Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Moments in Stock Footage: Hell of the Living Dead

Bruno Mattei is an easy director to mock. His works were almost never good and his best work was arguably directed 1/3 of Zombi 3 (all of the Hazmat suit parts). If you ever needed any proof of it, check out his own zombie film...
Hell of the Living Dead
The film is deserving of a full review (and will get one soon), but I will give you the reason why it is in this segment.

The movie establishes its jungle setting with lots and lots of aerial footage of a jungle. Unlike most of the film, it is actually shot pretty well. Something must be up here, folks! Well, as we have found out via the internet, there is a reason...

All of the jungle footage is from a Japanese nature film made in the same area. Bruno simply bought it. Why not? When you consider the rest of the movie, this is not a surprise.

Up next, a sequel shoots itself in the foot by showing its own footage. Curious? Stay tuned...

300th Post Special: Creepshow 3

Who ever thought that I could fill 300 posts with my pointless rambling and silliness? Well, you keep reading, so who is the crazy one here? Before I chase you off with my irony, how about I give you a new review? Well, okay. If you recall my 100th post, I talked about a couple bits in the original Creepshow films that stood out as, well, odd to me. After addressing the film with an unplanned similarity to my own page's name at the 200 mark, I thought that I should address the latest film in the series. By the way, there is zero input from Stephen King and George A. Romero here. I just wanted to set the bar properly for...
Here is the big problem right from the get-go: there is no framing device for this movie. Instead, they try to awkwardly make it all take place in one universe. This is awkwardly forced into the third vignette on and suffers for it. Also, this proves that the movie only has two outdoor sets (a studio back lot-street and a suburban cul-de-sac). When I have time to wonder aloud 'how are these things going to connect?' you are doing a bad job! Let's get down to the real stories though...
  1. A girl walks home through her cul-de-sac and complains on her cell phone. We hear about a scientist looking for his rabbit, but that is a minor point. Her dad gets a universal remote and presses the color tint button, which....turns the family black. Whoa, going right for that joke, movie? Amazing. Next, he hits the subtitles button, which...turns them into an Hispanic family. Are you saying that black people don't speak Spanish? By the way, all three of these parts use the same bad dialogue with different actors. I hope you like repetition repetition. Things only get worse as she starts to gets transformed with every push of the button. She breaks into the scientist's house and laughs about him getting married (more on that...sort of...later). He finally reveals that this was all part of his plan to...turn her into a rabbit. The family apparently never remembers her now. So, the lesson is not to be a teen-age bitch? Okay, I won't.
  2. A man leaves his security job and returns to his apartment in a crappy apartment building (aka location #2 of 2). He runs afoul of a pimp, but backs off. He goes out on the same night when his radio breaks down. The man buys it from an angry bum who will show up in story #5. That night, the radio begins to talk to him and gives him advice for trading stocks. Yes, listen to the radio about 'diversifying your assets.' It goes further, telling him where some drug money is hidden. It pushes him further, making him kill a man who saw him with the money and his girlfriend. A policemen acts suspicious, but this goes nowhere. Thanks for just taking up time, movie. He goes off with a prostitute who has actually said 'hello' to him twice, but gets shot through the heart...and she is to blame. A moment later, she is killed as well and the radio finds a new host. So the lesson is not to listen to the radio? But what if it is my dead father from the past? Answer me that, Creepshow 3!
  3. A hooker gets a job mid-day to come out to a cul-de-sac (hurray for set re-using!), but stops to stab a homeless woman. A radio address (make note of the time) talks about a serial killer hooker and she smiles about her handiwork. At the man's house, she comes inside and wonders about why he is in none of the pictures. They go upstairs, but not before the film shows us the dead family like five feet to the left of them. You can't smell rotting corpses, lady? At his request, she blind-folds him and ties him to the bed. Not at his request, she stabs him to death...or so it would seem. He begins to call out to her, leading her to pull the pillow off of his face to reveal...the stupidest vampire ever. He gets up and bites her. She joins the dead family in the corner and he leaves in the broad daylight. So, I should not be a rip-off of Aileen Wuornos? Okay, I won't.
  4. A scientist invites two of his best students over for some big news. They stop and see the hooker entering the house, thus making these relate somehow. A man also hears the news report about the killer NIGHT. Anyhow, he tells that he is getting married and they are shocked to see his young, vapid bride. They flashback to his many pranks and theorize that this is one of them. She must be...a robot! Once the guy leaves, they decide to knock her out and disassemble her. What follows is a 'wacky' scene of two men covered in human viscera and picking up bad prop limbs. Ha's funny because there is blood everywhere! After pulling out her brain, they learn that she is merely a vapid amnesiac. They have to run around and hide all of the body parts. Worst Three Stooges skit or best Three Stooges skit- you decide! They run off as the story concludes. So the lesson is...wait, there is no lesson here! That was gross, stupid and pointless- trifecta!
  5. A terrible doctor watches a homeless man die after giving him a dirty hot dog that he did not want. He goes late to work at his community service job at a free clinic. We get a 'he's a jerk' montage and as much ripping off of House as I can take. He gets visited by the oozing ghost (don't ask) of the bum, which leads him to go to a party and get high on pills. By the way, the party is held by the vampire guy. He goes back the next day and has pretty much the same result. Hurray for repetition repetition repetition! He goes to another pill party, but is clearly trying to escape reality. One wacky scene does have him telling a girl that she has a brain tumor. Thanks, movie. We also pause to show the scientist buying a voodoo kit from the screaming bum. Out on the street, he is visited by the ghost again and dies of fright.
This movie is bad and does not know what it wants to be. Comedy? Horror film? The writing is all over the place, giving us weird effects shots, super-dark humor (accidental murder as comedy?) and strange drama. Our monsters include a crazy scientist, a talking radio and a vampire that looks like a big-mouthed bass. Even Creepshow 2 had a real monster or two...even when they did not make sense all the time. As far as DVD special features, you get a Making-Of...and that's it. For one, the directors proudly display the poster for this film and Day of the Dead 2: Contagium. Wow, you guys made that movie too? Why should I want to watch this movie again? Oh and the guy who plays the scientist says that this is the best one of the three films. Okay, guys, you can take the gun away from his back now. Watch the first two films and just settle for good movies.

