Sunday, June 30, 2013

R.I.P. Jim Kelly

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                                        05/05/46 - 06/29/13

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Spasms" (1983) d/ William Fruet

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For a genre nut like ol' Woppo, tonight's review first reared it's ugly head to me upon the grisly cover of Fangoria #28, with meaty gore effects by the master himself, Dick Smith. Having missed the theatrical run for whatever reason, I must've trolled the new release shelves of every video store in the valley for months before the clam shell Thorn-EMI VHS finally turned up...Oh, there will be spasms, as promised by the 1983 Fruet effort's ad campaign, but not as brought on by the potent neurotoxins of snake venom,  but instead catalyzed by the poisonous effect of a laughingly bogus screenplay as penned by Don Enright upon the viewer's sanity, compounded by a gimpy lead performance out of cult icon Oliver Reed, who inaudibly hisses most of his lines below whisper-level, and an even more shambling supportive effort from grindhouse vet Peter Fonda, who phones it in here, with missed marks and wooden deliveries a' plenty.

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"Hey Mr. Bubble, the way you tickle my vadge almost makes the UTI worth it!"
After a hokey-looking magic ritual around a bonfire, some ornately decorated abbo's are chased around by a tinted crane shot, (which we later find out is really the guardian to the gates of hell...ahem) we see some poachers capture a whole lotta nothing in their massive nets (translation: aforementioned shnakety-shnake) to be transported to the San Diego (translation: Toronto) estate of millionaire hunter and whisperer extraordinaire, Jason Kincaid (Reed), whose brother was killed by the reptile on a hunt years earlier. Kincaid was also bitten by the snake, but instead of dying from the venom, now shares a psychic link with the monster, seeing through it's eyes every time some curious jackass opens the refrigerated container the snake is being transported in, and eats fang-driven death, in the process. Kincaid enlists the services of one ridiculously named Dr. Brazilian (Fonda), a psychologist who agrees to study the strange phenomenon but quickly blames it all on the millionaire the second that plans go awry.

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"Sod all this deadly envenomatin' for a lark, Ollie, let's fuck off for a pint a'!"
Unknown to Kincaid and company, the snake is also highly coveted by the local sect of snake-worshipping Satanists(!), who are planning to steal the creature away at first opportunity. And when the container finally reaches the university, the cultists deftly snatch it under the cover of darkness, or rather simply open it up, freeing the snake to terrorize the campus with tinted snake POV-ferocity. Oops. After loosing Hell's fury upon the unsuspecting populace,  including the obligatory sorority house where foxy blondes may or may not be in the shower, the Satanists inexplicably disappear altogether from the film, leaving Brazilian and Kincaid to witness the boil-producing bladder effect aftermath of the snake's violence and face the damned thing on their own, using the hobbled hunter's mental link with it to track it down and end it's reign of latex terror. There you have it.

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...And finally, monsieur Creosote, a wafer-thin mint.
The soundtrack was provided by Tangerine Dream and this guy. I've heard everything from script revision to production funds running out before filming wrapped, as to the reason why this one stinks like a fart party fulla bean eaters. Either way, that sentence should well have provided you with the three main words you ought to have taken away from this summary: This, one, and stinks. One wop.

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"Psssshpsssssshpsssssssh.", whispers Jason Kincaid (Oliver Reed).
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

" The Legend of McCullough's Mountain" (1965) d/ Massey Cramer

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Rarely seen regional fare from the sixties and seventies like Ron n' June Ormond's "The Monster and the Stripper" or  Brad Grinter's "Blood Freak", offer cheap retro thrills n' chills by the drive-in carload, and tonight's review, a 1965 Massey Cramer cheapie geared towards kids starring early Georgia horror host Bestoink Dooley (an ultra-hokey alter ego of George Ellis) turned 'squatchploitation mockumentary by exploitation icon Donn"The Force Beyond" Davison eleven years later, is no exception. The brisk feature, also known as "Legend of Blood Mountain", and "The Demon Hunter", would become "Blood Beast of Monster Mountain" in Davison's mitts, a title that surely doesn't forget any of the groovy unexplained phenomena buzzwords of the occult-minded decade. The resulting headache-inducingly incoherent, cut n' paste mess is both insulting to fully developed adult brains and hilarious to behold, often at the exact same time...

