Tuesday, December 28, 2010
There's really only one giant spider in this invasion and god is it a fucking silly looking thing. It looks like a hairy Thanksgiving day float that they added some absurd giant pipe-cleaner legs to. It doesn't help that the thing moves about as slow as a turtle and never seems to be in any way capable of catching anyone. So you mostly get a bunch of smaller hairy tarantulas and a couple of hand puppet-sized ones that look like they escaped from The Muppet Show. The creatures are supposed to be from outer space so maybe that explains their strange appearance. A pretty silly movie that seems even sillier since it stars, as the bumbling sheriff, Mr. Alane Hale Jr. Yes, the skipper from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND is our comedy relief but really most of the movie is comedy relief. Besides our sitcom king we get a whole town full of redneck stereotypes to laugh at. A good waste of time if you're in the mood for some stupid giant monster action.
Monday, December 27, 2010
At least the music is groovy:
Saturday, December 25, 2010
"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."
John Carpenter was one of the best directors throughout the 1980's. It's too bad the quality of his movies went on a pretty sharp decline as that decade ended. This one was made right in his best period and although it's not a horror film it's still one of my favs. I've seen it at least 10 times now and I always find it entertaining. There's not a whole lot of other action type films I could say that about. The strength is in the amazing cast. Of course you have Kurt Russell doing his cool mother-fucker anti-hero act, Donald Pleasence as the president, Isaac Hayes as the bad-ass bad guy, plus Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Tom Atkins and Adrienne Barbeau's awesome cleavage! On top of that you have a simplistic but highly effective soundtrack by Carpenter. If you forget the crappy sequel I think this one still holds up, especially when compared to the sorry excuses for entertainment that current action films are.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
A pretty much plot-less look at high school hi-jinks in the 1970's. Stars a young Robert Carradine as a wild and crazy hot-roddin', football playin', horny school kid. He steals this other dude's girlfriend and they fight throughout the movie. Also some pranks are pulled on a rival school, there's a food fight and we actually do have a couple of scenes with girls and pom-poms. A really lighthearted film that never even approaches anything serious and can be amusing if you're in the right mood for it. The main downside of this thing is the lack of nudity. I'm not sure if the DVD I have is some PG-rated version or not but it was quite lacking in the boob department which is not what you would expect from a movie like this. The other bad thing is cult movie fan favorite Rainbeaux Smith is pretty much wasted in a small role. The ending is straight out of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE with the big chicken race and even that is pulled off with only the slightest tease of any real tragedy happening.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Super smart ants vs. scientists in the desert. The poster says they get all wise from alien interference but I'm pretty sure in the movie it's more of an ecological thing. Then again a lot of stuff is left up to the viewer to figure out. A good example of serious 70's sci-fi and it really straddles the fence between art film and exploitation. In many parts it feels like your watching a nature documentary. Slow moving but well done though it does have a weird-ass ending that also doesn't explain a whole lot. I miss the days when science fiction was as nihilistic in tone as this. Almost everything now is just a stupid action movie dressed up as sci-fi. Thanks STAR WARS! If you have an ant-phobia this might be the scariest movie ever.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
You would think that a movie named PSYCHO SHARK might be full of people getting eaten by a shark. Or at the very least the threat of being eaten by a shark. Unfortunately you would be wrong. For the first hour there's nothing but some large breasted Japanese girls frolicking on the beach. While that's nice to watch even that becomes boring after an hour and then we get a psycho guy who stabs gals and feeds them to a shark. So the movie coulda just as truthfully been called PSYCHO GUY but the shark does finally show up in the last few minutes and eats everyone. The shark is a typically shitty looking cgi monster the size of 2 or 3 whales put together and he can jump out of the water 50 feet in the air. Shame on you PSYCHO SHARK for having one fucking shark attack and trying to pass yourself off as a JAWS rip-off.
