Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Bunker of the Last Gunshots (1981)

A group of soldiers are locked inside a concrete bunker and we see how they deal with the ensuing madness that follows from being locked there for an unspecified amount of time. (Imdb rating 6.1)

The Bunker of the Last Gunshots is not a short film that gives answers. While I was smart enough to figure out the general plot (that's a first for me) of this experimental steampunk French movie, there isn't much help, with a lack of any dialogue whatsoever. But really, the gaps don't need to be filled in.

I would hazard a guess that this movie is a microcosm of how humanity can deal with stress wrongly; as when a seemingly important counter starts to slowly reverse back down to 000000, the men start to kill each other with wild abandon. Before the countdown, they looked bored shitless, with one chap even collecting particularly good specimens from his nose and placing them in containers. Another guy electrocutes beetles. Another guy apparently uses masking tape and garbage bags to wrap up corpses.

Don't judge me!

The bunker society seems based around the two arch-principles of baldness and Nazism though, and after the discovery is made, it's open season for gunshots and strange tortures, like shooting electromagnetic waves into ears and what disgustingly looks like death by force feeding. The ending is great as well, as it shows the futility of all the abhorrent behaviour throughout the movie.

I was really impressed by this. It was strange, it was experimental, but it wasn't pretentious or unnecessarily confusing. The Bunker of the Last Gunshots stands on it's own.

Things I learnt:

  • Going outside on a completely dead Earth/some other random planet requires you to dress as a sand person from Star Wars.
  • You can feed severed hands in jars as you would a fish.
  • In the future, everyone will be bald!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mega Piranha (2010)

A mutant strain of giant ferocious piranha escape from the Amazon and eat their way toward Florida. (Imdb rating 2.7)

Syfy original movies are universally terrible. But they always seem
to save the worst for their 'mutated versions of animals attack!' movies. Giant sharks, giant octopuses, alien mutant bears, all are just awful.

But strangely, I somewhat enjoyed Mega Piranha, even though it 'stars' 80's one hit wonder Tiffany. Oh, don't get me wrong, required to show any emotion at all, her acting makes me wish she'd go back to singing subtly sleazy songs in malls like she used to. The males lead is just there, with his muscles and two day stubble growth. Barry Williams, the eldest Brady Bunch son, is there as well, and at least he injects some type of personality into his character.

But you don't really want to hear about the rabble they hired
to play actors, you want me to explain the piranhas. At the start, we see them eat some natives dumb enough to go swimming in the Amazon, or at least a weak CGI visual representation of it. That's fine. Then we get topless natives along with a fat guy partying on the same river, before noticing a half eaten crocodile corpse floating by. Still fine. Then the piranha's attack... wait, PIRANHA'S DON'T EAT BOATS! Apparently they do, and as they get bigger so do their prey. By the end, they are eating submarines and fucking battleships!

But don't worry! Our leading man has a method of beating them. It's called 'Lie on your back and bicycle kick the shit out of them'.

It's like they are trying to show how abysmal the piranhas look.

The piranhas confused even me, as I assumed they were like Aquaman; useless out of water. But I stood corrected, as they jumped out several times to snatch people, destroy buildings, and conveniently dispose of villains at the right times. They still look like something a cat regurgitates.

The actions moves pretty quickly, which is a positive, and there are several false endings. The actual ending, however, annoyed the shit out of me, because it made absolutely no sense. I thought maybe I'd missed something, except even the Wikipedia synopsis seems to have no idea what exactly happened either, not a good sign.

Mega Piranha is a pile of crap, but at least it's a fast moving one.

Things I learnt:
  • You can beat a piranha in a knife fight.
  • Or you can use rockets.
  • You can make someone's head explode by shooting a flare into their open mouth.
  • Topless natives have brown blood.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ubu Roi (1965)

An evil giant man is persuaded by his nagging wife to usurp the King of Poland, and he is successful, until his extremely harsh new laws and the return of the former King's youngest son lead to a fight for the crown. (Imdb rating N/A)

Right off the bat, you need to know this is a French made-for-TV movie by Jean-Christophe Averty, based on Alfred Jarry's play Ubu Roi, a play so scandalous, that it's first performance in 1896 was stopped after the first word was uttered, because the crowd rioted.

The first word was "Merde", translated as "shit". I can't imagine how a crowd back then would have felt, if they ever got past the first word, at what quite possibly could be the lewdest, most lowbrow plays ever conceived. The amount of swearing in this puts Eddie Murphy to shame, and I have the feeling most of it wasn't properly translated to English either.

The main character Pere Ubu is just a vile human being, he's extremely fat, obnoxiously loud and egotistical, and acts like every petulant child you've ever wanted to punch. His wife is barely any better, and they spend the entire movie arguing or manipulating each other. The whole movie plays out like a pastiche of Shakespearean themes and plotlines, with bits stolen from other plays here or there. It's very predictable, but not moreso than most other movies.

I think some classical film students just had a heart attack.

The style is the main talking point here; I can almost guarantee you will never see another film that looks even remotely like this. The Forbidden Zone has some vague similarities, such as the black and white colours and mix of animation and live action, but that's it. Trying to adopt a more theatre based approach to film making, Ubu Roi dispels any types of camera panning, zooms and even moving the camera at all. At any one time, there could be three, four, six different mini-scenes onscreen, all interacting with each other in bizarre ways. Characters will pass things to each other, and the item will change size depending on where the camera is. It's visually disorientating, and cool as hell.

