If you are a fan of shot on video b-movies chances are you know who Joel D Wynkoop is. Having acted in 160 films (and counting)
and directed 24, Wynkoop has been a staple of the indie film world since the early 80s without an end in sight.
What you may not know is that despite specializing in loud angry characters, Joel is one of the nicest guys on the planet.
When we reviewed Lost Faith Joel reached out to me and since then we have been friends.
When he asked me to check out his two newest features and share my thoughts i was
delighted to oblige..Unfortunately that was the same time my blu ray player shit the bed.
Two weeks went by and i got a new player…which also wouldn’t play the discs.
Poor Joel has been waiting months for this review now.
I finally got my hands on a laptop and popped in The Wynkoop Tales and The Joel Wynkoop Action Pack for the first time.
THE WYNKOOP TALES focuses on Barry, a nerdy out of work writer desperately trying to catch the attention of a publicist and get one of his ideas made into a film.
Too bad Barry’s ideas aren’t all that great as we are treated to a barrage of silly off kilter horror tales featuring the of a rapidly deteriorating marriage,The tale of a worried
wife who finds more than she expected when she hires a private detective, the tale of A journalist persuing a death cult,
Packed to the brim with wonderful overacting,goofy stock sounds and music, questionable yet creative camerawork and stories so out there and bad (in an awesome way)
that genre fans like myself will be sure to love it.
My favorite short here was the story of the wife who hires the private investigator. The out of nowhere twist and seemingly nonsensical turn of events (sorry to be vague but trying not to
spoil anything) give it a twilight zone meets public access at 4am feel that i really got a kick out of.
The cinematography here was video like we have grown to expect from Joel and i know some reviewers and critics will shit on this little number for that but damned if
I don’t love the way this thing looks and feels as if i just got it off the shelf of a long forgotten big dog video store from my youth. Shooting on video tends to actually
cost more than going digital in the long run of things so i think Joel and his wife Catherine activly decided to go with a vhs feel to make fans like myself happy and it works.
the acting here was that special kind of off that Joel brings to the table and you can tell Joel and wife Catherine directed the other actors to go full speed ham and have fun.
Ive always admired how Joel not only doesn’t get offended by the B movie label but embraced it and really threw himself into the mix. It should be also be
noted that Joel and Catherine make at least an 8th of the cast, playing every set of main characters even when doing so is hilarious like in one scene where Catherine Plays Joel’s daughter!
This is the first time I have seen a film he co-directed with his wife, It’s inspiring to see how well these two work together.
If all that isn’t enough than the fact that as soon as you put this dvd in you get greeted by Joel himself rapping about Tim Ritter’s Truth Or Dare should settle the
debate on wheter or not you should pick it up.
The only issue i had with this release (and the next one I will be discussing) is the cover artwork. Both come in plainish orange with a few photos on the front and back.
These films deserve better packing and I hope that we will see a rerelease in the future that does just that.
Overall I give THE WYNKOOP TALES no middle fingers up. It may not be for everyone but that’s ok, this one was purely a love letter from Joel to us hardcore fan and we got it
loud and clear buddy we love you too keep up the insanity.
It’s not every night i get two woping helping of the Wynkoop experience but tonight I got just that as I jumped right from The Wynkoop Tales to the other DVD Joel was
nice enough to send over, THE JOEL WYNKOOP ACTION PACK.
I had planned on doing all of this as a written review
but Joel asked that i do a video as well and when the King of The B-Movies makes
a request, well damn it you fufill that request
It’s no secret, I’m a fan of what I affectionatly call shit cinema. We’ve covered all the A-listers (or perhaps that would be B-listers) here at B-is for Best; Tim Ritter, Brad Sykes, Lloyd Kaufman, the list goes on and On. Somhow,,though we managed to completely overlook one of my favorites ,Walter Ruether, or as most would know him, Scarlet Fry. For those who don’t know, Scarlet’s bag is making shot on shit-e-o anthology flicks like Horror-o-rama, Junkfood Horrorfest, Nightmare Alley and Death By VHS. Now I won’t mix word I fucking hated Death By VHS, so I was really looking forward to the film we’ll be discussing today, Scream Machine. I saw it as a way for Fry to win me over again and remind me why I liked his brand of off brand dollar stoe horror to begin with.
