4 Shots From 4 Witchy Films: Burn, Witch, Burn, Season of The Witch, The Craft, Maleficent

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.

Today, we celebrate witches everywhere with….

4 Shots From 4 Witchy Films

Burn, Witch, Burn (1962, dir by Sidney Hayers)

Season of the Witch (1973, dir by George Romero)

The Craft (1996, dir by Andrew Fleming)

Maleficent (2014, dir by Robert Stromberg)

16 Trailers In Honor of George Romero

One year ago today, George Romero passed away.  In honor of his memory, here’s a very special edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film trailers!

In tribute George Romero, here are the trailers for every film Romero directed.  Enjoy!

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

2. There’s Always Vanilla (1971)

3. Season of the Witch (1973)

4. The Crazies (1973)

5. Martin (1978)

6. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

7. Knightriders (1981)

8. Creepshow (1982)

9. Day of the Dead (1985)

10. Monkey Shines (1988)

11. Two Evil Eyes (1990)

12. The Dark Half (1993)

13. Bruiser (2000)

14. Land of the Dead (2005)

15. Diary of the Dead (2007)

16. Survival of the Dead (2009)

Rest in peace, George Romero.

Christopher Lee, R.I.P.


The picture above is Christopher Lee in the 1998 film Jinnah.  In this epic biopic, Lee played Muhammad Ali Jinniah, the founder of modern Pakistan.  Up until yesterday, I had never heard of Jinnah but, after news of Lee’s death broke, Jinnah was frequently cited as being Lee’s personal favorite of his many roles and films.

Consider that.  Christopher Lee began his film career in the 1940s and he worked steadily up until his death.  He played Dracula.  He played The Man with the Golden Gun.  Christopher Lee appeared, with his future best friend Peter Cushing, in Laurence Olivier’s Oscar-winning Hamlet.  He played Seurat in John Huston’s Moulin Rouge.  He appeared in both The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies.  He appeared in several films for Tim Burton.  He even had a small role in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.  He appeared in two Star Wars prequels.  He appeared in the original Wicker Man (and reportedly considered it to be his favorite of his many horror films).  He appeared in Oscar winners and box office hits.  And, out of all that, Christopher Lee’s personal favorite was Jinnah, a film that most people have never heard about.

Unless, of course, you live in Pakistan.  When I did a google search on Christopher Lee, I came across several Pakistani news sources that announced: “Christopher Lee, star of Jinnah, has died.”

And really, that somehow seems appropriate.  Christopher Lee was the epitome of an international film star.  He worked for Hammer in the UK.  He worked with Jess Franco in Spain and Mario Bava in Italy.  He appeared in several movies in the United States.  And, in Pakistan, he played Jinnah.  And I haven’t seen Jinnah but I imagine he was probably as great in that role as he was in every other role that I saw him play.  Over the course of his long career, Christopher Lee appeared in many good films but he also appeared in his share of bad ones.  But Christopher Lee was always great.

It really is hard to know where to begin with Christopher Lee.  Though his death was announced on Thursday, I haven’t gotten around to writing this tribute until Friday.  Admittedly, when I first heard that Lee had passed away, I was on a romantic mini-vacation and had promised myself that I would avoid, as much as possible, getting online for two days.  But, even more than for those personal reasons, I hesitated because I just did not know where to start when it came to talking about Christopher Lee.  He was one of those figures who overwhelmed by his very existence.

We all know that Christopher Lee was a great and iconic actor.  And I imagine that a lot of our readers know that Lee had a wonderfully idiosyncratic musical career, releasing his first heavy metal album when he was in his 80s.  Did you know that Lee also served heroically during World War II and, after the war ended, helped to track down fleeing Nazi war criminals?  Did you know that it has been speculated that Lee may have served as one of the role models for James Bond?  (Ian Fleming was a cousin of Lee’s and even tried to convince Lee to play Dr. No in the first Bond film.)  Christopher Lee lived an amazing life, both on and off the screen.

But, whenever one reads about Christopher Lee and his career or watches an interview with the man, the thing that always comes across is that, for someone who played so many evil characters, Christopher Lee appeared to be one the nicest men that you could ever hope to meet.  Somehow, it was never a shock to learn that his best friend was his frequent screen nemesis, Peter Cushing.

