Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Creepy Rigatoni: Channel Zero- Butcher's Block, Episode 2

Another week as I go through Black Mirror withdrawal.  In the meantime, enjoy this creepy-(p)ass(ta) Show that I'm fascinated by...
Instead of the usual thing, the Episode begins with a creepy infomercial/ad for Peach's Meats.
The Episode proper begins with a little recap and our Heroine being bothered by the absence of her Sister after a fight and one freaky night in Town.
Sis comes back, but goes all 'Operating Thetan' upon her return.  

Oh and also a guy gets killed by a freaky person that comes from a magical, interdimensional staircase.  That old chestnut.
As freaky stuff happens in Town, our Heroine gets invited to a lovely dinner.
Will she survive with her sanity, let alone her life?  What's on the Menu?

To find out, watch the Show.
More freaky and more fun.  This Show continues to be a nice bit of slow burn with sudden bursts of violence.  This one obviously has the most vicious one so far!  I won't SPOIL it for you, but...it's very NSFW.  On the plus side, it has the desired effect- being shocking and disturbing.  Other than that big moment, this is mostly little stuff that is building up for later.  What is going on with her Sister?  What does Mr. Peach want to do to her?  Does their family resemblance mean that they won't be killed?  What dark power is behind the Peach Family?  Will that Cop meet a grisly end?  So much is just simmering here and I love it.  The pay-off is usually really good in this Series and I hope that this Story continues the trend.  In the meantime, say 'Hi' to my new Dinner Guest...
Next time, more insanity and a little bit of murder.  Who is next to eat or be eaten?  See you then...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Troll 2

This is a pretty famous one, but I've never done anything with it.

Troll 2 is the most famous 'so bad its good' Film from the 1980s.  How did they sell this Movie off of the back of the original (which has no Plot connection)?  Let's see...
Damn!

This is most assuredly-NOT related to the Film one bit, but it is quite amazing!  If they had just made a Film that actually matched this one, it could have been amazing!

That or Demons 3: The Ogre.

Here's the untouched Scan before my meddling/improvement...
Still an amazing lie, but definitely not as eye-catching without a little more color.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

'60s Trash?: Skidoo (1968)

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na...Preminger!  Today's Film is 1968's Skidoo, a Film by the famous Director Otto Preminger.  He's the man behind many great Films like Anatomy of a Murder, Laura and The Man with the Golden Arm.  To me, however, he will always be Mr. Freeze!  He was the second of 3 Actors to play the Character in the Adam West Batman Show and the reason why Eli Wallach had an accent in Season 2.  While he was up for many Oscars, he apparently never won one- sad.  In the late-60s, however, he dropped Acid and decided to make this Film.  It was apparently a nightmare to get done- due to problems with him, the Script and the Studio- and it definitely needs one of those 'Documentaries About a Film Being Made.'  According to Rob Reiner, he was hired and fired every day he worked on it as a Script Supervisor.  The Plot involves a Mobster, his family and a bunch of Guest Stars in Prison.  This is a virtually who's who of 'They were in this why?!?'  I'll go through it in-depth in the actual Review, but it has a heavy Hollywood and Batman connection.  If you ever wanted to see Jackie Gleason and Groucho Marx in a Film together, this is your only chance.  By all means, drop out and read on...
Gleason is a retired Mobster who is pulled back in by his boss- God.  No, not that one.

The guys sent to bring him in- Caesar Romero (Batman Connection #2) and Frankie Avalon!
He is broken *into* Prison to take out a man with intel on 'God.'  He has to work with...Frank Gorshin (Batman Connection #3), John Phillip Law and Richard Kiel (aka Jaws)?!?
While all of that is happening, his Daughter is becoming a Hippie and the then-63 year old Preminger is all in!  Groovy.
The target in Prison- Mickie Rooney!  They talk to him by wiring something to something and speaking through a TV.  Naturally, the man responds with all of his dialog right to camera!
Wanting to find God? 

I can't help you with that, but here is Groucho Marx (in his last Film Role) playing 'God' and living on John Wayne's Yacht.  No joke- it's actually his (and now an historic landmark).
While writing a letter to his Family, Gleason accidentally takes some LSD.  He has...a bad trip.
He comes to the realization that he doesn't want to kill anymore (too late for his friend!) and plans an escape.

They go with the obvious solution- put LSD in all of the food, so everyone trips.  That includes the Warden- Burgess Meredith (Batman Connection #4)!
Shout out to Slim Pickens as well!  As a bonus, Harry Nilsson plays a Guard and *sings* the Credits.
The day is saved as the duo (without Law) escape Prison and find 'God' at the same time that the Hippies do.  For some reason, they dress like this and sing the Title song during the raid.

How else could something this weird end?
What a weird, weird Film.  When a famous Director drops Acid to help make a Film, what do you expect?  This whole thing is a fun, weird mess.  It has way too many Stars in random, tiny Roles and way too much nonsense.  I didn't even touch upon the Plot involving Carol Channing sort-of seducing Avalon or her taking in a group of Hippies while Gleason is away.  Nothing about this makes all that much sense.  That said, it is a weird joy to behold. Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin and Jackie Gleason 'drop Acid!'  Groucho Marx as a Mob Boss.  People flying in a Hot Air Balloon made out of Potato Bags!  There's a very odd bit with Marx trying to do business with the Lead Hippie.  He calls Gleason's House and says a bunch of nonsense that somehow is a bunch of clues to find 'God.'  I guess the nonsense riddles being important is Batman Connection #5 then!  None of this is great.  None of this is logical.  In spite of all that, I love the hell out of this nonsense!  Carol Channing's outfit here...not so much...
Next time, I finally cover a Cult Classic by a Horror Legend.  Will it be all snake and no rainbow?  Stay tuned... 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lost in Translation?: The Howling (Part 3)

I still got more of these!  Thank you, Internet.

This time, it is a Howling Poster from all of the way over in Denmark.  Seems logical enough...
Damn!

I'm not sure if she is being chased by a Werewolf or a Demon Bat, but I love it!

As always, the Original Version...
Same basic Poster, but with a little more color and style.

Since I'm not so lacking for content to post the same Poster twice, here's the French Canadian Poster as well...
C'est bon.

Quick Reviews: The Poughkeepsie Tapes

It's no surprise that the Film rotted in limbo for nearly a Decade!  Is this both too dark and too silly?  Let's find out...
The basic premise: a Serial Killer left behind over 2,000 (!!!) tapes documenting his crimes.

Yes, he was still recording on VHS Tape all the way through to 2002!
The Film is split between two aspects.  The first- footage of his crimes (mostly the set-ups) with somehow nobody ever questioning why he's filming them AND the bonus of the same 'tape-warping' effects in every one of them.
The second- real(ish)-looking people talking about the crimes and the killer.  Not all of them work, but ones like this look quite real.

...until this woman pronounces 'Lancaster' wrong...even though she's supposed to be from there.
The killer also does this weird mix of being over-the-top in his performances (for tapes that people will see a Decade later) and being a psychopath so violent that I won't even describe some of the things they say he did (since, again, they can't show them).

This also leads to the odd moment where a Performer is interviewed for a Documentary ABOUT A SERIAL KILLER just so he can explain the Plague Doctor Mask seen below.
Without SPOILing too much (since the Film got on DVD last October), the Film makes its Character almost too ridiculously-good at covering his tracks to be believed.

For example, he changes his M.O. many times, at one point even switching so much that they think he's a different guy AND simultaneously-framing a Cop for said crimes.  
Will the Police ever catch their man (even though this was made after the events that happened)?  Will the Film not jump the shark?

To find out, watch the Film (but only if you're really into dark, twisted stuff).  You were warned.
It is so close to being a legitimately-good Film at times.  For all its faults (and there are many), Tapes is a very effective Film at times.  One bit (while clearly inspired by Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) is really tense and delivers big.  However, that same part then devolves the Plot further into insanity.  He stalks a woman for like a week and then waits in her House until night time to attack.  He apparently decided to kidnap her, so he butches the boyfriend to such a degree that the Police just assume that she must be dead too.  To do this, he has to be so 'in-control' that he can stage the Scene to such an absurd degree (apparently doing bad stuff with the guy's body parts) to look like he's 'out-of-control.'  That is a good micro chasm of the Film.  It features some genuinely well-done and creepy stuff...but then makes the killer practically deified in how 'smart' he is.  He has no set victim pattern...until he changes it to one type in order to make his 'non-targets' let their guards down.  He can somehow be caught on camera and taunt the Police (in ASL!), but never be recognized!  He can somehow scrub down entire sites of his prints and evidence, but then leave behind almost three-thousand VHS Tapes that have no prints of them!  Tapes that he had to have handled multiple times (out of wrapping, into VCR, out of VCR, into sleeve and then into box).  Right!  He's somehow so insane that he does the most twisted stuff you could imagine...but also 'sane' enough to hide his crimes and leave behind taunting evidence (the tapes).  If this was less outright sadistic- especially in the torturing parts- and just more about people trying to find him, it would work.  If it featured a few of his creepy tape moments- enough to establish them- and more talking heads that seemed real, it would work.  If the Film didn't make their Lead the 'God of Serial Killers' and maybe gave him an ironic punishment, it would work.  As it is, it is too dark for most (even me to some degree) and too silly for those that love the twisted stuff.  I'll leave you with a Forensic Investigator pantomiming with zero context...
Considering its status as a Film you couldn't find (until last October), it lives up to the hype.  That said, the more I think about the Plot, the less logical and sillier it all gets!

Friday, February 23, 2018

En Francais: Subway (1985)

Le revanche du Lambert!  Today's Film is Subway, a 1985 Cult Classic starring the future Highlander.  It was also Directed by Luc Besson.  For the casual fan, he's the guy behind The Professional and The Fifth Element.  He also made- unfortunately for him- the biggest 'Independent Film' of all time budget-wise...and nobody saw it.  Hell, I have a copy and I still haven't seen it!  The near future would be bright for both of them, so it's interesting to see them together here.  I also get to see Lambert speaking French, which is less uncommon than you would think.  I, for one, am used to him speaking English and just kind of assumed for a long time that it was his native tongue.  Live and learn.  This Film tells the tale of Lambert as a guy named Fred.  Fred has two problems- he hates safes and he loves a girl way above his social status.  When the two things unite, he has one option- hide out in the Subway System of Paris- naturally.  Can he form a new life there or will his desire for one woman be the death of him?  To find out, read on...
The Film begins abruptly with a car chase.  Lambert escapes his pursuers in typical Blues Brothers fashion and hides out in the Subway.

How he's not easily spotted with his Eraserhead hair is anyone's guess.
He has a connection a rich Socialite- blackmail.  When a trade for the material goes wrong, she starts to hang around.
He finds a very interesting literal underworld in the Subway, including people doing the most normal thing- having a Birthday Party.
Naturally, Lambert and his weird expressions make this awkward as hell.

Great material for me though.
While he tries to assemble a Band in the Subway, the woman seems to fall more for him and reject her current status.  To be fair, she's married to this guy.
While not integral to the Plot, the Film does feature a guy named 'Big Bill' who enters through a shower of sparks (a la Bill Goldberg).

I'd like to picture Dusty Rhodes being a big fan of French New Wave Cinema...so I will.
All of the Plot Points- including the jealous Husband, the tough Detective and the band assembly- come together as Lambert's Band plays in the Subway Station, taking the place of a string quartet.

Man, even their Subways are classier than ours!
Lambert is shot by a man working for the husband and the Film ends rather abruptly after this.  Who doesn't love a semi-vague ending?  The End.
A slow, but steady Film.  There's nothing that's ever boring in this one, but it is definitely paced differently than many may be used to.  It is less about the Plot directly and more about the ambiance of the area.  It is about interesting locations and people.  There is always a driving Plot, so don't think that it is just a nothing Film.  Getting the balance between 'weird, slice of life Story' and Plot-driven Film is tricky.  Thankfully, this one balances it quite well.  Fred is an interesting, if strange guy.  Helena seems shallow, but grows deeper as the Film progresses.  All of the Supporting Players- like the Detective, Big Bill and others- get good moments.  On top of that, the Film is shot well and looks nice.  It is Luc Besson- he almost always gets that right.  As a bonus, the Soundtrack is quite great, especially if you like '80s New Wave like I do.  The whole thing is just fun and enjoyable.  The Ending is a bit odd, but, you know, French.  Oh and the 'Lightsaber' (which, for the record, I knew wasn't one) is just a light he holds for about a minute before dropping it.  Makes for a great Poster, at least.  I'll leave you with a helpful hint.  If you're looking for Lambert in non-English Films, well, drop the 'R' in 'Christopher.'
Next time, an LSD Trip of a Film.  On the plus side, 4 Batman Villains unite!  Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Immediate Response: Black Panther (2018)

After a short, but still too long delay, I finally saw this blockbuster Film.  How was it?
The Good
* The Setting and Tone of the Film are quite good, feeling grandiose and epic.
* The Visual Effects are quite good, looking shiny, polished and convincing.
* In new Marvel tradition, the Villain is nuanced, believable and...not exactly 100% wrong.
* The Black Panther is pure bad-ass.  That's it.
* The Story is very good, building up everyone involved as important.  Well, maybe not lip plate guy.

The Bad
* There's a lot to absorb in the Story, so some may be lost.
* If you did a drinking game where they say 'Vibranium,' you'd be dead by the first hour.

All in all, another great Marvel Film.  I look forward to what they are going to do next!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

'80s Class: Curtains (1983)

It's nice to watch a good Movie here every once in a while.  Today's Film is Curtains, a 1983 Slasher with a few gimmicks that work very well.  It was notable enough to get a Blu-Ray Release, but also not enough to be a Film people bring up all the time as a 'classic.'  That's not to say anything about quality- just notoriety.  More people are probably familiar with Sleepaway Camp than this one!  The Film is about a group of Actresses targeted by a killer as they audition for a Film.  Still safer than doing any Auditions for Harvey Weinstein though, right?  Who is the culprit?  Is it the Comedian?  The older Actress?  The young ingĂ©nue?  The vengeful wife?  The ice skater?  The mysterious man who works at the Cabin?  Even though this Film is my age, I still don't feel like SPOILing it all the way.  Since the Film is less famous than others, why not let other people enjoy it more first?  To see how many puns I can make with the Title, read on...
An older Actress seeks to make a comeback.  Her somewhat-abusive Husband is the Director.

She appears to have a mental break from the stress...but it is all just a ploy for her to go undercover as 'research' for the role.
Unfortunately, she learns that it is harder than she thought, her Husband has no interest in letting her out AND he's Casting her part for the Film!
The Actresses all show up to the man's Cabin for a weekend-long Audition.  Well, except for the one who was run over by a car, since she somehow couldn't lift a doll off of the road.

Okay, so there is SOME silly stuff in this one.
The Wife shows up, putting a wrinkle in things.  Things will go as planned all the same though.
While there is a clear danger in the area from the killer from earlier, the bigger danger is the man inside.  He's kind of a terrible person and he uses his position to get what he wants from the women.

Can I do *two* Harvey Weinstein jokes or should I make a Hitchcock one?  You decide!
The killer strikes the women when they seem to be the most safe.  Slow Motion Ice Skating is also a skill that a certain Mr. Kruger or Voorhees never seemed to have.
Seriously though- it's the doll again.  I don't get why it keeps showing up.
As the body count rises, so does the tension.  Oh and don't stand near any windows.
Who is the killer?  Will him or her escape?  Will they ever explain why someone bought this mask in the first place?

To find out, watch the Film.
It's Curtains for me.  There- that's one.  Now that I'm done with the obvious pun, let me talk about the Film.  It's good.  It's not 'you must see this now or your life is not complete' good, but it is good.  The Story is a bit different, not focusing on horny teens or some deep, dark secret about a location.  When it comes down to the Slasher stuff, it doesn't look that different though.  Fortunately, the much more interesting parts of the Film are the ones that could just be in any Drama about Actors.  The performances feel quite real and gritty.  The whole thing feels like a Drama that just has Slasher undertones.  There's an odd thing with the kills here- the doll.  It's a bit gimmicky and hampers things a little bit.  For example, the killer had to bury the thing in the snow for the woman to find in advance.  Kudos for planning ahead, but...why?  This happens again, so maybe they just really like to bury dolls.  I do like how the one person uses it as a makeshift weapon to defends herself though.  All in all, Curtains is definitely an obscure enough Film for me to recommend to people.  Just don't notice the little things...like this Crew Member just chilling in the left corner.
Next time, we go back to France.  Will a once-successful Director show how he got that way in the first place?  Stay tuned...