Lawdy miss Clawdy,I'm whacked outta my fuckin' gourd over here tonight.Maintaining the rock n' roll lifestyle sure can be tiresome,my beloveds.I've been on and off benders the past few months,and still manage to churn out reviews,write a screenplay,and put the finishing touches on the underground comedy cd.I'm channelling the Masters at the moment.Speaking of masters,H.P. Lovecraft has always been one of my favorite writers,and when he wrote "The Dunwich Horror" as a short story in 1928,I'm sure he exclaimed,"Oh,if only I could survive another 42 years,so that I may see a low budget production by AIP that not only bears little resemblance to the story itself,but signs on an early sixties ingenue like Sandra Dee in the twilight of her film career to partially strip on camera,zooted on roofies,but by then,nobody's gonna wanna see her even partially naked.Man,I wish I could live long enough to see THAT!"Well,it's safe to say he probably never said that,but I may have once or twice,in whole or part,to myself and/or others.Though this particular piece of celluloid isn't much to look at,if you're expecting a faithful adaption from the likes of Samuel Z. Arkoff and Roger Corman,simply harken back to The Raven(1963)for a premonition of things to come.With that outta the way,I have to express my appreciation for all things Stockwell,and his performance here is aptly creepy and outrageous,as always.Add a strong supporting cast that includes Ed Begley Sr.,and Talia "Rocky" Coppola(later Shire),a great soundtrack by Les Baxter,and an inventive title sequence,and you may just look past some of the budgetary shortcomings and enjoy this one,afterall. The citizens of Dunwich were always a bit leery of the Devil's Matte Painting. At Miskatonic University,in Arkham,Massachussetts,Dr.Armitage(Begley,Sr)has just finished a lecture on the ultra-rare copy of the Necronomicon he has before him.He gives the priceless tome to his student,Gidg...err,Nancy(Sandra Dee) to return to the college library for safe-keeping.He doesn't warn her about groovy guys with caucasian afros,porn 'staches,dual pinky rings,OR flamboyant eyebrows,leaving her succeptible to the penetrating stare of Wilbur Whately(Stockwell),who has been searching for this book for some time.Armitage is somewhat of a local historian,fully aware of the Whately family shenanigans,so he cuts Wilbur's Necronomicon time paifully short.This doesn't stop Wilbur from hitching a ride home with the young girl,disabling her car,drugging her tea,then influencing her to spend the weekend with powerful eyebrow-based hypnotic suggestion,the likes the cinema world hadn't seen since Fuad Ramses layed the forehead-caterpillars on Trudy Sanders some seven years earlier in Blood Feast.Whately may not lip synch "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison here,but that doesn't mean he's not up to something.Armitage and one of Nancy's school chums drive out to the Whately place to convince her there's demonology afoot,but she turns them away with her best Patricia Hearst impersonation. "...what seemed to be a rudimentary eye; whilst in lieu of a tail there depended a kind of trunk or feeler with purple annular markings, and with many evidences of being an undeveloped mouth or throat."I don't know about you,but all I see is a woofin' pair of eyebrows. Investigating further,the two discover that Wilbur's mother is still alive,and healthily bouncing to and fro in a rubber room at the squirrel farm.It seems Wilbur was the survivor of a pair of twins,but the doctor never got a look at the other "child",whose birth was so traumatic for Wilbur's mother,it sent her into a state of perma-crackers.After goading from the locals,Nancy's classmate sneaks into the Whately estate,and uwittingly gets herself murdered by an undescribable mass of tentacles and such,freeing it to go on a kill-crazy rampage through Dunwich in the process.Old Whately eats fatal step plummet-death,and the townsfolk balk at Wilbur's pagan ritual and disallow the young man from burying his father in the local cemetery.As the shapeless creature continues on its murderous path,Wilbur's mother dies in the asylum,white-haired and insane,at the ripe old age of 45.Wilbur takes Nancy to an impressive stone altar on a matte painting/soundstage,where he plans to use her as a sacrifice to bring back the "Old Ones",specifically,Yog Sothoth,his actual birth father,probably looking for some long overdue child support.Armitage shows up as weird psychedelic clouds of smoke from another dimension envelop the half-dressed,drugged out college student,and has a Necronomicon jibberish-off with Wilbur,after which lightning strikes the would be sorcerer,sending his flaming body into the sea below.As Armitage and the nurse help Nancy from the altar,we see the outline of a fetus in her midsection.Apparently,Yog Sothoth likes 'em cottage cheesy around the thighs,and with a midriff bulge.To each his own... Sesame Street looked quite different to Mr. Hooper after scoring double-dipped blotters from Gordon. Though Sandra Dee would only return to the big screen twice more,and Begley,Sr. would die later the same year,Coppola(Shire) and Stockwell have gone on to successful film and television careers afterwards.Peter Fonda turned down Stockwell's role,while Keir Dullea,David Carradine,and Carol Lynley all were namedropped in pre-production as possible leads for the film.Released on an MGM double bill dvd with "Die,Monster,Die!",and earlier alone as part of its "Midnight Movies" series,this entry finds its way into my dvd player ever once in awhile,since I've gotten over my Lovecraftian elitism of days gone by.Standing alone,it has enough going for it to merit two B.W.s on the yellowed and cracking pages of the Wopronomicon... Look at meeee,I'm Sandra Deeeee,being raped by an undescribable entityyyyyyy..
