Friday, February 25, 2011

BLOOD FRENZY (1987) - a trip to the desert with Lisa Loring and a rogue's gallery of nutballs

Here's the opening scene with that fucking Jackoff in a box.

Quick question, dear reader. You are walking down the street and spot a leper coming towards you. Do you…

A. Keep walking normally and act as if nothing is out of the ordinary, thereby lying to yourself and others in order to maintain the illusion of a polite society.

B. Immediately cross the street to get to the other side of the sidewalk, taking a detour to avoid this freak.

C. Pretend to trip into the leper, knocking him into oncoming traffic, hoping that the impact will send limbs flying off in all directions, like the time you set off a cherry bomb inside of a Mr. Potato Head doll.

Regardless of your reaction to the above situation, you will be exposed as the asshole you truly are. It is merely a question of type and degree. Are you the kind of asshole that tries to pretend otherwise (A.)? The kind that tries to avoid any situation that may reveal you to be an asshole (B.)? Or, the kind of asshole that thinks “I am my own god, the world is my playpen, and any sick impulse is a strand worth pursuing” (C.)? This exercise illustrates what I refer to as the “asshole index”. Blood Frenzy is the story of a psychiatrist that thinks isolating forms of “assholiness” within a group setting will allow these forms to be defeated, thereby circumventing the asshole index altogether. Unsurprisingly, it just leads to dead bodies and a lot of yelling.

Blood Frenzy comes to us from our friends at "Hollywood Family Entertainment Video", who warmly inform us of the carnage ahead by printing stills of every single murder on the back of the box. I suppose if you’re a family living in Hollywood, reenacted scenes of bloody carnage are the least of your worries, what with hookers running around hopped up on speedballs. Maybe the entire point of these direct-to-video gore films, that is, to assault the viewer with rubbery murders, is lost on the filmmakers. Perhaps they weren’t yet comfortable in this format (director Hal Freeman’s not-so-varied filmography mostly includes movies like Stiff Magnolias, which is neither about gardening nor arthritis).

Anyway, the opening scene establishes the cinematic pattern here-in. A munchkin plays with his jack-in-the-box while his drunken father is killed by a slicing hoe to the throat. This jack-in-the-box/bloody stabbing combo is repeated throughout, possibly as a comment on the repressed horrors of childhood and how they manifest themselves through explosively fake murders later on in life.

In the mean time, our resident pioneering psychiatrist, who employs “experimental methods” and “has her detractors”, decides that the best way to cure a group of asshole crazies is to take them on a RV trip to the Mojave Desert and let them yell at each other. These characters all represent sub-Freudian hang ups in an awesome collection of one-dimensional characters.
You have the slut, the drunk, the asshole, the frigid girl, the Vietnam vet, and Lisa Loring (Wednesday from The Addams Family) portraying the bitchy lesbian (who is diagnosed with “bitterness”, presumably because the phrase “screaming dyke” may come across as insensitive). Every line of dialogue and action is intended to convey these respective stereotypes. The drunk might ask for a Budweiser. The slut rubs up against men at every turn. The frigid one keeps saying “I don’t like being touched!”. The asshole engages in repeated verbal facsimiles of “I am an asshole! If you don’t like it, you can go fuck yourself!”. The vet says things like “I remember that gook boy‘s eyes!” while stock bullet and helicopter sounds litter the soundtrack. Oh yeah, and Lisa seems awfully “bitter” about something or other.

Anyone could be the killer because everyone is certifiably nuts. Unrepentant and widespread insanity is always convenient in a slasher because it usually means you don’t have to come up with some stupid motive. Lisa Loring sums it up best by saying “since when does a psycho need a reason?”. The RV in a desert plot reminds one of
The Hills Have Eyes, but really, Blood Frenzy is the blandest, most unappetizing, most one-dimensional appropriation of Ten Little Indians that could possibly be concocted for the silver screen (or, more to the point, scant number of VHS copies). Ugly and bland, like watching someone eat moldy styrofoam, with the desert’s mystery and beauty rendered non-existent through the power of butt ugly cinematography and repeated lapses in matching exposures. They might as well have filmed it with a camcorder, staged on a pile of dirt. The score doesn’t help matters, sounding like a dying synth bird slowly coughing up its own lungs, while a fake, tone deaf Ry Cooder fucks around on his dime store acoustic.

After most everyone is killed off within the jack-in-the-box song/murder framework mentioned earlier, Lisa and her toothless retard brother are revealed to be the killers. This leads to the film’s saving grace; a bloody orgy of screechy, twist-endy nonsense. I wasn’t exactly paying attention, but I think she killed her father at the beginning of the movie in order to protect her brother, and their psychoses melded with the truly horrifying melodies of that jackoff-in-the-box. This would seem to be less a “reason” than an excuse.

I suppose the other saving grace of the “film” is Lisa Loring, what with her bitterly convincing concoction of frizzy hair, dominatrix-esque black eyeliner, and take-no-guff, dyke powered ferociousness. Her wildcat posturing and catty deliveries keep this thing chugging along until the pretty good twist ending that I completely gave away in the previous paragraph. Blood Frenzy and Iced were Lisa’s comeback pictures, proving once again that direct-to-video slashers can’t be used as career boosts and springboards to greater fame and fortune (unless you want to get into porn, or become a really famous hooker). However, the film may succeed as a theoretical model for aspiring psychoanalysts, assuming they’re too busy huffing glue to open a textbook.

p.s. Since I reviewed Iced, it only felt natural to include a piece on Blood Frenzy, as the two are basically companion pictures. Consider it my homage to Lisa and/or Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ICED (1988) - putting bros before hoes on the ski slopes will make a dead homie go "ah, hell noes!"

VHS cover yo. Old Skool is the only way. Considering it was released direct to VHS and promptly forgotten, it's REALLY the only way.

Slightly cracked schlub Jeff invites a girl on a ski trip with his friends, but she starts getting frisky with one of the other dudes (not cool bro). Jeff naturally challenges him to a skiing duel, which he promptly loses, as he is, quite frankly, hot garbage on the slopes. His one true love goes off to have sex with his now arch nemesis, and Jeff uses this opportunity to get drunk and hit the slopes again (not for another duel, but rather for therapeutic purposes). He crashes head first into a rock, orange visor and all, (in a charming bit of slapstick) and is presumed dead.

Four years later, these same asshole friends (minus Jeff) get together for another skiing trip. Unfortunately for them, somebody wearing a cracked orange visor (for POV shots they just stick the visor on the camera lens like some retarded version of 3-D) is killing them off with skiing-related implements (like a snow plow, for example). This may tie it in to the earlier incident, considering Jeff’s orange visor was cracked in the skiing accident. But maybe I’m jumping to conclusions.

