Sunday, January 30, 2011

METROPOLIS (1984) - it's Joe Vs. the Volcano minus the volcano, or an old timey reinvention of Orwell's 1984


Here's some clips from the film, to the tune of my favorite song from the soundtrack, Bonnie Tyler's "Here She Comes".


While high school students are forced to read books against their will, like factory automotants
, they usually skim through the Cliff Notes version instead (or they hit up Wikipedia if they’re too busy getting high to bother with some lame pamphlet), Not to toot my own horn, but I actually did read the occasional book during my school days. One such book was George Orwell’s 1984, a really really really important book about the future and stuff. Written way back in olden times, it was an attempt to predict how the modernization of society would develop once the mid eighties rolled around, while lacking the flashy fun of other science fiction novels and comic books of the time. I guess it's okay to be boring if you've got a really important point to make.



I hate to be a negative Nancy, but...sorry George, you got it all wrong! For one, he predicted that everyone in the future would be wearing some gray sad bastard jumpsuit. Granted, I was but a wee lad circa 1984, but I recall seeing stuff like parachute pants and neon wristbands and what have you; fashion that explodes with good times and effervescence. Hell, just check out the movie Breakin’, which was released in the real year of 1984. In Orwell’s world, you’d imagine that Turbo, Ozone, and whats'-her-face would all be sitting around, dressed in drab uniforms, utterly morose that popping and locking had been outlawed by the fun police. Hardly. Breakin’ jams color and fun straight up your ass (Breakin’ 2 manages to up the ante in this department), showcasing modern young people free to perform any street dance to their heart’s desire, wearing any combination of neon clothing they so choose (assuming they can find it at the Salvation Army). It's called FREEDOM folks.



While most movies released in 1984 were colorful and happy a la Breakin’, one film released that year bucks this trend to present something akin to Orwell’s futuristic vision while employing old timey aesthetics (I don't count the 1984 adaptation with John Hurt solely because the soundtrack is performed by the Eurythmics; it's my blog, I make the rules). The film in question is called Metropolis, directed by somebody named Fritz Lang (I’m assuming his parents were big R. Crumb fans), with music by…GIORGIO FUCKING MORODER!!! YES!!! Of course, Giorgio rocks the house, but, as I have stated before, he usually functions best when forced into the crassest of corners. Here is the exception that proves the rule, clearly an artistic meeting of the minds between two ambitious artists. It’s unfortunate that they never worked together again. Maybe there was some ill will between them. After all, Giorgio exploded in popularity around this time, his big ass hits soaring across America's airwaves. This might have led to an ugly scene, where, during a mixing session, a jealous Fritz hurled a Flashdance soundtrack LP at Giorgio in a fit of rage, disgusted that he remained an unknown talent overshadowed by some Italian dude that sells a million records just getting out of bed in the morning. Then again, if you're Giorgio Moroder himself, you get to listen to Giorgio's patented driving synth pop on a daily basis, and this will no doubt inspire you to superhuman feats.



The story revolves around the son of the business party dictator, who decides to leave his world of power and privilege to follow on the heels of some hot German chick revolutionary, who is trying to unite the workers to overthrow the government. Normally this dude would be perfectly happy to hang out and play tennis and complain about his stock options, but a hot German chick will change a man. As a massive Doro Pesch fan I should know.



Well, the German chick is captured by a mad scientist, who creates a robot version of her to control the workers and lead them to their demise, sort of an anti-Rosa Luxemburg via the robot girl from Small Wonder. I guess these worker types should be careful who they pick to be their mob leader.



There are plenty of scenes showing off big futuristic sets, which no doubt cost a boatload of money. Thankfully, under the guiding hands of Reaganomics married to free market splendor, movie studios at the time were able to afford such garish extravagances of the cinema.



My theory is that the film uses an old timey aesthetic to comment on the novel 1984. An Orwellian vision of the future is presented as drab and antiquated, a relic of the past, slyly conveying that such pessimistic visions are outdated in this brave new world, and even a little dehumanizing. Heck, the characters don’t even speak during the film! There's occasionally dialogue in text form (no Cliff Notes available for this one), but I have a feeling this is only so you can follow the story. I think if the filmmakers really wanted to tell a story about where humanity is headed, they would've at least let humanity speak. Instead they poke fun at these pessimistic visions and their penchant to portray the human race as a faceless, voiceless mass, which in turn inspires people to become enslaved to these visions ingrained in them throughout their schooling. If all of this sounds depressing, keep in mind that Billy Squier, Freddy Mercury, and Pat Benatar also perform on the soundtrack. All colorful individuals I might add. Oh Fritz, what sweet irony ye hath wrought.



