Sunday, October 13, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 721st Edition and the Madness: Kings and Queens- Week 1

Welcome to the 721st edition of my series.  Next weekend is our show THE INTERROGATION OF BIBLICAL CHARACTERS which is a modern-day setting in reference to a few of the characters and I play the part of Peter.  This is an play being put on for the first time and like being a part of that.  Nothing else really happening so I'll just get on with my selections and read on for the first week of the Madness.

The Purge:  Anarchy (2014):  James DeMonaco wrote and directed this sequel to the hit film from 2013.  This continues on Purge Night where crime becomes legal for 12 hours.  Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez all star as an unlikely group that comes together for survival with Grillo being the only one who intends to kill in his vengeance for the murder of his son.  Grillo plays a police sergeant who reluctantly becomes a protector to those trying to survive the holiday.  Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael Kenneth Williams, Edwin Hodges, Lakeith Stanfield, and many others co-star in this sequel. This had an interesting enough story with the characters to get behind them.  The first one was more centered in a home, this one takes it further into the streets.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019):  I bring the latest from Quentin Tarantino who wrote and directed this film.  Like most of Tarantino's films, he is all about paying homage with some revisionist history and with this we have late '60s Hollywood in both television and film.  Leonardo DiCaprio stars as washed up actor Rick Dalton who was big in tv westerns but struggles to find work since that time.  Brad Pitt co-stars as Rick's stunt double Cliff Booth who also has his issues.  Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Nicholas Hammond, Samantha Robinson, Rafal Zawierucha, Lorenza Izzo, Costa Ronin, Damon Herriman, Lena Dunham, Danielle Harris, Clifton Collins Jr., Rumer Willis, Martin Kove, Rebecca Gayheart, Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Michael Madsen, James Remar, Maya Hawke, Harley Quinn Smith and many others co-star in this film.  This is Perry's last film before his massive stroke.  It was also really good to see Pacino as a Tarantino alum in my opinion.  This is a really good look at this era of Hollywood through some really dark times that happened in that era.  The climax at the end is extremely violent and not really for everyone.  This movie happens in true Tarantino fashion.

Spider-Man:  Into the Spider-Verse (2018):  This is my animated superhero movie for the week which was directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman directed this animated film.  Usually, we we see or hears about Spider-Man, we think Peter Parker, voiced by Chris Pine and Jake Johnson, but this movie takes a look into the world beyond Peter.  This one centers around Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, who is a high school teen that has always idolized Spider-Man and ends up getting bit by the spider himself.  He gets into a situation which prompt other people with spider powers from other dimensions and voiced by Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, and John Mulaney.  Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoe Kravitz, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Natalie Morales, Oscar Isaac, Joaquin Cosio, Marvin Jones III, Lake Bell, and many others co-star in this film.  Stan Lee has a great cameo in this one and maybe his best one.  This is a really good look at the expanded universe of the Spider Universe and has a great end credit scene.  This one is done by Sony and understand they are the ones who on the character, I could be wrong.  I have heard that whoever does own the character is making it difficult for the Marvel Cinematic Universe which Disney owns.  I hope that in time, everyone realizes these characters are above a movie studio and are Marvel.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

The Twilight Zone:  Where is Everybody (1959):  Technically, this is an episode of a tv series but since it's my movie blog, I get to decide what is a movie so I will call this my short film for the week.  This is the episode that started the timeless series.  Robert Stevens directed this episode that was written by Rod Serling who also provides the narration.  Earl Holliman stars in this episode as Mike Ferris who finds himself in a small town where he does not remember much and finds that no one appears to be there.  Despite being alone, he believes he is being watched and we are in that twilight zone so nothing is as it appears.  I'm sure this is not the best episode but is a good start to the iconic series.  This and the rest of the series is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937):  I follow up with a very landmark animated film and was the first feature film out of Walt Disney studios and maybe in general but not sure on that one.  Either way, Walt had a vision to do an feature animated film where everyone around him just thought he was nuts but he did not listen.  A group of directors that included David Hand, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen all teamed up to bring this Brothers Grimm tale to life.  Snow White, voiced by Adriana Caselotti, learns that her wicked stepmother and queen, voiced by Lucille La Verne, is trying to kill her so she flees her town.  She ends up in the home of the seven Dwarfs who take her in and protect her from the evil queen.  I don't think much explanation is needed here, this is the one that started it all.  I'm sure some became disappointed that they could not get animals to help out the way Snow White was able to.  This is a classic tale that has been timeless through the ages.

