"...it's pointless and why are they doing it?"-Rob Zombie,on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake Anyone who's talked to me for more than five minutes about movies knows how furious I was when Rob Zombie signed on to remake John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic,Halloween.Once I reattached my mandible to my face,I set out to be as vocally opposed to such a project as anyone possibly could be.I added Rob Zombie as a friend on MySpace so I could shit on him directly and have him see my hatred firsthand(he deleted me after a few choice wall comments helped him realize I wasn't one of his sphincter-licking moronic fans).I went to Blockbuster the week his movie was released on dvd and ridiculed anyone I saw walking up to the checkout with the box in their hands.Above all,I vowed NEVER to see it,and more importantly,NEVER to pay money to see it and feed into the rehashed cycle of Hollywood unoriginality.Well,that was three years ago now,and though I still hate remakes,I figured enough water was under the bridge that I could actually objectively watch this thing,and if it was better than I thought it would be,I'd apologize openly to Zombie for being a dick about it,and if it sucked like I thought it would,well,it'd make for one helluva funny read here at the Wop.So I queued it up online,in keeping with my vow to never pay money to see it,threw on my headphones,and viddied well,little droogs.The verdict??? It seems I owe Mr. Zombie one hell of an apology,folks.He's not only a gifted writer with a great directorial eye,but he's actually improved....Of course I'm kidding,people,it fucking sucks sore-ridden AIDS ballbag at a Haitian hospital all day long.Giving a blowjob hack like Zombie a project like remaking Halloween to tackle is like throwing a blind double hand-amputee a hammer and chisel and putting him in front of a seven foot high pile of shit and demanding that he create a Michelangelo-level sculpture of Megan Fox out of it.After enduring the entire clusterfuck I wouldn't trust that douchebag to direct traffic.Of course I realize there's a small minority of diehard Zombie fans who'll idiotically defend anything the guy does,including this huge mistake,and to those people,I say:Walk blindfolded into rush hour traffic on the West Side Highway in Manhattan.You,along with Insane Clown Posse faggalos,and anyone who thinks Bono of U2 is some sort of humanitarian,are everything that's totally wrong with the world today.You won't be missed,and in fact,you'll be saving me several trips when I finally completely lose my mind and go on a sweeping kill crazy rampage.Everyone responsible for this mess should be wholly ashamed of themselves,and switch careers to cripple-robbers,as it's undoubtedly more dignified work.I feel most sorry for any actors and cult genre stars who appear here,and the list is long and pathetic:Bill Forsythe,Danny Trejo,Bill Moseley,Sybill Danning,Udo Kier,Brad Dourif,Richard Lynch,Clint Howard,Dee Wallace,Ken Foree,Mickey Dolenz,Danielle Harris,and Malcolm Mc-fucking-Dowell,ferchrissakes.Did you cast the entire movie at a horror convention,shitlocks?I can only hope you people were collectively drugged and forced to deliver the drivel that passes for dialogue here against your wills,otherwise... Sherri Moon Zombie shows her acting flexibility here as a foul-mouthed,weatherbeaten white trash stripper very much unlike the other strippers she's portrayed in the past. I've heard retards defend this,saying Rob Zombie adds backstory to the classic,putting his own personal spin on it.What they meant to say was,in Rob's little celluloid world,everyone's either a foul mouthed long haired piece of shit or a foul mouthed piece of white trash,with no in-betweens.Hell,the whole cast is playing essentially the same charac-turd here.After his prequel of sorts,where he graciously writes his own wife into the story as Michael's stripper mother(there's a stretch),turns his sister Judith into an obscenity spewing teenaged cockacidal whore,and worst of all,Michael himself into a long haired,chunky,animal killing ten year old pussy with a fetish for masks,Zombie piles on several unnecessary and uninspired deaths that would leave most gorehounds counting sheep instead of bodies.Dr. Loomis(McDowell)is Michael's school-appointed psychologist,and even he's a fucking scumbag,writing Michael off during his sanitarium stay in favour of a book tour hawking his years with Myers under the title "The Devil's Eyes".Give me a fucking break,would you?If they're not trying to get rich off of Michael,they're long haired dirtbag orderlies taking female inmates into Michael's cell to rape in front of his mask-covered eyes,only by now,he's mutated into a seven foot tall pro wrasslin-looking,long haired shitbag,that Zombie wants the audience to somehow pity for all the wrong done to him.He might have pulled it off too,if every single character,Laurie(Scout Taylor-Compton)included,didn't talk like two ten year old boys in a schoolyard trying to constantly offend each other. Malcolm McDowell watches as his cinematic integrity,raped and freezing,runs screaming away,never to return. "Just make it your own. Hell. That's the most important thing. Make it yours."-John Carpenter to Rob Zombie,on his Halloween remake ...which roughly translates to:"I know you won't do my movie any justice,but do it anyway,because the stink of yours will only make people appreciate mine that much more."It's almost like Zombie doesn't get what made the original such a great piece of cinema,and even when his awful prologue is finally over,and he sets out to film the Carpenter section of the film,his glaring incompetence smells up the screen.The beautifully framed shots that drip with suspense and tension have been replaced with flat spastic,jerky camerawork,completely bereaft of anxiety or fear.He hamfistedly adds kills to the body count(Annie's boyfriend Paul,and both of Laurie's parents),with precious little flair or style,and then negates the entire gripping Laurie v Shape climax of Carpenter's masterwork in favor of yet more bromidic examples of Michael's humanity(In case you haven't figured it out yet,turning a blank,expressionless,inexplicably indestructible vessel of evil into an abused white trash mutant with a sliver of humanity remaining inside is NOT scary.It sucks.),erasing the entire balcony scene and replacing it with an empty inground pool and hostage negotiation with Loomis and a slew of trigger-happy cops.The sum of these pitiful parts is equivalent to the soulless McDonalds assembly line unhappy meal of slasher flicks.Lots of people may have paid money to eat it,but it's bland,bad for you,and a complete waste of time and money. Remember the scene in the original where Michael butchers the Strodes?You don't?That's because IT NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED! I spent an hour or so trying to salvage something positive out of the whole experience,apart from the fact that I remained true to my word,and added none of my own money to the box office of this pile o'shit,and all I could come up with was this:Danielle Harris,who laboured away in the fourth and fifth craptacular Halloween sequels as little Jamie Lloyd,and signed on here to anonymize Nancy Loomis' Annie Brackett character,really grew up into a hot little number,and is the only eye candy I happened to notice throughout this mess.Hearing her spout filth like "Do you wanna fuck me?I wanna hear you say you wanna fuck me." while writhing topless on a couch was probably the only time I perked out of my Michael-esque catatonia during the entire hundred and twenty-one minute ordeal.I'll most likely endure the sequel to the remake sometime soon,after seeing how many hardcore Zombie-ites thumbs downed it,it's sure to make for another piece of review-based comedy.As for this toilet log,it merits ZERO wops,just as I predicted it would.Keep up the bad work,Rob! Outside Wrasslemania XXXV,Kane searches a squad car for Hulkamaniacs.