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Bestoink Dooley(George Ellis). No, really, that's your male lead.
After a toe tappin' country title track, we meet self proclaimed "World Traveler, Lecturer, and Psychic Investigator", Donn Davison himself, giving polyester wood ape dissertation in front of a map full of strategic cut-out Bigfoot shapes (and sometimes just in front of some dynamite wood paneling), and even going into the field (translation: nearest state park) to interview eyewitnesses (translation: alcoholics) who've allegedly come face-to-face with the mythical man-ape. Then it's back to 1965, and after watching some drape with ketchup smeared on his face screaming like a chick, we're treated to the trials and tribulations of would-be reporter, Bestoink Dooley (Ellis), who looks like the result of some wise guy slapping lesser Stooges Shemp Howard and Joe Besser together. We watch him oafishly spill his boss' ashtray then crunch his fingers under one of his spats (what's with the spats, anyway?), eat cookies in bed, do some halfhearted calisthenics, and drive around in a convertible bolt-bucket, before embarking on the story of a lifetime on his day off (with his trusty pad and pencil, of course), to report on the mysterious goings-on on the legendary Blood Mountain.

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"As the nightfall fell, they smelled a foul-smelling smell. More double-entendre at eleven..."
As local folklore has it, when the mountain starts to bleed, it signals the appearance of a monster. Even after a drape geologist explains the strange phenomenon off as rust deposits (he receives a call confirming that it's blood only minutes after handing off the samples to an assistant, that's some quick work), Dooley still manages to pose the possibility of a monster's existence to him in much the same way a five year old might do it. Cut to some footage of apes at a zoo and more teleprompter speculation and antique Rooseveltian campfire stories from Davison. The monster, which kinda looks like a silhouette of Ted Nugent circa his late Dukes gigs, does show up, snuffs a beehived babe off-camera, and flops its arms around like a mid-70s kung fu extra in a mid-70s Philippines-shot cheapie, while backlit on an over-fogged set. In the end, Dooley somehow sets the beast on fire with an antique flamethrower, and it's not long before a flaming dummy falls limply over a cliff, where it no doubt joined my sanity, having endured seventy plus minutes of this.
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A couple of thigh scratches? She's a goner, for sure.
Groucho Marx's ex, Erin Fleming appears here, as does Kenny Rogers' ex-wife, Marianne Gordon. She probably shoulda known when to fold 'em. As primitive as a pair of bearskin knickers and lazy as a quaalude martini at a Stone Mountain picnic, this disaster, which plays like an early H.G. Lewis kiddie feature and looks as though it was edited with a weed whacker, only registers on the scale at all due to the shlocky nostalgic value it holds, and major props are indeed due to the folks at Something Weird for making sure trashy oddities like this never disappear. Still, medicate yourself heavily before you sit down to watch this one, believe me, it couldn't hurt the experience. Uno Wop-po.

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"Laugh at my spats, will ya ?!!!?"
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

"The House by the Lake" (1976) d/ William Fruet

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Tonight we focus on another rape/revenge number from our northern brethren of the back bacon and golden toques variety (four pounds worth and five, respectively), the sophomore effort from director William Fruet (who would go on to helm such cult genre fare as Funeral Home (1980) and 1983's Spasms), as produced by Ivan Reitman, fresh from Cannibal Girls(1973) and Cronenberg's They Came From Within (1975). Brenda Vaccaro stars as the plucky heroine run afoul of a particularly scuzzy bunch of road hogs, as led by a convincing Don Stroud who runs the goon gamut from common wise ass to gun-toting psycho with ease here. I still remember the re-release on a triple bill with Last House on the Left and House on the Edge of the Park in the early eighties, you know, back when they still did cool things like that.

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"Whattaya mean you don't wanna see a Don Knotts movie ?!!? We are going to see 'Gus', goddamn it !!"
Diane (Vaccaro) is a model who's about to embark on what she thinks will be a groovy get-together at a young doctor's decked out digs, but her date turns out to be a Sneaky Pete pervert of an oral surgeon named Harry (Chuck Shamata) whose impressive bachelor lay out is rife with two way mirrors, and worse still, she's just made a mortal enemy in a denim scuzz leadfoot named Lep (Don Stroud) and his three unwashed cohorts by outdriving them on a country road in Harry's convertible Corvette. "Jesus, that broad can drive...that pisses me off!" ,  grunts Lep. After dropping the 'vette off with two local toothless shine-addicted Bufords at the gas station, the duo excuse themselves for the weekend. While the band of denim brigands hunt down the couple, Harry shows Diane an unpleasant, selfish side that turns her off, and after discovering that she was his only guest, calls it quits prematurely.

