April Ghouls Drive-In Monster-Rama Primer: Effects (1980)

April Ghouls Drive-In Monster-Rama is back at The Riverside Drive-In Theatre in Vandergrift, PA on April 29 and 30, 2022.

This Back to the 80s Weekend is going to be amazing!

The features for Friday, April 29 are Halloween 2Terror TrainMidnight and Effects.

Saturday, April 30 has Evil Dead 2Re-AnimatorDr. Butcher MD and Zombie 3.

Admission is still only $10 per person each night (children 12 and under free with adult) and overnight camping is available (breakfast included) for an additional $10 per person.

You can buy tickets at the show or use these links:

There is also a limited edition shirt available at the event.

Pittsburgh is more than just my hometown. If you believe a source as vaunted as Joe Bob Briggs, we’re also the birthplace of modern horror, thanks to George Romero and friends creating Night of the Living Dead right here (well, actually Evans City, 45 minutes north of the city).

Horror may have laid dormant for a decade or so, but the 70’s and 80’s were packed with genre-defining creations made right here in the City of Bridges. There’s Dawn of the DeadMartin and Day of the Dead just to name a few.

Then there’s the 1980 film Effects, made by several of Romero’s friends and all about the actual process of making a scary movie and the philosophy of horror. Much like every fright flick that emerged from the Steel City — let’s not include 1988’s Flesh Eater, a movie I’m not sure anyone but S. William Hinzman has any pride in — it goes beyond simple shocks to delve into the complex nature of reality, man’s place in the world and what it means to be afraid.

Pittsburgh is also a complex city, one that started last century as “Hell with the lid off,” died in the late1970ss and rose, much like the living dead, to become a hub for tech many years later. Effects is a document of what it once was decades ago and holds powerful memories for those that grew up here.

Joe Pilato (Captain Rhodes from Day of the Dead) stars as Dominic, a cinematographer who has traveled out of the city to the mountains — around here, anything east of the city is referred to as “going to the mountains” — to be the cameraman and special effects creator for a low-budget horror movie.

In case you are from here, he’s going to Ligonier. For the rest of the world, imagine a rural wooded area, the area where Rolling Rock beer once came from — yes, I know it’s Latrobe yinzers — Anheuser-Busch bought it, moved the plant to Newark, New Jersey and stopped making it in glass-lined tanks. As a result, it now tastes like every mass produced beer out there. It’s also a place with a Story Book Forest theme park.

I tell you that to tell you this — imagine a team of horror maniacs descending on this quiet little town to make a movie about coked up psychopaths making a snuff film in the woods.

Director Lacey Bickle (John Harrison, who created the music for many of Romero’s films and directed Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) is a strange duck, one who wants to push his crew to film scenes days and nights.

Luckily, Dominick meets Celeste, a gaffer who is disliked by the rest of the crew. They quickly fall in love at the same time as our protagonist discovers that an entirely different film is being made, one whose special effects don’t need any technical wizardry. As secret cameras begin to roll, what is real and what is Hollywood by way of Allegheny County wizardry?

Dusty Nelson, Pasquale Buba, and John Harrison — the three main filmmakers — all met at public TV station WQED, the home of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and all worked together on the aforementioned Martin. Inspired by their work on that film, they started an LLC and raised $55,000 from friends and family to make this movie.

Due to a distributor problem, Effects was never released in theaters or on home video. Its lone theatrical screenings were at the U.S. Film Fest — which is now the Sundance Film Festival — and it had its world premiere at the Kings Court theater in Oakland, right down the street from Pitt, on November 9, 1979.

According to the website Temple of Schlock, Effects was picked up by Stuart S. Shapiro, a distributor who specialized in offbeat music, horror and cult films like Shame of the Jungle and The Psychotronic Man. His International Harmony company distributed the film, but it played few, if any, theaters. Shapiro would go on to create Night Flight for the USA Network.  In October 2005, Synapse would finally release this film on DVD for the first time ever.