If you ask horror aficionados which movie tops their list of the greatest of all-time,chances are,the vast majority will cite tonight's entry(OR one we'll be looking at sometime next month)as the granddaddy of 'em all.Few films can boast of capturing real,honest to goodness terror within their frames,but if any have ever done so,this one has.So effectively,it would seem,that former college professor and director of tonight's feature,Tobe Hooper,has never been able to live up to it,or escape from the shadow of it.Even Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen learned early on,that taking a girl to see his exploits on the big screen probably isn't the world's greatest idea for a first date(Lamberto Bava's Demoni(1985) was always my movie of choice,as many of you women lucky enough to have dated me out there can attest).Loosely based on the handiwork of the "Butcher of Plainfield",Wisconsin's infamous serial killer,Ed Gein,and inspired by the growing brutality of the changing culture of the seventies and governmental falsehoods heaped upon the unsuspecting populace.It stood as the single most successful independent film ever made,until Halloween dethroned it four years later. My first exposure to tonight's review dates back to the pre-rental days of video,when twenty bucks of my allowance was spent buying a grainy unlabeled bootleg out of the back of a black van in Edwardsville(no lie!),and upon being popped into my eight hundred dollar wood grain top loader,instantly became a regularly watched favorite of me and the boys,with deadpan imitations of Edwin Neal and Jim Siedow not an unusual sound around my house.I can't remember ever seeing broad daylight so effectively used to evoke harrowing feelings of terror the way Hooper does here.And when the sun goes down,well that's another story.The finale has got to be one of the most memorably maddening experiences ever committed to celluloid,drawing reserved reviews of praise from critics and moviegoers alike.With a brilliant pre-credit sequence delivered by John "Night Court" Larroquette(!) scrolling upwards,nothing could have prepared us for the most bizzare crimes in the annals of American history that were to follow... The Hitchhiker(Edwin Neal) sure knows how to break the ice on awkward van rides,or head cheese,Polaroids,gun powder,straight razors,and you. Sally(Burns)and her yappy invalid brother,Franklin(Partain),drive across the state of Texas on a sweltering summer day with Jerry(Allen Danziger),Kirk(William Vail),and Pam(McMinn) in a van to investigate recent news reports of grave robbery and corpse defilement in state cemeteries,and see if their grandfather's plot is among those that have been tampered with.On the way to a family property with a much needed swimming hole afterwards,the group stops to pick up a weird hitchhiker(Neal)along the road,who leeringly rambles about his family's history as slaughterhouse workers,the pros and cons of bolt gun steer execution,and his brother's head cheese,before taking Franklin's pocket knife and slicing his own palm open with it.He then takes a Polaroid of the fat chatterbox on wheels and demands five dollars for it.When Franklin declines to pay,the hitchhiker blows the picture up with a small pile of gun powder,and cuts Franklin's forearm with a straight razor before being forced out of the van,and giving half hearted chase,kicking the vehicle and giving the terrified youths raspberries.They stop at a gas station,where the proprietor(Siedow) tells them he's out of gas,then feeds them his own barbeque.They decide to drive ahead to the Hardesty property,returning to the gas station after the fuel truck makes its delivery.After arriving at the abandoned house and discovering the watering hole has dried up,Kirk and Pam decide to walk to a nearby house and ask the residents for gas.After disgusting his girlfriend with a human tooth he finds on the front porch,he goes inside,only to have the bejeezus clobbered out of his domepiece with a sledgehammer by a hulking retard in an apron,wearing a human skin mask.When Kirk doesn't return,Pam enters and stumbles into a room mobbed with piles of animal and human bones,some of which have been fashioned into garish,macabre furniture.As she tries to escape,she is chased down and dragged back inside by the lumbering murderer(Hansen),and slammed onto a meathook,where she is forced to watch as Leatherface perforates her dead boyfriend with a smoking chainsaw on a table in front of her disbelieving eyes. Betcha didn't read this in your horoscope,Pam(Terri McMinn)! As the sun begins to set upon the Hardesty house,Jerry sets out to find Kirk and Pam,who've never returned from their attempted swimming excursion.After finding their blanket outside,Jerry enters the neighboring house,only to discover a half dead,bluish Pam inside a freezer,before getting brained by Leatherface's mallet.As night descends on Sally and her brother,they take a lone flashlight into the thick brush in attempt to find their friends.As Franklin calls out their names,he's interrupted by Leatherface,who springs out of the blackness,bissecting him in his wheelchair with his revving chainsaw to the horror of his screaming sister.Sally runs from the squealing monster,unwittingly into the killer's house,and is greeted upstairs by the inert remains of an elderly couple propped up in easy chairs,before jumping out a second story window,and running the entire distance to the gas station they'd visited earlier,with Leatherface close behind.The cook reassures the hysterical girl at first,but then clobbers her with a broom handle and hogties her in a sack,throwing his acquisition into his truck and driving off into the night.Outside the house,he picks up the hitchhiker,and then chastises he and his younger brother,Leatherface,for what he's done to the door with his chainsaw(!).Inside,Sally comes to,to find herself in the middle of an ongoing nightmare,bound to a chair made of human bones,at a dinner table surrounded by bickering,hooting and hollering cannibals.Leatherface has donned a mask made of a girl's face,and appropriately applied makeup to it,before he and his brother fetch their elderly,vampiric grandfather(John Dugan) to kill the girl,as he was,afterall,the best killer there ever was.They hold the screaming captive's head over a metal apple barrel,but the ancient psychopath is too weak to wield the mallet,and drops it repeatedly.While they bicker back and forth,Sally manages to free herself and jump through a window.As she runs,the hitchhiker sweepingly slashes her with his straight razor,but unknowingly strolls into the path of an oncoming eighteen wheeler,which runs him over and kills him.Leatherface attacks the truck cab,but the driver throws a monkey wrench,hitting him in the head,buying Sally enough time to jump into the flatbed of a passing pick up truck.She giggles hysterically,in shock,as the sight of a furious Leatherface,angrily spinning swinging his chainsaw in circles in the middle of the highway,gets further and further away. Leatherface(Gunnar Hansen) gives a Poulan-derived STFU to mouthy cripple,Franklin(Paul Partain). Tonight's entry spawned several sequels,a terrible Michael Bay remake,and a subsequent prequel,none of which ever recaptured the greatness of the original(big surprise).Hooper followed it up with Eaten Alive(1977),Salem's Lot(1979),The Funhouse(1981),Poltergeist(1982),Lifeforce(1985),Invaders from Mars(1986),and the first sequel in 1986(all of which range from decent to excellent),before falling off big time.Burns,the lovely Pennyslvanian,played Linda Kasabian in the tele-picture Helter Skelter(1976),and genre fare like Hooper's Eaten Alive and Future Kill(1985).Neal has worked steadily ever since in films and television in everything from Power Rangers to Nick Palumbo's excellent Murder Set Pieces(2004),and is a real pisser to talk to.Hansen has also kept busy in mosty genre fare,with roles in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers(1985) and the aforementioned Murder Set Pieces on his impressive resume.You can find most of these rascals at horror conventions on a lucky weekend.We depart the classics for now and set our sights back on the familiar shores of mediocrity in July,with an occasional masterpieces thrown in for good measure,as usual.TCM stands as either number one or two of all-time,depending on my mood at the time of query,and for that impressive status,a perfect scale rating is bequeathed upon it,and a full recommendation from your(not so)humble N... Sally(Marilyn Burns),up to her glutes in piles of animal and human bones,wonders where her hosts buy their curtains.