The only scene worth watching in this whole stupid mess of a movie:
Chock full of ultra-lame, Stacey Q synth-pop tunes which include ear-achingly awful romantic ballads this pseudo-teen comedy screams 1980's. The plot is about a nerdy dork who finds a time portal and goes back to prehistoric days. He spends most of his time there trying to bang the titular cave-girl. Unfortunately she's not 50 feet tall as the poster promises also the cave-people are not animated characters, but that's probably a good thing. Also she must have invented some sort of cave-hairspray since her hair always looks perfectly puffy and 80's-ish. The movie starts out with some slapstick and gratuitous nudity but ends up being more of a romantic comedy, which is just unbearable. There's a threat of cannibalism which they never follow through on. I guess I can't expect CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST when I'm watching a lighthearted romp such as this. This was part of an 80's teen sex comedy DVD box set or I would probably toss it.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
This one is supposed to be the world's first abominable snowman flick. It is probably also one of the world's worst snowman flicks. Everything from the shitty costume(just a tall guy in a furry suit that kind of looks like footy pajamas with his face clearly visible) to the super slow pacing(you see the same scene of people climbing a mountain over and over until you drift softly to sleep) to the stupid KING KONG rip-off plot(but we don't get the monster climbs something tall and gets shot off it and takes a big fall ending!). Only mildly interesting for historical reasons.
The not so thrilling conclusion:
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Ever since experiencing A SERBIAN FILM I've been on the lookout for anything similarly messed-up from that country and this movie keeps getting mentioned here and there as an example of another mind-blowing slice of Eastern European madness. While not as insane as A.S.F. this is a similar story of how fucked up things are, or at least were in the 90's in that country. The similarities are that there's porn and there's snuff and it's set in a place that I never want to be stranded in. Of course there are a lot of places in America like that also. While this one never gets down to the offensive lows of children being abused like it's nastier follow up it does have some bestiality, a goat killing, fun with a chainsaw, self-mutilation, oddball sex acts and lots of general snuff-related nastiness. My favorite scene is probably where our porn gang gets raped in the woods by a bunch of dirty old men. At first, as you would expect, it's pretty horrific but by the end the old men are laughed at by our nasty perverts and it just about ruins their good time. Very strange. Overall a pretty engaging nihilistic adventure to feed your black little soul with if that's your trip.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
"Some of us sprang a little bit further than others"
Growing up in the 70's by the time I got to actually watch Chiller Theater on Channel 11 here in New York horror host Zacherle was long gone. I have seen some of his old tapes, which didn't look like they were kept in the best condition but were fun to see anyway and his appearance in Nick Zedd's GEEK MAGGOT BINGO, which was odd to see but cool as well. But anyhow Zach hosts this made-for-VHS-tape compilation of old time horror B-movies and recreates his old show for anyone who didn't get the chance to catch him back in the 60's. His shtick as always is silly and fits well with the absurdity of the clips shown. You get tons of stuff including Lugosi, Karloff, Ed Wood, radiation monsters and even a bunch of Abbott and Costello thrown in. It's too bad not much of Zach's older stuff has survived but this one's definitely worth checking out for monster kids of all ages.
I never knew there was a live-action Betty Boop until watching this.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Pretty standard 80's comedy that might be of interest to horror movie fans due to the fact that Christopher Lee plays the head of the college in it. It is kinda weird to see Lee trying to be funny. He gets hit on by a transvestite in one of the few semi-humorous scenes. You also get SHAFT star Richard Roundtree as the coach of this team of misfit tennis players that include your stereotypical gay character, a psycho guy (played by Donald Gibb who was also the crazy guy, Ogre, in REVENGE OF THE NERDS), a wacky Spanish guy and a few preppies. Plus there's Mariska Hargitay, daughter of Jayne Mansfield, who's a big deal on some modern TV show I could care less about. For an 80's movie like this there isn't very much of the expected nudity or even anything all that funny going on. If you find tennis matches thrilling this might be for you but I found the whole thing to be pretty uninteresting and unfortunately typical of the era it was made in.
