Saturday, July 28, 2012

DEAD CERT (2010)

Freddie is a London gangster that wants to give up the life and earn an honest living. By “honest living”, I mean running a strip club. I know that’s not the kind of job that regular people have, but it’s perfectly admirable for a tough gangster weaning himself off of selling drugs and shooting people in the back of the head or whatever it is he did previously. It’s sort of like how someone might quit heroin and instead choose to smoke cigarettes for the rest of their life. 

Anyway, Freddie also runs an underground fight club, which I assume isn’t legal, particularly because it involves gambling. I’ll go ahead and give Freddie the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s using profits from the fight club to get his strip club off the ground and spruce it up a bit; maybe get some exploding nipple tassels for the ladies. It shouldn’t take him too long to acquire the money he needs. In this day and age, you can get the word out quickly about your fight club through social media, and pretty soon you’ll be raking in the cash. 

Well, as luck would have it, some Romanian gangsters REALLY want to buy the strip club. Of course, they make Freddie an offer he can’t refuse. Namely, they want to set up a fight between Freddie’s toughest fighter (his brother-in-law Dennis) and the toughest fighter from the Romanian gang. If Dennis wins, Freddie gets several million pounds (which is like a billion dollars in U.S. money), and if the Romanian wins, they get the club. We all know Romanians can’t fight, right? I’d think Jimmy the Greek would agree that placing that bet would be “like printing money”. However, not only does Dennis lose the fight, but he gets his ass beat so badly he dies. I don’t know all the rules of fight club, but “not killing a dude” is probably on there somewhere. 

In fairness to Dennis, the Romanian dude was a vampire, just as the other Romanian gangsters are vampires. Vampires, as you well know, have super strength, which is why fight clubs should make a rule that says “no vampires allowed”. If you’re wondering why vampires would so desperately want to own a strip club, it has something to do with it being built on a burial ground. As a side benefit, they get to turn regular strippers into vampire strippers, and we all know how rad vampire strippers are. 

So, some Van Helsing type character (poor Steven Berkoff) warns Freddie that the Romanians are indeed vampires, and eventually joins him and his toughs (very eventually) to raid the strip club and take it back. However, I don’t know how that would work as far as the paperwork goes. I’d hate to see them kill all the vampires but get overruled in court. 

Dead Cert is essentially a variation on From Dusk Till Dawn. Instead of a bank robbery, we have the inner workings of a gang. However, Dead Cert is structurally a mess. I guess the idea was to present a “Goodfellas”-lite look at some London gangsters, and then later introduce the horror elements once this world is set up. However, the script feels vague, and the bulk of the movie becomes a series of aimless conversations between gangsters where the structure of their relationships to one another are fuzzy, as are the details of this criminal “underworld”. We are supposed to be drawn into Freddie’s world and surrounding characters, but the script doesn’t work on a basic dramatic level, so it becomes a series of dialogue scenes featuring people you don’t give a shit about. 

The vampire element is both unsurprising and forced. If I was actually buying into the story, it might have been ruined by the ridiculous forced conflict with the vampires and the burial ground and the fight. When we get to the actual showdown, it’s 10 minutes of our heroes arguing in the basement of the club, and then a lackadaisical 10 minute fight and then it’s over. The vampire element mostly operates as the third act of a gangster movie, rather than From Dusk Till Dawn, which sets up in the 1st act that it’s going to be one thing and then turns into something else. 

I never thought that gangsters fighting vampire strippers would be boring, but this movie feels like someone wanted to make a serious gangster movie, but was then forced into including a vampire element in order to be commercial. The results are a movie that achieves neither, and not because these elements necessarily couldn’t fit together. I am reminded of John Landis’ Innocent Blood, which took a gangster world and integrated a vampire element. However, Innocent Blood was funny, where as Dead Cert isn’t. Maybe vampire strippers shouldn’t be taken so seriously. No, I take that back. It’s mainly a problem of execution. I think a dramatic story about a vampire stripper could be riveting. Even if it isn’t, at least you get to see a hot vampire chick naked for half the movie. You know, I’m casting too wide a net once again. How about not being fucking boring? That’s a good rule of thumb I guess.  You can go ahead and include that as one of the rules of fight club too, if you plan on ever starting a fight club.  You're welcome. 

