Sunday, February 23, 2020

R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part X (2009-20)

25 Dec 1928 – 30 Jan 2019

The American thespian treasure known as Dick Miller, one of our all-time favorite character actors, entered the Great Nothingness over a year ago on 30 January 2019. 
A Bronx-born Christmas Day present to the world, Miller entered the film biz doing redface back in 1956 in the Roger Corman western Apache Woman (trailer). He quickly became a Corman regular and, later, became a favorite face for an inordinate amount of modern and contemporary movie directors, particularly those weaned and teethed in Corman productions. (Miller, for example, appears in every feature film Joe Dante has made to date.)  
A working thespian to the end, Miller's last film, the independent horror movie Hanukkah (trailer), starring fellow deceased low-culture thespian treasure Sid Haig (14 July 1939 – 21 Sept 2019), just finished production. In it, as in many of Miller's films, his character is named Walter Paisley in homage to his first truly great lead role, that of the loser killer artist/busboy Walter Paisley in Roger Corman's classic black comedy, A Bucket of Blood (1959).
What follows is the final entry of a multi-part career review in which we undertake an extremely meandering, highly unfocused look at the films of Dick Miller. The films are not necessarily looked at in the order of their release... and if we missed one, let us know.  

Go here for
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part I (1955-60)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part II (1961-67)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part III (1968-73)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part IV (1974-76)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part V (1977-80)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part VI (1981-84)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part VII (1985-89)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part VIII (1990-94)
R.I.P.: Dick Miller, Part IX (1995-2007)

3rd Shift: Michael's Lament
(2009, writ & dir. Christopher D. Grace)

This independent production from Turmoil Films has seen the light of day on rare occasion, like at the 26th Boston Film Festival, where they described the film's plot as follows: "3rd Shift: Michael's Lament is a film about a young man named Michael (Marc Vos) who battles his inner nature and instincts and tries to live a somewhat normal life in a dark and turbulent world. The story revolves around his view on his world and the relationships with the people he works with. He is a loner and a mystery to anyone that knows him. This story takes place over 3 nights of Michael's dark and mysterious life."

Dick Miller supposedly appears somewhere amidst those three nights as "The Sculptor" — shades of Walter Paisley?!? — but though credited at imdb, we could not find confirmation anywhere online.
Teaser to
3rd Shift: Michael's Lament:

3rd Shift: Michael's Lament from Grace Period Creative on Vimeo.
If anyone out there has seen the movie, no one has deemed it worth writing about — not even blogger Richard Morchoe, who lists 3rd Shift: Michael's Lament as one of his favorite films.

The Hole
(2009, dir. Joe Dante)

After roughly six years in the nether regions of directing for TV — including his contentious episode for Masters of Horror (2005-07 / trailer), The Screwfly Solution (2006 / trailer) — Dante returned to the big screen with the 3-D movie The Hole… sort of: the movie hardly got a release in the US, though it did well abroad.

The Hole, a young adult adventure fantasy thriller, was written by Mark L. Smith, who two years earlier penned the definitely not young adult horror flick Vacancy (2007 / trailer) and some years later wrote & directed the generally generic horror flick Séance (2016 / trailer). As always with Dante feature films, Dick Miller makes an appearance: this time a tiny, uncredited appearance as an 81-year-old pizza delivery guy (photo above).