Ubu Roi has a unique way of word building, and by that I mean it barely exists. Half of the time, it's just characters over a black background. When there are props, they are flimsy at best, such as the cardboard horses, which look like something a five year old would strap into and race around in. Occasionally, there will be a solid setting, made from what looks like white tape. You are really forced to use your imagination, much like you would in a play.

Unfortunately, Ubu Roi does retain other play features; monologues. As a side effect of the visuals, none of the characters ever shut up, as they need to be constantly explaining what is going on action-wise so you don't get completely lost. This works well most of the time, but can start to grate. The ending is very flat as well, but I can't fault that, it's like that in the original play on purpose, to be as different to the usual 'classic' play endings as possible. Still, this is a crazy movie, and if you can get your hands on it somehow, it's well worth a watch.

Things I learnt:

  • 'Disembrained' and 'Hornigobolets' are real words.
  • 'By my green candle!' is a common saying?
  • You can kill people by them being turned into paper cutouts of themselves, then just ripping them up.
  • Or you can just threat to sharpen your teeth in their calves.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rock's Winning Workout Without Weights (1990)

Some tanned out Californian misfits attempt to conduct a workout tape, that strangely enough when considering the title, doesn't contain any weights. (Imdb rating N/A)

Rock's Winning Workout Without Weights is a workout tape sent from the level of hell where all of the schizophrenic serial killers exist. Or San Francisco. Either way, it's twenty minutes of non-stop muscly insanity.

But let us meet our crew!

Rock, the somewhat pudgy leader, with his Andre the Giant tights and ultra-high pants, leads us through the exercises. It's obvious that every part of the nutrients he's ever eaten and exercise he's ever done in the last twenty years has been devoted to growing an illustrious mustache, so he delegates moving to others. He also needs several tries at saying 'triceps'.

Zar, the bearded hippy slab of sinew! From what I can gather, he's been cryogenically frozen from 67' Frisco to specially appear in this video. Rock seems quite fond of him, except for the ten or so times that Rock has to correct him on how to do any basic exercise movement. Regardless, he's described as having "calves as his strength" and being "the great triathlete of the decade". The video ends with him lounging in a kiddies pool of what I can only guess is baby oil, before I assume Rock straddles him after the video fades out.

Dorral Silverthorn continues the run of having a stupid name. He's at least 130, regardless of the helpful text under his name saying he's 83, and he just shakes constantly. He convulses so much that Zar could place a bowl filled with vegetable juice and pot in his arms and he'd get a nutritious weedshake in eight seconds. He interrupts the video to throw his Christianity around, informing us that getting fit with this tape will "heal thy outlook on the Eternal Death". In a closeup, he warns that the Government is a two-faced hypocrite. 'Booze is a loser, and a loser is a boozer'. Strong words, but they are couched in old-man long winded bullshit, so no one cares.

What in the blue hell does 'In death, be happy like a child a few days before Christmas' mean, you old fuck?

Zaddy and Rick (or something) are the two goons that do the exercises that actually involve something even remotely hard. I give them kudos for at least being muscular, but I subtract the kudos plus five for Zaddy, who struggles to do fifty dips, but then blames the completely rusted bars for his near failure. Zar has a vertical jump that nearly enables him to headbutt the ceiling, and he tries several times! Stop whining! Rick(?) is just some punk from Portland, who uses his screen time to vacuum up any remaining non-interest, but he's otherwise a non-entity.

You know the worst thing about
Rock's Winning Workout Without Weights is, if you ignore all the bullshit, there's actually a reasonable starter workout tape hidden deep within. If you do this every day, it might work. But God help the person that would willingly watch this every day.

Things I learnt:
  • Your face during military presses should be similar to your face during orgasm
  • Sometimes it's nice to spice up any workout tape with RANDOM LION SHOT!
  • A hippy will always beat a gym junky in a footrace.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jack Ketchum's the Girl Next Door (2007)

Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, The Girl Next Door follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt...and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime. (Imdb rating 6.9)

The title of this blog 'The Sick, the Strange and the Awful' is somewhat of a misnomer. In reality, the percentages aren't equal; the 'Awful' is a full 70% of the blog's content, 'Strange' is 25%, and 'Sick' is only about 5%. Even then, the 'sick' usually has no effect on me. Hey, it's only a movie!

I'll come right out and say it; I could only watch the first hour of The Girl Next Door, fast forwarding through the rest. I think I'm jaded more than most, I've seen quite a few disturbing movies in my time, but nothing hit me quite as hard as this did. This is a foul, foul movie.

I can hear some pseudo-gorehounds and other people intrigued by just how repulsive and vicious I'm making this movie sound. It is all of that, but somehow, it only has an R rating in America, the same as the Hangover, which is staggering. I think what makes it truly heinous is the lack of distance between what is happening on screen and what could happen in real life. As it should, because it *did* happen in real life, in Indiana in the 60s.

The real events are almost worse than the movie (real life was far more drawn out, but missing some of the more shocking parts of the movie). I'm glad I didn't know it was real beforehand, it would have only made the hit harder. The subtle way the film introduces the later appalling behaviour is also extremely effective. There are just little things at the start, the aunt flippantly giving the neighborhood kids beer, one of her sons killing earthworms by dumping them on an anthill etc, but they snowball quickly.