P.S. This was written as part of "Project Terrible", hosted by Mondo Bizarro.  This movie was chosen by Maynard Morrissey, who has a Horror Movie Diary here.  Check 'em out!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I’d like to think I’m hip to the jive, folks. I enjoy a little hippa to the hoppa now and again. You know, to where I just can’t stoppa. However, homey don’t play willful ignorance. In fact, he thinks it’s a scourge upon the human race. When the Insane Clown Posse decried to the heavens “fucking magnets, how do they work?”, chalking them up to a miracle, they cemented themselves as ignorant. The reality of how magnets work is readily available to anybody with access to the internet or a local library. The Posse is under the faulty assumption that just because they don’t understand something, that means that nobody could possibly understand it, and therefore, it must be magic. That’s not keepin’ it real folks. Yup yup. 

Well, the old west town of Mud Bump has a big problem. Namely, there’s a fat clown in town who talks like a wigger (he especially likes the word “muthafucka”). If that wasn’t bad enough, him and his cronies are terrorizing the town, whether cheating at cards and blowing away anybody who argues for the sake of fairness, or shaking down local businesses for cash. The fat clown was previously responsible for offing the sheriff (Ron Jeremy, because why not) and his two sons, one of which was a flaming gay guy, I guess because “hey look at that dude, he’s a homo! HA HA!”. 

Enter the skinny clown, the son of Ron Jeremy, who rides into town seeking justice and order, but not after offering his sexual services to the hot wife of a struggling wagon family. I guess he is such a pimp that his crotch is a poverty erasing gift from the gods. Later, there’s even a montage of him getting jiggy with Bridget the Midget, scored to a crap synth ripoff of the theme from Once Upon a Time in the West. I’d like to think this is meant to be ironic, but based on the surrounding film, I have to assume it’s a combination of the composer being lazy and the assertion that a little porn star with little arms must be amusing to look at. 

Anyway, the skinny clown is aided by a masked Mexican hero named Dirty Sanchez (of course) in his quest to defeat the bad guys and restore order to Mud Bug like his father once did. Oh, he does hire a deputy (Jason Mewes), but he’s just as spineless as the current sheriff. This leads to the best attempt at humor in the film where Mewes asks “how do I know I won’t get shot?”. The skinny clown responds with “tell you what; if you get shot and die, I’ll double your paycheck”. That’s as a good as it gets folks. There is a guy with a giant foot, and a reoccurring gag where the skinny clown slaps somebody for no reason, if that’s your bag. 

There are also “celebrity” cameos that I think are supposed to be funny, whether it’s Brigitte Nielson, Vanilla Ice, Jimmie Walker, Todd Bridges, or Tom Sizemore. At least they are getting paychecks out of this. Wait a second, I don’t actually care if those people find work or not. Never mind. Incredibly, David Yow from The Jesus Lizard has a “cameo” as a piano player, but I gotta assume he was just hired as an actor. I have a hard time imagining that ICP were interested in giving a shout out to the Lizard in their so-called cowboy comedy, but maybe I am too quick to doubt their taste in indie rock. 

The whole thing feels like a vanity piece strictly for fans of ICP, and I’m more of a Digable Planets kind of guy; call me a pussy if you will. So I guess these fans wanna see the fat clown say “muthafucka” and shoot people for no reason, and the skinny clown slap people and boink any woman he wants. However, this obviously doesn’t make for an interesting story, but neither does it make for good comedy. It’s the same reason why a douchebag stand-up comedian talking about how much he gets laid isn’t funny. Vulnerability, pathos, and failure are keys to comedy, but I guess ICP places tough guy posturing above all. Considering this posturing takes place in a fantasy world, it strikes me as nothing more than empty bravado. 