Trailer to
The Hole:
"Although pitched as a kids film The Hole […] is a brilliant, engrossing, captivating, creepy horror which delivers scares and frights equal to many adult movies. […] Packed with jumps and frights, unsettling scenes and disturbing imagery from the crazy killer clown to the J Horror jerky movements of the ghostly girl, it's a film unafraid to face fear full on. […] Visually striking, it was made in 3D and Dante uses the new medium well. Especially during the nightmarish dreamscape sequences at the end which are reminiscent of 80's horror Paperhouse (1988 / trailer) in their warped perspectives and menacing patriarchal monster. With a great cast of kids who are believable and likable, not grating or annoying, and an excellent story line and script […] The Hole is a fantastic horror movie for all ages. It delivers more genuine chills and thrills than a lot of films for adults with a lot higher certificate ratings. [Love Horror]"
"The plot revolves around an apparently bottomless pit located in the house the Thompsons have just moved into. Rather inconveniently, it turns out to be a gateway to Hell, and as soon as the curious kids have opened it, strange goings-on begin occurring all over the place. [Phil on Film]"
"The Hole will probably dissatisfy hardcore SAW (2004 / trailer) horror fans looking for buckets of gore — and let's be honest here: the movie's final act disappoints. Like your average Stephen King novel, The Hole is all build-up and little delivery. How the story is resolved comes across as a letdown. PLOT SPOILERS! The whole 'the monster can only harm you if you're afraid of it' plot is hackneyed and tired to say the least and something not even 13-year-olds will swallow. [See: Fear of the Dark (2003).] It is interesting to note, however, how much the sets for the final set piece are inspired by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (trailer), a movie made way back in 1920! END SPOILERS! [Sci-Fi Movie Page]"
Another, less-obvious call-back to the classic silents is the name of the factory belonging to Creepy Carl (Bruce Dern), "Gloves of Orlac". This is, of course, a reference to another silent horror from Dr. Caligari's director Robert Wiene, The Hands of Orlac (1924 / trailer)… which got remade by Karl Freund in 1935 as Mad Love (1935 / trailer), and by  Edmond T. Gréville as Hands of Orlac (trailer) and by Newt Arnold as Hands of a Stranger (trailer), both in 1960, though Arnold's cheesier version only got released two years later.

Machete Maidens Unleashed!
(2010, dir. Mark Hartley)
As we mentioned in Part IX, "In the entertainment industry, regardless of level (high-brow vs. low-brow), when a person has been around long enough, they invariably reach the point where they become a viable talking head for documentaries." Where Dick shows up here, we know not yet, but we are going to find out...
Trailer to
Machete Maidens Unleashed!
Machete Maidens Unleashed! started out as a documentary on the great if diminutive Weng Weng* (7 Sept 1957 – 29 Aug 1992), and was originally commissioned for Australian television. The Australian director, Mark Hartley, once said, "[I] never thought of myself as a documentary film-maker, but I wanted to tell the story of Not Quite Hollywood (2008 / trailer below). Then afterwards, it was all about getting a narrative film made, but then Machete Maidens came along as a job-for-hire, and those films took me to lots of festivals where they got lots of positive responses. [Bristol Bad Film Club]" And, eventually, helped him get his first full-length feature film job: he helmed the 2013 Aussie remake (trailer) of the 1978 Aussie horror flick Patrick (trailer). It does not seem to have been a hit.
* If you're interested, there is a documentary on Weng Weng out there: Andrew Leavold's 2007 feature-length The Search for Weng Weng (trailer).
Trailer to
Not Quite Hollywood:
Over at All Movie, Mark Deming explains the documentary: "In the 1960s and 70s, drive-in movie theaters and big city grindhouses were eager to book the wildest and most action-packed fare they could find, and low-budget producers were always on the lookout for something unique to offer their viewers. Many of them found it in the Philippines, a country full of exotic locations, cooperative officials and folks willing to work cheap. Local producer Eddie Romero (7 July 1924 – 28 May 2013) began exporting his cut-rate horror and crime pictures to American distributors in the 60s, and before long U.S. filmmakers were traveling there to shoot crazed jungle epics, women in prison thrillers, bloody horror stories and violent wartime dramas. It certainly helped that Philippine extras and technicians would work hard for low pay, and that local stuntmen didn't seem to worry much about risking their necks for a good shot; as one producer put it, 'Human life was cheap, film was cheap — it was a great place to shoot a movie!' Filmmaker Mark Hartley […] shares the inside scoop on the wild and wooly world of filmmaking in the Philippines in the 1960s and 70s in Machete Maidens Unleashed! Featuring interviews with Gloria Hendry [below, not from the documentary], Colleen Camp [further below, not from the documentary], Sid Haig (14 July 1939 – 21 Sept 2019), R. Lee Ermey (24 Mar 1944 – 15 Apr 2018), Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Allan Arkush and many more eyewitnesses to the madness of movie making in the Philippine jungles[…]." Including Dick Miller, of course…
"A sleazy and sordidly salacious stroll down memory lane reveals the trashy wonders that went into the weird and wild world of Filipino exploitation cinema as told by those who made them, acted in them, and very nearly died doing them. […] Lovingly compiled and oozing with a glowing green blood that would make Dr. Lorca proud, Machete Maidens lives up to its title and then some with its bevy of mud-caked, machete wielding wild women, machine gun toting mercenaries, gnarly, nasty looking monsters, one armed executioners and midget super spies. […] Hartley's diabolical documentary never shirks when it comes to presenting the Philippines as anything but a riotously out of control war zone where the behind the scenes stories were often just as, if not more entertaining than the films themselves. The director shows a grand hand at grasping the ideology behind exploitation movies and what makes them work. […]. [Cool Ass Cinema]"
Not from the documentary, but sung by the great Pam Grier —
Long Time Woman from The Big Doll House (1971 / trailer):
Machete Maidens Unleashed! was well received by most, but give voice to a rare dissenter, let's look no further than Regrettable Sincerity: "You'd think that Machete Maidens Unleashed!, an enthusiastic documentary […] about low budget American films made in the Philippines would fit perfectly into my lowbrow criteria, and it would, if it were more than a self-congratulatory clip show. It skirts over the more interesting material, John Landis discussing the bogus feminist read on the women-in-prison genre (he's right, sometimes a naked lesbian fistfight is just a naked lesbian fistfight) and a moment where producer and self-promoter Sam Sherman brags that he knowingly poisoned the audience at a public screening."

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
(2011, writ & dir. Alex Stapleton)
As we mentioned in Part IX, "In the entertainment industry, regardless of level (high-brow vs. low-brow), when a person has been around long enough, they invariably reach the point where they become a viable talking head for documentaries." But Dick Miller also shows up here as more than just a talking head: clips of his scenes from diverse Corman movies are used.
"Frank Capra said, 'There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.' Roger Corman is never dull, probably because he has a maxim of his own: 'the monster should kill somebody fairly early, then at regular intervals'. These are some words of wisdom contained in Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, whose star seems like less and less of a rebel now as guerilla filmmaking seems to be the order of the day in an era of declining box office takes and uncertainty. [Really Awful Movies]"

Trailer to
Corman's World:
Over at Andy's Film Blog, Andy sticks to the facts (though his choice of films to name seems particularly uninspired): "Known as a king of the Bs, Roger Corman has produced over 400 pictures with titles ranging from Dinocroc vs. Supergator* (2010) to Bloodfist 2050 (2005 / trailer). Carrying himself in an anachronistic, professorial manner Corman has also directed a series of heralded Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, brought the films of Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, and Kurasawa to the attention of American audiences as a distributor, fought Hollywood excess and championed many charitable causes, and cultivated the careers of such talents as Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Dennis Hopper and many others. Corman's World is a loving look at the career of the virtuoso producer, with many of his admirers and former apprentices on hand to sing his praises."
* A film that got "Special Mention to the Biggest Pile of Shite seen in 2017" in our 5 Jan 2018 entry, The Best of 2017.
"That Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is filled with amusing anecdotes about decades of low budget filmmaking isn't surprising. What is surprising is the way those anecdotes build up into something actually emotionally affecting; watching the legendarily cool Jack Nicholson literally CRYING about Roger Corman will put a lump in the throat of even the most jaded viewer. [Birth! Movies! Death!]"
Song that has nothing to do with the topic at hand:
"[T]he really soft center of Corman's World, in addition to everyone's obvious affection for Roger, is the movie bringing on the long-married Corman's beautiful wife and producing partner Julie. She tells such great life-with-Roger tales as the time she didn't know if their wedding was on or off — because Corman was shooting on location, and phoning to discuss plans would have meant long-distance rates. For all that, for all the gratuitous toplessness, rubber monsters, dismemberments, explosions and Dick Miller cameos, Roger and Julie Corman come across as the most normal and well-adjusted couple in cinema. […] Yes, the nitpickers (Robert Banks and No-Money Mark From Middleburgh Heights) will point out how it's criminal [that] documentarian Alex Stapleton offers no discussion of how Corman's economical reincarnation fantasy The Undead (1957, see Part I) appears to have a script penned in a form of iambic pentameter — try getting the Weinsteins to bankroll that today. Or why isn't James Cameron here? He was a graduate of the Corman film boot camp too. Or what about Corman's Marvel superhero feature The Fantastic Four (1994 / trailer), subversively made with no intention of formal release, in some kind of mercenary legal maneuver. Not even acknowledgment of Little Shop of Horrors (1960, see Part I) reborn as a hit stage musical. For full coverage of Roger Corman's world you'd need a set of encyclopedias (like one obsessive author compiled about Shatner), so invariably something's got to be left out. What's left, though is Corman's World, and it's one any movie buff will want to visit, bad matte-painted backgrounds and stock footage and all. [Charles Cassady, Jr. @ The Cleveland Movie Blog]"
And a rare complaint: "Very little is discussed about Corman's legendary parsimoniousness. About the only stories regarding this, the most notorious aspect of the Corman legend, that we get is Peter Bogdanovich's telling how Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968 / full movie) came about when he was asked to shoot material to add to Russian sf film footage that Corman had obtained; some discussion of the hilariously ad hoc cobbling together of The Terror (1963, see Part II) and how its plot makes no sense; as well as a visit to the set of the making of Dinoshark (2010 / trailer) where actor Eric Balfour proves surprisingly candid about the wild west nature of the shooting. In that Corman regularly came up with ways to cut costs by flaunting union rules and shooting outside the US, one feels disappointed at the timidness of the documentary in being willing to venture into this subject and/or tackle issues that may puncture Corman's own myth-building. After all, when the amusement of some of the stories of Corman's movie-making practices are pared away, he is just another huckster trying to make maximum profit while paying out as little as possible and getting around as much as he can in the way of legal obligations. You wonder at the end of it, would such an awe-struck and hagiographic treatment be made if this were a documentary charting the life of some corporate executive who was celebrating his cleverness in avoiding regulations and paying employees minimum wage? [Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review]"