Up next, a film that I have somehow neglected to review. Indonesia joins the rip-off game. This should be interesting. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WTF Japan?!?: Onechanbara- Bikini Samurai Squad

Video game movies are not the exclusive rights of either American companies or shitty German directors. The lovely nation of Japan has also done some of their own. It only seems fair- most of the big games come from them anyhow! So what happens when they take one game series that is famous for having almost no plot and make it into a movie, which requires a plot (well, unless it's Naked Lunch)? It's going to be interesting, let me just put it that way! Let's not beat around the bush- let's just get to it. This is...
An opening set of narration explains that a zombie plague has broken out, taken over the world and turned it all into shit. Wow, that is the shortest summary of Romero's Dead series in history! In fairness, The Road Warrior summarized WWIII in its opening credits, so this is not unheard of. Anyhow, this is just the framing as the real story involves a group of looters and partiers who get interrupted by a bullet-proof zombie. Why is he bullet-proof? Good question. So he gets some friends and tears up the place. This is interrupted by the sudden arrival of a woman in a cowboy hat. Should they be worried? This question is answered when she begins slicing and dicing the undead with her sword. The effects on display are rather silly and never get better. She is joined by her fat sidekick who helps got nothing. When it gets down to her and the lead zombie, she disrobes, revealing her real outfit. She is wearing a cowboy hat, fur-lined bikini and a scarf. Maybe you should not always be so literal when it comes doing the game outfits. She takes him down and asks about Saki (not the drink), but is interrupted by a gun shot. A mysterious biker lady with a shotgun is on the scene and has her own agenda!
The fight between the two women is...interesting to say the least. Our heroine manages to slowly deflect a bullet with her sword. I'll give them credit for showing the bullet spin a bit before it goes off. She also manages to back-flip upwards, somehow making the bullets go around her. The fight is broken up by the guy who explains that they both want the same thing: revenge on the person behind the zombie outbreak. They all agree to join forces and go off. That night, the people make all of their back-stories clear. The lady with the gun lost her daughter to a zombie attack and wants revenge, while the rotund man has had his sister kidnapped by the scientist. As for our heroine, her kid sister Saki killed their dad and joined up with the evil man. Got all of that? Good, because that's the bulk of all of the characterization in the film. This comes into play quickly as the scientist turns the man's sister into a zombie version of Kill Bill's Gogo Yubari. She looks cool, but dies. At a hospital, they manage to protect a young woman- whom the gun-lady likes due to her familial resemblance- from death, but she still gets bit. Time to kill her, right? Wrong!Our two main heroes leave and go after the scientist, while the woman tries to protect the dying girl. She actually manages to fend off the beasts, but has to kill the girl when she turns. That was pointless- thank you. Our heroes get into the scientist's building, but walk into a, wait for it, trap. The fat guy crawls away while our heroine battles the shambling horde. The catch here is that these undead jump around and run occasionally, but also do the 'zombie walk.' Way to be non-committal, movie! She begins to lose when the gun-lady returns and helps turn the tide. It turns back however and she gets overrun. This is enough to push our heroine to break out her D.B.Z. powers and kill everyone. Why not do that sooner? In our other plot, a zombie kills the scientist and inadvertently saves the fat guy. This leads to our heroine vs. Saki in a duel. It turns against our heroine, but she uses her powers again (again, why wait?) to stab her sister. Unfortunately, she also has powers and this fight goes into Round 3! After a big, flashy fight, our heroine kills her sister and saves the day. She goes off with the fat guy as they walk into the sunset Kung-Fu style.
This movie is oddly put together. The premise just screams 'action comedy,' but it is played 100% straight! This is not necessarily bad, mind you, but it is odd. Only in Japan could this movie be turned so dramatic and so Shakespearean! The special effects look silly the whole time and were probably not meant to look great. Then again, this is a drama, so I'm not sure. Again, this movie is simply non-committal. The action is pretty good, although a lot of the film is shot too dark for its own good. If you can embrace the ridiculous moments and the strange plot, you can have a good time. There are certainly worse video game movies out there and stranger Japanese movies out there (see every other WTF Japan?!? entry). Onechanbara is not as bad as you might think, nor is it as silly as it should be.
Up next, I celebrate 300 posts with a logical follow-up to the 100th one. It's going to be scary and bad. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mondo Bizarro's Tribute to the Living

In the wake of so many celebrity deaths, including the stars of The Wiz, Tall Tale and Monster Hunter, I feel that it is important to celebrate life. Lots of people continue to live, you know! It does not help that I am now dealing with the death of Swamp Thing actor Dick Durock as well. I think that we need to stop and count our blessings. For example...
Claudio Fragrasso: The man who wrote Zombi 3 and had a hand in many other cult classics is still amongst the living. While he works mostly in television, he still has a long legacy of crap to stand behind.

John Saxon: The star of Welcome to Spring Break and Cannibal Apocalypse is still working to this day. His workload is down to about one film a year (i.e. his role in Pelts in 2006). Most recently, he has appeared in War Wolves, alongside Tim Thomerson. One could debate how good of a use of his time this is, but that would be petty.

Jose Mojica Marins: The man who brought us the Coffin Joe series is still quite alive. Not only that, but he is still working regularly. Just last year, he finally completed the Coffin Joe trilogy (At Midnight, I'll Take Your Soul, This Night, I Will Possess Your Corpse and Embodiment of Evil). The man is still playing a heavy at 72. Suck on that, logic!

Roger Corman: The man who defined low-budget cinema in the 1960s (sorry, Doris and H.G.) is still producing films. Well, let's be honest- how much is he really doing? Do you think that he was on set discussing casting for Dinocroc or Raptor? Still, this is the man who took so little and put together Targets. The man deserves respect for that, at least.

Paul Naschy: This man is most notable for playing a famous werewolf, but he has also done so much more. After years and years in the industry (his oldest role is listed as 1960), the man still has a creative voice. Not all of his films are great, but they are iconic. How can you ever fail to associate Spanish horror with this name? It's simply impossible.

Lamberto Bava: The son of Mario Bava has made a career in his own right and set his own legacy. The man made Demons and Demons 2- 'nuff said! Nowadays, he works mostly in television and does not make horror films. He still attends horror conventions internationally, however, so keep your eyes out.

Jesus Franco: The man who brought sleaze and filth to America in the 80s video market is still working to this day. I know, I'm as surprised as you are! He is no longer making 600 films a year, but he still keeps up his goal of turning every horror series into one about lesbians. God bless you, sir!

Others not mentioned in depth include Herschell Gordon Lewis, Luigi Cozzi, Ruggero Deodato and Christopher Lee.

As a side note, I really hope none of you die soon and make this horribly, horribly ironic. I mean, I don't want you to die either way, but you get my point. I should probably stop now.

Edit: Paul Naschy died today (12/1). Now I feel bad.