P.S. This was written as part of Project Terrible hosted by Alec over at Mondo Bizarro, who also deviously chose this movie for me to review.  Devious I say!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Gregg Araki's Smiley Face is not just another stupid stoner comedy, but maybe a smarter indie version of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.  Admittedly, the line between smart and stupid in a stoner comedy is thinner than Kate Moss right after a bulimia contest, so trying to explain why is futile.  I'll just say I thought it was pretty damn funny.  Anna Faris is pretty much perfect in the role.  I mean, I really thought she was stoned the entire time!  And I don't mean mildly stoned...we're talkin' extreme bakage here folks.  That's acting.

Now, if Anna tried to sidestep a difficult acting job by actually being that stoned the entire time, then she deserves mad kudos for remembering her lines.  I know what you're thinking; nobody says "mad kudos"...the saying is "mad props", you moron.  Well, asshole, I think "mad kudos" has a better ring to it.  So sue me.

Anyway, here are two GIFs of Anna that I made:

Friday, July 20, 2012


Somewhere in Canada, two scientists are busy working in a tiny office on a government funded project to create a cosplay Thor costume. I guess Canada can afford to throw money away on stuff like this since they don’t spend trillions on national defense. By an incredible coincidence, scientist Grant happens to be a descendent of Thor. By an even more incredible coincidence, Thor himself needs to inject an earthly relative of his with the ability to shoot Photoshop lightning balls in order to save the world or whatever, and since Grant happens to be working on a Thor costume for unrelated reasons, why not. Seems like a good fit. 

Some bald, faux-Anton LaVey douchebag transforms some hot chick into an evil cosplay lady that shoots red Photoshop electricity. They team up to attempt to kill the gods by starting Ragnarok (the “twilight of the gods”) because…I don’t know why*. I guess it’s a pretty metal thing to do, so why not*. However, not only are these gods not worshipped by anyone who isn’t a LARPer, they are really just photos that are shaken in front of a new age screensaver. Anyway, I guess it’s bad for the universe if these talking photos are blowed up, so we need some dude in spandex (named “Thunderstorm” instead of “Thor Jr.”) to take care of beeswax. 

In order for the villains to complete their quest, they need to reconstruct the “dragon’s cross”, a piece of which they have to steal from an art gallery. A young female cop in street clothes investigates the robbery, and becomes entangled with Grant/Thunderstorm in his quest to stop the evil pair and their henchmen. She lacks a superpower though, unless you count being the only halfway decent actor in the movie a superpower. 

 Here is a scene of drama.  You can tell because our hero takes off his helmet in order to show off some emotionalism.

Will good overcome evil? Will the gods survive? I’m sure you probably don’t care, as I probably don’t care. In fact, I can’t muster up the energy to figure out whether or not I care. The movie is largely people (most of whom can’t act) standing around in some very generic location (like an office or a parking lot) providing endless exposition without actually setting up a story that has any stakes. Thunderstorm’s sense of duty amounts to “well, I guess I’m supposed to, so…”, where as the villain wants to destroy the gods just because I guess. It should be said that some of this endless exposition is hard to hear because it is drowned out by the new age hero Casio score, and the god dialogue is also drowned out with some very shoddy reverb effect, making it virtually unintelligible. There is also a 3000 word crawl at the beginning of the film that tries to explain the Norse mythological background of the story, but instead of clarifying, it will mostly just give you a headache. 

The biggest take away from this film is that I don’t know why someone would make a serious version of the comic book Thor for $5,000 with a script that is mostly stuffed with mangled exposition. Yes, I know it’s REALLY made to cash in on the Hollywood movie, but you can still make a vaguely entertaining ripoff for no money. God only knows how you would achieve that, but I imagine it might be possible. You could make it stupid or humorous, or be self-aware about it being an impossibly cheap superhero movie. There is a moment where the female detective asks our hero why he’s driving a crappy car, and he defends it by mentioning that the car is electric. However, I think this is less a self-aware comment on shoddy superheroes than an honest stab at humor. The movie does have several stabs at humor which feel vaguely Canadian. Granted, they aren’t funny, but it has that Canadian comedy feel of being pleasantly odd instead of crass, mean spirited, or overly literal. So, that was something I noticed. I have to find something to think about while I’m watching horseshit like this. 

