Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Because I Watched It: The Talking Car (1969)

As a big fan of MST3K and Rifftrax (Rifftrax Live! Godzilla coming in August!), I love these crazy, old Shorts.  So, I took it as a badge of honor that I found one that they haven't done yet!

That brings us to 1969's The Talking Car.  It is...something to see.
If you make it past the goofy set-up, the pay-off is...oh my good, it's amazing!

Even though you know that a Car will talk, you are still NOT ready for this thing.  Enjoy.

The crazy part: this is not the first Version of this idea.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Conveniently-Retitled Cover Art: An Unholy Exorcism- The Devil Inside

Did you make a movie that nobody really gave a shit about?  Did a well-hyped, but ultimately-failed film come out that got alot more attention than your's?  

If so, here's a fun game to play (on DVD buyers)...
So many things to talk about here.

1. The film was actually made in 2008.
2. It was actually called this...
But wait..I'm not done...

3. The girl in their film is a blond.
4. Nothing quite like the Box Art actually happens.  Here's how it looks (from their 2007 Trailer)...
5. The film Stars the Writer/Director and a notable Soap Opera Actor named Matthew Ashford.
6. Ashford has been announced to Star in 'Untitled 3-D Christian Horror' in 2015.

So if your movie doesn't sell, just wait about four years and slap a new title on it.  It worked for David Heavener, after all.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Delayed Sequels: Embodiment of Evil

It took forty-one years to get made and another 6 years for me to see it!  Today's film is Embodiment of Evil/The Devil, depending on whether you translate titles literally or not.  There are probably alot of you who are very confused, so let me explain.  While Central America is not known for its Horror (as a 1st Generation Venezuelan I once knew can speak to), there is one name there that's big: Coffin Joe.  He's been a big deal there for half a Century, starting with At Midnight, I'll Take Your Soul in 1963.  It was followed by Tonight, I'll Possess Your Corpse in 1967 and today's film...from 2008.  The man behind the hat and cape- Jose Mojica Morins- hosted a Horror-themed show for the next 20 years or so, which partially explains the time gap.  Even so, it was odd that he completed the Trilogy so long after the second film.  Here's the gist of it: Joe is a dirtbag and an Atheist, which stands out in a very-Catholic-leaning land like his home.  He also likes to abuse and torture people, leading to him being locked up.  The film picks up in real time with him being released back into a society that hates him (and vice versa).  Can he fulfill his dream and sire an heir?  To find out why this is the longest-delayed-sequel in history (to my knowledge), read on...
In a dark, dreary prison, Coffin Joe awaits his release.  Due to overflow in the system, he is set free in the Present (of 2008) after a few decades locked up.  He's not bitter.
Fortunately, his creepy Igor-style Butler is waiting for him and shows him how the World outside has changed.  Insert Social Commentary here.
Joe sets up a small cabal with like-minded people, but is tortured by some weird visions and...
...flashbacks to the original two films.  You thought that people might not remember your films made before most of the audience (like me) were even born?  Get out!
To muddy the waters, the people that run the Town are kind of terrible.  Coffin Joe isn't exactly a decent person either, so...I'm rooting for the two Witches, I guess.

Never mind- he just killed them.
So Joe partakes upon a very important quest: knocking up some ladies so that he will have heirs.  You know, he could have donated sperm in the last forty years and made this MUCH easier.
Joe has a freaky vision- a la his trip to Purgatory in I'll Possess Your Corpse- and ramps up his goal, leading his men to kidnap a bunch of people to torture.  Poor Bastards of Cinema, maybe?

You got your Jodorowsky in my Morins movie!
The Police push forward on their goal of catching Joe, but the real victor turns out to be the crazy guy with the combination Crucifix-knife.  Joe dies, so...happy ending?
Yes, but maybe for him.  All of the surviving victims of kidnapping/torture turn out to be pregnant, so he has achieved his goal.  Sorry, Brazil- at least you have Soccer.  The End.
Was it worth the wait?  Good or bad, Morins has a clear vision for what he wants to do.  Given that he has made a couple dozen films in the last fifty-years, this is no surprise.  The tricky part was the delay.  Before Evil/The Devil, his previous film was a Documentary about his work made in 1987.  That's a long delay!  The film has a unique look and feel.  Unfortunately for me, that feel was dark, bleak and freaky.  I don't hate films for being weird, disturbing or gross-out imagery.  I can accept that a film is not necessarily 'my kind of thing'- as long as its good.  The film has some seriously-gross imagery like ladies with cockroaches dumped on them, a lady getting her rump cut off & a bit involving some hot cheese, a lady and a rat.  Getting past those parts, it is clear that Morins has a vision.  I may not necessarily like it, but is clearly more than just 'throw gross things out there to be shocking.'  The bit where he goes to the Purgatory-style place is gross and inspired, with the portal being a pool of blood and then a hallway that looks like the insides of a person guts.  Gross.  You do have to accept that Morins is still a scary and dangerous villain at around age 73, which is aided by a liberal use of henchman.  It is still a conceit that you may or may not accept.  Evil/The Devil does feel like a solid ending for the Coffin Joe series, so I can't complain about that.  I will leave you with a look at the nice, liberal policies in Brazil...
Up next, I cover a film about some nice Devils.  If nothing else, the 1970s are good for some freaky stuff.  Stay tuned...