So, in summary, people don’t want to go the movies to see honest workers reduced to wage slave robots, or see how a populace is held in check by corporate propaganda, or be shown how a farcical government is controlled by the interests of the wealthy. No…they wanna have fun! Maybe cheer on an underdog or two. For god sakes, THE KIDS NEED TO SAVE THE REC CENTER FROM EVIL CORPORATE INTERESTS!!! Against all odds, Nitro and the gang win out and celebrate with an outdoor breakdance concert! You see, corporations may be big and evil, but they get their asses kicked when pitted against the indomitable human spirit. Speaking of which…where the hell is Breakin’ 3 – Eccentric Ballyhoo? I’ve been waiting 25 years for that fucker. Now that there’s some annoying war going on, it’s the perfect time to finally make it happen. Folks, let’s bring back the FUN!



Friday, January 28, 2011

my non-review for Avatar, because friends don't let friends review Avatar if they have already done so themselves

Some may be curious as to why I've decided to review a slate of science fiction movies without so much as a reference to THE BIGGEST MOVIE EVA! You know, it would be easy to dismiss it as a clunky Dances With Wolves ripoff with a hot blue chick thrown in for the comic book nerds, but really, there is no need to bother reviewing the movie after seeing this clip. In other words, Marc Maron reviewed Avatar so I don't have to. Thank you my Jewish friend. Oh, and what the fuck indeed.



P.S. More rants and insights and such can be found within Marc's podcast here.

upcoming reviews (because I have nothing better to do apparently)

I've decided to expand this current stretch of science fiction reviews. Except to see reviews of the following in the next three weeks or so:

2001: a Space Odyssey
Metropolis
(1984 version)
Robot Monster

Stalker
(this one might take me a while...)

On top of that, I've decided to set my sights on underappreciated directors and their films. My first director in this tentative series: Michele Soavi! On top of my review for The Church, I'll be digging in to Stage Fright and The Devil's Daughter. I know what you're thinking...what about Cemetery Man! Jackass!!!

First of all, whether or not I'm a jackass is frankly none of your business. Second, there are a gazillion reviews of Cemetery Man on horror and cult blogs, and as Michele is mostly known as the dude who made Cemetery Man, I wanted to concentrate on some of his other stuff. Also, shut up.

On top of that, I will concentrate on ski horror films toward the end of February. We're talking Frozen, as part of Stacie Ponder's Final Girl Film Club, as well as Blood Tracks, Satan's Blade, and Iced. Where else can you get an (almost) complete retrospective on the ski-horror genre? PROBABLY NO PLACE! Then again, no one has ever wanted a ski-horror retrospective, but maybe people didn't want it because they couldn't imagine that someone would even bother.

On top of that, expect to see a review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at some point, and maybe another newish film or two. Hopefully sticking my neck out will help me to actually finish this stuff and get it posted. Who am I kidding, this is all probably destined to fail. Maybe I would be more successful in life if I didn't continually cut myself down. I guess I'm my own drunk heckler. Now, please...please...shut the fuck up. I'm on stage over here.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2069: A SEX ODYSSEY (1974) - the ultimate trip (assuming you're into space tits)

Check out the zero gravity slo-mo boots these girls are wearing. Hopefully you'll be able to buy those at a Sharper Image someday. Then again, you'd have to head down to the mall to get them. Forget about it.


Never has utter stupidity been rendered with such a deftly epic touch. 2069 takes the Bavarian sex comedy and cloaks it in Barbarella-isms, while presenting the sophisticated European counterpoint to the American exploitation non-classic Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman. Then again, pretty much anything is more sophisticated than Spaceman. Have you ever seen King Frat, the Animal House ripoff where the sole plot impetus is that a group of fraternity brothers are trying to win a fart contest? That's more sophisticated than Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman. In other words, Tom Bob says check out both of these films pronto. You're welcome.





The double entendre comedy on display is actually kinda funny, in a Benny Hill sort of way, which is the big surprise to come out of this whole endeavor. Many sex comedies that emphasize sex usually do so at the expense of comedy. Here they are interwoven, rather than presented in alternating conflict. The plot involves these space girls being forced to land on earth to collect sperm so they can repopulate their soon-to-be-dying race. See, they are heroes on a desperate mission, so the sex stuff is completely necessary to the plot. Do you remember the "sex girl patrol" skit from The Kids in the Hall? Here is the real deal, and with actual hot German chicks instead of Canadian dudes in drag. To each their own, of course.


Well, if true science fiction is about ideas, what are the ideas being presented here? That we are not alone in this universe, and this is a golden opportunity for erotic encounters? That men are only interested in sex, even when the greatest scientific discovery of all time is staring them in the face? Or, perhaps, all women are whores, even alien ones on important life saving missions? I don't know about you, but I think the big idea here is FASHION. Just look at what they're wearing!!! Or not wearing. That's a fashion in and of itself too, you know. I think I'm starting to get a funny feeling in my monolith.






















animated sci-fi blu-ray heads up

Some cocksucker retard (or maybe a boardroom full of them) decided that Heavy Metal, one of the best animated movies ever made (maybe my number#2), needed to be unceremoniously dumped into the marketplace as a "Best Buy exclusive". So, on February 1st, North Americans should be able to head down to their local Best Buy (hopefully Canadians won't be screwed on this) and pick up a copy of this timeless cult classic on blu-ray, assuming the retard clerk can actually find it (whether or not they suck cock is pretty much irrelevant). Oh, and by the way, did I mention that Cheap Trick is on the soundtrack? Is there a better band that has ever existed? I reckon not.



So, you're probably wondering...is there really an animated film that is better than Heavy Metal?!? Well, in my not humble opinion...yes, and that movie would be Rock & Rule. Word on the street (and by street I mean message board) is that the recently released blu-ray of Rock & Rule is out of print. However, it is still available on Amazon. So, you may want to pick it up before some asshat buys up the available copies and resells them for $7000 each on half.com. But, you know, spend your hard earned money however you wish. In fact, even if your parents send you a check every month and you use the money to buy weed instead of blu-rays or dvds, that's fine too. I'm not one to judge. Stoner.



Oh, did I mention that motherfuckin' Cheap Trick is on the soundtrack?!? They have not one but TWO amazing songs in the movie. Some may conclude that I judge the greatness of animated films solely by how many Cheap Trick songs are on the soundtrack. Not quite. I think it's more that Cheap Trick is the boost that sends the movie over the top, the performance enhancing drug that turns a great athlete into a record smashing freak of nature.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

FORBIDDEN WORLD (1982) - a cheap Alien ripoff rendered in crud deco pop sludge




Roger Corman had a problem. There was a relatively expensive set built for his sci-fi epic Galaxy of Terror, but it was only going to be used for six days out of the week. Never one to chuck coin out of the window (besides, you could kill an innocent passerby), Corman told an aspiring director (Allan Holzman) to go ahead and shoot an opening scene for a sci-fi movie that had yet to be written. The scene involved badass intergalactic marshall Jesse Vint ordering his robot sidekick to blow the shit out of some Battle Beyond the Stars stock footage. Did you think I was fucking with you in the Turkish Star Wars review when I quipped about Corman space movies continually reusing Battle Beyond the Stars stock footage? I was not fucking with you.



This opening doesn't have much to do with anything, as you might expect. Vint quickly ditches his epic space battle to investigate a genetic engineering experiment gone extremely awry, as these things are wont to do. Throwing random genes together may seem like an exciting scientific venture on the surface, and may in fact lead to all sorts of important discoveries or what have you. However, if this experiment occurs within a sci-fi movie, whatever results from said gene splicing will probably start eating people. See recent example Splice, or indeed any aci-fi movie where a genetic mutation/splicing takes place. Nobody ever goes through a genetic mutation and gains a useful skill, unless it's the origin story for a superhero. In that case, it's really just some bullshit thrown out there to justify why some spandex wearing freak has magical powers.



So, here we have a group of ragtag misfits in an enclosed spaceship set being stalked by some Alien-esque monster, but with some interesting twists. For starters, the monster is an interior creation instead of an exterior force, created when a dead crew member's DNA is spliced with some sort of bacteria that causes rapid genetic growth. The result, as resident mad scientist Fox Harris explains, is a "metamorph", a genetic mutant that continually alters it's genetic structure as it rapidly grows. While some may dismiss this as typical faux-science movie speak, I do find it conceptually interesting. Also, it helps that Fox is delivering these lines. Let me put it this way: would I buy a used car from Fox Harris? Yes I fucking would. There's room to MOVE in a Chevy Malibu.





While Alien famously featured spaceship sets that were grimy and industrial, here we have sort of a cheaper, pop arty version of that, with the fluorescent and colored lighting and odd touches (like an aquarium). There is also a consistent contrast between sensuality and gross out horror. While the floors of the lab room are covered in blood and organs and god knows what, and victims are rendered as bloody piles of goo, crew members June Chadwick (This is Spinal Tap, of course) and Dawn Dunlap, in white and pink jumpsuits respectively, strut around within their respective styles. They're not really there for their scientific contributions (despite lip service to the contrary), but rather, an erotic counterpoint to the "human organism reduced to genetic slop" aesthetic. June vamps using limited physical movement, a confident British lass strutting in robotic strides, while Dawn is equally alluring in her gentle sadness. After all, the first victim is her boyfriend, Tommy from Valley Girl, and she's under a hopelessly fashionable pall the rest of the film. To get her mind off of her one true love being eaten by a monster, she slips into a baby doll (thank god) before eventually doing some cosmic sunbathing completely in the buff (that'll get her mind off of things).


