Thursday, June 30, 2011
While Quentin Tarantino's idea to bring Pam Grier back from the 70's action star she was and put her into the spotlight with a starring vehicle is a good one there are a few problems I've always had with this flick. The main one is the stupid replaying of one scene towards the end of the movie over and over from different points of view. A more capable director could have easily edited every different viewpoint into one coherent scene instead of spreading it all out. This could be simply done with some decent editing. This also adds to the film being overlong which is a problem with most all of Tarantino's output. There's also the issue of people doing things that seem way too dumb for them to be doing. The cops being the most blatant but also Samuel Jackson's character who seems so street smart through most of the movie and then puts himself directly into a dangerous situation at the climax. There are also some things I do appreciate about this movie though. For one thing, I think it's the last time Robert DeNiro actually played a character and not just a parody of himself in stupid Hollywood comedies. Sid Haig shows up as a judge and Bridget Fonda looks especially hot even though I don't have a foot-fetish like Mr. Quentin who shoots her from the feet up many times. Also the soundtrack to this is awesome with blaxploitation tracks, Johnny Cash and even some music from VAMPYROS LESBOS thrown in. And ultimately I understand most people that hate this film saw it after seeing PULP FICTION and that is a tough act to follow. It doesn't have the violence or pace of that movie but I think taken on its own it's an interesting if not perfect movie from a decade that was otherwise full of garbage cinema.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Well this Thai movie is very gory and that's about the only thing it has going for it. There is a simple story of a teacher getting revenge for something that her students did to her but I think the main idea is just to showcase a bunch of gore FX. A girl plucks her own eyes out for some reason involving a voodoo curse, and a bunch of people are tortured to death by having their toenails and teeth pulled out and then a guy gets blow-torched and has the skin ripped off his legs in the nastiest scene. If you're a fan of movies like SAW and HOSTEL and want something with an even nastier edge this might be a good time for you. I found the whole thing pretty annoying with tons of flashbacks and what I think were dream sequences to add to the confusion. I never saw part one but apparently this isn't even really a sequel anyway but just a retitling. There is a part three, which is actually part two to this film(confused yet?), but I don't think I'm gonna bother wasting my time with that one.
Monday, June 27, 2011
This was originally supposed to be a film about the Hollywood Hillside Strangler so while technically a slasher flick it features a killer/rapist who strangles his victims so it's not very bloody in the standard slash and kill tradition. It's also from 1980 before the strict template was set that almost every film in this sub-genre followed so for that reason I find it interesting. It's also memorable for the crazy-ass performance of our killer played by Nicholas Worth who went on to play small roles in a bunch of movies and TV shows. I'll always remember his fantastic role as that fat guy who arm-wrestles Mama on that stupid Mama's Family show. In this flick he has some great rants while communicating with his dead dad. Also he calls into a radio show and talks with a Spanish accent. Porky from PORKY'S shows up as a sleazy porn publisher in a couple of great scenes and there's some equally sleazy pimp and whore action in a standout scene. Plus you get lots of boobs although they're all on girls that get snuffed so if you don't mind that check it out even if it may not be the best example of a slasher you'll ever see.
Kung fu comedy flick featuring some of the characters from SHAOLIN DRUNKARD. I actually recall liking this movie a lot when I was younger. I must have been doing a lot of psychedelic drugs at the time because this movie makes absolutely no sense and just seems like an insane Chinese person decided to make a movie. There is the great watermelon monster or in some prints he's called the banana monster(I guess cuz he tries to eat the banana in your pants) and there's this buck-toothed idiot who drives around in a big shoe with a mouse face on it. For some reason he's looking for some virgin boys(cherry boys as he calls them) and this leads to some totally inappropriate gazing at little boys penises. There's also a fat lady who falls down a lot and an old grandma who's clearly played by a man or the world's manliest old Asian lady. The coolest character though is our bad guy who kicks lots of ass and I think he's supposed to be the devil. Also he seems like he belongs in a more serious chop-socky flick. Also listen for Howard Jones' New Song that shows up for one stupid scene where some break-dance-kung fu is going on. While being drunk might help you get through this movie I'm not sure that would be enough of a mind-altered state for the average viewer. There's supposedly another film in this sort-of trilogy called THE MIRACLE FIGHTERS from 1982 but I can't imagine it's anywhere near as insane as this one.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
"Are you gonna suck the mother-fucker or are ya gonna forget it? Now whatcha gonna do?"
This is one of the most mind-numbingly strange examples of a porno that I've ever seen. What exactly is the thought process here? Let's take a belligerent drunken hillbilly fellow and have him and a completely disinterested woman argue and insult each other for half the movie and then have a woman dressed as Batgirl(called BAT-PUSSY here for legal reasons) show up for the world's worst threesome scene ever put on film? Yeah, that will surely make for hot viewing. Never once does our main actor even come close to getting a hard-on or penetrating anything and all the sex scenes look like a terribly choreographed mixed-gender wrestling match. At one point this whiskey-drinking rube knocks Bat-Pussy off the bed and then falls ass-first onto her head. The stand-out scene has to be Bat-Pussy on a hippity-hop racing alongside a freeway to stop our dirty-motherfucker would-be porn makers from recording their stupid sex antics. The movie mercifully isn't even 60 minutes long and while no human being in their right mind would call this a good movie I found it worth watching just for the fact that there's really nothing else like it in the annals of crazy 70's porn.
Put out by Something Weird Video and there's not much that's weirder than this!:
Saturday, June 25, 2011
This is one of my all time favorite films. It doesn't strictly fit into any genre except maybe the generally insane art-house one. The sets are amazing and could have only been created and filmed by a true artist at the top of his creative output. The outfits seem as if someone took 70's glam rock and mixed it with a militant/religious-look if that even makes any sense. You get castration, an old man tranny, a crippled dwarf, a gang of scantily-clad whores(including one who looks about 7 years old), crucified lambs, a monkey named Chucho-Chucho dressed up like a little man, a toad vs. lizard war complete with exploding eaten lizards and exploding toads, shit turned into gold, birds flying out of open wounds, green blood and way more bizarre spectacle. To even try to list every insane thing that happens in this movie is overwhelming. True to its title there's also a very real spiritual side to this film with a clear final message of embracing reality. Then again if there's a better movie to take hallucinogenic drugs before watching I can't imagine it. To think that Jodorowsky was set to direct DUNE after this and the fact that the film never happened is really a damn shame. I'm sure it would have been about a thousand times more interesting then that boring piece of shit David Lynch made.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
In almost every movie I've ever seen William H. Macy in he seems like a pretty nice guy and usually plays a pretty sympathetic character. In this movie, by RE-ANIMATOR director Stuart Gordon, Macy plays the complete opposite. He's about as unsympathetic as possible and really a complete asshole to just about everyone in his life. In fact at one point he even goes so far as to stab a girl(who has just had sex with him!) to death because they have a disagreement. While this sounds pretty cool, and I tried really hard to relate to the main character's mid-life crisis and all that. it's just not at all an enjoyable film to watch. Maybe if Macy/Edmond didn't make such obviously stupid degrading choices in life it wouldn't have seemed so intentionally self-destructive. There's a bit of a twist ending and the whole thing plays like an uglier version of that movie FALLING DOWN from the 90's. It's also based on a play and you can kinda tell because everything kind of plods along with little momentum to the ending. You get some boobs, strippers, whores, racism and one super hot Asian chick but overall this would probably be more appealing to fans of the "thriller" or "drama" genres, which I'm not, but I can't imagine anyone really getting much of a good time out of watching it.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I've seen a lot of terrible GREMLINS-rip-off movies over the years but this one has got to be about the worst(you could also argue MUNCHIES). I saw this on an episode of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and this is another great example of a film that is nearly unwatchable if it wasn't for the additional silly dialogue from Mike and his robots. Everything about this movie is awful. The plot makes no sense. The hobgoblin creatures(who look like puppets and/or stuffed animals) have some unexplained magical powers that make your dreams come true. One character(who is doing a Rambo impersonation throughout the movie) dies in an explosion in one scene and then reappears with a scraped arm in the next. It's also full of horrible embarrassing 80's Cyndi Lauper-esque outfits. The nightclub where the goblins have their final stand is named Club Scum and that's probably the coolest thing about this whole film. Director Rick Sloane went on to do the VICE ACADEMY series of movies which helped keep many B-movie actresses employed for a few years .