SCREAM MACHINE Introduces Dr.fry and Dr.Graves, two survivors of a mass ebola breakout that wiped out most of the Earth’s population. They are recording a final broadcast for any other survivors. Do they have some great revelation to share? FUCK NO! They’re here to showcase shitty horror shorts that Lloyd Kaufman let for them!
Holy fuck is this thing funny. First o Scarlet wears this oversized plague mask that looks cardboard that in conjunction with a carnival prize top hat makes him look like one of the spies from Spy Vs Spy and he talks like Bela Lugosi with a mouthful of pickle relish mixed with Borat! I almost shit my pants I laughed so hard! His co-host, Dr Graves is a talking head with an eyepatch that looks like he’s covered in spaghetti-o sauce and constantly talks shit to him in a voice that sounds like Archie Bunker if Archie had stayed up all night smoking Meth and eating pop rocks! This shit is spot on, just like the stupid late night horror hosts I loved so much a kid and it really worked well as a wraparound segment.
Along with this we get five short films. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or space to talk about all off the so We’ll focus on the two I loved the most. SLEDGEHAMMER and CANNIBAL PEN PALS:THE DAHMER OBSESSION
SLEDGEHAMMER focuses on a young Baseball player who wants to be in the big leagues. While practicing he accidentally kills the catcher with a fast ball quick enough to embed in the fella’s face and into his brain. Despite this he still makes it until one day someone from his past shows up to settle the score.
The things about SLEDGEHAMMER I dug the most were the same things that most reviewers I’ve seen talk about this thing bitch about. The miscasting and the bad special effects. Our “young” player has to be at least mid-forties and the fact that they keep calling him kid just adds to the overall absurd and hilarious nature of this short. The effects are also hysterical, I mean when the guy gets his eye knocked out it’s as big as a superball, the ball is clearly too big to have fit through the still intact grill of the catchers maskl and there’s a head crushing scene that rivals Troma in it’s thriftiness by skipping the Mellon and wig and going straight to the hamburger! THIS SHIT IS GOLD!
CANNIBAL PEN PALS:THE DAHMER OBSESSION focuses on a closted homosexual who’s pen pal Jeffery Dahmer is his only confidant.
This one had me busting a gut because of how obvious the closted homosexual character was. I mean this motherfucker might as well have sung all his lines through a purple sequenced microphone while waving a rainbow flag..(Scarlet if you’re reading this GET THAT ACTOR TO DO THIS AND RECORD IT, YOU’D BE A GOD!) This kind of over the top camera hamming is signature to the video boom era I grew up loving so much and is a little touch this reviewer really appreciated.
The cinematography here appears to be honest to Betsy genuine video, none of that fancy digital stuff here. I know many reviewers are shaking their head at how “cheap” this looks but Format junkies like myself who understand the headache of converting this format will know this must have been a conscious decision, not a way to cut corners and I think they’ll appreciate it for what it is.
The music was also 80’s/90’s-esque, performed on what I’m guessing was an old school keyboard, it has a tinny synth quality that reminded me alot of the music from Cannibal Campout.
Overall I really dug this flick. Those who are looking for the next V/H/S should look elsewhere but cjeeseheads who love Scarlet’s earlier work will love this one. Overall I give it no middle fingers up.
Those of you who regularly frequent B-is For Best will remember that as a matter of tradition myself and the B-Movie Crusader (My son) Always watch The Treasure Chest Of Horrors films together. There’s just something about these cheap, off kilter shit fests that makes them endearing and fun. They remind me of the cheesy horror films my Dad and I used to watch on late night television, so it’s a way of passing down a beloved tradition. Needless to say we were pretty excited to see that a third installment was included in our box from Wild Eye (this time entitled Dysmorphia rather then keeping with the previous two) Luckily I watched this one myself beforehand.
Let’s start by discussing the wraparound segment for this anthology:
The segment focuses on a brother and sister who locate their dead uncle’s old VHS collection. Bored and curious they ask their Aunt if they can watch them and are told that it’s fine but they should avoid a certain tape. They sit down and watch unaware that they are getting closer and closer to said tape (Nice of their Aunt not to tell them which one it is right?) This portion is my first problem with the film. The two characters could not have been more obnoxious, the dialog (when not rendered virtually inaudible by bad sound equipment) was painful and pointless, and since the key element of which VHS should not be watched was withheld, there was absolutely no point to the warning being given at all! What could have been a simple yet effective wraparound segment instead comes across as an ultra sad, forced rush job that is so close in build up and pay off to Johnny Dickie’s Slaughter Tales that is borders on plagiarism…Thankfully we’re not completely bombarded with these segments and we do get some extremely fun hilarious little ditties here.