Is it in 3-d? No, but your face is! OH SNAP! Like, for sure. Totally for sure.





Yeah, Dawn may be on a space mission, but she needs to get some tanning done. DEAL WITH IT.





This eroticism/horror contrast most blatantly comes into play during the scene where Vint has some interstellar nookie with June while another crew member looks on, using his futuristic VHS surveillance equipment while playing with his space yo-yo (no perverted double entendre here; he is LITERALLY playing with a space yo-yo, thank you). The sex scene is rendered in an awesome pop art montage, set to a rad synth theme. When the peeping tom has had enough, he decides to explore the ship alone in the dark, and is promptly eaten by the monster. This is intercut with flash cuts of the sex scene, as if he is pining for images of June Chadwick's grinding ass during his final moments. This constant tension between eroticism and bloody slop creates an odd dynamic that is difficult to put into words, but makes this movie maybe the most unique of the blatant Alien ripoffs.





After being devoured, the peeping tom's body metamorphosizes into a self-reproducing pile of protein, basically a replicating food source for the monster. The astute viewer may be struck with the crushing fist of irony if they had paid attention during the scene where it was explained that the original experiments with this bacteria was an attempt to create a self-reproducing food source. You know, to fight world hunger and shit. You end world hunger and people are gonna shower you with awards and money and fame and maybe even one of those singing telegram hookers (if such a thing exists).




***

The lovely Dawn Dunlap only had a few movie roles, and never quite became the B-movie starlet one might've anticipated from this film, but she did star in Heartbreaker, one of the few lowrider-sploitation movies (the most famous one being Boulevard Nights). She is most famous, I guess, for her role in David Hamilton's Laura, as the underage Ballet student (although I think she was 17 or 18 at the time) who falls in love with an erotic sculptor.




Forbidden World was director Allan Holzman's first film, and he curiously begins and ends the film with a quick cut montage of images from the entire movie, further lending to the idea of a pop art take on b-grade pulp material, while never standing outside of the genre. He also began his second film, Out of Control, with an awesome five minute pop arty music video montage, including quick cuts of Sherilyn Fenn licking a lollipop while riding a motorcycle for no discernible reason, not that you need an excuse to show Sherilyn licking a lollipop. It's set to the tune of the fairly catchy Out of Control theme song, but I think the movie would have been better served if they went ahead and licensed Warlock's song "Out of Control" instead. Perhaps the movie wouldn't have descended into obscurity if it had begun with a slick, partially sexy montage married to a fist pumping adrenaline rush, rather than some honky attempt at funky dance pop. Then again, maybe the kids like something they can tap their feet to. Perhaps someone like myself, he who is perpetually out of step with the times, should stop judging current tastes and trends.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

THE CHURCH (1989) - the most boring place on earth just got balls out exciting, thanks to the demented Italians and their gothic horrors





The second in a very unofficial (i.e. only recognized by myself) underage Asia Argento horror trilogy (the others being Demons 2 and Trauma), The Church is another one of those Italian horror movies where Satan is unleashed (or your preferred source of evil) and random awesome shit happens and people get killed (see Fulci's Gates of Hell and The Beyond). Anyone can die at any time, just like real life (except for Asia; she's too adorable). Where as the American horror counterpart may show a coed getting decapitated with a chainsaw (which is awesome in it's own way, granted), the Italians really go for baroque (I apologize up front for that one, and on the back end for that matter), twisting a great tradition of gothic art into something cinematic and sinister, leaving teenagers limbless in it's wake.


The Church makes this dynamic the central core of the plot, what with the lovely Barbara Cupitsi (of Soavi's Stage Fright) working at a cathedral, restoring one of those rad paintings of Satan eating people and looking awesome. I'm not sure why a beautiful old church would have a giant painting of Satan hanging on the wall, not to mention the creepy gargoyles. It looks more like a place where Glenn Danzig would spend his summers, but what the heck do I know about religion.



The painting, along with a creepy priest and some ancient parchments (and a Knights Templar prologue), all help to unleash an avalanche of Satanic tomfoolery. I could make the case that director Michele Soavi goes postmodern within the genre at hand, just as he did with Stage Fright, where the killer existed to knowingly create stylish set pieces, rather than given a traditional back story and motive and what have you. However, I'm no Jacques Derrida. Even Derrida would argue that even he is no Jacques Derrida, but a combination of identity, self and otherwise, and an undeconstructable human mass of chemicals and what have you. Granted, "mass of chemicals" is a deconstructed label, but I gotta call him something. It's hard to make a reference to something without using words, as no one will know what the hell you're referring to. Boy, language is fucking confusing.



