Friday, March 28, 2014

Mardi Gras Massacre

Directed by Jack Weis. Starring nobody who wants to admit to being in it. (1978)
Review By Graham Rae

Mardi Gras Massacre. Zipadee doodah. Does the world really want or need another review of a shitty 38-year-old splatter film that nobody cares about anymore? What’s that you say? Yes? Because that’s what this site is about, reviews of films in Chas Balun’s video trade catalog? Okay, well, here you go then:

Weird guy who wants an “evil” woman picks up various hookers in bars (one of whom “could probably take first prize in any evil contest”), takes them home, and sacrifices them some Aztec deity by cutting their hearts out, whilst a horrible disco-cum-weird-crap soundtrack farts inappropriately across the scenes. Two stupid cops try to catch him. One falls in love with a hooker. Bad acting abounds. Some more stuff happens. The copsuckers chase the sacrificial murderer. He jumps into a police car and drives straight into a river for no reason. But there is no body in the car, which is the set up for a thankfully nonexistent sequel. The End.

Bloodfeast 2: Egyptian Fiesta

What’s that you say? I should have given you a spoiler alert? Why? Here’s one: the whole fucking film is spoiled, there’s your alert! The only people who care about this film are horror nerd completists who want to say they have seen every film with the word ‘massacre’ in the title. But you know what’s far worse than it just being a terrible piece of pathologically misogynistic hamfisted garbage? This film is a killer of hope, a slayer of artistic fantasies, a weary charnel house of young cinematic dreams. 

Fuad Ramses would not approve

Consider if you will: The director, fumbling with his girlfriend’s bra in a drive-in somewhere in 1963 as Blood Feast oozes, burps, gurgles and splatters across the appalled screen. One eye on HG Lewis’s timeless anti-classic, the other on the pert young breasts slowly coming into damn-this-fucking-bra view, he thinks one day I too will make my own worthless piece of celluloid excrement, to rival or even surpass this one, throwing body parts around and cutting out hearts and OWWW! His future filmmaker reveries are cut cruelly short by his girlfriend slapping his face for twisting her nipple too hard, and she jumps out of the car and storms off, slamming the door hard and cursing him as she does. But he never, ever forgets, and 15 long years later his own cataract-clouded vision is dumped on a bored, sniggering, bloodthirsty, unforgiving audience. He briefly forgets the people he frightened with his films along the way, and those disowned terrible early Super 8 porno loops of his involving…well, you’ll know what was in them, the court case was quite famous. All this is not what he expected or wanted, and he dies in a shooting gallery a few years later of a Drano overdose, cursing the deceptively easy art of filmmaking with his last sad halitosis breath just before the other junkies pick his pocket and scram before the police get there.

Jack Weis loves the nightlife and likes to boogie 

The makeup FX guy, inspired beyond belief by the Utterly Godlike Genius of his hero Tom Savini’s seminal work on Dawn of the Dead, and his porno mustache. He eagerly constantly practices his sleight-of-hand makeup wares and tears on unwary friends and family, causing his parents and siblings to mutter darkly about his mental health and having him institutionalized. But nothing and nobody can stop a man possessed by the will to disgust people with his FX on the silver-cum-blood-splattered screen! He will not be stopped! He lops off cheap plastic limbs, pours endless gallons of sticky, chunky Karo syrup blood, and rigs up exploding condoms to poorly mimic gunshots until he thinks his heart will burst with pride at his subpar work. Finally…it all comes to fruition! His big chance! A horror film! He gets to do the same cheapjack effect over and over again, cutting open a pathetically fake, waxy torso and pulling the heart from it! He laughs heartily at all those he alienated and who thought he would end up a serial killer along the way, including his friends and family, and goes home to his skanky lonely apartment to drink cheap wine and eat from a can, wishing he had money to pay the electricity bill so he could have warmed up the contents before eating.