You're covering a Christmas movie in June?O Wop of Magnitude,have you finally descended into pure madness?You might be saying something like that right now if you were unfamiliar with tonight's entry,probably the prototype for all slasher films that followed,arguably the apex of the amalgamation,teeming with psychological terror,forever laying the disconcerting groundwork for the horror subgenre born out of it.We've covered a lot of "Bob" here at the Wop,but tonight,we'll scrutinize his finest piece of genre work,simplistic in its approach,effective in its delivery,and magnificent in its result.Cynics,take note:If you've never watched this movie before,and doubt the potentcy of its horrific brilliance,simply screen it all alone,late at night,in the dark.Chances are,a lot of what transpires will stay with you long after the lights have come back on,and possibly well into when you turn them off again.My tastes in film,though mostly unchanged since the lifelong love affair began all those years ago,have matured to a degree,and intuition tells me that the movie in front of us tonight,is the ultimate of its class.When you've seen this,like examining strands of horror dNa under a microscope,you instantly see the origins of what made something like Halloween(1978)so effective.In the director's chair,Clark plays a maddening game of cat and mouse with the viewer's deductive reasoning,clouding the film's simple,chilling truth until the bitter end with narrative worthy of a Hitchcockian whodunit,relentlessly applying layer upon layer of moody atmosphere to each frame like a master baker,with ample performances from his cast,which includes John Saxon,Olivia Hussey,Keir Dullea,Margot Kidder,and Nick Mancuso,who combined vocal talents with up to five other actors(including Clark himself)for the unforgettable crank calls from the killer.Due to differences in personal tastes,I can't say for sure whether or not you'll love the movie(probably the only one ever) pulled from prime-time network television for being "too scary" for network audiences,but it'll stay with you.Maybe longer even than you'd like. Jess(Olivia Hussey),that's the wrong type of wreath,honey.Funeral wreaths... Late one night,while a sorority house hosts a Christmas party,an unbalanced individual shows up outside,climbs up the trellis,and in through an open attic window.Inside,Jess(Hussey) receives another in a series of obscene phone calls,peppered with a strange mix of whines,groans,obscenities,impersonations,and multiple voices, from someone she's dubbed "the moaner".Meanwhile,Clare(Lynne Griffin)retires to her room to finish packing to go home for the holidays,and gets herself asphyxiated with a sheet of plastic from the closet.The homicidal stranger retreats back to the attic with the spoils of his hunt and props her up in a rocking chair with a window view,the plastic still wrapped around her head.The next morning,Clare's father(James Edmond) arrives to pick up his daughter,only she's nowhere to be found.At the same time,Jess visits her boyfriend,Peter(Dullea),a maladjusted schizoid with dreams of pounding piano keys with his ham fists for a living,with news of pregnancy.When she returns to the sorority she receives another crank call.Barb and Phyl(Kidder and Martin)accompany Mr. Harrison to the local constabulary to file a missing persons report,but when the desk sargeant(Doug "Porky's" McGrath)slags off their concerns with ideas of Clare shacking up with a secret boyfriend on the side,Barb gives the sorority phone number to the obtuse officer with the new exchange...fellatio.Nash is clueless,as the other cops derive great mirth from his ignorance.Jess informs Clare's boyfriend Chris(Art Hindle)of her disappearance,and when he becomes enfuriated at the police's indifference,he storms the station house,demanding the attention of Lt. Fuller(Saxon),whose hands are already full,searching for a missing schoolgirl,and enlisting the concerned collegiates as a search party.Back at the house,Mrs. Mac(Marian Waldman),the girls' binge drinking den mother, investigates noises in the attic she attributes to her cat,and instead finds her face on the wrong end of a crane hook. The psychiatrists that told Billy(Albert J. Dunk)he was a little nuts,lied.He's a lot nuts. The search party discovers the mutilated body of the young schoolgirl in the park,and Jess returns home in time for an even more disturbing phone call,after which Peter shows up to discuss plans for their lovechild,offering to give up his career in music to care for the expectant mother,who stuns him with plans to abort it instead.He storms out,in a blind,furious rage.Barb,stuck at the house for the holidays,drinks past the point of anebriation,and after retiring to her room to sleep it off,is stabbed to death with an ornate glass unicorn from her night table,while Jess listens to a group of door-to-door carolers.Jess decides to report the obscene calls to the police,with Lt. Fuller and a technician installing a bug tracer to the phone,directing the terrified girl to keep the caller on the line as long as possible so they can trace his whereabouts,and place an officer in a squad car outside to guard the house.When Phyl later goes up to check on Barb,her fate is all too similar.When Jess receives more calls,this time using Peter's direct quotes from their argument,Fuller is convinced Peter is behind the calls,further reinforced by the discovery of his thoroughly trashed piano in the work room.Finally the crank calls are long enough to be traced and the lawmen fall upon the horrible truth:the calls are coming from inside the sorority house.Nash informs the girl of this over the phone,telling her to retrieve her girlfriends and vacate the premises immediately,but Jess,armed with a fireplace poker,instead discovers her friends corpses upstairs and is attacked by the unknown killer,before barricading herself in the cellar.Peter arrives and breaks a window to gain entry and corner his girlfriend.When the police arrive on the scene,they find their officer slumped dead in his cruiser,with his throat cut,and in the basement,a hysterical Jess clutching the same fireplace poker,next to the lifeless body of Peter,who she beat like a redheaded stepchild.Believing the case is closed,the police and doctors leave the girl sedated and sleeping in her room,and go outside to deal with the media blitz.Up in the attic,Clare and Mrs. Mac's corpses remain undiscovered,and as the killer starts to let himself down from the attic,introducing himself with a whisper,"Agnes,it's me,Billy.",the phone begins to ring. Always a stickler for freshness,Billy packs Clare's(Lynne Griffin)head in plastic. Even the list of people who didn't make it into tonight's film for one reason or another reads like a who's who of Hollwood:Bette Davis,Edmund O'Brien,Gilda Radner,Malcolm McDowell.Also released as "Silent Night,Evil Night"(to avoid being mistaken as a blaxploitation flick...put yo weight on it,mothafuckas!),and "Stranger in the House" for television,the story was inspired by real-life murders that took place in Canada during the holiday season.Imagine Olivia Hussey's surprise when Steve Martin told her she was in one of his favorite films of all-time,and it wasn't Romeo and Juliet(1968),but tonight's review instead,which he claims to have seen 20 times(I've sat through it that many,easy).Studio execs approached Clark about changing the ending to have Jess wake up alone with Claire's boyfriend Chris revealing his true nature with the line "Agnes,don't tell them what we did." before killing her.Thank the gods he stood his ground on that one.Naturally,in 2006,the makers of Final Destination released their remake of tonight's entry,which was naturally depressingly awful on all levels,and bereaft of everything that makes the original a classic(Notice a pattern here,Hollywood?).Jaundiced cannibalistic siblings?Seriously,lay off the crystal meth,retards.We won't be covering that particular commode cake here anytime soon.At the moment,I honestly think this entry is the finest example of the slasher movie,to date,and as such deserves the highest scale rating possible,and the full recommendation of yours cruelly,to boot. What lies within this eye signifies demise is nigh.
