Friday, April 29, 2016

Cut And Run


Cut And Run (Amazon: Savage Adventure, Inferno In Diretta, Straight to Hell) Directed By Ruggero Deodato, Starring Michael Berryman (1985).

Skunkape and I used to assign each other DVD challenges, this film along with classics like Lipstick and Massacre in Dinosaur Valley were discovered for me that way. I defied him to sit through Birth Of A Nation as payment for some awful shit he forced me to watch, I can't remember exactly what it was and he didn't make it. This was in the olden days of Netflix DVDs, before streaming made everyone a spoiled jaded baby.

All I knew going in was that Cut & Run starred Richard Lynch and I was very nervous and apprehensive since Ruggero Deodato was in charge. After the first couple of seconds with Quencho (Michael Berryman) leading a team of deep river savages it had a dopey Cannon Group vibe, so I figured I could relax, unclench and not feel that I was about to be eyeball raped by animal snuff. It's chock full of celebs almost as many as a super demented episode of Fantasy Island. Berryman wearing heavy eye makeup steals some Coke away from traffickers so they can deliver it to Richard Lynch. The heavily scarred actor mentions in the DVD extras interview that he's always admired Deodato's closely knit family work ethic.

Nuthin says Jungle Party like tepid High Life in the can! 

Two Miller high life drinking corrupt journalists intercept a Coke smuggling ring that traffics it in using diapers. One of the main characters is Fran played by Lisa Blount who later on tragically died from a blood clot disorder called ITP at the age of 53. Blount was in a few horror films like Dead and Buried and Prince of Darkness. Her media partner in this film is Mark (Leonard Mann who played a cop in the wimpy slasher Night School, which is available on Warner Archives or the WB's cult film garage sale). You can tell when deleted scenes pop up in this film because the dialogue is in Italian, the stock footage doesn't match and they're usually extra gory plus there's carpet looking pubes on female corpses during a massacre scene.
Berryman and Deodato just Chilaxin

Chas offered this European cut that Anchor Bay re-assembled for their Dvd release. This is the best mid 80's it got for Deodato, it was all downhill after this with examples like Dial Help and Body Count (not the ICE T one). Francis, the female journalist meets up with Eric "Soul Glow" Lasalle from Coming to America as a purple hat wearing pimp. He mentions that Richard Lynch's character was tight bros with Jim Jones back in the day and they even inter-splice him into authentic news footage of the Kool-Aid cult massacre. The score by Claudio Simonetti is pretty lame other than the funky title track (sorry Claudio).

OK hold up I got a really sweet joke but there's a killer punch line at the end

Richard Bright and Karen Black show up as Willie Aames' parents, they are searching for their missing son. The way the amateur and "professional exploitation" stars interact is very awkward and seems as if they were not on the same set. Karen Black comes off as mildly psychotic and loudly screams after she watches footage of a decapitation (it's a laff riot)! It turns out Lynch's now a maniacal cult leader named Col. Horne. Aames, who later on became fanatical Christian Robocop aka Bible Man had all kinds of drug issues when this flick came out. At the same time he did this film he was on the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. It's astounding to me that in the interviews, Deodato mentions how the former Zapped/ Charles in Charge Scott Baio sidekick was hard to deal with because of drug use. This coming from a dude who blatantly endangered lives and butchered animals for Neo realistic art's sake.

Everyone looks extremely sweaty and edgy here. Willie looks like he has a bug up his butt and is either whining or on the verge of having a hissy fit. He kind of reminds me of Miguel from Day of the Dead, an offensive Gay stereo type constantly acting pissy or feeling sorry for himself. Puta (aka Ana) or Valentina Forte Deodato's former girlfriend in real life has zero self esteem and keeps getting raped by various island fellows like John Steiner. Aames is so moody and bitchy, he's very unlikeable and I'm more accustomed to see him with a shit eating grin, slapping his co-star Chachi on the back while setting up a righteous prank. I have no idea how he wound up in this film but I'm glad it happened.

Popov is the tastiest of all the moderately priced Vodkas

Michael Berryman seems omnipotent, busting up through the floorboards or hanging out in a tree. He was most likely appearing in those Motley Crue videos in between this and Weird Science and was seriously in demand in the 80s. While Fran and her camera operator are filming the news, poor Puta falls down on a tree trap and ends up dead. The most gruesome scene in the film (which was cut out of many prints) has Willie Aimes "aiming" at a dude getting torn in half and disemboweled by a booby trap as he stupidly shoots at the entrails instead of blasting the dude in the face and doing him a favor, it's ghoulishly hysterical.

