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The Round Table #3 – Blast From the Past

Its 5:09 pm
hazy/humid

A few entries ago,I wrote about a pair of movies that have drawn such unexpected traffic to my blog,in sense they have become my blog’s “cult movies”. As I was writing that blog,I started wondering if other film critics/buffs had experienced that. In today’s world of instant up to the date content,do older blog posts bring the traffic and in this case,do older blog entries of obscure films still bring the noise? I know this is a weird topic but given that the cheetah DO review a lot of oddball stuff,doesn’t seem fitting that I’m writing about something……..odd? But this this time,I brought friends!!!
So here is the reality of things….most blog entries generally draw their best traffic the first 2-3 weeks that they are dropped depending on subject and promotion. After that,depending how much one posts,traffic starts to fade depending on how fast the blogger puts up new content. The faster the older news gets pushed off the main page,the less likely its getting seen….
But what happens when something you have posted a long time ago suddenly and without warning becomes a “hit” and starts drawing crazy views? I’m not talking blockbusters here folks…
So I reached out to several of my favorite movie bloggers and asked them if they had experienced this as well or was I  on a island all by my lonesome. Thus this has become the topic of the third Round Table.
If you’re not a blogger,don’t worry,just sit back and enjoy the show and see how crazy some of us are.
I’m providing links to the writer’s original review,just click on the title and you’ll be able to see the what it reads.

Our first panelist hails from across the Pond and writes the kick ass film blog “What the Craggus Saw”. The Craggus is very much like the cheetah and I in that he loves the oddball film to review and he is a creature feature lover,what more could one ask for for a panel such as this?? This is his “one film” that continues to deliver the goods.
You can follow The Craggus at his website “What the Craggus Saw“.

Justin And The Knights Of Valour” is a perfectly pleasant but largely unremarkable European animated feature of the kind which usually fill up many a slot on cinema’s kids club schedules. Passably amusing and undemanding, it was just another kids’ movie I’d seen with the family and written up as a review. Or so I thought.
   This was quite early in the blog’s life and while I’ve always been reluctant to discuss actual site stats lest I find out my idea of ‘good’ traffic numbers is actually pathetic, around this point the blog was coming up for three months old and was getting about 20 views per day.
  All that changed when I posted “Justin And The Knights Of Valour” as the view count shot up by a factor of 10 and continued on that way for about a week before it settled back into its more normal pattern.
  To this day, I’ve no idea why this particular review took off so markedly and back then I wasn’t quite so savvy or alert to the site analytics so I couldn’t tell you if it was picked up and syndicated through another platform which then drove clicks my way (I wish I did know how it was done). I guess maybe at the time I was one of the few sites who gave the film any attention and I do remember getting a lot of hits from Spain for the review, so maybe it was national pride in their little animated movie on the world stage that drove the clicks.
   It’s happened a couple of times since – usually with b-list animated fare (“Duck Duck Goose” and “Tad The Lost Explorer And The Secret Of King Midas” spring to mind, but “Justin And The Knights Of Valour” was the first time I ever experienced a spike in site visits and although the traffic it drove isn’t remarkable by the site’s average performance these days, it’s always remained a fond personal ‘first’.

Our second guest is a long-time supporter of the cheetah and my doodlings.  Meet Geoff who writes the amazing blog “The Telltale Mind”. Geoff writes about many subjects,music,books,horror films and Stacker Pentecost. His Issue-By-Issue look at short to medium run comic books is a must read.  You can find his blog by going to “The Telltale Mind“.

The Witching, or Necromancy, is a horror film released in 1972, a movie released and re-released in different versions, written and directed by Bert I. Gordon and starring Orson Welles and Pamela Franklin. It features a good amount of blood and more than its fair share of nudity, but the real draw of it all, the thing that makes it stand out against other fair of its kind is the fact that Welles even agreed to star in it at all. Overall, it is a decent film and while it did have its setbacks in more than one department, it still ended up being something that any horror fan would enjoy watching, at least on some level.
   As for why the review of this film keeps drawing people in, it is a mystery to say the least. Is it the somewhat cult status of the movie, the fact that Orson Welles is the star or the draw of naked women, witches and sacrifice? Perhaps people are hoping to find some information on the various versions that were released (or not released), of which there are at least three – that being the first cut, Gordon’s cut and the one used for The Witching itself. The review was written in 2014 and it continues to draw people in, though it is by no means a film that should attract that much attention, but it does continue to rank at the top of The Telltale Mind’s film review list, drawing in higher numbers than anything else. Again, as to why, it is a mystery, especially considering when taken into context against the larger body of films that are represented on the site – some better and some far worse. From Roger Corman’s most terrible movies to Universal’s best, from giant creatures to 80s slashers, there is a lot to peruse through, but for some reason, The Witching is the film that draws in more traffic than any other.         While I do not usually pay attention to traffic as I review things simply for my pleasure, it was a surprise to discover just how well that the review of The Witching does, especially considering it was written five years previous. An eye-opening experience and overall, simply interesting to see just what it is that people in general like to read about.