*I think the lady villain might be a god herself, worshipped by the main villain and his cronies, and they want to kill the other gods in order to be the only game in town, I guess. 

P.S. This was written as part of Project Terrible, hosted by Alec at Mondo Bizarro.  This particular choice was selected by Robert over at Gaming Creatively.  Check 'em out!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Shawn Black is a man haunted by his past and a generic name, but mostly his past. According to a series of rapid and intrusive flashbacks, his parents were killed by vampires, he is haunted by visions of a biblical apocalypse, and he also fought side by side with his brother in Afghanistan only to watch him be killed in the line of duty. If that wasn’t enough, he is burdened with the responsibility of being the one and only vampire slayer, although I’m unsure how that works exactly (maybe it’s a genetic thing). It’s a good thing we are shown these quick clips, because our hero is not interested in outwardly conveying any of this emotional baggage, apart from occasionally gritting his teeth. I guess he is so distraught that he has emotionally shut down and can only stare blankly into the camera. That must be it. 

Black has also taken up drinking. Apparently, his father was Italian, and his mother was Irish, so “I didn’t know whether to drink or get revenge. I needed to do both.” Hopefully this trend has since become finito, but this used to be the standard opening line for an ultra hacky stand-up comedian. They would introduce themselves by describing their parentage, like maybe that they are half-Jewish and half-Chinese, and then say something like “with parents like that, I don’t know whether to order Chinese take out or deliver it.” My point is, the line portends an ominous absence of wit, although I don’t know what I was expecting exactly. 

Well, you’re probably wondering where this is headed. Vinnie Jones is an evil vampire leader with a bunch of vampire underlings, although you wouldn’t know he was evil from glancing at him, what with his ridiculous fur coat and hat and long hair, making him look like Kevin MacDonald’s pimp character from The Kids in the Hall. Either way, Shawn Black is the man to take them down. He enlists the help of an alcoholic, gun toting priest played by a slumming Michael Madsen (although maybe this “slumming” has been an intentional acting style all along). Madsen even hands Black a sword that lights up when he holds it, proving that he is the one and only vampire slayer. I guess it’s sort of like a Sword in the Stone type of thing. 

Skipping to the end, Black and the priest find the abandoned factory where the vampires live by asking some dude who works in a record store (like a real record store, with like records and shit). Just as they are infiltrating the “compound”, the factory turns into a rave with like 1,000 people, 90% of which appear to be hot chicks, and 80% of which are twirling glowsticks for no goddamn reason. I hate it when a giant party interrupts a covert operation. Who am I kidding; I have never engaged in covert ops. If I try to sneak around, I bump into shit and knock stuff over. Anyway, this raises the stakes, as the vampires are using the rave as a farm system of sorts, mainly because there was a similar scene at the beginning of Blade

Anyway, to say the script has plot holes is to insult holes. Take one short scene, for example. Despite not having a job, Mr. Black drives his near $100,000 Shelby Mustang (he owns an entire fleet of expensive sports cars) to a deserted rest stop in the middle of the night. He is attacked by a vampire that happens to be hanging out in the bathroom. Now, this isn’t a world overrun by vampires, but rather, a secret cabal that has yet to be revealed to the public. Maybe he just has bad luck. 

After dispatching the vampire, two hot chicks arrive at the rest stop in their vintage Dodge Challenger convertible that costs god-knows-how-much. Black talks to the brunette like nothing is going on, and her blonde friend heads to the bathrooms where Black just killed a vampire, with others potentially hiding in the facility. However, he doesn’t bother to warn either of them. Not only that, but those girls driving that car are the least likely visitors to a creepy, dimly lit rest stop that you could possibly come up with, so I guess they’re there because it looks cool. The girls coincidentally pop up a couple more times before it turns out that Black has to save the brunette at the very end. The scriptwriter apparently thinks you can set up a character and a potential love interest just by having her coincidentally show up every once in a while and have no effect on what’s happening. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but my point is; every scene is like that. Seriously. Now I have a headache. Christ. 