Forgotten Toons: Inhumanoids

How the hell did I miss this show when I was a kid?!?  Inhumanoids was brought into this world in 1986 and...boy could it NOT be made today.  As best I can figure, I was too young for it- being only three when it ran for its one Season.  I don't ever recall seeing this in Syndication like so many other shows that came out before my time, but I saw later.  I wasn't even born when Thundarr originally-aired, but Boomerang played it enough for me to become obsessed.  At this point, I'm fairly-sure that there was a conscious effort to keep me from watching this, as I had somewhat 'overprotective' parents.  I turned out alright (up for debate, I know), but I was never allowed to have fake guns of any kind.  I was allowed to watch G.I. Joe, but not to play G.I. Joe.  I don't have a kid, so I can't judge (yet).  Made at the same time as other Sunbow Productions like Jem and the Holograms, the show is very dark, crazy and very much of the '80s.  Creatures from the center of the Earth are wreaking havoc and only Earth Corps can stop them.  Once you get past the stock aspect of it, you can really appreciate the bizarre designs and concepts behind the creatures.  While I only got a partial look at the show (more on that later), check out what craziness there is...
The Inhumanoids are creatures of varying sizes and creepiness.  Metlar is a giant, red dude with horns, while D'Compose is a yellow dinosaur with an exposed ribcage.  Crazy shit!
This is the Earth Corps, a group of Scientists that work to keep them in line.  I was forced to come into the show late, so I was mostly playing catch-up.  I can enjoy these silly suit designs though.
Even in Episode 5, the Show is nice enough to recap.  For example, Metlar has henchman that are animated statues from Gettysburg.  'Words fail me, gentleman.'

That is another thing that this show did differently- a continuous narrative.  If you watched Episodes 8 and 9 of this show, there would be continuous build-up.  If you watched Episodes 8 and 9 of G.I. Joe, it would just be two Episodes that existed independently.
Here's a taste of what the Show is like, here are snippets of what happened in the parts I saw...

In one Episode, a rogue A.I. and Tendril- a Cthulhu-like Inhumanoid- team-up to conquer the world.  It sets some crazy shit involving the other Inhumanoids and this eye-threatening cave.
In the next one, those pesky Russians (having appeared earlier) try to flood a cave in the center of the Earth.  This forces Inhumanoids and Earth Corps members to team up, since this would kill us all...somehow.
After that, we see the main villain bring back D'Compose and use him to create the freaky Nightcrawler (more on him later), as well as making Zombies.

Why they grow to twice their size when zombified is anyone's guess.
In the final Episode (that I could see), the polarity of the Earth's magnetic core is reversed (don't ask!) and a now-good Metlar must help save the day.  You see, since the polarity was reversed, he's now good.

I don't question any of this.
Seeing this show as an Adult in 2014 is amazing!  It is not the greatest Show by any stretch of the imagination.  I remind you again that THIS was allowed on a Kid's Show in 1986!  Holy shit.
Interesting to note, there is a connective thread between the Sunbow Production Shows- Hector Ramirez.  He's a TV Reporter who showed up on G.I. Joe, Transformers, this and Jem!  Good for you, dated-Geraldo parody.
Inhumanoids was a crazy Show that was just way too freaky and dark for when it was made.  If someone came up with this same idea now, it would end up on Adult Swim between the current iteration of Aqua Teen and whatever shit Tim & Eric are shitting out these days.  If you are a fan of similar Shows from this time period like G.I. Joe and others, you need to check this out.  Here's the strange part (like Nightcrawler being put on trial in this Episode)...
There is no current DVD Release for this Show!  In 2001, it got two Four-Episode Releases...which didn't even complete the Series.  Said DVDs have been Out of Print for years.  Years!  This expression (which is sure to haunt your dreams) sums up my feeling on the matter!
Seriously, release this Show properly on DVD or Blu-Ray!  I'm waiting!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Norwequels: Cold Prey 2