So, a skier loses his girl to his skiing buddy, which leads to a skiing duel, which he loses, which leads to him ski alone, which causes his supposed death, which leads to a series of ski related murders at a ski resort. While earlier films Blood Tracks and Satan’s Blade flirted with the idea of a ski slasher, Iced, the ne plus ultra of this sub sub-genre, really runs with the idea, right into a snow drift of cocaine, failing and achieving victory in equal measure.

As in Blood Frenzy (which is the trailer trash cousin to Iced), it is Wednesday from The Addams Family (Lisa Loring with giant, teased hair) that provides the thespian spark to keep the film afloat. Look no further than the scene where she is soaking in a hot tub, doggedly pursuing her goal of clean, soapy mammary glands, when our killer happens upon her. Suspense is ratcheted up a notch while the killer is presented with two obvious options:

1. Grab a bar of soap and assist Lisa with her scrubbing chore.
2. Take photographs and sell them on eBay.

Our killer, cracked psyche and all, goes off the charts, choosing none of the above and instead throwing a space heater into the tub, electrocuting poor Wednesday in her Sunday best.

Although I don’t want to give away the identity of the killer (honestly I don’t even remember who it was), I cannot sit idly by and not make mention of the superlative second twist ending. Flash forward five years. The naïve schmoe in us assumes all is well. The surviving couple leads an idyllic life, represented by their kids building a big snowman in the front yard. Lo and behold, the snowman starts to bleed from the eye socket. Suddenly, the killer skier (wearing skis, mind you), bursts out of the snowman, ready to unleash another scourge of ice cold unwholesomeness.

His psyche was so far gone that he could not even comprehend his own death during the first twist ending. Instead, he found the future couple’s home and hid underneath the front lawn for five years. He waited for a snowman to be built over top of where he lay, and then preceded to saw through the snowman so he could fit into its shell (without having it crumble or arising suspicion). When the moment was least expected, their lives most idyllic, the pain of past trauma seemingly erased, he leaps out, continuing his ski-implement assisted slaughter on a suburban street in broad daylight.

No jury would ever believe a story like that! It’s perfect! BWAAAA HAAA HAA HAA!!!

FROZEN (2010) - another reason not to go skiing, on top of the fact that I am horrible at skiing and am deathly afraid of dying in cold isolation

Most ski lifts are frankly rickety pieces of shit. They occasionally stop without warning, forcing people to wait in terror while a dude making minimum wage attempts to fix whatever part of the archaic belt and pulley system happens to be fucked up. Many of us in this post X-Games world have experienced this, but the results are usually more awkward and annoying than truly horrifying.

Frozen presents a unique spin on the phenomenon, as three young people are stuck on a ski lift because they were left behind after the ski resort was closed down, and not because the lift is shitty and archaic (although it is). Being stuck ANYWHERE after it closes must be scary as balls. Imagine being locked in a mall after closing and unable to escape. Even though there’s the promise of awesome fun, like being able to browse the Sharper Image store without being pressured by slimebag salesmen, or a free run at any unholy Cinnabon of your choice (maybe the Satanbon, or the 7 lb. Chernobylbon), you’re probably going to be scared shitless, trapped within such a hopeless consumer environ.

The film combines these two fears to create a smart horror gimmick. A couple of times a year, there’s a surprise hit horror movie that introduces a new slant on familiar material. You know, like “remember Saw? Well, this is just like Saw, except IT TAKES PLACE AT A CLOWN COLLEGE!” Or, “remember Scream? This is just like Scream EXCEPT IT TAKES PLACE AT A SCHOOL FOR ELVIS IMPERSONATORS!!!”. You get the idea. The best thing I can say about Frozen, the occasional wart notwithstanding, is that the combination of gimmicks presented are based in things that are actually frightening, as opposed to merely things that are gimmicky, if you follow.

For me personally, I think I would invite such gross negligence against my persons by a ski resort. After all, most of them are swimming in privileged white cash, like a Scrooge McDuck, and such a punitive oversight would lead to a multi-million dollar settlement and a ticket on the gravy train, where the stewardesses massage your feet for free. Of course, I would have to survive this endeavor, but, unlike the three young people featured in the film, I have seen the movie Tango and Cash. Therefore, I know to immediately take my belt off, flex my pecs a bit (for the ladies), and use the belt to slide down the cable to safety.

Hopefully this scene from Tango and Cash is realistic in it’s portrayal of belt and cable physics. Otherwise, I’m pretty much fucked, what with the freezing cold, and oncoming snow flurries, and the height between the lift and the ground, not to mention the supreme isolation. One character decides to jump down to safety, but unwisely tries to land on both legs, snapping them like twigs. Remember kids, if you have to fall from a high distance, use your shoulder to break the fall and try to roll into it. You’ll probably shatter your arm, but you can at least walk away to safety. There are also some wolves that pop in and start eating someone, which I find a bit unbelievable (a lupus ex machina, perhaps), but maybe these are really smart wolves that know that if they hang around a ski resort long enough, some tasty human will break a leg, and a 200 lb. dinner will, in effect, be served.

If all of this sounds grim, that is, three people hanging above a sisyphean mountain, unable to so much as roll a boulder as they rot through with frostbite, there is some actual levity to be had. Granted, most of the “funny” dialogue is not very funny, perhaps a realistic portrait of young people attempting to divert attention from the hopelessness of their situation with smart alecky asides. However, there is one genuinely funny joke uttered by a character, namely, “what did the 14 year old New Hampshire girl say to her dad when she lost virginity? Get off me, you’re crushing my
Malboros.” Every great joke has a serious lesson, and the lesson here is…kids, please, don’t smoke. You’ll be ever consumed by tar and nicotine, to the point where you won’t even notice when your dad is raping you. Also, you’ll get cancer and die, and dying of cancer is even sadder than being forced to push a big rock up a mountain. At least with the latter you’re getting some exercise and fresh air.

P.S. Written as part of the final girl film club over at Final Girl. Here is a link, and from there you can click on Stacie's review of Frozen, where she will probably explain some details that I didn't bother with. Just a guess.

Movies I wanna see: PSYCHO GIRLS (1985)

Watching the trailer, it appears as if Psycho Girls (1985) might be a hidden gem of Canadian camp horror. It most definitely has a rad punk rock theme song, which always bodes well. Can you remember a movie with a punk theme song that wasn't awesome? I rest my case (exhibit A: Return of the Living Dead).