If you're not turned on by post-modernism, there's always Asia Argento. Of course, I'm referring to the adult version, and not the cutie pie underage version from the aforementioned trilogy. Granted, she has a nude shower scene in Trauma, but it was clearly of an artistic nature. I'm no pervert folks. Really I'm not.


So, in summary, if you like horror movies, please watch this fucker asap. It's on Netflix instant watch in the U.S. as we speak. Canadians and other weird foreigners may be up Shit's Creek without a paddle, but if you take a vacation to a place called "Shit's Creek", you deserve whatever is coming to you. Therefore, I don't want to spoil all of the random gothic horror foolishness when you can just as easily watch it yourself. However, I would like to make mention of one quick throwaway. You see, when I initially saw the film (maybe 2002), I had an instant feeling of deja vu come over my body when I saw this:

I soon realized where I had seen this image. It's a recreation of a Boris Vallejo painting, forced into the film for no logical purpose. Then again, logic had already been tossed into the paper shredder by the time this small bit shows up, so maybe it make sense on a thematic or subconscious level. Instead of an old painting causing various horrors, here we have an odd erotic horror insert modeled after a modern painting. I guess it's all a part of Michele Soavi's self-reflexivity, a feverish anagram of the old and the new, where different mediums crash into each other in reckless hyper-exstasis. To put it another way: Satan + naked chicks = awesome.

While we're on the topic, here's another bit of reused Boris Vallejo artwork antics I noticed. I propose that the following VHS cover art for the Italian swashbuckler Ms. Stiletto is based off of another Vallejo painting, whether a variation painted by Mr. Boris himself, or possibly a slightly illegal appropriation.



Either way, it's some more epic Vallejo-penned ass on display. The man is a genius. While he paints a decidedly erotic portrait of demon sex, I would advise against any sort of demon/ lizard man affair in the real world, as it always ends in heartache, just like those satanic contracts penned in blood. Reptiles make selfish lovers, and will slither away with your heart, and anything else they can get their claws on.




P.S. This was written as part of Stacie Ponder's Final Girl film club. Read her review here, or Satan will grab your ass and leave claw marks. Even if your into that sort of thing, I think you should still read it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

TURKISH STAR WARS (1982) - at midnight, I will destroy George Lucas through lax copyright enforcement


Here's the unstoppable training montage. The training montage from Rocky IV can go eat a dick.


Two years ago or so, I found myself stuck in one of those annoying conversations with a 40 year old geek, sort of a bland version of the comic book guy from The Simpsons. You know, an avalanche of geek rants with nary a response from my direction, maybe the occasional nod of the head, like I was a living message board and he was posting his complaints about whatever nerds think constitute a pressing issue. You see, I have a magical ability to accidentally convince others that I care about what they are saying, even though my body language and lack of retorts during these “conversations” would seem to say otherwise. I guess I can’t help but be polite and hope they catch on, rather than state the obvious and watch the fist of rejection crush their sad little heart.



This conversation finally plummeted to the depths of nerd hell when the dude, out of nowhere, starting ranting about Jar Jar Binks. Yes, he was still complaining about Jar Jar circa 2008. Look buddy, you got raped…GET OVER IT. Your little Star Wars nerd bubble got punctured when George Lucas decided to bend it over a pile of Ewok lunchboxes and ram it repeatedly with his money stick. Maybe you shouldn’t put so much importance on things that aren’t real. And don’t give me that bullshit that Yoda has important life lessons to impart. One or two fortune cookie snippets does not justify the transformation of the cinematic arts into a marketplace of hype and merchandise, nor the resulting diversion of an entire generation from things that actually have to do with the real world.



Well, instead of bitching about George's money whoring ways, somebody actually had the balls to fight back, stealing clips and music from Star Wars for their own gain, as some sort of political revolt against mediocre cash-in sequels and Boba Fett action figures. The man responsible is the director of Turkish Star Wars, a movie that would be considered a very illegal ripoff if it was officially released in most of the world. If a distributor tried to show this film in a theater in the U.S., Lucas would sue their pants off and then try to sell them the bottom half of a stormtrooper Halloween costume. However, it’s an entirely different situation in Turkey. Apparently, you'll get tossed in a Turkish prison just for spitting on the sidewalk (see Prison Heat), but blatant theft of Hollywood product is not only legal, but seemingly encouraged. Whoever directed Turkish Star Wars probably got a key to the city and an honorarium from the Turkish film institute, if for no better reason than the economic stimulus that the grosses provided.