Not bad for a dime store outlet special effect

filmed in Technicolor diarrhea brown and beige

The set designer. As a child, he would sit and ooh and ahh and coo and handclap when watching things on the big screen like the vivid primary colors in the Elizabeth Taylor production of Cleopatra, the decorative, dazzling mauves and emeralds and cobalt blues sending a coded arousing message his nascent (homo)sexuality would not quite able to figure out yet. But as those gorgeous neon-hued colors dripped and drizzled across his lap, staining his popcorn and his young future set designer dreams, he instantly knew in which direction he wanted to aim his life – if not yet which direction to aim his cock. And so he studied all the greats on video and at the cinema, pausing videotapes, comparing color charts and wallpapers, reading American Cinematographer, taking notes, performing anachronistic feng shui calisthenics behind his fevered everything-is-art eyes, redesigning the natural world constantly until it fit his precious and precocious aesthetic vision. The first couple of high school plays he did were awful except for his extravagant-rainbow-motif work, which was applauded by his hush-hush young lover in the high school newspaper, the hunky dreamboat Rusty, but at least he started to get his visual message out there. Until, through a combination of happenstance and good luck, he finally chanced upon his maiden cinematic experience. Mardi Gras Massacre, huh, okay, geez, whatever. Cheap gig, obviously. “OK kid, make us up a sacrificial chamber, this cuckoo asshole has to murder some women on a table. Hang some big crimson curtains with – hey waitaminute, make everything crimson, I like it, shit, crimson like blood, real high concept shit, yeah, everything crimson, the cheap sacrificial table, the Aztec altar, alla that shit. Just let your imagination go wild. Long as it’s cheap and crimson. Go to it, kid!” And so our poor set designer does as he is told, simmering once-unstoppable aesthetic dreams cruelly crushed by the weight of cheap splatter movie set design reality. After he finishes he cannot bear to watch the end product and takes to the streets, selling himself as a rent boy until he finds a sugar daddy to take him away from it all and to help him blank out his nightly-nightmare-retraced experiences on the splatter set that wake him up in the early hours before dawn and that only valium and absinthe and crying will obliterate.

Care for a nice cold Steel Reserve 

The actress. Skinny kid in school, arty, kind of kooky. Always into theater and dance, kind of a nerd, bit weird, intense, into Sylvia Plath, misunderstood, but along with it, you know, dreams far beyond her small town horizons. Truly believing that the magic of the tarantella she could easily astound her peer group and dance class with would propel her to the heights of stardom. She would hit Broadway – okay, maybe off-Broadway for five minutes, just to give her time to dazzle and be discovered, don’t want to too be too unrealistic – like a whirling spinning prancing jumping trotting comet, a kinesthetic (got that word from some poetry book whose title couldn’t remember, and often used it to show her superior intellect) vision of untouchable purity, a trip beyond all current available dance processes. Shrugging off the cooling loins and tears of smitten young male and female lovers she strode boldly into the New Orleans night, long bus journey and sore ass a necessary evil.

Art or Arse, you be the judge

She was ready to strut her stuff, the roar of the crowd and the smell of the greasepaint ringing in her ears and nose, her get-outta-my-way searing upward trajectory nothing but a natural phenomenon given the weight and heft of her easily-wielded anybody-can-see talent. Couple of small dancing gigs here and there, the odd lapdance poleslide embarrassingly endured, smacking sticky prying fingers on small stages in intimate rooms from drunk patrons in the front row, the show must go on, ignore these assholes, when I am dancing like Nijinsky and Nureyev across that not-too-far Broadway stage I will laugh last and long at these salad days memories. But somehow and somewhere it never went quite right for her, as it doesn’t for a thwarted great many, and she grew despondent, weary, towel-throwing-in. Until…on the horizon…a dim maybe-redemptive…chance! A film! Director looking to prove himself, horror flick, kind of cynical, sleazy, “OK girl, you get naked and do your dance moves round this brown – HEY MOTHERFUCKER, I SAID I WANTED CRIMSON! – this sacrificial table, altar, whatever. I know you got the moves, you can do a pas de deux like a motherfucker, and I know you’re supple, you were like a goddam gymnast in bed last night. Show this crazy murderer asshole, girl, show him the beauty he is murdering, dance naked, show him the evil error of his ways before he ties you down and cuts your heart out! Don’t be sad, stop crying, this is your big chance, this will play in Peoria! Stop crying! OK, lights, camera…ACTION!” And so she sniffles and raises her chin high and rises above her sordid surroundings and circumstances and dances and kicks her legs high overhead, elegant swan-like movements coming through loud and clear on the grimy recording 16mm celluloid, the camera comprehensively documenting her descent into an inferno of no uncertain ending. After filming she disappears into the night, maybe back to the black hole of her small town home, maybe into the cold dark hiding places that proliferate in any big conspiratorial city, nobody on the production quite knows or cares, and she is not at the premiere or any screening ever. She is forever a mystery, a question mark, a dream unfulfilled.