Let’s keep the party going,shall we? Next up as we Brian Skutle who writes the blog “Sonic Cinema” which combines his love of film and music. I had to hurry to get him included in the Round Table as the pro football season almost here and being that Brian is a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan and the cheetah and I root for the Steelers,well….Brian will be cursing me out when the Steelers sweep them AGAIN.

  Going through the recent history for page views at Sonic Cinema, not a lot of big anomalies stand out when it comes to movies. Recent releases? Check. “A Movie a Week” entries? Check. Films discussed on the Sonic Cinema Podcast? Check. Movies that show up on the sidebar for “Brian’s Picks?” Yeah, there are a few of those, as well.
   This month, however, there is an older film that hasn’t been discussed in sometime, where the link has not been shared recently, that people are going to. It is for Andrei Tarkovsky’s feature film debut, “Ivan’s Childhood.” The film was reviewed back in 2011 as part of “A Movie a Week,” and was discussed in 2018 on the podcast in an episode about Tarkovsky’s work, but it is a film I didn’t grade high enough for it to make its way onto “Brian’s Picks” (though I do recommend it), and it’s not a film I bring up often when it comes to Tarkovsky.
    It is part of The Criterion Collection, so it’s possible people are looking up the film on IMDb, and following the link to my review, in which case, I’m glad Criterion is keeping the film alive, and people are searching my words out to discover it.

The film, if you are not familiar with it, is the story of a Russian boy who ingratiates himself with the Russian army during WWII after his mother is killed. There are moments of the stark reality of war along with visions that put us in the emotionally complex world Ivan lives in now. These images are sometimes flashbacks, but sometimes may not have anything in particular to do with Ivan’s story, but fill an emotional void in the story; in his book, Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky called these “poetic linkages,” and it’s a narrative device he used throughout his seven features over his 25 year career. Criterion’s restoration of the film is striking and beautiful and essential viewing if you’re a fan of foreign cinema, Tarkovsky, or even war films.

I’m not sure why my review of “Ivan’s Childhood” is finding new readers, eight years after it was written, and a year and a half after I discussed Tarkosvky on the podcast, but if I can help bring the Russian master’s cinema to film fans through my words, I’m certainly not going to complain about it.

Up next is one of my favorite film buffs is Joe Martin who writes his blog “Toxic Fletch“when he can. Joe is smart,a bit snarky but he does love his films. I had several good discussions with him about various aspects of film and I have learned quite a bit from him.

Web traffic and “visits” are not always what they appear to be. As a matter of fact they are more often not what they appear to be. Visits to a website are one of two things; human beings or web bots. At the core, whether consisting of flesh and blood or code, is basically the same reason for visiting one’s blog.. curiosity.
   Having worked on websites, blogs and forums for over 15 years, in the earlier days many assumed their web traffic consisted of real people finding and reading their content. We weren’t that interesting. In reality a lot of web traffic comes from web bots, small web scripts which cull content from websites either for use by a search engine or to use on another website to drive traffic to that site.
   Bots are attracted to content like flies are to honey. Most times the reason is simply because it is trending and either a search engine is going to benefit from being up to date in having that content deliver to people looking for it, or a site is going to benefit from taking from other sites to bring visitors to their site and forcefeed ads on those visitors. Then.. there’s that content that makes no sense as to why it is getting so many visits.     “Night Kaleidoscope” is Grant McPhee’s surrealist and psychedelic vampire film. Not even close to your standard vampire film it drops the viewer into a world of visceral metaphor; not being just another vampire film but forging its own genre for which it is the template. Up front, it is one of the longest reviews I have on my blog, perhaps only second to “Ballerina I’m Not” which weighs in at 2200 words plus.
   A long review of course gives plenty of bait for search engines and other bots. Trying to figure out what it is that attracts bots to a particular review is easier when it is a mainstream film with an actor who may be trending or have a fan following. An indie film is not so easy to figure out, and sometimes, as in the case of Night Kaleidoscope, a reason is not so easily found. Night Kaleidoscope is my most viewed review.
   My review of John Schneider’s “Anderson Bench” which was linked to from John Schneider’s social media accounts and fan pages for Dukes of Hazzard which garnered it more than 1500 views in a single day was surpassed by Night Kaleidoscope. And Night Kaleidoscope maintains a top ten position in views on my blog. What is particularly strange about the views Night Kaleidoscope gets is it would regularly get a rush of views if I tweeted a link to it on Twitter, and those views largely came from Canada, even though it`s a Scottish film. Maybe Canucks are really into psychedelics and shrooms.

So while getting some major traffic to some obscure films is pretty strange-what would you do if the reverse happened? You write a blog on two very prolific directors that would seem to scream “READ ME” but for some reason,readers must have missed the memo. 
   This is exactly what happened to our next guest,John Charet. Now where as everyone I have talked about has written about weird obscure or forgotten cult gems,John is a serious film expert. In fact I will say his blog, “Cinematicoffee” is the place to go for a film education. 
  Of all the writers I asked for this Round Table,I was most worried about John saying “No” because he writes seriously about serious films and film makers. But he stepped forward like a champ and shared this,a pair of blogs that should’ve attracted a large audience but came up a little dry. 