The bulk of Turkish Star Wars is it’s own Turkish pop brand of action foolishness, sort of a particularly violent Sid and Marty Krofft show on a sugar high, filtered through the prism of low budget costume-fu Hong Kong movies; maybe Sigmund and the Sea Monsters meets Infra-Man. The human hero of the story is the Charles Bronson/Harrison Ford of Turkey, Cuneyt Arkin, who gets to beat up on all of these ruthless fucks, whether foam skeleton warriors, toilet paper mummies, cardboard robots, or evil Tickle Me Elmos, doing so with manly style and the occasional gratuitous trampoline jump. Despite their raggedly cute exteriors, these monsters are evil incarnate. They have no qualms about killing innocent children, which is pretty awesome, but this does cut into the subtlety factor a bit.



All of this is supplemented with shots and music from Star Wars, just like any number of Roger Corman movies, although to a greater extent. For example, you can bet your sweet ass that if you watch a space movie that Corman produced between 1982 and 1992 or so, there's gonna be a shot cribbed from Battle Beyond the Stars. The difference being that Corman owned the rights to the movies he was ripping off but, like I said, Turkey plays by it's own rules. However, even with all of the stolen footage and John Williams' iconic score, this is another universe entirely.
Arkin eventually gets to use the movie's equivalent to the light saber, but it's a cardboard sword that looks like a two dimensional Christmas tree designed by Frank Gehry. Regardless, it gets the job done, so who am I to complain. Even the requisite cabana scene is really an excuse for Cuneyt to pummel some more hellacious furballs in decidedly un-Lucas fashion. After all, furry creatures in the Star Wars universe have to be lovable, as kids love both furry things and useless merchandise, and this spells opportunity. Granted, opportunity for childhood rape, but opportunity nevertheless.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

SHOWER OF BLOOD (2004) - the no budget Boxing Helena of dumb vampire movies


You can watch the entire movie right on Youtube for free. All told, a solid investment.


I see the title "Shower of Blood", and it seems like it's meant to be a slightly poetic description of some unfathomable horror, an onslaught of violence and terror so unspeakable that only vague metaphor will suffice. It was said that, during the shower of blood, the lacerated sky wept crimson tears, or whatever sad bastard art school flight of verbal fancy you wanna throw out there.



Much to my surprise, the movie is actually about a shower nozzle that shoots out blood instead of water. Here is a film that cuts through the bullshit of verbal whimsy in order to totally fucking deliver on the promise of it's title. Buy this DVD and you'll see people (mostly hot chicks) taking actual blood showers. I find this sort of literal minded approach refreshing, although I worry that whoever created this pile of horseshit was simply incapable of approaching the titling of their movie with anything but the simpleminded slapping on of a label.



Well, the movie features your typical group of "teenaged" schmucks staying at a creepy house and taking a lot of showers (you gotta meet expectations, like I was saying). The home belongs to the lead girl's creepy vampire child molester uncle (he doesn't molest vampire children, he's just a vampire that looks like a child molester, if you follow), and he eventually pops in to kill them off and make shitty vampire puns (all of which I have completely forgotten, so no examples). There's an alpha male of the group whose sole character trait is that he drinks beer at every waking moment, but yet is never drunk. Either it's a dig at those machismo males who hide their insecurities behind the brewskis, or maybe the director is trying to say that beer is like really really really awesome and stuff.



There's also a hot blonde virgin who likes to get naked, yet perpetually rebuffs the advances of her annoying boyfriend. In one particular scene, she's taking a shower in one of several erotic filler sequences that is accompanied by some eroto-muzak. Remember watching Boxing Helena (don't we all) and quixotically smirking during the protracted "erotic" bedroom scene where that shitty Enigma song was playing? It's sort of a retarded skid row version of that, minus the quixotitude, of course (assuming that's a word).



Well, the boyfriend decides to join her in the shower, but this offends her virginal sensibilities. She yells at him, saying something like "somebody should slap you!", before immediately slapping him. In a movie filled with amusingly stupid dialogue, this is my favorite line. Imagine saying to someone during a heated argument that their selfish ways will come back to bite them, and then actually fucking biting them. Comedic genius I say. I'm gonna try that one sometime. I'll just have to be careful not to bite too hard. There's a fine line between a wonderfully witty pun in action versus a psychotic animalistic assault. Also, if you're a dude, don't try this on a male Twilight fan, as this will appease their most deep seated fantasy, turning them extra gay and causing them to fall in obsessive love with you. Unless you're into that sort of thing, then by all means have at it.