This should be just enough for gas money and a cheap lunch

Well, I could go on, but I think you catch my drift. Doesn’t anybody else ever watch these films and think damn, I wonder what happened to this dancer woman, or this stupid bartender guy, did they really think they were going to be famous in a stupid fucking flickershow like this? Watching certain movies, you can’t quite believe that grown men and women wasted precious days of their lives making them, and this is most certainly one of those chinstroker hmmm-I-wonder-inspiring epics. You wonder if the people in it went onto anything else, or if they just gave up any nascent dreams of stardom and went back to the silent midnight valley of nothing of life far away from cheap sets and never-lived-down filmic embarrassment.

Russ Meyer's gumshoe brother Hortense
Well, I occasionally wonder. But not very hard. I guess it might be easy enough to find out what some of them did after, as the net is a wonderful tool for facilitating pointless research into worthless subjects, but really I don’t care and, let’s face it, neither do you. And neither did the people making this film when they made it, either, so we should just return the favor and let this guitar-picks-of-the-future (historically, old film prints were melted down to be made into guitar picks) garbage slide back into the Stygian, talent-free depths it slimed up from. But sometimes…spare a thought. For the crushed dreamers. For the abused thespians. For the bruised-brain directors. For the now-colorblind set designers. For the turned-accountant dancers. For the ex-FX guy now working in a hardware store. After all, there but for the (dis)grace of Mardi Gras Massacre go you and I…


I just moved in with Red Fox and another portly fellow named Cal

This roll of singles made it all worth while

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Blade In The Dark

A Blade In The Dark  Directed By Lamberto Bava, Starring Michele Soavi (1983).
After seeing House By The Cemetery did you want to tear your ears off with a claw hammer while suffering through the whiny, shrill, middle aged woman's voice of Bob, the small fry? Or did you think, what's that delightful little moppet up to anyhow, well here he is in Lamberto Bava's Blade In The Dark.

Home Alone: the prequel

   All of the pasta-land talent is represented in this flick like Dardano Sachetti, who I totally lost respect for after Aladdin, and even soundtrack dude Guido Maurizio De angelis (who seems to be channeling Simon Boswell here). This got a "good stuff" recommendation in the Deep Red catalog, so it must be decent right? 
   I have a phobia of Lamberto Bava, some would say Lambertitus (not this definition though ). 
   I mean if you've noticed it's been a long while since I've seen his films (my favorite one still being Delirium: Photo's Of Gioia and the first Demons). Goat Scrote on the other hand has seen everything as far as I can tell, I put him on these special assignments because he does such a top notch job. Look forward to more Demons review coming soon (which I refuse to watch).
Did you get that official Cosby sweater I sent?
   Michele Soavi makes an appearance once again (he mentions that his dad in this film is stuck in an oil war in 1983, not very topical yet).
Bruno the soundtrack composer is played by former Conquest actor Andrea Occhipinti, donning a sweet ass Cosby sweater instead of a loin cloth.

I'm gonna write a tune about Jello Puddin Pops

   The director of the film decides to put him up in a creepy haunted villa to inspire his work, which has to resonate the perfect amount of spookiness. The composer stuck in a ghostly mansion premise sort of reminds me of The Changeling.
   A Geena Davis look-a-like shows up and is super forward and annoying. He accidentally finds her diary (which is in Italian and littered with Snoopy stickers). There's killer lurking in the shadows that uses an x-acto knife on Katya (the fake Geena Davis).  
Waaahh, get that knife outta my face--Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice
Bruno hears a strange voice on the reel to reel as he is working on a song for the film's soundtrack. Bava steals some of this from Depalma's Blow Out, which I thought was a pretty flawed effort to begin with, so it's an improvement to rip from it. Sacchetti has been disappointing me lately, did he lose a bet or did the producers put a gun to his head and he patched together some Hitchcock and Depalma in three seconds in order to stay alive? This hypothetical situation is retarded I know, but I need to tell myself this in order to justify the awful dreck I've been seeing with his name attached lately! 
   Not much happens for awhile and then another girl shows up, a former date of Bruno's who's very jealous. They establish a slimy wino caretaker character who has Playboy centerfolds everywhere and makes scrap books, he seems like the obvious murder suspect. 
   A third girl shows up (who looks sort of like a chunky Brinke Stevens), she swims around and finds the murder weapon at the bottom of the pool. As she washes her hair in the sink, a Mrs. Bates copy cat plunges a blade into her hand then wraps her head in plastic wrap.
Let's recreate that Kids In The Hall Citizen Kane sketch

The pacing is excruciatingly slow and the worst crime of all is its lack of gratuitous nudity! I mean you could leave the room, get some chores done while they try to solve the mystery and you don't miss anything! The ending is worth sticking around for, even though its pretty derivative. Snore…..
Stop prank calling me about Mickey, I'm not Toni Basil!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Interview with Harry Medved by Kris Gilpin

The Harry Medved Interview
By Kris A. Gilpin
On Sunday, April 20 1980, I interviewed the younger author of The Golden Turkey Awards for a Canadian fanzine on bad film called Yecch! We spoke in New York's Beacon Theatre (in which the World's Worst Film Festival was being held), between screenings of The Terror Tiny Town and The Creeping Terror (one of my favorite bad films).