Move over Charles, I'm on tons of Coke and in charge now

Richard Bright, who's a decent actor seems really out of place in this film and you can almost read the embarrassment on his face. According to the DVD interviews with Ruggero, he mentions having to kick Bright off the set for alcoholism. Soused of not, I'm glad he's also here. The snakes and reptiles start going haywire as the journalists try to send footage to Miami but are intercepted by savages (there are actually no Cannibals featured, maybe they're on a diet). It's also unusual to see animals unharmed in a Deodato flick which I'm grateful for. We finally get to Richard Lynch at the last few minutes. I like the weird crucifix tree traps the main characters get hooked onto. Lynch has been in a lot of trash like Invasion USA, MST3K's Werewolf but was also in hardboiled gritty action like The Seven-Ups or the really fun Elm Street inspired Bad Dreams. He died in 2012 and his burned features were the bizarre result of self immolation on LSD, here's a disturbing clip of him talking about it. 
Some of the cannibal actors wail and moan after their leader sacrifices himself, it's one of the goofiest parts of the movie. They act as if he's the head vampire and once he goes down, it effects them as well and they goofily yell.

I was in Invisible Kid so no, I'm not above this dopey shit either

This along with Jungle Holocaust and Cannibal Holocaust is considered a trilogy but doesn't actually connect, put it this way neither do the Back to the Future sequels but no one ever seems to point that out! Berryman actually gets taken out by a fire extinguisher if you can believe that! I love this film it's my favorite Deodato and is a cheesy good time.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Monday, April 25, 2016

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD: PART 2


Return of the Living Dead 2 Directed By Ken Wiederhorn, Starring James "Pathmark" Karen (1988).

Reviewed By Michael Hauss

The movie sucks, the end... If only it was as simple as that. I was eating my Frosted Flakes this morning when it dawned on me that the film I viewed the night before RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD: PART 2 was listed in the index of Chas Balum' s book More Gore Score, and that made it game to be reviewed for this blog. The late great Chas gave the movie a "Dog" rating in the book and only two out of ten on the Gore scale.

a recent example that got the dreaded Bow Wow rating


 I had not seen this film in like 25 years and remembered absolutely nothing about the film, so I had bought it and prepared for a 80's sex, drugs, rock n roll and zombies mix, just like the original RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD had delivered on. Well guess what, this movie delivered on virtually none of those, no nudity to speak of, no drugs, some Rock n roll, (but not as good as in the first film) and worse yet the zombies were not frightening at all and looked lame. Why, oh why hadn't I listened to ole Chas and just avoided this mess?

maybe you got conned by this delightfully wacky zombie cartoon?

An army transport is carrying canisters of the Toxin gas from the first film, three canisters fall off the back of the truck and one ends up in a stream and eventually in a storm drain where it's discovered by three boys lead by a bully named Billy (Thor Van Lingen) and the hero of our shitty little flick Jessie (Michael Kenworthy). Jessie wants no part of the army canisters and urges the other two boys to call the army, whose contact number is etched on the canister, Billy threatens to pummel Jessie if he does, the boys see a monstrous face looking out from the canister and flee, but that does not deter Billy and his other friend from returning and opening the canister and unleashing the toxic gas. The gas overtakes the two boys and spreads into a nearby cemetery, bringing the dead back to life. Two grave robbers Joey (Thom Matthews) and Ed (James Karen) are trapped in the graveyard surrounded by the zombies, Joey's girlfriend Brenda (Suzanne Snyder) , who was waiting for Joey, (in their van down by the river, only kidding) outside the cemetery is also caught up in the chaos, as the undead are calling out for "Brains" to snack on. The trio escape and make it to the house where the pugnacious little tyke Jessie lives, who is being babysat by his sister, as their parents are away. A cable repairman named Tom is also at the house when the trio arrive looking for help and a telephone to call the police. The military has quarantined the town and evacuated most of the populace, but forgot to make it to the new home construction site, where Jessie's family lives and also the bully Billy's family, Billy has become sick from breathing the gas and has died and came back to life hungry for Brains!


Oh man I'm so fried, I hope I don't fail my drug test

Ed, Joey and Brenda steal the cable guys van and crash it into a telephone pole, thus cutting phone service off. The group which includes Joey, Ed, Brenda, Lucy, Jessie and Tom, make it to the house of a local physician, where they drive off in his vintage car and drive around town and come to realize that the town has been evacuated and they are the only non-dead living humans in the vicinity. The group eventually comes up with a plan to get some brains from a local meat packing plant and to throw it out from the back of a truck, getting the zombies to follow them to a power station and there they set the trap to electrocute them.

Oh Shit! Our checks bounced? 

So here's the problem, or problems I should say, the film has a young boy as the lead hero and the film quite frankly is really a PG-13 film which somehow got an R rating, I'm guessing for the zombie who has his body cut in two and walks around trying to reattach itself. This film feels more like a kids adventure film along the lines of GOONIES or the other rash of kids-horror films that flourished in that time frame. The film has no nudity and no adult situations, no real Gore to speak of and a terrible script and the zombies were generic as hell, not menacing, just comedic fuck nuts. The first film was a nihilistic affair that had the military as somewhat competent beings, who dropped a bomb on the whole fucked up area, where in this film the military are caricatures, and they only quarantine the town, blocking off entrance and escape routes, leaving the zombie apocalypse to be defeated by young people and not the incompetent army. Worse of all is that Thom Mathews and James Karen are totally wasted in their roles and really are just playing the same characters as from the first film but slightly different. Hell, even the Joey character says at one point in the film that he felt as if he'd already lived that moment once before.