If you climbed to the top of Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan,and shouted to the heavens,"Who is the American King of the Living Dead?",not only would you be a motherfucking pioneer,as no one's ever climbed to the peak as of this writing,but chances are,you'd hear an echo return,"George Andrew!"The glory of the modern age lies in the fact that you really wouldn't have to go to such extremes to find that out,you can simply ask anybody who digs horror movies,and they'll gladly tell you.Also,it's hardly debatable as to which of the Cuban/Lithuanian(not Italian,but eh,close enough) Pennsylvania native's rottingly reanimated repertoir is his gut munching greatest of all.I can still remember dragging my poor old man off to the American Theater back in '78 to bear witness to Romero's latest entrail-pulling,groaning grey faced shamble-o-thon,which left him in a permanent state of pants-shitting fear any time zombies come up(or rise,if you will).Georgie boy had just scored big with critics the year before with his excellent vampiric venture,"Martin",and had been working on his follow up to "Night of the Living Dead"(1968) since 1974,and after nailing down Dario Argento to finance the project,he traveled to Rome where he wrote the script.After visiting the Monroeville Mall years earlier with a friend who joked that a person could survive there in an emergency,he had found the centerpiece of his latest chapter in his ongoing zombie saga.Every time I travel to the western end of the state,I try to make a stop at the mall,time permitting,and shuffle around a bit outside,though I've never actually been inside the damned place!One of these days,dammit,one of these days. Tonight's entry rates as yet another in a goodly stretch of heavy hitters,at or near the top of anybody who's anybody's top horror films,and films in general,in many cases.Makeup maestro Tom Savini creates classic on-screen carnage that maintains its effectiveness to this day,does some nifty stuntwork,and even memorably appears as one of the pillaging party of Pagans in the film.Make no mistakes,droogs,this is Savini at his very best.Armed with a trademark script full of satirical barbs towards the consumer mentality and society itself,Savini's horrendous handiwork,a killer soundtrack featuring Goblin(Romero uses three of their pieces in his cut,Argento uses their work much more extensively in his),and strong performances from Gaylen Ross,David Emge,Ken Foree,and Scott Reiniger in the leads,Dawn assaults the viewer with action,comedy,drama,and terror from the opening sequence and doesn't let up until DeWolfe Library's Gonk plays out over the end credits. The SWAT teams strain to restrain Willie,whose ghetto disdain causes it to rain brains. There's considerably less room in Hell,as the world is in the midst of a pandemic which causes the unburied dead to reanimate and eat the flesh of the living.In the midst of a chaotic television broadcast at WGON in Philadelphia,Stephen(Emge) suggests to his girlfriend Francine(Ross),a station news tech,that they escape in his traffic helicopter to safer periphery in the Canadian woods somewhere.Meanwhile Stephen's friend Roger(Reiniger),a SWAT member,has his hands full in an apartment complex full of immigrants who've ignored the state of martial law,refusing to turn over the bodies of their recently dead to authorities,instead storing them in the basement,where they've reanimated.During a meltdown from a member of Roger's unit,where he guns down immigrants and zombies in a xenophobic rampage before being taken down himself,Roger meets up with Peter(Foree),a SWAT member from another unit,and invites him along on the planned chopper escape with his friends.A one legged Latin priest points them to the basement,where they find a cache of living corpses,and the two soldiers clear them out with a flurry of well-placed bullets to the head.The four rendezvous at the pier,and after a momentary square off with some policemen(one of which,Joe Pilato,would return in the third chapter,1985's "Day of the Dead" as Capt. Rhodes,a different character entirely!)with similar escape plans,take off for friendlier climes.As they fly over rural Pennsylvania,they witness the National Guard and local rednecks treating the zombie hunt like weekend sport over beer.During a pitstop at an abandoned airfield for gas,they are attacked by zombies,and while Stephen panics and with his awful marksmanship,nearly kills Peter,who has his hands full with two zombie children,Roger,a dead shot,dispatches the undead threat,and the group again takes flight. Insert obligatory off color "black dudes n' neck bones" joke here. During their flight,they notice a large multi level indoor mall surrounded by zombies,and after landing the chopper on the roof,decide to go inside to pick up supplies,when Peter suggests that they hold up there for a while.Peter and Roger hotwire abandoned tractor trailers and park them at the mall entrances to block zombies outside from entrance,but Roger's reckless abandon gets him bitten in the process.Once the entrances are secured,the four load up on guns and ammunition and do a sweeping killing spree of all the zombies inside,storing the dead bodies in a meat locker.Roger,now infected with the zombie virus,enjoys his last few days shopping,and playing video games at the arcade,barely coherent from the morphine injections his friends are administering him.He finally dies and reanimates,with Peter carrying out his last wish,stopping him with a bullet to the head.The three remaining survivors enjoy the spoils of their enormous hideout,building a full apartment on the executive level above the stores,but soon find themselves prisoners to the very safety they sought in the first place.While Stephen is teaching his now-pregnant girlfriend to fly the chopper,they are noticed by a professional army of bikers who have survived on the street.Peter tells "Fly Boy",if they lock up the stores and retreat to the upper level,the bikers will never know they were there.The bikers easily break into the mall bringing hundreds of zombies in with them, and begin to pillage the stores,spurring Fly Boy,who is blind with greed,to begin shooting at them.He is winged by one of the bikers,and while retreating to the elevator,is feasted upon by zombies.Peter snipes several of the bikers,and the zombies descend upon the wounded scumbags,and tear them asunder.Peter retreats to the apartment and waits for Stephen's zombie with Francine,knowing his memory will lead a slew of ghouls up to their digs with him.He tells Francine to leave in the chopper by herself,as he prefers to die where he is,disenchanted with it all.After dispatching Fly Boy,he points a gun to his own head,but before he commits suicide,he has a change of heart,shooting zombies and fighting his way up to the roof before the girl has fully taken off,and climbs aboard,barely escaping.With a nearly empty gas tank the two depart into the sky,leaving the mall to its undead denizens. Reanimated Roger(Scott Reiniger)or Stooges frontman Iggy Pop on an opium binge?You decide. Romero would follow his 50 million dollar megahit up with Knightriders(1981) and Creepshow(1982) before tackling the third(and what was to be the final)chapter of his zombie opus,Day of the Dead,in 1985.Five years later he would re-write and earn an executive producer credit on a remake of his "Night of the Living Dead",directed by Tom Savini.In 2005,he directed the fourth chapter,"Land of the Dead",and has since followed with the luke warm "Diary of the Dead",and most recently,"Survival of the Dead".Foree has enjoyed a long career in genre films and television,scoring roles in "The Wanderers","Knightriders","Death Spa","Leatherface:Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3",and more recently,in Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects" and "Halloween" remake.Emge was most recently seen in 1990's "Basket Case 2" and 1992's "Hellmaster",although you can usually find him on the horror convention circuit.Reiniger would show up in a cameo(as did Foree)in Zack Snyder's 2004 (so-so)remake of "Dawn of the Dead".Ross's last genre work would come in 1983's "Madman", under the pseudonym "Alexis Dubin",though there's a store with her name in the Dawn remake.Savini,who was awarded a Saturn Award for Best Makeup Effects in tonight's entry,remains busy acting and directing,as always,allegedly announced to return to direct special effects in the upcoming sequel/remake Friday the 13th Part Two.Oughta be interesting,to say the very least.Tonight's entry remains one of the greatest horror movies of all-time,and is thusly awarded four wops,the highest possible scale rating."Could be nuculah!" Fly Boy(David Emge)searches for his promotional giveaway bag of hard candy.
