Recently Rated Movies #42: Psychotronic Ketchup in the B's

What with all my whining about getting to Grindhouse (which I did get to see on Saturday -- comments soon...), working on projects, and worrying about every other nagging little thing at work, it might seem that I have forgotten about the current main thread of this web log. This involves taking a long, alternately monotonous and thrilling trip through the pages of the Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon, watching all of the movies that I haven't seen before (and sometimes submitting myself to a fresh viewing of ones that I have previously viewed, whether I liked them or not...)

Suffice to say that the battle rages on, and that I am currently stuck in the "B" chapter, only I learned my lesson from the "A" section: jumping around is the only way to cure the monotony of getting stuck like I did when I hit a series of films beginning with "Angel", which meant, of course, a bunch of gang-raping beer-swilling biker flicks in a row. So, I've decided to hop around and mix things up a bit, though to make sure I hit everything in release within the book, I will continue to stick to one letter at a time instead of jumping about everywhere. A tiny bit of focus is nice sometimes.

The surprise this time was Bug, a 1975 insecto-thriller that wants to be Phase IV (a coldly weird favorite from my childhood, that was released a year earlier than this one -- where is this on DVD?) but doesn't quite make the grade, though it certainly doesn't go in any direction that you think it will. This definitely gives it style points, since judging from the cover art and from the beginning of the film, one would not be wrong in believing that, in the fashion of disaster films of that day, there would be a point late in this film where there would be millions of bugs all over the place, tearing off faces, eating the dead and causing general mayhem to the cities of America. And this film is almost defiant in not wanting to go in that direction, and is aided by a completely off-his-nut great/bad performance by Bradford Dillman, who just gets a little too up-close-and-personal with his subjects. (By this, I'm not saying he fucks 'em -- this is more of a mind-fuck than anything.) Plus, the film gets bonus cool by being directed by the man who made Jaws 2 not as bad as it could have been. Take from this what you will...

The List:
Gli Orrori del castello di Norimberga [Baron Blood] Dir: Mario Bava // 1972, Italian [DVD] - 5
Bug Dir: Jeannot Szwarc // 1975 [DVD] - 5
The Bat Whispers Dir: Roland West // 1930 [DVD] - 6
Reazione a catena [Bay of Blood] Dir: Mario Bava // 1971, Italian [DVD] - 6
The Baby Dir: Ted Post // 1973 [DVD] - 5
Battle Beyond the Stars Dir: Jimmy T. Murakami // 1980 [DVD] - 4
The Born Losers Dir: Tom Laughlin // 1967 [Showtime] - 4

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