Mondo French: Seven Women for Satan

Have I mentioned how much I loved Mondo Macabro lately? If not, well, I do. Who else would give us cinematic classics on DVD like Lady Terminator and their newest release Naked Rashomon. They have also given me some strange films that Netflix is very confused about. One of them- today's review- is described by the sleeve as a French version of The Most Dangerous Game. What you actually get could not be farther from the truth! In spite of this, there is still plenty of strange goings-on to talk about here. For one thing, it's a salacious French film about sex, murder and death. For another thing, it is the first review I can recall that allows me to use the term 'sex trap.' Curious? Read on to my review of...
Seven Women for Satan
Our movie begins with a naked woman running through the forest. Oh no, it's Panic Beats all over again! This time, however, it is the lovely French countryside covered in morning dew. This is where the bit about it being like Game has come up, although it so unlike the rest of the movie in that regard. After this aside, we get a curious scene where our lead- Boris Zaroff- meets up with a hitchhiker on the road. He takes her back to his place, wines and dines her & proceeds to turn bad. He ties her up and does...stuff to her before doing more things outside. He lets her go, but, when she runs away screaming, he inadvertently runs her down with his car. This guy sends mixed messages! Around this time, we meet his mysterious butler who helps him clean up everything and get a glimpse of his dying father (the same actor in a beard). The man has issues- plain and simple. All of them seem to come up when he is around women, which happens a lot in this movie. What a weird coincidence!
The movie is not so much a story as it is a series of strange events. The man is haunted by his dead wife and pressed on by his servant. Many different people are introduced in the story and subsequently killed off in pretty quick order. For example...
-A busty blond secretary is invited over for dinner. She gets her wine drugged and gets, let's just call it, loose. She dances around, writhes naked on a bed with only a boa (evidently she has the same fetish as Hulk Hogan) and is killed moments later by the evil dog. Thanks for coming...and showing us your breasts. I'll just drop some beads for you down there.
-A couple shows up in the middle of the night because- I'm not joking here- their car broke down and they need to use the phone. They get to stay the night and, whilst wandering around, our villain stumbles upon them. He shows them the torture chamber, they let him strap them down to a table and, shockingly, a spiked ceiling comes towards them. Darwinism in action, folks.
This movie is strange and never claims to be otherwise. The film is written, directed and starring Frenchman Michael Lemoine. The man is not exactly a well-known name in the states and it certainly does not help that his big opus was banned for content in his own country. Much like many Euro-trash films, Seven gives you the feeling of a waking dream. It is much less direct than Don't Deliver Us From Evil, but has a similar vibe. It is quite comparable to The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, only without the bizarre conclusion. If you like weird, foreign films with nudity, you can do worse. You recall Satan's Baby Doll, right?
Up next, a lady fights zombies with a sword. The fact that she wears a bikini is really just extra. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Alone in the Dark

Mystery and presentation are two things that can really accent a movie poster. What is this movie about? I don't kn0w- but it looks interesting. It all looks so flashy. This works so well that even shit movies can look appealing in some way...
Wow, that looks great! How is the movie? Oh, it's just a bad monster vs. military film by Uwe Boll and starring Tara Reid. You tricked me again, movie poster!

Up next, more international trickery. Stay tuned...

Mondo Trivia 'Overload': Contamination

*In the interview on the DVD, Luigi Cozzi talks about how hard it was to make Contamination after just doing a big-budget movie like Starcrash. That's not so much interesting as really damn funny to anyone who has seen that movie. Yeah, that's a big budget film!

*Cozzi talks about how the writing process was done in a shared office with the guys behind Zombi II. He decided that since they talked so much about the movie, they should just get the cast of that movie. They got Ian McCulloch and nearly got Caroline Munro from Starcrash, but...

*The studio decided that they wanted the boss character to be older, so they got French-Canadian actress Louise Marleau. You replaced the bikini-clad Munro with her? Good call- not!

*Cozzi maintains (at least then) that he wished that they had used the original title- Alien Comes to Earth. Instead, we got Contamination internationally and Alien Contamination on VHS.

*He also explains that he loved sci-fi, but it was not popular in Italy. As such, he simply turned all of his films 'a little sci-fi,' regardless of subject matter. This makes sense to those who have seen his movie where Hercules fights clockwork robots (Hercules), where Sinbad fights a swamp monster who shoots lasers (a video review to come) or watched Hercules have a 'lightsaber' fight with a wizard (Hercules II).

*I should also mention that Ferrigno was the star of all three of those films. Have fun being a pawn, Hulk?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blockbuster Trash: Afghan Knights

I should probably explain why I would even rent this movie. In the wake of Ancient Warriors and its promise of mystical creatures. What they gave us with a five-second shot of ghosts tormenting Richard Lynch, which was not enough! So when we found another movie that promised us ghosts and soldiers, we had to try. It wouldn't let us down, would it? Would it be here if it was actually good? With that out of the way, let's dive right into...
Basically, this movie is about a man who is haunted by a mission that went wrong in Afghanistan. On the positive side, this movie will seem ironic since we will probably never leave that country. Ha ha's funny because it's immensely sad and poignant. Anyhow, his chance for redemption comes when a sleazy guy (Michael Madsen) comes along and offers him a job. He wants the man- along with a strike team- to go in there and rescue the guy. Sure, there is other stuff to do there that has more monetary gain, but the film chooses to focus on the first part. The recruitment scenes only have a couple of good points. One of them involves a cameo by a guy who looks like the dad from American Chopper. Another involves a moment of being horribly wrong when it comes to guessing plot points. They go to get one of the younger members, he is in a hotel room. In my commentary, I joked that 'I'm a male prostitute.' No sooner do I say that does an older man appears next to him in a robe. Oh dear God, I was kidding!
The mission goes extremely well and no dramatic things happen. No, I'm just kidding- lots of shit goes down. The trip across the border ends in a dramatic gun fight, explosions and some general macho-ness. Enough of that- let's find out what Michael Madsen is up to. After his initial scenes, the guy spends the rest of the movie in a tent with a half-naked woman. Does it add anything? Nope. Did it save the production company by paying Madsen with a prostitute? Yes. I can't confirm that, but it is funny. Who cares about libel or slander, right? Our group discovers some weird shit has gone down, but does not know what. They do know that they have to hide out in a cave for a while. Their trip in the dark takes up the good majority of the run-time, so get used to it! People start to see things and hear weird noises. Have they gone crazy, are their ghosts or are we the crazy ones? Well, I can't speak for you here. A strange woman appears to one of the men at night, but they're still not going crazy.
Oh wait, one of them is. The End.
I realize that it was an incredibly abrupt ending, but I just thought it would be funny. I'm sure you either agree or think that I am a hack.
This movie is just not good. Sure, it has some good action scenes in it, but the story is not good. The whole thing is a pretense to get them in a giant cave and wander about. Thrilling action! Great suspense! Constant hallucinations that undermine the whole experience! Madsen is alright, but he doesn't really do much. To repeat, they get a low-level star like Michael Madsen and can't get him to do a big role. How can you get less of a role for him than Hell Ride did? That wasn't exactly Cleopatra! We are left with a bunch of people that have almost no personality and just dress like soldiers. I can just watch those National Guard ads instead.
Up next, a French film with Satan in the title, but no mention of old Scratch. This had better be worth it! Stay tuned...

Forgotten 'Toons: The Era of 'Carrey-toons'

Do we all remember that dramatic time when Jim Carrey suddenly burst onto the movie industry? Do we all remember that it was somewhat ironic, given that he had starred in Earth Girls Are Easy years earlier? If yes, then there is something else you may have missed in the media storm that was Ace Ventura, The Mask and Dumb & Dumber- cartoons! That's right, all three of these films had cartoon spin-offs! Want to learn more about them? Too late, I already started talking! These are...
Where to begin? I think we should start with the movie that really thrust Jim onto the world stage...
This one is pretty self-explanatory: Ace is a pet detective who goes off to solve wacky and silly crimes related to pets. You would think that with an episodic television show that maybe the character or his back-story would expand. You would be wrong. Although, I do have a fun fact for you. One of the key people in creating this show was, wait for it, Seth McFarlane! Well, you gotta start somewhere!
This one is also pretty self-explanatory, even if the show was never really about explaining things. Our two leads have gotten their dog-inspired van back and a new pet beaver...who talks and is smarter than them. You would think that this was the show done by Seth, but you would be wrong. This show is so spastic that even the titles can't even stand still for two seconds. It only lasted one season, so let's move on...
Finally, a film that seems like it should have a cartoon show. I mean, the whole movie was just dying to burst out into randomness at all times (but only did a few times because of the budget). You could make a great show with this random, all-powerful character who has no cares. Of course, they just made a fairly standard cartoon show with a guy in green who talks funny. At least Matt Frewer was the voice of Stanley Ipkiss.
As bizarre as this whole thing was, it did not end there. The culmination of the Mask and Ace shows were two episodes that served as both series' finales. In the first part, Stanley's dog is kidnapped and he hires Ace Ventura to find him! Oh my God, you just created a time paradox! At the end of the episode, Ace's monkey takes the mask, which leads us into Part 2. In this one, both men end up in space to rescue a government hamster that sings Elvis. I did mention that the Ace Ventura show was really stupid, right?
This trip to the Carrey-verse was not enough to save these shows and the era of Carrey-toons came to an end. I can live with that.
Next in the series, a comic book company survives just long enough to put two obscure cartoons on the air. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Moon Over Miami: The Creeps