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First word...sounds like sideways tracheotomy?
Of course, Lep and company show up at the doorstep and muscle their way inside as Harry's guests for the weekend. The thugs drink booze, smoke reefer, and abuse Harry and Diane, when they aren't drunkenly running over the gas station hayseeds with the surgeon's speedboat in the lake. Soon, Harry's secret perv stash of illicit photos is uncovered, his date is sexually assaulted, he's physically beaten by Lep's booze-soaked sidekicks, but he doesn't go for his gun until the men begin trashing his expensive belongings, earning himself a shotgun blasted face for his selfish vanity. Meanwhile, Diane begins on her destructive path of vengeance, cutting throats with broken glass, blowing up boat houses, and sinking henchmen in quicksand (doesn't it seem like every movie had somebody eating it in quicksand in the seventies? I dunno)
before her final square off against Lep. A policeman investigates the ruins of the gas station and disappears. Nice one, you hoser. In the end, she hotwires a Jeep with Harry's corpse in the front seat and treats Lep like a grinning human rumble strip. Inexplicably, she stops afterwards to remember how Lep touched her and smiled in a flashback. Only in the seventies, I tell ya...

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That's what you get for being a great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jelly, Harry.
You can sift through the well composed frames of this one and find a little bit of  many other films of its ilk, from Straw Dogs(1970) to Last House, but it still offers solid performances by Vaccaro, Stroud, and  Shamata, and I had to appreciate the nuance of the multiple scumbag angle, though the ending was as typically poorly thought out as the films it surpasses, otherwise. On the scale, a respectable deuce for a seedy Canadian cult classic. Worth a look.

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Excuse me, but it looks like you've stepped into a seventies B-movie cliche'.
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Friday, June 21, 2013

"Prophecy" (1979) d/ John Frankheimer

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1979 was a good year for monstrous eggs in horror movie advertising, as evidenced by the provocative one sheet art for tonight's review, a schizophrenic slice of late seventies eco-horror from director John Frankheimer, the man responsible for such memorable films as The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Black Sunday (1977). While the other egg-vertised genre feature that year, Ridley Scott's Alien, did over a hundred million in box office business, the Canadian-made Prophecy managed to pull in fifty four million dollars itself, a respectable draw considering the self-proclaimed monster movie's inability to juggle serious social and environmental issues with it's man-in-a-goofy-rubber-mutant-bear/half-chewed gum-monster-suit pay off.
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Maggie(Talia Shire), Rob(Robert Farnsworth), and Ise-ly(Richard Dyshart), on a routine expedition...
After seeing some rescue team members die some horrible off-camera deaths at the bottom of a ravine, we're introduced to the Verne's. Robert (Farnsworth) is a doctor who's trading in the frustration of urban sprawl for a job with the Environmental Protection Agency, while his wife Maggie (Shire) accompanies him on his first assignment reporting on a logging camp in Maine where the loggers as led by one Bethel Isley (Richard Dysart) have been feuding with the nearby First Nation tribe as led by one John Hawks (Armand Assante). Isley blames his rescue team disappearance on the natives, while the natives attribute the incident to Katahdin, a protective forest spirit that has been awakened by the loggers' ecological carelessness. After an anti-climactic chainsaw v axe fight, a huge mutant salmon swallowing a duck, and a schitzed out raccoon attack, Hawks fills the Verne's in on all the stillbirths, birth defects, and mental illness that have plagued his people of late, and they meet his grandfather (George Clutesi), who feels no pain and notes that Katahdin is part of everything in God's creation, before his son nets a softball-sized tadpole to illustrate their sordid tale. At the paper plant, Maggie's boots turn up trace mercury deposits...