I've seen more than a few review sites teeing off on Bob Clark's 1972 low-budget zombie opus recently.But these people are wrong.I'm not a blind defender of the late director's work,especially when it comes to fare like "Superbabies 2:Baby Geniuses"(2004) or "The Karate Dog"(2004).I've never shied from calling a spade a spade.But Children doesn't deserve the negative e-press it's been getting,either.I happen to dig Alan Ormsby's over-the-top,hideously dressed,obnoxious dickhead director character pretty highly.He's such a fucking snot,you're begging the zombies to start climbing out of their graves and eating him within the first five minutes.And the outfit he's got the balls to rock here only intensifies this vibe.The striped bellbottomed action slacks he proudly rocks might just be the John Merrick of cinematic fashion history.His ascot is also pretty gay.The makeup work and sparse gore effects are relatively effective for the budget,more often than not,and the entire production reeks of old time creepy atmosphere that so many films simply haven't got.When I first saw this late night New York cable staple,I was probably five or six years old, alone in a spacious and dark parlour,and I thought about reinforcing the big picture window in there with a coffee table and hammer and nails once or twice that night.I have no qualms stating that this movie has a deserved place in the top twenty zombie flicks of all-time,not just the seventies. Wake up,Orville,and eat him,before he says anything else... Alan(Alan Ormsby),is a pompous directorial dick-in-the-mouth,heading a nocturnal boat ride to a desolate graveyard island with his small acting troupe full of stereotypes;the fat comedian(Jeff Gillen),the macho leading man(Paul Cronin),the ball-busting yenta(Valerie Mamches),the innocent female lead(Jane Daly,the only actress who didn't share first names with their respective character),and the cosmically-fried she-kook(Alan's wife at the time,Anya).Alan has a gruesome evening of murderous historic legend,grave-robbing,and dead resurrection spells planned for his actors,which he affectionately refers to as his "children".Unbeknownst to the group,two of Alan's stable,a pair of flamboyantly gay actors in horror costume and makeup have arrived on the island a few hours earlier,subdued the caretaker,dug up a fresh corpse,and personally replaced him in the earthen grave.Six hundred thousand hammy cliches,dry jokes,and catty replies from artsy egotist Alan later,after gay Roy pops out of the coffin,Paul bloodies his nose and Jeffrey pisses his pants,but the director saves the best for last.Out of a huge chest the actors have carried to the graveyard,Alan pulls a dusty old grimoire and sorcerer's robe.He gives the men the dried blood of an infant(where does he get this shit?)to sprinkle on all the graves,so that he may raise them from their eternal slumber to do his bidding with a spell from the book.That doesn't seem to work.Val hops into the open grave and gives a spirited performance of Jewish name-calling to the Devil,meriting applause from the other actors.Never to be one-upped by a subordinate,Alan demands that the actors bring the fresh corpse,a fellow named Orville(Seth Sklarey),back to the cabin with them,to the dismay of everyone involved.As Roy and Emerson clean up at the graves,slowly,the earth begins to spit out its horrible decaying contents,which proceed to eat Emerson and the poor bastard caretaker,still gagged and tied against a tree,and bite Roy fatally,before he breaks free and limps back to the cabin to warn the others. You're never too old(or dead)for a good circle pit.Insert obligatory B-Dub age joke here. At the cabin,Alan clowns with his rotting prize,mock-marrying it with a doily on its head,and sending the spacy Anya over the top,hysterically screaming about disrespecting the dead,causing the director to angrily take his corpse upstairs and lie with it....blech.At this point,a bloodied Roy arrives at the door just ahead of a sea of ravenous zombies,forcing the troupe to barricade themselves into the cabin.Frantically searching for a solution,Alan sends Paul out a side door,only to have him eaten seconds later by a fiesty female zombie.The corpses pull Terry out the door to her death shortly afterwards when Alan discovers a passage in the spellbook to send the dead back to their graves that unfortunately requires the original corpse to be returned to its final resting place(which isn't the cot upstairs).He recites the incantation anyway,and the flesheaters seem to dissipate back into the blackness of the night.When the remaining survivors go out to investigate,they're swarmed by ghouls around the corner,engulfing Jeffrey and Val.Alan and Anya retreat back to the cabin,but the zombies break in and corner the two on the stairs.In the ultimate dick move,Alan throws the frail girl to his rotting attackers as a flesh and blood sacrifice and locks himself in his upstairs room...where Orville's finally come around.The zombie embraces the screaming director as a mob of ghouls bursts through the door.A group of the reanimated corpses make their way onto the troupe's boat as the credits roll. Paul plus Caro syrup mixture plus female ghoul equals midnight snack in the woods. Most of the actors on board here also took part in other Clark vehicles.Gillen went on to play Santa Claus in A Christmas Story(1983),Anya Ormsby and Jane Daly had roles in Deathdream(1974),Seth Sklarey was uncredited in Porky's 2:The Next Day(1983),and Alan Ormsby,after co-writing this film with Clark(and doing the makeup effects), went on to write Deranged(1974) and Deathdream.VCI released a special edition dvd in 2007,but I've done just fine with their earlier,less-choice 1999 disc all this time,thanks.There was talk of a Children remake in 2007 with Clark supervising,but the project probably went with the director to his untimely grave the same year.Let the record show that I'm a huge fan of Clark's genre entries,especially those where Ormsby was involved,and this film is no exception,always holding a special place in a dark recess of my black little heart.Give it a chance,and you may end up saying the same thing about it.It comes highly recommended. Receding,Orville? Really? You can barely notice,you being so dead,and all.