Unfortunately, Psycho Girls has yet to receive a proper home video release. Cannon released it on VHS way back when (in the U.S.), but the tape was heavily cut. There is a bootleg floating around of an uncut Italian TV broadcast, but, alas, it is dubbed in Italian. Maybe if I had big bucks to blow one day, I could buy a copy of both and splice the two together. Or just hope and pray for a DVD release. Some people hope and pray for world peace, but I guess I am not one of those people.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

BLOOD TRACKS (1985) - a hair metal band and their groupies versus a family of cannibals, or, finally, a Swedish movie for the drunk and the stupid

Film, amongst many other miracles, allows us to empathize with other cultures. A family living in rural Sweden may indeed seem strange and foreign to a yankee pig. However, spending time with these people, we learn that they are, in fact, not that different from us. Money sure is tight, but luckily, they have each other to lean on, to help them get through any rough patches. They too have simple needs, and wants, like the desire to be loved and be accepted. And they, like us, have a drunken asshole of a father that beats the shit out of mommy. Well, the wife has had enough, and decides to take matters into her own hands. She knocks off the man of the house and flees with the kids to the comforting refuge of a deserted mine shaft that rests in the side of a snow covered mountain, where they spend the next forty years training themselves to become mongoloid retard killers.

Food sure is scarce during the winter months, but, luckily, culinary salvation comes screeching along in the form of Sweden’s foremost glam metal band, Easy Action, and their various hangers-on. Here they perform under the alias “Solid Gold” (presumably to prevent litigation from themselves), and sound a bit like a cross between Motley Crue and ABBA. They’re looking to invade the music scene outside of Stockholm, so they decide to shoot a video for the surefire smash single “Blood Tracks”. They head to a ski resort town with the usual crew, roadies, and “video dancers” (who conveniently double as groupies), and, quite surprisingly, the local community is overjoyed that these turkeys are invading their local town. I guess you take whatever role models you can get post Evel Kneivel.

The “dancer/model/whores” that accompany the group are an incredibly smoking conglomerate of tiger stripes, bustiers, careening eyeliner, studs, meshy lace, g-strings, teased hair, and stuff I don’t know the name of (the “musicians” are sort of like male versions of these girls). Admittedly, this attire is not particularly suitable for the snow covered mountains of Sweden. This is illustrated with dialogue like "I'm gonna freeze my tits off!”, revealing the sort of angst not hinted at since Persona.

Naturally, the first video shoot, on top of being totally uninspired, starts a fucking avalanche. Hopefully, this will eventually lead to a change in the resort’s safety policy (perhaps a sign stating - WARNING! LOUD, POINTLESS GUITAR SOLOS MAY RESULT IN YOUR FRIZZY, RUM SOAKED NOGGIN BEING PELTED WITH 12 TONS OF ICE… ASSHOLE!!!). This leads to an incredible scene in which several of our glam rockers rescue a naked guy and girl who were doing the backseat boogie in a car now buried by snow. Admittedly, I lost track of who was who during the scene. I guess when a Swedish hair metal rocker dude gets it on with a Swedish hair metal groupie, discerning who in the group has the penis is nigh impossible.

The video director keenly moves the shoot to the local abandoned mine shaft, and people start to fall prey to various booby traps. A couple of the mongoloids even make it up to their ski cabin, where they make quick work of their victims, dispatching them in vague frosty darkness. Some of the bodies get dragged back to the mine, hoarded for late night snacking (this was before Scandinavia was littered with 24-hour Taco Bells). In the end, two characters escape and are rescued by helicopter, which gently segues into an Easy Action power ballad. The sadness and despair of this bleak landscape (and the realization that becoming the next Poison is now out of the question) is exemplified by the lyric "I’m all on my own, far far away, in the middle of nowhere" (which is coincidently the entire plot for Bergman’s The Silence).

Despite the non-stop svenkyness on display, the movie tries to pass itself off as American, as the U.S.A. is apparently stuck in its ways, unable to accept the hair metal of other cultures. Fittingly, full blooded Swede Mats Helge directs under the pseudonym of “Mike Jackson”. Helge’s previous film was the semi-brilliant The Ninja Mission, a story about some ninjas teaming up with the CIA to stop evil Russians from securing nuclear weapons. It is truly The Wild Bunch of the Swedish ninja sub-genre (or maybe more like The Killer Elite of Swedish ninja movies, but still).

The tagline for Blood Tracks is “Terror on the Slopes!”, which would leave one to believe the movie is of the “ski slasher” genre. However, there is no actual skiing, but there indeed are some terrible goings on related to the surrounding slopes of the ski resort, so technically it isn’t false advertising. I’m sure these teased knuckleheads would have gotten around to some sort of skiing if the group didn’t encounter an unfortunate avalanche/asshole cannibal family combo. So yes, Blood Tracks does indeed qualify to be included (along with Iced and Satan’s Blade) in the borderline esteemed “ski slasher” sub-sub-genre, if for no better reason than I give less than a shit about skiing.

SATAN'S BLADE (1984) - the one sword pens don't wanna fuck wit, or a lost anti-classic of the ski slasher genre

I know what you’re thinking. The lord of darkness is tired of all these teens making out in the woods, and he’s the man that’s gonna do something about it. Taking the law into his own hands, he’s laying down his own brand of justice in the form of a vigilante spree carried out with the assistance of a giant fucking magical sword that shoots fireballs!

Well…no. Not exactly. Instead, Satan’s Blade is really the story of a group of schmoes that decide to go skiing. More to the point, they stand around in a cabin and deliver dialogue, and occasionally one of them says “time to hit the slopes!”. They head out the door, time passes, and they pop back in and say something to the effect of “boy, all that skiing sure was fun!”. So, the fact that all the skiing is off-screen really hurts it’s stature amongst it's ski slasher peers. While Iced is certainly the ne plus ultra entry in this category, at least in Blood Tracks we get a lot of snow, and an avalanche, and mountainous terrain, and even a few helicopter shots.

The story begins at the shittiest looking bank in the history of VHS cinema, where two perps force their way in after closing. One of them nabs the money, while the other uses a knife to rip off the blouse of one of two girls working there. You’d think they’d let the girls go after a little sexual assault, but no, they fill them with lead. These guys must be sleazy, immoral assholes, but no…they are in fact two sleazy lesbians! I guess they’re hoping that the bacon investigation will assume two men carried out the crime, that women are incapable of such female hating extracurriculars during a routine bank robbery.