Burying the Ex
(2014, dir. Joe Dante)

A feature-length remake of the short of the same title from 2008. That short was written & directed by Alan Trezza, who also did the screenplay for this version. Dick Miller shows up a few moments to play a "Crusty Old Cop".
Repulsive Reviews, which "recommend[s] it to anyone who enjoys zom-coms and just wants to kick back and relax with a good flick", has the plot: "Horror fanatic, Max (Anton Yelchin [11 Mar 1989 – 19 Jun 2016] of Green Room [2015 / trailer] and Odd Thomas [2013 / trailer]), isn't happy with his overbearing, overly annoying, green girlfriend anymore and just have to break things off with her. When he finally gets the nerve to do it at a local dog park, she tragically gets hit by a bus. Little does Max realize, however, Evelyn* (Ashley Greene) is destined to come back from the dead, since they made a promise to each other in front of a satanic genie statue that they'd be together always and forever. Now Max has to come up with a better plan if he's going to get rid of his now extremely strong, extremely irritable, extremely undead [ex] girlfriend."
* Needless to say, the name is a typical Dante reference to a cult film, in this case Emilio Miraglia's Italo classic, The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave (1971 / trailer). Among the many cult films glimpsed on TV or elsewhere is, for example, H.G. Lewis's The Gore-Gore Girls (1972), The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962), and Night of the Living Dead (1968).
Trailer to
Burying the Ex:
We Got This Covered was not thrilled: "I'm a Joe Dante fan. That is something I cannot hide. His early work made him a horror icon, and Gremlins (1984, see Part VI) stands as one of my favorite movies of all time. These are facts, and if I ever get to meet Joe Dante, I'd like nothing more than to buy him a drink and hear him reminisce about the good old days. You know, the exciting, creative times that yielded scene after scene of infectious horror fun. Basically, any time before Burying the Ex happened. It's not that Dante created a soulless romcom disguised as a cheeky horror comedy. It's more that any voiceless filmmaker could have made Burying the Ex. No scene glistens with Dante's typically demented polish, and everyone involved seems to be phoning it in. There's not a single genuine moment of chemistry to be found between the three members of this undead love triangle, as each scene only feels more staged than the last."
Over at Rivers of Grue, the Keeper of the Crimson Quill wasn't that thrilled either by what it sees as "a rather unremarkable film, lacking both the wit and wisdom [needed] to be regarded as anything other than middle-of-the-road", but see some good points: "Dante […] wrings every last drop of comedy out of the three-way dynamic in an attempt to bring life to a fairly uninspired script. Considering this took six years to come about from initial conception, the screenplay is remarkably bare of bones, and his very best efforts aren't quite enough to sideline us to its deficiency. Thankfully, all three leads excel, Greene is on-point as our festering third wheel and the chemistry between Yelchin and Alexandra Daddario [as the new girlfriend, Olivia, seen below from the first season of True Detective] is absolutely unmistakable, taking their blossoming love interest to a whole new level. Given the flat dialogue they are required to recite, they locate true common ground and this curbs any potential catastrophe."
To all the above, The Horror Club, which points out that Olivia "has the best rack ever, and she has these eyes that looks like crystal clear pools of liquid heaven", might add: "Burying the Ex, while not being as 'good' as many of Dante's previous works, is still an enjoyable effort, especially for fans of more light-hearted and quirky genre fare. It's definitely closer to being Gremlins 2 (1990, see Part XIII) than it is The Howling (1981, see Part VI). Or even the first Gremlins. Fun and light, is what this one is. […] Lots of critics are giving this movie less-than-stellar reviews, and we mostly get why they're doing so, but we just don't agree. We liked it, Negative Nancys be damned! It wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, but it was enjoyable enough that we were able to ignore its issues, and just go with it. If you can do the same, you'll have a lot of fun with this one too."

