Tomie: Re-birth (2001)

An artist named Hideo is painting his girlfriend. Just by reading the title of this film, you know that it’s Tomie. He flips out when she tells him that his art isn’t good, so he kills her and two of his friends help him bury the body. And if we know anything else about these movies, you know that this can’t end well.

Everything Tomie can be reborn, from her head, which grows limbs, to even the paint used to make her portrait and outright possession. Even suicide can’t stop Tomie, as one of the girls possessed by her tries to jump off some cliffs and she survives. Basically, Tomie is the mistake that you should have never made, but you can’t stop her once it all begins.

This version of her story was directed by Takashi Shimizu, who would go on to make Ju-on: The Grudge and — rare for American remakes — even get the chance to helm his own Western version with 2004’s Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring movie.

There is one great part in this one: a mother and a son bond while slicing a young girl to bits and hiding her body. Family togetherness. Get it wherever you can.

Gypsy 83 (2001)

New Queer Cinema (see Gregg Araki and his “Teen Apocalypse Trilogy”) director, writer, and producer Todd Stephens used his youth-raised years in Sandusky, Ohio (yep, the same town in Chris Farley’s Tommy Boy from 1995), to his advantage: most of his auto-to-semi-autobiographical films are set in that Buckeye State enclave.

While he turned the directorial reigns over to David Moreton (currently in production with his fourth film, Big America), Stephens made his screenwriting debut with the alternative, coming of age rom-com Edge of Seventeen, which was concerned with a Eurythmics-obsessed teenager coming to terms with his sexuality. And as with Stevie Nicks inspiring the title of his debut film, the “Welsh Witch” influence returned for Stephens’s second writing effort, which also served as his directorial debut. While mainstream critics applauded the film — and it found acceptance on the art house circuit (I made the drive to see it) — the film only managed to score award nods and wins in the LGBT film festival community.

To propel this coming-of-age road trip filled with the usual eclectic characters (a sexually-confused Amish teen runaway; Karen Black as a washed-up retired singer), Stephens used the then de rigueur Stevie Nicks Festivals where fans celebrated her music. Gypsy Vale (Sara Rue of CBS-TV Rules of Engagement and The Big Band Theory) and Clive Webb (Kett Turton; Vampire Steve on CW’s iZombie) are early-twentysomething goths who travel to the 1983 Stevie Nicks Festival, aka Night of a Thousand Stevies, in New York for Gypsy to realize her dream to become a famous singer, like her idol, Stevie Nicks. Fueling and supporting her musical dreams is her ex-musician father, Ray (John Doe of X; Border Radio), who deals with the loss of Gypsy’s mom and his musician-wife, Velvet.

Gypsy 83 served as one the earliest art house entries from Palisades Pictures. The studio would come to acquire the catalog of the shuttered, UK-based Tartan Films, which distributed East Asian films under the Tartan Asia Extreme imprint between 1992 to 2003 (Battle Royale, A Tale of Two Sisters, Oldboy). Comic book aficionados with take notice of Andersen Gabrych in the cast (also of Stephens’s Edge of Seventeen and Another Gay Movie) as a writer for several issues of Batman, Batgirl, and Detective Comics.

There’s no free-with-ads or VOD streams in the online marketplace, but we found a You Tube rip for you to enjoy.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Repost: The Red Right Hand (2001)

Editor’s Desk: This review originally ran on October 1, 2020, as part of our October 2020 annual “Slasher Month” and we’ve brought it back for John Doe Week.

As I write this, Boston’s iconic, trendsetting alternative rock station, WFNX 101.7 FM, is no more.

When the station went on the air in 1947 as WLYN, it broadcast a programming palate of simulcasting its sister AM station with the same callsign on AM 1360, then originated its own programming at night after the AM went off the air at sundown (an AM-FM combo broadcast standard until the mid-70s). Upon the convergence-birth of Los Angeles’ alternative rock station KROQ (the home of Rodney Bingenheimer; his career chronicled in The Mayor of the Sunset Strip) and MTV in the early ’80s, the station came to drop its variety-ethnic programming in 1981 and began experimenting with new wave music in the evenings.