Well, the drama doesn’t end there. They head to a ski resort cabin, and instead of splitting $50,000 three ways (there is also some dude who had the “inside info” about the tiny office space doubling as a bank), one lesbian kills the other with the intention of running away with all of the loot, realizing that $50 g’s is way better than $16,666 and sixty-seven cents. Unfortunately, someone carrying Satan’s blade makes a bloody mess of her. Two incompetent porkers stumble upon the scene, no doubt shocked that a simple lesbian getaway could turn into an orgy of kayo syrup.

Well, the next morning arrives, and a carload full of potential victims take a ski trip to the mountains. They are staying in the same cabin where the previous slaughter took place, so I guess the bacon investigation wrapped up the case and cleaned up the dead lesbian mess, all in a scant 12 hours or so…and to think I doubted their craft. Frankly, I’m stunned. Anyway, the lady that runs the "resort" mentions some crazy old legend about a mountain man who was tricked by Satan into stabbing people, and now lives in the lake. However, there’s no mention of the fact that lesbian bank robbers escape to the resort to stab each other. Our ski group hears about all this, along with another group of nitwits. They all agree to rent the cabins anyway, mostly because "it sounds exciting", all the murders and lakes and Satan and shit.

The two main couples are staying in one cabin, while five girls are staying in the cabin next door. There is also a "local old timer" about who believes that the mountain spirit is responsible for the murders from the night before. He stills decides to fish at the lake anyway. I guess ya gotta eat. To pass the time, the two married guys in the one cabin get unconvincingly drunk on good old Jack Daniels, while one of the girls next door has a nightmare about a masked man slicing up her friends. She wakes up and is startled by...a masked man! That is quite a coincidence! Actually, it’s just one of the drunkards playing a joke, the old “I’ll dress up as the dude in your dreams and sneak up on you because I’m an asshole with nothing better to do” routine.

So, our victims talk, go fishing, ski off screen, go out to eat, go out for walks, etc., until, finally, the killer shows up at the girly cabin and gets down to beeswax. He simultaneously drowns a girl in the sink while slitting her throat, a possible homage to Mario Bava’s
Blood and Black Lace (and by homage, I mean pilfered whole hog). One girl, fresh out of the shower, gets the simultaneous stab in the back/smushed face on a mirror deal. Another gets stabbed in her rather large breast (the other one’s pretty big too), while the last girl gets repeatedly stabbed in the chest between the breasts (you gotta mix it up sometimes, keep things fresh).

The girls' bodies are found, and the two alpha-ish males pounce into action. They decide on a testosterone fueled plan: let’s get the fuck outta dodge. Unfortunately, one of the tires on the car has been slit. It’s that asshole Satan and his blade again, I’m sure. Somebody needs to teach that guy a lesson.

The best murder in the film occurs when the killer hurls the blade like a ninja right into someone's back (in a rather delayed edit). The victim tries to crawl across the snow to the highway (in a long master shot), but falls just short of being recognized by a passing vehicle, and finally, dies. She’s so close, yet so far away, as she crawls across dead, frozen branches, coldly ignored by the technological indifference of the outside world. This is as close to poetry as the movie achieves, but keep in mind, it’s kinda photographed like shit. If you were bored by that part, you’ll probably enjoy the next scene where a dude gets impaled and his liver flies out. Awesome.

After everyone except the final girl is dead, the killer snags the money from the bank robbery, which was hidden behind a vent this whole time (I guess that was some sloppy police work after all). The next morning, the final girl runs into the deputy's arms, who, being the ruthless bacon head he is, stabs her and admits to the killings. He was apparently possessed by the spirit of the mountain man, and also admits to wanting a little cash to play with. She tries to get away, heading back into the cabin and, for the second time, runs upstairs and hides underneath the bed. It worked the first time, but, unfortunately, you go to the well once too often, you’re going to get stabbed repeatedly.

Well, the devil possessed pork chop hurls the dagger into the lake in sort of a dumbass reversal of Excalibur. He washes the blood off his hands in the river, and I guess we’re supposed to reflect on the deputy’s moral responsibility, and conclude that he’s innocent, a poor public servant made to kill by the overwhelming power of Beelzebub and his pesky rapier. I say hang ‘em both. Assholes. The mountain man in the lake continues the Excalibur homage by hurling the knife out of the water and into a tree. Actually, its footage repeated from the beginning of the film, only tinted red this time. Some schmuck then wanders by and sees the knife, and we get the title card "The Legend Continues!". Sweet! Only…it didn’t. No financier could come up with the 17,000 dollars needed to produce a sequel. Sucks for you. For all of us really.

relevant footage begins at 5:58

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

THE TAINT (2010) - taint no business like cock business, or rape is my business and business is good

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been royally disappointed with the taint-sploitation genre up to this point. There’s the Twilight spoof Taintlight, and the totally unknown Tainted Image, and the weak sequel to Addicted to Murder, Addicted to Murder 2: Tainted Blood. The best of the bunch is probably Tainted Blood (1993),a made for TV young adult thriller starring Kerri Green and Natasha Gregson Wagner (hotness alert, indeed).

Well, there’s a new entry into the pantheon, and it’s the purest expression of the genre yet. Now, technically, the movie is about cock, not the taint, but they are connected at the hip, so to speak, and a taint is not exactly the most cinematic thing around. When I say the movie is “about cock”, I sure as balls mean it. Granted, there are actual cocks (well, prosthetic ones) littering this cinematic landscape, but I’m speaking of a predominant theme at work, that of the male’s desire to have a bigger and better cock, and all of the horrors and shenanigans that can result. Many a small or dysfunctional penis throughout history has resulted in a destructive act, from date rape to an entire war, and The Taint takes this idea and writs it across a Crazies-esque horror film. That is, cock subtext rendered in in-your-face cinematic terms even the stupid can comprehend.

It should be noted that I don’t include modern porn when discussing the taint-sploitation genre. Let’s say some dude watches a double feature of “Sasha Grey – Diary of a Taint Muncher” (that’s gonna be one redundant diary) and Remains of the Day. When somebody asks him if he’s seen any movies lately, he’ll mention he fell asleep halfway through Remains of the Day, and completely leave out any mention of the Sasha Grey thing, regardless of whether or not he’s ashamed, BECAUSE IT’S NOT REALLY A MOVIE. It’s pretty much footage of people fucking, specifically the lovely Sasha and some lucky nameless chap. Any “plot” or dialogue is really in there so Sasha can get a breather (and those poor taints need a breather too).