Pittsburgh is a lot different now. The Kings Court, once a police station turned movie theater transformed into the Beehive, a combination coffee shop movie theater, is now a T-Mobile store, a sad reminder that at one time, we rejected the homogenization of America here in Pittsburgh. Nowhere is this feeling more telling than at the end of this film, where the movie within a movie has its premiere on Liberty Avenue. Now in the midst of Theater Square, this mini-42nd Street went the very same way, with establishments like the Roman V giving way to magic and comedy clubs. As a kid, when my parents drove down this street, I was at once fascinated and frightened by dahntahn. But no longer.

You can also get the AGFA blu ray release of this from Amazon. It’s made from a rare 35mm print that was made before the distributor backed out.

KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: Dr. Phibes double feature

EDITOR’S NOTE: These articles originally were on the site on March 31, 2019 and April 1, 2019. These are two of my favorite movies and I’m so excited that Kino Lorber has released them on a double blu ray along with commentary tracks by director Robert Fuest, The Dr. Phibes Companion author Justin Humphreys and film historian Tim Lucas, as well as radio ads and trailers. You can get it from Kino Lorber. Honestly, this is a must buy.

The Abdominable Dr. Phibes (1971): Church of Satan founder Anton Szandor LaVey claimed that the main character in this Vincent Price film was based on him. Well, his name is Dr. Anton Phibes and he’s an organist, researcher, medical doctor, biblical scholar and ex-vaudevillian who has created a clockwork band of robot musicians to play old standards at his whim. Seeing as how nearly all of these things match up with LaVey, I can kind of see his point.

Director Robert Fuest started by designing sets. While working on the TV show The Avengers, he got excited about directing and ended up working on seven episodes of the original series and two of The New Avengers. Soon, he’d be working in film more and more, starting with 1967’s Just Like a Woman. Between the two Phibes films, And Soon the Darkness, The Final Programme and The Devil’s Rain!, he became known for dark-humored fantasy and inventive sets, several of which he designed himself.

This movie is one I can’t be quiet about. It’s one of the strangest and most delightful films I’ve ever seen.

Dr. Anton Phibes died in Switzerland, racing back home upon hearing the news that his beloved bridge Victoria (an uncredited Caroline Munro) had died during surgery. The truth is that Phibes has survived, scarred beyond belief and unable to speak, but alive. He uses all of the skills that he’s mastered to rebuild his face and approximate a human voice. Also, he may or may not be insane.

Phibes believes that the doctors who operated on his wife were incompetent and therefore must pay for their insolence. So he does what anyone else would do: visit the Biblical ten plagues of Egypt on every single one of them.

Phibes is, of course, played by Vincent Price. No one else could handle this role. Or this movie. There’s hardly any dialogue for the first ten minutes of the movie. Instead, there are long musical numbers of Phibes and his clockwork band playing old standards. In fact, Phibes doesn’t speak for the first 32 minutes of the movie. Anyone who asks questions like “Why?” and says things like “This movie makes no sense” will be dealt with accordingly.

After the first few murders, Inspector Trout gets on the case. He becomes Phibes’ main antagonist for this and the following film, trying to prove that all of these murders — the doctors and nurse who had been on the team of Dr. Vesalius (Joseph Cotten!) — are connected. Phibes then stays one step ahead of the police, murdering everyone with bees, snow, a unicorn statue, locusts and rats, sometimes even right next to where the cops have staked him out.

Dr. Phibes is assisted by the lovely Vulnavia. We’re never informed that she’s a robot, but in my opinion, she totally is. Both she and the doctor are the most fashion-forward of all revenge killers I’ve seen outside of Meiko Kaji and Christina Lindberg.

Writer William Goldstein wrote Vulnavia as another clockwork robot with a wind-up key in her neck. Fuest thought that Phibes demanded a more mobile assistant, so he made her human, yet one with a blank face and mechanical body movements. I still like to think that she’s a machine, particularly because she returns in the next film after her demise here. Also — Fuest rewrote nearly the entire script.

After killing off everyone else — sorry Terry-Thomas! — Phibes kidnaps Dr. Vesalius’ son and implants a key inside his heart that will unlock the boy. However, if the doctor doesn’t finish the surgery on his son in six minutes — the same amount of time he had spent trying to save Phibes’ wife — acid will rain down and kill both he and his boy.