This one is dedicated to Doc,Randy,and Chris,three guys who appreciate small Japanese men smashing up miniature sets while buried in a latex monster suit as much as anyone I know."Godzilla's Revenge"(1968) is arguably the lowest low in the Toho series(though Godzilla vs. Gigan(1971) comes awfully close),and geared towards six year olds.Rival studio Daiei took their franchise kaiju,Gamera,and one-upped them,or one-downed depending on your viewpoint,a year later with today's film,which is geared towards retarded four year olds.Gamera vs. Guiron makes Godzilla's Revenge seem like Strangers on a Train,if you replaced the psycho-socialite looking to commit the perfect murder, with a bumpy cat-monster with a saggy ass,that laughs all the time and shoots electrical shocks from his fingertips.We'll examine those particular rubbery hijinks at a later date.Today,we've got a real fucking doozy to tear into.Even if you were stoned to the bejeezus belt going into this feature,you'd still think it was the epitome of childish stupidity.And for the record,I,in NO way,shape,or form,resembled Christopher Murphy,the American kid with the affinity for powdered donuts in the movie,as a kid.Well,maybe a little... "We will win your trust with those powdered donuts over there,then eat your brains." Akio and Tom(guess which one's the European),manage to glimpse a spaceship touching down in a nearby field through their trusty telescope.Akio is obsessed with finding a "star"(he's tired of planets,apparently),that unlike Earth,will have no wars or traffic accidents.He's one of the many Japanese kids who wear tiny,skin tight vasectomy shorts in these movies.Maybe Japan's space program would take his suggestion into consideration if he wasn't walking around dressed like a West Village weenie genie from the waist down.The boys venture out to find the interstellar craft,with Akio's sister Tomoko following close behind.In a field,they stumble upon the ship,which resembles a Detroit-built sedan from the 1950's,with fins all around.The inquisitive boys climb aboard,and after pressing buttons and toggling switches,it takes off into the heavens with them in it,while Tomoko,still grounded on Terra Firma,tries vainly to convince officer Cornjob(Blame the dubbers,droogies) that her brother and his friend are in space.Meanwhile,as the spacecraft whirls through the stars,on a collision course with a meteor,Gamera,the jet-powered giant turtle who's friends with all children(I felt awfully strange mouthing those words as I typed them),saves the day.He tries to catch up to the spaceship to return the boys to Earth,but the turtle's...ahem,shell-rockets are no match for the 351 V8 Cleveland under the hood of the saucer,and he eats their space dust.Luckily,they weren't racing for pink slips.Or unluckily,for us,otherwise we wouldn't be tortured by anymore assinine Gamera movies... Ron Popeel's combo Ray Gun/Dome Shaver came in handy for the brain-eating space bitches of planet Terra. Welcome to the planet,Terra,which is run entirely by computers,inhabited by two groovy alien chicks(who happen to be Japanese,odd),terrorized constantly by Space Gyaos(that'd be a regular Gyaos,with a thin coat of silver paint slapped on him),and protected by Guiron,which is basically a giant knife that crawls around on its hands and knees.Guiron slices one of these Space Gyaos to bloody pieces(cut from the AIP-TV version),then kicks Gamera's monkey ass,as we discover that the groovy chicks just wanna sup on the kids' brains,after knocking them cold by feeding them poisoned powdered donuts and milk,then shaving their heads with a brightly colored plastic combination raygun/razor.The cannibal chicks' computer-based control of the knife-monster goes awry(they must have been using Internet Explorer),and the grotesque ginsu begins destroying their city around them.That is,until Gamera springs back into action,utilizing a piece of alien architecture as a makeshift parallel bar,and breaking Guiron in half,after jamming him into the ground,nose-blade first.He then returns the mischievous boys back to Earth,spaceship-in-mouth.Tom's mother apologizes for not believing Tomoko's outrageous space story in the first place,with officer Kondo(Cornjob)hilariously proclaiming,"Remember, the next time, if you are naughty again, I'll shave your heads!" That empty threat probably would have little effect on a rascal like me. If you ever wondered what a living knife that psychokinetically shoots throwing stars from its nose and crawls around on its hands and knees might look like,Daiei proudly presents Guiron. Daiei threw all sorts of ridiculous rubbery kaiju opponents at their turtle-hero over the years;flying space sharks,giant chameleons with rainbow