That Guy Dick Miller
(2014, writ. & dir. Elijah Drenner)

As we mentioned in Part IX, "In the entertainment industry, regardless of level (high-brow vs. low-brow), when a person has been around long enough, they invariably reach the point where they become a viable talking head for documentaries."
Trailer to
That Guy Dick Miller:
What happens far less often, especially amongst cult actors and especially when the given actor is still alive, is that one actually gets a documentary all of one's own — as did Dick Miller, in 2014, at the crusty age of 86. The film was the second feature documentary of director/writer Drenner, a man with massive editing and directing experience (mostly for video shorts) whose previous feature directorial credit is American Grindhouse (2010).
Trailer to
American Grindhouse:
"According to Miller, the genesis for That Guy Dick Miller came when he was contacted by a German producer looking to make a short film to advance some movies that he had started with Roger Corman. 'He wanted a little thing on War of the Satellites and he got in touch with Elijah Drenner, our director, and he said "Can you put it together?" and he said "I'll look at it."' However, it turned out that there was way too much story in Miller's career for merely a short. 'There were too many pictures and too big character here for a five minute film, [Drenner] needed something more.' As such, Laine Miller was brought on to produce, through her company Autumn Rose Productions, and That Guy Dick Miller was born. [SKM]"
"That Guy Dick Miller traces Miller's career across three distinct eras: the initial burst of activity with Corman; the work Miller found from Corman's star-struck protégés in the '70s […]; and the steady jobs Corman's disciples and fans gave him once they graduated to the studio system. You can see Miller pop up in films by Martin Scorsese (After Hours [1985, see Part VII]), Robert Zemeckis (Used Cars [1980, see Part V]), Steven Spielberg (1941 [1979, see Part V]), Joe Dante […], and almost Quentin Tarantino (his role in Pulp Fiction [1994, see Part VIII] ended up on the cutting room floor), as well as […] exploitation fare like Night of the Creeps (1986, see Part VII), Demon Knight (1995, see Part IX), and Evil Toons (1992, see Part VIII). The documentary also chronicles Miller's stop-and-start career as a writer — his byline turned up on such unlikely projects as TNT Jackson (1974, see Part IV) and Jerry Lewis's Which Way to the Front? (1970, see Part III) (he had to sue Jerry for credit) — and his sometimes-shaky relationship with his father. The film's spine is Miller's marriage with Lainie, a sharp-tongued sparring partner who is his rock during long stretches of unemployment.* [Will Sloan @ Torontoist]"
* And who was once very talented at tassel twirling, as evident by her scene as a burlesque dancer in The Graduate (1967), which can be seen here at AZNude.
"Fans and filmmakers of sci-fi, horror, exploitation, and B-grade romps nigh universally agree that if any one person can be crowned as the 'quintessential character actor', then that title belongs to Dick Miller. Small in stature but big in presence, the affectionate descriptor 'that guy' to identify an unnamed face recognized in what seems like every other movie was practically invented for Miller. […] Over the course of 90 minutes, the film serves as more of an affectionate tribute to the man rather than as an informative retrospective. Names including Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Mary Woronov, John Sayles, and Ira Steven Behr have more to say out of nostalgic warmth for the man as opposed to truly revealing insight behind his personality. Perhaps it is poetic irony that Dick Miller, someone who never had substantial time in leading-man limelight despite a prolific career most actors only dream of, is often relegated to a backburner role in a movie supposedly about his own life. More than once, That Guy Dick Miller loses its way as a focused documentary, frequently taking detours to expand on anecdotes only tangentially related to Miller himself. [Culture Crypt]"
"Overall, That Guy Dick Miller is a fascinating, oddly heartwarming documentary that highlights a significant piece of genre filmmaking history. That piece being the recurring character actor with nearly 200 credits to his name. Much like Best Worst Movie (2009 / trailer), and Spine Tingler! (2007 / trailer), That Guy Dick Miller should serve as a hugely enjoyable time for genre buffs and equally fascinating for people who don't necessarily know a lot about exploitation cinema. This comes highly recommended! [Sick Celluloid]"