Sunday, June 19, 2011
A great example of a stupid, brainless 80's slasher flick but it's also an extremely fun film if you're in the right state of mind. Filled with nothing but stupid murder scenes, idiotic high-schoolers that you can't wait to see get offed, plenty of naked ass and boobs and a killer that somehow has magical powers that don't allow him to stay dead. It's really the perfect movie to watch as long as you've got plenty of beers or whatever substance you prefer. Features a young Brinke Stevens, who would go on to be in a ton of way worse movies including a load of unwatchable shot-on-video garbage, who looks lovely exposing herself gratuitously for the camera, a psycho-killer who looks(and acts) like Fuad Ramses from BLOOD FEAST and a gal with a T-shirt that says "Space Baby" who I imagine would be awesome to hang out with before getting your head lopped off with a power drill.
This movie was directed by a woman and written by a feminist and I suppose they were going for some kind of a spoofy-feel but to me it just seems like another dumb slasher in an endless line of similar flicks that never really took themselves too seriously to begin with.
"Every girl should be given an electric guitar on her 16th birthday."
I recall this movie playing a lot on USA networks Night Flight show back in the 80's. I also remember this film being sited by many of the riot-grrl bands of the 90's as one of their major inspirations and I can see why. It's the story of young girls from a shitty town who play punk rock and become stars for being voices of truth in the stagnant cesspool of male dominated rock n roll in the early 1980's.
The best bits of this film are in the first half. You see the awful environment our heroine(Diane Lane who was about 17 when this movie was shot) is raised in, her and her sister's(Laura Dern who musta been about 15) depressing home life. Living with their stupid alcoholic aunt after their mom dies in a burned out suburbia isn't all it's cracked up to be. From there you get a pretty unbelievable yet captivating tale of their collective escape from a typical boring American existence.
The parts where I thought the movie fell apart come towards the back end of the film where things happen really quickly and any believability that you might have had in the film is thrown out the window. It seems like their was a rush to the end and it shows in some badly edited parts that all the cult film fans seem to overlook in every review I've ever seen of this film. I also felt that the tacked-on MTV video ending(filmed a year after the rest of the movie) seemed totally out of place and was just added to give everything an uplifting finale which I guess your average 80's film-goer would have demanded. All this being said I really don't want to be too negative in my look at this movie since I feel it's totally worth checking out.
You get some catchy tunes, a chance to see a band made up of half of the Sex Pistols(Steve Jones and Paul Cook) along with The Clash's Paul Simonon and great character actor Ray Winstone as a sorta Johnny Rotten-impersonating lead singer. Also members of The Tubes appear as an old washed-up glam band and you get a quick scene with Black Randy And The Metrosquad, which were a really underrated LA band that, as far as I know, there's very little footage of. Under everything there's overt messages of female empowerment, individuality and remaining true to yourself in the face of greedy shitheels. If this movie is the reason that a bunch of females got off their asses and had fun making some silly punk music I'm glad it exists.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I've been trying to see this movie for a few years now and finally caught it in a theatrical showing last night. It was definitely worth the wait. The film manages to mix a revenge plot with a slasher film mentality and it does this with enough cheesy over-the-top elements that you never ask yourself how all these ridiculous murders and hijinks are going on with almost no parents or authorities being brought into the storyline to ruin all the action. No police at all are seen until the explosive finale.
I feel like movies of this type that show bullies getting what they deserve have such a high recognition factor with almost anyone who suffered through high-school that it's almost impossible not to enjoy them on some level. Except, of course, if you were one of the asshole bully-types depicted and then you're probably not watching obscure 70's cult films in the first place. Another reason I really liked this film is that there aren't really any good guys and I'm not totally sure who you're supposed to root for. I did especially like Robert Carradine's swastika-painting, hippie character Spoony but like everyone else in this flick he also had a selfish-jackass side that he had to be punished for by our homicidal, psychopathic loner main character.