Let’s talk about some of my favorites
Doug Waugh’s Knockers (never thought I’d say that sentence and be so excited) showcases a seemingly unstoppable door to door missionary and the annoyed druggie who’s attempts to rid himself of her are contentiously thwarted to increasingly bizarre and over the top degrees.
This one was the most.. Treasure Chest Of Horrors-esque of the bunch. It’s silly, it’s cheap, but it’s effective. It reminds me of something the polinia brothers would have put out 20 years ago. If this was the only short on this anthology it would be getting two middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone.
Another gem here was Shawn Phillip’s I Dare you, which focuses on Shawn and fellow internet personality Brendan Mitchell, who after a dare, decide to lock themselves away in a bathroom for a week with very little food. What happens when two robust reviewers deny themselves the food the love so much..what do you think?
Silly over the top and stupid as fuck (I say that I assure you) this one would have been unwatchable if not for Shawn’s signature overacting and hyper friendly face. Shawn has that grown up 6 year old quality that makes him instantly likable onscreen no matter what he does and it works to a T with this insane little piece.
The last one that sticks out to me (in a good way) was Tarra Emerson’s Fatal Fantasy. This was tells the story of what has to be one of the stupidest wives on the planet. She takes what her husband says completely literally which leads to some ..sticky situations.
I loved this short, it pretty much came across as a psychotic Amelia Bedelia story. Out of the bunch this was the only one I could picture as a feature length film. A big part of me hopes that idea will be considered someday.
Now that we’ve talked about the good, let’s talk about the two that almost destroyed this thing for me: Shane Ryan’s So We Killed Our Parents, and The Cousin Bros’ Sane:The Boredom Killings The first is a college film-esque little piece shot almost frame by frame and with distorted audio about a brother and sister who, after years of sexual abuse and neglect decide to kill their parents and then fuck each other. The second is a found footage style short focusing on two teens who out of boredom begin raping and murdering other teens.
The issue I have with these is the same. Both take on serious issues with complete disregard and both are pointless. There’s no resolve, there’s no moral, they’re just fuck’in mean spirited in general. What makes it worse is these things are sandwiched between such light hearted and fun fair. They stick out like a sore thumb and I’m going to go out a limb here and guess they were likely tossed in last minute to flesh ths whole affair out. Honestly I would have preferred a shorter film.
Overall I give this film one middle finger up. Despite it’s issues there is alot of fun to be had with this one and when all is said and done I still think it’s worth the couple bucks it will cost you to snag a copy.
I love marathon viewing movies, as someone who suffers from a rather severe case of insomnia coupled with not having need for much sleep i grew up on the practice, sometimes watching up to eight films at a time…unfortunately my practice of waking up at 11:00 am and maybe grabbing a power nap midday has become an impossibility. Being a father of 2 (soon to be 3) children means a mandatory 7:30am wake up call (if I’m lucky) and has sadly made such practices a thing of the past. But there is still one way i can enjoy several stories in one sitting, anthology films.
Anthology films have been a joy of mine since i was a child, something about getting several stories for the price of one always appealed to me and as i’m getting older they’re even more enticing for the reason i listed above and also because they serve to remind me of my glory days telling goofy supposedly scary tales with my friends before bed. There’s something barbarically satisfying about telling a story with the purpose to cause your friends to shit themselves and run home to mommy..does it usually happen that way..No, of course not but it’s the ride getting there that’s the fun and sometimes an unintentionally goofy story can be just as much fun (hell more fun in my opinion) as an extremely scary one. SCARY TALES is as good as an example of this idea as you’re likely to see in recent film.
SCARY TALES follows three friends called out to a fourth mutual friend’s cabin in the woods to stay the night. The host of the get together tells his guests that he’s called them there because he’s about to finalize his divorce and will soon be losing the place to his wife and wants to enjoy it one last time while he still can. The conversation soon turns to the supernatural and the group decides to each share an unseal story with the others.