I guess one might think that this is some sort of masterpiece of accidental comedy, with the stilted idiotic dialogue, the Commodore Amiga CGI effects, the hilarious attempts at softcore vampiric erotica, and just random inexplicable nonsense, like a cameo from the Mona Lisa (a replica of the painting, not the Bob Hoskins movie). Oh yeah, there's this scene:



However, director Tiffany Kilbourne may in fact have wrought this foolishness with a guiding comedic hand. The tipoff is the various comedic noises that permeate the film. Again, nothing funny enough that you would remember a week after seeing the film, but I'm sure there was something like an overdubbed Casio fart noise when somebody bent over. It takes a subtle, John Water-esque genius to be able to pull this type of intentional camp off, and Ms. Kilbourne almost does so against all odds. She should make a baby with fellow cinematic auteur Tommy Wiseau. Their child would probably grow up to be the greatest film director the world has ever seen, in some sort of magical chromosomal inversion. Come to think of it, Shower of Blood sort of comes across as a vastly more vampiric The Room, at a vastly lower budget. Very few no budget camp hacks get to work with the lavish budgets that Wiseau does.



Of course, all of these "comedy" sounds could have been conceived of in post-production, after she had realized that the movie was in fact laughable nonsense, instead of the post-Anne Rice erotic vampire opus she had hoped to unleash upon a receptive public. I don't really give a shit either way. The whole thing is entertaining as balls, no matter what was intended from the outset. Granted, I.Q. points will seep out of your head during the entire run time, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. So, in summary, I used to be really really really really smart, but now I'm more like a normal person! Thank you Shower of Blood! When I'm at a party, or in some other social situation, and somebody asks me a question, I no longer over analyze the situation or scoff at their trite inquiries. Instead, I jump into exuberant action with a response, like "YES I WATCH THAT T.V. SHOW AND IT IS GREAT AND I NEVER MISS IT!", or "YES, WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE WEATHER, IT IS ANNOYING!". I suddenly feel like an old dog with a new trick.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January is sci-fi month (at least what's left of it)!!!

Throughout the rest of January, I'll be exploring the science fiction genre through a random collection of five reviews, namely: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2069: A Sexy Odyssey, Forbidden World, Turkish Star Wars, and Metropolis (the 1984 version). That's the tentative idea for now. I'll try and intersperse some other reviews as well. I may also include some other sci-fi related posts (like links maybe, or pics or videos). I am still fiddling with this format, but I like the idea of a monthly general theme, with a few random reviews/post thrown in that have nothing to do with said theme. It's going to be a daunting task, but if it bleeds over into February, nobody's gonna give a shit. Thankfully, I've started a training regiment as of late, so I feel like I should be ready for such an onslaught of posting. Here is actual footage of me working out in preparation for sci-fi month:


Thursday, January 6, 2011

NFL playoffs via Ebert and his Jewish friend

In celebration of the upcoming NFL playoffs and the Chicago Bears position as the #2 seed in the NFC, here is a clip of Siskel and Ebert playing Tecmo Bowl. Awesomeness.



Football is a game of real men doing real things, and real men don't throw pick sixes (or an open letter to emo quarterback Cutler). Hopefully we get a little of this on "our" side. You know, magic and shit.



So...let's hope it works out. At least it isn't baseball.



P.S. Please visit this Youtube channel, where some kindly soul has seen fit to upload numerous videos of Siskel & Ebert.

my tentative top 5 fave films of an incomplete year

Usually I whip up my top 10 films of the year list around Oscar time, when I've had an opportunity to finally catch up with everything I've wanted to see, and also had a chance to reflect a bit, all under the umbrella of not giving a shit about the Oscars. However, I'll go ahead and post my incomplete list of films that kicked me in the ass during this year. Keep in mind that I'm REALLY behind in my movie watching. I haven't even seen Black Swan or True Grit yet, two seemingly slam dunk slabs of entertainment for my viewing pleasure.

1. Valhalla Rising (dir-Nicolas Winding Refn) - My review here.

2. Blue Beard (dir-Catherine Breillat)

3. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (dir-Werner Herzog)

4. The Ghost Writer (dir-Roman Polanski)

5. Greenberg (dir-Noah Baumbach)

runner up - A Prophet (dir-Jacques Audiard)

Again, I still have A LOT of movies to watch, so this is a total work in progress. If you don't see your favorite movie of the year on my list, it may be because I haven't seen it yet or I think it sucks. Either way...DEAL.



holiday horror recap

Well, it's a new year, and I'm sure many of us have resolutions to be better members of the human race. You know, maybe lose a few pounds, stop laughing at midgets for no reason, and possibly realize your dormant dreams of becoming an important artist, instead of another smartass idiot who can't muster up the courage maintain one's convictions (or work hard, for that matter).