The Sea Chase (1955):  This was presented at my local library as part of the "Coffee and Classics" series.  This is my WWII film for the week which was directed by John Farrow and stars the Duke.  Yes the duke as in John Wayne who stars as German Freighter captain Karl Ehrlich who does not like the Nazi regime but is a proud German.  Aboard his vessel is Elsa Keller, played by Lana Turner, who is to be escorted safely to Germany along with the secrets she carries.  David Farrar, Lyle Bettger, Tab Hunter, James Arness, Richard Davalos, John Qualen, Paul Fix, Lowell Gillmore, Alan Hale Jr., and many others co-star in this film.  This is a good look at Navy life and is good to see Wayne and Turner working together.  Mostly for fans of John Wayne and those who have been in the navy.

The Afflicted (2011):  Jason Stoddard wrote and directed this film which is loosely based upon the crimes of Theresa Knorr.  Leslie Easterbrook stars as Maggie who is a very abusive and beyond to her children which she always justifies through her religion.  This is the account of the youngest daughter Grace, played by Randi Jones.  J.D. Hart, Michele Grey Hartsoe, Sims Holland, Kane Hodder, Ron Stafford, and many others co-star in this film.  This is based on true events and there is a book called WHATEVER MOTHER SAYS by Wensley Clarkson.  This is not an easy one to watch and if you could not get through the 2007 films AN AMERICAN CRIME or THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, this one will not be one to watch as this holds nothing back.  If into this some of film, this is a good one to watch and I'm even curious to read the book now.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime

The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars and motor kings (1976):  This is my baseball movie for the week which was directed by John Badham and based on the novel by William Brashler.  This centers around the Negro leagues of baseball so for those who do not know, Major League Baseball banned the black race from being on their teams until they let Jackie Robinson in 1947.  Billy Dee Williams stars as pitcher Bingo Long who does not like the way the owner, played by Ted Ross, is treating the players so he manages to get a few other players and to become more of a travelling team.  James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Tony Burton, Jophrey C. Brown, Tony Burton, Stan Shaw, Otis Day, Mabel King, and many others star in this baseball comedy.  This is a good look at this era of the sport.  Pryor gives a very amusing and politically incorrect performance in this film.  Some will notice STAR WARS alums Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones so maybe this team was the reason that Darth Vader went to the dark side.  As I researched this a little further, this is loosely based on a team called the Indianapolis Clowns which might remind some of the Harlem Globetrotters in terms of the movie and real-life team.  That team was about an hour from where I live so it is cool to stumble on a little Indiana history.

Santo vs. la hija de Frankenstein (1972):  This translates into the daughter of Frankenstein.  Dr. Frankenstein's daughter is now a mad scientist and has a serum that keeps her looking young.  As that starts to run out, she decides she must experiment with El Santo's blood.  Fro those that do not know, El Santo is a masked wrestling legend from Mexico, some might say the father of Lucha Libre wrestling.  On the side, he would film a lot of movies like these.  Sometimes he has his colleague the Blue Demon but not in this one.  There is usually at least one wrestling match at some point in these movies.  Other Mexican wrestling legends like Mil Mascaras have done these types of movies but these are probably the most known but may look into others.  These are B-movies to the core and can be enjoyable if not taken too seriously.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011):  I end the week with this live production of the classic musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Nick Morris and Laurence Connor directed this stage version of the show which stars Ramin Karimloo as the disfigured musician lurking at the Paris Opera House.  He falls in love with Christine Daae, played by Sierra Boggess, who is a chorus girl and the phantom is secretly training her and working to get her to be the star of the show.  I remember seeing this at the movie theater when it was actually life at the Royal Albert Hall in Britain and likely the closest I will come to seeing this life.  This is a very good production and when the show is over some of the other Phantoms like Colm Wilkinson and the most known Christine in Sarah Brightman.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Well, that is it for this week for this section but continue on for week one of the annual contest of the Madness.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Jamie Lee Curtis, David Lynch, Christopher Lee, Guillermo Del Toro, John Travolta, and many others.


This is an annual contest I have had the privilege to be a part of for twelve years and I am one of the originals which I proudly say.  Each year we have a different theme and this year we focus on directors and writers. There is a list of names which are wild cards and do not have a requirement for horror and for that I have obtained the moniker "King of the Loophole".  Through the years I have managed to make ROCKY, THE GODFATHER PART I and II, TITANIC, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, and many others count as selections in this contest and I'm sure to put out some this year.  I separate things by category.  I usually try to do it by names starting with the wild cards.  If I don't have a wild card, I might look for an actor or actress where I have more than one selection.  Otherwise, I use various categories like vampires and whatever else I can think of at the time.  I am required to rate my selections which is not something I really like doing but I will and I always use the four 6 rating system.