The basic plot is that several scientists come up with some magic potion that can supercharge the cock, but things go awry, turning nearly all men into rapists and killers. Left to fend for themselves are a strong woman and an impotent male, as they are forced to use shotguns or whatever is at hand to destroy the many hard-ons they encounter. Interestingly, one group of rapists harass our male hero in much the same way he was harassed during high school gym class (includes a forced-in, yet no less righteous athletic rawk montage). This presents the male species as arrested juveniles sneaking a peek at their gym classmates in order to ridicule as a means of diverting attention. In other words, most men are solely obsessed with the inadequacy of their crotch, and cope by either making things miserable for others, or by cowering in defeat; the world separated into the alpha cocks and the not-so-alpha cocks. John Holmes would be a notable exception to this rule on account of…well, you know.

If this sounds all a little unsubtle and pornographic, well, you’re half right. As I said, dumb people will be able to grasp the unsubtle Freudian subtext, that of a world held in the terrorizing grasp of penis envy, but your normal viewer will quickly connect the dots and realize that, yes, the penis is evil incarnate and I have excepted this and since moved on with my life and...what the fuck is going on here?!? Perhaps the filmmakers should’ve started with a story about the fear of having a small cock and see where it goes, rather than making every scene about having a small cock, if you follow. The results are one note and in your face, seemingly a great base for a short film, but stretched out to 70 odd minutes. Then again, maybe that’s the idea. The male audience must be pummeled out of their cock obsession through visceral means, as mere rational persuasion has proved insufficient. Of course, women are therefore unlikely to find much here to sink their teeth into, unless they really dig prosthetic cocks. Or they’re dumb. Or both. Probably both.

In terms of it being potentially “pornographic”, whatever that means, the film is certainly not erotic in tone. The cocks and jizz on display is used to serve a gross out camp aesthetic, sorta like a Troma film, but to a different end. The spurting body fluids you might find in a Troma production are usually representative of the human body reduced to mere matter, if not mutated all together, in light of the modern industrial society and the resultant raping of mother nature. Here, the plentiful jizz on display, as well as the blood and vomit, are there to repulse the modern male out of his cock fueled skin, rather than, say, shame him into joining Greenpeace. Personally, I have a problem with watching spurting bodily fluids in cinema that aren't blood. I quite enjoyed the vast number of head crushes and other bits of gore, all impressively rendered (seemingly no CGI here folks, and all the better for it). I guess I’m just another male cretin, preferring violence over more harmless bodily functions, and the proof is in the cinematic pudding, so to speak.

The tone is one of John Waters-esque genre parody pushed into bizarre hipster territory. To put it another way, when you see Debbie Harry pop up in Hairspray with a ridiculous beehive, this is funny both in visual terms and as a parody of both movies and real life. Women actually wore beehives, just not quite that outlandish looking. However, the hero in The Taint wears a ridiculous wig, but it’s mostly just strange, not resembling any sort of "normal" haircut you would see nowadays. Now, granted, there are Brooklyn hipsters that no doubt have hair that looks exactly like the hero’s wig, but it is worn as an ironic hairstyle that is intentionally absurd, since no one would really style their hair in such a way…if that makes sense. To put it another way, a hipster might wear a Stryper t-shirt (see Whip It), not because he/she likes Stryper, but because no one fucking likes Stryper. Now, in fairness, the yellow and black attack sold records in their heyday, but even diehard Christians have since moved on to Shout at the Devil. They say to themselves "how could god exist in a world where music that shitty is considered holy?", and they would be correct.

Speaking of which, the soundtrack and score of The Taint is surprisingly good, appropriately featuring Bruce Cockburn, Joe Cocker, and Cock and Ball Torture. What a lineup. Woodstock can go eat a dick., actually, none of those artists appear on the soundtrack, as it’s a low budget production unable to afford the likes of Cock and Ball Torture, but the no name bands brought aboard do a good job regardless.

It isn't hard to make the connection between Viagra and the wondercock injection presented in the film. Amusingly, there is a Nazi propaganda commercial used to sell this new drug ("don't be a faggot...get cock!", it proclaims). This is but an absurd variation on all those cock drug commercials we're already being deluged with, further selling the male on his penile inadequacy. To put it another way, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and I enjoy a good cigar except when it explodes. Alas, here is a film of exploding cigars.
So, guys, let's watch our cigars, as an exploding cigar is a bad cigar indeed.

P.S. Click here to buy the movie and related swag. If you try and illegally download this movie, God will punch you in the taint. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Movies I wanna see: FEMALE NEO NINJAS (1991)

Hot color coded ninjas that wear studded leather tunics, kicking ass and taking names (mostly the former). God bless the Japanese. It was never released in the U.S., and apparently released direct to video in Japan. There are English subbed bootlegs floating around, so I may eventually have to spring for one. Check out the review from our good friends at Cinema Apocalypse:

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) - in Canada, open heart surgery is free, but the Moosehead anesthesia is BYOB

Looks like we finally have a slasher version of How Green Was My Valley. Valentine’s Bluff is the small mining town with a big ass heart, situated in a part of Canada filled with real ass hockey and beer canuckleheads, rather than your extra pale versions of Americans or your fake frenchies. The town is a simple paradise, where the men spend the day working in a coal mine, returning home from a hard day’s work covered in soot from head to toe. They head home, clicking their heels along the way; a frosty Moosehead awaiting them (well…make that a case of Moosehead). Unfortunately, this small town idealism will soon be destroyed by a formerly spurned employee named Harry Warden.

Where as the evil mine owners in How Green Was My Valley cynically crushed the dreams and livelihood of it’s workforce to increase profit margins, Harry, left to die in the mine while just doing his job, later seeks revenge on his mine worker brethren. Rather than directly stomping on the union, the mine owners effectively make the workers fight amongst themselves, in the form of a boogeyman who rips people’s hearts out and provides accompanying rhymes (like roses are red, violets are blue; I emptied out this guy’s chest cavity, and stole his Moosehead brew).

TJ, our hero, has come back from “falling on his ass” out west, and “making so many mistakes”, never once writing or calling his girlfriend Sarah, which I guess would make him sort of a pathetic Canadian version of Sam Shepard. Sarah has since moved on with Axel, and this creates a lot of tension between the two males, evidenced by the fact they practically come to blows in every scene they share, except when they discuss it early on while taking a shower together, realizing that real men should never roll around and fight while naked, as this is really just an aggressive style of gay sex. Our lovely final girl Sarah seems quite remorseful about the situation, despite it being very reasonable that she would move on from a worthless stiff that vanished across the country and hook up with the good looking blonde guy. I guess Canadians are more decent than their American counterparts…or maybe drunks are nicer than sober people. I think we need a control group entered into this equation.