Christopher Lee is one of those great actors who we assumed would always be here.  The world of cinema will be a sadder world without him.

Legends together

Legends together

Here is a list of Christopher Lee films that we’ve reviewed here on the Shattered Lens.  Admittedly, not all of these reviews focus on Lee but they do provide a hint of the man’s versatility:

  1. Airport ’77
  2. Dark Shadows
  3. Dracula A.D. 1972
  4. Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
  5. Dracula, Prince of Darkness
  6. Hercules in the Haunted World
  7. The Hobbit
  8. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
  9. Horror Express
  10. The Horror of Dracula
  11. Hugo
  12. Jocks
  13. The Man With The Golden Gun
  14. The Satanic Rites of Dracula
  15. Scars of Dracula
  16. Scream and Scream Again
  17. Season of the Witch
  18. Starship Invasions
  19. Taste The Blood of Dracula
  20. The Wicker Tree

Sir Christopher Lee was 93 years old and he lived those 9 decades in the best way possible.  As long as there are film lovers, he will never be forgotten.

Arleigh’s 10 Worst Films of 2011

I’ve been pretty good at avoiding fillms that I knew was going to be awful before I even stepped into the theater so certain films from 2011 that everyone call the worst I probably won’t have on my list since I never saw them. So, such films as Jack & Jill, Bucky Larson and Zookeeper will not make my list since I was smart enough to not pay to watch it.

This ten worst list of 2011 are from films I did see during the year whether in a theater or on video. I couldn’t decide which film was worse than the next so this order doesn’t really determine which was worst. It’s just my way of keeping things organized.

  1. Shark Night 3D – I had high hopes that this film would be 2011’s version of Piranha 3D in that it would be silly, goofy and over-the-top and knew it. Instead it’s tame with it’s PG-13 rating (seriously a film about Sharks eating college kids in 3D gets a PG-13 treatment) and has none of the joie de vivre that Piranha 3D had or the bugnuts craziness that Drive Angry 3D threw at you.
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – With a cast that looked to be better than the Orlando Bloom/Keira Knightley one of the original trilogy I thought this new beginning for Capt. Jack Sparrow would breathe new life to the trilogy, but instead we get one of the worst entries in the franchise (that’s saying a lot) and one that ended up wasting the talents of Ian McShane in the role of Blackbeard.
  3. Season of the Witch: I never saw it in the theater after I read Lisa Marie’s review of it. So, I waited until it arrived on Netflix and took a chance that maybe it wasn’t as awful as she said it was. I think she was being kind with her review. This film was awful in it’s awfulness that I couldn’t even enjoy just how bad it was.
  4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – When I first saw this film I enjoyed enough of the action when it was robot vs robot so all the human interaction part never registered, but as I saw it again on blu-ray I realized just how awful this third entry in the Michael Bay franchise was in a franchise that should’ve been fool-proof. I mean it’s giant robots that transform fighting other similar robots. I think if Shia LeBouf was replaced by someone like Jason Statham I would’ve enjoyed this film more, but Shia’s whining and screeching took away any enjoyment I had from seeing robots fighting.
  5. Cowboys & Aliens – Another film that had a premise tailor-made for the summer blockbuster season with a cast that had Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde (Mmmmm), Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, etc…not to mention Jon Favreau in the director’s chair. I thought that Favreau may have been railroaded and made a scapegoat for some of the failures of Iron Man 2 in 2010, but seeing what he ended up doing with this film made me rethink that maybe Marvel Studios was smart to cut him loose and bring in someone else.
  6. Green Lantern – DC Studios…Geoff Johns…one of the Justice Leaguers. One would think that was recipe for one kick-ass space opera that would rekindle the fun that are superheroes the way Iron Man did in 2008. Instead what we ended up getting was one of the worst superhero films ever made which made Hal Jordan an emo character fighting against a villain who wasn’t terrifying and a cosmic evil that made the Lost smoke monster look horrific in turn. Fuck you DC and Johns for ruining what could’ve been a great franchise.
  7. Arthur – I’m a child of the 80’s so I remember the original Dudley Moore version, but I was willing to give this one a chance. I shouldn’t have and any goodwill Russell Brand got from me with his performance from Get Him to the Greek vanished with this film.
  8. Apollo 18 – Moon rocks with legs!! Nuff said.
  9. Dream House – Another film that I thought was interesting enough to take a chance on despite the trailer pretty much ruining the twist in the story, but I thought it would have an interesting path getting to that twist. Daniel Craig may need to just stick to being James Bond, because he was almost like a cardboard in this film and the rest of the cast weren’t far behind. I never thought Jim Sheridan would ever make a bad film. I guess I was right. He didn’t make a bad film. He made a horrendously awful film.
  10. Priest – This was another film that could’ve been fun fluff or even an entertaining bad film, but it wasn’t either of those. This was directed by Scott Stewart who did the abysmal Legion from 2010. I thought maybe he would do better a second time around adapting a popular Korean manwha title, but I guess the saying is true: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I’m sure I left out a few other titles that ohters think should be on this list, but those probably I actually enjoyed or weren’t bad enough to bump any of these ten from my list. This list is pretty much almost a full day of my life wasted and me not able to get a refund. It’s near to 24-hours of awful that took a full day off of my lifespan. Ten films which could be the death of me down the line.

Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2011


Now that 2011 is finally over, we here at the Shattered Lens can finally get around to listing our individual picks for the best and worst of 2011.  Pantsukadasai, Necromoonyeti, Leon Th3 Duke, and Dazzling Erin have already posted some of their picks for the best of 2011 and over the next five days, I’ll be risking your scorn by listing some of my own choices.

I’d like to get things started today by listening my picks for the 16 worst films of 2011.  As always, these choices are mine and mine alone.  So, don’t go harassing Arleigh just because you think Another Earth wasn’t a pretentious and silly film.  Instead, harass me so I can harass you back. 🙂

16) Battle L.A. — It takes a special type of film to make Skyline look like a work of art.

15) Cowboys and Aliens — Meh.  This should have been so much more fun than it actually was.

14) Your Highness — I still love James Franco.

13)  Shark Night 3-D — Another film that should have been a lot more fun.

12) Season of the Witch — The first film I saw in 2011 was also one of the worst.

11) The Ides of March — Hey guys, did you know that politics is a dirty business!?  Oh my God, consider my fragile mind blown.  Thank you for clearing things up, George Clooney!

10) Another Earth — Honestly, Another Earth probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the way that so many of the toadsuckers out there get so superior and condescending whenever they’re telling me that I should love this movie.  If you read the comments under my linked review of the film, you’ll find a very good defence of the film from Leon and then you’ll find a more typical response from some idiot named Naresh Raj Shrestha.  Unfortunately, Naresh seems to be a fair representation of most of the people who take to the Internet to defend this film.  All I can say to those people is “Fuck off, kids.  I’ve got real movies to worry about.”

9) Dream House — Daniel Craig.  Again.

8) Contagion — So.  Boring.

7) The Beaver — So. Stupid.

6) Priest — Yeah, yeah, it’s in 3-D.  Yay.

5) Dylan Dog: Dead of Night — This film sucks just as much as you think it does.

4) The Rum Diary — Is it possible to make a boring movie with one of the exciting movie stars in the world?  Apparently, it is.

3) The Conspirator — Self-important drivel that was released at least four years too late.

2) Straw Dogs — Tell ’em about the Southland, Rod Lurie!

And finally, here’s the worst film of 2011…

1) Anonymous — One thing is for sure.  Whoever wrote Shakespeare’s plays, he was a lot more talented than Roland Emmerich.

Coming up tomorrow: my ten favorite songs of 2011.

6 Trailers for Turbulent Times

I’m dedicating this latest edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers to all of our readers and contributors on the East Coast.  Stay safe and enjoy the trailers!

1) The Sweet House of Horrors (1991)

One of Lucio Fulci’s final films, this was made for Italian television.  It’s actually better than you might think from the trailer.  But, yes, it is a far cry from Zombi 2.

2) Hell of the Living Dead (1984)

This film, however, is just as bad as the trailer might lead you to suspect.  Not surprisingly, it was directed by Bruno Mattei.

3) Asylum of Satan (1972)

Or as I like to call it, Satan Plays Bass.

4) Combat Cops (1974)

Judging from the trailers I’ve come across since I first started this feature, the 70s were a turbulent time.  The revolution continued with Combat Cops.

5) Sheba, Baby (1975)

“Pam Grier is …. Sheba, Baby!”  Sad to think that the last time we saw Pam Grier on-screen, she was reduced to playing Julia Roberts’ best friend in Larry Crowne. 

6) Hungry Wives (1972)

George Romero’s follow-up to Night of the Living Dead is better known as Season of the Witch.  Like most of Romero’s non-zombie films, it has some major issues with pacing but it remains of interesting artifact of its time.  The film has a feminist subtext which works about as well as can be expected, considering that the movie was made by a man.

2011: The Year In Film So Far

Greetings from the former home of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Crossville, Tennessee!  Yes, Jeff and I are on our way back to Texas.  It’s been a wonderful vacation but I have to admit, I’m looking forward to seeing a movie at the Plano (or Dallas) Angelika on Sunday.  I’m not sure which movie but, as long as it’s a movie, I’ll be a happy girl.

That’s because I love movies.  Movies are what I schedule my life around.  My birth certificate says I was born in 1985 but I know that I was born in the year of Brazil, Prizzi’s Honor, Blood Simple, and After Hours.  If each year can be judged by the quality of the films then how is 2011 looking now that we’ve reached (and passed) the halfway mark?

Right now, as I sit here in this hotel room in my panties and my beloved Pirates shirt, I’d say 2011 is shaping up to be an average year.  There’s been a few films that I loved and there’s been a few that I’ve absolutely despised but for the most part, this year is shaping up to be comfortable and rather bland. 

Much as I did last year at this time, I’m going to take a few minutes to mention a few high points (and low points) of 2011 so far.  Agree?  Disagree?  Make your opinion known.

Best Film (So Far): Hanna, without a doubt.  Joe Wright’s stylish thriller hasn’t gotten half the acclaim that it deserves.  Runners-ups: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Incendies, Jane Eyre, Kill The Irishman, Of Gods and Men, Red Riding Hood, Sucker Punch, The Source Code, Super, 13 Assassins, The Tree of Life, Win Win, X-Men: First Class

Best Male Performance of the Year (so far): Paul Giamatti in Win Win.  Runners up: Bobby Cannavale in Win Win, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Hesher, Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer, and Rainn Wilson in Super.

Best Female Performance Of The Year (so far): Sairose Ronan in Hanna. Runners up: Lubna Azabal for Incendies, Ellen Page for Super, Amy Ryan for Win Win, and Mia Wasikowska for Jane Eyre.

Best Ending (so far): The charmingly low budget zombie film that runs over the end credits of Super 8.

Best Horror Film (so far): Insidious.

Most Underrated Film Of The Year (so far): A tie, between Sucker Punch and Red Riding HoodRed Riding Hood, as a matter of fact, was so underrated that I had to see it a second time before I really appreciated it.

Best Bad Film: Beastly.  Silly but kinda fun in a really, really odd sort of way.

Worst Film of The Year (so far): The Conspirator, a bore of a movie that was apparently filmed through a filter of grime.  Runners up: Priest, The Beaver, Battle L.A. (sorry Arleigh, Leonard, and Erin), Season of the Witch, Your Highness, and The Green Lantern.

Biggest Example of A Missed Opportunity This Year (So Far): The Adjustment Bureau, which could have been a great Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-type of film but instead, turned out to be just another predictable and shallow example of new age triteness.

The Get-Over-It Award For The First Half Of 2011: The Conspirator, a film that attempts to be relavent by using the 19th Century to comment on political issues from 2006.