This old 60's sexploitation flick is pretty close to more modern day porn in that there really isn't that much of a plot, just a bunch of scenes of a woman being used and abused by various people around Hollywood as she tries to work her way to the top. There's a weird scene where her clothes are auctioned off and then her boss hits her 'cuz she didn't let the winner of the auction have his way with her. Most of the scenes don't even have that much drama though and are just excuses for more nudity and soft-core sex. Not that there's anything wrong with that if black and white humping turns you on. There's also an audition with a big-boobed stripper who was either pregnant or had quite the beer-belly which was kinda gross but maybe some folks are into that kind of thing. My favorite bit is the climax where our heroine/poster-child for female victimization is chloroformed and then used in a weird orgy/gang-bang while some DOORS-rip-off music plays, everyone is covered in shaving cream and a guy in an ugly monster/gorilla mask fondles her lovingly. Now that's a party!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
A look at the history of exploitation films that focuses on some of the big names like Roger Corman, Sam Arkoff, Dave Friedman, Harry Novack, Doris Wishman and a few others. The main focus is really AIP Pictures and stuff that you can find on Something Weird Video. It never really goes too deep and leaves out some important names. For example-How can you talk about the history of sexploitation movies and not even mention Russ Meyer? But besides a few glaring exceptions like that it's an entertaining overview of the flip-side of Hollywood and a look at the battles people had to fight back in the day to even get their controversial films shown. Of course if you actually went in-depth about everyone who had anything to do with B-movies from the 30's up until the 70's this film would be about 20 hours long so it's decent for what it is attempting to do and has all the expected cool clips and interview segments.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Director Cirio H. Santiago was responsible for a ton of exploitation flicks throughout the the 70's and then a bunch of cheap-ass action epics that went straight to video in the 80's and 90's. Shot for pennies in the Philippines most of them aren't all that great but they must have made money for someone cuz he never stopped churning them out until he died in 2008. This one was made for Roger Corman's New World Pictures and was co-written by cult actor fav Dick Miller. It's sort of a mash-up of a kung-fu and blaxploitation flick that comes of as a crappier version of Pam Grier's FOXY BROWN. You get a little blood and some boobs(including a cool topless-fu scene by star Jeanne Bell). Bell's acting and fighting is pretty awful but it fits in well in a trashy film of this type. The plot is your basic brother is killed now I must get revenge type and it plays out exactly how you expect it to. Not the worst or best of either of the genres it's part of. Check it out for the great giant afros though.
If there was such a thing as a feminist kung-fu flick this might be it. The story starts off with a young lady trying to convince some monks to teach her Shaolin style kung-fu. Apparently these are sexist monks because women can't be taught but eventually she finds one old monk who teaches her some crazy shit like how to stretch her arms like Dhalsim in that STREET FIGHTER game and how to break giant boulders with her skull! This causes our heroine to grow a mustache for some reason and then everything just keeps getting weirder as the story goes on. There's a guy who fights standing on his hands, a bunch of invisible men, a guy in white-face with a swastika on his forehead like Charlie Manson and a guy with elongating legs(which is actually a guy fighting on stilts which is pretty amazing). My favorite part is the anti-male rant by star Polly Shang Kwan. Unfortunately it's one of those kung-fu flicks that's so stupid you can feel your I.Q. dropping as you watch it. This was filmed way back in '77 and then released here in '81 as FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL and also as DON'T BLEED ON ME then re-released on VHS as KUNG FU HALLOWEEN which makes no sense and then finally re-re-released by The Wu Tang Clan under this title on the VHS that I own which also makes no sense since it's all about Shaolin with no mention of Wu Tang at all. For hardcore chop-sockey fans only or just fans of really dumb stuff.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
A fairly decent blaxploitation movie that I had actually never heard of until recently. It stars a bunch of people that I also have never heard of. This one is supposed to be set in the 50's but it seems to have a much more 70's vibe to it with its awesome funky soundtrack, prominent sideburns and also the fact that you can spot a few 70's-era cars here and there. It also seems to have been much more influenced by THE GODFATHER than any pimp movies of the time. The story is about a black "godfather" type name Pasha who is trying to keep control of his empire and has to deal with the Italian Mafia, dirty cops and slimy politicians. It's not great but it does have some entertainingly weird elements like Pasha's main enforcer who is a tall killer tranny henchman/henchwoman who likes to beat people into a bloody mess with her/his high-heels plus there's this one song titled "Nigger Rich" that they play while counting money that's pretty hard to get out of your head which could be a bad thing. The couple of gore scenes were also something that I didn't really expect from a movie like this so that was cool. This was supposedly re-released under the amazing title GET NIGGER RICH ON NUMBER 666 but I don't think you're ever going to see that DVD in Best Buys. Not the best of its genre as the middle section seems to drag for a while but check it out if you dig blaxploitation flicks at all.