Strangely enough while this is a mostly very silly movie it contains in it a very real political message about how when we remove bad people from power they inevitably get replaced by an equal or worse version of themselves. Power corrupts and all that. Of course any message is enveloped in a sea of violence, groovy vans and nude 70's chicks that makes this flick a great time for any fans of real drive-in/exploitation epics. Check it out if you can find it and I would strongly recommend the shitty film print that I saw it on for extra ambiance.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
What appears to be a claymation dinosaur(who also sometimes just looks like a puppet-head) terrorizes a lakeside town after getting awakened by a meteor. You get a couple of stupid hillbilly characters as comic relief, a mostly incompetent sheriff, a couple of scientists and a bunch of throwaway characters that just serve as dinosaur food. Some scenes are obviously supposed to remind us of JAWS. It's weird that this came out in the late 70's since it would fit right into the 50's if it were in black and white. It was rated PG so there's very little blood, no nudity and really not much to offer to anyone besides fans of really cheesy stop-motion monster flicks or fans of redneck Laurel & Hardy impersonators. A bulldozer becomes the hero at the end. The director went on to do nothing else after this.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It's been my experience that, as a general rule, women-in-prison movies are always way more entertaining than men-in-prison movies. The male films though are usually done with a somewhat more serious approach. This Hollywood classic really only uses the setting to convey a tale of rebellion in the face of a hopeless situation. It's very noticeably a product of the 60's mentality and has a stark anti-establishment message. Most modern audiences would probably find the movie a bit slow, and it does drag at times, but it's a compelling story and a beautifully shot film to look at. You get Paul Newman eating 50 eggs in an hour as our loner hero. This was way before he started selling salad dressing and whatnot so he was still at the top of his game as far as acting goes. There are a couple of scenes which are supposed to remind us of Jesus for some reason or another. You also get Strother Martin with the famous "What we've got here is a failure to communicate" line as the warden, George Kennedy as the jailhouse bully, Harry Dean Stanton as the lazy guy, Dennis Hopper as the crazy guy(not much of a stretch there) and the dad from The Waltons amongst other familiar faces. There's also an unexpected gratuitous car washing scene with a very busty hot sixties chick that comes out of nowhere. Worth checking out if you dig the 60's classics and don't suffer from ADD.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
This short film is part of a project of filmmakers that have come together to make movies about the future of American society. This one is about the life of a lonely plastic bag who outlives the human race. It proves to me that Werner Herzog could narrate anything and make it interesting. It's not all Herzog though as the film is beautifully shot by Ramin Bahrani who is a guy who has made a few of these artsy type films that I know nothing about. The fact that he could make you care about a stupid fucking bag is pretty amazing though and I would recommend it to anyone with any sorta heart which I think rules out a big chunk of the human race that I encounter on a daily basis. There's also an obvious environmental message thrown in there so if you dislike the environment don't watch.
Personally the fact that plastic bags take 500 to 1,000 years to decompose is probably not gonna effect my life all that much since I'm not gonna be around to worry about the mess and theoretically in the future isn't it possible that scientists will create some process for dealing with this problem? That is also assuming that the world is even still here by that time. All questions I'll leave to the pot-smoking philosophers to ponder.
A film that's been both hated and praised by feminists and critics everywhere. There isn't really any middle ground and I've had many arguments with various girlfriends trying to defend the virtues of this sleazy spectacle. To me this is the highpoint of rape/revenge films. Seeing this movie in a theater recently was an interesting experience. I recall Roger Ebert's original review where he said 42nd street audience members cheered on the rapists. While I didn't experience that I did realize there are a few funny bits in places that originally watching this alone in a dark room I didn't find all that amusing. The semi-retarded character of Matthew with his stupid Gilligan hat is just too goofy of a fuck not to laugh at even while the most horrendous scenes are unfolding.
I don't feel any need to go into a plot synopsis on this here since rape/revenge tells you everything you need to know. Yes, it's as simplistic as that but also as purely emotional as that. This movie disturbed me upon my first viewing back in the VHS days and I'll never forget that feeling no matter how many times I revisit it. This movie is supposed to disturb, that's the point that Ebert missed or disregards. This movie has a power that few films live up to and for that it will always be one of the best examples of a classic 70's exploitation movie.
As far as the remake goes, I haven't seen it but everything I've read makes it seem like they turned the revenge part of the film into an excuse for showcasing elaborate SAW-like traps which seems like a terrible idea. Our victim, Jennifer, wasn't a survival expert or an advanced engineer. She was just a writer, just a normal person who is brutalized by her fellow human beings and that's why we can relate.