beams of destruction,space octopi,you name it,and it has probably crawled on its hands and knees into a cheap Japanese movie to wage war on the half-shelled defender of children.Of course,the second wave of Gamera movies,starting with "Gamera:Guardian of the Universe" in 1995,is an entirely different story,incorporating amazing special effects,and outdoing the rival Godzilla movies on occasion.Young B.W. lookalike Christopher Murphy went on to score supporting roles in films like Valley Girl(1983),and The Abyss(1989),though it remains conjecture as to whether he got paid in powdered donuts or not.It's no wonder he chooses to omit this title from his body of work at imdb,though.Despite much spit and polish from kaiju-nerds worldwide,it's still a massive,cheap,ridiculous,juvenile turd.Eat the annoying little kids,Gamera,and you'd be in for a much easier time of things. Luckily,the entire universe is guarded by a turtle...with a jet-powered shell.
From a technical standpoint,the films of the late comedian/actor Rudy Ray Moore are baaaad in the most caucasian sense of the word.Visible boom mics,obvious stunt doubles,atrocious acting,cheap,gaudy sets,horrendous wardrobes,glaring continuity errors,you name the cinematic commandment and it's been kicked up the ass by silver disco platform heels,motherfuckers.From an entertainment angle,on the other hand,nearly every frame of celluloid this bad motherfucker has had a hand in,is pure gold.Moore was never one to try and hide his shortcomings on the big screen,instead he revels in the motherfuckers,can you dig it?I triple dog dare you to sit down to any of his movies(this entry included)with the alcoholic beverage of your choice,though a forty ouncer of Coqui 900 is recommended,and NOT laugh out loud at the outrageous antics that unfold before you.You won't be able to do it.And somehow,I think,'ol Dolemite knows this,and wherever the afterlife finds him,he's probably glad of his accomplished mission.Though others may have done a more admirable,less exploitative job making black movies in the seventies,Rudy Ray IS/WAS/EVER SHALL BE the face of the Blaxploitation sub-genre. Often attacked,but never subdued,even car jackin' junkies step up to get kung fued! During several stock footage clips of what's supposed to be "that great Florida storm",Mrs. Wheatstraw gives birth to a watermelon.Then she gives birth to an eight year old kid in underwear,who proceeds to beat down the doctor for slapping him, AND his father for disturbing his womb-rest every night.Thus begins the life of Petey Wheatstraw(Rudy Ray Moore).While fighting off some kids in a dusty ghetto alley,young Petey is taken under the wing of a homeless bum/martial arts master(or,as the credits would have you believe,"marshall arts") named Bantu,who teaches the boy to hack watermelons to pieces with a Samurai katana,as well as other fruit less popular in the African-American community.After completing his training,Petey tells Bantu he'd rather skip the whole grandmaster routine and become a comedian.Cut to present day,where rival comedians,Leroy and Skillet have just borrowed a significant amount of money from Mr. White(he's caucasian,get it?) to finance a thrilling revue of blue ethnic humor coupled with disco bands and singers at a Tardis-esque joint that could hold two thousand patrons,or fifty or so,depending on who you're talking to.Their plans are disrupted by the arrival in town and concurrent comedy show plans of Wheatstraw.Both comedy acts advertise their forthcoming gigs with markered-up posterboard fliers.When Leroy's pleas for Petey to cancel his upcoming dates fall upon deaf ears,he enlists Scarface Willie,who guns down first the twelve year old brother of one of Petey's workers("This sho nuff good!",the boy is told during a front stoop watermelon snack that Willie interrupts),then the boy's entire funeral procession,Wheatstraw included,with a Thompson machine gun,in broad daylight.Scarface Willie don't fuck around. The dime store budget and shoddy directing didn't grab me,but Rudy,where you get that happenin' red satin cabbie? Luckily for Petey,the Devil himself happens to be walking by,and feeling charitable,offers Wheatstraw his life back if he agrees to marry Lu's hideous daughter and sire a grandson for him.He complies,which cues a magnificent and expensive effects seque...the Devil rewinds the film itself,giving the gunned down funeral goers their lives back.With the help of Satan's cane,Wheatstraw exacts revenge on Leroy and Skillet by forcing them to insult their opening night audience,then destroying the club with at least twenty-five dollars worth of fireworks....err,umm magical special effects.His vengeance complete,Petey uses the cane to make a