This trailer makes the movie look way more exciting than it is:
Monday, December 6, 2010
I've read descriptions of this one calling it a blaxploitation version of THE MUMMY. Well that's only sorta true since the mummy creature himself is from Africa but overall it doesn't have much of a blaxploitation vibe to it plus some of the "black" folks look like white people with a really dark spray-on tan. Filmed in Spain in '73 as BLOODY VOODOO and released here in America in '75, this is a pretty dull version of the Karloff Universal classic with some African rituals thrown in to explain the monster. I guess they hoped people would think this had something to do with THE EXORCIST from the re-titling, which it doesn't at all. It has some very odd opening scenes with a voodoo dance with dead chickens and a very fake-looking decapitation and then for some reason we are in outer space as the titles are presented over shots of astronauts and moon missions and then finally we are on a cruise ship where most of the movie takes place, it's kind of a hodge-podge of images that comes off as a complete mess. This mummy doesn't wear the classic bandages either his face just turns into a sludgey-looking mess when he gets in a murderin' mood. There's one funny scene where he kills a girl in front of a mirror while we clearly see the cameraman there filming the whole thing. There's not much blood as most of the kills are by strangulation and only a little nudity so you could probably find something better to do with your time than wasting it on this and if you want to see a real black exorcist rip-off go watch ABBY.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Good documentary on the history of "grindhouse" and exploitation movies and movies in general. The film takes you from the sleaze in the very first motion pictures ever made, right up to that Tarantino/Rodriquez Hollywood flop(which turned the word "grindhouse" into a trendy thing for wannabee-hip assholes to say). This is probably the best and most comprehensive look at these types of movies as they hit on almost every sub-genre in some detail. Of course you could just buy a bunch of books on the subject and learn a whole lot more there but for the less literate-minded among us this is fairly informative. You get comments and stories from a bunch of folks involved in the world of outrageous cinema like Ted V. Mikels, Jack Hill, Joe Dante, Bill Lustig and narration by Robert Forster. It moves along quickly and is edited together well. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in the history of the types of movies that played on 42nd Street before it became just another Disney-fied shopping center.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
"Who's here? I'm here. You're here."
Al Pacino's finest work! I got a chance to check this out on a big screen last night and it was a great way to watch a film that I had only seen on my old murky VHS tape. Even though the film print was a bit scratchy here and there it looked awesome on a real movie-screen the way God intended it to be seen. Protested by gay groups, William Friedkin's CRUISING has been a controversial film since it was first released. Personally I love this film as the sleazy look at a subculture that I know next to nothing about. Right up front we are told that the events depicted are not meant to represent all homosexuals but a small subset of the population and what a wacky group it is. You get tons of scenes of very masculine(non-stereotypical at the time) gay men with crazy 70's mustaches boogieing down at underground nightclubs with public blow-jobs, fucking and even a greasy fisting scene. Amongst all this insanity is Al Pacino as an undercover cop looking for a deranged killer. The amazing thing is that Friedkin shot these scenes at real clubs using actual patrons at the time just doing what came natural to them and although it does, today, come off as some type of bizarre Village People convention it does convey a trip into a scary underworld pretty convincingly. Joe Spinell puts in a good job as a dirty cop and you also get the killer from Charles Bronson's 10 TO MIDNIGHT as a very weird leather-daddy/transvestite character. Plus you get a song by great L.A. punk band THE GERMS. The whole movie is wrapped up in a way that leaves it ambiguous enough that we're not entirely sure what really happened and even who the real killer is and that ambiguity seems to be the central point of the film. The movie supposedly contains subliminal messages of hardcore gay porn inserted at certain points. Not sure what effect that was suppose to have but I do have a strange desire to go out and buy me some snazzy leather pants.
