Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poor Bastards of Cinema: War (2007)

I was actually looking for something else when this just fell into place.  Works for me!

In War, Jet Li's character is a Hitman called Ghost.  He targets all sorts of enemies of his Employers.  This includes this Yakuza guy, hanging out in the back of his Club with his dogs.
With Li approaching and his men failing, he sends his dogs to get him.  You think you know where this is going, don't you?
After seeing and hearing nothing, the audience sees just one dog come back to the room.  What happened?
Hey- what's that on the dog's collar?  Let me look at it closely...
Bang- you dead.
In case it wasn't clear, I don't really feel bad for the Yakuza Boss killed by another professional killer.  No, it is the Dogs that are my Poor Bastards.

Their only crime: being owned by a criminal.  Their punishment: explosive death!

You'll see more of War in the future- I just won't say why or when.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rare Flix: The Devils (1971)

It is rare and it is crazy!  Today's film is The Devils, a film made by the madman Ken Russell.  He's one of those guys that I had never seen one of his films before- in full, at least- but I knew his reputation quite well.  When I learned that this was made by Ken Russell, I kind of knew what to expect.  So what is The Devils about?  It is a lovely, family film about the Plague and religious control of the land.  The film goes for a mix of surreal and historical drama, but it is clear which side it ends up on most of the time.  Notable Cast Members include Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed, who's 'credited' the experience of working on the film as having aged him four years!  He would nearly be killed on-set two years later, so its notable that he still even talked about this one at all.  Is this film Rare because of the quality of its content or because it was just trying to offend anyone remotely fond of Christianity?  To find out, read on...
I like that the film includes this footnote at the beginning about what is about to take place.  I take it with several grains of salt, but so be it.
The early part of the film is made up two clear Themes.  One- the rich (like the Cardinal) live a life of extreme luxury and debauchery.

Just to spare you any future Therapy, I will tell you that this is a guy...
While, in contrast, everyone else live with constant threat of death, starvation and pestilence.  Subtle, huh?
Reed is the lead Priest- Father Urbain Grandier- in the town and struggles with certain parts of his vows.  The main one: not having sex with this Harley Quinn-looking lady and getting her pregnant.
Redgrave's Sister is a bit crazy and repressed.  Some might say that the two are connected.
It gives the film excuses for her to act crazy and to set up bizarre visions like this...
The two stories collide when the elite want to keep exploiting the poor and Reed stands up to them.  This leads to him to him being targeted by so-called Demon Hunters and this early version of the Klan.
As Reed's Father undergoes torture and interrogation, he doesn't crack.

Considering that Reed himself only died after downing an inhuman amount of alcohol and arm-wrestling Sailors (in one night) at age 61, that's no surprise.
Things get really crazy, culminating in the Father's execution, a big explosion and the Sister pleasuring herself with a charred bone of Grandier.

His wife leaves the city, apparently wandering off into a Salvador Dali painting.  The End.
Not recommended for those who are remotely-easy to offend.  Hell, if you've ever been offended at a Catholic Priest joke, this may not be for you.  Devils is a weird sort of masterpiece.  You can see the amount of care and detail work put into it.  Every single detail seems planned out to a meticulous degree.  The question is not one of quality, it is one of taste.  Will the film offend you?  Maybe.  I was pretty tame in my Screencap selection, so bear that in mind.  For all the talk of deviant sexual activity (which there is some) and violence (which there is plenty), there is alot that you don't see here.  So much of Grandier's torture is implied (thankfully) and you can just imagine the kind of stuff that happens.  The same can be said for much of the sex, but to a lesser degree.  The film reads like weird mix of an historical account and one of those Passion Play-style shows that tries to offend.  The film pulls no punches- for better or for worse.  It is bleak.  It is dark.  It is insane.  All of this explains why the film has taken ages to get proper video releases in any format.  It took until 2010 to start seeing proper DVD releases of it and even those were not complete.  Cuts of the Film range from anywhere between 105 minutes to 117 minutes (the Restored Version).  For the record, my general source of DVDs- Netflix- doesn't carry it right now.  One upside of being known as 'someone who likes weird movies' is that people get you stuff like this.  Isn't that just 'for the Birds?'
Next up, I bide my time until I get to see Snowpiercer.  That's a good pretense to do this Chris Evans film that's already on my shelf.  Stay tuned...

Friday, July 25, 2014

He's Dead, Jim!: Goldeneye

Another new segment- why not?

He's Dead, Jim! is all about the most ridiculous and/or overkill deaths in Cinema History.  I will also feature ones that stand out for their inexplicably-painful nature.  Why not start with one of the most famous ones?

In Goldeneye, Bond must battle Alec (the less cool one), who is trying to be super-evil by controlling the titular satellite.  Bond travels to Cuba- before the current embargo- to stop him.  After a rough fight, the pair end on the very bottom part of the receiver...
Bond, naturally, prevails and is left holding Alec dangling from it.  He gives his famous retort and...
Lets him fall.  Considering the distance- well over 300 feet!-, he is going to...
Hit it really hard, but still survive.

Those Brits and their adamantium bones- I always forget!
Things go further awry as explosion go off above them, so Bond gets the hell out of there!  If this is exploding in the air above Alec, what is going to happen to...
DAMN!  He's dead!
Bonus points for the burning spike end of the receiver coming down right our poor villain.  That's just cruel.

So now the stage is set.  What other ludicrous and violent deaths will be featured?

You will just have to Stay Tuned...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Project Terrible Returns- Because Why Not?

Since everyone loves (other people's) pain, we are back for another Round of Project Terrible.

The 'Fab Four' of Michele, Bob, Maynard and myself will be taking part.

As usual, the films are, well, Terrible.  The list includes...

The Zombinator
The Human Race
..and many (4) more.

Stay tuned in August for the return of Terrible!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weird Patterns: The Horror Film Rule of Threes

Do you see things, but think that you are crazy?

Well, you are- seek help.

I, however, am not.  Here is one (of possibly many) examples of stuff that I notice...
Here are a select list of Horror Sequels...

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning
Paranormal Activity 3
Insidious: Chapter 3 (just announced)
Cube Zero
Ichi -1
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter
Puppet Master 3
Cold Prey 3
Ringu 0
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
Red Dragon

What do they have in common?   Well, there are two things...
They are the third Film (with some stretching).
They are all Prequels.

Weird, right?  Is there a reason?
Just for fun, here are two extra ones...

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (a film that followed 2 Seasons of the Show)
The Thing (2011) {follows the 1951 and 1982 films}

I repeat: weird, right?

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Embodiment of Evil

I was on the fence about this one, but I considered the Scenes again and said 'This has to be done!'

In Embodiment of Evil/The Devil, these two Aunts are very religious and protective of their Niece.
 As it turns out, Coffin Joe wants to 'bone' the young(ish) lady and get a male heir to carry on his line.
Since he's a douchebag and an Atheist, they're not on-board.  So, he has a simple solution...
He kills them and props the bodies up for when the niece arrives.
Now here's why these ladies really qualify...

After he shows off the bodies, he asks her what she is going to do next.  Her answer...
Yeah, she decides that she wants to bone him and have his child now.  The bodies are literally still warm...and hanging above you right now.
Cold.  Just cold.

All of their work is for naught and they are dead.  Sure puts all of the dirtbags that any Nieces/Nephews of yours have dated/had a baby with.  At least they weren't 73 year-old Atheists with super-long fingernails that like to kill people.

Well, I hope they weren't, at least.

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!!!