Category Archives: Horror films

Really Awful Movies: Ep 174 – The Sentinel



The Sentinel is a 1977 American horror film based on the 1974 novel of the same name (which we haven’t read). The source material is courtesy of author Jeffrey Konvitz (who assisted penning the screenplay). His co-writer was the film’s director Michael Winner. Winner wowed us with, if you’ll excuse us, a real “winner” in the Death Wish Series. That one is pretty darn awesome.

And here, we’re back in New York City (although in Death Wish, as filming there became cost-prohibitive later in the series, it started to look less and less like anything resembling The Big Apple). The Sentinel is about a young NYC model who’s on the market for a pad (And this was before the days when you’d have to fork over $2500 / month for a studio the size of a sedan).

She finds a place to rent! It’s Brooklyn Heights shambolic mansion that has been converted into different apartments, each populated by a bunch of weirdos, including a fay Burgess Meredith traipsing around with a budgie.

The guy residing on the top floor though, is an excommunicated priest…and the building is…wait for it…A PORTAL TO HELL!  People, always check the rental agreements…Between that an a landlord asking for an illegal security deposit, it’s a tough grind out there for a tenant! Please see, Roman Polanski’s…uh…The Tenant.

The Sentinel stars a bunch of pretty notable folks: Cristina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, and Eli Wallach. The film also features Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, John Carradine, Jerry Orbach, Martin Balsam, Tom Berenger, and Beverly D’Angelo.

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we always love it when we can discuss a good, tense, terse, solidly put together supernatural horror film. It’s definitely our least favorite genre, but when it’s done well (as is the case here) boy are the goods delivered.

The Sentinel holds up terrifically well. It’s worth checking out, as is our podcast, uploading EVERY FRIDAY for your listening pleasure.

 


Really Awful Movies: Ep 173 – Don’t Look in the Basement



Don’t Look in the Basement, aka, The Forgotten, is a 1973 independent horror, shot on a shoe-string budget.

The film is set on the secluded grounds of Stephens Sanitarium, an insane asylum that’s considerably understaffed.

Its chief psychiatrist (Dr. Stephens) employs treatment methods which are not altogether useful.

One of the patients (known as “Judge”) hacks the good doc with an axe when they’re out in the wilderness chopping wood (one of the odd therapeutic techniques).

That’s when Nurse Beale arrives on the scene, a staffer hired by Dr. Stephens. She’s made aware that doc is stone dead, and it’s her interactions with the various patients at the facility that drives this pretty much plot-less film.

So, what to make of Don’t Look in the Basement? Because this is a 1973 horror movie, you get lots of Freudian weirdness, and the exploitation dial is ratcheted up.

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, your genial hosts Chris and Jeff explore:

-why so many Ramones songs are about the psychiatric profession

-life expectancy and what’s a good age to conk out

-the prevalence of axe murderers in horror movies, when it’s not exactly the most easily-wielded weapon (you know, it’s heavy, and blows aren’t often fatal).

-the grotesque practice of lobotomies

-the promise of, and the of late lackluster offerings, by director M. Night Shyamalan

-twist endings, and finally…

-basements

A reminder: episodes of the Really Awful Movies Podcast are uploaded every Friday for your listening enjoyment, and we delve into genre films of all stripes, including vetsploitation, kung fu, horror movies, post-apocalyptic wasteland films, run-of-the-mill musicals, robot monster movies, Italian cannibal fare, you name it.

And of course, if you’d like to have us chat about a particular genre film, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our contact info is freely available. We’ll give you a shout out as well. And don’t forget to review us on iTunes if you appreciate what we’re doing.