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.