The Lost Highway's B-movie Reviews and Cult Films

posted by Barry Goodall | April 8, 2014 | Feature

Comments Off on Poker scenes in movies

Poker scenes in movies

The movies love poker – but poker fans don’t always love the way it is portrayed on the silver screen. Writers and directors have often taken what can generously be described as ‘artistic license’ in order to rack the tension up. These scenes all work brilliantly on cinema terms, even if they sometimes have poker fans wanting to attack the filmmakers with a red-hot one.

Casino Royale

This is a prime example of that, as Bond and Le Chiffre trade a serious of absurd poker hands while facing off at Texas Hold’em at a swanky casino. It is the sort of scene that will have any dedicated poker player shaking his or head, while the rest of use are too glued to the OTT drama of it all to notice.


To be fair, a lot of people don’t remember the poker scene from this 1990 Martin Scorsese epic, which is not because it is not memorable – it’s just that it’s hard to get the scenes of bodies being hacked up and stuffed in car trunks out of your mind. If you can see past such lovely mental images, the poker scene is not notable so much for the actual gaming, as the stream of foulmouthed comments from Joe Pesci during the course of the game. Of course, for Spider (played by Michael Imperioli) the game ends up being memorable in very bad ways – no spoilers here.


One of many fine western movie poker scenes, again the sequence featuring Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) in a 36-hour marathon game, is remembered as much for his behaviour as the game itself. Doc knows he is dying, gets progressively drunker throughout the game (thanks to his scheming lady friend), but still comes out on top in game and wit. It proves to be something of a last hurrah, but it’s surely the way this particular character would have wanted to go out.


posted by Barry Goodall | April 5, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Die-Anne Takillya

Comments Off on April Fool’s…better late that May

I’ve never been too good at pranks, never have needed to be. After all, there are many ways of being clever! Our flick for tonight, in case you hadn’t guessed is April Fool’s Day!

Muffy St. John has invited her closest friends to her island mansion for a weekend getaway on Spring Break. We get introduced to Nikki right off the bat, she’s the sassy, sexy one; then Chaz, the cute artistic womanizer; Arch, the hunky jock who’ll sleep with anything that has a pulse; Kit, the good girl; Nan, the nerdy prude; Hal, the gold-digger; Rob, the sensitive guy; and Skip, Muffy’s distant cousin.

Skip and Arch are playing mumbledy-peg when it all goes wrong. Don’t throw knives, kids! Rob and Buck dive in to the rescue, but oh! It turns out to be a prank! Skip and Arch cooked up a fake knife and a blood bag without anyone noticing! Buck the deckhand decides to stay in the water to tie the ferry to the dock, but Captain Cal drives it right into him, and Buck’s face meets the propeller. A lot of screaming and blood, but luckily, Sherriff Sam is right there on the scene, whisking Cal and Buck off to the hospital, and making sure the yuppies know to stay put on the island. (The island that has no way off of it, aside from the ferry that now has no captain, but we’ll overlook that)

Basically, what we have here is the flower of over-privileged 80’s college students out to take over the world, and who have no idea what they want to do with their lives, trapped in a mansion that’s been rigged to annoy and upset them. They have special party favors hidden in their rooms and the one in Nan’s sends her into a pure-d tizzy; a tape of a crying baby hidden in her closet, hinting at some dark past.  Nikki has a drawer full of S&M gear, and everyone else is confused and mildly put out by theirs. Arch goes on a great nookie hunt, and stumbles in on Chaz and Nikki in a position that the doctor from Human Centipede would be proud of. I’ve never seen anyone make the sign of the triple-gilled anteater like that before or since that trip to vegas and all the casino games. Heck, you can try some yourself at

Then things take a turn; Skip meets with misfortune in the boathouse during the night. Muffy has made a vicious personality change, and nobody much seems to care that Skip is missing until Rob and Kat attempt to make the sign of the electrocuted mud weasel and his dead body floats past. Then in classic style, they all split up.

I have to admit, this movie isn’t much on thrilling action so much as it is all about the psychological. Red herrings abound as they blame the ferry captain and Buck for the mayhem. People are getting picked off one by one; the water goes out and Nikki ends up in the well with Nan’s body and the decapitated heads of Skip and Arch. Then Hal, Chaz, and Nikki eat it in imaginary ways; we even have a pruning of the wangdoodle.