You know that old expression 'buyer beware?' Well, it should be expanded to include 'renter,' because I have gotten at least slightly burned in the course of trying to find strange and obscure films. How about when I tried to rent the 80s action film Cyclone and got the Italian film about a plane crashed into the ocean called Cyclone? Or there was the time when I tried to get the lost Vincent Price film A Night with Edgar Allen Poe, only to get some low-budget collection of plays titled the same way. The other thing I must learn to watch out for is films by bad/sub-par studios. Today's film was rented out of sheer morbid curiosity, only to learn that it was by Full Moon Studios. I guess I should have realized when the run time was listed as an hour and fifteen minutes. Damn you, Charles Band and your relatives! Oh well, let's just get through this- Lord knows that it will be short. It is...
The Creeps
Our film begins with a man going to a library- dun dun dun! He goes through a long and belabored process to view an original transcript of a book that the library has in stock. That book- Frankenstein! He switches the book with a fake while the young lady is put down by her boss for letting anyone see it. Nice library, huh? He returns the book and leaves, after which her lady boss hits on her by inviting her to a Gloria Steinem reading. Too subtle, movie! Later on, she goes to read the book and discovers the problem. One stupid wipe later and we cut to a video store, where a private detective has his offices in the back. Ha, ha, ha! There's no need for jokes with this set-up! Kill me now. She hires him because he works for cheap and they engage in terrible banter- even to the point where they address the fact that they are making banter. Meanwhile, the fat bad guy plots and plans in his warehouse lair. Despite finding out the man's name, the lady fires our hero for two weeks of no results. That night, the man comes back to view Bram Stoker's Dracula. She holds him hostage with some scissors, but he knocks her out and kidnaps her with the aid of what looks like a dildo/stun gun.

He has her back in his lair and, after more terrible banter, explains that he is going to use his Archetype Machine to bring back Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy and Adam (aka Frankenstein's monster)! How does this work? just does! You got a problem with that?!? Faster than you can say 'convenient,' our hero runs in, knocks out the man, saves the girl and takes back the books. All is not well, however, as the monsters emerge from their midgets. No, really. We get an Hispanic version of Dracula that is 3 foot tall and has Gerry-Curl Hair, plus a goatee. The others are close to their material, albeit silly-looking. Also, Dracula is the only one that speaks, but honestly has some screen presence. It makes you wish that he had more lines than, oh, everyone else! It takes a while to explain to him what he is, why he's small and what they need to do to fix it. Basically, they need the original girl back. This is made easier after she refuses to pay our hero and he stops hanging around her. The monsters go to the library, but find her boss there instead. They insist on trying the experiment with her- despite 600 complaints by the scientist- which goes, um, oddly. They strip her down to her g-string (the sole nudity of the film) and open a portal behind her. This causes her to disappear and reappear as...a Valkyrie. I'm not making this shit up, people! Time to try again, I guess!

In a long sequence, the pair (Adam and Mummy) chase our heroine around the library, while the others chase the man. He, naturally, leads them right to the woman. The only problem: the others found her already. What was the point of that?!? Also pointless is the bit where the woman steps on some glass, so, naturally, takes off her shirt and wraps it around the wound. If you ever wanted to see midgets in bad make-up chase a woman in her bra, you are in luck! The duo are captured and prepared for the experiment. I should point out that the scientist again says that the woman must be naked (he made an exception for the g-string before, I guess). Of course, the woman takes off nothing, which does not bother the man. She must have signed that same deal that Sarah Jessica Parker had on Sex & the City. Anyhow, they break loose and put the bad guy in front of the portal. The Valkyrie re-emerges and takes him with her. Okay then. The beasts (okay, just Dracula) ask to be returned to their own world, where they will live forever. We get a scene of our heroes making out, but not before our 'film-nerd' lead refers to Jesus Franco as 'Jess Franco.' The End.

Oy vey, that was bad. It was not the worst horror comedy out there (I'm looking at you, The Cottage). It just painfully low-budget and reliant about terribly-dull characters. Blond librarian and nerdy guy- yawn. The monsters look too good for this movie, which shows where what little money they had went. Another sign is in the credits when they have a '2nd 2nd Assistant Director.' Wow, when you cannot even get your credits right, what hope is there? You can do worse, but you would have to try. There is a certain charm to the monsters working together, but everyone else just kills it. BTW Dracula is played by the same midget guard from Dollman vs. Demonic Toys. Now you're making me think about that movie? Thanks a lot.

Blockbuster Trash enters in another entry. This time, it is a film about soldiers of fortune in Afghanistan. Plus, it has ghosts...sort of. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mondo Horror Trivia: Zombie 4

Did you ever watch Zombie 4: After Death and wonder why so much of it was shot at night? Was it to add atmosphere? Maybe it was done to cover up for the low-budget make-up work? No, it's much sadder than you think...
The reason is because they shared the same cameras with another film that was being shot at the same time. That film was Strike Commando II. That movie was being shot during the day, so this movie was done at night. So very, very sad.
For more information about Zombie 4, use Google. What am I- your dictionary?