Against all odds, Vesalius is successful. Vulnavia, in the middle of destroying Phibes’ clockwork orchestra, is sprayed by the acid and killed while the doctor himself replaces his blood with a special fluid and lies down to eternal sleep with his wife, happy that he has had his revenge.

If you’re interested, the ten plagues Phibes unleashes are:

1. Blood: He drains all of Dr. Longstreet’s blood

2. Frogs: He uses a mechanical frog mask to kill Dr. Hargreaves at a costume party

3. Bats: A more cinematic plague than lice from the Biblical plagues, Phibes uses these airborne rodents to kill Dr. Dunwoody

4. Rats: Again, better than flies, rats overwhelm Dr. Kitaj and cause his plane to crash

5. Pestilence: This one is a leap, but the unicorn head that kills Dr. Whitcombe qualifies

6: Boils: Professor Thornton is stung to death by bees

7. Hail: Dr. Hedgepath is frozen by an ice machine

8. Locusts: The nurse is devoured by them thanks to an ingenious trap

9. Darkness: Phibes joins his wife in eternal rest during a solar eclipse

10. Death of the firstborn: Phibes kidnaps and the son of Dr. Vesalius

I love that this movie appears lost in time. While set in the 1920’s, many of the songs weren’t released until the 1940’s. Also, Phibes has working robots and high technology, despite the era the film is set in.

There’s nothing quite like this movie. I encourage you to take the rest of the day off and savor it.

How does Phibes live up to being a Satanic film? In my opinion, Phibes embodies one of the nine Satanic statements to its utmost: Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek. The men and woman whose negligence led to the loss of Phibes’ wife were never punished. Phibes had to become their judge, jury and yes, destroyer.

On the other hand — or hoof, as it were — Phibes is the exact antithesis of the ninth Satanic sin, Lack of Aesthetics, which states that “an eye for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool and must be applied for greatest magical effectiveness. It’s not what’s supposed to be pleasing—it’s what is. Aesthetics is a personal thing, reflective of one’s own nature, but there are universally pleasing and harmonious configurations that should not be denied.” So much of what makes this film is that Phibes’ musical art is just as essential as his demented nature and abilities. Music is the core of his soul, not just revenge.

Another point of view comes from Draconis Blackthorne of the Sinister Screen: “This is an aesthetically-beauteous film, replete with Satanic architecture as well as ideology. Those who know will recognize these subtle and sometimes rather blatant displays. Obviously, to those familiar with the life of our Founder, there are several parallels between the Dr. Anton Phibes character and that of Dr. Anton LaVey – they even share the same first name, and certain propensities.”

Dr. Phibes Rises Again! (1972): The fact that this movie exists gives me hope. There are moments when life gets me down, when I wonder about my place in this world and if humanity is essentially horrible. Then I remember that great films like this exist and it makes me feel a lot better. You should do the same thing if you’re ever in an existential crisis.

Dr. Phibes is back, three years after he laid down in the darkness next to the corpse of his beloved wife. Now, however, he has learned that the secret of eternal life — held by a centuries-old man — is in Egypt. I don’t care why he’s back. I’d watch Dr. Phibes go grocery shopping!

Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) has in suspended animation in a sarcophagus alongside his wife Victoria Regina Phibes (Caroline Munro). When the moon aligns with the planets in a way not seen for two millennia, he returns, summoning the silent Vulnavia (thus confirming to me, at least, that she’s really one of his robots as she died in the last film; furthermore, she’s played by Valli Kemp, who took over for the pregnant Virginia North) to his side.

Phibes plans on taking his wife’s body with him to Egypt, where the River of Life promises her resurrection. As he emerges from his tomb, his house has been demolished and the safe that contained the map to the river lies empty. That’s because the map has been stolen by Darius Biederbeck, a man who is hundreds of years old thanks to a special elixir. He may also be every bit Phibes’ equal.

Darius is played by Robert Quarry, who American International Pictures was grooming to be Price’s replacement. There were tensions between the two on set, including a moment where Quarry was singing in his dressing room and challenged Price by saying, “You didn’t know I could sing did you?” Ever the wit, Vincent Price replied, “Well, I knew you couldn’t act.” Quarry would had already played Count Yorga in two films for AIP and would go on to be in The Deathmaster, where he played hippie vampire Khorda, but the AIP style had already fallen out of style. He’s also in tons of Fred Olen Ray films, like Evil Toons where he’s the uncredited voice of the demon.