I'm being nice by not showing you anything

I'm still making some of you want to watch The Girl Next Door, and some of you will. Just heed my warning, that this movie isn't for any but the hardiest souls. The Girl Next Door is easily the hardest movie I've ever had to watch. I think I'll calm myself down by watching Cannibal Holocaust or Muzan E.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Cabinet of Dr Calligari (1920)

A man named Francis relates a story about his best friend Alan and his fiancée Jane. Alan takes him to a fair where they meet Dr. Caligari, who exhibits a somnambulist, Cesare, that can predict the future. When Alan asks how long he has to live, Cesare says he has until dawn. The prophecy comes to pass, as Alan is murdered, and Cesare is a prime suspect. (Imdb rating 8.0)

Ok, ok, I may be just a little out of my depth here. Having seen a grand total of two silent films before The Cabinet of Dr Caligari doesn't exactly make me such an expert of the nuances of 1910's/20's film. But Cabinet is weird, and I know weird movies.

Just to get it out of the way for all of the younger folks that didn't grow up with silent films (aka everyone), yes, there are substantial differences between films now and then. Obviously, there is zero sound outside of the musical score, characters don't say a whole lot, and when they do and it is important, there are title cards of what was said. There are other interesting techniques as well, such as different screen tints for different times of the day/lighting, and the always hilarious overacting, because actors felt that their lack of words was hampering them in telling the story. Just think Calculon from Futurama.

But that shouldn't disguise just how groundbreaking Cabinet was. I mean, it was probably the first film to ever have a flashback framing device, and most likely the first proper horror movie. Still, what makes Cabinet so strange is that the movie sets themselves. I can't say I've seen anything like it before. The whole set is made of paper and cardboard, but seems to have a life of its own, to be able to leer over characters, and it creates a sense of unease throughout the film. Buildings that go at 45° angles, trees that lean in, it's like space itself is warped and distorted.

Are those houses or the ends of ships?

While I wouldn't go as far to say that Cabinet was scary, there were moments when I watched intently, such as the first appearance of 'the Somnambulist'. The story was engaging, the run time was brisk (a notorious problem for silent films I find is that they are way too long) and the ending was really good, and could be considered another first as well.

Overall, this is the perfect movie to start with for your first silent. It will keep you long enough to finish anyways.

Things I learnt:
  • There was film studio pressure even in 1920.
  • Tim Burton has pretty much stolen everything from this movie for all of his.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mr Nanny (1993)

A friend persuades the former wrestling star Sean to do a job as bodyguard for the two kids of top manager Frank Mason - someone is threatening him to get the plans for a secret micro chip. But when Sean arrives at his house it turns out that he'll not only have to bodyguard the spoiled brats, but also be their nanny, since they again scared away their former one. From then on he's occupied more protecting himself from the kids than them from the villain. (Imdb rating 3.1)

"Oh no!" you cry, not another terrible vehicle from the world's most famous wrestler, Hulk 'Hollywood' Hogan. And Mr Nanny is probably the most well known of any of his movies, as it has the exact shape of a midday matinee for both television and movie theatres.

Unfortunately, while Mr Nanny was alright, it was no Suburban Commando and certainly no No Holds Barred. I should have sensed something when the first few minutes see Hulk having a nightmare about being beaten up by wrestlers Kamala, Afa, Jim Neidhart, and of course, longtime Hogan leech Brutus Beefcake. And there is *that* scene, the one everyone knows from this movie, Hulk in a tutu! Hilarity!

I guess this is pretty funny?

One thing I will say, is that the other people around Hulk are awesome. Seeing George Jefferson abuse people again is always great, and whoever casted David Johansen deserves more credit. This is a guy who basically invented punk, then re-emerged as a cheesy lounge singer to mainstream success. And now he is the villain in a child's movie, with a metal cap on his head no less?

Unfortunately, Hulk sort of lets us down. I'm a big fan of slapstick humour, but it just wasn't funny seeing all the punishment Hulk got at the start at the hands of the kids. And the kids were weird as well. When Hulk was finally going to give them the punishment their dad should have long ago, they got excited. Too excited. The kids were basically masochists.

There were some nice touches, like Jefferson pulling a three foot long lead pipe out of his pants somehow to give to the kid to beat up bullies with, and Johansen's henchman being a Arnie-sounding clone called 'Wolfgang'. But the movie kind of left me cold. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it... I just kind of nothing'd it. I'd go to the previously mentioned Hulk vehicles before I went with Mr Nanny.

Things I learnt:
  • The best way to eat baked beans is "Out of the can, into the man!"
  • Hulk Hogan can destroy exercise equipment with ease by simply overworking it.
  • No one thinks it is strange when a ten year old calls someone a 'tough mother'.
  • 'Badacious' is a word?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Gingerdead Man (2005)

An evil yet adorable Gingerbread man comes to life with the soul of a convicted killer - this real life cookie monster wreaks havoc on the girl who sent the killer to the electric chair. (Imdb rating 3.3)

Gary Busey is a living, walking collection of crazy. Over the last twenty years, I think he's personally gone out his way to attach his name to every single piece of released lunacy he possibly could. Even on the rare occasion he's not a complete fruitcake on screen (Predator 2?), you can see something lurking below the enormous teeth and messy white hair, a sense of some shoddy wiring and screws loose in that brain of his. Here, he's the titular character, a killer gingerbread man. He's so unglued normally that when we see him at the start of the movie, the fact that he needed no changes from his everyday appearance to look like a serial killer and he says "something in here smells feminine!" doesn't make me bat an eyelid.

And who comes up with the concept of a killer gingerbread man? That's hands down one of the dumbest villain ideas I've ever heard of. After coming to life, the Gingerdead Man (it repulses me to even say that) seems more intent on arguing with rats and delivering half-baked puns (ha!) then killing people. Even when he does decide to attack, he'd much rather booby trap building exits and run you over with your own car.

But the puns, by God, they are awful. The villain spouts them constantly after dispatching victims, but the other characters are worse. One character calls him the "Killsberry Doughboy", then suggests they take him on Letterman because "how much dough can you make from a talking cookie?" He then laughs at his joke, as every single person watching this movie groans in disgust.

That 'joke' did flip my insanity rating closer to the sacred level of 'Gary Busey'.

Even moving away from the killer cookie concept (hard, I know), the rest of the movie is just as terrible. We get random gun violence against banners, plastic revolvers that can shoot twenty bullets before reloading and the world's most tame catfight ever. It was like watching two blind guys grope each other in slow motion. The composer even feels the need to occasionally let us know that a pun was had by putting in a "BM CHK!"-esque musical cue afterwards. What was just said means two things at once, which is funny, I get it.

I've blasted this movie pretty much this whole review, but it was amusing and made me laugh at times. It's also ridiculously short, clocking in at 60 minutes (with 10 minutes of credits!). It's a piece of lightweight fluff, something that is designed to draw you in based on the inane title/Busey combo, make a few doughy puns, and leave. It can't rightly judge it too harshly based on that.

Things I learnt:
  • There's a beauty contest called "Ms Pretty Face of Waco".
  • Visions of killer gingerbread men are a common occurrence when drunk.
  • Bakeries and chain restaurants are in direct competition with each other.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chinese Torture Chamber Story (1994)

A woman is accused of the murder of her husband. In order to extract a confession the court subjects her to a series of violent methods of torture. Most of the story is told in flash backs, recounting how the story leads to the ultimate gory death of her poor husband. (Imdb rating 6.2)

The Chinese/Cantonese produced a lot of insane shit in the 90's. The pseudo-genre "Cat III", named after a rating for films in Hong Kong, was in full swing, and the focus was on creating gory, disturbing and erotic stories, and unleashing them on the public.

Chinese Torture Chamber Story is one such... story. You know you are in for a rough ride when the opening five minutes are just people getting tortured in excruciating ways, like getting your penis chopped off (obvious) and getting an axe wound on top of your head and having boiling milk poured in it (not so obvious). The start and end of the movie are littered with broken fingers, ripped out nails, lashings and the like. It's not too shocking for a jaded viewer though.

But then around the middle of the film, the main female character has to marry a man with a huge penis. And I mean huge, we see him roll up his pant legs to urinate! Then characters see a couple flying through the forest having a heated sword fight. Suddenly, their clothes fly off and they are having sex in mid air, each trying to 'win' by pleasuring the other one more. Then the main bad guy takes a potion to make him invisible so he can rape the married girl, and just as he is about to 'enter' her, her husband slips his head in the way and gets a mouthful of semen for his trouble. So basically, it gets hilarious for the middle of the movie.

My mustache and I will win this flying orgasming contest!

The story itself isn't bad, the pacing of the movie is just unique. Harsh at the start, laughs in the middle, and harsh at the end. I enjoyed this movie. It may be a little heavy going for newbies to exploitation films, but it mixes funny and violent well. It does make me question once again just how crazy the Asian film makers are, no other countries in the world produce more completely random movies then China/HK/Japan. And I love them for it.

Things I learnt:
  • Little Cabbage is the best name ever.
  • "My little dickie" should never be a nickname for your male lover.
  • Breast can be made larger by heating up herbs in a bowl and placing them over the breast. The larger the bowl, the larger the breasts.
  • Back in the ol' days, blow up dolls were made from canvas and straw.
  • Appealing to a higher court in China means rolling on a bed of nails naked.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Los Campeones Justicieros (1971)

Six luchadores (Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, El Medico Asesino, La Sombra Vengadora, Tinieblas and Black Shadow) face off against a mad scientist and his army of powerful wrestling midgets. (Imdb rating 5.1)

Hey, hey, slow down buddy, that plot is way too complicated. I have a more easy-to-follow mathematical formula that sums up this movie more succinctly:

"Super strong midgets + constantly rolling masked Mexican wrestlers = Los Campeones Justicieros."

The context of this movie is important to note. Wrestling in Mexico was never bigger then in the early 70s, with Los Campeones Justicieros and tens of other low budget useless wrestling movies released. Their masks are also important, as being de-masked in the ring was literally a career changing event. Hell, most of the time, no one knew who was even under them. It was a big deal.

But really, my formula should be explained further. The midgets are the confusing parts, especially when they look like this:

I guess the 'M' is for... midget?

Some scientist guy makes them 10x stronger with a machine, which leads to hilarious scenes of masked midgets slapping the shit out of Mexico's top six wrestlers. Even better, for absolutely no reason at all, the super power would stop working mid-fight, and the midgets would get destroyed. And it happened *twice*, even after the trial of 'power bracelets'. At least they realise their major weakness, with their leader stating "We are just useless midgets."

Next, a good comparison to make at just how much rolling the luchadores do, is to say they do it as much as Power Rangers do flips. It seems they can't block an incoming punch, do a pose, or eat an orange without rolling at least thirty five times, and ending with a tumble for good measure. The fighting scenes as a whole are bad; between the five wrestlers and the ten or so midgets, they know a combined of two moves, a weak slap and a sloppy armdrag. And who dropkicks in a fight?!

There is some thrown-in plot about stealing the luchadores' hot god-daughters as impetus to find this evil guy, but this movies is about as basic as you can get. I wasn't bored completely, but maybe someone with a better stomach for a cheapie 70s wrestling movie would like it more.

Things I learnt:
  • Nothing is more amusing then midgets kidnapping women.
  • No, wait, midgets beating up wrestlers easily is!
  • Wrestlers know how to fly and land planes with ease.
  • Wiring a transport vehicle to blow up will *never* kill anybody of note.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fat Pizza (2003)

Fat Pizza the Film is yet another slice of life at a dodgy suburban Sydney take away. Bobo Gigliotti the psychotic pizzeria owner/pizza chef is awaiting the arrival of his mail-order refugee bride Lin Chow Bang, and a new pizza deliverer is on the block. (Imdb rating 5.5)

Maybe it's me, but extremely lowbrow movies and television shows are always funny. I don't mean unwatchable shows like Two and a Half Men or The Big Bang Theory which pretend to be 'clever'. I'm more talking about Married with Children. You know exactly what will happen, Al will finally get something going his way and it will evaporate due to sheer bad luck, Peg will beg Al for sex and not cook anything, Kelly will say something dumb, and Bud will sleaze onto girls and fail miserably, running back to his blowup doll. It's so completely cliched and lowest common denominator, it's hilarious.

Married with Children is a good American comparison to Fat Pizza, which could be the most Australian movie ever. Fat Pizza is the continuation of a low budget TV show that *everyone* in Australia watched for a few years of the early 00's, it follows Paulie, a delivery boy for a crappy pizza shop, and a man of so called "Choco" power, the power of street smarts and Mediterranean-ness. We follow him, as he beats up disabled people that locked him in a disabled toilet, accidentally siphons sewage, and kills the last of some kind of ferret because he was trying to look up a woman's skirt.

His co-workers are just as bad. Davo Dinkum, played by Channel V presenter Jabba, is the new guy, and a huge drug head. Sleek is quite possibly the world's worst rap (yes, worse then Shaq), but somehow scores a tonne of women. Rocky is the "Lebanese Rambo", and while he has sex with women in his car, his constantly horny cousin Habib tapes it and puts it on the Internet.

But I must mention their boss Bobo, the most frightening boss ever conceived. He rings up and yells at people when they are one minute late, tells employees to shut up and slaps their head when they ask almost any question, kills cockroaches and kneads the remains into the pizza dough, chops up mice with his knife, charges one dollar per square of toilet paper in his shop, and kills a guy for spending more then two minutes in the toilet. Oh, and he fights off complaints about his food or anything else with his chainsaw.

I'm sure we've all had a boss like this.

The amount of random cameos from Australian personalities in Fat Pizza is mind boggling. Eliot Gould, Kamahl, Jeff & Mario Fenech, Jabba, Angry Anderson, Tim Ferguson, Vulcan, Red Symonds, and best of all, Merv Hughes (as Ivan Milat!) all stroll in and out.

Of course, we have the usual amount of dumb shit, like Paulie fighting off 50 Greek Ronald McDonalds, and a gay guy, an old man, and two guys in a koala and sperm suit respectively. Sleek getting raped by three fat chicks. Davo blowing up a drug shed by smoking in it and running over cyclists in a video game ecstasy fueled drive. Habib and Rocky getting 'dutch ovened' by a prostitute in a closet. Paulie having a blow-up dolls as an airbag, and having sex with a pierced girl and ending up being conjoined at *ahem* sensitive areas.

Really, there is so much good stuff happening at any one time, the movie never gets boring or anything less than entertaining. I'd say more then any other movie, this is a definite 'leave your brain at the door', but no mistake, if you want a stupid movie about wogs, chicks, cars and drugs, this is it.

Things I learnt:
  • Gandhi was originally a showboating boxer.
  • White people are the opposite of 'Choco', they are "Anglecised".
  • People that are attracted to both sexes are 'bothasexuals'.
  • If you wake up on your wedding morning with a boner, it's perfectly alright for your mother to slap it back down.
  • Midgets can be hard to combat in swarms.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Street Fighter (1994)

Based on the popular video game, "Street Fighter II", dictator M. Bison holds Allied Nation relief workers for ransom. Colonel William F. Guile leads his troops into battle against him. Chun-Li, Balrog and E. Honda are a news crew seeking revenge on Sagat. and his lackey, Vega. Ryu and Ken are two low-rent shysters who get caught in the middle between sides. Zangief and Dee Jay kiss up to Bison, who holds Dr. Dhalsim hostage to create Blanka, a genetic warrior. Cammy and T. Hawk second Guile. (Imdb rating 3.3)

I'm sure most people are aware of what could possibly be another one of my 'axioms of a truly bad movie', that is, if it's either based completely around a video game, or heavily features any type of gaming, it will be really terrible. It's impossible to even conceive that one day a 'video game motion picture' will be seen at the same level as anything by Lynch or Kubrick.

Still, I'll admit it; Street Fighter is probably the best we are going to get. There is a lot of nonsense involved in the translation from game to movie. Have a gander at the synopsis description above. I personally chose it to show just how much of a clusterfuck Street Fighter is. In an effort to cram every character from the Street Fighter II game, we have ridiculous changes. Chun Li is a reporter/ninja? Balrog a sound technician? E. Honda a fat Hawaiian guy? Jean Claude Van Damme playing All American Army Colonel Guile? Christ, even Dhalsim is now a middle aged, non-arms-and-legs-stretching scientist! (played by Roshan Seth of My Beautiful Launderette of all people, won't find too many more completely dissimilar roles anywhere else).

Don't ask about clogs, I'm full American, look at my flag!

But really, there was no other way to do it. People get angry when you mess with their beloved characters too much, or leave any out, so this was probably the best way to go. And going with the video game feel, when Bison is releasing water mines, he uses an arcade joystick and buttons to maneuver them. Cute. Raul Julian was a great fit to M. Bison as well, in what was sadly his last movie.

Lots of action, lots of fighting towards the end, lots of cheesy one liners, it is what you'd expected from this type of movie, and it's what you get. It doesn't set the world on fire, but I can't see anyone hating this movie too much. A just remember that you should listen to Zangief, so...

It doesn't look like Gorbachev is having too much fun.

Things I learnt:
  • Old ladies love caged death fighting.
  • "What's that? Son of a .... it's GAS!"
  • Prison guards always go on loudly about how much they hate being prison guards.
  • Capcom used to advertise on barrel lids.
  • Sumos don't feel kendo stick strikes.
  • "We'll see how smart you are when you aren't breathing!"
  • Where was the Tiger Uppercut? The Hadouken?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Super Hell (2004)

The Devil has been kicked out of Hell and roams the Earth, causing everyone to go crazy! (Imdb rating N/A)

I'm a sad individual. Knowing just how bad movies from the Mortuary Madness boxset are, I stupidly delved once more into the abyss of shoddy amateur horror movies that are contained therein.

At least Super Hell was somewhat entertaining, the first half hour especially. And it had someone in it I've heard of! And it's sadly Robert Z'Dar, owner of the world's largest jaw, and mostly known for being a silent masked killer in Maniac Cop. He is amusing though, he randomly plays the piano a lot (and well at that), and gives terribly spoken monologues to an entirely invisible crowd (having a random guy off screen yell out 'Yeah' every thirty seconds and canned applause isn't fooling me, sorry).

Clap along with me, children, don't be scared!

As I expected, there is lots of goofy shit happening, lots of badly costumed characters running around acting like retards, guys having hot sex with hockey arcade machines, Italians/Samoans tellingsexual stories with f-bombs (there is *a lot* of swearing in this movie), children getting slapped, aliens and coffins made of cardboard boxes, killer clowns, zombies air guitaring, devils chasing and scaring ducks (twice!), and a hilarious cross-dresser trying to imitate a girl's voice, but sounding more like the Pimply Teenager from The Simpsons.

Of course the acting, camera work, special effects, editing and everything else is deplorable to the extreme. I must give a special mention to the sound, which it goes without saying is a fuzzy, soupy mess, but I confused as to who in their right mind would put a pig squeal metal band in their movie? I've watched quite a few Z-Grade movies now, and I think I have my two first axioms of a truly bad movie, which are:
  • An excruciatingly bad band gets either a lot of screen time, or does a majority of the soundtrack, or both.
  • The editor or another integral crew member either only has one name, or an obviously fake name, or both. (In this case, Scardavis?)
I'm also considering the whole "Magicians randomly inserted to do magic tricks for no reason, other then it's cool/wastes time", but I've only seen that a couple of times, so I'll wait before it'll be etched in stone.

I guess my main gripe with Super Hell is that there is so much completely useless things crammed into this movie, that by the half way mark, nothing this movie can throw at you will be at all shocking or unexpected. A demon struggles to do a shit in a toilet? Meh. A guy in a chicken suit is killed? Oh well. A women births a live iguana, before a guy machete's it? Fine. A nude overweight goth chick masturbates herself with a knife while one of the original police officers from Plan 9 From Outer Space looks on in utter enjoyment? Whatever.

Actually, I've made this movie sound really good, I want to watch it again, or at least, sigh, it's sequel.

Things I learnt:
  • Dead devil clowns awake when you put on a red nose and squeeze it.
  • "There is a Super Hell? What, Hollywood?"
  • Giant African drums are an integral part of a pig squeal band.
  • Negative shots are a good way of hiding awful special effects.
  • Having a title card saying "Censored due to extreme graphic content" rather then showing a killing is both amusing and infuriating.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vase de Noces (1974)

A mad farmer falls in love with his pig and has mutant piglets with it. When the "piglets" prefer their mother over him, he hangs them all and the sow kills herself. Then he does the same (Imdb rating 5.5)

That's the entire movie, that's it. And it is just as screwed up as it sounds, if not moreso. I mean, the English title for Vase de Noces is.... the Pig Fucking Movie. It's something that could only be made in Europe (or Japan).

I will have to clarify a few things about Vase de Noces; it most definitely resides under the bold heading of 'arthouse'. It's shot in black and white, has zero lines of dialogue, and contains a very loose storyline. I highly doubt it was made for the express purpose of entertainment, and as such, I can't really yell at it too much.

There are many other positives I can attribute to Vase de Noces, such as the expert cinematography, shot selection and the like. The naturalistic sound effects needed to be good, and are, lots of interesting animal calls and squealching noises, whilst the soundtrack is a mix of choral, almost dystopian sounding synths and weird avent-garde keyboarding which work well with the film. The director Theirry Zeno was obviously well skilled in the art of film making. The lead and only actor wasn't bad either.