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The last time I saw bears looking this jacked up, it was right after THIS.
The Nelson's, a family who've been camping in the woods, are set upon by what looks like an enormous female grizzly bear that rolled halfway through a whole mess o' chewed gum, and violent death ensues. Or a pillow fight, I'm not exactly sure at this point. The deaths are blamed on the First Nationers (of course), until Dr. Verne uncovers huge scratches on the trees during the investigation of the site, and Maggie one up's him, by finding two horribly mutated bear cubs, one of which is still alive, in a poacher's net. Verne plans on bringing the live cub to the authorities as evidence, but high winds start whipping around, keeping their chopper grounded, forcing them to hike to the elder tribesman's tee pee homestead. Maggie comes clean about her pregnancy and ingestion of contaminated fish, just as the affected animals they've encountered had. Yeah.You might not wanna go messin' 'round with bear cubs, guys, knowing their pissed off n' disfigured momma isn't gonna take kindly to your knee jerk, too late. Katahdin shows up, head chomping and paw-swatting greedy palefaces and superstitious indians alike, until the doctor and his wife alone, are left to cross the river and evade the berserk bubblegummy bear. Robert manages to drown the cub after it chews on matriarchal Maggie's neckpiece, and eventually stabs the last life out of it's arrow pin cushion mother, who sinks limply to the bottom of the river like the hokey latex suit she was. As the couple leave, flying over the area, the audience is treated to...another phony latex mutant rearing it's ugly prop head, as the credits roll. If you didn't see that coming, get your eyes checked.

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Camper or down pillow? You make the call.
Frankheimer claims that the movie failed to live up to it's potential, in part, due to his rampant alcoholism at the time of filming. Fair enough. For me, Prophecy has enough unintentional laughs and snicker-worthy goopy creature effects to avoid goose eggs on the scale, and makes for an interesting-if-not-entirely-satisfying flick on those boring mid-week evenings. Just make sure you're partied up enough to appreciate it beforehand, otherwise, you might catch yourself sawing logs before the campy final reel. One wop.

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When Statler and Waldorf greeted his corny jokes with raw meat, Fozzie's act suddenly went Grand Guignol.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Willie Dynamite" (1974) d/ Gilbert Moses


Pimpy day

keepin the johns well-laid

On my way to where the macks are sweet

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to

Willie Dynamite's street?

...Yeah, sorry, I couldn't resist.

Quit eyein' up the fabric, ain't makin' muppets out the muthafucka!
Out of all the New York pimps, Willie Dynamite (Orman) is number two, though if one gauged a pimp's mackaframalama by the loud threads he wears or the chromed down purple Caddy he drives, then Willie D. is a pimp among pimples. Motherfucker's clothes are so loud, if you spend too much time looking at one of his outrageous get up's, you'll get a p.s.h.(permanent shift of hearing, can you dig it?). With the pigs comin' down hard on the city's players, a mackin' committee convenes over the heavy situation where the pimpin' King and Willie's main rival, Bell (Roger Robinson), suggests the flesh peddlers all share turf to lessen the economic blow, but Dynamite chooses to face the heat directly, pimpadocious cat that he no doubt sho' nuff do be.  As the old saying goes, pimpin' ain't easy, and Willie learns first hand the truth behind such a sentiment when his Caddy gets towed, Pashen (Joyce Walker), his afro-wigged trick, gets pinched, and to make matters worse, Cora (Diana Sands), the local social do-goodnik, lays a heavy moral trip on our trick-slappin' daddy, who tells her he'd rather rape a watermelon (!!) than her self-righteous ass.

Only five of these tricks is Oscar's, the other's up in this bitch for his pet worm.
Things go from bad to "You gotta be shittin' me, Jack!" for Willie, as his whole stable of bitches get collared and herded into a box truck. Save the paddy wagon for those two bit hamburger pimps, baby. With the D on the ropes, Bell tries putting the mackin' squeeze on him, and ends up naked in the Bronx (talk about revolting developments...) for his efforts. Despite his best attempts, karma puts it's good foot straight up Willie's polyester-clad ass sideways, anyway in the end. When Willie's top money earner, Honey (Norma Donaldson) tries to muscle some of Bell's girls off of Willie's turf, she gets a neck-mouth for her troubles, and Cora gets all of D's bank accounts frozen like an old cat's stroke-ridden grill. After the local detectives chase Willie all over the Bronx (firing their weapons indiscriminately, mind you) and his bitches get arrested again, with Pashen taking a natural prison ass whooping, some of Bell's homeboys beat the shit out of the luckless player, who gets arrested himself afterwards! Finally, after his heartbroken moms keels over dead at his arraignment (!!!) and he watches a tow truck remove his pimped out set of wheels, he briefly joins in on some neighborhood kids' football toss, and walks off towards a new, less stressful future.

