UNK SEZ: We’re lucky to have as guest host today the always amazing TENEBROUS KATE of the sensationally superior and awesomely eclectic LOVE TRAIN FOR THE TENEBROUS EMPIRE! You guys know KATE, she’s been a favorite guest around these parts since back in the days when the Kindercastle was a mere lean-to! Ya’ll listen to KATE‘s advice, I know I’ve already started work on her fine recommendations!
TENEBROUS KATE SEZ: One’s movie diet should be approached in a similar fashion to one’s diet-actual: strike a balance of sweet, savory, and nutritious in order to cultivate a healthy appreciation for all things cinematic. It’s in this spirit that I’ve selected the following films. Also, it demonstrates that I have next to no respect for rules, since there are six titles here instead of the traditional three!
RED RIDING TRILOGY: 1974, 1980, 1983
These British crime dramas are as gritty, dark and captivating as they come. Spanning a decade of serial murder, police corruption, and political turmoil in England’s northern countryside, the “Red Riding Trilogy” weaves in real-life events like the Yorkshire Ripper killings with fictional but entirely believable characters. This is chilling stuff that provides some tough commentary on the people who investigate and perpetrate crimes. The series earns bonus points for beautiful production values and artistic cinematography that enhance the noir-ish mood.
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: POD PEOPLE
If you’ve watched all five hours of the “Red Riding, Trilogy” you’re probably looking for a bit of a mood-lifter! What better way to wash away the gloom than with a good laugh at the foibles of low-budget sci-fi? The teevee show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is controversial in cult-film circles since some folks feel that its snarky commentary track ruins the joy of exploring little-known genre films. I can see where the nay-sayers are coming from, but I will testify that some of these movies are almost unwatchable without Joel, Mike and the ‘Bots. My fave episode of the show is “Pod People,” which features a Spanish-French “E.T.” knock-off with a whiny child star, hillbilly poachers, an ALF-like alien creature, be-fringed 80s fashion and a wayward rock band stranded in the woods. If you don’t laugh when Joel and his puppet companions sing “Idiot Control Now” to the tune of the movie’s feature song, then I weep for your barren, stony heart.
BLOOD FOR DRACULA & FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN
While not related by the traditional movie-sequel relationship, “Blood for Dracula” and”Flesh for Frankenstein” were made back-to-back by director Paul Morrissey and feature the same cast members. Often mis-attributed to financier Andy Warhol, these are the most off-the-wall, graphic, and witty versions of the classic monster tales you’re likely to see. Genre vet Udo Kier stars as the titular villain of both films, delivering outrageous and semi-improvised performances as the vampire and the mad scientist. The heavy in both films is a muscular, virile working-class character played by Joe Dallesandro, who has one of the thickest Noo Yawk accents recorded on film, making his turns as Mittel European farm-hunks even more unlikely. Look close enough and you’ll find some clever political subtext about class, wealth, and culture—or ignore all that and enjoy the infinitely quotable, blood-soaked mayhem. And just in case you question the art pedigree of these movies, keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by director Roman Polanski in “Blood for Dracula.”