My Prediction For Which Film Will Be The Most Overrated Of 2011: Last year, I predicted The Social Network and, surprise surprise, I was right.  In fact, the folks at AwardsDaily.com are still bitching about how The Social Network lost best picture to The King’s Speech.  (By the way, a few other choice pieces of wisdom from Awards Daily: The Beaver is Jodie Foster’s best film ever and only elitists should be allowed to comment on film.)  This year, I’m going to predict that the most overrated film of 2011 will be the unnecessary remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

My Prediction For What Will Be The Worst Film Of 2011: The winner here is another remake — Rod Lurie is remaking Straw Dogs and this time, he’s setting it in the South.  You know what?  Go back to Vermont and fuck yourself ragged, you dumbass, blue state elitist.  

So, that’s 2011 so far.  There’s still quite a few films that I’m looking forward to seeing: Another Earth, The Debt, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Hugo, and most of all, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

Lisa Marie Does…Season of the Witch (dir. by Dominic Sena)

I have to write this review quickly because I have a feeling that, in another 30 minutes or so, my body’s immune system will succeed in destroying any trace of Season of the Witch.

In Season of the Witch, Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play two Crusaders who eventually get disillusioned with killing people so they desert the army, end up in a small village somewhere, and are informed that the town is being destroyed by the plague because a curse has been put on the town by a witch.  Cage and Perlman are then recruited by the local town’s cardinal (Christopher Lee, who is pretty much wasted under all of this really nasty plague makeup) to take the witch to a monastery that is located somewhere else.  You’re never really sure where any one location is in relation to another in this film, which is a bit of a problem since the majority of the film is taken up with the journey to the monastery. 

Anyway, the Monks at the monastery have this ancient book that apparently contains all these incantations that can be used against evil.  This book is the only one left in existence which leads to the question of why nobody ever bothered to make more than a handful of copies of all of these amazingly important books.  I mean, seriously, people.  So the idea is to take this witch to the monastery and read this book which will end the plague.

So, we go through the whole journey thing and a few unimportant characters are killed off along the way and Cage and Perlman discuss the meaning of life and faith and, at first, we’re led to doubt whether or not the accused witch is actually guilty but then she starts causing all of these supernatural, witch-like thing to happen so I guess the filmmakers got bored with that whole subplot early.

Then we reach the monastery and a whole other movie starts.  Seriously, I cannot begin to put into words just how massively the tone of the film changes once they reach the monastery.  The film actually becomes good in a kind of silly, over-the-top way as soon our knights are dealing with all of these flying demons and there’s disfigured monks all over the place, and the priest gets to say, “We’re going to need more holy water,” at one point.  (“Yay!” I nearly shouted out in the audience, “Catholic action movie one-liners!”)  The tone changes so massively that Season of the Witch actually becomes a really fun and entertaining little action movie but, unfortunately, just as soon as things start to get really fun — bang!  Movie is over.  Thank you for coming out tonight, folks.  Now get the Hell outta here.

Season of the Witch is, to put it politely, a mess.  This isn’t all that surprising as the movie is being released in January and January is, of course, reserved for either Oscar contenders going into wide release, films starring Jason Statham, or movies that are being released because the studio is contractually obligated.  Ron Perlman, being a veteran of both Guillermo Del Toro and Jean-Pierre Jeneut, knows exactly how play his role but Cage just rides around on his horse looking like he’s late for Halloween party.  Director Dominic Sena appears to have a mancrush on Zack Snyder and does the whole speed up the camera randomly then go into slow-mo even more randomly thing but it doesn’t really add up to anything more than just confusion.

Finally, I left this film feeling very betrayed because, seriously — how can you call your film Season of the Witch and not feature the classic Donovan song?

Congrats to The Rangers

I don’t know a damn thing about baseball but I do know that the Rangers are going to the World Series and the Rangers are apparently from my hometown.  Oh, and the Ranger Josh Hamilton is apparently not the same guy as the actor Josh Hamilton.

Anyway, for now, I will also extend hearty congratulations to Arleigh because his team is apparently going to the World Series as well.  I learned today that apparently, San Francisco’s team is called the Giants and not the Phillies.  Apparently, the Phillies are actually Philadelphia’s team.  Actually, that makes a bit more sense.  I also found out that the Giants have a player with the exact same name as the former lead singer of the Beach Boys.

Anyway, congratulations to the Rangers (who I guess are now my team) and the Giants.  The song below is dedicated to both teams and to baseball fans everywhere…