Are you implying that Tarman had too much plastic surgery?

Karen and Matthews are still great together and comedic wise make an entertaining pair, but the kid hero in this film is taxing and his acting ability is severely limited, why not let Matthews and Karen share the lead and make this a film for adults instead of kids. Another annoying thing about this film is that many of the characters scream or shout their lines during the zombie purge and this really cluster fucks up some scenes..This movie is one of those films where the comedy is flat and lackluster and takes the horrific edge off the zombies who can talk, drive vehicles and do other basic functions. You know you're fucked when just a few minutes into a film, it already does some douche bag thing to fuckup any believability, this being as the film starts and a group of army trucks are transporting the toxic gas and the driver of this dangerous gas is listening to rock n roll with head phones on and smoking a joint, and to top it all off, the canisters of gas are hardly even held in by a shitty little strap.

Special effects provided by craft service Bologna and Creeple Peeple maker 


The director of this film Ken Wiederhorn has 12 directorial credits including the fine horror film SHOCK WAVES(1977, USA), the fun Animal House rip off KING FRAT (1979, USA), the sleazy slasher film EYES OF THE STRANGER (1981, USA) and the fucknuttidly bad film MEATBALLS 2 (1984, USA). Thom Matthews has only 35 acting credits, including turns in the exploitation films JASON LIVES: FRIDAY THE 13Th, PART VI (1986, USA), ALIEN FROM L.A. (1988, USA) and HEAT SEEKER (1995, USA). James Karen is still active today and currently has 199 credits on his acting resume which includes many mainstream and also some exploitation films that includes INVADERS FROM MARS (1986, USA), THE WILLIES (1990, USA) and FUTURE SHOCK (1994, USA). The actress Suzanne Snyder who plays Brenda, is best remembered for her role of Debbie Stone in the classic KILLER CLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988, USA)
So, the next time you read a review by the late great Chas Balun and he calls it a Dog, you had better damn well listen to his advice, and don't go barking up the wrong tree.

I'm back from the grave and ready to take over for Jared from Subway

DON'T BOTHER, MORE NEUTERED THAN AN AIRBUD SEQUEL!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Night Watch



NIGHT WATCH (NOCHNOI DOZOR)
2004, 114 minutes, Rated R. Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Valeri Zolotukhin. 
Fox Searchlight. 4 stars.

BY GRAHAM RAE

Vampire movies. Let’s face it, if there’s a filmic subgenre that has been done to death and beyond and needs no further additions, it’s the realm of bloodsuckers, eh? I mean, look at the now-empty (ahem) veins we’ve seen it done in: silent mysterious monochrome (“Nosferatu”); lesbian softcore (“Andy Warhol’s Dracula”), blaxploitation (“Blacula”); gritty social realist psychological thriller (“Martin”), high school satire (“Once Bitten”), camp coming-of-age effort (“Fright Night”); roadkill movie (“Near Dark”); gothic melodrama (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”); hell, even utterly bizarre (“Deafula”, the world’s first – and only - vamp flick signed for the deaf!). And I could, of course, name a thousand other variations on the immortal nightcrawler bloodgulper theme. You may think that this type of movie should have a stake driven through its flickering celluloid heart, its head cut off and garlic stuck in its mouth, but that would be before you saw “Night Watch.”
      Coming at us straight out of Russia and based on a novel by Sergei Lukyanenko, this interesting, entertaining bat-man tale broke all box office records upon its release two years ago and was the all-time #1 movie in that country for a while. The first chapter of a proposed trilogy (whose second installment came out last year), “Night Watch” presents us with an epic tale of (what else) good versus evil. In the Middle Ages these two eternally warring factions, as represented by ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ ‘Others’ (have a guess which are good and which are bad) are having a gory go at each other on a bridge until, sickened by the wholesale slaughter of his troops in battle, the Light commander calls a Truce with the Dark one. They decide that forevermore the Light Others will patrol the doings of the Dark ones, and vice versa. The Light Others control the day and also make sure that the Dark Others, who become vampires, don’t go around at night breaking the Truce and committing evil acts
      Fast-forward several hundred years to present-day Moscow. Anton, a lovestruck man whose girlfriend has left him, tries to resort to black magic conducted by a witch to get her back and kill her unborn child, which isn’t his. At the scene of this would-be supernatural crime (and the magic-assisted miscarriage scene is a pretty grim one) a group of Light Others suddenly show up and arrest the witch for violating the Truce, and ascertain that Anton is an Other. Living amongst humanity are Others of both Light and Dark persuasion, seers and witches and prophets like Anton (“Just what we need, another fucking asshole with visions of the future,” intones one of the Light Others cynically), extraordinary people, and all must choose whether to go to the Dark or Light side.




      Anton chooses the latter and becomes a sort of Other cop, tracking down vampires who are killing people without being licensed to do so, using unsuspecting normal people as bait in a kind of entrapment scenario to arrest violators. That’s right, Dark bloodsuckers are granted a license to spill hemoglobin. Why exactly they’d be granted a license to do this I have no idea, but just go with it and we’ll be fine. Our world-weary protagonist’s stings lead him into meeting a kid who may just help set off the Apocalypse and he only has a certain amount of time to save the kid before the world melts down. So he gives it his best shot. And various chaotic shit ensues.


this Big Red flavored Vape is fucking epic!

      Now. First off. The plot for this film is not all that original. It borrows heavily from the whole outdated Book of Revelations end-of-the-world scenario that deluded Christians have misread into the final chapter of the Bible, but it’s serviceably sensible. It’s a compelling enough film, and what really sets it apart from the also-rans is the fact that it is simply visually stunning. Cinematographer Sergei Trofimov’s visuals are utterly incredible, and this really was an eye-opener for me personally as to what they can do film-wise in Russia in the 21st century. I still tend to think of Russia as a grim, grey land of stagnation and decay and Red Square soldier marches and vodka-drinking denizens (though there is a fair bit of vodka guzzling in this film – they have a stereotype to live down to, after all) waiting in queues for, well, anything. “Night Watch” certainly stomped this lack-of-Russian-culture-fed preconception (though I admit to a certain morbid curiosity in seeing the 60s d├ęcor in the apartments in the film and the old phone in a nuclear power plant, etc). But they have the net in Russia! Who’da thunk it!


BIRTHDAY CAKE VODKA, BLECCHHH WHY DOES THIS EXIST?

      This movie certainly rivals anything the West can do visually, and contained so many neat, original touches it really made it a joy to watch; for example, the subtitles. They were done in a really cool fashion I personally never would have even thought about. People obscure them when they walk into them, they’re printed in MUCH BIGGER LETTERS when people are shouting in odd places on the screen, they are done in red and dissolve into cloudy water-dissolved puffs of blood when the vampires are calling on somebody…it’s a really, really neat thing, something I had never seen done before, and instead of being annoyed at static subtitles I actually found myself enjoying looking at them and the way they were presented. One thing I confess to finding funny was the fact that the subtitles were very Americanized – weird to see a 12-year-old Russki kid saying stuff like “My bad” like an American. But that’s obviously because “Night Watch” has been picked up for release in America. Indeed, Fox are apparently going to make an Americanized version of the film. It’ll probably star some bullethead musclebound homunculus like Vin Diesel and lose all its rustic olde-worlde charm that way, but hey, what can I say? It certainly won’t be any better looking than the original anyway.


SHHHH! Let me gently subdue you into a coma with my beef jerky breath

      There are so many other cool wee things I could talk about in this film. There’s a scene with a villain playing a videogame that prefigures, literally and figuratively, an end scene. Anton has a flashlight that…ah, see for yourself. There’s some gorgeous monochrome animation about a woman who is cursed and after that her gaze kills. Things camera-shake and fade in and out in trippy acid visuals and blow up and there’s a humorous scene where a kid is watching “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and learning vampire-killing techniques from it (not as bad or cutesy as it sounds). The Light Others can shapeshift and turn into tigers or bears or whatnot. But you’ll really have to see it yourself to see what I mean. They mess around with the vampire mythology in interesting enough ways that you don’t simply feel you’re watching a retread of some other crap fangflasher flickershow. See this film. You definitely won’t regret it. You’ll learn visually about contemporary Russia and see vodka downed and a woman changing from an owl into a human. What the hell more do you want or need, a written invitation? Get on it. And I’ll see you in line for the sequels. Guaranteed.
     

END

Monday, April 11, 2016

RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR


RATS: Night Of Terror Directed By Bruno Mattei, Starring Ottaviano Dell'Acqua (1984).

Reviewed By Webberly Rattenkraft

When I got the encrypted pigeongram that told me Theater of Guts needed me for a movie review, I had a momentary crisis of confidence, the kind where part of my brain keeps shrieking, "They only want your opinion because you're a rat! They don't respect you as an individual!" Still, it's important that the rat point of view should be represented in the media¹, regardless of the motives of those providing the platform, right? Right, so that voice can fuck right the fuck off. Thus, here we go with Bruno "Vincent Dawn" Mattei's futuristic-ish thriller, Rats: Night of Terror, a twist on the domestic mayhem of home invasion classics like Straw Dogs and Home Alone, taking place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where the eighties never ended. The scene is set by some helpful introductory text to effect that humans blew themselves up with a good old-fashioned nuclear hoedown, and the survivors fled underground to live together in scientific harmony. A splinter group in turn fled back above ground to live as full-time Road Warrior cosplayers. Ominous hints will eventually be dropped about the underground nerds physically modifying themselves to adapt to the post-war world, but no details are specified, almost as if something were being saved for a Big Shocking Twist.