Adam is a wild card this year in the madness.

The Last Movie Star (2017, 94 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is an example of what has made me the so-called King of the Loophole.  This has nothing to do with Halloween and is in no way horror but Adam Rifkin directed so I could use it.  It is a story of faded fame for Burt Reynolds and is more coming of age for Ariel Winter as they form an unexpected bond.  I remember coming across this when Burt Reynolds died and has really stayed with me.  This is a much later Burt Reynolds film and is very underrated in my opinion.



Twilight Zone:  Where is Everybody (1959, 25 minutes, 666):  I couldn't really come up with a real good category for this one but the main character did seem to have amnesia while being unable to find anyone else in the remote town.  This is the first episode of the series that started it all.


Anna is not a wild card but found multiple selections so I have no problem making her into a category.

Paranorman (2012, 92 minutes, 666):  Anna plays the older sister of Norman who is able to communicate with the dead which makes him very misunderstood.  Counts with the ghosts and zombies.

Trolls (2016, 92 minutes, 666):  This should count as a creature feature especially with the Bergens.  Anna plays Poppy the happy troll in this movie based on the popular toys.  I enjoyed the music numbers in this one.

Twilight:  New Moon (2009, 130 minutes, 66):  This obviously counts on account of the vampires and werewolves.  Anna plays the part of Jessica, a friend of Bella's.  I'm not going to say I hated this but not my favorite sort of vampire story.



Bela is not a wild card this year but found multiple selections so I decided to give this horror icon his own category.

Extraordinary Tales (2013, 73 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is an animated film of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe and Lugosi has some past narration they use and put their own animated spin on it with Lugosi's being THE TELL-TALE HEART.

White Zombie (1932, 69 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is an early look into the zombie genre before George Romero would make into a very popular genre and kind of established "rules" of the zombies.  This had its own thing and enjoyable for what it was at the time.



Brad is one of our wild cards this year.

The Shield:  Inferno- episode 2.11 (2003, 44 minutes, 666):  This is a show that would not usually qualify for the contest but since Brad Anderson directed this episode, it can be used.  This is part of the second season where Aceveda was running for political office and had to work more closely with Vic than he wanted in hopes of avoiding scandal.  There is another episode when going down further.



I know in the wake of the horrid things this man has done that some won't like me featuring him but I just could not resist these selections made for loophole purposes

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018, 134 minutes, 666):  This biopic of Queen counts this week because of the direction by Bryan Singer. Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury to perfection and was a pretty decent biopic.

House:  Pilot Episode 1.1 (2004, 43 minutes, 666):  This episode of the series counts this year with Bryan as the director of this episode as well as the executive producer of the series.  This is the first episode where Hugh Laurie would bring to life the character of Dr. House whose people skills were not always the best but was always able to figure out what was going on after a couple of wrong guesses in the beginning.



Beauty and the Beast (1991, 84 minutes, 666 1/2):  This tale as old as time should not have any problems being counted.  There is an enchantress and a beast in this Disney adaptation.  Years later they would put out a live-action adaptation which has a lot of mixed opinions.  For me, I did actually like it, especially for a couple added elements.  I'm not a spoiler so if you want to know, message me.  Years ago I had the honor of playing the role of Lefou and remains one of my favorite roles I have played.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, 79 minutes, 666):  I decided to use this universal classic of who I believe is a tragic hero.  This is one of the most iconic creatures in cinematic history and has some rather underrated sequels.



The Afflicted (2011, 85 minutes, 666):  I decided to give this one a category name.  Leslie Easterbrook plays a psycho mother in this movie unfortunately based on a true story.  This is not the easiest movie to watch in this world.


Jake is not a wild card but have a couple selections with him so decided to make this NEW GIRL alum into a category for the year.

The Mummy (2017, 110 minutes, 66):  Jake plays Corporal Chris Vail and along with his superior officer played by our favorite Scientologist Tom Cruise, they discover the tomb of a mummy which inevitably waken the bitter mummy.  No explanation needed her to justify with an ancient mummy

Spider-Man:  Into the Spider-Verse (2018, 117 minutes, 666 1/2):  Jake plays Peter B. Parker in this animated film of the many spider characters in the spider verse.  I feel the multiple worlds and villains like Green Goblin should make this one count.



James is a wild card this year in the madness.

Guardians of the Galaxy:  Vol. 2 (2017, 136 minutes, 666 1/2):  This counts either way but since James Gunn is the director, no explanation is needed.  This is a great sequel with all kinds of great cameos and and awesome soundtrack.


John  is a wild card this year in the madness.

The Bingo Long Travelling All Stars (1976, 110 minutes, 666):  Usually, this movie would not be a selection for the Madness but John Badham is the director so this baseball movie counts.  Keep in mind Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader play for the same team.

The Shield:  Dead Soldiers Episode 2.2 (2003, 44 minutes, 666):  This is another episode from the series that counts because of John Badham's directing.  This was a pretty good series that revolved around the corrupt Strike Team lead by Vic Mackey, played by Michael Chiklis.


Mary is not a wild card but decided to make her into a category this year.  If we ever get the women in horror category that I have been wanting for years, I would say she should be a wild card.  After all, I would say we can call her the "Mother of Horror".

Santo vs. El Hija de Frankenstein (1972, 97 minutes, 66):  I doubt this is in mind what Ms. Shelley had in mind when creating Victor Frankenstein and his monster but this shows how timeless her work really is.  I am pretty sure this is the first El Santo movie I have ever featured in the Madness.

Victor Frankenstein (2015, 110 minutes, 66 1/2):  I kind of liked this twist to the classic story told by the point of view of Igor, played by Daniel Radcliffe, who was saved from the circus by Victor after he discovers medical expertise in Igor.



Michael is not a wild card this year but found a couple movies he produced so I thought I'd make him a category this year.

The Purge:  Anarchy (2014, 103 minutes, 666):  I don't think I need to justify this franchise.  Very violent and more purging than the first.

A Quiet Place (2018, 90 minutes, 666 1/2):  John Krasinski put everything he had to make this movie which he both directs and stars.  Very clever independent film where a family must remain silent or the monsters can attack them.


Jekyll and Hyde:  The Musical (2001, 135 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is kind of an annual to bi-annual watch for me.  It is a stage adaptation of the musical version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic which stars none other than David Hasselhoff in the dual role.  While I had my rather unpleasant encounter with the Hoff, this has grown on me through the years.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011, 137 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is a live adaptation of the horror musical classic of a man lurking at the opera house and obsessed with a soprano.



Quentin is a wild card this year and have taken full advantage of him being one.

CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation:  Grave Danger Parts 1 and 2- episodes 5.24 and 5.25 (2005, 90 minutes, 666):  Quentin directed this two-part episode which saw their own Nick Stokes is kidnapped and buried alive prompting the rest of the team to figure out where he is buried.  I haven't wanted a lot of this show but this seems to have been a more emotional episode where the crime centers around one of their own.  John Saxon and Lois Chiles both have guest appearances.

Jackie Brown (1997, 154 minutes, 666):  This usually would not get counted but Tarantino directs this film, therefore it counts.  This is based on the Elmore Leonard novel RUM PUNCH and stars Pam Grier in a bit of a comeback role.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003, 111 minutes, 666 1/2):  This could be argued to count on this contest but I don't have to argue it with the direction of Tarantino.  Uma Thurman wreaks all kinds of havoc after coming out of a coma to seek revenge on those that left her for dead.  This in some ways is like a live action anime film with the scenes that involve O-Ren Ishii, played by Lucy Liu.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004, 117 minutes 666):  This is the continuation of the first one which slows down its pace but still some great action and more of an homage to the western and a little bit martial arts.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019, 161 minutes, 666 1/2):  This was the latest out of Tarantino where he essentially pays homage to '70s Hollywood and does a great rewrite of history.

Pulp Fiction (1994, 154 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is another loophole of mine which was directed by Quentin.  Our other favorite Scientologist John Travolta has his own comeback role in this rather hard to describe crime film.  Lots of comedy and violence with some great discussion dialogue.

Reservoir Dogs (1992, 99 minutes, 666 1/2):  This was Tarantino's first feature film which is about a robbery going awry and all the criminals trying to figure out who set them up.  This shows shades of Tarantino's directorial style and some of his interesting dialogue as well as his use of music in film.  Still one of my favorites even if it might be a little politically incorrect by today's standards.



Ralph is not a wild card this year but had him for a couple selections so made a category for him.

Ready Player One (2018, 140 minutes, 666 1/2):  Ralph plays the part of Rick in this film.  Steven Spielberg directed this film which is a great homage to video games and just pop culture in general.  There are plenty of creatures to make this count as well as some zombies.