By 1982, WLYN became known as “Y-102,” one of the first full-time new-wave rock stations in the country; a station sale in 1983 resulted in the format remaining, but birthing a new set of call letters — WFNX — until another station sale in 2012 to Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) resulted in an automated format flip to an “Adult Hits” and a new set of call letters: WBWL (a common practice — live to automation — in these digital times).

The first song WFNX played under its new, full-time alt-rock format was the Cure’s “Let’s Go to Bed.” In August of 1991, with buzz on the group in full effect, DJ Kurt St. Thomas gave the then commercially unknown Nirvana their world broadcast premiere of their new album, Nevermind, from start to finish — and we all know how that album turned out.

At that point, WFNX became a trendsetter of the alt-rock community, giving the first national airplay to the top-selling bands The Darkness, Franz Ferdinand, Florence and the Machine, Hawthorne Heights, and Jet, just to name a few. When the station when off the air in 2012, they went off with the song that started it all: the Cure’s “Let’s Go to Bed.” Nirvana’s first major, mainstream concert appearance beyond the college-rock club scene was for WFNX’s annual anniversary party in August 28, 1991.

To call St. Thomas — as do Beatles historians with New York DJ Murray the K as “The Fifth Beatle” — the “fourth Nirvana member” (or fifth, if you count the late addition of Pat Smear of the Germs as a second guitarist during the In Utero years), is no understatement.

VHS image courtesy of sweesus-smasher/Paul Zamerelli of VHS Collector.com

By 1996 Kurt St. Thomas transitioned into filmmaking. Along with fellow WFNX DJ Mike Gioscia, they made the 1999 black and white film noir Captive Audience. The film dealt with the odd, symbiotic relationship between an overnight DJ and a gun-toting intruder at the station. Winning several international and domestic film awards, St. Thomas and Gioscia were encouraged to shoot a more adventurous feature production.

Recruiting John Doe of X (Border Radio) as their star, The Red Right Hand is a horror film that begins in 1963 as it follows five high school friends forced to relive a terrifying secret at their 15th high school reunion in 1978. Also released to video under the titles Above and Below and Jon’s Good Wife, the original title was taken from a Nick Cave song. 

As with most of the Troma Entertainment catalog, don’t let the logos from The Asylum deter you from spinning the DVD, as the studio only distributed the film; they were not involved in its production.

Is it “The Creepiest movie since Rosemary Baby!” as the DVD box claims? No. And The Asylum marketing department has a lot of balls making us thing we’re getting a film that matches the majesty of Roman Polanski. However, St. Thomas and Mike Gioscia have crafted a solid mystery drama rife with blackmail, murder, private demons, and rattling bones: all the plot points you expect in a noir.

St. Thomas would later work at the KROQ, the L.A. rock station responsible for birthing WFNX; while there, he came to produce the long-running specialty show “Jonesy Jukebox” for Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols (The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle). He and John Doe are currently in post-production stages on their latest effort — and St. Thomas third feature film overall — D.O.A: The Movie, with co-star Lucinda Jenney, who we last saw in Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell. A noir homage, it concerns Frank Bigelow (John Doe), a Florida private detective hired to follow the ne’er-do-well husband of a St. Augustine socialite. The spiraling double-crosses ensue.

Even though The Asylum made the VHS and DVD widely available in the marketplace — I’ve seen it numerous times on rental and retail shelves, cut-out bins and second hand stores — they’ve opted not to offer it as an online stream. There’s not even an online trailer or clips to share. But if you Google it, you’ll readily find VHS and DVD copies in the online marketplace.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

WILLIAM GREFE WEEK: The Psychedelic Priest (2001, but really 1971)

Also known as Electric Shades of Grey and Jesus Freak, The Psychedelic Priest wasn’t really directed by Stewart “Terry” Merrill, but instead William Gréfe, who was paid for this movie in trading stamps, which he described in Brian Albright’s Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews as “Instead of cash, if you owned a TV store and I owned a garage, and you needed your transmission fixed, you’d give me trading stamps. When I needed a TV, I could go get a TV from you.”