Our beloved rodent critic diggin into some choice Balun scribblings 

   We meet our villains first, a ragged bunch of wasteland wanderers, every one of them looking like they're making the Ride of Shame home after a night of angry anonymous sex in the wake of a botched audition for Thunderdome! the Roller-Musical. These shaggy ne'ver-do-wells gear up in an extremely tidy scrapyard and bust their way into some kind of isolated science-type facility. What it's all for is left unsaid, but like any good science place, it requires a vast network of pipes. The future nerd race is nowhere to be found, but we soon learn--accompanied by a truly unconscionable amount of shrieking--that the place has been thoroughly colonized in their absence by happy hordes of learning-minded rats. They've gotten busy building a rodential Sciencetopia, even turning the hydrofiltration system into a bitchin' waterslide. The bumbling bikers get busy trashing the place, but their intrusion won't go unanswered for long. That's right, our insufferable interlopers are about to meet justice at the claws of thousands of adorable little murder machines with advanced intelligence and an array of improvised self-defense devices. Thanks no doubt to the movie's painfully low budget, we never see any of the sophisticated weapons the rats have, but their arsenal includes some sort of catapult that flings clutches³ of them onto a target, and once in a while a kamikaze squad will drop in from above^4. The mighty science-based power of the collective rat society is an unstoppable force, and the invaders are soon reduced to a Final Girl and a Ken doll, rescued at the last second by those physically-modified future nerds, who are... *DUN*DUN*DUNNNNN* giant rats! W00T! Double-burn, filthy human scum!

futuristic marketing

   On the way to that twist, though, you have to endure a lot of deeply annoying people, one of whom is dubbed by the same guy who dubbed Ian "It stinks!" Sera for one of my all-time favorite MST3k episodes, Pod People. Just, you know, fun fact and all. Speaking of dubbing, you know who deserves one of those "beer after a long, hard working man's day of unappreciated labor" commercials? The poor shlub in the ADR booth who has to try to sync terrible dialogue to the halting lip movements of an Italian actor stumbling phonetically through their lines. There's a lot of phonetic stumbling in this one, let me tell you.

WARRIORS COME OUT TO PLAYAYYYYEE

 You know what else there's a lot of? Rats. Some rat movies really shortchange you in the rodent department, but not Rats: Night of Terror. Rather than leaving the burden of carrying the movie to a single rat hero, Mattei instead lets the rats form a single, faceless Rattengestalt, a true socialist horde where the collective transcends the individual. To that end, literal boxes of rats are emptied just off-camera over shrieking actors^5. Either the Italian Humane Society is incredibly bad at its job, or Bruno Mattei snuck^6 under their radar somehow, because there's no way, no how that no rats were harmed during the making of this movie. For fuck's sake, at one point, a stuntman in full fire gear walks around in flames, with what are clearly live rats perched on him. Full disclosure: to be honest, they seem rather nonchalant about the whole thing. You can see them leaping off after the stuntman dropped, making little metal hands. Could be that every last one of my brethren made it intact to the wrap party, but I nevertheless harbor doubts.

I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for minimum wage

On the positive side, the movie provides a valuable lesson for budget-conscious directors: You can save a lot of money on animal training if you don't try to have the animals in your movie do anything in particular. Just show rats hanging out, doing their little rat things, and have characters scream, "They're gathering to attack!" or "They're chewing through all the wires!" or "They're grooming their Death Claws with poison saliva venom!" Throw in some scary music and your audience will be happy to be terrified by whatever you tell them is going on, because people just lose all their objectivity when confronted with writhing hordes of--and I use this word without moral judgment--vermin. 

If it achieves nothing except to pierce a few eardrums and maybe make you run outside and punch a bike messenger, Rats: Night of Terror at least stands proud as the first rodential entry in the Home Defense Massacre subgenre. Underneath the multiple layers of incompetence, weirdness, and failure, it clearly demonstrates the ability of a faceless socialist horde of science rats to carry an action movie. Try telling that to today's timid, reboot-and-franchise-driven Hollywood, though. Any ambitious young directors out there looking for a remake opportunity with an incredibly low bar to clear, check this one out. I recommend Blue Underground's sweet-ass Blu-ray double-feature, which includes Bruno Mattei's astonishing surrealist masterpiece HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD, a chilling allegorical trip inside the head of a hack director who suffers a cascading series of strokes while pitching a cheap rip-off of DAWN OF THE DEAD, sending him spinning into vortices of madness, flesh-eating, and cross-dressing while the viewer is dragged helplessly along.

BUY HERE
---------------------------------------------------------------
1. No offense, but you humans really have a bug up your ass about us, although I will say that in my encounters with horror fans, I've encountered no particular prejudice, and in fact, quite a lot of hugging.
2. The movie's actual apocalypse takes place in the dizzying future year of 2015, but these events are taking place a couple hundred years later.
3. An airborne group of rats is called a clutch.
4. Most likely from a blimp, based on assumed carrying capacity and silent hover.
5. I do feel bad for the poor production assistant who had to dump rats all over a shrieking but hot actress knowing she would never speak to him again, but he's still going on the Enemies List.^7
6. Yeah, "snuck" is non-standard and thus to be avoided, according to the pedants. You'd think they'd be happy to see a new irregular verb appearing to counter the decline of the English language that they're always bitching about, but nope. Some people are not just happy unless they're pissed off.
7. Not that I'm keeping an Enemies List. It's a figure of speech.

