of Uncle Lewis (R.G. Armstrong) attempts to re-enter the world of the living, it leads to Micki and Ryan reliving some of their worst memories.

The episode originally aired on July 25th, 1988.

Dead Connection (1994, directed by Nigel Dick)


A former boxer and phone sex addict (played by real-life boxer Gary Stretch) is picking up women in Los Angeles, taking them to cheap motels, and beating them to death. Detective Matt Dickson (Michael Madsen, with blonde hair) is a burned out homicide cop who finds himself investigating the murders. It doesn’t take Dickson long to figure out that the killer is using the names of former boxing champs when he checks into the motels. He also figures out that the boxer has phone sex before and after the killing. That’s a lot but it’s not enough to solve the case. To do that, he’ll have to team up with a journalist (played by Lisa Bonet) who has personal reasons for wanting to take down the killer.

Back in the 90s, the main reason that I watched Dead Connection was because I had a hopeless crush on Parker Posey and she was listed as being one of the stars of the film. Parker does appear early on in the film and is just as funny and appealing in her small role as she was in bigger parts in other movies. Unfortunately, Parker gets killed pretty early on in the movie. That traumatized me the first time I saw the movie.

After Parker dies, the main reason to watch the movie is to see what Michael Madsen can do with his clichéd role. It turns out that Madsen can do a lot, even though there’s nothing unusual about the character on paper. Madsen just had the right look and the right style of acting for neo-noirs like this one. Even in a movie like this one, Madsen makes the whispering and the arched eyebrow seem cool and natural. Judging from her performance here, Lisa Bonet should have been a bigger star too. Just as with Madsen, there’s nothing unusual about her role but she still plays it with a lot of conviction.

The main problem with Dead Connection is that it reveals the identity of the killer in the first few minutes and it’s hard to believe that it would take the police a particularly long time to track him down. The minute it was learned that he was using the names of boxers to check into motels, that should have been the end of it for him. Instead, the movie dithers around for a good 90 minutes before finally ending on a predictable note. Despite the script’s flaws, Dead Connection is competently directed by Nigel Dick, who was also responsible for several music videos in the 80s and the 90s. Perhaps that explains why Tears for Fears’s Curt Smith has a tiny role as a desk clerk.

In the U.S., the film was released under the title Dead Connection, playing up the phone sex angle. In Europe, the focus was instead put on the killer’s boxing career and the film was called Final Combination, which made it sound like it was a movie about safecrackers. Neither title is really great but I prefer Dead Connection.

Film Review: Lansky (dir by Eytan Rockaway)


Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Harvey Keitel has only been nominated once for an Academy Award.

And, amazingly enough, he wasn’t nominated for any of the films for which he is best remembered. He wasn’t nominated for Mean Streets or Taxi Driver or any of his other collaborations with Martin Scorsese. He wasn’t nominated for playing the Wolf in Pulp Fiction or Mr. White in Reservoir Dogs. He was not nominated for The Piano. He certainly wasn’t nominated for baring his soul in Bad Lieutenant. Instead, Harvey Keitel’s only nomination was for playing real-life gangster Mickey Cohen in the 1991 Best Picture nominee Bugsy.

Bugsy was one of the many films to be made about the life of Bugy Siegel, the reputedly psychotic gangster who left New York for Hollywood and who later helped to create the wonderland of Las Vegas. In both the movie and real-life, Siegel was gunned down by his former associates, who felt that he was recklessly wasting their money out in the middle of the desert. It’s generally agreed that the order to murder Siegel was given by Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, two of Siegel’s long-time friends and business partners. In Bugsy, Lansky was played by Ben Kingsley. Kingsley was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Unfortunately, whenever two actors from the same film are nominated for an Oscar, they usually end up canceling each other out. That’s what happened in the case of Bugsy, with both Kingsley and Keitel losing the Oscar to City Slickers‘s Jack Palance.

30 years after Busgy, Harvey Keitel once again acted out of the story of the death of Bugsy Siegel. Except, things time, Keitel played Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen was nowhere to be seen, and the film was called Lansky.