The first story told is about a brutal and cowardly bully who likes to victimize those smaller and weaker then himself. He’s spent his life building up a list of victims but one day he attacks someone a little too hard and kills the man. In the same day he loses his wife and his job and soon after is visited by a strange man who offers to make it all right if only the bully can best an unknown “big guy” in a fight..but this is no ordinary fight and the bully will soon learn that he’s not the biggest bad ass on the block after all.
The second story focuses around a group of scam artists who decide to go for the gusto, finding their mark in a very rich eccentric with a taste for all things gambling but when they are found out things take a turn for the worst and this group finds out some disgruntled players aren’t so easy to get rid of.
the third story opens with a young woman accosted by her sex starved perverted step father, when her cousin arrives and tries to stop the confrontation and is attacked as well the melee ends with one dead pervert and the two on the run from the police. When the two decide to hole up in a house in the middle of the woods and wait it out they learn the age old rule of horror..if you find a house in the woods it’s best to turn back because nothing good can happen there.
The final story in the film follows a young college student looking for a subject to do his history paper on. When his grandfather (who was silent for years prior) suggests in an ominous and crazy voice that he should do the report on “the devil’s bridge” The boy decides to take his advice, discovering a strange and death ridden history involving sightings of Satan the skeptical young man decides to test the legend himself, crossing the bridge in the hopes to prove the legend is nothing but mass hysteria but the young man gets alot more then he bargained for and finds out that Legends exist for a reason.
Scary Tales is far from scary, In fact it’s silly beyond belief with acting that often comes across as so underplayed or overplayed that it’s beyond comical and garnished some genuine belly laughs from yours truly. The film plays so well with the classic Polonia Brother’s film Night Thirst that it could almost be a sequel, this film will be seen by some as awful but for those of us that grew up watching deliciously corny, cheesy anthology shows like the original Tales from the Dark side and Are You Afraid Of the Dark this flick is a breath of fresh air, it really is. It’s not concerned with being polished or pretty it’s not full of itself and pretentious it just is what it is, a wonderfully bad movie that has one goal TO ENTERTAIN and to that end it is a hundred percent successful. There were still some sound problems with this one but not enough to take away from the story and considering it was made right after FAMILY SECRETS the improvement is huge.
I give this film no middle fingers up, It’s fun, it’s silly and it kept me entertained throughout the entire feature. it may not be Fiddler On The Roof but it doesn’t try to be (Thank God) If you’re a fan of goofy silly and unintentionally funny horror then this one is for you.
Having seen Geno’s previous two films i must admit, that while i sincerely enjoy his work i had seen him as a B-Horror Movie director, not that this is a bad thing, in fact in my view, as a huge fan of so bad it’s good cinema that’s a great thing..but when i found out that Geno had made a conspiracy drama..i was skeptical to say the least. I was worried that Geno may not be up to the task of a straight forward film and that if the goofiness from his other films popped up in this one it might ruin the whole thing…boy did i underestimate ol’ Geno
The Lone Gunman is a short conspiracy drama created by Geno for the Operation Paul Revere Short film contest. It tells the story of a reporter and a photographer assigned to interview a family who recently lost a child to a school shooting where a lone gunman and video game fanatic went crazy and opened fire on a group of unsuspecting children.. But while reviewing the pictures he took of the couple during the interview the photographer finds something shocking that will change the lives of the two men and their view of the media and the world around them forever, something so damning it will cost them their very lives.
The Lone Gunman is far removed from Geno’s previous work with a clear, simple yet effective story, serious characters, and great performances from almost every actor involved (there were still a few who need work but these were regulated to the news caster segments and still managed to work well) This film also serves very well as proof that Geno is not a one show man in the least and is very capable of making a good drama/thriller as well as a goofy horror flick. The fact that Geno had the guts and gusto to throw caution to the wind and address such sensitive subject matter is also very admirable, and even those who will think his ideas are crazy should still be able to enjoy this well made little movie. I for one am hoping very much that eventually this idea will be expanded into a feature length film, and it also makes me very excited to see where this film maker will take us next.
I give this film no middle fingers up. it’s enticing, well written, well made and the only thing disappointing is that it had to be over so soon.