Gréfe got paid $100,000 in trading stamps to make this movie that was never released until thirty years later because everyone felt it would be a bomb. As for Gréfe, he was now the president of Ivan Tors Films, making family movies, so he realized that “I didn’t want some wild hippie drug movie with my name as writer and director.”

The cast and the crew were non-actors, mostly real hippies, and the story is rambling at best, as Father John realizes that he can no longer preach to the young people, so he goes on some sort of quest to learn how to fit into a world that doesn’t need religion any longer. He almost leaves the cloth for a woman named Sunny, but by the end of the movie, he’s come back to his commitment to the church.

This was shot on the fly, with scenes mainly being improvised, as well as a soundtrack that is really solid. It’s a great experiment and whether or not it works for you is, well, up to you. I dug what it was trying to do, even if it’s not always successful.

Originally released by Something Weird, Arrow Video has put this on their new He Came from the Swamp box set. Diabolik DVD has it for sale now.

Slasher Month: The Red Right Hand (2001)

As I write this, Boston’s iconic, trendsetting alternative rock station, WFNX 101.7 FM, is no more.

When the station went on the air in 1947 as WLYN, it broadcast a programming palate of simulcasting its sister AM station with the same callsign on AM 1360, then originated its own programming at night after the AM went off the air at sundown (an AM-FM combo broadcast standard until the mid-70s). Upon the convergence-birth of Los Angeles’ alternative rock station KROQ (the home of Rodney Bingenheimer; his career chronicled in The Mayor of the Sunset Strip) and MTV in the early ’80s, the station came to drop its variety-ethnic programming in 1981 and began experimenting with new wave music in the evenings.

By 1982, WLYN became known as “Y-102,” one of the first full-time new-wave rock stations in the country; a station sale in 1983 resulted in the format remaining, but birthing a new set of call letters — WFNX — until another station sale in 2012 to Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) resulted in an automated format flip to an “Adult Hits” and a new set of call letters: WBWL (a common practice — live to automation — in these digital times).

The first song WFNX played under its new, full-time alt-rock format was the Cure’s “Let’s Go to Bed.” In August of 1991, with buzz on the group in full effect, DJ Kurt St. Thomas gave the then commercially unknown Nirvana their world broadcast premiere of their new album, Nevermind, from start to finish — and we all know how that album turned out.

At that point, WFNX became a trendsetter of the alt-rock community, giving the first national airplay to the top-selling bands The Darkness, Franz Ferdinand, Florence and the Machine, Hawthorne Heights, and Jet, just to name a few. When the station when off the air in 2012, they went off with the song that started it all: the Cure’s “Let’s Go to Bed.” Nirvana’s first major, mainstream concert appearance beyond the college-rock club scene was for WFNX’s annual anniversary party in August 28, 1991.

To call St. Thomas — as do Beatles historians with New York DJ Murray the K as “The Fifth Beatle” — the “fourth Nirvana member” (or fifth, if you count the late addition of Pat Smear of the Germs as a second guitarist during the In Utero years), is no understatement.

VHS image courtesy of sweesus-smasher/Paul Zamerelli of VHS Collector.com

By 1996 Kurt St. Thomas transitioned into filmmaking. Along with fellow WFNX DJ Mike Gioscia, they made the 1999 black and white film noir Captive Audience. The film dealt with the odd, symbiotic relationship between an overnight DJ and a gun-toting intruder at the station. Winning several international and domestic film awards, St. Thomas and Gioscia were encouraged to shoot a more adventurous feature production.

Recruiting John Doe of X (Border Radio) as their star, The Red Right Hand is a horror film that begins in 1963 as it follows five high school friends forced to relive a terrifying secret at their 15th high school reunion in 1978. Also released to video under the titles Above and Below and Jon’s Good Wife, the original title was taken from a Nick Cave song. 

As with most of the Troma Entertainment catalog, don’t let the logos from The Asylum deter you from spinning the DVD, as the studio only distributed the film; they were not involved in its production.

Is it “The Creepiest movie since Rosemary Baby!” as the DVD box claims? No. And The Asylum marketing department has a lot of balls making us thing we’re getting a film that matches the majesty of Roman Polanski. However, St. Thomas and Mike Gioscia have crafted a solid mystery drama rife with blackmail, murder, private demons, and rattling bones: all the plot points you expect in a noir.