AVAILABLE ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND TO WATCH ON THE ELREY CHANNEL

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Long Island Cannibal Massacre





Long Island Cannibal Massacre Directed by Nathan Schiff, Starring John Smihula (1980)

Reviewed by Richard Glenn Schmidt

Some shaving cream on black paper spells out “A Nathan Schiff Production” and we begin with some hijacked library music. A young girl parks her car and goes for a walk through the dunes. At a secluded spot, she strips all the way down to her tank top, jeans, and white athletic socks before we see that she’s being watched by a strange figure in a hood, carrying what appears to be a pickaxe. She lights up the last doobie she’ll ever smoke and whammo!
The moment this brute (named Bruce) attacks, her screams sound even more alien to the material, like they were transplanted from another horror film entirely. I’m already alarmed by this film’s consistency. Bruce runs over her head with a lawnmower and collects her face and some other assorted bits from the grass catcher.
“We’re in for one hell of an apocalypse.”
When we finally get to some dialog, this movie opens up its riches to my ears. Now it’s easy to see why nearly every other aspect of the film has been lifted from other sources. This philosophical exchange between plucky Susan and James, a morose schlub, will either set your teeth on edge or make you do an impromptu drum solo, all depending on your temperament. I’m of the latter variety.
“This has been one hell of a Sunday.”

On a lonely stretch of beach, James discovers a rotting head partially buried in the sand. Jack shows up. Who’s Jack? Well, he’s a mustachioed dude in a vest, professing to be the “owner” of the beach. He begs James not to call the cops, pays him $120, and then reburies the corpse. Now we follow Jack to his camper. He drives for a while and then he stops at the woods where he’s immediately attacked by Bruce and a blond biker dude named Zed.

This is where the film becomes almost intolerable to me. The wannabe gritty dealings of these fiends and criminals makes me want to stick a pushpin in my eye. Jack owes Bruce and Zed money and they have bags of “stuff” he needs. He pulls a gun on them and I’m really missing Susan right now. Bruce goes running off into the sunset. That’s kind of magical. Jack delivers the bags in a scene lit with a flashlight and a mysterious figure collects the bags. Color me intrigued!


Here's the Sasquatch riding off into the sunset scene

At the police station, we meet the police chief (or the King of Disco, not entirely sure which) named Lieutenant Lipschitz as he’s chewing out Detective James Cameron. So our buddy James has been undercover this whole time and investigating a syndicate but he doesn’t think they’re into drugs. He suspects that they’re into “something else”. The best part of this sequence is the sound of the Super 8 camera reverberating off the walls of the tiny office they filmed this in.
James goes back to the beach in his badass Trans Am and tries to dig up the corpse but it’s gone! He goes to his pal and fellow police officer Dave to talk about the facts of this strange case over some J&B. Dave is pretty annoyed with James. I am too.
A couple is smoking dope in a secluded location and they’re attacked by Bruce and Zed. The dude gets his head bashed in and she gets disemboweled. I really can’t wait until 2080. I imagine that the 100th anniversary of this film will be quite a party.


AHHHH This is so relaxing


This double murder drives James over the edge. He quits the force and decides to go vigilante. Dave is not very encouraging. This scene is interrupted by Jack driving and talking to a bag of human remains (yes, that’s the “stuff” he’s been delivering) and complains about his father’s predilection for eating female flesh. He brings the bag and a peanut butter covered leper dude approaches with some bad news. Holy poop, I wish the entire movie was this great.
“And what are you gettin’ so uppity with me for?!”


It's good to be back in LOONG GUY-LAND home of Billy Joel

James reunites with Susan in South Carolina (according to the dialog) for some relaxing on a boat, swimming, and flipping out over a forgotten case of beer. Before we can revel in this specialness, we go back to Jack who is sitting in his van and being tormented by horrific memories of a monster killing some people and (presumably) raping a woman. He’s interrupted from his reverie by Lori, a fun party girl who wants climb in his warm van. Jack tells her all about his father’s leprosy and she tries to make a break for it. She’s caught by Bruce and I finally know who my least favorite character is. Bruce ruins the film every time he shows up.
“Is it because my face offends the eye of the beholder?”


Was it something I said?

We finally meet Jack’s leprous father and he’s got a serious sore throat. They feast on a dead girl. I like when Jack bites her leg through her jeans. Suddenly, I wish I was listening to an Autopsy record instead of watching this. Is that a compliment?
The next morning, Zed picks up a cute hitchhiker and the next time we see her, she’s in a garbage bag. James puts a gun in Zed’s face and then they start fighting while some jungle adventure music plays. Once James gets the upper hand, he crushes Zed’s face with a piece of metal.
The big reveal happens and I get kind of lost in the flashbacks and warbly Errol Flynn swordfight music. Jack confronts his father with an M-16 but finding that ineffective, he resorts to a chainsaw to get the job done. Dad, Bruce, and Jack throw down and I don’t know how I’ve made it this far through the film. Cannibal children feed on the loser or losers and it all ends in a glorious sunset. There’s a 2003 copyright date at the end and a URL for www.digitalsharkedit.com which seems legit.