The plot here is that all of these young people are holding a Valentine’s Day dance on the twentieth anniversary of the dance that took place while Harry was being trapped alive in the mine, and the nineteenth anniversary of Harry ripping out the hearts of his supervisors. The mayor and his chief piggy get suspicious when they start finding corpses with their hearts ripped out. Things get even sketchier when they start receiving human hearts in the mail, accompanied by the rhyming notes, warning them that if the dance isn’t canceled, this cardiac carnage will continue unabated. The mayor shows one of the hearts to the coroner and asks him if he remembers the last time Harry Warden was in town, to which he notes “Of course I remember! Those were terrible murders!” The youngsters are dead set on having this Valentine’s Day dance, despite being warned by both the mayor and the crazy, flashback facilitating bar owner, so I guess the terribleness will continue.

Of course, you need to get the uncut version to see just how terribly these poor bastards get mangled and what not. The adorable girl who stars in Heavenly Bodies (the Canadian version of Flashdance) gets a simple and brutal pickaxe to the chest (which is also the best jump scare), and her boyfriend (the fat, goofy asshole with the mustache) gets lynched so hard his friggin’ head rips off. Maybe these aren’t the most disgusting of the killings, but I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness that this most unlikely of couples doesn’t survive. Perhaps they provide hope to annoying fat goofballs that they may one day land the canucksploitation starlet of their dreams.

The authentic small town setting of My Bloody Valentine distinguishes it from the usual faceless suburbia of other slashers, and its unassailable Canadian-ness comes through like gangbusters. The final portion of the film also takes place in a real mine, which is a pretty damn good place to watch someone be chased by a killer. Harry also helps out by busting a bunch of the light bulbs in the mine with his pick axe, and you also get a little mine car chase that predates Temple of Doom. In the end, we learn the truth about Harry, in a twist I admittedly didn’t see coming (although keep in mind I rarely pay attention to my surroundings, cinematic or otherwise).

The ultimate lesson, me thinks, is that once the economy of a small town is no longer self-sufficient, the meddling hands of big city corporations (represented by Harry Warden) can swoop in and purchase the souls of the residents and, consequently, the town’s innocence. There’s a reason why people only go postal in faceless corporate businesses, like McDonald’s, or a church.

Monday, February 14, 2011

HOSPITAL MASSACRE (1982) - finally, a Valentine's Day hospital slasher that reworks Kafka, or Barbi Benton descends into a web of confusion

Clip courtesy of "Mario80synth" on Youtube. Song courtesy of band "Agentz". Courtesy courtesy of Emily Post.

For young people, romantic rejection is a very catastrophic event that can sour future relationships. If the rejectee in question suffers from acute homicidal tendencies, you can also expect some heavy breathing and most definitely some kick ass stabbings. Well, the blonde moppet from Bloody Birthday is chilling with her boyfriend, playing with his toy train (stop it, you pervert). You can tell its Valentine’s Day because the room is filled with hearts, and there is also a lovesick stalker (the kid with glasses from Bloody Birthday) peeping through the window. He leaves a valentine at her doorstep, knocks on the door, and runs away, as he is too much of a pussy to ask her out on a date (whatever constitutes a date to 10-year-olds). The girl opens the valentine and chuckles with her little boyfriend, clearly pissing off the love spurned asshole outside. The girl curiously cuts the ceremonial Valentine's Day cake with a machete, eager to share a slice with her midget boy toy. Unfortunately, he now hangs from the coat rack in a rather untenable position (i.e. lynched).

First of all, I never knew there was such a “to do” in regards to Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I know, if you don’t have a valentine, you stalk some broad/dude, granted. However, I didn’t realize you were supposed to decorate the entire damn house, maybe even stick a giant inflatable heart on the front lawn. Also, I never got any cake for Valentine’s Day…or anything, for that matter. Heart shaped bagels would have been nice, with red flavored cream cheese. Wait a second…you do get those heart shaped candies with little sayings on them. They taste like sand and shit glued together, but they have cute Valentine’s Day related quotes, like “hearty heart har” and “go heart yourself”.

Cut to 19 years later, and the little blonde is all grown up and stacked (and a brunette), in the guise of Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner squeeze bomb Barbi Benton. She drops her daughter off with her ex-husband, and then heads with her new beaux (her third relationship in the first ten minutes of the film) to get medical tests at the hospital. She heads in while the boyfriend waits in the car, and we see all the holiday paraphernalia about, as apparently even hospitals celebrate Valentine’s Day.

In the elevator, Barbi is startled by a corpse with blood dripping from his mouth…oh never mind, it’s just a narcoleptic enjoying a hamburger, ketchup dripping from his mouth. Hmmm…the good old days. You could smoke in a hospital, grab the nurse’s ass, and they gave you huge hamburgers for lunch, even if you were a narcoleptic. Barbi must be a little jumpy after seeing a creepy doctor, and hearing about psychotic patients, and being reminded of her boyfriend being killed on Valentine’s Day 19 years earlier. I could see why she could witness red stuff coming out of the mouth of a person who wasn’t moving and jump to conclusions.

She gets off the elevator on her doctor’s floor, and, suddenly, she’s attacked by guys in facemasks! Oh wait, the entire floor is being fumigated. Perfectly rational. She tries a different floor, only to have someone pull a switch to stop the elevator. Her doctor then gets an intercom message to go the fumigated floor, which is really just covered in fog. The doctor eventually opens a locker, to see if the person using the intercom might be taking a nap in there, and someone dressed as a surgeon stabs her with a scalpel. Luckily, the elevator turns back on, and Barbi wanders around while the killer snags her files from the doctor’s office. She opens the door to the office and looks in while the killer hides. She then sits on the bench in front of the office and starts smoking, incredible considering you can't even smoke in bars anymore. A janitor finds the doctor’s body, and gets a melted face for his troubles. Of course, the killer should still be in the doctor’s office on the other floor, with Barbi on the lookout, so the fake surgeon must have found a secret passageway between the floors…or possibly crawled through the ventilation system. Brilliant.

So, basically, what we have here is some sort of Kafka slasher version of Cleo From 5 to 7. In a reversal of Agnes Varda’s heroine, Barbi is forcibly denied a surefire clean bill of health, rather than being forced to passively wait while her fate his determined. Blocking Barbi in this endeavor is a virtual army of red herrings. Even though the killer surgeon is clearly spotted, the film wants you to believe that every doctor, nurse, janitor, patient, etc. (even her ex-husband who’s across town) is a potential maniac. This is accomplished by having them squint menacingly, pumping ominous music in when they show up, or have them carve an orange with psychopathic glee. More importantly, they all impede Barbie’s quest to run in and grab her routine physical results for her new job, as if everyone was in cahoots with the killer. The two exceptions are her boyfriend, who patiently waits in the car most of the time, and a friendly intern who tries to bypass this bureaucratic wall. Of course, this helpful intern is revealed to be the killer. Helpful my ass.

