Sunday, December 28, 2008
Back in September or so, I found a Border's gift card under the seat of my car. I have no idea where the card came from, but it was worth $30. I decided I would spend it on something really stupid. I found what I was looking for in a boxed set of 100 horror movies called "Bloody Nightmares". This set combines two previously released 50 movie boxes: "Decrepit Crypt of Nightmares" and "Tomb of Terror". Mill Creek has been releasing these 50 movie DVD packs for awhile now, and for the money they are a good buy if you are a crap movie addict with just a touch of sadomasochism in your mental ingredients. Many of these films, even in some of the "better" collections like "Chilling Classics" and "Drive In Movie Classics" are definitely in the "so bad they're good" category. But this one hundred movie diarrhea explosion of amateur level horror movies takes a special kind of viewer. A viewer who loves pain, and drinks heartily to quench that pain. A viewer with iron resolve, iron will and an iron beer gut.
All 100 of these films represent below the bottom of the barrel video swill. Some of them are so amateurish and crappy that they make movies I made with my friends in my backyard when I was 13 look like Cecil B. DeMille. I will say that basically none of these movies merit recommendation, but I will share my experience for future generations of self destructive film critics and also to show my readership exactly how very serious I am about my art and how ready I am to suffer for it. This is the ultimate in cinematic self sacrifice, the film critic's version of kamikaze.
(Author's Note: This entry will be added to as I wade my way through this sea of cinematic sewage, new entries will appear as I continue to torture myself with these horrendous movies.)
The very first film I watched out of this buttload of crap films turned out to be one of the best. As it started, I sighed with the usual "why am I doing this to myself" feeling of regret as soon as I saw the cut-rate video and sound quality. Strangely enough, however, the film grabbed me. The pacing is decent, and it turns out to be a very sick and disturbed little chunk of homemade horror. The gore effects are extremely well done for the seemingly non-existent budget. Some of the stuff in here was actually so gross that it made me feel nauseous. If you are stupid enough to buy the "Tomb Of Terrors" box set, this is the best film in there. And, while it is horrendous, it stands head and shoulders above the rest of the garbage it is packaged with.
This is unwatchable crap about a demon strain of alien DNA or something. It stars a bunch of fat dorks and a bunch of strippers and Brinke Stevens. The demon stripper girls can only get turned on when they see blood, sounds like an entertaining premise, right? No entertainment is to be found here. This is horrible.
Soul of the Demon
This one turned out to be a goofy bit of early 90s/late 80s fun. Definitely of the "so bad its good" category. The main characters are a bunch of lame rockers who have some amazing dialog. There is one awesome broham who gets killed way too early. He has some amazing lines and has to be heard to be believed. He walks in late to a seance party his mulleted friends are having with a six pack and some pizzas. He says "Did you guys conjure up any evil spirits? Pinhead? Jason? Chucky? If they had known we had pizza, they might have stayed and partied with us! Brew-ha anyone?" Incredible. Definitely one of the most entertainingly bad films to be had in the "Tomb Of Terrors" box. Actually has some good gore, as well.
Redneck County Fever
This film contains no gore, no hot girls in bikinis screaming in prison and basically nothing to make it stand alongside the other splatterfests it is packaged with. Well, maybe the fact that it was shot on a camcorder and is really bad makes it a suitable addition to the "Tomb of Terrors". This film is about two jerks in Zubaz who get lost in a rural Texas town. The film is neither funny or exciting in any way, but for some strange reason is sort of palatable. At only 60 minutes, it doesn't outstay its welcome, but unless you are really hungover and have nothing to do, like when I watched it, those 60 minutes will most likely feel like they were robbed from you.
Slasher (1987) This is a strangely re-edited version of "Blood Cult".
This movie was considered Z-Grade when it was released in 1985. Compared to the newer swill in these box sets, it looks incredible. This version of the 85 film is from 1997, and among the many crappy re-edits that are supposed to hide the fact that it is in fact an older movie, the sound cuts out for the last half hour. Not that it was that good in the first place. This is a crappy re-edit of a crappy film and thus is extremely crappy. A couple good gore scenes and somewhat professional looking camera work make it look impressive in comparison to the other crap fests in this box set.
Kill Them and Eat Them
More unwatchable crap, this time about mutants terrorizing street people. The theme music is good, and there is some cool old school looking animation, but overall, this is a snooze-fest.
More unwatchable crap, this time about a perverted serial killer clown named "Purvos". This one amazed me by how unattractive all the women were. I passed out within an hour of putting it on.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Let me preface this review with this:
Quentin Tarantino is remaking this film. His version is basically a cousin of this one, and not a straight-out remake. That said, I've wanted to see this movie ever since reading a post "Kill Bill" interview with Tarantino where he said he was working on his World War II project. The group of misfits teaming up for a dangerous mission film has been done many times, most famously in "The Dirty Dozen" . I thought that this film was just a cheapjack Italian rip off of The Dirty Dozen, and I'm a huge fan of that film, so I was actually a little apprehensive about buying its new fancy pants DVD incarnation. Luckily, it was in the movie store and I plopped down my change for a rental.
I immediately knew that this was much more than a cheap Dirty Dozen remake. This movie is awesome. It hits the ground running and never slows down. That said, let me talk about something way more boring: Schlitz. The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous with "Just A Kiss Of The Hops". Its really not very good. I never liked it, even when I wore cans of cheap ass beer like war medals in college. I always thought it was crappier than Hamm's and Pabst. And it is. But now, it holds some good memories. During my stint as a lobsterman, me and the Captain would head to the Squealing Pig for burgers after getting off the boat. The burgers are delicious there, but the beers are very expensive. Except for Schlitz. Three bucks for a tall can, sign us up. That first thirst quenching beer after a long hard day on the sea is great. That said, it tastes like butter and corn. And it really isn't that good. But, I like it these days.