Truth be told,for the longest time,this was my favorite horror movie.After seeing it opening night at the Gateway Twin Cinema back in 1978 with my father,I have seen it almost four hundred times to date.Arguably creating the motivation for the modern slasher movie wave that followed,Carpenter draws his inspiration here from Hitchcock and Bob Clark,among others,and crafts a beautifully composed,brilliantly simple film,packed with tension and jump scares,and whose terror stems not from body counts or elaborate gore effects,but from implied violence/visuals,first person killer's eye view camera work reminiscent of "Black Christmas"(1974),and a gripping,unforgettable score penned by Carpenter himself.Word of mouth quickly earned tonight's entry a heavy reputation,and before long,the little independent film made for three hundred and twenty thousand dollars went on to gross nearly fifty million at the box office.Regardless of where it happens to fall on your list,surely it deserves rank among the greatest horror movies of all time.Jamie Lee Curtis,a nineteen year old relative unknown at the time,would secure her place as the top scream queen of the next decade with her talent and tonsils both receiving ample screen time here.The cast,made up mainly of Carpenter regulars and unknowns was led by the late,great character actor Donald Pleasance(who shares a birthday with your humble N,by the way),who signed on for twenty thousand dollars,in place of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee,who both declined the role,with Lee later admitting that doing so was his biggest career mistake(!).What follows is the legend of the indestructible evil from behind the two dollar William Shatner mask,and the legacy that grew out of it... Evil personified or trick or treat candy sugar-induced violence,you decide. The sleepy little suburb of Haddonfield,Illinois is forever marred by the brutal stabbing of Judith Myers on Halloween night,1963,by her six year old brother,Michael(Will Sandin),who spends the next fifteen years in Smith's Grove Warren County Sanitarium under the watchful eye of Dr. Sam Loomis(Pleasance),who recognizes the catatonic boy for what he really is,the living embodiment of pure evil.Just before the fifteenth anniversary of the murder,Loomis is called upon to transfer his patient,so that he can be tried as an adult,but in the midst of a violent thunderstorm,Michael escapes into the dark night,stealing the very vehicle intended for his transfer.The doctor knows exactly where the silent killer is headed,and follows the bloodtrail(a mechanic with his head twisted around)and morbid clues(Judith's tombstone has been stolen) to Myers' hometown,enlisting the local sheriff, Leigh Brackett(Charles Cyphers) who's investigating a hardware store break in where knives,rope,and a mask have been stolen,to assist in the manhunt,though plainly,this isn't a man they're after... Laurie Strode(Curtis),a bit of a wallflower compared to her sex-starved girlfriends Annie(Nancy Loomis)and Lynda(PJ Soles),promises her father she'll drop of the keys to the Myers house on her walk to school,immediately overcome by the feeling she's being watched by...somebody.While daydreaming during class,she notices a station wagon parked outside the school with a state seal on the door.When she looks towards it again,it has gone.After school,as the girls walk home planning their Halloween festivities around Laurie and Annie's babysitting gigs at the Doyle and Wallace residences that night,they're interrupted by the same station wagon playing tricks with them before screeching off.Later on the walk,Laurie notices someone up ahead hiding behind the bushes,but by the time the girls investigate,the figure is gone. "Before we pull up to the main gate,Marion,wanna do some thorazine and hit the back seat?" At the Myers house,the doctor and sheriff find the mangled remains of a partially-eaten dog,but little else,as Michael has been watching Laurie as she babysits Tommy Doyle,and later Lindsey Wallace,who gets pawned off on her while Annie drives to pick up Paul,her boyfriend who's been grounded from car priviledges for egging and soaping.Her red Monte Carlo will never leave the Wallace garage though,as she's strangled by Michael from the back seat,before he cuts her throat.When Lynda and Bob show up,they find an empty house,and after finding out Annie's alleged whereabouts from Laurie,they go upstairs and fuck in the Wallace's bedroom.When Bob goes downstairs for beers,Michael bounds out of a pantry door,pinning the boy to a wall with a one-handed chokehold,then lifting him off the ground,and pinning him to the wall with a knife.When the bedroom door opens,Lynda is surprised to see a silent figure covered with a bedsheet and Bob's glasses,but when she calls Laurie to check in,the shape strangles her to death with the phone cord.Laurie,concerned by the gasping and abrupt end to her phone call,puts both children to bed and decides to walk across the street and find out what's going on for herself.To her horror,she discovers the scare-traps Michael has set up for her in the upstairs bedroom involving the bodies of her friends and his sister's headstone.She narrowly escapes back to the Doyles,and after believing she's killed her masked attacker,sends the kids screaming out into the street for help,drawing the attention of Dr. Loomis who's been wandering around looking for signs of his patient's presence.As he rushes up the Doyle steps,he finds Laurie struggling with Michael,pulling his mask off in the melee,which he sheepishly pulls back over his face,as the doctor empties his revolver into him,the force of the bullets sending the killer off an upstairs balcony onto the lawn below.Laurie tearfully asks the doctor what the boogeyman is,to which Loomis replies,"As a matter of fact,it was."He looks out the balcony window to where Michael's body lay,but it's gone,as he knew it would be.Reading the doctor's expression,Laurie sobs uncontrollably. I probably would have used something different to choke Lynda(PJ Soles).Ahem. As another film with loads written about it already,I'll entertain you with bits of Wop-based Halloween trivia instead,as nauseatingly fan boy as that is,this time around.Halloween was the first vhs tape(of thousands)I ever bought,for fifty bucks,back in 1981.Being brought up in an Italian catholic household,I spurred on the wrath of my uncle,who was my sponsor,when I took Michael(after Myers,of course)as my confirmation name,which I use as my middle initial to this day.When I turned sixteen,my parents got me a jack o'lantern shaped cake for my birthday,as I had reached my two hundredth viewing of the film shortly beforehand.Fittingly,for one Halloween(the holiday,not the movie,in this case) party,I did the whole to-the-letter Michael Myers right down to the coveralls and Don Post mask from the original mold,and stayed in character the entire evening(if you wanted to talk to me,you had to wait for me to take the mask off haha),even when doing shots,beers,and bong hits(I also went down to dinner one night with the damned thing on,while under the influence of a certain three lettered hallucinogen,and ate with my parents who barely noticed).At one point I could recite the whole movie,down to the credits,as they rolled,and probably still could if I gave enough of a shit(Fear not,I don't.).I still have loads of memorabilia,scripts,foreign release posters,novelizations,etc.,and though I've gotten over my adolescent obsessions(mostly) with said film,it retains a spot in my Top list forevermore,regardless.It spawned a slew of unwarranted and mostly forgettable sequels,and...a dogshit remake by a blowjob hack,which I'll finally be shredding here sometime next week.The original,of course,merits the highest possible rating,and remains necessary viewing for all. I'm your boogeyman,I'm your boogeyman,turn arouuuuuuund...
I'm sure you won't mind that I went the selfish route and took a couple of "me" days over here;I did some light partying,saw Ted Nugent for the umpteenth time live in the Poconos(I hope I can rock balls out half as much as Uncle Ted if I make it to sixty),wrote off some possibilities,and explored a few new ones,but once the smoke clears(and it rarely does around a guy like me) as always,I'm back to serve up some choice genre stuffs for your reading pleasure.We're at the front end of what looks to be a run of several classics in a row here,and I mean that in an all-time favorites kinda way.Over the next several days and nights we'll be examining some of the best films the horror genre has ever offered,in my opinion anyway(and they're all from the seventies,what does that tell you?),and unless you subsist in a shack on pork n' beans and find your own sister powerful handsome,you'll probably agree with me here.Not much of a stretch,but hopefully,I'll do some justice to most,if not all of these fan favorites.Wait a second,was I just doing humble? When I met Reggie Bannister,my favorite character/actor from tonight's review(sorry,Mr. Scrimm comes off a little too dramatically for the top spot),we jawed at great lengths about the profound effects that Coscarelli's practically self-made(he directed, written, photographed, co-produced and edited here,ferchrissakes)first excursion into the horror genre with such original,terrifying imagery had on a ten year old Wop,among other things,when suddenly Bannister was approached by a towering,grinning she-dork,stretching the measuring tape to about six foot three,and bearing a hastily produced token of her affection for the actor."You rule,Reggie!"she guffawed,as she handed him a single piece of computer paper with three images from "Phantasm" printed on it.He wasn't even in two of the pictures.Reg,not missing a beat,took the offering,paused for a moment,and said in his inimitable Cali-drawl,"You know....I'm gonna put this in my room of really cool stuff from my fans!"The nerd seemed satisfied with that and lumbered off.Once she was out of ear shot,not missing a beat,I asked,"Room of really cool stuff,eh,Reg?Is that what you're calling the wastepaper basket these days or what?"Yeah,I'm a dick. "The funeral is about to begin....SHORTY." Tommy(Bill Cone)is getting laid in Morningside cemetery(apparently the local hot spot),when his partner,the Lady in Lavender(Kathy