Of course, there’s more to Lansky than just the falling out with Bugsy Siegel. As you can tell from the film’s title, it attempts to deal with Lansky’s entire life. The film starts in 1979, with a friendly but terminally ill Meyer Lansky meeting with a writer named David Stone (Sam Worthington). David desperately needs the money that would come from writing the only authorized biography of Meyer Lansky. Lansky, knowing that he’s dying, wants to tell his story. Of course, Lansky has a few conditions. David can only publish the book after Lansky has died and David is not to talk to anyone about anything that Lansky tells him. David agrees.

From there, the film jumps back and forth in time. We watch the young Lansky (played by John Magaro) as he teams up with Lucky Luciano (Shane McRae) and Bugsy Siegel (David Cade) to change the face of organized crime. Along the way, he gets involved in the casino business, the CIA, and the Cuban revolution, and he fights Nazis at home and abroad. Lansky turns organized crime into a business and, as a result, becomes known as “the Mob’s accountant.” The FBI hounds him for almost his entire life, determined to discover where he’s hidden the millions of dollars that he’s rumored to have earned through his crimes.

While Lansky tells his story to David, the two of them form a slightly uneasy friendship Lansky is friendly and curteous but, as becomes clear as the film progresses, he’s still as capable of ordering a murder as ever. David, meanwhile, is being pressured by the FBI. They want him to become an informant and to press Lansky for information on where he’s hiding his money.

Lansky is a film that requires some patience. The first hour or so is a bit messy, with the film awkwardly trying to strike a balance between the flashbacks and the scenes of David talking to Lansky. At times, the film becomes a bit of an odd buddy picture, with Lansky offering David some unexpected life advice. However, once the FBI starts pressuring David, things pick up. The arrival of the FBI adds some much needed tension to the film’s storyline. As you watch the main agent (played by David James Elliott) pressure David into becoming an informant and essentially put his life at risk, it’s hard not to contrast Lansky with the men who are determined to put him away. Lansky may be a criminal but he has a code of ethics and, most importantly, he doesn’t harass innocents. The FBI, though, has no problem with bullying and manipulating informants and witnesses, all in the name of trying to figure out where a dying man is hiding his money. When the attention shifts from Lansky telling his story to Lansky outwitting the FBI, the film takes on an entirely new feel. When a smug FBI agent flies all the way to Israel in search of Lansky’s money, it’s impossible not to cheer a little when he gets outsmarted.

Due to the film’s flashback structure, Harvey Keitel is not in as much of Lasnky as you might expect. And yet he dominates the entire film. He perfectly captures both Lansky’s determination and his grim humor. Even facing death, Lansky is determined to keep control over every situation. In the film’s most powerful moments, he discusses what it’s like to be an outsider in America. Lansky knows that, as a Jew, he’ll never be fully accepted by the establishment. So, instead of begging for hand-outs, Lansky created his own establishment, one that operated in the shadows but which ultimately proved to be as successful as any corporation. When Lansky discovers that the American government is pressuring Israel to refuse to grant Lansky citizenship, Keitel perfectly captures both Lansy’s pain and his defiance. It all leads to a haunting final scene of Lansky on the beach. Appropriately enough, Meyer Lansky is alone.

Lansky is a both a portrait of a fascinating life and a tribute to the talent of Harvey Keitel. It may require some patience but that patience will be rewarded.

Game Review: Anonymous Connection (2021, moniker ersatz)


The time is the near future. Earth has been invaded by the Hive. The sky is full of monsters. The surface is uninhabitable. You spend your days in an underground bunker, communicating with other survivors via the screen of your computer. Your user name is Blaze. Your friend, who you have never met in person, goes by the name of Topaz. One day, Topaz asks you if you remember what it was like to kiss. The two of you fantasize about the world that once was while trying to maintain a human connection in an inhumane world. What you don’t know is that the Hive is listening in as well, analyzing the conversation and trying to understand what makes humans tick.