The Adventures of Biffle and Shooster
(2015, dir. Michael Schlesinger)

A 2018 DVD release of this collection of shorts, augmented by two additional shorts, was retitled The Misadventures of Biffle and Shooster.
"Director/writer Michael Schlesinger dug through some long-forgotten film archives and unearthed this quartet of shorts from America's favorite fictional funny men, Biffle (Nick Santa Maria) and Shooster (Will Ryan). Lovingly shot in black and white (save for the Cinecolor Schmo Boat), the films recall 30's audience's infatuation with terrible puns and out-of-nowhere musical numbers. [Trailers from Hell]"
"Each [short] has a mastery of its own, aside from feeling 100% genuine to the era. In Bride of Finklestein, the only of the shorts that starts with Biffle and Shooster together in the opening scene, the lampoonary of the Universal monster films leads us through a not-quite-mad scientist to an old fashioned gorilla chase. In The Biffle Murder Case, a trope of the book-writing 'detective' meets a trope of the gumshoe detective with a solid poke in the eye at institutionalized racism common in films from this era, plus a rack of unfettered puns. Imitation of Wife is a hoot of a riff on Imitation of Life,* complete with the boss coming to dinner gag and his hayseed nephew in tow — this one also perfectly mimics tincture techniques used even in the silent era to put a little color in the black and white films. Cinecolor is wonderfully recreated in the musical, vaudeville based, farcical Schmo Boat, which opens in black and white but once Biffle and Shooster perform for the showboat's unseen audience becomes full color. The dedication to authenticity extends to the fact the film was shot with a live band performance on open mics. For true cinefiles, this may be the gem of the collection. Also on this DVD, but not in the theatrical screenings, is the supposed last short film the pair made, It's a Frame Up. Here the boys are put in charge of an art gallery and like a really good roller-coaster, the slow set up pays off with a gut busting final five minutes I do not care to spoil. [Michael Demeritt @ Amazon]"
* Which version, we wonder: 1934 (trailer) or 1959 (trailer).
Dick Miller shows up somewhere in Schmoe Boat to play someone named "Walter" — Paisley, maybe?

And now the final three feature-length films, all still in production (or post-production) and all independent productions — so don't hold your breath.