Well Michael, you may be surprised to learn that I actually never really pay attention to the traffic on my site regarding the number of views my posts get. Nevertheless, I do focus on the amount of likes and replies I get concerning a blog entry of mine. Considering that a majority of my blog entries have focused on lists regarding how I rank the best work of a filmmaker I consider to be one of the greats, those never really get a lot of attention compared to those focusing mainly on paragraph driven reviews or interviews. Only very recently have I dedicated my blog to film reviews, which goes all the way back to fall of 2017
  When it comes to the former, I have to say that I am amazed nobody commented on my blog entry regarding my favorite films of director Wes Anderson. I did get two likes on that one, but no comments sadly (read here). I got both one like and reply with my blog entry concerning my favorite films of director Paul Thomas Anderson, but I really expected more on that one too (read here). Based on the huge following these two filmmakers have, I would have, at the very least, expected more likes If anything else.

Yeah,I am stilled shocked at that….John recently invited me over to a blog he co-hosted with another film buff Cindy Bruchman on the films of Robert Altman .
The last time I checked,it well over a 100 comments and climbing,to think his pair of Anderson entries didn’t draw is something else.

Last but certainly not least is a return visit from my fellow creature/indie film pal Jim Morazzini who writes the blog “Voices From The Balcony“. If anyone knows what I’m talking about in terms of obscure films drawing crazy traffic,it would be Jim. Jim also popped up in our first Round Table on the Dark Universe.

 

I was going to write about The Mummy Reborn, the film that powered Voices From The Balcony to it’s two biggest days. But It’s a really awful film and I’d rather talk about a much better one, one that continues to keep popping up in the site’s most read stats a year and a half after the review went up. 
   Lady Psycho Killer  is a delightfully funny film about a college student who’s decision to lose her virginity leads to a trail of bodies. The fact she seems to keep getting hit on by absolute creeps just makes the killings all the more fun.
   There’s a great cast, lead by Kate Daly in her only role with supporting performances from Malcolm McDowell, Ron Jeremy and Michael Madsen. And a script that balances horror, comedy and coming of age story elements nicely. 
  It’s not a film I often see mentioned, but given the constant flow of hits on the review it’s still getting people’s interest. And that’s a good thing.

 

If you made it this far,the cheetah and I thank you so much…..

Who what movie of mine sparked this Round Table? We have to go back to the FOURTH review I did,a low budget film from The Asylum called “Mercenaries“.
I posted it on my old blog back in 2015 and then reposted it on this blog in 2017. I didn’t think  much about as I thought most folks would go the other blog via search engines and when I only 16 views in 2017,I shrugged it off. The next got even less,a grand total of 12 views for all of 2018. That is perfectly normal….I still promote the entry because I liked the cast and thought the movie was a hoot plus I was still cutting my teeth in writing review.
But then 2019 pops up and starting with January,the traffic begins to start building,I didn’t pay any attention to it until March when the traffic doubled….that caught my eye.
I was trying to figure it out,was it the cast?  I mean its a pretty cool one…..and they are all still alive (thank heaven) but when I set a traffic high last month,I started looking at other older entries and what do you know,this was happening to several of my older reviews. I am not complaining but what a interesting trend to see…..

Alright,let me get out of here…..feel free to leave feedback and if you are a blogger,have you ever had this this happen to you? If so,please share your experience with a comment below!

 

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16 thoughts on “The Round Table #3 – Blast From the Past

  1. Great Round Table post and yes, I would like to thank you Michael for encouraging me to participate in this blog entry 🙂 All of the other people and their sites mentioned on here now has me interested in checking out those links 🙂 I also love it that you mentioned my collaboration with blogger Cindy Bruchman 🙂 One thing I love about all of these guests you had is that they all seem to love horror films as much as you and I 🙂 Two comments that I did not expect, but pleasantly got from you were under two blog entries regarding my favorite films of Paul Verhoeven and Walter Hill respectively. Speaking of the latter, I thought it was pretty awesome that you have seen a lot of Hill’s work 🙂 I shall read your blog entry on Mercenaries right now and keep up the great work as always 🙂

    P.S. Once again, I had a great time with this Round Table discussion 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, after reading that, I still don’t know why these view spikes happen. My take is a viewer likes something posted recently. They like it so much they go back to look at previous posts. I do that with writers. If they write something I like in 2019, I’ll go through the archives for more, as far as it goes for their work. In your case, I think you are becoming popular and followers are searching to see what you posted on films they liked in the past.
    Or it could be something else…..who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for including my, Michael! This was a fun little fact-finding mission and it’s interesting to see all the different types of movies and blogs included here.

    Oh, and it’s cute that you think Pukesburg is going to be sweeping us anytime in the near future. 😉 #DawgCheck

    Liked by 1 person

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