"Why you escalatin' the price of cognac on a brothah, Mr. Hooper?"
Once you've exhausted all the Sesame Street and wardrobe jokes you could possibly make about tonight's effort (don't look at me, man,  I NEVER run outta cornball jokes. They say some of the things I write should end up as dialog in movies, but they're wrong, as anyone with half a mind could tell you: It all should. Haha!), you'll end up with a fairly gripping urban drama, with little if any glorification of the prostitution/pimping biz to be found within. In fact, after you're finished screening Willie, you might come to realize you didn't just watch the run of the mill 70's blaxploitation flick, and see it for the highly watchable downer it really is, well deserving of three big ones. Recommended.

When Willie (Roscoe Orman) ain't  pimpin', he doubles as a baton in a marchin' band, dig?
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Monday, June 17, 2013

"Age of Consent" (1969) d/ Michael Powell

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One surefire cure for Monday that might have you dreaming of faraway posh locales and sun-soaked goddesses is tonight's entry,  from British director Michael Powell who gave us the excellent Peeping Tom nine years earlier, and starring two of my favorites, James Mason and Helen Mirren, a statuesque blonde in her first major role, who really strikes a fatal blow against my 'brunettes are better' argument here in a significant way. Not usually the type of thing we'd normally look at, but as someone who confessedly has been into Helen's work for a long time I can say without reservation: If you're a big fan, this film will make you a bigger fan. Nudge, nudge. Snap, snap. Grin grin, wink wink, say no more?

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There's a Moray Eel joke I'd make here if I were a lesser man...
Celebrated artist, Brad Morahan (Mason), jaded by his success in the Big Apple, returns to his native Australia to re-ignite the passion he once had for his craft on the suggestion of his agent, but after a week long roll in the hay with a lady friend (Clarissa Kaye, who would later become his wife), his old buddy Nat (Jack McGowran) who's well behind in alimony payments makes the scene, borrows money, and tries to siphon Brad's cool to pull a few birds, to boot. Deciding that isolation is key, Brad sets up in a dilapidated shack on the far end of a sandbar of a small, mostly uninhabited island on the Great Barrier Reef with....Godfrey, course. (You're gonna have to insert your own breathy dramatic Mason pauses from here on out, folks, the novelty has already worn thin for me). It isn't long before his beach combing, barefootin', n' boatin' is interrupted by Cora Ryan (Mirren), a wild, young blonde (who fishes the reef with her big tits and sticky fingers) who's pilfered his groceries and more recently, a neighboring spinster's chicken, and when Bradley's suspected as the culprit, he pays for the poultry on the promise that Cora not steal anymore. As an added incentive to help the girl realize her dreams of being a hairdresser in Brisbane someday, he pays her to model for him, as well. Half a dollar an hour, too.Imagine, renting Helen Mirren for eight hours for four bucks. You know, I'm not Edgar Cayce, but I'll bet this passionate young creature is exactly what ol' Brad needed in the first place...

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The Great Barrier Reef is home to great big tits, errr, triggerfish. Triggerfish.
At this point, Nat shows up on Brad's shackstep looking for a loan to keep the cops off his back and ends up staying. When he tries to seduce the spinster next door for money, she goes for it, after which he expeditiously breaks camp, jacking Brad's money, and even some of his ...drawrings, as well(There I go again). Things get worse when Cora's gin-sucking hick grandma catches her posing in the buff for the older man, accusing him of getting Nugent with her until he parts with the last of his cash to make the accusations disappear like her granddaughter's clothes. When Cora finds out that 'Ma' (Neva Carr-Glynn) has found her tucked away hairdresser bucks, a chase ensues and then a struggle, and finally, drunken old sot tumbling down the hill and eating broken neck death. After the notorious lush's death is ruled accidental, that night Cora goes to Brad's shack but when he shows only professional interest in her, she disappointedly dashes out into the water. He follows her, and in the end, sees her for what she really is...