KG: You're from Philadelphia right?

HM: No, Michael [his film critic brother and co-author of Golden Turkey] was born in Philadelphia; I was born in San Diego. Moved when I was two to L.A., and right now I'm going to the University of California in San Diego; I transferred from U.C.L.A.

Among one of the worst films of 1979

KG: When did you first become involved with bad film?

HM: Ever since I was eight years old. I've just always been fascinated by bad movies. I notice that people usually have more fun laughing together over the bad films that they despise than trying to extol the virtues of the great cinema classics. You talk about the films of each year--like if you want to talk about the films of 1979, you get around to talking about the best films--a lot of time people will have opinions, but they'll feel very bored and stuffy and it's very predictable, but if you ask them, "What are the worst films of 1979?" almost everybody's got an opinion, and even the most reticent can't help but suggest a beloved Turkey for consideration.
But The Creeping Terror was a film I has seen after I wrote The 50 Worst Films of All Time and, after I had seen The Creeping Terror, I felt so ashamed of myself to say, "This is the worst film I have ever seen," except at that time I couldn't even decide whether I considered it a film, because it almost is a non-film. It violates so many standards of basic filmmaking.

The ole' slurp and burp

KG: Totally inept, right?

HM: Yeah it's hardly a movie.

KG: Were there any films that you wanted that you couldn't get--for any reason--for the festival?

HM: A lot of them. We wanted to show Attack of the 50 Foot Woman; we couldn't get that. Dracula Vs. Frankenstein; we couldn't get that. Eegah! we couldn't get, so we went with The Creeping Terror. Fire Maidens from Outer Space, Cat Women of The Moon: films like that.

Golden Turkey Approved!

KG: Have you been happy with the response to the festival?

HM: I'm very pleased, There were about 750 people who showed up to see I Changed My Sex, which is very reassuring to me because I thought I was crazy, because I love that film so much, it's been proven that there are hundreds of bad film aficionados around the country--at least people who liked I Changed My Sex.

KG: Do you plan to stage another festival soon, or at least next year?

HM: It's conceivable, but we don't have any definite plans.

KG: What would you call the worst film of 79?

HM: Prophecy.

KG: Yeah I agree!

HM: Just because it's the worst mutant bear movie I've ever seen. Also Players with Ali McGraw, Fedora with Marthe Keller; oh God, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure. Meteor was just incredibly bad; it was close to The Swarm. The Killer Nun, starring Anita Ekberg. Kung Fu Exorcist, which is about this aging Buddhist monk who is reincarnated as a flying leather shoe. Hurricane.

Man-Bear-Pig the cover model

KG: Do you, by chance, happen to know what happened to Bert I. Gordon's latest film Devil Fish? I believe it's been shelved, or they might not've even made it after all.

HM: No and I didn't get to see Devil Fish, which I've heard is really bad.

An unmade film with no relation to the Lamberto Bava trash

KG: What do you think about the films of H.G. Lewis?

HM: I think they're lovely. Very enjoyable.

KG: So do I

HM: Same with Creeping Terror, I do love the film.

KG: I know what you consider the worst, now what would you say are the best films of all time?

HM: Well, some of my favorites are Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa; Alexander Nevsky, I love that. Potemkin. Godfather 2.

KG: What did you think of Eraserhead?

HM: I thought it was very bizarre. There are certain films where it's very simple to say, "I liked it" or "I didn't", and Richard Corliss has criticized us; as he pointed out, it's probably wrong to say, "This movie is bad", "This movie is good", and I think Eraserhead is a case in point where you really can't distinguish it; it just exists. It's fascinating.

Bunel influenced Lynch?

KG: It's like it's set apart from anything I've ever seen.

HM: Yeah; it is very much like The Andalusian Dog.

KG: Have you ever thought about going into film production?

HM: I think I'll be viewing films, mostly, but I'd like to learn a little bit about that.

KG: Do you know what your next book will be about?

HM: I'm not writing anymore books; this is it. I want to get my academic career back on track first; I'm going to go back to U.C., San Diego, and then back to U.C.L.A. and eventually end up in film production, if possible.