St. Thomas would later work at the KROQ, the L.A. rock station responsible for birthing WFNX; while there, he came to produce the long-running specialty show “Jonesy Jukebox” for Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols (The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle). He and John Doe are currently in post-production stages on their latest effort — and St. Thomas third feature film overall — D.O.A: The Movie, with co-star Lucinda Jenney, who we last saw in Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell. A noir homage, it concerns Frank Bigelow (John Doe), a Florida private detective hired to follow the ne’er-do-well husband of a St. Augustine socialite. The spiraling double-crosses ensue.

Even though The Asylum made the VHS and DVD widely available in the marketplace — I’ve seen it numerous times on rental and retail shelves, cut-out bins and second hand stores — they’ve opted not to offer it as an online stream. There’s not even an online trailer or clips to share. But if you Google it, you’ll readily find VHS and DVD copies in the online marketplace.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.


Hey, you want to write for us? We have a “John Doe Week” coming up in December. You can get all the deets, HERE.

Strange Frequency (2001)

Mary Lambert (Pet Semetary) and Bryan Spicer (McHale’s Navy) came up with this VH1 series, of which this movie was the pilot and also provided four episodes. Unlike Tales from the Crypt, which used the old comic books for inspiration or the morality plays of The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery, this show turned to rock and roll to create its stories.

The Who’s Roger Daltry serves as the narrator for this first go-round, which originally aired on January 24, 2001.

The first story, “Disco Inferno,” finds two rockers stuck within their own personal hell — a disco that never stops playing the music they hate. Penthouse 1992 Pet of the Year Brandy Ledford appears, as does That 70’s Show actor Danny Masterson.

“My Generation” has Danny’s brother Chris matching wits with Eric Roberts (here he is again) as two serial killers with deadly taste in music.

“Room Service” has a real rock star, Duran Duran bassist John Taylor, who is trying to destroy his hotel room but the maid always fixes it.

“More Than A Feeling” has Judd Nelson as a music producer who keeps breaking new artists who sadly die right after they find their success.

Sadly, the follow-up series only lasted ten episode, with “Daydream Believer” never airing. It was a good concept, if you ask me. But then again, I love anthologies, so put another dime in the Mystic Seer, baby.

Soul Survivors (2001)

Get ready for a drunk driving PSA that lasts 84 minutes, as Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller) gets in an accident that kills her boyfriend Sean (Casey Affleck) after a night of clubbing in a potentially haunted bar and a misunderstanding with her ex-boyfriend Matt (Wes Bentley). Oh yeah, Eliza Dushku is in this as well.

It all ends up being a dream in which the evil Deathmask, a scarred up dancer and a girl named Raven try to keep her from coming back to the world of the living. Luke Wilson also is in this as a priest who tries to help.

Writer and director Stephen Carpenter was also behind the movies The Dorm That Dripped BloodThe KindredThe Power and the TV series Grimm. I’d watch the first one of those before this, which Affleck has mentioned as one of the worst films he’s been in. Or watch Sole Survivor instead, which is the same idea done much better.

In the wake of Scream and Final Destination, I can see why this movie was made. The fact that I found myself compelled to watch it — I blame the gimmick-filled DVD — is an issue that I’ll have to deal with, hopefully with the help of dancing ghosts, a booming soundtrack with the Deftones on it and a kindly clergyman.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

It’s pretty amazing that this French-language film played cineplexes in the United States, but I saw it twice in theaters during its run and bought the DVD as soon as it came out. This is a film that I am evangelical about, purchasing numerous copies for people and recommending it to countless more.

How many other movies do you know that have incestual werewolves battling the martial arts of a royal naturalist and his Native American companion while Monica Belucci plays a courtesan who is really an assassin for the Pope?

Grégoire de Fronsac, a knight of King Louis XV of France, and his Iroquois friend Mani (Mark Dacascos) have come to the French village of Gévaudan. A mysterious beast has been killing people and seems to be controlled by a human master.

The truth is that the town — in fact the entire country — is consumed in a conspiracy to undermine the king of France. Somehow, this beast will help their cause, as the Brotherhood of the Wolf wants to restore God through blood and chaos.