So, I settled in with my Schlitz tall can and watched this obscure classic. Its about a group of deserters, murderers and thieves who are on their way to prison and execution in 1944 France. On the way there, a German fighter plane attacks the transport. This is a great sequence, with the guards holding the prisoners at gun point, while the fighter plane is raking the truck with bullets. The prisoners are getting shot at by the Germans and the Americans at the same time. The survivors escape, under the leadership of badasses Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson. The action never stops, as the Americans and Germans are their enemies. This is brilliant material for Tarantino to sink his teeth into. A movie where the heroes are bad guys in World War II France, just trying to get out alive with their freedom. It definitely has anti-war undercurrents. I think I actually like this film more than "The Dirty Dozen". There is way more action, and the characters are interesting because they are fighting for self-preservation, not for duty or country. This is slam bang, balls to the wall action fun right from the gate until the final frame. And its got such a great name. Looking forward to Quentin's interpretation. Three great movies in two days, the movie God is smiling on me this week. Final thoughts: this movie is extreme fun and Schlitz is garbage, but I like it.
I thought this movie looked kind of crappy. I mean, the first one was cheesy fun, and Tom Jane was excellent as Frank Castle, so I was a little disappointed to see some new guy filling Franky's big black boots. The only thing bad about the first one was John Travolta, but he was the bad guy, so you get to root for his death. I wish Travolta died a violent and horrible death in every movie he was ever in, even "Saturday Night Fever". He and his other space buddy Tom Cruise are basically the modern definition of the term "douchebag". But, I digress. When my good friend and harsh critic Mr. Tim Castle, husband of Mrs. Jill Castle, said it was "punishing....and good." I was surprised. I expected to hear "cheesy but fun" or something like that. "Punishing and good, eh?" I thought while steering my car through the urban blight of Somerville and Cambridge (not! Nice areas.) on my way to the depressing looking Cambridge Entertainment Cinemas.
First off, some great trailers were played. The new "Friday the 13th" is coming out on Friday, February 13th, 2009. Though I am not a fan of re-makes, I am a huge fan of Jason. And I guess these days you gotta take your Jason however those bastards in Hollywood want to serve him up. "The Spirit" looks like it could be either horrible or really incredible. I'm hoping the latter, as it was a great comic book and Frank Miller is at the helm of the film. There is a really crappy looking remake of "My Bloody Valentine", not really a classic in its own right, but guess what? It's in 3D! That makes it a must-see right there.
I don't want to give anything away about "Punisher: War Zone" because I hope people go and see it. If you are a fan of the comic book, the first movie, hell even the 1989 one with Dolph, you will love it. Where this movie really excels is the violence department. This gets the comic book just right, which is ultra-violent. It doesn't have much of Garth Ennis's pitch black humor, but it's definitely got all the exploding heads fans of the comic will need to stay interested. I really hope they make more of these films. Hell, Ray Stevenson is no Tom Jane, but he looks the part and nails the character. Dominic West, better known as drunk ass cop Jimmy McNulty from the "The Wire" is great as Jigsaw, the main villain. Hell, Newman is even in the thing!
This might ruffle some feathers, but I liked this film even more than the 2004 version, of which I am a giant fan. So, that should give you an idea of how awesome it is. AND, I was drinking 40s of Olde English with the Castles at the 2004 big screen release. I was sober this time. That is saying something. When you go see a movie by yourself on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, sober, and can say it was a better film than the hootin' and hollerin' good time you had with good friends movie-drinkin', that means its really good. I give it my highest recommendation for fans of hardcore, good old fashion movie vengeance! If any Hollywood execs are reading this, of which I'm sure all of them are, start work on a sequel!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I've heard about this movie for a long time. Its an ultra rare (it sells on used VHS for $300 on Amazon) documentary by Gary Weis, originally released in 1979. Weis actually worked on Saturday Night Live and this was his side project, an intense, down to earth look at the embattled South Bronx of the 1970s. The Bronx in the 1970s was an incredible place. There will most likely never be another place like it again, as long as zombies, a plague or nukes don't decimate a major American metropolis. This is where hip hop was born, and it was the most ghetto of ghettos.
Miraculously, a video store in Boston (I won't say which one, because I don't want anyone stealing it and selling it on ebay), had this movie on the shelf. On the way home, I stopped into a liquor store for some whiskey. Little liquor stores in Boston really don't have great selections of booze, by and large. I might have to take a road trip to Kappy's to get something interesting. I decided on the blandest of the bland tonight, and went with Seagram's 7. There is really no way to describe Seagram's 7 in a positive light. I mean, sure, its "smooth", but it also has basically no flavor. For a dollar more a bottle, Evan Williams actually tastes like whiskey. Seagram's 7 tastes like whiskey flavored spring water. The little flavor it does have is syrupy and sweet, which leads me to believe that it gets its brown whiskey color from caramel sweeteners. There is little to no body, the whiskey is thin and slippery. I like my girls, and my whiskey, with the boom. I would say this is the Kate Moss of whiskeys, but she's actually really pretty, once you get past the visible ribs and chicken legs. I guess its just the cheap, really skinny girl with no personality of whiskeys.
I settled down with my nondescript whiskey to finally see this movie. I won't lie to you, I was psyched. I'm a huge hip hop person, and this movie is more hip hop than hip hop. These are the real gangsters, the real streets that all rap came from and that today's kids emulate. The locations, the interviews, the music, even the stuff they wear provides a fascinating glimpse into the South Bronx. The gangs interviewed are the Savage Skulls and the Savage Nomads. We meet the leaders of both gangs (Hollywood for the Skulls and Crazy Joe for the Nomads). We also meet several active members of both gangs, like D.S.R., Outlaw Manny, Frankenstein, Jamal and Fly. There are interviews with female gang members like India and shorty, and ex-female member Evelyn. There are interviews and on the beat footage with Youth Gang Task Force cop Bob Werner, community activist Joan and a former club owner named Heavy.
This is an incredible documentary. It ended after a scant 70 minutes, but easily could have gone on for hours and I would have been just as fascinated. If there has ever been an obscure documentary that screamed louder for the big time fancy loaded with extras DVD treatment, I've yet to hear of it. Where do I begin? This is just the raw, real street shit, from another time and another place. One thing that really amazed me was the overall positivity of the scene. It seemed like hard drugs had yet to really screw these neighborhoods up. That would come a few years later, when crack stepped onto the scene. These kids weren't choir boys, they robbed, fought, killed, raped, pillaged. But the whole community seems to be striving for something better, and the gang members are part of the community. These are just lost kids looking for a home, and the gangs provide them with some semblance of a family.
The cop, Bob Werner, seems to care about the kids, he's not out to harass these kids or screw their lives up any worse than they already are. Conversely, the gang members respect the cops for doing their jobs, and only get pissed off when their friends get sent to jail for crimes they didn't commit. Its a shockingly mature and intelligent stance in this age of SWAT teams and Stop Snitchin. These gang members come across as being very smart, on a whole. There is little false bravado and posturing, when compared to today's wannabe gangsters.
There are literally too many great quotes and scenarios to list in a review. This film definitely is one of the best inner-city documentaries I've ever seen. I give it my highest recommendation, if you can find it. You can definitely find Seagram's 7 anywhere, and I don't recommend it. Unless you like your whiskey really bland. I know that this film is extremely hard to find from my own experience with it, but its a must see.
Here's the first 8 and a half minutes. I think the entire thing's on youtube. That's not the same as finding the real VHS, though.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis's cheesy 1970 gorefest is a completely horrendous piece of shit. I don't want to waste too much bandwith talking about it, it already stole nearly 2 hours of my life from me. Its basically an example of everything wrong with modern filmmaking, from crappy CGI, hipster shilling ("Featuring The Suicide Girls!"), horrible music and nonstop hooks. A movie just can't be one thing anymore, it has to be 20 things. This film had 5 producers, and I imagine that had something with its scattershot, try for everything and fail at everything style. I will save my review of Korbel Brandy for another review, because I honestly don't want this piece of garbage taking up too much space in my blog. I will say that Crispin Glover is the only reason to watch it, but even he isn't in it enough. Easily the worst film I've seen in a long, long time. Insulting to fans of the original and fans of Crispin Glover. It sucks that the genius who did this would lend his talent to such a inferior film.
After "Don't Panic", I was on a role with these Mexican Horror movies, so I decided to delve deeper into my "Horror From South of the Border" box set and watched "Cementerio Del Terror". As the credits rolled and the ominous kettle drum/dissonant piano stab/low growling synth music played, I was excited to see that this was, in fact, another Ruben Galindo Jr. film! I immediately liked this film. You know how a certain smell can evoke vivid memories? Like when you're spray painting some apples gold for your holiday centerpiece and it reminds you of the times in your life when you huffed spray paint on the streets, servicing Johns under a bridge with BJ's, HJ's and ZJ's to support your habit? Well, there is a certain type of grainy film stock that does that for me. I can't smell it, obviously, but if I could, I imagine it would smell like dreams. Which is what Ron Howard's jizz smells like.
But that's besides the point. The point is, as soon as this flick started and I saw that grainy film stock and those deep, garish 80s colors, I knew I liked it. Even though this film is from 1985, it could easily be from 1980 or even the 70s. If it wasn't for one character's awesome Michael Jackson circa Thriller jacket and a few of the hairstyles, I would have guessed that this film was no newer than 1982.
This movie has three main storylines. One traces a doctor who wants to have a famous Satan worshipper named Devlon's body cremated. The other involves some jerky young medical students and their dates. The third involves some kids out trick or treating who want to take a "courage test" in the cemetery. How do these three different threads connect? Welp, without giving too much away, a cop and the doctor go to the morgue to get Devlon's body to cremate, but the jerky med students have already stolen it to play a joke on their dates. The jerky med students invited their dates to a "super" "jet set" party which was never going to happen. They made it up as a cheap scam to get some action. They take the ladies to a creepy abandoned house hoping for a make out party. The ladies aren't enthused, and won't make out. One of the jerky med students, who is wearing an incredible ski jacket, decides to wander around the house. He finds a giant black book that says "DEVLON" on the front. He starts reading it and is excited that its all creepy and shit. He tells the other jerky med students that they should scare the hell out of the girls because then they will come running right into their arms.
So, they go and inadvertently steal Devlon's corpse and hold a black mass in the graveyard. During the black mass, they keep chanting "its the sixth day of the sixth month!" Uh, so is Halloween on June 6th in Mexico? The cop and the doctor show up to grab Devlon's body to cremate it and it ain't there. The doctor freaks out and steals the cop's car and drives around looking frantic. After the black mass in the graveyard with the stolen corpse, for some strange reason, the jerky med students' dates are totally in the mood. A couple of them are listening to some great make out jams on a transistor radio. They apparently can't make out without it, because as Devlon's reanimated corpse approaches the house, the signal gets fuzzy. I don't want to give too much away, but Devlon tears some shit up, literally. His main weapon is his claws.
The trick or treater kids are doing their courage test thing in the cemetery, and zombies start popping up everywhere. In what must be a Rubin Galindo staple, all the zombies look like the zombies from Thriller, just not as good. I hate to dis children, but these kids are extremely stupid. There are tons of moments where they run the complete wrong way when fleeing a zombie. Like, the exit from the house in on the left, a zombie enters the scene from the camera's position and they run to the right.
The crazy doctor finds the kids and helps them by punching the zombies. These are really wimpy zombies. They can be defeated by a doctor who looks like Zach Galifinakis. I mean, its not like Zach doesn't look tough or anything, but you know what I mean. There is a super surprise ending that I can't give away, so I'll end this review like this. I liked this movie, It is dumb, and cheap but it is also fun. One fun thing about it is how off alot of the timing is. An actor reacts to something a little too late here and there, and sometimes the camera lingers on a scene well after the action is over. Its fun garbage. I mean, I took a melatonin with a half hour left and I still stayed awake for the whole thing. That's saying something.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
After the week-long party that was Thanksgiving, my 10 year high school reunion and many smaller reunions of old friends, I decided to take a much deserved night off from the hooch. I also have to take a drug test for my new job tomorrow, and I thought that maybe showing up for it not smelling like a distillery would help make a good, albeit false impression for my new employer. I drank some cranberry juice, took some milk thistle and watched "Don't Panic", or "Dimensiones ocultas" as it is known in its native land. Its part of my "Crypt of Terror" Mexican horror box set.
This film was written and directed by Ruben Galindo Jr., making it what we film buffs call a "vehicle", a Ruben Galindo Jr. "Vehicle". I like to think this blog is educational and informative. Turns out that three of his other movies are included in my box set. Hooray. The film is also somewhat of a Jon Michael Bischof "vehicle", as he is the main star and he wrote and performed the film's ultra cheesy titular (I love that word) theme song. Jon Michael is deserved of praise, not only for his excellent name, his excellent curly mullet or the fact that he's supposed to be 17 years old and runs around in his dinosaur pajamas for most of this film, but for the fact that he apparently recorded the theme song on a Fisher Price tape recorder. There are backup singers, keyboards, all sorts of things going on in that song. It must have been hard to get all that together with no multi tracking and just that little plastic microphone.
Jon Michael plays a kid named Michael whose friends give him a Ouija board for his 17th B Day. The way his friends repeatedly say "Michael" when they talk to him reminds me of Stella (who I'm going to see live a week from Friday!!!) As in all 80s horror movies, the teenagers look like they are 30. Michael's love interest looks like Naomi Russell with a bad unibrow. Don't ask me how I know who she is, we bloggers are just very intuitive with all aspects of pop culture. And big ole butts.
At night, Michael starts having visions of bloody murders and when he opens his eyes, the pupils are huge. Turns out that these murders are really happening and his friend Tony is committing them, because he has been possessed by Virgil, who is actually the devil. So there are some bloody murders while Michael runs around in his dino jammies trying to stop them. The gore, violence and weird imagery isn't exactly mind-blowing, but there's enough of it to keep you awake. As Tony turns into more and more of a zombie, he looks like a zombie from "Thriller".
The ending is extremely downbeat, until they lash some dimestore spirituality on at the end to try and perk it up. The film is really not that great, nor is it too bad to not be bad/good. Its basically bad/good but won't blow you away. And furthermore, Cranberry juice is tasty, even without vodka in it.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
IE: "I really enjoyed the Spring Jam at the Smith College Quad, but some of the more butch singer songwriters were amping up the mendiss."
By far the best captcha I've gotten recently was "manhoss". That is so evocative and has real personal relevance for me. "Hoss" is a Cape Cod slang word for a, well hoss guy. Something that is hoss is something big, strong, burly. Shop kids who wear construction boots, flannels and drive big trucks. The truck itself could be described as hoss.
Upon doing a google image search for "hoss", this pic came up.
This guy's name is Hoss Lickfield, and I would say his name suits him. He is hoss.
So, leave comments, please.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Oh Dolph Lundgren. Forever immortalized as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, he seemed poised to be the next giant Aryan, lantern jawed action hero in the action hero frenzy of the 80s. He was He-Man AND The Punisher, but he just never really blew up, he was never the next Arnold. Arnold has a surprising degree of wit and even self-parody in even his most dyed in the wool 80s actioners, and that is what made him more than just another hunk of man-meat, and arguably, it is what made him the governator of California today. Dolph has no humor to his roles, and I say it is because he is a Swede. Nothing against the Swedish people, they made Saabs and meatballs and are by and large an incredibly gorgeous group of people. They are not really known for their humor, however. I mean, neither are the Austrians, but I imagine Hitler had some interesting parlor tricks and witty anecdotes up his sleeves. I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid!
I hopped over to Woody's Liquors tonight and bought some Poland Sering vodka. Forever I thought this stuff was called Poland Spring, then my friends pointed out to me one night that the 'p' is actually a lower case 'e'. Poland Sering, what it means to rip off the logo and name of a water company from Maine. Poland Sering is gross, really gross vodka. Even in my spicy as hell bloody mary, you can taste the funk through the heat on the first couple of gulps. But, like a good Russian and a better drinker, I soldiered on, much like Dolph would have to do to survive the many dangers that await him in "Red Scorpion". (I'm not Russian, and that last sentence blows.)
I knew I was going to like this movie when Dolph got hammered on vodka in the opening scene and went on a rampage in Africa. The Spetsnaz send Dolph to Africa to help the Cubans quell the revolts of a local revolutionary. Dolph wakes up in Africa, sweating balls, and rinses his mouth with vodka. He then rubs vodka on his neck and giant pecs. He stumbles through the village and enters a bar. There, he beats the living hell out of a bunch of people and starts singing some Russian song while slamming vodka out of the bottle and throwing people hither and yon. The troops run in to stop him and he beats the piss out of them, steals one of their AKs and starts shooting shit up. More troops come in, and another big man, the late great Brion James is the guy that finally takes the giant drunk maniac down.
This opening sequence is great, and is up there with all the best drunken rampage action scenes ever filmed. Dolph gets thrown in the slammer with an African revolutionary fighter and a sweaty reporter played by the excellent character actor M. Emmet Walsh. They eventually break out and their is a slam bag truck/armored vehicle/motorcycle/helicopter chase through the desert. This movie continues the legacy started by "Predator" of people listening to Little Richard to get pumped up for battle. The action sequences in this movie are top-notch and are a reminder of how great action movies were before CGI. Nowadays, the damn movies look like video games. Before CGI, when a truck blew up, a truck really blew up, and that looks 10 million times better than some animated crap made by a worker drone in George Lucas' dungeon. For further proof of this, watch the first three Indiana Jones films then watch the new one. When you are done crying, puking and punching yourself in the testicles from how horrible the new Indy film is, you will log on to your computer, come back here and leave a comment saying "damn, you was right!"
As Dolph, the revolutionary and M. Emmet Walsh wander the desert, it becomes apparent that Walsh hates Dolph because he is a "commie Red"! There is one great scene where they are all sitting around the fire and Dolph asks Walsh if all Americans swear as much as he does. Walsh replies "In America, we can swear whenever, wherever and however much we damn well fuckin' please! Its a little thing we call freedom of speech!" He then gets up and says he'll take 'first watch'. As he stomps off into the night he says "Fuck! Shit! Piss! Shit!" M. Emmet Walsh is basically the non-blood, non-explosion, non-drunk Dolph highlight of the film. There are some lulls in the film, as a bushman teaches Dolph the ways of the locals. The tribesmen give Dolph a scorpion tattoo, basically the same one I have. If you are a Scorpio, you need to have a scorpion tattoo, its just the way. Scorpios are notorious wackjobs and weirdos, etc. Whatever, I have the same birthday as Ol Dirty Bastard and I'm damn proud of that. Anyway, once he's been tatted by the tribesmen, Dolph throws his dogtags into the desert and becomes a full-on revolutionary fighter for the locals.