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"I wish I could see how Brad's painting is turning out," said nobody ever.
Dame Helen Mirren, as magnificent a physical specimen (you may need a lobster bib while watching this one) as she is a gifted actress, surely steals the show; director Powell's take on Shakespeare's The Tempest with Mason opposite Mia Farrow was to follow, but lack of funding marked it's premature end. Though Mason's Aussie accent here sounds mostly artificial, overall, he's good as always. Even if this mid-life crisis-turned-unlikely romance stuff sounds like a lotta hooey to ya, at the forty-five minute mark, there's a scene that makes it all worth while, even to callous-hearted sons a' bitches like ol' Woppo. "Coragio, bully-monster, coragio!" Three biggies.

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Frankly, even the Sand-Helen has my pulse racing, folks.
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Friday, June 14, 2013

"Demon of Paradise" (1987) d/ Cirio Santiago

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Filipino director Cirio Santiago produced a prolific number of genre movies out of his native Manila during the seventies and eighties, tackling everything from blaxploitation (Savage!, T.N.T. Jackson) to W.I.P. flicks (The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage) during his heyday, and the guy wasn't exactly averse to Jaws rip-offs, either, having co-produced the awful Up From the Depths in 1979, before duplicating that same movie himself in the director's chair eight years later with even worse results.For Paradise, Santiago replaces Depths' surfboard with teeth for the baggy, rubbery bastard stepchild of ZAAT and Godzilla. If your appreciation for Bud Westmore's Gill Man from Creature From the Black Lagoon(1954) has lost enthusiasm over time, just compare it to the embarrassingly corny, ill-fitting monster suit from tonight's review, thirty-three years later.
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He looks pretty content. "Dismemberment by prehistoric lizard-man" must've topped his bucket list.
After some foolhardy dynamite fishermen awaken Akua, a carnivorous lizard-man from the Triassic Period, as lazily explained by Annie (Kathryn Witt), the resident herpetologist, the saggy-looking denizen of the deep stakes a rubbery claim off the waters of Kihono, Hawaii...or the Philippines,  if you have functional eyes. She claims the light-sensitive beast, a missing link between reptiles and man(!), feeds nocturnally, which would explain the first two attacks occurring in broad daylight. Keefer (William Steis) is the new tackle vest-wearing sheriff in town, burnt out from the 'psychotic bullshit' he was forced to deal with in Reno, now forced to deal with the smiling corpses of Hawaiian (translation:Filipino) fisherman that have been turning up. Standing in the way of the investigation is a resort owner (translation:home owner with an abundance of cheap lawn furniture) named Cahill (Laura Banks) who not only scoffs at the notion of a monster terrorizing her Flip busload of tourists, she exploits the legend with the help of an obnoxious journo with an afro named Ike (Frederick Bailey, who wrote this nonsense), when she isn't overacting her way through gem dialog like, "Take a hike, spaz ass!".

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Everybody's all smiles when the boobs come out.
Despite doing little more than popping out of the water and limply clawing/waving at people from a safe distance, Akua does possess the uncanny ability to make things explode, like boats, makeshift dynamite factories on the waterfront, and even full-size helicopter replicas full of National Guardsmen (translation: extras in outdated army gear) who light sticks of dynamite off of cigarettes in an air assault against the watery demon. There's a skinny cokehead model (Leslie Huntly) who breaks her bobblers out, overused fog machines, a Filipino Charlie Sheen lookalike, a police shootout with some dynamite dealers, and a 'Monster Egg' hunt at the resort before our expressionless heroes corner Akua outside a cave, where Annie fires tranquilizer darts into the monster's rubber yap from an impossibly hokey-looking gun contraption, but ultimately, soldiers well-placed grenades blow the beastie into pieces. Annie remarks about lizards regenerating their tails as the end credits roll. They wouldn't dare...

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"Keep still, Kardashian, this penicillin  is for your own good!"
You'll remember Kathryn Witt from several television appearances and roles in features like Looker (1981), Star 80 (1983), Philadelphia (1993), and wonder what the hell she was doing in this rancid pile of shit. Laura Banks was uncredited as Khan's navigator in the second Star Trek picture, if that means anything to you. The unintentional laughs here are numerous, as you'd expect, but the whole affair crawls along like a worm on the hot sidewalk in mid-July. If it has any value whatsoever, it's probably the feeling it'll give you to go off and watch a better movie to help you forget it. One wop.