Biederbeck wants eternal life for himself and his lover Diana (Fiona Lewis, Tintorera…Tiger Shark). Phibes and Vulnavia are on his trail, immediately entering his home, murdering his butler and stealing back the map. Everyone connected with Biederbeck comes to an ill end — Phibes places one inside a giant bottle and throws him overboard. That murder brings Inspector Trout back on the case, as he instantly recognizes that only one man could do something like that.

The rest of the film’s murders are based on Egyptian mythology versus Biblical plagues. Hawks and scorpions become his weapons, along with gusts of wind and bursts of sand. Phibes has also brought an army of clockwork men with him the desert to do his bidding.

Phibes finally exchanges Diana’s life for the key to the River of Life. As he floats the coffin containing his wife down the water, he beckons Vulnavia to join them. As his lover tries to comfort him, Biederbeck begs Phibes to take him with them. He begins to rapidly age and dies as Phibes loudly sings “Over the Rainbow,” which might be the best ending of any movie ever made.

There were plans for a whole bunch more of these films and the fact that they were never made saddens me to this day. I’ve heard that a third film would Phibes fighting Nazis. I’ve also heard that it’d be about the key to Olympus. Or Phibes going up against  Dr. Vesalius’ son. Or Victoria Phibes herself coming back, just as sinister as her husband. There have been titles thrown around like Phibes Resurrectus, The Seven Fates of Dr. Phibes and The Brides of Dr. Phibes. There was even thought of Count Yorga facing off with Dr. Phibes, a fact which delights me to no end.

There was also a pitch for a TV series and what looked like an animated version, with Jack Kirby himself providing the pitch artwork!

Other ideas included Dr. Phibes in the Holy LandThe Son of Dr. Phibes (which would have pitted the doctor and his son against ecological terrorists), Phibes Resurrectus (which would have David Carradine as Phibes battling against Paul Williams, Orson Welles, Roddy McDowall, John Carradine and Donald Pleasence. The mind boggles at the thought, let me tell you!), a 1981 Dr. Phibes film where the WormwooInstitutete would have destroyed his wife’s body and then their strange members, including transvestite twins obsessed with economics and nuclear weaponry, fail to match wits with Phibes) and finally, Phibes was almost a role for Peter Sellers in a Pink Panther film where hed also play Clouseau and Fu Manchu. You can learn more about these at the Vincent Price Exhibit site.

There was also a story in 2013 that Johnny Depp was going to star in a Tim Burton directed remake. That obviously didn’t happen.

So much of this film fits into the same Satanic themes as the original. However, you can add in a few new wrinkles. One of the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth states “When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.” All Phibes wished to do was take his wife to Egypt and bring her back to life. Once Biederbeck stole from him, his fate was sealed.

Circle of Fear episode 14: “Death’s Head”

With episode 14 of this series, the title was changed from Ghost Story to Circle of Fear. Host Winston Essex (Sebastian Cabot) and the Mansfield House are gone, leaving this horror anthology with no host. It’s a shame, because that was the thing that made this show stand out.

For the first episode of the revised show, Janet Leigh plays Carol, an unsatisfied wife in the true EC Comics style who hates two things: bugs and her insect-loving husband, Steve (Gene Nelson). She plans on using a gypsy potion — the gypsy is played by Madeleine Taylor Holmes and her young assistant is Ayn Ruymen, Cheryl from Private Parts — to take care of him and open the door for a relationship with his business partner Larry (Rory Calhoun). But now, a death’s head moth is stalking her from beyond the grave.

You may have heard me say before that this show is all about peaks and valleys. Sadly, this is one of those valleys. This episode was written by Rick Blum, who was the assistant to William Castle for all 22 installments of the series. It’s the only episode of the series to be directed by James Neilson, who also made The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Ghost Story Episode 12: “Creatures of the Canyon”

Originally airing December 15, 1972, this episode of Circle of Fear/Ghost Story has Carol Finney (Angie Dickinson) being stalked by a black Doberman that once belonged to her now-dead husband, a dog that keeps coming even after it’s been poisoned.