The Witch (2015, 92 minutes, 666):  A family is torn apart in 1630s New England when witchcraft is suspected.  Ralph plays the patriarch of the family.


Robert is not a wild card this year but has been one in the past.

Freddy's Dead:  The Final Nightmare (1991, 89 minutes, 66 1/2):  Robert plays his iconic character of Freddy Krueger in this "final" movie of the franchise.  Pretty fun watch with some amusing cameos.

Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015, 92 minutes, 66):  Robert plays hunter Jim Bickerman in the SYFY original, watchable if not taken too seriously so see the giant crocodiles and the extremely deadly anacondas go at it with each other and the people.


Devil (2010, 80 minutes, 66 1/2):  People are trapped in an elevator and one is the devil so no argument needed to make this one count.

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941, 107 minutes, 666):  Walter Huston plays Mr. Scratch aka the devil and allows a farmer to sell his soul for wealth.


Batman Forever (1995, 121 minutes, 66):  This was that wonderful era of the 'late 80s to the 90s and the third one but the first directed by Joel Schumacher that puts Val Kilmer in the suit.  Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones play very over the top versions of the Riddler and Two-Face.  It's been awhile since I've seen this and the more they made, the cheesier they got.

Batwoman:  Pilot episode 1.1 (2019, 45 minutes 66 1/2):  This is the first episode of the latest of the CW DC universe taking place in Gotham in a time where Bruce Wayne left town and Kate Kane, played by Ruby Rose, who becomes Batwoman.  Nothing great but prepared to stick with it.  I do kind of like Rachel Skarston in her villain role as Alice.

Supergirl:  Event Horizon episode 5.1 (2019, 45 minutes 666):  This is the start of the 5th season of the show where Kara learns there is a new owner at CatCo.  This may not count but the villain midnight kind of made me feel this could count with her vortex like powers.


Tobe is a wild card this year in the madness.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, 83 minutes, 666):  Tobe directed this iconic slasher film that introduced us to Leatherface and would spawn many sequels and reboots.


Angel:  City of Angels Episode 1.1 (1999, 45 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is the first episode of the Buffy spinoff where Angel has moved to L.A. and looks to be there protector with the help of Cordelia and his new friend Doyle, played by Glenn Quinn, who has visions.  This was a really good spinoff in my mind.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Bad Girls Episode 3.14 (1999, 45 minutes 666):  This is the introduction of new watcher Wesley Wyndham-Pryce.  Faith manages to convince Buffy to live more on the wild side with fatal consequences.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Consequences Episode 3.15 (1999, 45 minutes, 666):  The investigation of the killing of the deputy mayor is going on while the slayers handle things in different ways.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Doppelgangland Episode 3.16 (1999, 45 minutes 666):  Former vengeance demon Anya convinces Willow to cast a spell not telling her that it is to get her powers back but accidentally summon a vampire Willow from the alternate universe that Anya had created before.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Enemies Episode 3.17 (1999, 45 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is one of my favorite episodes where the mayor and Faith scheme to make Angel lose his soul.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Earshot Episode 3.18 (1999, 45 minutes, 666 1/2):  Buffy defeats a demon and retains its telepathy where she can hear what people are thinking.  This has a very powerful climax that has a very important message.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Choices Episode 3.19 (1999, 45 minutes, 666):  Willow is kidnapped by the mayor and Faith after the gang takes a box they need for the Ascension.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  The Prom Episode 3.20 (1999, 45 minutes, 666 1/2):  Buffy is determined for everyone else to have their prom and takes it upon herself to take on some Hellhounds that are wreaking havoc.  This is one of the more moving episodes in my opinion.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Graduation Day Episodes 3.21 and 3.22 (1999, 45 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is a two part episode where the gang prepares for the Ascension that is to happen on graduation day against the mayor and rogue slayer Faith.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  The Freshman Episode 4.1 (2000, 45 minutes, 666):  This is the premier of the fourth season where Buffy, Willow and Oz look to adjust to college life and Buffy has a new vampire gang to deal with.  This is the introduction of Riley Finn.

Dark Shadows:  Episode 1.1 (1966, 22 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is the episode that started it all and would become quite the cult classic.

Dracula:  Dead and Loving it (1995, 98 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is Mel Brooks' take on the classic story from Bram Stoker which stars Leslie Nielson as the Count in a more bumbling and clumsy manner.  This is not Mel's best work but still some fun with Peter MacNicol playing a good Renfield.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937, 83 minutes, 666 1/2):  I could not think of a better category for this one.  The Queen is essentially a witch and do not need to justify this one.

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