All the hip-hop asshole/ wannabe gangsters can keep SCARFACE and mainstream Amerikkka can keep all his Hollywood garbage after that(where he basically just played a parody of himself anyway). For my money this is the high-point of Pacino's career. It's too bad Mr. Al seems to disagree. I mean I assume he disagrees since he appears to be embarrassed by this film and never comments on it in interviews or anywhere. Apparently the original version of this film was over 140 minutes long and that version was forced to be cut down to the 100 minute cut we have now before it was released. This seems to be a major point of disappointment for many of the people involved. Unfortunately those cuts look like they were destroyed but it would be pretty amazing if somehow that lost footage is found and a truly complete print of this was made available. There are so many great performances besides the lead. You get Nancy Allen who would go on to become INDIANA JONES' girlfriend as Pacino's girfriend here, Joe "MANIAC" Spinell as a self-hating homosexual cop who specializes in gay-bashing, Paul Sorvino who would go on to be the boss in GOODFELLAS as the boss here, Gene Davis who would go on to be that crazy naked killer in 10 TO MIDNIGHT as a not-quite as crazy cross-dressing homo-prostitute and pretty much everyone right down to the leather-clad gay bar Village People look-a-likes. Everyone works amazingly well and I'm sure it's thanks to Mr. Friedkin's direction. Of course the man also made one the greatest horror films of all time THE EXORCIST so it's not very shocking that he knows what he's doing here. The guy knew how to create mood and tension and it's a shame that this film was a pretty big flop when it came out and set his career back at the time. The public wasn't ready for a film like this 30 years ago. This movie was picketed at the time of release by gay-rights groups for defaming the homosexual community. I can see there point but the movie, as stated right in the opening, isn't supposed to represent the whole gay community anymore than your typical boob-filled slasher movie represents the morals of the mainstream straight community. There's also at least one decent gay character in the movie. This might also be the only R-rated film to feature a fisting scene. You also get a memorably bizarre scene where a black man in a jockstrap appears in the middle of a police interrogation, leather drag queens, bloody gay serial killing and an amazingly totally 70's New York City setting. There's nothing I can really say bad about this movie besides maybe the unclear ending and I think that even works in it's favor at least for me. It keeps everything from being neatly summed up and simplified. This is a movie I've seen many times and I've enjoyed it every time.
The Pacino dance!:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This is supposed to be a comedy/slasher yet the title is the only thing even mildly funny and even that is debatable. What makes people think they can just videotape themselves and their friends hanging out goofing around and then release it like anyone who doesn't know them or their friends would want to sit through something like that? This is by far one of the worst things I have ever seen. So fucking annoying I feel like every actor was daring me to keep watching them with all their antics. This piece of crap starts off with some white kid doing an impression of a black man from THE LITTLE RASCALS-era and the humor stays at about that level throughout the whole thing. They have a stereotypical Italian guy(which I kind of feel is the way people see me whenever I venture out of New York) a hillbilly, a metalhead, a gay guy and a bunch of other people trying to be funny with their zany line delivery. I don't think I have ever been drunk enough in my life to even get a chuckle out of any of this crap. Even the killer sucks! He fucking raps and cracks lame jokes while he kills these assholes! Yuck! If every annoying character was killed in the first 5 minutes and that was it this would still be totally unwatchable and this film is 75 minutes! Ouch! There is only one bit that is watchable and that features the one hot chick they managed to get showing her boobs and taking a fake facial. Of course you could also just go watch your average porn flick and avoid all the other terrible bits. If you can get through all this without wanting to punch your screen you're a better person than me.
Tony Danza is the boss! What a bunch of jackasses: