Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Twofer Tuesday! The Visitor.

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.  
The opening scene is really bizarre, with cloaked figures hanging out in a really strangely beautiful hell or "other realm".  We cut to a basketball game.  A young Lance Henriksen has a basketball team: the "Atlanta Rebels".  They are playing the San Francisco "Miners".   He's watching the game with his beautiful girlfriend, played by Joanne Nail.   A reporter asks Lance where his money comes from, and he evades the question.  Finally, he says "god."  A little girl with dope stunner shades uses evil powers to make the Miners lose the game due to an exploding basketball hoop.  There is some really interesting creepy cinematography and strange editing.  
Turns out, Henriksen has been elected by a creepy secret rich guy society to knock up his girlfriend.  They tell him that they have insured that he will have a successful basketball team, but he is yet to give her a son, which is what they need, because she is the only human to have
 "his" genes.  
I guessed that "He" was Satan, and I guess he was, but due to the psychedelic nature of this film, I was thinking "he" was an alien for awhile.  Maybe they meant to say that God and the Devil are aliens.  
There are some really cool and bizarre sequences, insane plot twists and some good old fashioned mayhem here and there.  Overall, the movie unravels towards the end and makes little sense.  I don't want to give too much away, but Jesus appears at the end.  And they don't make it clear that it is Jesus, its just a guy with a beard and blue eyes.  But the camera lingers on him so much that finally I decided it was Jesus.  
Apparently Sam Peckinpah is in this movie, I didn't even realize this until the end credits.  Must be a very minor role.  This movie is too disorganized and bizarre to really warrant a recommendation, but I enjoyed it overall.  Definitely an interesting premise that isn't explored to its full potential.   There are little glimpses of a great avant garde horror film hidden in the corners of this movie, but as a whole it is too disjointed to be a good one.  

Joanne Nail



Ninja 3: The Domination and the Dominant 40 Ounce

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 and Tullamore Dew

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.  

  1. The Lusty Busty Babe-a-que (2008) (TV)
  2. House on Hooter Hill (2007) (V) (as H.R. Blueberry)
  3. The Breastford Wives (2007) (V) (as H.R. Blueberry)
  4. The Da Vinci Coed (2007) (TV) (as H.R. Blueberry) (also as Harold Blueberry)
  5. Busty Cops 2 (2006) (V) (as Harold Blueberry)
  6. The Witches of Breastwick 2 (2005) (V) (as H.R. Blueberry)
  7. The Witches of Breastwick (2005) (V) (as H.R. Blueberry)
  8. Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade (2005) (V) (as Harold Blueberry)
  9. Bare Wench: The Final Chapter (2005) (TV)
  10. Busty Cops (2004) (V) (as Harold Blueberry)
  11. Bare Wench Project: Uncensored (2003) (V)
  12. The Bare Wench Project 3: Nymphs of Mystery Mountain (2002) (V) 
    ... aka Bare Wench III: The Path of the Wicked (USA) 
    ... aka Bare Wench: The Path of the Wicked (USA: DVD title)
  13. The Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001) (V) 
    ... aka Bare Wench 2: Book of Babes (USA) 
    ... aka Book of Babes: Bare Wench 2 (USA: video box title)
  14. The Bare Wench Project (2000)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Honeymoon Killers (1970) [R] Directed and Written by Leonard Kastle