Anti-Porn Double Feature: Satan's Baby Doll & Mansion of the Living Dead

I don't know what to say about these two movies. They are both designed around showing naked women in Gothic settings. The problem is that none of these movies feature remotely-attractive women and don't have good stories. I could probably just stop right there, but that would make me lazy. Yeah, I can live with that...
No, I'm not just kidding. I had you going there, didn't I? I bring you...
This film was directed by Mario Bianchi (not to be confused with the serial killer named Kenneth), the man who brought us The Erotic Adventures of Zorro. And no, I'm not going to review that...until I see it. I just tell you this to set the bar extremely damn low.
The reason that this film does not have a full review page is because it barely makes any sense. Maybe my mind just did a damn good job of blocking it all out. Thanks, mind- now get to work on Feeders II! This is what you need to know. A family lives in a nice Gothic house, but is not exactly happy. A recent death lingers over them like a spectre and the men are all jerks. A spirit takes over the young (read: 30-year old) daughter. She begins to cause chaos around the house and, conveniently, sets up lots of nude scenes. She is not hideous, but the movie also chose not to focus on her. Instead, they focus on one older woman's secret affair with the dead woman. If you ever wanted to see some 'hot' girl-on-girl action between two women in menopause then you are in luck. You are also creepy and should keep 100 yards away from schools.
I should also mention that this is a remake of Malabimba: The Malicious Whore. Yeah, I think I'm done here.
This movie was made by Jesus Franco (yes, it's his real name), the man behind Lillian: The Perverted Virgin and The Killer Barbys vs. Dracula. Again, I just want to set the bar at the appropriate level.
Our film begins with four women going to a deserted hotel on an island. The film wastes no time in showing all of them naked, even though they are all...well, let's just say that they are not models, despite what the movie calls them. Pasty, over-tanned women with no figure should not be naked on screen this much- or ever. Let's get past this...if the movie would let us. Okay, so the real story involves the weird cult that is centered around this island. Many of the shots make them out to be the zombie Knights Templar from Tombs of the Blind Dead. Way to be as original as always, Jesus. What are they really? Just a bunch of guys that look like plague victims that sacrifice women to their higher power. As the cover tells you, they also keep a woman chained up naked in a room and put food right out of her reach.
Do you really need to know more? Do I have to tell you that this movie goes nowhere? I didn't think so.
These movies are bad for so many reasons. Basically, they are movies that were made to lure people in with nudity. Like any good bait-and-switch film, the women are just not worth looking at as a whole. So, the only point to the movie is not worth it? Wow, thanks a lot guys. A more naive man rented the latter film under the genuine belief that it was a real Blind Dead knock-off. If only I had been this lucky! Baby Doll was not rented under false pretenses, merely false hope that it would interesting- foiled again! It was just painful and I don't want to relive it. Making you do it is perfectly fine with me, however. Enjoy your nightmares!
Do you like midgets? Do you like monsters? Oh, then you are in luck. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mondo Dictionary: Rite of Passage Films

There are films you want to see and films that you have to see. By that, I mean that 'you have to see them right now or you are a pathetic poser! If you don't see them, everything you say will be equivalent to shit!" Those films are...
Rite of Passage Films
These films come in many categories and range from art films to terrible horror films. The films that make this list are based on cultural popularity and which clique you are a part of. Let's break it down a little bit, shall we?
  1. Old-School Horror: The classics like the Universal Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman films, as well as Nosferatu.
  2. New-School Horror: Films like Scream, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and even newer stuff like Jeepers Creepers.
  3. Art House: The name of the game is David Lynch and his films such as Eraserhead. Cronenberg is also a popular choice for this crowd.
  4. Sadists: These guys love gross and they love it to death. Hostel, The Messengers and the Saw films are their 'bag.'
  5. 'Obscurists': These guys love films like Freaks, Cannibal Holocaust and Bloodsucking-Freaks. What weirdos.
Looking back, it is scary how many of these groups that I dabble in. That's the price of being obsessively-obsessed with films, I guess. Yes, that is not a real term.
Next on the horizon, a way to combine a story and your desire to avoid people looking at your hair line. Stay tuned...

Boll-shit: House of the Dead

Let me just state this for the record: I have not seen many Uwe Boll films. I have seen part of Bloodrayne, even less of Bloodrayne 2 and a good portion of Hitman. Most of his really terrible films (i.e. Seed, Postal), I know mainly through conjecture and commentary about him (i.e. the great Nostalgia Critic review of Alone in the Dark). Having said all that, let me make something else clear: every film of his that I have seen has been terrible. So, in that spirit, let's look at one of his first major films...
Our film begins with a man lamenting how bad the night ended. He also seems aware of events that he has no way to know about. He also stops being our narrator within the first five minutes, making this Sunset Boulevard homage- entirely pointless. We are introduced to two things that eventually connect: a weekend-long rave on a deserted island and a bunch of yuppies trying to catch a boat. They hire a vaguely-ethnic boat captain and his bearded-weirdo of an assistant(Clint Howard) to take them there, which they do when the Coast Guard comes to inspect them. Even Boll points out the illogical idea of the Coast Guard arriving on foot and not by boat. Meanwhile, a woman goes off to skinny dip in a lake, but keeps her nether regions covered- damned American standards! Her guy stays on the beach, but disappears when she looks back for him. She notices air bubbles coming up and something grabs her leg...but lets go a second later. Thank you- that went nowhere. She wanders out looking for him, stumbles upon a creepy-looking stone house and wanders in. She finds her man dead- with an arm though his torso- and the scene fades out. A similar event happens a bit later, showing us the real creativity on display here. Our group finally gets on the island- after introducing a sub-plot with our Captain- and find an empty rave. Well, start drinking anyways...
Three of them wander off to find the other party, even after finding a bloody shirt. While they are off, one of the couples wants to have sex. They get interrupted by a zombie attack...which is not shown. O-kay, why not? The others approach the creepy house and only one of them thinks that it is a bad idea ("Haven't you seen Scooby-Doo," she asks). They stumble upon a group of survivors (including the man who is clearly our real lead), who show them handy-cam footage of the attack on the rave. You don't show it full-frame, why? This film is obsessed with not showing you zombie attacks! They get back, only to learn that the girlfriend is a zombie, who promptly kills one of the survivors- thanks for coming! She is killed by the reveal of our Coast Guard woman, who has a gun and is thus the best character. They head to the boat- which earlier featured the Captain fending off zombies with his pistol that fires 13 shots- but find it overrun with zombies. Naturally, one of the women wanders into the water to help, but only gets attacked herself. Fortunately, the Captain has swam to shore, dried off and picked up a machine gun with a scope. Logic, where did you go?
To sum the movie up (my brain is hurting too much), the Captain relates a story of how a prisoner took over a Spanish galleon (not the one from The Ghost Galleon) and crashed it on the island. Fine, but how did we get zombies? The Captain reveals his magic bag of weapons in a scene that would make John Rambo get hard. They put on possibly the dumbest and silliest action scene of all time as the movie spins around in slow-motion and hyper-edits the shit out of the scene. It also jumps back and forth to game footage, as if you could not get the homage. If you are shooting zombies en mass, you don't need to explain it! It has to be seen to believed! They go inside and discover numerous experiments on dead people. But who is behind it? After running through a tunnel- again pointing out the obvious homage- they run into...the zombified version of the prisoner. Apparently, he has bested death and learned how to make zombies. Please explain this, movie! Our heroes suddenly escape and end up outside, where they must- seriously- sword-fight the zombie pirate. The woman is stabbed, but helps the man finish off the zombie. In the end, we learn that our hero is actually the evil scientist from the game!
To review, the scientist learned how to make zombies from a zombie pirate. This, after zombies killed all of his friends. Fuck you, Uwe.
This movie is bad- real bad. I'll admit that I had dramatically low hopes for this movie and it was not Red Zone Cuba. However, the film does insult your intelligence at every turn and fulfills all of the cliches. In audio commentary, the film is at least a little more bearable as you can hear Uwe's stupid observations. For example, real acting is when actors pretend that a box they are lifting in a scene is heavy. That's what Olivier was missing! He also explains that his film is unique because the people don't just run around and get killed. Instead, they pick up guns, fight the zombies and then get killed. Sorry, Uwe, but your movie is bad. It constantly references the game, but ignores the fact that it has no plot to begin with. You are two cops, you shoot zombies and you win. This movie is bad and should be laughed at- case closed.
A special thanks to the Movie Screenshots blog that gave me my shots, since I was too lazy to Vid Cap this movie.
Up next, a film that wants to be porn, but only cast ugly, uninteresting people. This smells like Jesus Franco. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poor Bastards of Cinema: The Prowler

