Terrifying but true: 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the B-Masters.

There have been many changes across those years, but our love of weird and wonderful films and our desire to share that love with our friends remains the same.

While we marked our 10-year anniversary via a reproduction-of-sorts of our first ever Roundtable, with all of us reviewing the same film, for this our 20th we’ve decided upon a different approach: an approach that allows us both to celebrate the joint venture that is the B-Masters, while also highlighting our individual strengths and passions.

This year, therefore, instead of individually-themed Roundtables, we are going to have four linked topics that reflect the aims of each of our sites.

First up, we’ll be going back to basics—with reviews that illustrate the “core competencies” of each of the B-Masters, those particular areas of interest that were a significant impetus in the founding of our sites in the first place:

1000 Misspent Hours and Counting From Hell It Came (1957) One speaks a lot, in this business of commenting on other-than-fine film, about actors putting in wooden performances. It’s not often, however, that one encounters a movie in which someone is called upon literally to play a tree. That’s From Hell It Came in a nutshell, though: this is the one in which an unjustly executed man seeks revenge from beyond the grave in the guise of an ambulatory, killer tree stump. Its notoriety has waned as the era of black-and-white movies recycled into late-night television filler recedes into the past, but it remains a minor classic of 50’s junk cinema…
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Black Emanuelle (1975/1976) By the end of the 18th century, when the original German-language version of The Swiss Family Robinson was written, any story in which the protagonists were marooned in a hostile environment, the mastering of which was the main thrust of the action, was popularly called a Robinsonade—or alternately just a Robinson. I believe that’s approximately the sense in which we’re supposed to take Black Emanuelle’s title as well. Not the story of a black woman named Emanuelle, but the story of a black woman who is, functionally speaking, her race’s equivalent to Marayat Andriane’s notorious alter ego. That should perhaps cue us to expect this movie to fall into that weird and almost exclusively Italian meta-genre of post-colonial exploitation cinema, and indeed Black Emanuelle harps constantly on themes of racial consciousness. However, since it is an Italian exploitation movie of the 1970’s, don’t expect any of that harping to be intelligent, sincere, or even minimally coherent…
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Island Of Lost Souls (1933) The introduction of Lota marks this film’s passage into an area so outrageous in its implications, it almost defines the pre-Code era. What is staggering is how explicit the film is: not bothering with hints or allusions, but telling the audience almost in words of one syllable what Moreau is up to, and the implications of that for Parker. Granted, the film has not yet revealed the origins of the island’s “natives”; but when the reveal does come, there is no getting away from the fact that this is, in essence, a film about bestiality; that its entire plot turns upon the possibility of human / animal sex. The only thing more thoroughly shocking is Moreau’s smirking delight in the situation he has created.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) As his later partnership with Frank Launder would illustrate, Sidney Gilliat was a master of using comedy to heighten, rather than to dissipate, suspense. We see this in The Man Who Changed His Mind, which is a film that walks a difficult tightrope—treating its bizarre central premise quite seriously, yet offering plenty of humour as well, without ever straying into the realm of the “horror-comedy”. It also manages a genuinely complex and tightly-knitted plot in spite of its brief-running-time; so much so that a second viewing may be necessary in order to appreciate fully just how cleverly structured and genuinely witty this film is.
Braineater Shake, Rattle And Roll: Parts I, II, III and IV (1984, 1990, 1991, 1992) 15 movies over 30 years. Three forty-minute short films in each movie, for a total of 45 individual, self-contained episodes. That’s the legacy of the Shake Rattle and Roll series, a set of horror anthology movies that featured at the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) between 1984 and 2014…
Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension    
The Unknown Movies The Baltimore Bullet (1980) Maybe had the movie succeeded in its last possible way to entertain the audience – by being funny – I could have forgiven such bad writing and shallow characters. Sad to say, The Baltimore Bullet doesn’t even succeed with delivering humor. You can tell a number of scenes were meant to be funny, but they aren’t, mainly because there is such a low feeling of energy from scene to scene. I guess the blame has to fall on director Miller’s shoulders for this, though I don’t see that anyone could try to pass onto his cast a screenplay that is so underwritten.