Apparently, the ten-year-old murderer with the crush from hell went on the lam until age 18 or so, got his GED, completed medical school, and got that tasty internship at the hospital right before Barbi was going to show up for her test results. He then proceeded to convince everyone in the hospital to act like potential slasher suspects. It’s easy to dismiss Kafka as a paranoid schmuck, but films like Hospital Massacre, where the world is rightfully presented as a parade of red tape shackling the populace while the important decisions of the world are made behind closed doors, really show how much poor Franz was really on to something.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Movies I wanna see: any Roller Blade sequel

While we're on the subject of Roller Blade, one of my favoristic movies, there are numerous hard-to-find sequels, none of which I've seen. Here are some clips:

SHADOWS RUN BLACK (1986) - maybe the worst shot-on-film slasher ever made, or Kevin Costner's hidden pile of shame

If you thought this movie might be totally irredeemable and worthless, this still of Barbara Peckinpaugh seems to state otherwise.

Shadows Run Black is probably the most misleading title in the slasher canon, but not because it specifically promises delights that are omitted. It’s common practice in exploitation films to have a misleading title or poster, and the astute viewer accounts for this phenomenon. When the movie "The St. Thornyville Convent Beheadings" pops up at the local shithouse theater, you know going in that only two nuns are getting beheaded, and one’s probably gonna happen off screen. Rather, the title Shadows Run Black gives off the impression that what you are about to see is not a big giant piece of shit. In fact, in sounds like something Claude Chabrol would’ve made if he had a Val Lewton period in him.

The movie opens with one of those couples making out in a car. The girl presumably gets decapitated with the hood of the car, but I guess the “filmmakers” would rather you do the heavy lifting. Mostly, I’m just distracted by the photography. Is it supposed to be daylight segueing into day for night? Is all of it supposed to take place at night, but they were running out of light? Was it one of those “night for day for night” deals, where they try to shoot day for night at night because it was the last day of shooting and they couldn’t afford an extra day? Honestly, I have no fucking idea.

The film mostly revolves around our somnambulist heroine (and not somnambulist in a cool Dr. Caligari way; I mean fucking asleep) and the piggy detective’s search for the killer, and the oh-so tangled web between the three of them. I tend to look at the movie as one vaguely brilliant centerpiece surrounded by moldy styrofoam padding, including the elongated end credits that look like they were made on a VIC-20.

You see, porn actress Susanna Britton (real name Barbara Peckinpaugh, no relation to the genius blow fiend director) is struggling. Money’s tight, and she’s gotta provide for her baby and an unemployed fat lesbian roommate. Her problems escalate when she is prematurely forced out of the shower to check on this roommate, and has to investigate the house completely in the nude (this after an earlier female was killed while doing the dishes in the buff).

She resultingly finds herself being stalked by a black gloved maniac in the most awkward of manners. The results are a somewhat decent nude cat and mouse struggle (she’s nude, not the cat), as she eventually finds herself in the bathroom, bleeding profusely. Of course, the scene is cut short and her fate is left up in the air, but at least in this case we have something to spur our imagination on (and a gratuitous beaver shot doesn’t hurt).

Poor Susanna/Barbara would later commit suicide, but not before achieving a couple of other cinematic milestones. For one, she was an extra in Body Double, possibly the greatest film ever made. She also starred in one of the great porno movies, Blonde Goddess, which is sort of a surreal comic book version of Walter Mitty (when people aren’t fucking, that is). Her final major role was in Roller Blade, Donald G. Jackson’s threadbare masterpiece of post-apocalyptic roller skating weirdness that must be seen to be disbelieved (oh, it also inspired 7 or so sequels). Barbara probably thought it was a piece of garbage (hence the suicide), but time will show otherwise, I’m sure. I’ll eventually post a review of it containing corresponding visual stimuli to satiate all the mutants out there.

Lost in all of this is the fact that Kevin Costner has a role in the film, that of the twitchy sleazebag red herring. His interrogation scene is a virtual bad acting clinic, comparable to a Keanu Reeves method improv seminar. The movie was made in 1981, but not released until 1986 to cash in on Costner’s role in Silverado. If not for Costner’s success, it might have rotted away on a shelf somewhere, at least until the great Roller Blade franchise revival of 2032, when Shadows Run Black can be viewed in proxy historical terms.

STAGEFRIGHT (1987) - sort of an actorly version of the willies, or a rad pasta slasher starring a psychotic owl

A young group of NYC actors are rehearsing an off off off broadway musical (the next lower rung entails performing at IHOP) called "The Night Owl", and they are debuting in a week. Admittedly, this show has me scratching my head/ass. A fake Marilyn Monroe is blowing her sax while a dude in an owl mask (a gay John Morghen, semi-famous for getting castrated in Make Them Die Slowly) is being accosted by a gang, his clothes ripped off at gun point. Curiously, somebody throws a dummy of the lead girl up in the air, and Cinderella shows up (not the band, the chick from the fairy tale) and gets raped on a bed sitting in the middle of a street. I guess this is supposed to be a metaphor for something. Maybe the owl represents man’s longing to fly, but the urban jungle impedes his progress. I’m not quite sure how Marylin fits into the equation. Maybe her and Cinderella are lesbian lovers. Why not.

Later, a girl in a baby doll dances around her bedroom with a mannequin, and the owl guy pops in and stabs her repeatedly. He uses a real knife instead of a fake retractable one, a bit of improv on part of the new actor playing the part. It seems that some escapee from the local insane asylum decided to give himself a part in the play. Whether on stage or in real life, crazy people are always going off script. Afterwards, the asshole director gives his cast and crew the “show must go on” speech, saying that they can’t afford to abandon a paying gig, what with their careers in the shitter. He also mentions that the added publicity from the actors being murdered will generate interest for the show. I guess that makes sense.

While this owl dude is running around, two worthless bacon badgers are outside in their porkmobile, providing “security”, which amounts to cracking wise on the city’s dime. Meanwhile, everyone is inside the studio, running around, looking for the key to unlock the door, and getting slaughtered in the process. For example, the asshole director gets his arm hacked off with a chainsaw before getting decapitated with an axe (that’s how you deal with a grade A slimebag). As director Michele Soavi is a protégé of Dario Argento, there are many stylish suspense sequences that are better viewed than articulated.

It all ends in one of those “psycho killer dead body galleries”, this time onstage. Owl boy starts sticking feathers in the victim’s mouths for some reason (I guess that’s how fake owls get off), and then pets a cat while he sits in a chair. The final girl eventually kills him three separate times, and we are left to wonder why a seemingly sweet owl would commit such heinous acts. No motive is ever presented, so we are forced to manufacture our own. Yes, the message is clear. Despite surface appearances, owls are indeed assholes.