A Horror Sequel that is clearly-inspired by a more-famous Horror Sequel- alright.  Today's film is Cold Prey 2, the follow-up to...well, you figure it out.  To get you up to date, a bunch of people went to a Cabin and got killed by some guy with a birth mark.  One of them survived to kill the killer (who must kill again!) and just kind of wander away.  It was a well-made-enough film, but it offered nothing new.  It was very similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (only with less heat and much more snow).  It left many unanswered questions- like how the kid survived to become the killer- and this film hopes to answer them.  Don't worry- it will raise many new questions.  In this direct follow-up, our heroine gets taken to a nearby Hospital, but her killer revives there to kill again (see- I told you!).  Does this Story sound familiar?  Change the lead's name from Jannicke to Laurie Strode and see if that helps.  Yeah, it's Halloween 2 (the good one, not the Zombie one)!  There are some differences, since this isn't a Gus Van Zant Remake or anything.  Will this film be the Horror Sequel to end all Horror Sequels?  No, that's still Waxwork II.  To see if can turn out to be the second best, read on...
A Norwegian Hospital is set to be closed shortly (taking a plot point from Assault on Precinct 13), which allows for a lower Casting Budget.

They also make sure to leave a box of equipment like pickaxes out, which I'm sure will have no pay-off.
A random guy is sent to investigate an abandoned car (our heroes') and runs across our Endelig Jente.  She survived for how long in that simple coat in a Norwegian Winter?!?
She wakes up in the Hospital and the Police are asking questions.  I was worried that this was going to turn into The Descent: Part II (which came a year later), but it sticks to a different Horror Sequel (as mentioned above).
The Police investigate her claims and recover all of the bodies (including that of the Killer) and find...alot more bodies.  Wow, payoff to the possibly-offensive B-Roll of 'People Missing While Hiking' Footage!
In a bit of what I dub Screenwriting Bullshit, the Killer revives (from his chest wound and long fall)...since he has to.  We get a nice (but silly) bit of slow-motion with our heroine trying to stop his revival.
Much like Jason X, they quickly regret reviving him.  He kills Young Cop seconds after obvious 'You gonna die' Romance Set-Up and he follows it up by killing Love Interest Nurse...after knocking her out and moving her.

Seriously, he hits her once to knock her out, drags her to the Showers and hits her one more time to kill her.  Why?  What was the point?!?
The Killer takes out the fodder- I mean, Supporting Cast- and proceeds to chase our heroine around.  This is, of course, after a pointless Dream Sequence to pad out the runtime.

Our heroines fight off the Killer, who flees after a fatal gunshot wound (which he shrugs off).  Of course.
Our heroine goes back to the Cabin and waits for the Killer to arrive.  She looks bad-ass (even if this is really-forced).
This all leads to a nice, Feminist battle between our heroines and the Killer.  He does toss them around alot, which is also a bit misogynistic.  Score?

On the plus side, we get a final Ending (which I won't SPOIL).  The End.
Eh, it's alright.  I feel the same about this one as I did the original, for the most part.  On one hand, it feels less 'been there, done that' as a whole.  The whole 'ripping off Halloween 2' aspect is not really a deal-breaker, as that was a good movie.  Again- I'm referring to the Carpenter-produced Version as opposed to the Not Even A Token Executive Producer Credit for John Carpenter Version.  The film does do some of its own things, so you could *possibly* consider this to be an Homage.  I mean, I don't, but that's me- a total dick.  The film presents many problems that I really, really need an answer to.  How did this guy survive?  How did he randomly revive like 2 days later?  How does he sneak around?  Does a neck really break like that?  Why is he super-strong?  All of these questions...will just remain, since I don't think that the terribly-reviewed Prequel will actually answer that.  For explaining less about how their Killer is unstoppable than Friday the 13th, this one squeaks by with my conditional blessing.  The film will appeal to fans of this kind of movie, but will do nothing to show you that Horror Films can be more than formulaic.  I'd be meaner...but I think Jannicke is mad enough at me...
Next up, I cover a film that I have been waiting five years to see.  As a bonus, I get to check Brazil off of my Film Bucket List!  Stay tuned...

Moon Over Miami: Josh Kirby...Time Warrior- Eggs From 70 Million B.C.