But I'm skipping around the facts; Vase de Noces is deathly boring for someone with a low attention span like myself. I'll respect it, but I sure as hell am not going to like it. And then there is the pig-loving...

It's gonna be literally squealing like a pig, as it were.

The sex scenes are grossly overstated in the title, as there is only one or maybe two scenes of man-pig love, and they are mainly thrusting from behind, so you can't see anything. And he's in love with the pig, so I guess that makes it more appropriate? It'd be less concerned with the sex, and more concerned with the live pig births, the hanging of the piglets from trees, the beheading of chickens, turkeys having sex, and the man fingering and eating his own shit. It's all fantastic stuff, really...

I can't really say much more, if you are an intellectual who stares at paintings for hours whilst stroking your beard and drinking plum-based alcoholic drinks, you'd probably enjoy this piece of cinema more then I did. I'm just a guy who reviews shitty movies.

(It's interesting to note that this film is banned in my hometown after police raided a film festival showing of it in 1975. I guess I can be expecting the same any minute.)

Things I learnt:

  • Wheel n' Stick and kites are hours of amusement for mentally challenged individuals.
  • Don't waste chicken heads; put them in a jar with leaves and store them in a weird menagerie.
  • You can train a pig to go to the toilet the same time as you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Attack Girls Swim Team vs the Unliving Dead (2007)

The story revolves around a virus of sorts that is turning all the non-swimmers at the school into zombies. Some talkative, some not. Throw in a mysterious new girl and a back-story with her and some mad doctor. (Imdb rating 4.4)

Japan has come out with the the most bat-shit insane movies of the last 20 years. And it's my duty to pick the best sounding ones, and Attack Girls Swim Team vs the Unliving Dead fits the bill.

I'd first like to mention that this movie is two thirds main storyline, one third random sex scenes that show off the sizable.. talents of main character Aka. As since it is Japan, that means a lot of panty shots, shower scenes, lesbian lovers that have known each other a few hours, and of course, female masturbation brought about helplessly by a guy in a red suit playing a flute. I still don't know what that last one means.

You may ask why I referred to the softcore porn scenes before the rest of the movie? Because the rest of the movie honestly feels slightly tacked on, just to get Aka naked. I mean, she shoots some kind of laser out of her vagina!

Here it is!

The rest of the movie is fine, just a overly gory pseudo-zombie movie (that's a good thing). The swim team themselves bar Aka prove themselves useless at fighting, and that only fuels the carnage of later on in the movie. There's some stupid storyline about testing new killer viruses on the school kids and teachers and Aka being a former 'Water Terrorist' (?), but they are lackluster, and are mainly there so Aka can do pushups in a bra. It is short in runtime, which is always a plus in a gore movie.

A few other points need to be addressed. This is clearly a product of both low budget and the MTV Generation, with the soundtrack an awful mix modern hardcore and cheesy video game music, to go with the choppy fast editing. I swear in one shot, they showed someone surprised with a zoomed close up in slow motion four times in a row! Film student in me, I know, but still.

And I can't say I've seen a worse translation job done on any other movie I've ever seen. It's like the guys Nintendo hired to translate games in the 80's are back.

A Winner Is You!

Overall, a goofy diversion that won't win any prizes, but is still watchable. Just mind the constant nudity.

Things I learnt:
  • When you see a new girl standing in front of a pool with clothes on, push her in first, ask questions later.
  • It'll be a great day when Japanese people master the use of l's in "I rike you".
  • Sometimes it's better just to hire a carnival guy who can juggle and breathe fire, and work it into the script somehow.
  • Low blows don't work when the recipient has a killer virus.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Driller Killer (1979)

An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill (Imdb rating 4.9)

This is the film that basically started the 'Video Nasties' list of mid 80's UK, a list of films apparently so depraved that they were outright banned in the UK. It is also terminally boring in the worst way. I bought this for $2, way too much to pay for the mess that is Driller Killer.

I wouldn't be surprised if every person involved in the making of Driller Killer, from the actors, to the crew, to the editor, were all completely high when they 'crafted' this movie. It's one of those things, where high people think they are making works of art when they are stoned, but in reality it's just a lot of screaming and random noises without merit. How else could I explain why a full third of this movie is hijacked by an awful punk band's 'performances', a lots of aimless guitar chords and nasally scream vocals (and not the good, Ramones kind). The regular scenes aren't any better, a mess of lengthy diatribes and the main character menacing bums with a drill to the face.

I had this expression throughout the entire movie

It tries so hard to be artistic, but it just isn't. It's a shame, because director Abel Ferrera obviously has film making talent, later on directing much bigger budget and more well known movies. I guess the movie nails down the griminess of New York well, it is technically fine in a cinematography sense, and Ferrera himself plays the asshole artist nicely (although it might not have been much of a stretch).

But the positives are irrelevant. The pace of Driller Killer is excruciating. It felt like an eternity watching it. I almost reached the stage of comatose several times, and I don't wish this movie upon anyone. Maybe if you have more of an inclination towards arthouse movies, and have a longer attention span than I, you might be able to glimmer something out of this mess.

Things I learnt:
  • Making out in taxis in the 70's was encouraged.
  • Abortions in the 70's cost $200
  • 'Alimony' is apparently hard to say correctly.
  • Handymen with drills are sometimes referred to as 'fixer men'.