Yearly failure aside, there are plenty of holiday horror films to take your mind off of things. For example:

Silent Night, Deadly Night
The Dorm That Dripped Blood
To All a Good Night
Santa's Slay
New Year's Evil

If you don't end up accomplishing your goals, remember, failure breeds character, and character itself can be considered an improvement of its own. If you don't buy that, you can always just ignore the semi-arbitrary importance laid on the marking of a new year and view life as a one-day-at-a-time endeavor. Of course, if the bulk of your existence consists of you working at a shitty job wearing a stupid hat, and every day is the same, this is hardly an optimistic outlook on life. So, in summary...do the best you can with what is at hand...or don't. Whatever floats your boat.



Saturday, January 1, 2011

NEW YEAR'S EVIL (1980) - a new year is but a mathematical concidence, but sexualized murder via phallic symbolism knows no such arbitrary bounds


trailer courtesy of Bleeding Skull via Youtube


Blaze has a mission in life; a vision, if you will. The public must be made aware of the newest and freshest in new wave hits. This proves difficult for her son, an aspiring actor, as he expects her to actually give a shit about his life for some reason. For example, he just got a part on the hit show "Spaceship America" (I guess it’s like Star Trek, except the ship never leaves home and just sits in a garage), but she is much too busy applying new wave eyeliner and cosmic eighties hairspray to give two hoots. She is, after all, “The First Lady of Rock n’ Roll”, Priscilla Presley be damned, although it technically may have been whoever Bill Haley was fucking at the time. One problem though. Someone named “Evil” (I hope it’s not Evil Knievel; having a killer Santa Claus is one thing, but some icons should be above reproach) is calling into her New Year’s Eve new wave showcase program “Hollywood Hotline”, letting Blaze know, in a rather subdued, electro-rasp, that he is killing any and all ancillary characters that might pop into the movie.



This killer’s M.O. is really something. For some reason or another, he has to brutally kill a woman on the east coast as midnight strikes, then teleport to the next time zone and kill someone before the next hour is up, etc. Never before has a serial killer managed to murder someone at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve four separate fucking times in one night. I guess he really really really really wants to make the Guinness Book.


relevant scene begins at 1:45

Well, he dresses up as a nurse and then finds a real nurse to quickly make out with, before stabbing her at midnight and getting on his way (he's got a long night ahead of him, after all). He then quickly heads for the adjoining time zone, puts on a fake mustache, meets two girls at a disco, and gets frisky with them before murdering them at the stroke of midnight. Incredible. Not only has he hooked up with a nurse, a hot blonde, and a chick with blue hair in the span of two hours (a lifetime of accomplishment for someone like myself), he did it in two separate time zones! Holy shit. That’s managing your time. Also, he killed them…and hid the bodies! He must own one of those day planner thingies.



In my favorite sequence, Evil dresses up as a priest, and immediately pisses off a biker gang. He hides out at a drive-in playing a trailer for Blood Feast before attempting his escape by stabbing one of the bikers and stealing a couple’s car. He throws the guy out and shows his bloody knife to the girl, who then immediately offers to have sex with him in exchange for not suffering the humiliation of being stabbed by a fake priest. Whatever works I guess.



Anyway, in the end, Evil shows up at the show in L.A., running around in a Laurel mask (Laurel and Hardy that is). Turns out the killer is Blaze’s husband, who had previously “lived” in a sanitarium. He thinks Blaze has been turning his son against him, so this has drove him to time-zone themed mass slaughter across fifty states in the span of four hours. Also, she’s apparently a “whore”, which is exactly the kind of analysis one would expect after watching him degrade his previous female victims. He mentions he’s going to take his son to the Rose Bowl, but only after involving her in a prolonged, Bondian elevator murder. Of course, the cops interrupt, and he decides to escape by jumping off the roof, squishing his crazed noggin on the pavement below. In the not so surprising twist, the son dons the Laurel mask and continues his father’s rampage, throwing away his promising role in a shitty sci-fi show to star in a sequel to a movie called New Year’s Evil...which was never made anyway. Oh well.



I think the lesson here is obvious. If you ignore your loved ones for careerism, they may go around stabbing innocent women after having sex with them, and may do so dressed as a man of the church, and apparently may develop some sort of super jet pack to get them quickly across state lines in a moment’s notice (the one true positive to come out of the situation). If all this family drama seems a bit heavy, there’s always house band Shadow, playing their vaguely proggy version of death rock, sort of .45 Grave trying to rip off Steely Dan and failing. They may be a little confused, but that New Year’s Evil theme song rocks pretty damn hard. Maybe Blaze’s musical quest was a worthwhile endeavor after all.



Here's a .45 Grave performance from a show appropriately called "New Wave Theater". Coincidence? Probably. Also, I may have misunderstood the entire new year's murder plot, so don't take the review too seriously. Well...happy new year!