The movie’s most egregious sin is the ugly visual style. When not looking shitty because of bad day-for-night or bad exposures, the film is bathed in Windows Movie Maker filters and effects, whether ugly color filters, or an underwater effect, or digital processing that blows out the image in different ways. It makes it impossible to enjoy the movie even on the dumb level of vampires and hot chicks and cars and bikes randomly thrown together. Then there’s the incredibly annoying flash cut editing, as if oodles of background information has to constantly be inserted, otherwise the audience would be unable to follow the obtuse storyline. I know it’s all a ploy to try and add style to the movie, but, speaking of pimps, I believe a wise pimp once said “baby, either you got style or you ain’t got style. You can’t fake that shit”. 

P.S. This was written as part of Project Terrible, hosted by Alec over at Mondo Bizarro.  This particular choice was provided by Craig over at Let's Get Out of Here!.

P.P.S. I realize the pimp character comparison is a bit of a stretch, but Kevin MacDonald was wearing a fur coat in my head when I imagined the character while writing the review.  Maybe he did in one of the sketches.  KITH did a bunch of sketches about hookers.

Friday, July 13, 2012

KLOWN (2010)

A nature trip can be a great way to get in touch with your manhood and bond with your best pal. Not only that, but you might also get in touch with nature, learn survival techniques, and maybe somehow build a super S’more with three marshmallows, thereby defying physics via graham crackers. Enter Frank the schlub, who aims to unschlub himself a bit, and his buddy Casper, who hopes to use a canoe trip as a cover to lay pipe all across Denmark. So, maybe these best buddies aren’t very interested in getting in touch with nature, but it makes a great cover to sell to their wives. Uh oh. 

Oh snap, wait. Frank forgot that he agreed to babysit a pudgy 12-year-old boy named Bo. Oh well, no problem. He’ll just bring him along on the trip. Casper is none too happy about this, but Frank promises not to let a child get in the way of his ability to plow fields. The trip also provides a hidden opportunity for Frank. You see, Frank’s wife Mia is pregnant, but she doesn’t want to have the kid because she thinks Frank isn’t very mature and won’t make a good father. Therefore, Frank hopes to show Mia that he can be a good father by taking care of Bo for a weekend. Spending a weekend getting drunk, visiting a brothel, and watching your 40-year-old friend attempt to schnook anything with a pulse would hardly seem to be the proper avenue to show off how mature you are, but comedy is often about flawed people trying to better themselves in flawed ways. 

Sure enough, Casper immediately starts hitting on a group of high school girls who are also on a camping trip. Dude barely waits for them to get off the bus. Now, I can understand macking on high school girls under the pretense that high school girls can sometimes appear older than they actually are. However, when you actually see them walk off a big yellow bus, you probably shouldn’t be hooting and hollering and pointing to your crotch. Hey Casanova, covertly take a sneak peak and move on with your day. 

Frank is probably just as immature as Casper, but in a different way. He does try to parent Bo by standing up to some kids who bully him, but it backfires a bit when he pulls the pants down of one of the boys, and the boy’s father goes after Frank in retaliation. As a 40-year-old boy himself, this is the most fitting tactic he could come up with. You fight wars with whatever weapons you feel comfortable with. He also tries to instill confidence in Bo by explaining to him that part of the reason his penis looks so small is because he is a fatty, and a penis looks smaller against a backdrop of blubber. Perhaps there is a more productive and less awkward way to instill confidence in a child, but at least Frank’s heart is in the right place.

So, two immature adults take a kid on a canoe trip and misadventures, shenanigans, debauchery, and ribald sexual tomfoolery occur. If this sounds like the setup for a typical Hollywood bad taste coming of age comedy, like Adam Sandler’s last piece of shit (whatever that was called), it sorta is but mostly isn’t. Klown goes both more over the top while being more humanistic by never straying from its (very) flawed characters. In fact, if I described some of the stuff that happens in the movie, I might get reported to the FBI. Yet, these moments seem to flow naturally from the characters, which says a lot about the characters. It just goes to show that you can get away with a lot of crazy shit if you anchor your movie in human behavior, instead of forcing in gross out gags at the expense of the characters and the story. 