Forbidden Zone (1982)

A mysterious door in the basement of the Hercules house leads to the Sixth Dimension by way of a gigantic set of intestine. When Frenchy slips through the door, King Fausto falls in love with her. The jealous Queen Doris takes Frenchy prisoner, and it is up to the Hercules family and friend Squeezit Henderson to rescue her. (Imdb rating 6.9)

I can already say, without any hesitation, that Forbidden Zone is the most bizarrely surreal movie you will ever see. I don't think it's entirely possible to accurately describe exactly what is going on.

Midget kings? Sixty year old schoolboys with Brooklyn accents and helicopter hats? Jewish wrestling grandpas with long beards and a lust for dry humping fat chicks eating bananas? Male transsexuals with Mickey Mouse Ears playing some weird board instrument? His/her brother, with his constant chicken arm flapping and bird noises getting liqueur poured on his face by his mother? I mean, what the hell is going on below?


It sounds weird, but even though I've seen Forbidden Zone a few times, I actually felt body-stoned watching it. I couldn't move. It's phenomenology in action; a movie physically affecting me in a tangible way. There is just so much going on at any one time, the short run time of around 72 minutes testament to that.

But is it actually any good?

The good news is, if you can stand weird randomness, and even better, revel in it, you will like Forbidden Zone. Bad news is, even if you like this type of thing, there is no guarantee you'll be able to stand it. Through trial and error, watching with different people, I can see the love towards this movie varies greatly. I love it, others don't; it's one of the more polarising films around.

I've neglected to mention so far that Forbidden Zone is also a musical. And the music is very, very good. Does the name Danny Elfman ring a bell? Yes, the composer of the Simpsons theme and all the faux-goth Richard Burton movie soundtracks. He, along with brother and director Richard Elfman formed New Wave act Oingo Boingo, and they together scored this movie, an eccentric mix of vaudeville, keyboards, blues and jazz.

Fine, this movie is not for everyone, but if you love it for it's awful slapstick, brilliant score, over the top acting and copious nudity like I do, you'll understand the fuss. Still, I never want to be confronted by something as terrifying as...

Definitely staying quiet now

Things I learnt:
  • Never go into a giant mouth in your basement.
  • Dancing around boxing scat singers will get you arrested by a frog.
  • Princesses are nude constantly.
  • The Devil will give you what you want for a pretty girl and your detached head.

Secret Agent Club (1996)

To the world Ray Chase is nothing more than a klutzy, overgrown toy seller whose wife passed away a few years ago; and his only son Jeremy doesn't get to see him very often, because he's always away on "business trips." What no one knows-not even Jeremy-is that his dad is a secret agent who flies all around the world, completing highly classified missions for a top-secret peacekeeping agency. One day, Ray returns from a mission, bringing with him a high-powered laser gun he stole from a treacherous female foreign guns dealer. The nasty henchmen get Ray, but Jeremy escapes with the wanted firearm. After he learns how to use the laser gun, Jeremy gathers his friends, and together they hatch a clever plan to rescue Ray (Imdb rating 2.9)

God help me, another Hulk Hogan vehicle. And a children's movie at that, the man was in rare form in the 90s, to be sure.

Still, you can almost judge this type of movie by the actors, and how awesome they are in other movies or shows. Look, it's the asshole public lawyer from Law and Order: SVU, but he's a sleazy magician! Over there, the Asian restaurant waiter guy from that classic Seinfeld episode, but he's a spy! Behold, a cameo by none other than Brian Knobbs of wrestling Nasty Boys fame (and a close friend of Hogans)! Whoah, it's Jack fucking Nance, from Eraserhead/Twin Peaks/Blue Velvet/every single Lynch project! And he's a mad scientist!

Which makes it funny, with all of these other awesome people, that Hulk Hogan is only in this movie for at most thirty minutes. He spends the rest of it comatose being tortured by his son yelling at him. I was confused about his lack of screen time, but I then realised that he was probably too busy fighting Ric Flair and Macho Man Randy Savage. He's also left most of his 'brothers' in WCW, preferring at least in Secret Agent Club to stick with adding 'son' to every single sentence he whispers at his son.

I look ridiculous without a mustache, son!

There is some reasonable action in this, even though at points it reaches 'Commando Syndrome' (millions of bullets fired with no one getting hit), and being a kids movie, there are lots of moments where they outsmart everyone. Speaking of the kids, they couldn't be more cliched if they try. There's Hogan's son, a fat kid that everyone ignores, a girl that wants to be independent, and best of all, two walking cliches in the Asian and black kids. I mean, the Japanese kid speaks Japanese and beats up adults with kung fu, while the black kid's dad seems to be the leader of a gang. Unfortunately though, The Secret Agent Club didn't popularise the concept of the black hacker, as funny a concept as that is.

Like every other movie Hulk Hogan stars in, it's passable without being overly memorable, worth watching if you are bored or want something completely braindead, or maybe if you want to plonk your/someone else's kids in front of something that you might enjoy too.

Things I learnt:
  • Looking through red wine can help you spot security lasers
  • Turbans = escape ropes
  • Having an iron foot slows down villainry significantly
  • No Way!............. Waaayy.
  • There is a toy called 'Smell My Gak'
  • Japanese people yell 'BANZAI!' a lot.
  • A solid face push will always combat a child's kung fu.