Soon, none but Rob, Kit, and Muffy are left. We get thrilling chases, during which there are pictures found of Muffy and…Buffy? Who’s Buffy? Oh, only Muffy’s psycho twin sister, who has decided that she and all her friends all have to go…permanently. It all ends with Rob locked in the pantry, and a showdown between Kit and Buffy, and in her final moments Kit stumbles into the den where she finds…

Everyone. They’re all alive and well, and laughing it up. Rob is released from the pantry by Buck, who is scaring him half crazy, when he takes off the prosthetic makeup and slaps it on Rob’s face and gives him a big ol’ smacker before chasing him to the Den. Everyone yells “April Fool’s,” and Muffy lets the cat out of the bag. There is no Buffy, but her twin is Skip. She’s going to lose her inheritance unless she can

maintain the upkeep on the mansion, so she’s decided to turn the mansion into a murder mystery house, and her friends are the guinea pigs. Aww, what a wholesome activity.

There’s one final prank, but I’ll let you see it for yourselves.

Roadside Totals:2 breasts, no dead bodies, no quarts blood, 3 quarts fake blood, 3 mannequin heads,  1 simulated wangdoodle removal, prank-fu, feathered hair-fu, exploding cigars, jack-in-the-box scares.

I think it’s what inspired M. Knight to make every movie have a twist.


Comments Off on Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except

Thou Shall Not Kill... Except
1985 – Unrated – Synapse Films
Starring Robert Rickman, Sam Raimi – Directed by Josh Becker

Very few films can take two completely opposing ideas, put them together and make them work. Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except (also called Stryker’s War) is one of those films. It’s one part Vietnam War, one part Manson Family, all bottled up in one great revenge flick left on the shelf to ferment over time and it aged marvelously, fine enough for you to sip on or share with your friends. It’s wild and perhaps a bit unruly, but it never gets completely out of control. This is an interesting concept, to say the least. It’s one that easily could not have worked, but when you have the crew responsible for The Evil Dead behind it, rest assured you’re in capable hands to mix the mad and the macabre with outrageous, zany antics.

Deep in the jungles of Michigan, I mean… Vietnam, Sgt. Stryker leads his mean, the brute Sgt. Walker, the green 2nd Lt. Dave Miller and the wisecracking Lt. Cpt. Tyler and a bunch of other guys without names through hazardous enemy territory. Without warning, the soldiers are ambushed (I guess that’s why it’s called an ambush)! Most of the men are killed, except our aforementioned cast, and Stryker is shot in the leg, forever disabling him with a bum leg. He returns home to make walking with a cane look cool way before Dr. House did and to start his life over again in his secluded creep cabin, where he spends most of his time drinking whiskey with his dog… Whiskey. That is, until his high school sweetie Sally is asking her grandfather, who visits Stryker often, about him. He wants her, she wants him, but he’s too stubborn because of his injury and thinks she’s only taking pity on him. You know the story. Eventually, he gives in and goes out on a date with her and it’s like old times and the two reconnect, like they were never distant. However, Sally cuts the date short because of work (always seems like that’s the case, right fellas?) and they plan a second date. But before she can meet Stryker for that rendezvous, she and grandpa has some uninvited guests over for dinner…

tsnk_2Shortly, his rowdy friends arrive from Vietnam (who are most certainly ready for some football) and visit Stryker at his cabin. The old unit catches up by drinking some beers at a local bar and defending the bar maiden from a biker gang in what looks like a well choreographed fight scene, but not the most graceful, as the actors almost fall over their own kicks and punches that sounds like someone is smacking an empty plastic jug against a side of meat… in a can (if any of that makes sense). Then again, they just finished drinking Nick Nolte levels of alcohol and knowing this crew’s filming methods, it’s very possible that the actors were actually drunk. Once that’s done, they drink some more and pass out, then drink some more and shoot at an old shed with guns. So, basically drinking. They drink. A lot.

Stryker believes Sally is standing him up once it’s evident (unbeknownst to Stryker) that she won’t be showing up, but once his dog Whiskey goes missing, the gang splits up and searches for him and stumbling upon Sally’s uninvited dinner guests… a blood thirsty cult led by Sam Raimi in a Manson wig and carrying a pirate sword! But these folks are no laughing matter, regardless of Sam Raimi’s scenery chewing. Having taken the entire town hostage (or at least a good chunk of them), killed off the police force (the whole one guy), barbecuing poor ol’ Whiskey (insert cooking with whiskey joke here) and having kidnapped and torturing Sally, things are serious or as Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys would say, “S**t just got real!” They rally back at Stryker’s love shack and arm themselves, starting yet another militia in the state of Michigan.

tsnk_3Confronting the cult and freeing the townspeople, Stryker and his old unit go to war with the b-movie equivalent of the Manson family. Battle ensues with guns, knives, sharp sticks… literally. All sorts of things are used for weapons in the final twenty minutes, which serves as one large fight. Luckily, it never feels like it’s dragging out, mostly due to some satisfying, over the top style kills, as the cult is impaled by tree limbs, multiple garden instruments, swords or blown to bits in a satisfying manner as Stryker and his men blast these scumbags down with shotguns. Although never reaching extreme moments in gross out gore, quite a lot of blood is spilled as the unnamed cult leader played by Sam Raimi impales one of his own followers for his motorcycle to flee and quickly becoming lost in the forest maze of trees. But these are Stryker’s woods… he knows them like the back of his hand. Hell, this is his backyard and he’s going to get revenge for Sally and Whiskey!