fat woman skinny,to transform a family's broken down car into a luxurious sedan,to save the life of a small nappy-headed child chasing his ball into the street(he punishes the boy by combing his naps out,sending him into tear-drenched hysterics),and finally whirling around in circles while no less than seventy-five dollars in ones falls from the sky in slow-motion.Wheatstraw,not particularly excited to marry Satan's ugly daughter,injects a wino with hard drugs and then slips a latex Petey mask on him to trump the dark lord and master while the comedian and his friends skip town.When this fails,an angry Lucifer sends his hell-spawned minions,decked out in dime store capes,makeup,and theatrical leotards to capture his future son-in-law,culminating in a massive chase/kung fu fight on the top of an urban building.Finally,Ol' Scratch tricks Petey into his limousine,where,upon getting first glimpse of his wife-to-be,he screams his fool head off,as the credits roll. Scarface Willie is a despicable fuck,he shoots ten year old kids and blows up watermelon trucks. I don't know if I've ever seen so many watermelons in a movie before.Seriously.Also,look for fellow comedian Wildman(The $6,000 Dollar Nigger) Steve as the club owner. Anyway,all the usual elements are in place for a very enjoyable screening,and if you're a Moore fan or any of this sounds appealing to you,then you oughta hunt this title down and check it out.Not quite as memorable as either of the Dolemites or Disco Godfather,Wheatstraw still manages to deliver the cheap laughs,just the same.Recent genre entries like Black Dynamite owe their existence to Rudy Ray,often borrowing entire sequences directly from his low budget classics in homage.His early "party records" were often recorded at his home,with close friends doubling as the audience,thus coining the term.He stayed active in films and music up until he lost his battle with diabetes in 2008. The devil's walking stick?Petey'll flaunt it.Eight demonic bitches later,he still PUTS HIS WEIIIIIIIGHT ON IT!
Those of you who've been around here longer than a minute might remember me tackling Russell's other 70's mindfuck "Lisztomania"(1975),so it's only part of a delicate Libran balance to go after rock supergroup,The Who's "Tommy"(1975),next,no?Forget the Broadway musical,forget the 1969 stoner epic double lp parlayed into a groovy live performance at dirty hippie-fest Woodstock,the fact is you've never experienced Tommy,until you've seen it through the eye/lens of visionary kook Ken Russell.It's a feature length music video full of cult cameos that's so brilliantly demented,visually astounding,and so blatantly over-the-top that after seeing it,you may swear off blotter acid for good.Yeah,right.And I'm Meher Baba.All of the familiar anthems off the groundbreaking album were re-recorded,and in some cases drastically reworked especially for the film,both by The Who themselves and by the celebrity-laden cast which includes Eric Clapton,Tina Turner,Oliver Reed,Ann- Margret,and Jack Nicholson.I'll just let that sink in for a second.Oliver Reed and Jack Nicholson belting out Who classics.You can bet that guitarist Pete Townsend's partial deafness/tinnitus must stem from hearing saucy Jack painfully cackle "Go to the Mirror" at close range.In the cable box days,I'm not sure which I sat through more times:"Day of the Animals"(1977),"Meatballs"(1979),Where The Buffalo Roam"(1980),or this. Nevermind being raped by Uncle Ernie(Keith Moon),Tommy's(Roger Daltrey)obviously catatonic from having to hear Oliver Reed sing. By the time Nora(sex kitten Ann-Margret)gives birth to her son,Tommy,her husband,a fighter pilot(Robert "Jesus of Nazareth" Powell)is shot down in battle and believed to be deceased.She raises the podgy-faced little bleeder alone until she meets "Uncle Frank"(Oliver Reed) at a holiday camp,a slick talking snake oil salesman who succeeds in seducing the scarlet-haired siren.One particularly ominous,stormy night,Tommy has a nightmarish dream about his scar sporting pop returning home,but when he runs to his mother's bedroom for comfort,he finds Uncle Frank adding the proverbial genetic cream to Nora's cup of gynecological coffee,if you catch my drift.The trauma,paired with an appalling rendition of a classic Who tune "sung" by Margret and Reed,sends the boy into a psychological self-imposed sensory deprivation tank,making him deaf,dumb,and blind to the outside world from that moment on.Kind of the same effect that watching the Last House on the Left remake,beginning to end, would have on your humble narrator over here,but I digress...Years pass by,and Tommy matures into a frizzy-headed thirty-one year old hippie(Roger Daltrey),though Nora and Frank hardly age during