My notes say "Boring for like 15 mins, then shit starts blowin up!"
The ending sequence is more top notch action, with explosions, shootings and hand to hand combat galore. This is not the greatest movie ever, and there are about 15 or 20 boring minutes in it, but almost every other minute in the film is highly enjoyable action or M. Emmet Walsh swearing or both. So, with that, I say pour yourself a nice tall vodka drink and settle in for a mostly damn fun movie. Glasnost ruled.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I blame this woman for dozens of failed relationships. How can any girl in the real world ever measure up to Jem?
I don't care what anyone says, Joan Jett is the hottest non-Jem girl ever.
"Howard the Duck" was an incredibly horrible, misguided 80s film, but I'll be damned if Leah Thompson isn't a beauty of epic proportions:
^ Click on lame Duck pic to see severely hot, life ruining Leah Thompson.
We could go on here, but honestly, I'm just trying to rack up points on my blog. Its a chicken and the egg question, I guess...was I always a wackjob or did Jem make me a wackjob? Some mysteries will never be explained.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My life is like SOOOO weird! OMG, LOL, ROTFL, TTYL, WYLITATALIY (When You Look Into The Abyss The Abyss Looks Into You). Nah, but the last entry I wrote for this damn blog was about "Gymkata". Soon after writing that entry, I went on a spirit journey to Halifax, Nova Scotia, a trip that was incredibly fun and nearly got me landed in the slammer. But that's another story, for another time. On the way up to Nova Scotia, I pulled off the highway somewhere near Portland, Maine to take a leak or get some gas or take a gas or get some leak or something. As I was driving to wherever I was going, I noticed a little, old timey (if you consider the 80s 'old timey') video store. I pulled in on impulse, thinking that they most likely had some old VHS tapes for sale used for cheap. They had a couple racks and some definite great finds. One tape didn't have the sleeve, just the clear rental case. It was from 1981, from Media Home Entertainment and was Rated R. It was called "Force: Five" and for a buck and a quarter I figured it was worth the gamble.
Flash forward a week. (My blog is pretty intense with all these personal recollections and flash forwards and flash backs and shit. Its like Quentin Tarantino on acid.) I'm watching "Force: Five" and drinking me some damn Old Crow bourbon. It occurs to me that tons of people in this silly kung fu action flick were also in "Gymkata". So, as I sit down to write this blog entry. Here I sit under God, and I look up this flick on IMDB to validate the idea that these movies are connected. The same guy that directed "Gymkata" directed "Force: Five" and tons of the same people are in both. Robert Clouse, you really know how to make a shitty karate flick! Wait, after looking at his IMDB page, the guy made "Enter The Dragon"! Holy moses. He went from making a classic to a slew of crappy low budgeters, shit, that's pretty sad. Now, I kind of took awhile getting to that point, but I think its pretty weird. Pick up a movie you've never heard of in a little video store in Maine to review on your little blog and it turns out to be a predecessor to your last reviewed movie.
I definitely think that memory and nostalgia affect opinion. I know that Old Crow isn't a good whiskey to some people. In fact, I've heard many people say that it is in fact, really bad. To me, its gentle flavor is what opened the door for the Eagle Rares, Buffalo Traces and Balvenies of the world for me. It was my first whiskey love, and I love it to this day. Old Crow is best sipped out of a large glass (or better yet, styrofoam cup), with tons of ice. You fill the glass with ice, pour the Crow in about 75% to the top of the ice and let the ice get to the whiskey. The result is a smooth sippin, ice cold drink, best enjoyed very slowly. Drink it like its 2 in the morning and you are hanging out with friends and you want to stay up til at least 4 and there is no more booze at all. In other words: sip it.
Now, ons to the movie. "Force: Five" is in no way a good movie. It makes "Gymkata" look like Oscar material. But, it is definitely goofy, low budget fun with tons of unintentional laughs and one actual intentional laugh. (Which I noted in my notebook: "Intentional Laugh!")
It concerns an evil Asian cult leader who owns an island and courts spoiled, upper crust young people who he then fleeces for their inheritances. He also is a karate master and has a giant army of gi sporting karate warriors. Sort of like a Jim Jones/Symbionese Liberation Army/Han from Enter the Dragon combo meal of a bad guy.
The action is plentiful, though not very gory, except for a bad guy who's head-a-splode. The acting is horrendous all around, but especially with the main star, Joe Lewis, yes Joe Lewis, but not the Brown Bomber. I never thought you could over act the action of pulling a lever, but he does. The movie gets its title from the fact that Joe Lewis recruits five "very special people" (insert retard joke here) to put an end to nefarious shit that is afoot on the cultist island. The movie should really be called "Force: Six" as Joe Lewis is the leader and the aforementioned five are helping him out. But then, it really wouldn't have the brilliant alliteration of "Force: Five". So, I don't know, maybe call it "Society: Six". Pretty lame, but "society" was the only word I could get out of the thesaurus (WHICH I NEVER USE) for "group" that starts with 's'. Let me try looking up "Force". How about "Strong Arm: Six"? I like that, and its more accurate than the actual title.
I don't want to give too much away, because I'm sure that my minions of readers will go and watch this movie, but at the end its revealed that the cult leader has magical powers, which he uses in a battle with Joe Lewis.
Overall, a pretty crappy movie, but its full of action and goofy fun. Definitely an okay flick to watch while sipping some delicious Old Crow.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I've heard about "Gymkata" for years. I remember seeing it in the store back in the day, but even as a kid it looked a little lame to me. I mean, a gymnast action movie? As an adult I have sought it out, but never "lucked" out and found it at the exact moment when I had the money to buy and I was in the mood to buy it. That moment when the stars aligned just so and Gymkata and I were inexorably drawn to one another. That moment occurred this past summer while one of the greatest video stores on earth, Video Galaxy XVI was closing in Yarmouth. Video Galaxy towered above Route 28, which runs through Yarmouth like some sort of cancerous growth. In fact, it was located right across that evil thoroughfare from a McDonalds and a Blockbuster Video. In an example of bullheaded stubbornness, sticktoitiveness or a combination of these traits, the owner of the Galaxy refused to fold when the evil Blockbuster moved into town. That shitty company claimed the lives of the best video stores in my home town of Orleans: Video Empire and East Orleans Video, so I love to see people fighting back.