Lester) suddenly transforms into a tall man,who abruptly shanks him in the labonza with a switchblade.I hate when shit like that happens.At Tommy's funeral,Jody(Bill Thornbury)and Reggie(Reggie Bannister) grieve for their friend,and discuss Jody's younger brother,Mike(Michael Baldwin),who's hiding in the bushes with binoculars,managing to catch sight of the same Tall Man(Angus Scrimm) singlehandedly lifting Tommy's casket and slamming it into the back of a hearse as if it was nothing.Unnerved by the whole experience,Mike visits a blind,old fortune telling mystic who materializes a black box that eats Mike's hand until he learns to let go of his own fear.The creepy old biddie has a good laugh until her granddaughter visits the funeral home,and something horrible pulls a scream out of her.At home,Mike,at thirteen,a bigger gearhead than his brother(who lets him work on and drive the car anyway),works on Jody's Hemicuda,and overhears his brother's possible plans to leave him with relatives.Since their parents untimely deaths,Mike follows Jody everywhere,often spying on him,with the fear of abandonment fresh on his mind. That night,Jody unwittingly picks up the Tall Man's alter ego,but at the cemetery(seriously,what's with that?)his coitus(and subsequent labonza-shanking) is interrupted by Mike,screaming his head off and running for his life from something...small,brown,and low to the ground.It probably wasn't the retarded kid,Timmy,from up the street.Mike returns to Morningside,and breaks in,only to be captured by a caretaker,when a flying silver sphere that has been chasing the boy through the hallways,slams into the caretaker's forehead with twin knifeblades,before a drill bit emerges and drains the poor bastard's blood and grey matter,shooting it out the other end. If a long,painful screw between the eyes was on the drink menu,I'd stick to Moretti. The Tall Man appears and gives chase,but in the melee,gets four of his fingers slammed in a door and cut off with a hunting knife by the boy,who takes one of the yellow,gooey digits as proof to show his older brother,but when he produces the box back at the house,the finger has turned into a really angry looking enormous fuzzy bug,which they dispose of in the trash compactor,to the dismay of Reggie,who caught the tail end of that madness.Jody then visits the mortuary himself,and is attacked by one of the hooded dwarves that Mike told him about,but dispatches it with a bullet and escapes to Mike waiting at the main gate,driving the Hemicuda.As the two drive off,they are chased by a hearse that seems to be driven by no one.What's crazier,the hearse having no driver,or keeping up with a fucking Hemicuda,draw your own conclusions.Jody produces a shotgun and blasts the hearse from the sunroof,whereupon it crashes,impaling one of the dwarves on a tree branch,revealing that the dead half a motherfucker in question is their dead friend Tommy.After much preparation,the brothers enlist Reggie and descend upon Morningside to discover the Tall Man's fiendish secret:He's been squashing down the local bodies of the recently deceased into undead dwarves,sealing them in bulky black cannisters and sending them off through a dimensional portal in the mortuary to become his slaves.The portal itself reminds Reggie of his tuning fork from his hot-as-love guitar jam sessions with Jody,and when he touches both metal bars at the same time,he turns it into a vacuum,which causes the whole place to implode upon itself.The brothers manage to trap the Tall Man down an abandoned mine shaft,but Mike awakens to find that the whole thing was just a bad dream,caused by his brother Jody's death.Reggie offers to take him on the road with him,but when the boy excitedly runs upstairs to pack a bag,the Tall Man is waiting in his room,and his dwarves pull Mike into the mirror. "Dude,if I,like,touch both of these at the same time,I bet it'll produce some totally forked up results." Released under the alternate and decidely goofier title,"The Never Dead" in Australia so the audiences wouldn't confuse it with the earlier sex comedy "Fantasm"(which also had a sequel,mind you),tonight's cult classic has spurred on three mostly enjoyable sequels to date,and originally drew an X rating from the board over the silver sphere violence and aftermath(which made Bravo's list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments),though it was eventually released as an R movie,thanks to the unlikely championing and efforts of a Los Angeles movie critic.The characters herein all have a believability rarely encountered in movies,due to being specially written for the actors who play them.The soundtrack by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave is excellent and atmospheric,and there's even a disco version of the main theme floating around somewhere.Coscarelli won the Jury Award in 1979,and the film was nominated for Best Horror Film at the Saturn Awards the following year.Perish any doubts from your minds,droogs,this movie kicks much ass and is always a good time when screened.It rates four wops from yours cruelly,and comes highly recommended. "Did your granny knit you that groovy afghan,boooooooy!"
I don't go in much for Top Ten lists here at the Wop,as mine,fickle bastard that I am,changes with my mood,so it's rare that we cover anything that would conceivably make my "greatest horror movies" list,but I've been pestered recently to cover one that's always been in my Top Ten,most of the time residing in the Top Five.For someone who prides himself on rare films and unknown classics,my Top list is usually pretty boring,and filled mostly with genre titles you'd guess would be on it in the first place.The reason I rarely tackle those movies here,is that so much has been said and written about the vast majority of them,I doubt I could ever shed any new light on them.Tonight,then,we'll draw focus on one such movie,and dedicate the review to Chelsea,who's arguably the most avid fan of said film in the world,and hope that what follows is acceptable;anyone who's perma-giddy over such dirty cinematic dealings is probably someone you'd want to keep on your good side,right? Everybody remembers their initial introduction to their favorite things.My future fourth grade teacher was an attractive Greek broad,who dressed like Chrissy Snow from Three's Company,and resembled porn star Desiree Cousteau to a certain degree.I would often stray up to the older grade classrooms and make convo with the teachers over the way the world was going,music,movies,etc.As a pudgy class comedian with a bowl haircut,I made a point to be as socially outgoing as possible,and thus was a favorite among most of the teachers at my soon-to-be condemned grade school.Mrs. L and I were discussing movies one day when we got to the subject of the worst movie we'd ever seen.She answered,haughty and immediate."Last House on the Left.I went to see it with some girlfriends a few years back,and we walked out!These killers cut off a girl's arm...you're too young to see it,and anyway,it's trash!Ha! Ha! Ha!"Naturally,I knew right then and there I had to see it and plotted and schemed until I finally got my chance when it was re-released at the outset of the eighties.You could probably cue some romantic mood music right here... Krug(David Hess)pounds his puh-hailus into Sadie(Jeramie Rain)on the open road,while Weasel(Fred Lincoln)plays the third wheel. Mari Collingwood(Sandra Cassel),who is turning seventeen,is going into the city to see Bloodlust in concert with her free-spirited girlfriend Phyllis(Lucy Grantham),despite some minor protest from her folks,who give her a peace symbol pendant as an early gift.On the way into Manhattan,the girls hear a radio news broadcast that degenerate sex criminal Krug Stilo(David Hess)and his partner-in-crime,"Weasel" Podowski(Fred Lincoln)have made a daring escape from prison,thanks to Krug's animalistic female counterpart,Sadie(Jeramie Rain)and his illegitimate son,"Junior"(Marc Sheffler),who's been hooked on junk by his own father for the purpose of controlling him.Though they might seem like bumbling ne'er-do-wells at first glance,with Krug running the pantsmeat to Sadie as he drives the getaway convertible in broad daylight,nothing could be further from the truth.The girls wander the lower east side,looking to score some grass before the show,and are lured back to Stilo's hideout by Junior,who gets thrown a fix for his handiwork.Phyllis' resistance buys her a good one in the labonza,and then she's raped before Mari's disbelieving eyes.Mari's parents prepare her surprise party back home,obliviously unaware of the hot mess she's gotten herself in.The next morning,Krug and company stuff the captive girls into the trunk of their car before driving into the countryside with plans of fleeing the state manhunt.Ironically,their car breaks down just feet from the Collingwood home,and both girls are dragged into the woods nearby,where,at knifepoint they are forced into lesbianism with each other,after Krug orders Phyllis to piss her pants,which she does,naturally.Phyllis decides to make a break for it,and pays by eating stilleto-inflicted body ventilation at the hands of Weasel,before being graphically disembowled and dismembered.Mari appeals to Junior's last remaining glimmer of humanity,but is thwarted by Krug,who carves his name in her chest and rapes her after showing her Phyllis' severed arm.She stumbles,catatonic and violated,into the lake where Krug finally puts her out of her misery with well-placed bullets.Happy birthday,darling. After Phyllis(Grantham)pissed,she and Mari(Cassel)were enlisted for an impromptu sapphic tryst before both junior misses cease to exist. Krug and cohorts silently wash the blood off in the lake,and change into more formal attire before descending on the Collingwood house psoing as travelling salesmen,unaware that they've just walked into the house of one of the girls they've just brutally slain.Mari's parents serve the fugitives dinner,but their piggish table manners and half-assed story help paint a truer picture of who they really are,reality setting in when Mrs. Collingwood(Cynthia Carr) notices the pendant they had given Mari the day before around Junior's neck.Later that evening,she rummages through their luggage and finds blood-drenched