Clapboard Jungle:
Surviving the Independent Film Business
(2020, dir. Justin McConnell)

As we mentioned in Part IX, "In the entertainment industry, regardless of level (high-brow vs. low-brow), when a person has been around long enough, they invariably reach the point where they become a viable talking head for documentaries." To what extent Dick speaks or what he even says, we know not: this film has yet to be released — but he's up there on the poster.
To quote their official page at that Evil Firm helping to destroy what's left of America's crumbling democracy, "We are excited to announce that after years of production, a ton of editing, and months of testing, we now have Picture Lock on the stand-alone documentary Clapboard Jungle, and have begun sending the workprint screener out to festivals. The 8-episode educationally-focused companion series is also currently in post-production. Both should see release in 2020. Long road to this point, and much work left to do, but thank you for your patience as we get this finished!"
There's no trailer for the documentary so, instead, here's a trailer to director Justin McConnell's most recent release, his independent horror movie Lifechanger (2018) — which Dick does not appear in.
Trailer to
Lifechanger (2018):

Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
(2020, dir. Thomas Hamilton)

As we mentioned in Part IX, "In the entertainment industry, regardless of level (high-brow vs. low-brow), when a person has been around long enough, they invariably reach the point where they become a viable talking head for documentaries."
This no budget labor of love is currently in production, so what extent the imdb is correct in listing Dick Miller as one of the talking heads is open to question, for even on the documentary's Kickstarter page Dick is never mentioned as an interviewee. That said, Dick Miller also only ever worked with Boris Karloff on one project, everyone's favorite patchwork quilt known as The Terror (1963, see Part II). As that movie is in the public domain, we've embedded it below for your viewing pleasure:
Boris Karloff & Dick Miller

(2020, writ. & dir. Eben McGarr)

The most recent independent production from the independent filmmaker Eben McGarr offers a double whammy: it is not only the last feature-length movie in which Dick Miller appears, it is also the last movie to feature that other equally legendary character actor, the great Sid Haig (14 Jul 1939 – 21 Sept 2019) — although in Haig's case, there is one more non-documentary movie on his resume that has yet to be finished, much less released: Evan Marlowe's Abruptio. Seeing that in the latter, "all of the characters in it will be acted entirely by full-sized puppets and operated by puppeteers", perhaps Haig's regrettable demise won't hold things up too much.
But to return to the Jewish-horror flick Hanukkah; dunno what religion Dick Miller was in real life — Pastafarian? — but in this movie he appears as Rabbi Walter Paisley, a man we assume no longer makes art. He, like Haig, is seen in the trailer below.
Trailer to

The Big Screen Cinema Guide, which claims that the movie actually opened on Friday, 13 December 2019, but is currently not in any cinemas, has the plot: "Obediah Lazarus (Joe Knetter of Strip Club Slasher [2010 / trailer]) is the son of Judah Lazarus (Haig), the original Hanukiller. In 1983, Judah terrorized NY for seven nights and was preparing to sacrifice his eight-year-old son, Obediah, on the eighth night. Judah was convinced it was God's will, like Abraham and Isaac, to sacrifice his only son to God. Luckily for Obediah, police tracked Judah down and stopped the sacrifice, but Judah was gunned down in the process. Warped by hatred with no guidance, Obediah Lazarus becomes a religious extremist, intolerant of non-Jews, 'bad Jews', and those he perceives to be enemies of the Jewish faith. He is about to unleash eight nights of horror. A group of Jewish teens are getting ready to party for the holidays, but are in for a Festival of Frights. With the help of a wise Rabbi (Miller), they deduce that the murder victims have violated Judaic law and that their only chance at survival is to embrace their faith."

Rumor has it that Eben McGarr's next horror film, a co-production of Jordan Peele and Tyler Perry, will also be a holiday-themed horror movie entitled Kwanzaa. The production is currently in discussion with Donald Trump to play the movie's psycho, in a plot that we have heard concerns a urine-loving fat man with little fingers whose feeling of inadequacy of size drives him to become convinced that he has to save Christmas — and he is willing to go over Afro-American bodies to do so. Little does the movie's cis-gender hero suspect, but the psycho has the support of a secret cabal of other rich, old white men in all the higher echelons of power…

Dick Miller — R.I.P.

Dick Miller Retrospective, Part I:
Screened for Mr. Miller and fans at Texas Frightmare Weekend 
on 2 May 2009 in Dallas.

Dick Miller Retrospective, Part II:
Screened for Mr. Miller and fans at Texas Frightmare Weekend
on 2 May 2009 in Dallas.

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