I first entered Video Galaxy in the summer of 2003, a summer where for whatever reason, I watched alot of movies. I would drive the 20 minutes from Orleans to Yarmouth to RENT movies from this place. That's how good the selection was. All the titles were faced sideways and the shelves went from the floor to like 10 feet in the air. You had to get up on something to reach the top two shelves. It was one of those now scarily rare video stores that had opened in the early to mid 80s during the VHS boom and had purchased damn near every video ever released. They had stuff in there that I've never seen anywhere except recently on places like the excellent Critical Condition website.
This place was really classic, and sadly, it recently closed. They were doing fine business, but the owner, who was a really cool old guy, was just too old to run it anymore and nobody would buy the business from him. Finally the slime buckets from Gotcha Video, a porn shop, bought it. I don't call them slime buckets because they ran a porn shop, they were just really slimy, gross guys. Anyways, they bought it and started selling off the inventory. I thought they would try to turn it into a giant porn shop, but they just wanted to sell all the movies and close it up.
I believe they started selling the inventory in March, I didn't find myself in there till around April, and even though it had already been picked over, there was still enough great stuff in there that I would go up every two weeks or so and buy like 10, 15 videos. I'm still getting through them.
I guess that just recently the place finally closed its doors. I would just like to say R.I.P. Video Galaxy XVI, it was the best video store on Cape Cod, and one of the best I've ever been to. At least since the 80s.
So, I settled down to watch "Gymkata" with some PBR last night. There really isn't much to say about PBR that hasn't already been said. I love it. Its cheap and it tastes good. I would like to pull hipster rank and say that I started drinking it way before it was popular. Like 99. People at Umass thought I was fucked up for drinking it, then they found out it was $9 a case and everyone started drinking it. Not saying I'm responsible for its now ubiquitous stance in the "hip" world, but I'd say that I came to the realization that it was delicious and cheap without anyone else telling me that. I was 19 at the time and simply gave my buyer $10 and told her to get the most beer she could for the money. Once I had my first PBR night, I preached it like the gospel. I can remember going to Westfield State and bringing PBR and my friends there thinking I was from another planet.
A beer as good as PBR sells itself, though, its too good for how cheap it is. Its like crack. The first guy that did crack then told everyone how great it was doesn't deserve a trophy. But I do.
Anyways, "Gymkata". I knew that this movie was about a gymnast who does like gymnast/karate, but I wasn't prepared for how totally bizarre it is. The opening has a gymnast doing flips on the high bar in slow motion. It cuts from that to a bunch of Mongolian looking dudes on horses chasing a guy down in slow motion. "Wha?" I asked the TV.
Turns out, the Gymnast and the Mongolians will collide! The Mongolians are actually residents of a place called Parmistan (is that where Chicken Parm was born? Eh? Eh?), a tiny mountain nation in the Hindu Kush range. (Is that where the Purple Kush comes from? Eh? Eh?) Parmistan looks medieval, but the film is set in the current 1985 world. The Parmistinians have something called "The Game" that everyone who enters the country must compete in. The Game consists of the newcomers running through a big obstacle course with ninja looking warriors chasing them. If the newcomer lives, he is granted one request. If he loses, he dies. No foreigner in 900 years has won.
Secret agents want to put a Star Wars station in Parmistan, and they figure a goofy gymnast with a mullet is just the guy to compete in the game. So, we have the inevitable training montage. His trainers are a big black guy and a little Chinese guy. The Chinese guy makes him chop wood, and sits nearby with an eagle (this is never explained and we never see the eagle again), telling him to listen to the sound of the axe cutting the air. As the gymnast gets better, he wears weirder clothes, eventually settling on a sweater that looks like something from a Renaissance fair.
So, once he's good enough, they send him to Parmistan. There is a strong anti-American sentiment, and he and his friends are ambushed. There is a great scene where a group of bad guys are chasing him and he ducks into an alley. There just happens to be a high pole there. So, he jumps up and starts doing gymnast stuff. As he flips around he kicks each bad guy in the face. Then he kicks a guy riding a bike by the alley in the face. It doesn't sound too funny on paper, or whatever they print websites on...air? Circuits? Anyways, its a really funny scene, mainly because the direction in this film is really inept so everything looks goofy.
Finally he makes it to the secret capital of Parmistan where the game takes place and hangs out with the Khan, who just kind of looks like an old Jewish guy with a bad comb-over but wears big fur hats like Genghis Khan. There are some lame plot developments that I won't go into, but I'll say that the Khan's right hand man, Zamir, looks like a buff Kenny Loggins with a rattail. Oh, and there is another bad guy named Thorg who looks awesome. The film goes forward with standard "most dangerous game" action where the ninjas and Zamir hunt down the contestants and the gymnast advances by the skin of his teeth.
The film takes a serious turn towards the bizarre when the gymnast stumbles into a town where Parmistan has placed all of its criminally insane. There is way too much insane imagery and strangeness in this sequence to write about here, but I will say that it makes the entire movie worth watching. One thing worth noting is that in Crazy Town, they have a stone pommel horse in the center of town, which helps the gymnast out quite a bit, because then he can do pommel horse shit and knock twenty people out with his feet.
The gymnast wins the game and gets the princess and that's it. Its an incredibly weird and bad film, but besides the Crazy Town segment, not quite insane enough to get my full recommendation. Still an alright flick to pop a few tops to.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This is a strange, strange film. I continued to chip away at my economy sized jug of Rebel Yell, check the "Firestorm" entry for my full review. I popped in "The Visitor", yet another of my Yarmouth yard sale finds. This film is almost great. It isn't even good, really, but it shoots very high and misses. There are little pockets of coolness here and there, though. The music is very cool, first off.