Long Island Cannibal Massacre is profoundly awful with a nugget or two of fun mixed in with all the chunks. The low budget gory bits are cool and bountiful but the bulk of the dialog is just aggravating. However, it’s the library music really puts me out the most. If there’d been just a little bit of synthesizer or heavy metal to break up the relentless old-fashioned strings, I would have enjoyed myself a lot more. Schiff made a few other Super 8 films with catchy titles but this will very likely be my one and only look into his world.

BE PREPARED TO BE SCARRED FOR LIFE

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Lurkers



Lurkers Directed By Roberta Findlay, starring the left over cast of Frankenhooker (1988) 

Ed French did some of the effects, he's quickly becoming one of my favorite creature effects artists and I love reading about his grueling 48 hour work days in early issues of Fango. One particular horrendous story almost brought a tear to my eye when he mentioned getting zero sleep and acted as a Mr. Sardonicus style funky phantom on the set of The Jacksons early 80's song "Torture". If French is involved you can bet I'll most likely write up a review for Monster!, he's the underrated king of 80's creature features like CHUD and GEEK MAGGOT BINGO. 

Walter Sear who made DR. BUTCHER'S soundtrack so much more enjoyable does the wimpy score here, but whatever, he's still great. Sear gets the phone call when they need someone to overdub the original soundtrack like he did for 7 DOORS OF DEATH, which was a step down from the brilliant Fabio Frizzi one. This was Sear's last composition for film according to his IMDB.

This movie looks like it was filmed on the same block as TENEMENT when it got all yuppified. LURKERS is brought to you by Crown International Pictures or the film logo that looks like a cadillac hood ornament so you know it's extra classy! The only film I've ever enjoyed from that dreadful company was DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE. Are you starting to chafe yet, because this dud is pretty irritating. It also doesn't help that one of my least favorite directors has left her stink all over this production, one Roberta Findlay, who New Yawk porn mook Jerry Butler described as a "homely as hell" and he felt it was sleazy that she used footage of the recently deceased Shauna Grant to profit from her death.

The crew at this haunted Jack In The Box hopes you get excruciating heartburn from our late night stoner meal 

Cathy the main protagonist is haunted by ghouls with haggard melted faces and a little girl with a powdery complexion and hair that looks like she was just hit over the head with a bag of flower or a giant pancake makeup powder puff.

This halloween costume sucks

Good thing she meets Bob, a fashion photographer who looks kind of like a fake Eric Bogosian and they immediately plan to get married---way too fast in my opinion. Their hair is both so high and processed that when they screw, it looks like their head hair is fornicating simultaneously. 
The vibe of this flick is sort of like a Tales from the Darkside on acid. Most of the cast was in Findlay's practically unwatchable Prime Evil, which they sometimes stick on Don't Answer The Phone as an uneven double feature. 
Cathy's boyfriend is scuzzy and seems like an unsavory creep. Her crystal ball meddling gal pal looks like a cross between Linda Hunt and Mary Woronov. The acting in this is so amateurish and laughable that it brings it up to a surreal level of stupidity!

This is Gozer reminding you to choose wisely otherwise you may end up a dime store Miss Cleo psychic like me

You'll vomit in terror as you watch the romantic pepperoni pizza and cheap champagne scene. I recognized a couple of "New Joisey" extras from FRANKENHOOKER, maybe they got lost and couldn't turn down the extra 5$ the director slipped them or the free buffet! 
The storyline is pretty flimsy, basically her insane mother pulled a knife on Cathy as a child, she got stabbed and the guilt of her memory is re-manifesting itself zzzzzz, Yawn excuse me I fell asleep there.

DIRT CHEAP CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND PEPPERONI DREAMS

Oh shit, where's the crew from the late night reality show Cheaters when you need them because Bob is out being a lecherous hustler, a camera crew needs to report this to Cathy stat! The main reason I was deceived into checking this dopey film out was because of Bride Of Deep Red, But Hey let's not hold it against that excellent comp, it looked fun at the time. I gotta say though as drab and lifeless as this film is, it's an improvement over other Roberta Findlay movies I've suffered through, if that sounds like a challenge than go forth and drink lots of coffee to stay awake.

ABOUT AS ENJOYABLE AS GETTING YOUR GUMS CLEANED!


We told you not to double dip that motherfucking chip!




Monday, March 28, 2016

Manson


MANSON Directed By Laurence Merrick and Robert Hendrickson (1973).

The first time I saw this rare documentary which is still only available on VHS was in middle school, it's powerfully depressing and has some of the most idiotic people you've ever seen or heard in your life. All the girls wear punk haircuts and skimpy shorts as they brag about their shotguns and giggle while hurling anarchistic psychobabble your way. The girls cutesy antics wear out real fast. Lots of people have either fetishized these moronic chicks or sampled their dialogue in hardcore songs by Integrity and Poison Idea or industrial weirdos Skinny Puppy. The only reason they convinced half of the actual family members on the lam to participate in this film was because they were all given the opportunity to blab about how awesome they all were. Ah youth, almost all of these people currently wish they'd never met a con artist loser and extreme manipulator like Charlie. The ones interviewed in the film like Steve Clem Grogan aka "Scramblehead", Mary Brunner and Paul Watkins who does the eerie folk soundtrack were all released. Brunner who had a child with Manson, mentions how her baby just plopped out one day without any medical assistance at all! Watkins was a huge snitch and spoke out against the Family early on, he seems disturbed by Charlie's whole deranged concept of love byway of murder. The way Bugliosi breaks down the Helter Skelter concept reminds me of Joe Friday but don't underestimate him, later on he tried to convict GW Bush for war crimes. The whole warped ideology of Manson hearing The Beatles speaking directly to him about The Black Panthers taking over America and exterminating all races besides his appointed group hiding out in Death Valley is almost too idiotic to fathom.

We're warning you with Peace and Love, racial dominance is on your side Chuck

It's really fascinating to hear about how these dopey girls slept with grocery store managers so they could dumpster dive and get the best garbage in order to survive. Manson was basically their pimp and stepped on their necks to live out his messiah fantasy. The older I get the less I understand how any of this even happened, I mean how many drugs can you take before you'd listen to a maniacal dwarf rejected rockstar like Charlie--I just don't get it.

does this Manson caricature I bought on the pier for 5$ look inbred enough? 

Watkins mentions how they were on 30 or 40 acid trips a day, that would probably fry your brain enough to make you fall for any variety of bullshit. They showcase Manson's ceremonial psychedelic embroidered vest with human hair woven in from all of the girls heads and most of their crimes were recorded on it. The girls all enthusiastically boast about this shit like the documentarian is so privileged to hear about it. Later on, Lawrence Merrick was mysteriously killed even before the film was released. The most unsettling part for me was when the narrator talks about how the children born on Spahn Ranch smoked dope, dropped acid and even took part in group orgies! Yikes, these kids, now adults are most likely in intensive therapy I'm willing to believe.

It's actually made from Skunkape's butt hair

Brooks Poston (who joins Watkins on the eerie folk stylings) mentions Dennis Wilson for a couple of seconds and that they're jealous of his mansion. It's quite the opposite, Manson would do anything to latch onto Wilson's fame and the main reason the Tate/ LaBianca Murders were triggered. They were actually searching to butcher Terry Melcher for taking the song "Cease to Exist", changing the lyrics and not paying Charlie his due. There's a really cool documentary about the subject on YT. And there's a funny/terrifying scene in Beach Boys: An American Family, the tv movie, where Dennis' home is taken over by the family and he leaves and never comes back.

I also stole Kokomo from Geraldo's most famous meal ticket, thanks loser!

It gets pretty gross the way Watkins describes the crazy mescaline deflowering virgin's freakout on the beach. It's clear to me that all of these women were being used, in a later interview with Patricia Krenwinkel she even wonders if Charlie ever partook at all and forced all his wasted flunkies to do his bidding.

Nancy Jordan talks about how Manson had bitey sex with her and they do a four shot split screen ala-they told two friends and so on and so on. They talk to Veronica "Ronnie" Howard who says by the time you see this film, I'll most likely be dead because she broke the Tate-Labianca case. She died in 79 a few years later, she was kidnapped and beaten by a gypsy cabdriver, it's not proven however if it was related to her role in the conviction of Susan Atkins. It's pretty sketchy though and that case seems opened ended to me. 

Answer the phone for lesbian dial-a-date!

Atkins, who became a born again Christian in jail and had her leg amputated was released in 2001 and died a few years after. The way they describe her stabbing Sharon Tate's unborn child without any remorse or some dude who blew his brains out while they were fucking as totally "groovy", it's almost impossible to feel any sympathy for her. A lot of these lurid details to to have inspired Roger Watkins to make his film Last House on Dead End Street.     

UGH I don't feel so good I must've eaten too many ladies panties 

I used to have a xerox copy of Charles Manson with a box of celebs on a list that they targeted underneath (it's kind of pathetic to think about now). I love when they describe how they wanted to hang Sinatra on a meathook, skin him alive and sell purses they made out of his flesh to hippie shops! I was actually excited to check out Jim Van Bebber's Charlie's Family (aka The Manson Family) years before it came out and promoted in Deep Red Alert #1.That film threw in scenes from this documentary and went out of its way to make the interviewed subjects look like clowns.

Rocky Dennis post facelift

One of the most irritating bitches in this film is Sandy Good, who brags that their coming revolution will make Nazi Germany look like a picnic. I think if they slipped in some psychiatric drugs or thorazine in with their psychedelic shit, maybe all of this madness would've been avoided. You can obtain this film on a DVD-R signed by Robert Hendrickson for 30$ bucks from the co-director, I'm guessing that no one owns the actual rights to this film. I hadn't thought of this film for awhile until one of my favorite radio shows The Best Show with Tom Scharpling mentioned it, which intrigued me to review it. When I went to TV production school I was obsessed with a couple of things, this movie, the Paul is Dead Beatles theory and made a couple of music videos with the footage, one was for Violent School by The Dead Milkmen.
There have been so many wimpy watered down homogenized TV movie versions of the original story, but this one is the real deal. It's pretty nauseating psychologically and still baffling that this ever happened at all.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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