Popov Vodka($8.99 750 ML) and Polar Tonic ($ .89 1L) with lemon slices

I picked up a VHS copy of “The Honeymoon Killers” at good old Mystery Train Records in Amherst, where the owners recognized me and even remembered when I had a broken leg! (That’s going back almost 9 years now! Holy shit, I’m old.) I loved Mystery Train so much that I had the Umass Special Transportation van bring me there. Its weird that I look back on a winter I spent on crutches at Umass as one of the best times of my life, but I really had a good thing going there. I couldn’t go anywhere, so people came to me. My room became a salon in the Owl Farm Kitchen sense. People of many backgrounds could stop in and enjoy the site of me controlling everything in the room with a crutch, drinking 40s, peeing in 40s, and more. Man, that’s incredible that was that long ago. Fuck.
Well, what better way to celebrate getting old, the crashing economy and political incompetence at every level than to buy a bottle of Popov and a bottle of tonic and a lemon and settle in to watch an unbelievably dark and disturbing movie? I use run on sentences, but I do it with impunity, because no editor with a lick of sense will publish this goddamn thing, and no one reads it but my friends. So, fuck the Style book, I’m writing my own! Writing my own Style book, that is. Shit, maybe I actually need an editor. Where is my Jann Wenner, or better yet, Larry Flynt? Or Jill Kelly? (She used to be the “Publisher” of “Fox” Magazine. I found this out while spending a winter on crutches at Umass.)
Tonight’s movie and drink pairing was a study in contrasts. The Vodka Tonic is a summery drink. The look and taste of it brings to mind sultry nights and care free days. Or in my case, hung over, sweaty days spent doing hard labor. The kind of sweaty, hung over labor that can raise a man’s thirst, a thirst that can only be slaked with Vodka Tonic. And so the cycle repeats.
The film, on the other hand, is a dark, demented, depressing, disturbing film noir. The look and feel of it is like a winter spent on crutches on Cape Cod, yet somehow even worse. Probably because it all really happened! A ominous blurb at the beginning tells us that the film is based on a True Story. The film is from 1970, but has the look and feel of a 1950s film noir. It was shot in black and white, on somewhat grainy film stock, and the music is by Mahler.
The film is shot very interestingly, making great use of the contrast between black and white. The pacing and editing is excellent, as well. From my viewing notes: “Movie is so weird and atmospheric that its hard for me to take notes. Don’t want to miss anything.”
The story concerns Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez. She is an overweight, lonesome nurse who lives with her mom in Alabama, and he is her New Yorkian romantic pen-pal in a lonely hearts correspondence program. Ah, the days before the internet. Now, I can get hit on by latin men and think they are 18 year old girls the entire time! Or I can start up a hot relationship with a stunning webcam girl because her friend told her about my myspace page. Well, this film shows that true, horrendous evil has always been around, even before this age of computerized lust and lies.
Ray comes to Alabama to visit Martha and she falls head over heels in love with him. They give her mom a sleeping pill and make implied love with her in the room. Gross. He leaves her the next day, and we see him chuckling and counting her money on the train. He is a con man who has multiple relationships with women all over the country through this correspondence program. He beds em, promises to wed em, and takes their money. Martha calls him and says that she will kill herself if she can’t be with him. She comes to New York, and there is an amazing scene where she abandons her aging mother in Alabama. He shows her what he has really been up to and he is pleased to see that she still loves him and would kill herself if she couldn’t be with him. He tells her that he can get money from another woman if he weds her.
He takes Martha along, with her as his “sister”. They rip the new fake wife off. Ray is shown as the weaker of the two, with Martha being the strong arm. The fake wife leaves with her life. Lucky for her.
Their M.O. is in place. Ray seduces a lonely lady, goes to meet her with Martha posing as his sister and they rip her off and flee. The next fake wife poses a real problem, as she really wants to sleep with Ray and Martha is insanely jealous. Ray makes his fake wife sleep with his fake sister. The acting by Shirley Stoler as Martha Beck in this scene is amazing. She just looks so damn ugly, fat, scary and evil looking. They make the fake wife take a bunch of pills. There is an excruciatingly heartbreaking scene where Ray forces her on a bus to Little Rock and takes her money, as she is all fucked up on pills and still wants to be with him. She dies on the bus.
The next victim is a rich lady in Pittsfield, MA, who runs the Tanglewood. She attempts to make out with Ray at a lake and Martha sees it going down. She screams “YOU PROMISED! YOU PROMISED!” then tries to drown herself. This fake wife also gets away, its never explained, but I guess she told them to get lost.
I don’t want to give too much more away, but I will say that they keep repeating their M.O., and it gets worse and worse. You get to see lonely widowers sadistically lied to, mislead, then killed and robbed. Its fucking horrible. And, they start to like it. I have yet to research the actual case, but at the end of the film it says that they were both electrocuted in Sing Sing in 1951. As the credits roll, you will say “wow”. The sign of a great film. Definitely not for everyone, but as a film about a horrific string of real murders, this is well done, non-exploitative fare. One of the best true crime serial killer films I've ever seen.  
Tony Lo Blanco and Shirley Stoler as Ray Fernandez and Martha Beck

{Author's note:  sorry about the tangential start of this post.  I hadn't drank for a couple days and I hadn't written one of these in a while.  I was sort of scared of writing about this movie, as it was disturbing as hell.  I don't mean what I wrote about the Style Book.  I actually own one, and the Grammer Book, too.  I just like to act cool.  I should also mention that Dan Cashman recommended that I buy this film, and that is why I bought it.  Thanks, Dan!}

I couldn't find a trailer for this film on youtube, so here's a video by the band The HoneyMoon Killers: