October: Horror…of course

Michael is ready for 2020 to be over…

Light and entertaining is my goal for this month, movies that will wash over me, release all my stressors and toxins from this crazy year. I’ve heard really good things about Andrzej Zulawski’s “Possesion” maybe it will put be a great way to start the season. Who knows maybe intense horror movies will give me a break from reality. I’m excited for this month, maybe watching “Fade to Black” (streaming on Shudder) last weekend really got me pumped for some horror related cinema. It could be the excitement of only 3 more months left in this year, which I think everyone is excited to close the books on 2020.

So what will be some of my cinema shames for this month? There are a lot of options, horror has been a blindspot but I’ve been working my on it the past few years. Last year I knocked out the Friday the 13th series, excluding the reboot. It had some highs, lot of lows, and parts where the bottom fell out (Jason Takes Manhattan…more like Jason takes a mediocre cruise). I think taking care of the other big horror series, Halloween, would make an interesting comparison. I’ve seen more of the Halloween series than I had thought, so only three I haven’t seen (excluding the Rob Zombie directed ones): “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers,” “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,” and “Halloween: Resurrection.” I got a feeling these are not the cream of the crop. This may be a good time to finally sit down and watch Jordan Peele’s “Us” and this year’s release of “The Invisible Man.” I did notice it might be a good time to finally open the blu-ray copy of Franci Fodrd Coppola’s “Dracula.”

Let us know what you are planning to watch during the month of October. And I’m definitely looking for recommendations. Let us by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @CinemaShame.

July Prompt: Criterion Collection

I wouldn’t classify anything about 2020 as being normal, but on July 10th Barnes and Noble helped maintain some normalcy with their semi-annual Criterion Collection Sale. The process feels a little different with a face mask being required but I like to think my smile is still beaming through my flowery patterned mask. I may not be able to caress the films, which has been a policy enforced against me at my local Barnes and Noble prior to Covid-19, but there is something about perusing the shelves in person. Do I truly need more Criterions? No, not at all, especially considering I have so many unopened, unwatched releases. It is an odd addiction, but it isn’t just Criterions, it is any type of physical media for me. In order to celebrate this small slice of normalcy, we are going to focus on Criterion releases for our July prompt. I selected three films that had already been purchased prior to this sale. 

  1. “The Wages of Fear” – Last week I watched the documentary “Friedkin Uncut” and it discussed his classic, “Sorcerer”, which is considered by some as a remake of “The Wages of Fear,” even though Friedkin doesn’t consider that to be the case.
  2. “Sex, Lies & Videotape” – Steven Soderbergh’s first feature film and James Spader, why not?
  3. “The Shooting” – Monte Hellman celebrated his 91st birthday on July 12 and what better way to celebrate the director than to watch one of his films. This also stars Warren Oates, so not a bad choice. 

I will push one film that was recently added to the Criterion Collection, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” This hands down the best film I have seen during 2020. I regret not seeing this in the theater. If you aren’t sure about dropping $20+ on a blind buy, it is on Hulu for viewing. 
Let us know what you are planning or wishing to purchase from the Criterion Collection.Share them by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @CinemaShame.

June Prompt: Twilight Time Goodbye….Hello

In May it was announced that Twilight Time would no longer be in business (though some of this remains hazy after ScreenArchives.com announced it will be purchasing the distributor and continuing operations — to what extent? We’ll find out in July).

Twilight Time was a boutique physical media label started in 2011 by Nick Redman and Brian Jamieson with the intent of releasing classic films unavailable on Blu-ray. They teased open studio catalogs with the promise that each disc would be limited to 3000 units, after which the rights would revert back to the original holder.

The announcement of the label’s closing proved disappointing for physical media collectors, although not entirely unexpected. After the unfortunate passing of Nick Redman last year and Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox (a studio upon which TT had relied for many of its releases), Twilight Time’s fate appeared sealed.

Twilight Time was my first deep dive into the world of collecting physical media. It introduced me to a lot of classic films, some of which have become my all time favorites. The company — based on its distribution model — also caused me learn more about the business side of physical media and branch out into other boutique labels. If it wasn’t for Twilight Time, I would have never discovered other labels such as Arrow, Indicator or even learned about the nefarious practice of region-locking (and how to overcome it). 

While my wife would have been happy for me not discovering this world, it has brought me a lot of joy and entertainment. While my bank account has not necessarily benefited, I’ve brought new ammunition into the debates over the future and utility of physical media. Twilight Time’s education has been well worth the dent in my wallet. 

At Cinema Shame we wanted to send some love to the Twilight Time label. For the month of June, Cinema Shame’s moviewatching prompt focuses on releases from Twilight Time. With a catalog of 380 films, spanning a large variety of genres, there are certainly some classics waiting for your first-time watch. To give you a starting point from my own Twilight Time adventures, my highest recommendations would be: Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) featuring a career-defining performance from Warren Oates.

Warren

My second pick is Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978), which opened up a new world of Bruce Dern.

the drive

What will be my first selection for Cinema Shame from the Twilight Time catalog? An easy question with an embarrassing answer. I will be selecting a film that was actually part of my first order of Twilight Time releases from way back in 2013: the 1964 film Zulu. Michael Caine’s first major film role.

michael

Next will be Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979) which I picked up two years ago from Amoeba Music in San Francisco because of its appearance in Danny Peary’s “Guide for the Film Fanatic.” Next, John Boorman’s Zardoz (1974), which will hopefully provide some context for Sean Connery’s amazing fashion in this film.

Zardoz

If you haven’t ever purchased a Twilight Time release, check out their current sale. Titles are growing more limited by the way, but fantastic films remain with amazing prices. I’m sure I will probably place another order before it is over as I discovered they have a giallo with Barbara Bach called Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971) that clearly deserves a watch.

Share your selections this month by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @Cinemashame.

Don’t forget to check out the recent podcast episodes of Cinema Shame, where James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) and Trey Lawson (@T_Lawson) discuss Quarantine Comfort films.

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Direct download (right click, save as): https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/cinemashame/CinemaShame_GodzillaGigan.mp3

Until next month–

@campbelldropout