John Ireland, who is in stuff like Waxwork II: Lost in Time and Miami Golem after a career playing in Hollywood classics like Spartacus, plays the neighbor who has taken ownership of the dog and doesn’t care at all when Carol is being snarled and barked at.

Written by Richard Matheson and Del Reisman, who worked on everything from Peyton Place to Airwolf, this — not sorry for the pun — dog of an episode was directed by Walter Doniger, whose career was also mostly in TV directing episodes of Maverick and McCloud. He was known for using long, uninterrupted takes, frequent close-ups, deep-focus composition, tracking shots and early use of videotape.

Dickinson is fine if wasted in this. Ah, Circle of Fear. Your highs are highs and your lows are low.

You can watch this on YouTube.



Kino Cult is a free ad-supported streaming destination for genre lovers of horror and cult films packed with some great movies. These new movies join a growing list of hundreds of new and rare theatrically released cult hits, all presented in beautiful high definition. Additionally, Kino Cult offers an ad-free subscription plan for $4.99 per month.

Here’s what’s new:

Ms. 45 (director Abel Ferrara)

American film icon Abel Ferrara’s revenge thriller classic Ms. 45 follows a mute garment-district seamstress who after falling victim to multiple unspeakable assaults, ignites her one-woman rampage against NYC’s entire male population.

Wake In Fright (director Ted Kotcheff)

Directed by Ted Kotcheff (First Blood) and starring Donald Pleasence, Wake In Fright tells the nightmarish story of a schoolteacher’s descent into personal demoralization at the hands of drunken, deranged derelicts while stranded in a small town in outback Australia. Believed to be lost for decades and virtually unseen in America until now, Wake In Fright returns fully-restored in stunning HD.

Miami Connection (director Richard Park, Y K Kim)

Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice. When not performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” Mark and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world’s smelliest underbelly.

The Visitor (director Giulio Paradisi)

An intergalactic warrior is in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Multi-dimensional warfare and pre-adolescent profanity combine to transport the viewer to a state unlike anything they’ve experienced. The Visitor fuses elements of The Omen, The Birds, Rosemary’s Baby and even Star Wars, creating the most ambitious of all ’70s mindwarps.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (director Sion Sono)

Ten years ago, yakuza mid-boss Ikegami led an assault against rival don Muto. Now, on the eve of his revenge, all Muto wants to do is complete his masterpiece, a feature film with his daughter in the starring role, before his wife is released from prison and The F Bombers are standing by with the chance of a lifetime: to film a real, live yakuza battle to the death…on 35mm!

Raiders! (director Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen)

After Steven Spielberg’s classic Raiders of the Lost Ark was released 35 years ago, three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi set out on what would become a 7-year-long labor of love and tribute to their favorite film: a faithful, shot-for-shot adaptation of the action adventure film.

Dangerous Men (director Jahangir Salehi)

In 1979, Iranian filmmaker John S. Rad moved to the U.S. to shoot his dream project, a rampaging gutter epic of crime, revenge, cop sex and raw power. Just 26 years later, he completed an American action film masterpiece that the world is still barely ready for today: Dangerous Men.

What are you most excited to watch?

JESS FRANCO MONTH: Lust for Frankenstein (1998)

Moira Frankenstein (Lina Romay) has returned to the castle home of her dead father. After catching her widowed stepmother (Analia Ivars) making love to a man, she remembers the sexualized torture that the woman once put her through. She also remembers that there’s a sleeping female creature (Michele Bauer, who was once Pia Snow in Cafe Flesh, but is also a scream queen with credits in movies like Demonwarp and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama) who she brings back to the living by feeding her blood from her breasts.

Did I mention this is a Jess Franco movie?

Amber Newman (Tender Flesh) and Rachel Sheppard (Vampire Blues) are also in this, but if you haven’t experienced the 90s video movies that Franco did, you may want to not watch this. Sure, there’s plenty of prurient content, but I feel that so many of Jess’s movies of this era should have been thirty minutes long and left us all wanting more instead of the same song playing over and over while computer effects strobe over the footage.