Not all killers have a real reason for what they do. In this film, the man comes home from WWII in 1943 and finds that his lady has kept herself busy with someone else. He kills them both and then stops for 37 years. For no reason (feel free to correct me if I missed it), he decides to kill again in 1980. I mention this to put the next scene into perspective...
The Prowler
The whole film takes place around the Senior Prom...even though these people are in their early 20s. Most of the women leave their communal house (where is this school again?), save for one who is in the shower. Naturally, this gives us our lone and pre-requisite nude scene. Her boyfriend shows up and she invites him in for some pre-dance fun. As he gets ready to join her, he gets attacked by our killer! You couldn't have at least waited until after he was done?!? Even the guy from Opera was that courteous. That's cold, man!
The big thing is, as I mentioned, these murders are completely unprovoked. These people were not even alive when the original offense happened. So, when our villain cock-blocks a guy via murder, it just seems even worse!
As a side note, my planned review of the film is going to be held for a while. Apparently, everyone has suddenly decided to review it recently. I'm not sure why.
Next up, a man whose only crime is...being a plumber? Stay tuned...

Oh Doris!: Deadly Weapons

Does the name Doris Wishman ring a bell to most of you? Probably not & for good reason. Doris was a major genre director in the 60s and 70s, so her films were not exactly 'mainstream.' In her day, she was famous for the mostly-forgotten 'Nudie-Cutey' sub-genre, as well as the 'Nudist Camp' films. Later in her career, she turned from those movies into films with a more outright salacious content (Nudist films featured real people and no sex) and violence. Yeah, this was a weird transition. To this end, she made today's film which is less about nudity as cute and more about crime. There is nudity and it's...yeah, I'll get into that. I'll just jump right in and review...
by the way, the film stars Chesty Morgan in....
Deadly Weapons
The film begins with...the biggest and least attractive breasts ever seen! I'll spare you the screen captures, though I'm sure you can really find them if you want. I can tell you that they look like two long strands of honey that have dripped down a surface and end in two big globs. That is the nicest visual you are going to get from me! Chesty spends the whole credit sequence rubbing those...things and trying not to look at the camera. She fails quite often. We finally get a story, which is only slightly-less painful to watch. Basically, three guys beat up a guy and one of them secretly takes a book. That man later calls up another man and blackmails him with information from it. Later, he goes to a meeting with one of the other men from earlier and his boss, a man we only see a hint of. They show us his hand, which has an odd cross-shaped scar on it. No, really. The other two hitmen beat up a different guy and kill him, but not before he rats out our hero. Well, I call him that, even though his only actions are criminal, talking harshly to our heroine (I'm trying to ignore her) and basically forcing himself on her. Yeah, how could you resist that creature?!?
What follows is one of the most ludicrous scenes in the history of crime films. While on the phone with Chesty, the man puts the phone on the table and answers the door. The men shoot him and then proceed to explain everything in great detail. They actually say which city they are going to hide out and in which hotel! Are these the Keystone Criminals that go with the titular cops?!? One of these men, by the way, is Harry Reemes, the man made famous by Deep Throat. He has a mustache that would make Geraldo feel inferior her to boot. Thanks to the information given to her by the killers, she heads to Vegas to track down the eye-patch wearing man jokingly called 'Captain Hook" by Reemes. But, before this, she randomly visits her dad for about 45 seconds. She heads to the city via travel stock footage and tries to find- seriously- Mr. Hook. She does not get the sarcasm?!? Recalling a line about the man loving burlesque, she gets hired by a nearby bar and waits for him. I will spare you the explanation of what happens after that- you already know. She lures him back to her place and drugs him. This leads to a dramatic shot of her taking off her bra, posing like Dracula with his arms up and smothering the man with her giant breasts. Words fail me, gentlemen.
Phase 2 of her plan involves another trip via stock footage of a plane flying. She arrives and finds the man at the pool. The film also shows his put-upon girlfriend swimming around naked. Does Chesty see this though? According to the way the scene was shot, it would seem so. She talks to him, but he ignores her. Later, she follow him and his lady to a bar where she is ignored again. Since she was near him twice, his girlfriend believes that he is cheating on her. Wow, defensive much?!? She goes to leave, but he talks her out of it. After making out for a minute, he suddenly chokes her to death! Wow, bi-polar much?!? He goes to see the giant breasted woman he met earlier and puts his moves on her. She drugs him and smothers him the same way. She heads home and goes to see her dad. She mentions the book that she hid in the beginning and, faster than you can say 'Checkov's Gun,' he goes looking for it. She learns that he was the crime boss the whole time! Wow, that was pretty obvious considering that they are the only two cast members left alive in the movie! He shoots her, but she also shoots him as well. She crawls over and dies with her head on his chest. The End.
Wow, that was bad. It was a bad crime movie wrapped in an obsession with this lady's giant and unattractive breasts. Seriously, those things are hideous! I mean, I'm all man, but those things are going to haunt my dreams forever! Go ahead and look Chesty Morgan up and see for yourselves. It almost makes me yearn for American films in which our actresses use porn stars /lingerie models as body doubles. We all know that she was the sole reason for this film getting made and the key reason for it being terrible. Doris Wishman was not a great director, but she could make things work without a lot of money. No amount of cleverness could keep those death stars from ruining your day. Please, for the love of God, avoid this movie and Double Agent 73. When even I am telling you to stay away, what does that tell you about the movie?!?
I haven't picked on one German director as much as the internet requires me to. Let's correct that, shall we? Stay tuned...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mondo Trivia: Superman II/III

Richard Lester was a successful director in his day and was notable for his ability to work quickly and under-budget. Was he a good director though? That was a moot point for most studios, explaining how he continued to work. So, in the wake of losing one of their biggest producers/directors to creative differences, he was hired to finish....
Superman II!

You can give him some credit and not blame him for every problem with the original version of this movie. That is until you watch...
Superman III!
Incidentally, he is most famous for directing the film A Hard Day's Night, starring The Beatles. That explains that silly and pointless comedy opening to Superman III, doesn't it? Remember, I know this movie quite well.
Will I bring you more trivia outside of reviews? You can count on it, buddy! Stay tuned...