Author's note: This is the first Fermented Film entry written on my fancy pants new laptop. Its a Mac Book and it cost me a smooth $1300. I also wanted to note that I keep several loaded guns on me at all times, and that this Mac Book is equipped to play "Living La Vida Loca" at top volume endlessly if it is ever stolen. So keep that in mind while you contemplate making the trip all the way to Saskatchewan to steal this fancy pants ass Mac Book. Also, writing a Fermented Film review with my fancy Mac Book poses problems. As I don't write these things in an academic setting,
it will be resting on my lap while I imbibe. This poses
some challenges. I really don't want to spill anything on this damn thing. Well, we'll see. I might have to go back to writing these things on my Game Boy. That is all, now enjoy the
Ninja III: The Domination. 1984, Rated R. Directed by the Venerable Sam Firstenberg.
Olde English 800. 40 Oz. $2.25 at Woody's Liquors, Somerville, Saskatchewan.
Olde English is THE 40. Delicious, smooth and packs that malt liquor punch. This heady brew is responsible for the lives of millions of my brain cells. Baseball has Babe Ruth, Wrestling has Hulk Hogan, Weed has Cypress Hill and Malt Liquor has OE. The 40 for all seasons.
I settled down to finally view the infamous "Ninja III: The Domination" and enjoyed the unmistakeable hiss of my 40 of OE as I cracked the top.
Word to the wise: if a movie is from the years 1983, 1984 and 1985 and its a Golan-Globus production, there is a nine in ten chance that it will be incredible. This film continues the Golan-Globus tradition of excellence and improves upon it. It is quite simply one of the most bizarre, entertaining films I have ever seen. I know I'm getting a little ahead of myself by declaring that right now. But before I can even begin to delve into this mind blowing viewing experience, I have to get that out of my system. This movie is the balls.
It opens with an Asian American guy in a business suit walking into a cave. He opens a glowing rock and it is full of ninja weapons. He suits up and heads to a golf course. The first ten minutes of this movie can only be described as completely amazing. A yuppie guy, apparently a politician, is out golfing with his ladyfriend and a squad of security guys. He slices and hits the ball toward some bushes. The ninja steps out, picks up the golf ball and crushes it in his hand. He beats the hell out of a security guy and thus begins a display of mayhem that rolls for a solid ten minutes. I can't even begin to describe all the great things that happen here. You're better off just watching the clip on youtube. If you can watch this and then not want to see the full movie, you're damaged:
I like how the cop calls in a 10-20, is that cop talk for a ninja massacre at the golf course? Thanks to Jack Melcher for that observation. In fact, Jack, my roommate, walked into the living room midway through this insanity and said he could only watch a couple of minutes of the movie. I rewound it back to the golf ball crushing and he wound up rooted to his chair, watching nearly the entire movie with me.
Meanwhile, hot to def 80s lady Lucinda Dickey (the white girl from "Breakin"!) is nearby, working on a phone pole (!). The dying ninja runs out and basically shoots his soul into her. I really don't want to give too too much of this movie away, as it is some of the most damn fun you'll ever have watching a movie. I really mean that. This movie is one of the pinnacles of modern American cinema. You've got the beautiful Dickey possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja. I can give that much away. Beyond that, the film is pure Gonzo B Movie lunacy, which each scene more absurd than the last. This is a ninja/cute 80s girl/slasher/exorcist/haunted house action horror hybrid that kicks more ass than a donkey.
If I were to do a scene by scene breakdown of all the ridiculous shit in this movie, this review would be the size of War and Peace.
I would hate to sound like I am condoning drinking, as some of my very good friends are sober and have had problems with the hooch in the past. But, do yourself a favor. Find a copy of this movie (which is hard, this classic isn't on Deev yet! It really should be.), settle down with some good friends and plenty of your beverage of choice. I recommend a malt liquor beverage in a large glass jug. Pop this baby in and enjoy the ride. If you know me, hell, even if you don't, get in touch and I will gladly watch this and drink with you. Utmost thanks go to Danny Cashman for letting me borrow this gem from him! Once again, THE king of crap movie collecting has proven his dominance. Mr. Cashman, I salute you.
In closing, this film is incredible, and is a Holy Grail of 80s junk cinema.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Chopping Mall (1986) [R] Directed by Jim Wynorski
Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey $16.99 750 ML at New Hampshire State Liquor Store
I laid low this weekend, trying to defeat a nasty cold. I decided a few sips of Grampa’s Olde Cough Medicine wouldn’t hurt matters. I grabbed a bottle of Tullamore Dew that I had purchased at a New Hampshire state packy and rummaged through a box of videos that I found at an incredible yard sale in Yarmouth. In addition to the box of VHS tapes, I found a talking Freddy Krueger doll, a Miami Vice board game, a book about Ed Gein and a bunch of comic books. All for 10 bucks! There are plenty of obscure horror movies in the box, but I settled on “Chopping Mall”, a film I have seen at least twice before.
The cover of this video used to scare the bejesus out of me when I was a kid. A robotic hand holds a shopping bag full of cut up body parts. The tagline reads “Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg!” IMDB says that this film was originally entitled “Killbots”, and although “Chopping Mall” is a great title, I think the original name suits the film better. The story concerns an ultra modern shopping mall that has lethal robots for security guards. The robot guards go crazy and start killing indiscriminately. Although they have lazer guns, electrocution tazers and little grippy claws, they aren’t equipped with any sort of chopping or slicing apparatus. There are no chain saws or blades in their repertoire. None of their victims actually lose an arm or a leg. So, the tagline, the cover and the title are all quite inaccurate. My personal quibble.
I thought that the pairing of a fine Irish whiskey with a film about killer robot mall cops would be a no brainer. I was halfway right. The Tully, as drunks affectionately call it, is a delicious whiskey. It has less burn than the spicy Bushmill’s and the quite smooth Jameson. There is little to no burn on the way down, but you do feel a fire in your belly upon swallowing. It has a pleasant aftertaste and lacks any real spice. Either I was tired from being sick all day and not doing anything, the Tully is too sublime, or someone slipped me a micky, because I fell asleep with about 15 minutes left in the film. This was about 9 p.m., mind you. I had only had about 2 and a half Tullies on the rocks, but I was knocked out. Well, I’ll review what I was a awake for.