clothing,and when she and her husband head out into the woods surrounding their house,they find their lifeless daughter's body on the shore of the lake.Oh yes,there will be revenge.Mrs. C. lures Weasel outside on the promise of rough sex,binding his arms behind his back,and bites his dick off in mid-fellatio.Dr. Collingwood sets up an electric shock trap while brandishing his trusty shotgun,but Krug escapes into the living room where he easily overpowers the middle-aged man.Just before he can add the doctor to his growing list of homicides,a dopesick Junior appears,wielding Krug's gun,with intent to shoot his own father,allowing the doctor to escape,while Krug psychologically destroys his mentally frail offspring,ordering him to blow his own brains out,which he does.By the time Krug notices the old man has disappeared,he reappears,with a revving chainsaw in tow.The bumbling sheriff,who had only existed for comic relief prior to this point,arrives on the scene just in time to beseech Collingwood not to dice Stilo into pieces,which he does anyway.Outside,Mrs. C. and Sadie have a good old fashioned catfight,which Sadie loses when the vengeful mother slits her throat in the family pool with her own stiletto.The couple reunite in the living room,and embrace,covered in blood.Indeed,the road led to nowhere. Krug,with mouth agape,slobbers on Mari's nape,mid-rape. Prior to cementing himself in history as one of the greatest cinematic bastards to ever grace the silver screen,Hess began his career as a songwriter,writing hits for Sal Mineo,Elvis Presley, Andy Williams,and Pat Boone(!!!),recording two solo lps before becoming the head of A & R at Mercury Records in 1969.His soundtrack for tonight's entry is incredible,to say the least,mixing vaudevillian slapstick with rich folk music,and adding to the insanity occuring on the screen.He's worked with Campanile,Craven,Deodato,Fassbinder,and recently,Eli Roth,as well as releasing two more albums,and starring in an upcoming remake of Ferrara's Driller Killer.People seem to think he is the bastard they see upon the screen,but I can honestly say he's one of the nicest guys I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.Lincoln,on the other hand,went on to direct some 289 adult films,produce 19,and act in 46,a member of the AVN Hall of Fame,scoring a Critic's Adult Film award for Best Director with 1984's aptly titled,Go For It.I'm green with envy,Fred.Rain went on to write and produce for NBC,having relationships with Bob Dylan,John Belushi,and John Savage,before marrying and later divorcing Academy Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss(!!!),with whom she has three children.We talk enough about Craven and Cunningham here that I shouldn't have to update you on their exploits.We wont go into the 2009 remake that Craven agreed to produce after seeing long dollars put in front of his face.The power of the original is in the verite' style the film was shot in,and the believability of the monstrous Stilo crew,whose grime and evil drip off the screen in every frame.There's no way anyone could recreate that,especially with a cast that looks like they just got done filming Dawson's fucking Creek.This is one of the greatest exercises in modern realistic horror cinema,and for being that,it merits four wops and comes with my highest recommendation. Like all great artists,Krug signs his work.
Happily all sorts of messed up tonight,droogs,cruising on a sottofasciasemplice playlist on my WMP,and enjoying smokes in the rocker in the cool night air.Self-medication is a necessary evil in these times of great collective apathy amongst otherwise stand up motherfuckers.I'm new to such a concept,always priding myself as a stand up and be counted kind of rascal over here,but I must say,I'm growing more and more used to the "Who gives a fuck?" mantra so prevalent in today's society.Luckily for you bastards,one of the things I still give a good,earth-shattering fuck about is serving you up regularly with the best and worst of the cult,horror,and exploitation genres of film.I may come off as a hardcore snob at times,or a caveman at others,and maybe I am both of those things,come to think of it,but I'd never steer you in the direction of a rancid ass-pie movie unless I forewarned you.If you were interested in seeing pics of Freddy Krueger's new fedora before anybody else,or hearing somebody blow smoke up the asses of the big studios over their recycled,unoriginal pap that they constantly camoflage as beluga caviar then expect you to clean your plate with a smile on your face,you're probably on the wrong blog.I love real horror fans far too much to ever sell out. Thankfully we're raising the bar on the rubber sea monster sweepstakes here at Castle Wop tonight,if only slightly.Progress is progress.I should probably explain that the titular Slithis suit is pretty damned choice for the time period,and my beef with this whole production is how little screen-time it clocks,when it should have been a lot more visible a lot earlier in the film.It's the rad monster suit,the original premise,and the insane performance of seventies genre film staple,Hy Pike,of "Dolemite","Lemora:The Lady Dracula",and of course,"Hack O Lantern",that saves the movie from the brink of total banality here.Otherwise,the action drags like the back half of the run-over squirrel in Ivan Marx's "Legend of Bigfoot",and it may take you two or three sittings to get through the whole thing without passing the fuck out like Grandpa at 5:30pm bedtime with a belly full of phenobarbital.And awaaaaay we go... Dead...puppies...aren't...much...fun. While two boys play frisbee along a canal in Venice,California,one of the lads discovers a pair of mangled dogs while chasing after a frisbee overthrow,which is a growing problem locally according to the radio news broadcasts(the dead dogs and the bad frisbeeing).That night another family mutt goes to that big fire hydrant in the sky,and when his family goes to check on him,they end up on the ethereal escalator themselves.The local police suffer from H.U.A.(heads up our asses) syndrome,banking on a murderous cult being responsible for the awful offings,thus leaving responsibility for saving mankind upon the shoulders of a high school journalism teacher(Alan Blanchard),of course.All the news reporters must've been picketing for shorter hours or something.Somehow the educator manages to tamper with a crime scene and visit the homes of the most recent victims,scoring himself a choice piece of evidence for examination.Mud,slime-covered,and tracked all over the house,which after analysis by the teacher's biologist buddy,Dr.John(Dennis Lee Falt),turns out to be an unusual mixture of radioactive inorganic and organic matter,the likes the doctor has never seen before,harkening him back to a story about a radiation leak twenty years earlier in Wisconsin causing irradiated lake mud to take on all the living microorganisms and form something completely different,which scientists of the day dubbed "Slithis".He surmises that the substance his friend has brought him,is somehow also Slithis,but unlike the earlier Wisconsin version which was immobile and harmless,this version must have blended with a higher organism,creating some sort of...homicidal monster.Makes sense. The spaghettios go in the mouth,buddy. Our two unlikely protagonists seek out one of the original scientists to discover Slithis,and pose the eternal question:Could Slithis join with a higher life form and mutate into a kill-crazy amphibious creature of some considerable-assed size?After the yes they knew they were gonna get,Connor hires a boat captain and a fakin' Jamaican diver(Mello Alexandria) to collect mud samples from the sea bottom around the power plant,to prove their Slithis theory once and for all.Meanwhile,the Slithis monster has upped his diet from domestic animals to human beings,and once Connors finally(really,finally.)has his scientific proof and corroborative stumblebum eyewitness testimony,he goes to the police,where the lieutenant(Pike) after much outrageous eyebrow-lifting,painful grimacing,and vocal inflections,(and cross-examination by a ..."police scientist".Yup.)tells the prof to hit the fucking bricks.What follows is a sequence that might remind some woprophiles of a 1975 Spielberg production,if Jaws actually sucked balls and Hooper was a black dude who affects the worst patois you've ever heard,and nothing much fucking happens for a long,drawn out periods of time.After slightly less time than it would take to sit through 1987's The Cure for Insomnia(which averages 5 out of 10 stars over at the imdb,have that many people actually sat through an 87 hour long movie?),the Slithis finally boards the vessel and dispatches two of the seafarers,leaving the high school teacher and the Jamaican to fend off the muck monster's slow-motion attack(which is twice as slow here than say,Gargoyles(1972)for some unknown reason).Screwdrivers,ship chains,shotguns,all prove futile as the Slithis tears open the negro to reveal what looks like strawberry marmalade.So that's what's inside those guys.After it pulls a dying-rasta-driven axe from itself,the teacher slams an anchor's fluke into its shoulder,which inexplicably scores fatality points,and kills the thing.Connors kicks the dead monster overboard,claiming it belongs in the sea,and as he's about to walk off into the cinematic sunset,our hero is grabbed by...yup,it wasn't dead,afterall.Windbag Californians-0,Slithis-1. "You're better looking than Farrah,baby." was heard a lot in 1978. In a hat tip to master showman William Castle,Slithis "survival kits" were handed out as part of the film's publicity campaign,which included vomit bags and 8" x 10"s.Another positive is the surprising amount of carnage and nudity showcased herein,especially for a movie that was released with a PG rating.Code Red recently released the film on dvd,after years of bootlegs floated around,and did a bang up job,indeed,cleaning up the $100,000 dollar monster movie shot in 16mm then blown up to 35mm,also including the memorable trailer.It's definitely worth a viewing or two if you can get past the gaping stretches of boredom within.On the scale,Slithis sees two wops from a vaselined up coke bottle lensed viewpoint,for effect,of course. Whutchoo tawkin 'bout,Slithis?!!
