TV Review: Critters: A New Binge (2019- )

Original Run: March 21st, 2019 – current
Created by: Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan, Jordan Rubin
Directed by: Jordan Rubin
Written by: Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan, Jordan Rubin
Based on: Critters by Stephen Herek, Domonic Muir, Don Keith Opper
Music by: Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan
Cast: Joey Morgan, Stephi Chin-Salvo, Bzhaun Rhoden, Kirsten Robek, Christian Sloan, Gilbert Gottfried, Stephen Merchant (voice)

Abominable Pictures, Blue Ribbon Content, Shudder, 8 Episodes (so far), 8-11 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

I owned all of the Critters movies on VHS. Even though the third and fourth installments to the series were pretty terrible, the films have always amused me. So obviously, I was pretty excited to check this out, even though I didn’t know of its existence until about a month ago.

Sadly, this also isn’t great. It’s not too terrible but it misses the mark quite a bit and I don’t think that Critters has a mark that should be that hard to hit. Just have carnivorous aliens tear through human meat, toss in a bit of humor and let it roll.

The real problem is that this was so low budget that it felt like a fan film and if I’m being honest, I’ve seen fan films do much more with even less money. Also, the Crites looked too big and the animatronics weren’t as good as the films made 20-30 years ago.

Also, why was this a TV show and not just a movie? I was excited, thinking that we’d get 10-13 half hour episodes but what we got were 8 episodes that clock in between 8 to 11 minutes with 2 of those minutes being credits at the end. If you add up the running time of this show, it has less minutes than any of the four previous films. Even though I already subscribe to Shudder, I felt cheated.

This show is batshit crazy and while I like that the Crites get to say more thanks to the magic of subtitles, the humor is absurdist to the point of being almost unsalvageable. Some of the gags were a bit funny but a lot of it came off as cringe. The big plot twist involving the fat kid’s insatiable appetite was so far out of left field that it pulled me out of the show, made me audibly moan and then I just felt like I had to power through the last few episodes just to wrap it up and move on.

I was surprised to see Gilbert Gottfried in this and he was probably the most enjoyable thing in the series but they kill him off rather quickly and if Gilbert Gottfried is your secret weapon, you need to go back to Bass Pro and buy a better one.

I don’t hate this but I didn’t really enjoy it and about halfway through, it felt like a chore to finish, despite how short it was.

Will I watch a second season? I don’t know. Ask me in a year if one actually gets made.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: the Critters movies, as well as anything featuring Gremlins, Ghoulies or Munchies.

Documentary Review: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)

Release Date: February 7th, 2019
Directed by: Xavier Burgin
Written by: Ashlee Blackwell, Danielle Burrows
Based on: Horror Noire by Robin R. Means Coleman
Music by: Timothy Day
Cast: Robin R. Means Coleman, Ashlee Blackwell, Rusty Cundieff, Keith David, Ernest R. Dickerson, Ken Foree, Richard Lawson, Kelly Jo Minter, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Paula Jai Parker, Jordan Peele, Ken Sagoes, Tony Todd, Rachel True

Stage 3 Productions, Shudder, 83 Minutes

Review:

I’ve seen quite a few documentaries on the history of horror as well as ones on blaxploitation and grindhouse movies. What makes this a unique film is that it examines the history of black horror, specifically.

This is well organized, fabulously presented and the thing that really gives this a lot of life is all the people that they were able to bring in and chat about the subject matter.

Also, this was told from the perspective of black people. We were able to see how certain things in movie history effected them, which is refreshing when most documentaries that cover black cinema usually feature a lot of white voices trying to interpret what they assume black people were feeling.

I think that this film gave a lot of clarity to the cultural impact of certain horror tropes regarding minority characters, as well as Hollywood tropes about race in general.

Most importantly, this honors the films it features, as well as all the talent that worked behind the scenes and on the screen.

This is a Shudder exclusive but between this, the new Joe Bob Briggs show and all their great horror film selections, you should already be subscribed. Plus, it’s cheaper than all those other streaming services.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other retrospective documentaries on horror and blaxploitation cinema.

TV Review: The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs – Original Marathon (2018)

Original Run: July 13th, 2018 – July 14th, 2018
Directed by: Austin Jennings
Written by: Joe Bob Briggs
Cast: Joe Bob Briggs, Diana Prince

Not the Funeral Home, Shudder, 13 Episodes/Segments, 120 Minutes (roughly) (per episode)

Review:

People that have followed this site back when it was still Cinespiria, know that I have a pretty solid love for Joe Bob Briggs. He is the greatest Texan that ever lived and possibly the greatest American as well. I have been watching this guy since I was in grade school because my parents had no idea what I was doing late at night on the weekends. I could’ve been snorting lines off of a dead ferret for all they knew.

Well, I’ve watched Joe Bob my entire life other than a nearly twenty year gap between the cancellation of Monstervision on TNT and then the birth of this awesome show, which just dropped a few days ago.

Anyway, if you too are a hardcore Joe Bob fan or just loved Drive-In Theater or Monstervision than this thirteen film marathon is exactly your cup of Joe Bob!

This was absolute perfection, Joe Bob didn’t miss a damn beat and it felt exactly like those shows did way back in the day. I stayed up for the entirety of this 26-plus hour marathon, other than dozing off a bit during Rabid and Daughters of Darkness but I pushed on through with a big ass mug of dark roast. I didn’t indulge in bottles of bourbon because that shit would’ve knocked me out. I’m much older than I was when Joe Bob used to be on TV and therefore, I am not as resilient. Had I known they would just end up streaming all these movies as episodes after the marathon, I wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard.

Anyway, what made this so f’n great is that it streamed live on Shudder and therefore, it didn’t have to be censored like the movies when Joe Bob was on TNT. We got titties, gore and no commercials! Just Joe Bob and the movie. And man, it was great hearing him add his commentary once again.

Joe Bob presented thirteen films. In order, those films were Tourist TrapSleepaway CampRabidThe ProwlerSorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-RamaDaughters of DarknessBlood FeastBasket CaseRe-AnimatorDemonsThe Legend of Boggy CreekHellraiser and Pieces. I’ve already reviewed most of these films but for the handful I haven’t reviewed, I will have those posted in the next few weeks.

It just felt really good having Joe Bob back on TV. They’ve basically called this his retirement from hosting movies but this was so huge for Shudder that it crashed the website a few times. I only missed out on the first hour and everything ran smooth after that. But the demand is obviously there and really, this should lead to Joe Bob making a come back on a full-time basis.

I don’t want this to be the end. You can’t bring back Joe Bob and then just take him away after a day. It’s cruel, it’s mean and it’s un-f’n-American!

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: Joe Bob Brigg’s other great shows: Drive-In Theater and Monstervision. Good luck tracking down full episodes of those, however.