JESS FRANCO MONTH: Der Ruf der blonden Göttin (1977)

Susan (Ada Tauler) has come to Haiti to live with her husband Jack (Jack Taylor) and when you realize that this movie is also called Porno ShockVoodoo Passion and Call of the Blonde Goddess, you know what you’re in for.

Housekeeper Inès (Muriel Montossé) explains that this is a place of sorcery. And then Susan finds her sister-in-law Olga (Karine Gambier) naked in her bed and she just might be more into her brother than she should be and definitely loves listening to the lovemaking he’s enjoying with his new bride. Look, when your new sister-in-law says things about your husband such as “He likes me to come sleep with him. I’m his baby doll.” you should worry.

Then the nightmares begin — Nightmares Come At Night is a description and another movie that Franco made that is the same plot — and Susan dreams about violence and murder so real that she’s sure that she’s become a killer.

I really feel like I’ve seen that plot so many times and yet it works for me every time.

Black Neon (1991)

A pretty much lost Ozploitation movie — thanks YouTube! — Black Neon is the story of Tom Maranta, a bouncer who finally decides to give up a life of crime at the same time that Pharoah, his biggest enemy, is released frm jail for stabbing him. A showdown has to happen.

Day and Strike of the Panther actor James Richards directed, co-wrote (with Edward John Stazak) and appears in this movie as Jack Coburn (Stazak produced, executive produced and stars in it as Tom Maranta), making it a brawling auteur film.

You have to admire whoever made the box art for this movie, because they claim that it has the intensity of “..ROAD HOUSE” when none of that is on screen. That said, it does have lots of neon signs and Bava-lit nightmares of when Pharaoh stabbed Tom. Also, this is just about dealing with what it’s like to be in a fight and the PTSD after as it is fighting, which it’s not as, but you should probably know that. Were it made by better filmmakers, perhaps it’d be a movie worth discussing. As it is, it’s a lot of hanging out, sitting on bikes, arguing, dudes being dudes and yeah, that big fight at the end.

Perhaps you’re a James Richards uber fan and you can set me straight on what I missed.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Maya (1989)

Marcello Avallone made Specters, a movie that’s way better than it has any right to be, and Maya lives up to that same feel. He only made these two films in the horror space and that’s a shame, because he seems devoted to giving audiences exactly what they want.

Also, seeing as how this starts with a quote from Carlo Castaneda, you know that this won’t be your typical genre film. It should also clue you into the fact that this movie is an incoherent mess, which I usually say as a compliment, because when I say the words Italian horror, you should look beyond the smile on my face and strange gaze I cast and really hear me say incoherent mess.

Mayan king Xibalba threatened to kill from beyond death and he starts with an archaeologist named Saloman Slivak (William Berger), whose daughter wants to figure it all out. Don’t we all?

This is the very definition of a slow-moving film, one filled with characters that we shouldn’t — and don’t — care for or about. But man, when Xibalba leaves his shadow world and snuffs them out, you pay attention. As such, does he become the hero of this movie, as he is the only character that changes the narrative and provides action? I’m all for more Mayan horror; let’s bring Xibalba back for a movie that deserves his willingness to decimate humanity.


Man, Mill Creek, way to send me looking for what exact movie this is. Could it be the 1978 martial arts film Deadly Strike AKA Breakout from Oppression or is it 1982’s Breakout from Opression AKA Exposed to Danger?

It’s the latter. So no Gordon Liu for me.

Instead, this is a Godfrey Ho dubbed film about a woman out of prison after twelve years who is being stalked as she begins her new career. Fonda Chao must be talented, because who else goes directly from doing a bid for murder to instantly becoming assistant editor of a newspaper?

That said, this movie pushes for some wild moments, like a bar of soap concealing a knife and broken glass being served to little kids at a picnic. Also — the soundtrack is taken from The Howling and Tangerine Dream’s Thief score, plus the ending is stolen from Friday the 13th. These things make me love this movie even more, to be honest.

Who knew Godfrey Ho, when he’s not making a ninja movie, can recut and dub a film — originally directed by Karen Yang — and have it make so much sense?