This Story about Time Travel is taking a long time to tell!  It is no secret- I have not been in a hurry to cover this Series.  In the old days (of 2011), I probably would have powered through them all in a week- a month, tops.  Now- I'm in no rush.  All kidding aside, this is an interesting Film Experiment, if nothing else.  A Six-Chapter tale about some people I don't know saving the Universe is not something Full Moon has done often (if ever again).  They are no strangers to Sequels (of which I've reviewed about 603), but not one continuous narrative.  For example, if you watch Killjoy and Killjoy 3, but miss Killjoy 2, you'll be fine.  In other cases (like the Demonic Toys series), it is even more confusing than that.  You get two films, but with two possibly-not-Canon films (Dollman vs. Demonic Toys and Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys) stuck in-between them.  The closest thing would either be the Trancers or Subspecies series', but those either had shifting continuity (Trancers 2-6) or took odd leaps (Vampire Journals being before Subspecies III, for one) throughout.  If you're new, Josh Kirby...Time Warrior tells the tale of Not Dr. Who trying to collect the five pieces of a Deus Ex Machina that Not The Master wants, with Josh and Not Leela along for the ride.  As I noted in at least one previous Chapter Review, this Story is quite similar to The Key to Time, a story that ran on Doctor Who in 1978 with Tom Baker.  In fact, the first Chapter of that Story also takes place in a Medieval Time!  In this Chapter. Josh is learning how to use his new powers, but the gang runs into a snag, dragging them into a surprisingly-personal War on an alien planet.  To see how I power through this second half, read on...
The trio (and that stupid alien doll thing) are being chased by the evil Not The Master guy.  They manage to get him hit by...a Time Train (or something) and he appears to be dead.  However...
They discover Eggs on their ship.  They quickly hatch into these....arguably-cute worm things that clearly have no downside to them whatsoever.
As it turns out, they eat metal and cause the time-ship to crash.  They end up on an alien World.

Said World is the home planet of Not Leela!  What a twist!
The Leader is kind of a dick, which is somewhat understandable given the long, drawn-out occupation/conquering of his planet.  Even so, he reminds me alot of former-Raw GM Brad Maddox.

Incidentally, this Actor was in a film you saw- he played 'Annoyed Guard' in Iron Man 3.  Yeah, that guy.
In a filler Sub-Plot that is mostly for Part 5, Not The Master is thought dead, but recovers on some alien-looking world.  Thanks for that.
The residents lock our heroes up, so they don't get in the way.  The fact that the metal-eating worms on there because of them is a good reason too.

Fortunately, Josh is able to escape with Not The Doctor by using his new powers to...age the bars into easily-broken rust.  Time Warrior!
Not Leela has to fight for Josh and Not The Doctor's lives and wins.  The Leader gets depressed, but stands back up...so that Josh can save the day.  Oops.
In a bit you'd see about three years later in Galaxy Quest, the villain escapes his exploding ship to get his one last hurrah.

In a bit unique to this film, Josh Kirby de-ages the guy to a baby.  Time Warrior!
Through random chance involving the Deus Ex Machina sends our heroes to a new world (since their ship is trashed) that is full of...these things.

A movie about Mushroom People?  Been there, done that.  The End (for now).
Four Films in and I'm still not really that invested.  The overall Story here is something that could be interesting.  Time Travel, Space Travel and the fate of the Universe- that's classic stuff.  The problem is that this whole Series never feels all that inspired.  Well, that's not completely true- it does feel inspired by other Stories.  Part 2, for example, seemed very inspired by Wizards (with giant children using people as toys), while Part 3 took many 'notes' from Babes in Toyland.  There's no problem with being inspired by other Stories, but you have to add something of note.  Part 1 at least had the idea to mix Dinosaurs with a cliche Evil Prince taking over the Land.  This time, it is so just so freaking stock!  It is nice to finally give Not Leela some real back-story at least.  I didn't care, but good for trying.  As a Josh Kirby Chapter, it is decent enough.  As a normal film, it is just kind of 'Meh.'  On the plus side, the villain reminded me of another WWE Star- Adam Rose...
Switching gears yet again, let me cover the first of two Norwegian Horror Film Sequels.  When in doubt, copy a famous Horror Film Sequel from America.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Amusingly-Censored Cover Art: Tenebr(a)e

I wasn't looking for this, but, like most of these, it found me.

There was some obvious controversy when Dario Argento's Tenebre was released in 1982.  It came out in the middle of the Video Nasties time and had its famous Cover censored over in the UK.

The result: hilarity.
A ribbon?  A ribbon.  She looks like the world's worst birthday present (unless you're Jeffrey Dahmer).

Plus, why is she blue now?

Just for the record, here is the original and untouched Cover from Italy for this Classic.
Brits- you crazy!