KG: Our readers would love to know what do you think about The Creeping Terror?

HM: I think it's astounding; it's right up there with Robot Monster, featuring the most ridiculous monster I've ever seen. If you look closely, you can actually see the feet at the bottom of the original monster. It's hilarious!

KG: It has the worst production values I've ever seen in a film.

HM: It's just an astonishing masterpiece in reverse. It's a classic movie and I love it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Soul Vengeance

SOUL VENGEANCE  (1975, aka WELCOME HOME BOTHER CHARLES, directed and written by Jamaa-Fanaka)
Reviewed By Goat Scrote

    A movie about a killer cock should be far more entertaining than this, especially when it isn’t about a homicidal rooster. I really wanted to like it. Most trashy low-concept movies – no matter how incoherent or badly-paced or cheaply produced - have at least a few things to enjoy. This one is punishingly dull, with only one scene worth watching, and even that one scene isn’t really that great.
    The lewd and lurid concept is so promising that it’s hard to imagine how it could fail to be entertaining somehow. It falls into both the Blaxploitation and rape-revenge genres, since it’s about a black man driven to serial murder by a genital-mutilating white cop. The attempted castration scene 12 minutes in is quite melodramatic acting-wise, but nothing is really shown. That sure sounds like pretty intense exploitation material even without the murder-by-penis angle but somehow it was ineffective. How do you leach almost all the horror out of a scene like that?
    Racist lawyers and a hypocrite judge protect the cop and send the victim to jail. Once Charles is free the people who wronged him start dying off… but not until after Charles has seduced their women, who become his hypnotized slaves. Then we learn about the superpower he mysteriously developed in prison. I’m not quite sure how having your penis slashed leads to its becoming a gigantic, super-strong, prehensile tentacle that dispenses vagina-rattling sex and throat-crushing death in equal measure. The movie never tries to explain it either, it just happens after Charles has a dream one night. I was willing to roll with it for the sake of a good payoff at some point.

Whatever you do, don't cut off my dick because it will only grow larger?
    Well… let’s just say that there's only one big scene and when it arrives it's a pretty big letdown, especially considering all of the boring bullshit you sit through to get there. Maaaaaybe it would have had more impact if I’d gone into it “Crying Game” style without knowing the “shocking twist”, but I really fucking doubt it. More likely I would have turned it off long before the halfway mark. Everything about the movie seems to say that the writer/director thought the overwrought hyper-Freudian sexual metaphor of the movie really was some kind of serious statement. It felt like the “twist” at the end (Spoiler: He kills with his penis) was just one more grim, joyless exercise in forcing us to choke down (ha!) Jamaa-Fanaka’s message. What message? White society tries to emasculate the black man because the white man fears the vigorous power of the black man to enslave white women, who are vicious bitches until a truly mighty penis has tamed them. Big black cock is unstoppable!
Please enjoy this very artistic shot of peanut shells and a can of A&W
    How do you make sex-obsessed, politically-incorrect, penis-strangulation Blaxploitation film boring? Watch this movie to find out. Or, better yet, don’t. The murders are presented in a way that conceals the murder weapon, which makes it pretty hard to figure out what the hell is going on at all. Are they having a staring contest? Whatever. Even when the killer cock was finally on display it was a little difficult to piece together exactly what was going on, because the movie just wasn’t very well put together. Seriously, I’m truly aghast at how completely unwatchable this movie turned out to be. I was so excited when I found out it existed. That sounds so awesomely socially unacceptable and over-the-top on paper. How does a movie like this turn out so muted and unenjoyable? I saw the “Soul Vengeance” version, which may have had cuts made, but frankly I don’t see this movie being improved by adding more of it. One hour and thirty-eight minutes of this shit is plenty.
    12 minutes, vague genital mutilation just off camera.
    58 minutes, Charles meets with his doctor and has a discussion about his ‘condition’. “Do you think I’m lying?” “Of course I don’t think you’re lying, after I look at the the scar tissue staring me in the face” – “If a man tries to cut my manhood off, what the hell am I supposed to do, nothing?”
Seriously! Why is this movie so boring?

    65 minutes, he shows his cock to the wife of his first target and she just falls right into his arms. They have sex and she turns into his obedient puppet. She lets him into the house after dark so he can kill her husband, the cop who mutilated Charles.
    69 minutes, the first attack begins – but all we see is Charles’ face, straining, and we hear a little groaning from off camera.