Move over Creature from the Black Lagoon and Monster of Piedras Blancas,there's a new rubbersuited amphibious sheriff in town.Well,maybe if the town had a population of like,five,that might work out.Zaat is by far the single greatest "mad-scientist-plans-species-domination-by-transforming-himself-into-a-human-walking-catfish" movie I have ever seen,bar none.Zaat is kinda like what it might be like to make "Black Lagoon" with no actors,and an overall budget of about seventy-five bucks.Some people might shy away from tackle a project of such epic proportions made for a week of factory pay shot over a period of three years,but not Don fucking Barton.Some directors might say to themselves,"You know,we've put some obvious dime store fangs into our creature costume,maybe we shouldn't let it clock too much on-screen time."Not Don fucking Barton.His lens lovingly follows the human walking catfish whether he's oafishly climbing out of the water like he's three sheets to the wind,or sluggishly swimming after his potential future catfish-frau,who could outswim the thing doing a one-handed backstroke.Andy Milligan himself might call Barton inept,were he alive to endure Barton's clumsy effort.Few films miss the mark so completely that they transcend the odor of their own stench,and entertain the way that Zaat does.If I had Barton in front of me(or you happen to be reading out there,DB),once I finished wiping the tears of laughter away,I'd have to ask him one question,that I'd expect him to answer totally honestly:Dude,what the fuck were you on and what the fuck were you thinking! It ain't every day you get CTFOed in your living room by a human walking catfish. After a snazzy folk song whose lyrics call for revenge on your friends(second only to Island of Death's catchy tune),we meet Dr. Leopold(Marshall Grauer),who has abandoned hope for the rest of the human race,and has produced a formula that will allow him to rise above his skeptical peers,mixing mankind with the perfect form of marine life,forever replacing hobbled old nutbags who shuffle around sparse laboratory sets all day.Whale?No.Shark?Nope.Dolphin?Uh uh.Killer Whale?Not even close.Those of you who said "human walking-catfish",what the hell are you on and what the hell is wrong with you!He explains this through an endless and introspective echo-heavy voice-over,with lines like,"Sargassum,the weed of deceit.Sargassum fish,the mighty hunter of the deep."Now I'm no ichthyologist by anyone's standards,but calling a four inch long frogfish the "mighty hunter of the deep",that there's crazy talk.Leopold consults a huge paper zodiac wheel of fish transformation and mating notes on the wall,that looks like it was drawn up by two teenaged high school chicks on bad acid with felt markers,and turns knobs and flicks switches on a lot of low-tech equipment that serve no purpose other than flashing lights and electronic noise.He looks at a lot of stock footage of fish from documentaries as though it was in the aquarium tanks in his lab,when it obviously isn't.He jabs a fake patch of skin that's supposed to be his own arm with a hypo full of his compound,Z sub a A sub T,or ZaAt,then submerges himself on a pulley-operated metal gurney into a large tank filled with the stuff.It's a tank of water,couldn't he just climb in and save himself the trouble?What comes out a few seconds later,well that's something else entirely. "I don't give a good goddamn what the zodiac wheel says,boy.We AIN'T compatible!" When Leopold gets a load of himself in the mirror,"Not at all like the catfish!" is a bit of an understatement.He looks like a rubbery,algae covered mix of seahorse and anteater with clear plastic eyes and bright red lipstick surrounding his dimestore plastic Dracula fangs.He immediately goes out and awkwardly swims amongst the octopi and sea turtles indigenous to most Florida lakes,squirting ZaAt into the water with his little red squirt bottle.Next on his human-walking catfish world domination to-do list is to eradicate his doubting Thomas colleagues which proves to be pretty easy,since there's only two of 'em,and they both seem to like to go fishing.In the meantime,he spots a comely young camper on the shore of the lake,who he later kidnaps,before failing miserably in attempt to turn her into a walking she-fish when his low tech equipment goes on the fritz,transforming her corpse into half seaweed,half dead bimbo in a yellow bikini.The sheriff,besieged by reports of catfish flopping around on the road and gasping for air,and hilarious shots of a walking catfish lunging forward on a miniature set complete with tiny fence to show scale,calls in the scientific duo from INPIT,or the Inter-Nations Phenomena Investigations Team.We know their credentials because of the logo on their camper,and their outta sight matching orange jumpsuits.Inexplicably we get no less than ten minutes of the sheriff grooving along to a group of young hippies playing folky guitar songs about Jesus,before he locks them all up in jail with no warning.ZaAt discovers he only has a plastic eye for the female INPIT team member,injecting her with the compound,but she is rescued before she can be lowered into the giant fry daddy,her male partners and the sheriff getting catfish scratch fever in the process.ZaAt makes for the ocean,cannisters of his formula in tow,and his would-be she-guppy follows behind in a trance-like state.I'd imagine I looked the same way when this movie finally ended,but for entirely different reasons. "What??ACTING serum??!!Noooooooo!!!" Appropriately,nobody involved here really ever did anything else involving movies(the sheriff was an extra in blaxploitation classic J.D.'s Revenge the next year,I'm one step ahead of you,Anon!),proving once again that the Gods occasionally smile down upon us.Also released as "Bloodwaters of Dr. Z" and "Hydra",this is one that has to be seen to be believed.If hokey,low-budget monster movies are your bag,then this is a Prada.ZaAt submerges itself in a pond,where air bubbles and one bw rise from every seam in its rubber suit. Unbelievably,the makers of "Zaat" used no CGI whatsoever for their realistic creature effects.