Finally, we get to the showdown between Stryker (who I have to say that Brian Schulz plays this roll in a charming smug kind of way) and the Charles Manson/Sam Raimi amalgamation after he wrecks his hog. Like all classic hero vs. villain fights, the odds juggle back and forth with the baddie seemingly having the upper hand and tossing out a great stinger, followed by the hero’s retort and execution…

“I am Jesus Christ!”
“No you’re not… you’re dead.”

tsnk_4Several shotgun blasts to the abdomen and an impalement on a busted dirt bike later, Stryker and crew find Sally and they all drive off triumphantly into the sunrise, accompanied by a well deserved and welcoming victory fanfare.

Don’t be fooled by Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except‘s low budget. This movie packs quite a fun punch. As I said earlier in the review, this is an interesting concept, a blend of two different ideas that could have easily not worked if it weren’t in the right hands, but luckily this was a brain child of Bruce Campbell and Josh Becker. Speaking of the Big Chin, he originally played Sgt. Stryker in the 40 minutes short (called Stryker’s War, included on the Synapse Blu-ray) and was cast to return to the role for the full length feature, but due to Bruce having recently joined the Screen Actor’s Guild, he was unable to participate in a non SAG movie. He did however provide help as an assistant sound editor, as well as allowed the crew to shoot on his own property. You can see how the role was originally written for Bruce, but Brian Schulz makes this his own without shadowing Bruce Campbell’s portrayal of the character. The man is just as charismatic as he is cocky. Sam Raimi easily steals the show with his cult leader character, chewing the scenery like Big League Chew in such a memorable way. And of course, Ted Raimi makes an appearance as a cult member in a mask and chains, cackling like a mad man in typical Ted-like fashion that you know and love.

Although the film was a low budget 16mm, Synapse has painfully restored it from the original prints, so everything looks crisp and clean. Sure, there are flaws here and there (mostly with the old stock footage), but what do you expect from a nearly thirty year old film shot on 16mm? I know I may be repeating myself here, but this film seriously looks beautiful. It’s amazing how well restored it is, with dirt and scratches cleaned up, lines sharpened, very few grainy scenes… it’s stunning and remarkable. One of the best looking older releases I have ever seen. And of course, the audio, also for being what it was, sounds terrific. Dialogue is well heard (which is a good thing, since there are no subtitles), but some of the sound effects, like the kicks and punches I mentioned earlier, sound a bit muffled, but it’s nothing to turn you off from the movie. In fact, the movie offers multiple viewings with two different, well informed and interesting commentaries. These are my favorite kind of commentaries too; small, low budget films with a cast and crew that reflect on it fondly. Just listening to them, you can tell they love it and had a blast doing it.

Thou Shall Not Kill... Except
So, fall in line, maggot! Grab your rifle and a copy of Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except and be ready, for The Blood Bath is coming!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • War is hell.
  • Dr. Stryker, MD.
  • Drink, fight, repeat.
  • Blood Bath, the cult movie Mansons.
  • Whiskey BBQ!
  • Lawn Dart Cop.
  • Hippie hunting!




Shotguns rip apart hippie’s stomachs and plenty of ’em get impaled by various instruments.




Sam squeezes Sally’s bazooms, leaving bloody handprints.




I would totally join this cult, as long as they had a good 401k and benefits.


Watch the trailer for “Though Shalt Not Kill… Except!



posted by Barry Goodall | April 3, 2014 | Feature

Comments Off on Star Wars Actors Then and Now

Star Wars is a cult film that has been around for years. Almost everyone has seen it but it does beg the question, what are the Star Wars cast up to now?

Harrison Ford

Ford played the role of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977 and has since gone on to landing the role of Indiana Jones in 1981’s, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Harrison Ford, nicknamed ‘Harry’ in the acting industry, received both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as John Book in ‘Witness’ (1985) according to his IMDB page. The actor was recently in ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ in 2011 and ‘Anchor-man 2: The Legend Continues’ in 2013.

Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill grew up in California and is probably most well-known for his role of Luke Skywalker in: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Unfortunately the actor was involved in a devastating car crash but despite this, Hamill returned to our screens in 1989. Since his Star Wars days, Mark Hamill has gone onto voicing the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series (1992).