Wow that's a giant anaconda! 
    82 minutes he starts another white-woman seduction.
    84 minutes the big scene begins with victim number two, the racist lawyer. This is the first time we find out what Charles’ murder weapon actually is. We see his naked ass and dick from behind as it grows between his legs, then it slithers across the room and attacks. The victim is too terrified by the sight of a giant pecker to do anything other than wait for it to climb into bed with him so he can grab hold of it tightly and writhe against it while it pushes closer and closer to his face…  Hmm, come to think of it, that doesn’t sound like terror. The dick wraps around his neck and chokes the life out of him while Charles makes funny faces. (Maybe he's feeling a little sexually conflicted. "I'm enjoying this for the revenge, not for the sex. There is nothing gay about this!")

Get that beautiful snake over here!

    90 minutes, Charles shows up at the judge’s house. He reveals that he has banged his honor’s aged wife too and put her under his hypnotic influence. Before he can put the squeeze on the judge, the police arrive and interrupt things. Charles is only halfway through his deathlist when the movie comes full circle, with Charles on the roof. His woman screams at him to jump. He does. What the fuck? Roll credits.
Get that camera out of my giant nostrils

Argh, get this foul smelling gardenhose off my neck

That's right Lancelot Link crossbred with Joe E. Ross it was all a misunderstanding

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tiger On The Beat

Tiger On The Beat (Lo Foo chut gang) Directed By Lau Kar Leung (or Chia-Liang Liu) starring Chow Yun-Fat (1988).
This one opens with a white-hot rockin theme song by Maria Cordero and I almost get the impression that this was Chow Yun-Fat's departure from his usual "nice guy" gunslinger routine. He made this a few years after A Better Tomorrow 2 and perhaps wanted to cut loose. Leung who's a stunt co-ordinator and director has made some of the most renowned kung fu flicks like Dirty Ho and Mad Monkey Kung-Fu.
   Chow's character immediately comes off like a sleazy cop, caught in bed with a married broad (who's beastly husband is Blue Jeans Monster actor; Fui-On Shing in a short cameo ).

try this gun, it's made of delicious chocolate
   Sgt. Francis Li (Chow) wears a visor and a Hawaiian shirt, and his wacky hijinks come off like a "HK Ace Ventura". He downs a real glass full of raw eggs and surprisingly doesn't upchuck all over the place "lard-ass hogan style" of Stand By Me. There's a hold-up at a fast-food restaurant that scares Li enough to literally piss his pants! The overly crude sense of humor was a welcome sight for me, after suffering through some stogy Hong Kong flicks. There are some ridiculously voiced white gangsters that raise the ludicrous bar pretty high. This is the most animated and wacky I've ever seen the normally serious Yun-Fat. His Uncle Jim, who's also a lieutenant pairs him up with a Jackie Chan looking fellow named Michael Cho (played by Conan Lee, who was in Lethal Weapon 4 and Gymkata). There's also a commissioner Butt character, HA!

Yeah until he slits his prants!

   The subtitles are a little off, (one guy is called a schoolbag, instead of a scumbag)! Secret drug deals seem to be happening everywhere as they follow a Thai girl at the mall, her brother is another gangster on their list of suspects.
   Tiger is often like a HK counterpart to a certain series of Steve Guttenberg/Bobcat Goldthwait films (the name escapes me)!
   The fight choreography is excellent and certain kicks and punches look real and painful.  
The most random part is when "Poison Snake Ping" the Thai gangster (Norman Chu) always answers the phone, or the door in a falsetto girl voice (to fool people into thinking he's his own sister). His eventual death is pretty gruesome as a rival crew blow his hand off with dynamite, then shoot him in the back 40 times in a row.
I promise I'll never answer the phone in a fake lady voice again!

   Chow and his partner have no problem with kicking the shit out of Ping's sister (or smashing her face through a table). The last thirty minutes get pretty ugly, even though they still try to preserve the wacky hijinks, it's a very uneven balance.


   I mean what if all of a sudden you're watching The Naked Gun and toward the end, Frank Drebin turns into Harvey Kietel in Bad Leutenant, acting like a drooling misogynist and masturbating behind a car door, you'd be flabbergasted right? I admire this creative switch and it's definitely not out of place in a HK action movie, that's for sure!

Impalement makes me jolly

   There's a high speed car chase, that is exciting even for people that usually are bored by them and I tried to see if I could find a stunt double for either actors as they narrowly dodge jagged metal and neck slicing steel.  
   One of the gangster's caucasian henchmen looks like a drugged out effeminate Cory Haim and threatens to rape Chow's sister! It's very entertaining watching Chow and his partner beat the shit out of 90210 looking white dudes in Z Cavaricci's and utilizing this crazy sawed off shotgun on a rope trick.
Go back to hell were you belong 90's fashion!
   The icing on the ultra violence cake is a full throttle double chainsaw battle! I've never seen people smash saws against each other, while sparks fly and round house kicks are delivered, it's totally insane!