Not many period pieces combine horror, martial arts and mystery all in one movie, but I’ve always found this combination to be perfect. There’s also an audacious shot of Belucci’s cleavage that transforms into a mountain range that is so ridiculous that I cheered in the theater.

This was based on a true story, as the Beast of Gévaudan was a wolf-like creature that killed 100 people in the Auvergne and South Dordogne regions of France from 1764 to 1767. Also, all od the primary characters, with the exception of Mani, actually were real people who lived during the time of King Louis XV.

Director Christopher Gans also made Crying Freeman, a Japanese anime adaption also with Dacascos, a 2014 reimagination of Beauty and the Beast (starring Vincent Cassel as The Beast, who — spoiler — is a member of The Brotherhood of the Wolf) and video game adaption Silent Hill.

There’s really no other movie like this. I’ve barely scratched the surface of it in my explanation, but that’s because I want you to discover it for yourself.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Twenty years ago — has it been that long? — Paul Walker and director Rob Cohen made The Skulls together. Cohen got a deal with producer Neal H. Moritz and Universal Pictures. Looking for ideas, he asked Walker what his dream action movie would be. The answer? A mix of Days of Thunder and Donnie Brasco. After a May 1998 issue of Vibe detailed New York City’s street racing scene, they had their film. All they needed was a co-star.

After Gone In 60 Seconds, Universal wanted Timothy Olyphant but they got Moritz’s pick instead: Vin Diesel, hot off the success of Pitch Black. And then, seventy-eight wrecked cars later, we had a movie. Any similarity to the D.B. Sweeney and Charlie Sheen film No Man’s Land — which came out thirteen years before — is surely coincidental.

LAPD officer Brian O’Conner (Walker) has gone undercover to infiltrate the gang that has been stealing from trucks and disappearing. He soon makes it into the gang led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), who has been banned from pro racing after attacking the man who accidentally killed his father, but complicating matters is that he soon falls for Dominic’s sister Letty (Jordanna Brewster).

This movie was originally entitled Racer X (the name of the Vibe article), Race Wars and Redline, but then someone had the brilliant idea to ask Roger Corman if they could use the title of his 1955 film The Fast and the Furious. Getting paid again for a movie he already made? I can only imagine how delighted Corman had to be at the prospect.

This movie made stars of both Walker and Diesel. Waker would work with Ted Levine again — he plays one of his bosses here — in Joyride, while Diesel would refuse to be in the next few sequels to this movie.

This was a movie decimated by the critics. Actually it wasn’t until the last few movies that anyone would even admit they liked these. How times have changed.

Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Who would expect that a big budget movie based on an Archie Comic and Hanna-Barbera cartoon would end up being a movie so willing to bite the hand that feeds and presents a world where the world of pop music is all one giant conspiracy to sell you things? While it’s selling you things, of course.

Yet despite being savaged by critics back and bombing at the box office at the start of this century, this movie feels more relevant today than nearly anything else that played theaters in 2001. It’s skewering of consumerism is, if anything, even more relevant today. And man, the songs are catchy.

Josie McCoy (Rachael Leigh Cook), Melody Valentine (Tara Reid) and Valerie Brown (Rosario Dawson) are the Pussycats, who have been selected to replace DuJour, the latest and hottest band, but also one who have learned that this is all a big scam on the kids. They pay the price when their plane goes down over Riverdale.

Now, Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming) and Fiona (Parker Posey) have promised the one world government that her new band won’t need to be killed via drug overdose and will get the job done — or else Carson Daly will wipe them out on the set of Total Request Live.

There are so many products placed in this movie that it becomes virtual overload, yet none of them were paid for by the actual companies. They were all placed there by the filmmakers and there are around 73 different products in this movie.

Those songs I mentioned — that’s Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo singing — make this movie even better.

Deborah Kaplan (who is married to Breckin Meyer, who has a cameo in this movie) and Harry Elfont wrote and directed this movie. They’ve worked together on plenty of other films, including A Very Brady SequelCan’t Hardly WaitThe Flintstones in Viva Rock VegasSurviving ChristmasMade of Honor and Leap Year. However, this would be the last movie they’d direct.