The Real Godfather?: The Wizard of Gore (2007)

Another day, another Herschell Gordon Lewis remake- joy. Fortunately, they did not try to turn this into a horror comedy like they are doing with the sequel to the remake of Two Thousand Maniacs. This is a pretty close remake, although some dramatic liberties are definitely. The film is benefited (and sold on) one great bit of casting. Of course, there is an equally-terrible bit of casting that sort of works against the film in the same way- more on that later. The film also has two other things going for it that the original one did not: topless women! That's right, this movie is 'enhanced' by the addition of The Suicide Girls, a group of models that have tattoos, which, of course, makes them edgy. Enough talk about boobs (at least until tomorrow)! Let's go right into...
1. What is the same?
The basic premise of the film is still intact. A reporter (this time a guy) and his lover (a lady, naturally) go to a weird rave-like pit to see an old-time magician who seemingly performs this way ironically. He tortures women (and one man) on stage and then they are alright. They die a bit later however and nobody figures out the connection. Montag the Magician is still the best part of the movie.
2. What is different?
Our hero is a douche-bag who has a trust fund and runs an old time newspaper because he can. Wow, it is good to see that realism is dead. The man also makes creaking noises when he moves around too quickly. Why? Good question. He also has a dull girlfriend and a caring best friend, who looks like the lead singer from Counting Crows. His death is...well, bad. The women are also forced to be topless (or more) before they are killed. Why? Why the hell do you think? The movie also features a Geek who performs a gross trick until a woman gets up, which makes her the assistant. Interesting idea until you realize the reality behind it...
3. What is extremely, extremely stupid?
The Geek is played Jeffrey Combs, under a giant wig and beard. Casting a good actor and disguising him? Interesting. Casting a good actor, disguising him and never really utilizing him? F-ing stupid! There- I said it.
4. What kind deaths do we get?
The deaths are brutal, viscious and in-your-face. There is some creativity given here, including a woman who is executed in a style not seen outside of Greek mythology. The man who gets a pool cue put in him as well. Of course, one lady dies by falling onto a glass table and getting decapitated as well. Yeah, that makes sense. On the plus side, these crazy scenes distract you from the plot.
5. Does the ending make sense this time?
In a word- no. I won't go into serious detail (be disappointed on your own), but I will sight my original comments at the time I wrote my review on Netflix. "The ending was getting good...and then it kept going...and changing the events. I wanted to like it through to the end, but it was too much for its own good."
On the plus side, Brad Dourif is good in his tiny, supporting role. Like Spoony says, he really does bring a little class to these movies. Why is he not ever the star again?
I really wanted to like this movie, but it just shot itself in the foot. They take some interesting ideas, mix them in with the narrative set from the original film and...just fall flat on their faces. You get Glover and then make him second-fiddle to the gay player from Remember The Titans. Incidentally, most reviewers credit him as such, so it is not me being lazy...well, alone that is. Bijou Phillips is here, but the film would barely be different if they cut her entire role. Kip Purdue was just awful in the role and I failed to care about anything he did. At least the topless women were kind of good-looking, even when they tried to hard to dress in an ironically-anachronistic manner. By the way, I defy you to find another person to use the expression 'ironically-anachronistic' in a sentence. A neat idea buried under a pile of 'eh.'
Up next, a movie about two giant things that nobody ever wanted to look at. No, it's not Godzilla vs. Megalon. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Real Godfather: The Wizard of Gore (1970)

We return to the works of H.G. Lewis once again, this time covering one of his most iconic films. Does it have a strange story? Yes. Does it have a mix of stilted and over-acting? Yes. Does it have boat-loads of gore? Very yes. This is definitely one of the more famous films he did and rightly so. I can guarantee that you have not seen a movie like it before and you will not see one after (well, sort of). Unlike Maniacs, the gore is much more pervasive, almost to a fault. It will definitely not be viewed as a film for everyone. Who cares what they think though? What matter is what I think. Find out the answer to that in my review of...
The story is simple, albeit done in a way to make it complicated. Straight-forward storytelling in a Herschell Gordon Lewis film? What do you want next- a million dollars?!? Anyhow, the story is about a lady reporter and her less-than-supportive boyfriend. She is told to go see an old-style magician performing in the city for a story. Her man goes along with her, but does not act happy about it. His show involves women coming on stage and meeting a horrible fate. A pair of them swallow swords, but they don't exactly come out smoothly. The strange thing is that they return to normal once the trick is over with. He also only appears to do one or two tricks per show, making this the shortest magic show since that guy got bitten by a tiger. Later each night, the same woman/women would be found dead of the same wounds! Do the police suspect anything? No. Do they ever question the Magician who did the same thing mere hours earlier? No. It never crosses their mind.
The key to the film is the crazy and bloody deaths. There is no cutting away and no chances to flinch. The 'shows' are, in fact, so bloody that you wonder how the guy manages to keep his license to perform. Plus, every night after the kills, he steals the body during the cover of 'red night.' Why? That's actually never clear. Like most of the film, it is just thrown out there and they say 'enjoy.' You get to see a man cut up a woman on stage with a chainsaw and use a punch-press on her stomach (the one you Juno fans know)- what else do you want? You certainly have to wonder why people flock to his shows, let alone sit there and watch the blood flow. See what happens in real life if someone kicks a dog in the middle of the street- it will be different. This is me putting logic in, so I'll stop. Oh look, more blood.
Finally, I must address the really strange and confusing ending. The popularity of our villain grows and grows exponentially. It reaches the point where the reporter's network wants to give him a live performance on television. Finally, a way to really improve the fourth hour of Good Morning, America! This is when things start to get really weird- think about that. His performance goes off as normal, until people watching it start to seem hypnotized and bleed. What? Huh? The woman tries to fend off Montag and seemingly kills him, only for him to re-appear after de-masking. Is this the end or just the beginning? Only time will tell! Oh wait, it actually is the ending. Never mind.
This movie is good, but definitely not for everyone. The actual story is a very loose framing device for lots of gore. It does not try to be a whole lot more than that, except for maybe at the end. Sure there is some social commentary (the audience's inaction being an address on violence in our culture), but that's not why the film was made. Lewis wanted to make a film in which a man in a top hat fondled a woman's entrails. You can't really fault a giving for living his dream, can you? If you are a film purist, you will not like this movie. If you enjoy exploitation at its finest, check this movie out.
I liked the film, but felt that it needed more nudity and characters that I despised. Oh joy, someone has granted my wish. Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

WTF Korea?!?: Save the Green Planet

I've picked on a lot of Asian nations for their terrible or strange cinema, so Korea should be no different. They have mostly gotten a free pass for the sheer awesomeness of The Host, but no more! This movie is so strange, so peculiar and so...odd that you must know about it. At the same time, it is so bi-polar that it breaks my Bi-Polar Cinema scale in half! I have a lot to say, but also nothing to say. To first view this movie properly, you need to watch the trailer. Don't worry, it really tells you nothing that I won't say in the first paragraph. What it presents you is a very misleading picture of what it is to come. Incidentally, using the same theme song in the trailer as the Dr. Phibes films will not help you, movie. Sit back, relax and enjoy...
The movie begins with the rantings of a crazy man who thinks that there is an alien conspiracy. He believes that his boss is an alien who can lead him to the alien prince that will blow the whole thing apart. He schemes, alongside his fat ballerina assistant, to kidnap the man in a parking lot. Since the man is very drunk, he proves to be easy prey. They take him back to their lair and...shave his head and take off nearly all of his clothes. Okay, you lost me already. The man awakens a bit later and reacts the way most people would to the kidnapper's crazy story. He is very upset with him, which only leads our hero to...torture him with electricity? Why are you our hero again? There proves to be more motivation here as the boss is an executive at a pharmaceutical company that inadvertently poisoned his mother. He maintains that his motives are all about saving the Earth however. Right...
Save is mostly an excuse to show our 'hero' going crazy and talking about his theories. His assistant loses her focus when the torture gets really intense. I must point out that this is billed as a sci-fi horror comedy. After having his leg broken, the executive lures our hero away with the promise of a cure for his mother. He gets loose, but cannot get out. He does learn about the tragic past of our hero. Dead father and girlfriend? Check. Oh and he finds the records of other 'tests' done by our 'hero.' By tests, I mean eight dead guys who proved not to be aliens. Gee, you think?!? We get a sub-plot with a detective who gets really close to finding out the truth. Our villainous hero catches the man snooping and sicks his attack bees on the man, killing him. Did I just write that sentence? His young partner gets involved, but does not really do much. He finds the executive, but gets captured when the fat ballerina intervenes. They take both of them to the company's building after the boss admits to being an alien. Of course, he is obviously lying at this point.
It all builds up to this as the boss manages to use a nearby machine to take down his two captors. He even kills the ballerina girl! Now who will look horribly inappropriate for their profession?!? The police arrive in time as our villain/hero gets up for one last attack and shoot him. He wonders aloud about who will protect the Earth in his absence. The boss is let go by the police, only to be grabbed by aliens. Apparently, he was one the whole time! The serial killer was actually write about everything, including cutting off the man's hair to keep him from communicating telepathically! By the way, don't ask me how that works please. The angry alien boss was actually the Prince the whole time as well! In the end, the aliens decide that the experiment that is Earth is a failure and blow it up. The End.
What to say about this movie. Does it have comedic moments? Yes. Does it have lots and lots of torture? Yes. Does it have strong sci-fi elements? Sort of. The movie is so insane and random that it just made my head hurt. That is not even addressing the giant car pile-up of plot twists at the end or the many parts that I did not mention in the full review. For example, our villain-hero has a random kung-fu fight- complete with wire work- in town. Does it add anything? No. I would be remiss without mentioning the 'bee shooting' joke which convinced me that the film would be fun. Thanks a lot, you dead bees! I can't recommend this movie to most people because it is so insane. Maybe you guys might enjoy it, but I didn't. I get the idea, but hate the execution. This is Sachiko Hanai all over again!
Coming up next, H.G. Lewis creates a film about magic, policemen and power tools. Stay tuned...

How To End A Series: X-Men (Animated)

Animated shows don't always have big endings. They usually just taper off and disappear due to the weird schedule for producing these shows and renewing them. Most shows don't plan a finale for every season, so it often ends up biting them in the ass. Only later shows like Justice League realized what they had to do on a regular basis. They were not the first to do this, however. This same thing was also done for one of the most iconic cartoons of the 1990s...
How do you end a show that has had mutants battling in Washington D.C., Magneto attacking the Earth from space and Mojo's reality show (pre-dating so much of our modern ones)? By literally having someone try to rape the time-space continuum! Suck on that, reality!
The story involves Mr. Sinister kidnapping Jean Grey after her marriage to Cyclops- not again! This is inter-cut with not one, but TWO parallel stories- one involving Bishop and the other involving Cable in the future. They all tie in eventually (although the first one is done kind of lazily), but really just pad out the story into four parts.

A Saturday morning cartoon ends with what is basically an Animated Movie (with the total equaling out to around 80 minutes)- that is epic!
The whole thing really makes no sense, but I will do my best.

Apocalypse gets the help of nearly every major X-Men villain (Magneto, Mystique, Sinister, etc) and kidnaps all of the most powerful psychics in the galaxy. Why? It is part of an elaborate plan to stop time and rework it in his image.

How does this work? Your guess is about as good as mine. It has something to do with Psychics apparently having the will power to affect time (huh?!?), so, by killing all of them in one burst, it will undo everything.

You had me and then you lost me, Show. The whole thing is a pretense for some fan service, whether it is introducing Psylocke or giving us cameos by characters such as Mesmero and Stryfe. They also set-up Archangel joining the team, but, of course, this is the last Episode.

Oh wait, apparently the studio ordered a bunch more after this. The only problem is that the Animation Studio behind the show had folded. This gave us several sub-par looking episodes made in-house by Saban. Oops.
Up next, a new version of the show tries a similar idea. Will it work twice? Stay tuned...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blockbuster Trash: The Planet

While I am not a big science-fiction fan (personally, horror and fantasy is more my forte), I have seen a great many of them. Hell, I've seen two French zombie films, a film about rock star zombies and the world's only film in Esperanto. What I'm saying is that I will watch anything and everything. So every once in a while, I watch a real crappy one. This is one of those times. When you rent a film that has a giant planet-shaped object crashing into another one, you don't question things. You just sit back and watch...
Our film begins with a space. Venturing into unique territory from the get-go, I see. In all honesty, this is not a terrible scene. It is a bit misleading, given how the rest of it is on a planet and quite terrible. The biggest problem with this scene, however, is that it looks like one of those technical school ads where the guy goes 'look what I learned to do.' Actually, I think that is what happened here! Anyhow, the people are completely indistinguishable and no side is clearly good or clearly evil. Ultimately, a bunch of pods are launched onto a nearby planet and try to settle in. Of course, this is also the plot of Planet of the Dinosaurs, a slightly-better film in that it was made in the 1970s and features funny/dated mustaches. So far, this film has just given us a bunch of space marines without cool outfits that argue. Hurray? At least we don't have crappy special effects to 'look forward to.' Oh, God dammit!
After a long bit of build-up, a mysterious force attacks our heroes. It is a nigh-invisible humanoid that is completely invulnerable to their future (read:plastic) laser guns. Out of nowhere, one of the crew sends it reeling with...a gun from the present day. You see, the man keeps 'souvenirs' of the past with him and, of course, keeps them loaded at all times. He is rushing off to escape his death in an explosion, but he still brings along a trophy? This is not even touching upon the logical jumps involving the gun that has not been made in hundred of years working, let alone in a climate unlike it's original home. Anyhow, before I go too crazy, I'll return to the plot. The conflict, you see, comes in the form of an escaped prisoner who worships some crazy space religion. His role consists of looking weird, wandering around and, um, looking weird. He plays a part in the finale, but not in any logical way. I would explain it here...if it made any real sense. It has something to do with sacrificing himself to unleash some evil monster or something. You want more details? Watch the you can still not be sure.
I could go into great detail about the plot, if there was much to say. People die, since the centuries-old gun is not that reliable and the thing is still really fast. They fight over who should be in charge as well, so, yea for that. Some weird, mystical thing goes down and we get a monster...which is a troll made for the Poser program. Using it is not that bad, if it were not so badly-disguised and features so little detail. When in doubt, make the monster see-through to save some $$$. They battle it, but do you really care at this point? I don't. The End.
Yeah, this movie is barely worth the DVD that it was put on. The budget was something like $15,000 and it shows! I bet it cost more than that just to make all the feature-less DVDs themselves. A lot can be done with the 'mysterious planet' idea and has been to much greater effect. Maybe if I did not judge this on a professional level, it might be more forgivable. But, you know what, it is a professionally-released DVD, so it has to go by that standard. While better than any sci-fi film made and posted on YouTube by 17-year old Finnish students, it is not a good sci-fi film. You should, and do, expect better. This film is so obscure that it does not have a Wikipedia page. When nearly every contributor on has one, what does that say about the film? Nothing good.
Up next, a Korean film that I put off for fear of spoilers. Now, I don't give a crap. You need to know about this movie's randomness and insanity. Stay tuned...