Nyquil makes you sleep through anything

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Demons 3: The Ogre

THE OGRE (1988, aka “Demons III: The Ogre” or “The Ogre: Demons 3”, original title “La casa dell’orco”, “House of the Ogre”)
Directed by Lamberto Bava
Screenplay by Dardano Sacchetti
Reviewed By Goat Scrote

    This is a made-for-cable-TV movie about a magical ogre who gets sexually aroused by flowers. There are no slime demons, no spiritual possessions, and no physical transformations. It's just one horny monster who drools over catalogs of FTD gift bouquets like my dad with the latest Victoria’s Secret mailer. This is one of three different movies that have been marketed as “Demons 3”. The legitimate part 3 is Michele Soavi’s “La Chiesa” aka “The Church” from 1989, and there’s also Umberto Lenzi’s unofficial 1991 entry “Dèmoni 3” (1991) aka “Black Demons”, which is a voodoo-zombie picture. “The Ogre” has no real connection with the “Dèmoni” films and if you’re expecting the same kind of movie, you will be severely disappointed. It would have made more sense to call it “The Shining 2”, since it’s about the family of a writer who may be going crazy in a big empty vacation house, there’s a hedge maze out back, and the main character even has psychic visions warning her of the danger waiting at the estate. Or they could have called it “Troll 3: The Ogre”. Why not? If they were releasing “The Ogre” today and wanted to attach it to a successful franchise, the “Shrek” series is a natural choice. Can you imagine the beautiful chaos, showing deceptively-titled Italian horror movies to theaters full of weeping, traumatized children…? “Mommy, what is Shrek doing to Donkey’s eyeball with that corkscrew!?!”

The Shining 2: Shrek's Revenge?

    Actually, “The Ogre” is virtually blood-free and mostly goes for creep factor rather than explicit violence. It’s not for kids thanks to sexual themes, but still tame enough for 80s cable TV. There’s some nudity when husband and wife take a bath together (55 minutes), a surprisingly casual scene of domestic violence (62 minutes), an implied sexual assault by the ogre (69 minutes), and a somewhat more explicit assault near the end (85 minutes). There are some macabre effects in the recurring image of the ogre being born out of a cocoon of cobwebs, slime, and bones. The house is effectively used to build up the atmosphere of looming danger, but the villain himself is uninspired and just not very frightening. He’s most effective early on when all we see is one menacing claw. The more we see the creature in action, the more it looks like a cosplayer at the Renaissance Faire. 

care for some mead and a turkey leg?

 The story is not very exciting, the characters aren’t engaging, and the finale is unsatisfying and hard to make sense of. I recommend seeking out one of the other, much better Bava/Sacchetti collaborations available. I usually like Lamberto Bava’s monster movies, they display a lot of imagination, but this one is best avoided.
    The movie begins in Portland, Oregon. Some bad shit is going down, according to the musical score (by Simon Boswell). A little girl is having a bad dream. She runs through a huge empty European castle filled with creepy suits of armor. Lamberto Bava seems to have a signature special effect, where a stretchy sheet is used to create the illusion of an artistic image coming to life in an unnatural way.  It crops up right away here in “The Ogre” with the paintings in the nightmare hallway. In a dark, cobwebby basement there is something with claws waiting for her. She drops her teddy bear and runs, and the claw plucks an orchid from the bear.
unpleasantly magical
    As the movie goes on, it establishes orchid-plucking as a symbol for sexual desire, which makes the subtext of this first scene really, really unpleasant: The monster wants to do more than just kill her. The girl awakens from her nightmare just as the monster attacks, and her teddy bear has vanished from the waking world. She tells her mother about the monster in her dream and Mom reassures her that “we create monsters, in our minds.”