While the Italian giallo was a big precursor to the slasher film, here some Italians adopt an American form and fittingly set it in New York. There is also a bit of Argento-esque self-reflexiveness, what with the musical being based on the killer’s real life exploits as a psychopath, although that still doesn’t add any clarity to what was witnessed during the opening performance. This means he escaped from the nut house just in time to star in his own life story, while forcing out the musical numbers. The killer is also presented as a psychopathic performer, pumping classical music through the speakers to accompany his cat and mouse antics, and intentionally offing people in the most elaborate and brutal ways he can come up with. Here’s a maniac that finally seems to be having a grand old time, without disrupting scenes with endless one-liners (like that Krueger guy). All in all, Stage Fright is the last truly great slasher, maintaining the integrity of the form while making it leaner and even more cinematic, and spinning it with a self-reflexive twist.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ROBOT MONSTER (1953) - I've heard of monkey trouble, but this is ridiculous

If there is one important lesson I have learned from my many years of cinema watching, it is this: NEVER FUCK WITH A DUDE IN A MONKEY SUIT. Now, don’t misunderstand me. Regular monkeys are mostly good people. If you happen upon an orangutan, just be damn sure there isn’t a little human midget hiding in there, and, if you’re in the clear, get ready for some crowd pleasing redneck road adventures with the little goofer. You might even be able to communicate with a lab monkey and develop a deep friendship. Even if the worst case scenario happens, and a large gorilla becomes hostile with you, you can just buy him a banana split sundae and you’ll end up with a friend for life.

However, a dude in a monkey suit has no such proclivity for friendliness. He’ll gladly rip your arms off or hurl you over a cliff with nary a sliver of remorse. The only type more ruthless than a guy wearing a monkey suit is an alien wearing a fishbowl helmet. Attempting to rationalize with these alien types will prove utterly futile, as they probably want to take over your planet, or, at the very least, steal your women to propagate with. Robot Monster manages to combine these two types to create one transcendent paradigm of evil, the most ruthless intergalactic scumbag to ever grave the science fiction genre: Ro-Man. His first bit of business upon landing on planet Earth is not to collect information, nor communicate with the human race, nor to try some of the local cuisine. Nope. Instead, he immediately wipes out the entire human race without so much as a warning shot. Dead. Fuck you.

It should be noted that Ro-Man is actually part of a dream (spoiler alert…oops), a product of the unconscious mind of the annoying boy hero. This outrageous looking antagonist therefore makes sense when viewed through a weird brat’s subconscious filter. Here is a Z-grade outsider art version of a token sci-fi villain, a perfectly illogical rendering of pure evilosity that towers over the genre. Even Khan from Star Trek II is, in my mind, descended from this character, a centralized form of space evil under the guise of a ridiculous looking Ricardo Montalban. Heck, just listen to the way Williams Shatner screams his name into the heavens. It takes a special breed of slimebucket to inspire such a vessel popping reaction. I bet when Shatner is sitting at home and he happens upon Young Frankenstein while channel surfing, he yells out “KAAAAAAAHHHHHHNNNNN” every time Madeline Kahn walks into frame, so haunted he remains by this unscrupulous character.

Anyway, one family miraculously survives the death ray (which is accompanied by Lost World stock footage of dinosaurs wrestling for some reason, and that reason is probably that dinosaur wrestling is awesome), thanks to a strategically employed force field, created by the scientist father. A good American dad is always prepared for disaster, you know, a buckknife and some canned goods, but this is one of those superdads, ready for the worst case scenario, an eradication laser from a monkey man from outer space. The film is basically a tug of war between this Ro-man and the last remaining family on earth (“hu-mans”, the space gorilla calls them). Ro-Man asks for their surrender, intoning “your death will be indescribable…is there a choice between a ‘painless surrender death’ and the ‘horror of resistance death’”? In this case, not much. I guess it’s the same difference between death and ugu, or there abouts.

The distinction here is quite clear. Human men are good hearted and show empathy towards other creatures, and the robot man will coldly kill people without remorse if it serves a function. I don’t know quite understand how wiping out the human race helps these “ro-men”, but maybe it’s too complicated for a dim witted earthling like myself to understand. In order to demonstrate his powers to the family, he destroys a model plane on a stick being held by a visible hand. That’s doesn’t sound too impressive, BUT HE DOES IT WITH HIS FUCKING MIND. Also, he has a machine that makes bubbles. Not ordinary bubbles, mind you, but BUBBLES OF COMPLETE AND UTTER DEATH. As an aside, I think Helloween’s album “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” might be a tribute to this movie, even though there is nothing pink about it (it’s in black and white). Maybe our favorite German thrash band got together one night and watched the film on mushrooms. You know what, that sounds like a really really really good idea.

Of course, every man in a monkey suit, no matter how seemingly invincible has one distinct weakness: a classy hot chick. I don’t think you can just throw out any stripper as a sacrifice to King Kong or whomever. She’s gotta be glamorous and proper like. Thankfully, older daughter Alice fits the bill, and I know this because, well, JUST LOOK AT HER HAIR! Who can blame the poor guy.

Alice wants to negotiate with Ro-Man, but her little brother does so instead, accusing Ro-Man of being “a big bully, picking on people smaller than you are”, to which he retorts “now I will kill you”, with perfect comic timing. Granted, he’s dead serious, but dudes in monkey suits have absolutely no sense of humor, and this straight man approach is why they are funny, in a Leslie Nielsen sort of way. Anyone who really knows me knows that I have forever proclaimed that one of the true golden rules of comedy is “a guy in a monkey suit” (see Take the Money and Run). Ironically, these fake gorillas are just as funny as they are psychotic. I want to make it clear that I don’t think they are funny because they like to hurt people for no reason. Not at all. These two dynamics are completely unrelated. Call it the “the great monkey suit conundrum”.

Eventually, Alice is allowed to work her magic, causing Ro-Man to go bananas (you knew I was going there…it was inevitable). He becomes confused with his human-like emotions, saying “I cannot, yet I must…how do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do must and cannot meet?”. They’re called FEELINGS, asshole. DEAL WITH IT. So, you see, not everything can be reduced to a system or a formula or an equation. Like the stock brokers that live by the Fibonacci sequence, those who view the world through a dehumanizing and reductive prism aimed towards a financial or technological goal will eventually turn into a robot of sorts. Now here's an awesome music video to take your mind off the hu-man condition. You're welcome.