The robots look like some sort of hybrid between the war machines of the future from the first “Terminator”, the Daleks and Kit from “Knight Rider”. They have awesome voices, and like everything futuristic, make neat sounds whenever they move. The film starts with a cool cold opening that turns out to be a promotional film for the guards. It says “The End”, and I almost thought that I had forgotten to rewind the film for a second. A crowd of people are shown in the mall watching the promo. Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov, of the great “Eating Raoul” are in the front row and have some great wisecracks like:
Paul: “They remind me of your mother, it’s the lazer eyes.”
Bartel and Woronov's presence is highly touted on the back cover of the film, but they are sadly only present for about 5 minutes. The real credits begin and we are treated to a “wacky shenanigans at the mall” montage, as clips of well, wacky shenanigans at the mall roll by over some cheesy 80s tunes. It is worth noting that there is a record store in this mall called “Licorice Pizza”. Sounds like something the Ninja Turtles would be into.
We are introduced to a nerdy guy and some cool guys. It isn’t worth mentioning their names, because that’s as far as their characters are developed. They work at a furniture store and the nerdy guy’s uncle owns it. The cool guys convince the nerdy guy to let them have a beer and make out party in the store.
The robot guard’s first victim is a scientist, who apparently supervises them. He likes to pig out, as he mentions that there was a buffet and he just “couldn’t help pigging out.” He then eats a donut that his colleague left lying around. Then he gets killed by the robot guards. I love the somewhat overdeveloped minor, incidental victims in horror movies. They are basically like extras, they appear on-screen for a minute then get killed. But, for some reason, maybe to make it seem more realistic, they are given little quirks. Like the girl who can’t get picked up hitchhiking in “Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter”, who also likes to pig out. She actually dies eating a banana.
Some foxy ladies show up to the beer and make out party at the furniture store and everyone except the nerd and his “date” start making out. Pretty convenient, when you think about it. You have some ladies over to your furniture store for a beer party, and before you know it, those beds are being used for more than sleeping! The dialog is incredible.
Guy: “You smell like pepperoni.”
Girl: “If that’s the way you feel...” She gets out of bed.
Guy: “Wait a second, I like pepperoni!”
Girl: “Well, in that case...” She starts singing and stripping.
And we cut to another couple. The girl walks towards the bed wearing some hot lingerie.
Guy: “Lady, you got a license for that outfit?”
Girl: “Why, no officer! I guess you’ll just have to take me in!” She jumps into bed.
As the nerd and his date try to get over their inhibitions and make out like everyone else, they are interrupted by people making out in the background. A girl yells “Oh God! Oh God! You’re the king!” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that, I’d have.....negative a million dollars.
Meanwhile, the mall is closing up and a janitor starts yelling at one of the robot guards and waving his mop at it. The Killbot (I like that more than “robot guard”, and its easier to type.), shoots a tazer into his mop bucket and electrocutes him. After killing the janitor, the Killbot says “Thank you, have a nice day.” This is funny the first time, but gets way overused throughout the film. There is a close-up of the janitor’s smoking body and a voiceover says “Smoking is bad for your health.” Cut to one of the cool guys and his lady having an argument about her cigarette habit! Genius!
He offers her Camels and she says “No, you know I only smoke Virgin Slims.” Best fake brand of cigarettes. He finally says he’ll go to the cigarette machine and get her some. He walks out to get the smokes and gets killed by a Killbot. Then she goes looking for him, with the camera focusing squarely on her butt. The Killbots start shooting lazers at her. The lazers reminded me of the GI Joe cartoons of my youth. I think they even make the same sound, and some are blue and some are red, just like the Joes and Cobra. This lazer battle was different than the GI Joe battles, however, because one of the lazers blows her head off. The other kids witness it. They realize that they are locked in the mall overnight with the Killbots and decide to arm themselves. They break into “Peckinpah’s Sporting Goods” (!) and get a bunch of guns and propane tanks. One of the cool guys says “Lets go send those fuckers a Rambo-gram!”
As more of the mall is revealed in their walking around, I realized that this was the same mall from the all time classic “Commando”. The mall where Arnold throws a phone booth at some people, beats up a shitload of mall cops and swings on a giant balloon onto an elevator. That mall. I got to thinking, as I sometimes do, that maybe “Commando” is a prequel to this movie. It was made one year earlier, had a sequence in the same mall and featured a crazed bodybuilder decimating its entire mall cop force. Maybe the mall decided to improve its security after that blitzkrieg and went with the Killbots. Even Arnold would have a hard time dealing with these bastards. They are completely bulletproof, and fireproof, as the nerd and the cool guys and the foxy ladies learn the hard way.
Arnold decimates the human mall cops that were later replaced with Killbots.
The movie has some great juvenile logic, like mirrors will reflect the death lazers and shoot them back at the Killbots. One guy’s daring act of self sacrificing courage is to hit a Killbot with a golf cart, thus killing himself and destroying the Killbot. When I passed out, I think only the nerd and his date were still alive. I awoke to the tape ejecting itself after auto-rewinding. My only other viewing note is “Passed out, must be sleeping pills in the Tullamore Dew.”
I then completely woke up, did the dishes, and watched about two hours of “The Kids in the Hall” Season 1, which I found NEW at Newbury Comics for ten bucks! Deal of the century. Considering that I only probably paid about a quarter dollar for “Chopping Mall”, I am really getting away with some steals here! And what a better time for hot deals and savings than with this crappy economy getting crappier.
All in all, “Chopping Mall” is just stupid and gory enough to recommend for a fine drinking and viewing experience. Tullamore Dew is delicious, but after it knocked me out like that, I am wary of it. Also, if in fact “Commando” and “Chopping Mall” are connected, as I highly suspect, then that may have been the beginning of the greatest franchise ever. Each movie is connected only in that they all concern the security force at the same mall. Think about the possibilities! They could have gone the comedy route and had a goofy Police Academy style movie next, or maybe have Arnold return as a one man security force. Damn, the possibilities are sky high.
Misleading trailer! The kids didn't break into the mall! They worked there!
Author's Note: The director of this fine film, Jim Wynorski, apparently went on to specialize in softcore adult fare, and the titles of his newer films are definitely worth mentioning.
... aka Bare Wench III: The Path of the Wicked (USA)
... aka Bare Wench: The Path of the Wicked (USA: DVD title)
... aka Bare Wench 2: Book of Babes (USA)
... aka Book of Babes: Bare Wench 2 (USA: video box title)