I'm deep sea diving for Nilbogs

   Many years later, Cheryl (Virginia Bryant) has grown up into a famous horror novelist with a family of her own, husband Tom (Paolo Malco) and son Bobby (Patrizio Vinci). They travel to rural Italy to stay at a posh rented villa. Dad lets the young boy get wired on cappuccinos while Mom declares her hatred of orchids. What kind of twisted, horrible, Grinch-like freak holds a grudge against flowers? No wonder the ogre wants her to suffer!
    The vast vacation estate is eerily familiar to her. Her childhood dream returns, and nightmares continue to plague her throughout her stay. The first night she dreams that she has become a child again. There is something lurking inside (or maybe forming out of) a nest of bones and cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. When slime comes gushing out of it, she runs and hides. The creature’s arms burst through a wooden barrel, grab her from behind, and… wait a second, is the monster feeling her up or killing her?!? Her husband wakes her up because she’s screaming her head off.
    The nightmares have inspired her writing, and the next day she is clacking away at her typewriter. For all you post-computer-age kids scratching your heads thinking “what’s that?” a ‘typewriter’ is a slow, noisy mechanical text editor driven by human musclepower. Very steampunk, don’t you think? One of the black beetles infesting her workroom gets lodged in the works and wrecks her typewriter ribbon. She tries to buy a replacement in town and when the shop won’t take her American Express card they taste the nuclear fury of her ugly American wrath. She makes a friend in town when Anna (Sabrina Ferilli) helps her buy the typewriter ribbon. She hires Anna’s sister, Maria (Stefania Montorsi), as a babysitter for Bobby.
What the fuck is that?

    In the villa, unexplained things keep occurring, such as claw-shaped handprints that appear and disappear. Cheryl explores the basement of the castle for the first time and makes an impossible discovery… it is the basement from her dream, and furthermore her childhood teddy bear is there! She flashes back to her nightmares, where the terrible ogre (played by Davide Flosi) comes to life. It actually does slightly resemble one of the creatures from the Demons movies, at least from a distance. The ogre is dressed in a surprisingly effete, lacy period costume. He is also disappointingly lacking in the slime-oozing department, despite his gooey birth. Back in reality, Cheryl hears weird squishy noises and green goo drips on her face, so she gets out. Her dickhead husband thinks she has an overactive imagination.

Why is daddy such a dickhead?
    Meanwhile the kid Bobby seems to be flirting with his much older babysitter Maria, and their mutual orchid-plucking seems to confirm it.  Later all the characters get together at a dinner party with the family of Anna and Maria. Anna “dabbles in parapsychology” and she believes Cheryl has psychic powers. They discuss the wild orchids which grow in the area: “The flower preferred by ogres”; “It drives ogres wild with delight.” This sounds like a marketing campaign for a perfume. “Wild Orchid fragrance, for refined ladies who want to die impaled on ogre cock.” The upshot of all this flower talk is that ogres mate with human women who smell of orchids, which generally seems to end in death rather than baby ogres (you decide which fate would actually be worse).
    Hubby gets mad that Cheryl’s losing touch with reality and smacks her, because, you know, that’s how you treat a woman when her uterus starts making her act all crazy and female. She hits him right back without hesitation, and I cheered a little bit. Seriously, honey, you gotta dump your man, he’s a piece of shit. Even so, they’re all smiles a minute later when he rescues her from a cow that chews its cud in a vaguely threatening manner and wanders aimlessly in her vicinity.
    Babysitter Maria and Bobby are alone later, playing hide and seek. She goes looking for him in the basement – while wearing an orchid in her hair. Oh shit!!! The Ogre appears for real, sniffs the orchid, and then rips off her shirt. Maria hasn't showed up by the time Mom and Dad get home, so Tom goes out to search the road while Cheryl stays home with the sleeping kid. Cheryl decides to go explore the basement and finds Maria’s shoe floating in a vat of greenish water, along with some missing pages from her novel. Luckily a waterproof flashlight just appears out of nowhere. When she goes into the water she bumps into Maria’s corpse and several other human skeletons clamped into  various torture devices. She surfaces in a panic, and the ogre is there – and then it’s not the ogre, it’s her husband Tom. (Once again, you decide which fate is less appealing.)

Ahem pardon me madam I forgot my pants

    Somehow Cheryl is now psychically linked to the ogre, and she sees in her vision that it is stalking Anna. It attacks Anna in her room, ripping off her nightie. Tom just thinks Cheryl’s crazy… until the ogre shows up for real. Tom fights it while Cheryl and Bobby flee. It chases after them so Cheryl rams it with the car and drives back and forth over it a few times. She’s a plucky gal! The ogre fades away like a dream. The ending is total crap already, but it manages to get worse. The next day everybody that was killed is alive again because, in reality, they were all off doing other things aside from dying at the time they were murdered. (Huh???) The final dialogue sort of vaguely hints that Cheryl went back and re-wrote her story to give it a happy ending. If she’s got that kind of power, why didn’t she also re-write the character of her condescending chauvinist husband? Now she could have Fabio instead!
Or me I'd make a better husband

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