There’s a lot more to this game than just sexting at the end of the world. (And the conversation between you and Topaz never gets that explicit so, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re out of luck.) Instead, the game tells a story about how, even at the worst of times, people need to connect in order to survive. The conversation that you have with Topaz is about more than just getting off. It’s about surviving the bad times by remembering the good. Even though things are bad outside of your bunker, you and Topaz are capable of connecting. The Hive are not. All three of the characters come to life in this well-written, IF game. It’s a simple story that will leave you with a lot to think about.

Play Anonymous Connection.

Scenes That I Love: The Blue Sunshine Kicks In


Today’s scene that I love comes from Jeff Lieberman’s 1978 film, Blue Sunshine.

If you haven’t seen the film, Blue Sunshine is the nickname for the acid that a group of characters dropped while in college during the 60s. Unfortunately, ten years later, all of them are losing their hair, suffering from extreme migraines, and turning into psycho killers. It’s the worst acid flashback of all time!

This is a pretty good film, one that uses the horror genre as a way to explore the contrast between the idealism of college and the realities of the real world. It’s also, as you can see in the scene below, quite suspenseful and more than a little frightening.

“My Monster”, Short Film Review, By Case Wright


Some shorts are just garbage trash. Some lack a coherent structure. This particular short tried to be clever, but ended as kinda dumb. I don’t mind things being stupid. Many of the nicest people in my life aren’t geniuses. This short felt like a couple of randos got a camcorder and just decided to make a Christmas themed short horror film.

I have watched worse films. At least, this short was done on a small budget; so, I can’t crap on it too much. It does need some crapping upon… for fairness.

Lily has a problem: she sees a monster outside of her window and her Tae Bo training boyfriend doesn’t believe her. Eventually, he sees the monster and it kills him and she starts dating the monster. I guess that it’s like a trial by ordeal. The monster defeated her boyfriend; so, the monster gets to watch old movies with her etc.

We used to elect Presidents the same way. The electoral college was a battle royal with everybody claiming each other’s spouses and electoral college votes. The Iowa caucuses was just full-on cannibal- very Hills have Eyes, but with extra corn. I’m sure that those brave/weird souls of yesteryear would’ve understood this short film and would have been immensely entertained. I am not and was not, but they did make an ok home movie.

Film Review: Cry Macho (dir by Clint Eastwood)


I like Clint Eastwood.

That can be a dangerous thing to admit nowadays. Clint is not a popular man on social media. The older critics have yet to forgive him for endorsing Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012, despite the fact that Eastwood’s empty chair speech was quite a bit tamer than some of the other criticisms and insults that were being lobbed at both Obama and Romney at the time. The younger critics are still angry that he made Richard Jewell, a film that was seen as criticizing the press at a time when Trump was doing the same thing, this despite the fact that Eastwood never endorsed Trump in 2016 or 2020. (Beyond having a strong individualistic streak, Eastwood’s films are usually apolitical.)

He’s one of those cultural figures that drives Twitter crazy. No one can deny that he’s a film icon and that he’s directed several good and a handful of great films. But, because he doesn’t seem to care what the online crowd thinks and probably isn’t even totally sure what Twitter is, there’s this need to try to tear him down. As such, I wasn’t surprised when his latest film, Cry Macho, received mixed reviews. At this point in the game, any film that Eastwood makes is going to be criticized.

Don’t get me wrong, of course. Sometimes, the criticism is correct, even if it is more motivated by personal animus than anything else. Some of his recent films have been a bit weaker than his earlier ones. I wasn’t a fan of Jersey Boys but I figured that Eastwood was in his 80s and he probably had always wanted to do a musical and, if anyone has earned the right to cross a few things off of his bucket list, it’s Clint Eastwood. Having the three men at the center of The 15:17 to Paris play themselves is something that worked better as an idea than in the actual execution. J. Edgar was a mess and so was Hereafter.

And yet, for every weak Eastwood film, there’s also a recent film that reminds us that he’s still a good director and that he’s still far more willing to explore new territory than some of his contemporaries. The Mule is a film that, like Cry Macho, received mixed reviews but which looks better with each subsequent viewing. Sully was a moving tribute to professionalism and grace under pressure and featured one of Tom Hanks’s best performances. American Sniper was far more nuanced that most critics were willing to admit. All of these films received mixed reviews, even the Oscar-nominated American Sniper. All of them have benefitted from reevaluation.