that period.Nora is wrought with guilt over her son's inability to react to external stimuli,and turns to several questionable sources for help with his mental problems; a garish Marilyn Monroe-based cult,led by guitarist Eric Clapton,where the service-goers are fed alcohol and pills as a form of eucharist(there's a religion I could wholeheartedly get behind),a crazed black prostitute/witch doctor/acid queen named Gypsy(Tina Turner),who puts Tommy in a psychedelic iron maiden full of hypodermic needles while she quivers,shakes,and frenetically dances in a red mini-skirt(see:bad trip),and a doctor(Jack Nicholson)who's more interested in sheathing his sex weapon inside Nora's panty purse than curing what ails poor Tommy. Tina Turner as the Acid Queen,the last broad I'd ever drop blotters around. Nora and Frank,exhausted of hokey cure ideas and eager to get out on their own, leave Tommy first with Cousin Kevin(Paul Nicholas),a nazi biker who tortures the easy prey,and then filthy,perverted Uncle Ernie(Keith Moon) who rapes the poor guy,before ultimately leaving him to blindly stumble around an old junkyard(!)where he discovers the healing powers of...pinball,which he's naturally adept at,you know,being deaf,dumb,and blind.Word quickly spreads of his gaming skills,and a championship match between Tommy and the "Pinball Wizard"(Elton John),a jagoff who wears four foot high cherry red Doc Martens and is followed religiously by a throng of yobbo-bootboy clones,is scheduled.Tommy wins,sending his mother off into a truly disturbing penthouse fantasy where she writhes orgiastically and squirms about in a sea of beans,chocolate sauce,champagne,and soap bubbles.No,I'm not making that up.He rises to messianic status while the family cashes in on his popularity,but when the new pinball guru tries to make the adoring throng see the world the way he has,by putting on eyeshades,earplugs,and a cork in their collective yap,they become a lynch mob,revolting against their leader,and smashing everything and everyone in sight,leaving Tommy with a much greater sense of self-awareness as the sun rises amidst the burning holiday camp and dead family members.Groovy.I totally get it,maaaaan. Elton John as the Pinball Wizard,wearing a pair of four and half foot high Cherry Red Doc Martens that are virtually unjackable! Say what you will about Russell,but his body of work,that includes The Devils(1971),Altered States(1980),Gothic(1986),Lair of the White Worm(1986),and even Whore(1991)which pretty much ended his mainstream career once and for all,is peppered with several beloved cult classics.His brilliance is hit-and-miss at times,but he's always serving up thought provoking imagery.I highly dig the grand old bastard.Whether you're an enormous Who fan or not,and really,who isn't(besides McBeardo),you ought to score yourself a copy of this trippy,self-indulgent visual assault,originally released in theaters with a quintaphonic soundtrack,which may or may not allude to an extra center channel speaker for spoken dialogue,at this point who can tell for sure.Russell makes a cameo in the faith healer segment as a cripple(what else?).Margret was nominated for an Oscar and also received a Golden Globe for her performance here,and probably went home and assaulted the statuette between her own golden globes while crying hysterically,still in character from the film.I'm joking,of course,though I can definitely draw out that mental picture in my mind.Tommy comes highly recommended from ole Wop,as going to the mirror remains one of my favorite pasttimes to this very day.Speaking of which,think I will.Well,hel-lo,you sexy bastard. I fondly recall our weekend in the honeymoon suite.The beans...the chocolate sauce...the soap bubbles...the smashed television....the nervous breakdown. Share
Ah,it's good to be home again,kids.I'll pretend to cherish these crude crayon scribble-drawings you made for me while I was away,magnet them to the fridge,and then shoot a three-pointer from the top of the key into the wastebasket while you're sleeping.Of course I'm kidding,Daddy loves your feeble attempts at artwork very,very much.What's next on the agenda?A very popular little movie,indeed.Nazi zombies have long been a popular movie baddie,as minor cult classics "The Frozen Dead"(1966),"Shock Waves"(1976),and to a much more forgettable degree,"Oasis of the Zombies"(1981) and "Zombie Lake"(1981),have proven.There's just something about a reanimated corpse in a German WW2 uniform.This latest spin on sieg heiling gut-munchers comes from Norway,which was occupied by a Reich commission and pro-German puppet government from 1940 through to 1945 when the German forces were finally capitulated in Europe.History lessons and