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Not too shabby, and by that, I mean just shabby enough.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Jason X" (2001) d/James Isaac

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A glimpse across the almighty interwebz tubes will tell you that a lot of critics and Friday the 13th "purists" (Save yer blind fanboy backlash, I know where you're coming from. I, too, was thirteen once...) hate this entry, the tenth in the series,  for a myriad of  reasons, the most 
preeminent being how far from the franchise formula the movie deviated. If you're unfamiliar with said formula despite having read my previous nine F13th reviews,  it involves sex-starved teenaged morons poking around a certain lake where any number of murders have been committed by an indestructible deformed mongoloid zombie in a hockey goalie mask. That's just about it, in a nutshell. And, if  by chance you weren't paying attention at the outset of the review,  X means 'ten'. I'll let you think about that while we get to the syn-wop-sis.

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"Now you've got the same range of facial expression as Keanu Reeves!", sez Jason (Kane Hodder).
In the future year of 2008 (when a horrible band named Coldplay would become inexplicably popular), the American government has finally captured the prolific maniac, Osam-uhh, Jason Voorhees (Hodder), holding him at a research facility built on Crystal Lake itself. Two years later (music's gotten worse, too), they decide upon freezing him to further study his inhuman cell regeneration rate when he busts the fuck loose like Janet's nipple at the Super Bowl, killing soldiers and David Cronenberg-in-a-cameo in inventively brutal ways before a young scientist named Rowan (Lexa Doig) lures the lumbering monster into a nearby cryogenic chamber, getting herself shanked and frozen in the process. Fast forward to the year 2455. The members of Coldplay are all finally dead. Unfortunately, so is Earth, whose polluted soil is visited upon by a field trip of students (from 'Earth Two', naturally) with their professor, who stumble upon the ruins of the research center and the frozen scientist and her giant hockey masked attacker, which they bring back to their ship for further inspection. Upon the 'Grendel' are a few more horny, stoned teenagers and a hot redheaded android with no nipples named Kay-Em14 (Lisa Ryder). You see where they're going here, don't you?

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"No, no, I wanted  you to have nipples, Kay-Em14 (Lisa Ryder)! It's the vocal chords I wanted you to get rid of..."
The crew of misfits manages to thaw out both the young woman and Voorhees, who proceeds to plough through victims in his typically inventive and violent m.o. ( liquid nitro-frozen faces smashed into pieces on counter tops, skewering on giant screws, etc.), destroying two ships and forcing the survivors to take refuge on a rescue shuttle, until a weapon/skill updated Kay-Em finally blasts him into an unrecognizable pile of smoldering flesh. Of course, the corpse lands atop a medical station, which malfunctions, sending nanites out to repair the serial killer's remains, and wouldn't you just know it, the result is the new and improved muscle-laden cyborg Uber-Jason who punches Kay-Em's head off for her folly. After breaching the hull with his fist(!) which sucks one poor chick screaming out into space, the remaining crew create a virtual Crystal Lake, complete with topless bubbleheaded e-victims(!) to pacify the killer, while they repair the damage to their craft from the outside. A pantoon explosion hurls the chromed-out psycho through space at the survivors, but he is intercepted by the resilient sergeant-in-space suit, and both plummet into Earth Two's atmosphere and burn up. On the planet's surface, two teens watch a falling star, as the charred Uber-mask sinks to the bottom of the lake. Cue: Ki ki ki ma ma ma...

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As absurd as it is, you gotta admit this is pretty cool.
So what, if anything, have we learned from all this? Apparently, Jason Voorhees should stay on present day Earth, slaughtering interchangeably stupid people in inventive ways on the same tract of land around the same lake, forevermore. And woe to James Isaac and company for injecting slightly new bloody, sexy life into the series, undervaluing itself through humor and cleverly acknowledging it's own many flaws, but mainly because they didn't do the exact same thing with the same exhausted material that the previous crews did. Except that, I actually dug it, and found myself more entertained with it than any F13th flick dating back to Part Six, giving it the respectable deuce for it's effort. Those of you who like your horror franchise flicks the same way that McDonald's processes the pink meat paste into McNuggets will disagree, no doubt...

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"There's one or two things missing from this picture", said my hands.
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