Will Cry Macho be another Eastwood film that will be embraced in later years? It’s too early to say but I think it will be. Now, again, don’t get me wrong. Some of the criticism that the film has received is justified. In Cry Macho, Clint plays a rodeo rider who, a year after being forced to retire due to a back injury, is hired to go down to Mexico and track down Rafo (Eduardo Minett), the teenage son of a wealthy businessman (Dwight Yoakam). Clint Eastwood is 91 years old and, let’s just be honest, he looks like he’s 91 years old as well. Thirty or even twenty years ago, Clint would have been perfect for the role of Mike Milo. Today, Clint is a bit too old for the role and it’s hard not to notice that, whenever Mike does throw a punch in the film, the scene is edited so that we see the fist and we see the results of the hit but we don’t actually see the punch itself. Clint is old in this film and, even more importantly, he comes across as being old.

But you know what? It almost doesn’t matter. He may be old but he’s still Clint Eastwood. He’s a pop cultural icon. He’s a legend. He epitomizes an era that Cry Macho acknowledges is coming to an end. It’s a bit of a meandering film. Though Rafo’s mother refuses to allow him to leave with Mike, Rafo still sneaks into Mike’s truck and travels with him to the border. Along the way, some men working for Rafo’s mother try to stop them from leaving Mexico. There are a few small action scenes but they’re not what the movie is about and it’s significant that this is a rare Eastwood film in which no one, not even the main bad guy, dies. Instead, the movie is about Mike and Rafo bonding on the road and discussing what it truly means to be macho. Mike is someone who has spent his entire life being “macho” but now he’s old and he’s broken down and he’s realizing that there’s more to life than just trying to live up to some sort of idealized version of manhood. Rafo is young and Mike is very old but, over the course of the movie, they both learn the same lesson. It’s okay to just be yourself. That may be a simple lesson but it’s one worth hearing.

As a director, Eastwood leaves room for the story to wander a bit but he still keeps the action moving at a steady pace. He gets good performances out of his cast. Despite being miscast, he still manages to gets a good performance from himself, though you may cringe a little at his insistence of still trying to present himself as being a romantic lead. (This was played for laughs in The Mule.) The film’s cinematography, courtesy of Ben Davis, is breathtaking. Even while helping Rafo leave the country, Mike falls in love with Mexico and, looking at the beautiful landscapes in this film, you can’t blame him. All in all, it’s a good film. If it had been made a few decades earlier, it would have been a great film but still, this is Eastwood at his most gentle and self-reflective. Future reviewers, free from the need to appease the online mob, will appreciate this film more than the modern ones.

4 Shots From 4 Jeff Lieberman Films


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Yesterday was the birthday of the great director, Jeff Lieberman, who was responsible for some the best and most unusual horror thrillers of the 70s and the 80s!  Today, TSL honors this talented filmmaker with….

4 Shots From 4 Jeff Lieberman Films

Squirm (1976, dir by Jeff Lieberman, DP: Joseph Mangine)

Blue Sunshine (1978, dir by Jeff Lieberman, DP: Don Knight)

Just Before Dawn (1981, dir by Jeff Lieberman, DP: Joel King and Dean King)

Remote Control (1988, dir by Jeff Lieberman, DP: Tim Suhrstedt)

Horror On The Lens: Attack of the Giant Leeches (dir. by Bernard Kowalski)


For today’s public domain horror film, I present to you 1959’s Attack of the Giant Leeches. This 60-minute film is a classic Drive-in film. While it has its slow spots, it also features an iconic performance from Yvette Vickers, who is like one of my favorites of the strong, confident, unapologetically sexy women who dominated the old B-movies. (Plus, she was only 5’3 and it’s not easy being brave when you’re having to look up at everyone. Trust me, I know.) This short little film is steamier than Louisiana in August and is full of bayou atmosphere.

I have to admit that I’m kinda freaked out by the scenes of people floating underwater in this film. And leeches … agck! Don’t even get me started on leeches. Especially giant leeches…