half-nazi Lebensborn like ABBA dancing queen Anni-Frid Lyngstad aside,this low-budget formulaic horror comedy does serve up some spirited splatter and a few laughs despite its glaring plot-farts.I'd heard so much gushing praise for director Wirkola's effort from nearly everybody whose opinions mattered to me on such matters,that I was eager to finally screen this damned thing for myself.And when I did that very thing... While searching for Sara,Vegard stumbles across an underground ice bunker luridly garnished with the big,black spider of German nationalism. It seems this chick Sara is running for her life in a snow-blanketed Norwegian forest.Varg Vikernes has been behaving himself these days,so we've gotta rule him out.No,it's a squadron of vengeful SS soldiers ressurected from their icy graves that corner and munch this dame like so many sandbakkels.Enter seven vacationing collegiates that include the obligatory pre-med student who suffers from hemophobia(I suffer from doctorbillophobia,but that's just me),the greasy,overweight horror cinephile(don't look at me,guys,I didn't write it),a white broad with dreadlocks(Phish broke up,go take a bath,bitch),and a hot chick with the propensity to fuck random fat horror nerds in frozen outhouses(the day that forking over thousands of your greenbacks at a Ramada horror-con, to get delectable dishes like scene sirens Jewel Shepard or Dai Green to de-pants you,actually works out for you,I'll eat a whole raw onion in a room full of bare geryatric diabetic feet).They hike and snowmobile out to a remote cabin in the icy mountains near Øksfjord(wouldn't it have been easier to have taken the Hurtigruten?sheesh.)to party,drink,and be obnoxious,until a grizzled old hiker interrupts their decadence with a cautionary Quint-esque tale about the region's former occupation by a particularly cruel and evil force of Einstazgruppen,as opposed to the SS troops who rescued kittehs from trees and carried groceries for elderly Jewish women,who retreated into the snow-covered mountain range clutching gold treasure that they'd pilfered from the local peasants,where they ate frosty avalanche-death,but the region retains the evil Aryan ambience,etc,etc.You get the idea.That night,the camping hiker gets himself gegessen by gruesome goose-steppers in his tent. The vacationers unwittingly discover a hidden stash of ABBA gold records. Vegard,the adventurous snowmobilist of the group,sets out to find his missing squeeze the next morning,falling through the ice to reveal the nasty nationalists' bunker-cavern hideout.Meanwhile,back at the cabin the students party mindlessly,until they manage to find of box of stolen gold coins underneath the floorboards.Then people start getting eaten by nazi zombies.It seems that head heiler,Herzog(They love you,Werner!)is driven by goldlust more than hunger,and reigns terror over all foolish enough to stray into the region until his gold is returned.(You hear that,Blake?I'm the seventh conspiritor,Father Malone...oops,wrong movie)A lot of neck-biting,molotov cocktail-chucking,snowmobile-mounted MG 34 lead-inflicted death,self-inflicted chainsaw arm amputation by chainsaw,head-stomping,entrail-dangling goodness,and a lone instance of pinko product placement(one of the last remaining survivors crosses a hammer and sickle before attacking a group of zombies with said implements,is it any wonder hefty lefty Michael Moore digs this flick?).When all is said and done,Martin,the last of the student Smörgåsbord,finally realizes the gestapo just wants its gold back,returning the booty to Herzog and company,then making for the getaway vehicle.As a forgotten doubloon falls out of his pocket,he's alarmed to notice the long-dead Standartenführer smashing out one of the car windows.Ooops! Highly unlikely,dorks.Don't get your hopes up. Admittedly,I got more than a kick or two out of this entry,and plan to revisit it once or twice in the near future,though something like Fulci's Paura nella città dei morti viventi(1980)'s place on my favorite list isn't threatened in the least here,and Edgar Wright's "Shaun of the Dead"(2004) is pretty safe at the top of the "zomedy" list as well.The effects are on par,if a little cgi-heavy for my tastes,the cinematography shows off the lush settings relatively effectively,and the performances don't hinder the production at all.I'd certainly be willing to sit down to Wirkola's next effort,even if it is entitled "Kurt Josef Wagle og legenden om fjordheksa"(2010).Standard,but enjoyable zombie fare.Give it a look.I'm thinking of rocking an animated feature once a week like days of olde,what say ye,lads?Let me know. Klink,Schultz,and company leave the confines of Stalag 13 to search for Hogan and his heroes.