Warwick Davis

This lesser known Star Wars actor appeared in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) where he played an Ewok after, according to his IMDB page, his grandmother heard the radio appeal for under four foot actors to audition for the role. Warwick Davis suffers from spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenital (SED), which ironically led him to landing his role in Star Wars. The actor also starred in Harry Potter more recently.

Peter Serafinowicz

This Star Wars actor appeared in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). He also acted in Shaun of the Dead (2004) and more recently, Couples Retreat in 2009, according to his IMDB page. Peter Serafinowicz is well known for his trademark deep voice which appears in the new advert. His naturally deep voice is distinguishable and recognisable and has since gone onto being the actor’s most well-known trademark and feature.

Liam Neeson

Neeson starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) as Qui-Gon Jinn. The Northern-Irish actor voiced Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and as displayed on his IMDB page, recently starred in such films as The Grey (2011), Battleship (2012) and Taken 2 (2012).

Natalie Portman

This actress played Queen Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sixth (2005). Portman also recently starred in Thor and received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Black Swan.


posted by Barry Goodall | March 31, 2014 | 90's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on Leprechaun 4: In Space

Warwick Davis never dreamed after being trapped in a tin can by George Lucas that he’d be playing the most famous homocidal Irish midget ( that is if you don’t count a raging preschool Peter o’ toole.) Sure we’ve had Jason in Space, Pinhead in space, heck we’ve even had Pigs in space. But what happens if you stick a Leprechaun in zero gravity?

Leprechaun 4 attempts to answer this  as Warwick once again puts on the  buckled shoes to brings chaos to the galaxy. It  also likes to pretend the first 3 movies were never even made as we find our green midget friend not only in one piece but  living the rich life on a desolate planet along with his alien princess hostage. How he got there, nobody knows. His plan is to marry her, kill her off and become king to steal her planet’s gold. overall its a pretty effective pre-nup. Meanwhile a ship of testerone filled marines are hankering to fill him with McBullet holes instead.

Led by a loud mouth sergeant with a disco ball for a skull, they find his hideout and blow him into a thousand bits. One of the marines relieves himself on the remains which gives the soldier an electric jolt that causes him to give birth to the leprechaun through his crotch. (Those with heart conditions or that may or may not be pregnant should not watch this scene.)

The Leprechaun now  loose on the ship, is being hunted down by the Marines who are getting picked off one by one through a series of bad one liners and dumb space pranks. Even the chrome-dome sergeant gets remote controlled and turned into a transvestite lounge singer much to the horror of the rest of the crew. Meanwhile back in the ship’s lab, a German Cyborg named Dr. Mittenhand, is taking blood samples from the unconscious princess  so that he can regenerate some of his lost limbs. Yes, her blood is magic and she curses people by flashing them her breasts. Her planet must be somewhere near the Mardi Gras nebula. She’s revived by the doc’s assistant who gets his face pancaked smashed and decides to partner with the Leprecuan for the promise of fortune and likely more body glitter spray.The leprechaun gets a hold of the healing formula and blender mixes it with some ground up spider DNA changing the doc into an eight legged german spiderborg named Mittenspider! Hitler would be proud.

Mittenspider redecorates the spaceship in a sticky web while trying to uncode the DNA mixup at his computer.  Before he can trap any renegade space flies, the other soldiers blow him to bits with a can of  liquid nitrogen and a quick shot to the thorax. Back down in the cargo hold, the leprechaun uses a shrinking/enlarg-o ray to grow himself into a 20 ft. soldier stomping monster. Nothing a leaky airlock won’t fix though, as he gets sucked into space and explodes into little green space chunks including a floating hand that flips everyone the bird. That pretty much sums up how most of the audiences felt about this movie.

Not the best in Leprechaun series but that’s a low bar set even for a midget. Barry Goodall says grab a bowl full of lucky charms and hunker down for some gravity free leprechaun action. It’s a pretty fun time depending on how much whisky you had before.

roadside attractions

  • Leprechaun Light sabre attack
  • Disco head marines
  • Giant blue cave rats
  • Flesh eating bacteria walk-in garbage disposals
  • Princess glitter spray
  • Pizza face
  • Giant leprechaun with optional giant german cyborg spider. Now with kung-fu grip.




Some red stuff but there’s plenty of goo!




one of the best gratuitous breast flashings used as an alien curse of death since Lady Gaga.




Plenty of creature features in this with a giant leprechaun, a german floor cleaner, and a cyborg spider hybrid. It’s like Cirque du Soleil.


Watch the trailer to “Leprechaun 4: In Space”



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