Yeah,Shanks for nothin',Castle. When somebody mentions a genre giant like William Castle,titles like "13 Ghosts"(1960),"The House on Haunted Hill"(1959),"The Tingler"(1959),or "Strait-Jacket"(1964) immediately come to mind,and leave one with fond memories of the cinema's greatest showman and his indelible legacy therein.Tonight's selection,"Shanks",his final directorial morsel,on the other hand,probably does not.There's a reason for that.You'll find no "Percepto!","Emergo!","Coward's Corner","Fright Break",or even "Illusion-O" here.Long-time Castle staple Vincent Price isn't on board,either.Unfortunately for anyone on board for the 93 minutes of strangeness served up here,this film's gimmick is "Mime-O".That's right,ninety-three minutes of pantomime-based weird.They didn't call 'em "dumbshows" for nothing,ya know.I needed Castle's electric shock in my seat just to stay awake this time around.Hell,a cheap plastic skeleton on a wire might have kept me from snoring out loud,too.Loosen your cravat,throw on your most colossal pair of seventies bellbottoms,and let's walk against the wind into this little number together,shall we? Is that the tv remote you've got there,Malcolm Shanks(Marcel Marceau)?For the love of God,turn yourself off! Once upon a time,there was a downtrodden mute puppeteer named Malcolm(Marceau) who lived with his abusive drunken brother and his wife,and only derived pleasure from putting on puppet shows for the neighborhood children,one of which,a pretty young girl named Celia(Cyndy Eilbacher,of "Bad Ronald" and "Slumber Party Massacre 2" fame),he's kinda creepily fixated upon.When he's not being talked down to or watching his soused sibling riverdancing on his handcrafted puppet heads,he works for Old Walker(also Marceau)in his laboratory experimenting on bringing dead animals back to life with electrodes and a crude remote control box.You know,I bet later on in the story,they're gonna try to use this morbid scientific discovery to bring people back to life.After Old Walker eats sudden geryatric death,Malcolm decides to use the codger's electrodes and channel changer on his stiffened corpse,resulting in a puppetesque mockery of life,all controlled by Shanks twisting a primitive knob or two.When Malcolm's brother suspects foul play after not having weekly pay to siphon from,the mute uses his ancient employer's corpse to add his brutally bellicose brother to the bodycount.His foul mouthpiece of a wife follows soon after.To avoid suspicion from the authorities,he reanimates the awful pair as well,and awkwardly stumbles them through town with a pair of channel changers hidden under his long coat.Wait,now there's three mimes clowning around on camera?I didn't sign up for this,Castle! Where's "deliciously grotesque"?All I see is platitudinous vanilla. With his pain-in-the-ass hovelmates effectively removed from the equation,our ascot-sporting anti-hero can finally focus his attention on corrupting the morals of minor galpal Celia.The young girl gets over the initial shock of her mute mate monkeying with puppet-cadavers and the strange couple retreat to Old Walker's mansion to play dress up with the flesh-dummies as macabre man-servants,only to be interrupted by perhaps the most effeminate biker gang to ever grace the silver screen since Larry G. Brown's "The Pink Angels"(1971),looking for a place to party in,and perhaps a young girl to strangle,a bell-bottomed mute to slap around.You know the drill.Before long,the bikers have their greasy mitts on the corpse controllers and make the rotting remains do even more stupid dead body tricks.When the leader...ahem..."Genghis Khan" decides he'd like to strangle Celia for kicks,Malcolm reanimates Old Walker,who he'd buried in the cemetery outside earlier,and a corpse-puppet v. corpse-puppet/corpse-puppet v. sissy biker battle-to-the-death(undeath?) ensues.Malcolm is victorious,but when he goes to rescue his young friend,he finds Celia is already dead.Alas,it's all just an elaborate daydream in the mute puppeteer's head afterall.She's alive,it's the movie itself that died about ninety-three minutes earlier... Make it strangle the screenwriter,Malcolm! Though I should put my ballot in the pro-mime box,as Commedia dell'arte dell'improvvisazione is unmistakably Italian in origin,I can't honestly say that I'm at all proud of that little morsel of information.That pantomime combines with a piss-weak screenplay here to form a rotten piece of celluloid masquerading as a "horror movie" only reinforces that for me.Director Castle makes a cameo here as a supermarket grocer,and genre staple Don "Return of the Living Dead" Calfa also punches the clock as a biker/victim of the morbid mannekins.Composer Alex North uses an effective score,previously rejected for "2001:A Space Oddysey"(1971),but none of these things could ever save this boring mess.I'd urge Castle completists to avoid this altogether,and enjoy the incendiary cockroaches of "Bug!"(1975) instead.Imagine yourself somehow trapped in a claustrophobic invisible box full of SUCK.The Wopsploitation scale rating here is also deservedly invisible. Two stiffs standing in the weeds.Move over,Avatar.Excitement has a new name...
Wopsploitation is staying right here at Blogspot,as MyOpera has shown a propensity to eat it raw,balls and all(which,normally wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing,but their css codes over there are teh epic suck,and beyond the cranial capacity of a fool such as I!).I'll be tweaking the layout some more,adding long awaited NEW REVIEWS,giveaways,and speaking upon the coming of the gloriously hip Official 2010 Interwebs Fuckface Awards for web-douchebaggery in the field of HORROR!Prestige was never like this,droogies!If you're looking to exchange links,banners,banter,bodily fluids,abuse,etc. simply hit me up on FaceBook,or do it right here,see if I give a flying flatulent fuck!Many sickeningly candy-sweet accolades to Victoria,of Life and Death blog,for rendering the magnificent new header that your mother obviously cannot take her eyes off of,because it's not only about the sick and twisted world of cult,horror,and exploitation flicks that we all love so much,it's also ME,and you're gonna get two handfuls of Wop in every post.God,that sounded perverse.It's been a long time coming,but the wait IS over.We're back in business.