Maybe Klown is better described as a Dogme version of a sexually deviant Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Either way, it’s very often laugh out loud funny. If you thought wayward cumshots, awkward anal sex, and the attempt to lure underage girls with the promise of Hannah Montana songs couldn’t be funny, Klown would seem to argue otherwise. But then again, maybe I’m just an irredeemable creep laughing at other irredeemable creeps. Sounds like a great evening in to me, but your mileage may vary. 

Friday, July 6, 2012


The movie opens in prime Texas Chainsaw Massacre style, if TCM was filmed in cheap digital fuzz-o-vision.  There’s the desert dust, the baking heat, the tin can ambient score, and the creepy redneck hitchhiker wearing a shitkicker cowboy hat.  Thankfully, two ladies turn him down and continue to drive along.  If there is one thing I’ve learned from driving cross country, it’s that you never pick up a guy wearing a shitkicker hat, and you ESPECIALLY never pick up Rutger Hauer (sorry Rutger).  Or anybody with visible sores.  You know what, better not to pick up any hitchhikers ever.  They say hitchhiking is incredibly dangerous, so the only people that hitchhike are people that don’t mind doing something incredibly dangerous.  Those people are crazy, ergo…never mind.

Anyway, our two ladies are driving along in their SUV in a part of the California desert only populated by scattered rednecks and lizards.  Curiously, they have a book called “Sophistry” sitting on top of the console.  I was wondering why someone would want to learn how to engage in empty philosophical discussions in the desert, but then I looked closer and saw that the book was actually called “Sapphistry”.  This is the filmmaker’s way of telling us that they are lesbians because they carry around a lesbian sex manual in their car.  That is pretty hot.  Sure enough, they park out in the middle of nowhere, and one lesbian proposes to the other on the side of the road.  I thought women were more romantic than that.  At a minimum, a man will at least take his honey out to a Hooters or something when he’s proposing.

Well, it’s somehow immediately night, and the couple are both dying of thirst.  They are so dehydrated that these two lovebirds are now screaming at each other and calling each other “bitch”.  They stop the car so one of them can vomit, and they are apparently eaten by some unseen force.  I’m going to guess it’s a cannibal family a la The Hills Have Eyes.  However, I’m not sure how they knew where the ladies were going to stop their SUV along the barren highway, but maybe they were riding behind them in an invisible car.  No, that’s crazy.  A cannibal family could never afford an invisible car.  No, there are probably hundreds of cannibal families in the California desert, hiding near roads, waiting for people to stop so they can enjoy a family brunch (or tolerate a family brunch if they’re anything like my family).  Maybe they each have their own jurisdictions.  Perhaps this is what happens to all the actors who move to L.A. but their pilot never gets picked up and they are forced to flee to the desert and eat people to stay alive.  Why not.

Two cops find the vehicle and quickly realize that the couple was eaten, but they don’t want to report it because that means they’ll have to investigate an area that is probably overrun with cannibals.  Now, I hate ineffectual porkers as much as anyone, but they kinda have a point on that one.  The area is also called “Doom Desert”, so you could argue it’s your own damn fault if you don’t drive straight through a place called Doom Desert.  Right on queue, 4 douchebags and their 3 hot girlfriends (I believe it is a legal requirement that, in order to have a hot girlfriend, one must be a douchebag) drive along in two cars through Doom Desert, taking notice that they drive by no less than 4 cars that are abandoned on the side of the road.  You know, even if there weren’t cannibals running around, an abandoned car means that one or more people are stranded out in the middle of nowhere in 120 degree heat.  An engine that overheats in the middle of Death Valley in the summer will smoke your ass just as sure as a tribe of man eating nutters.

If that wasn’t enough, they aren’t even driving through Doom Desert, but instead are intentionally taking a vacation there in order to smoke weed!  Why smoke weed in the most dangerous place in North America when you could just rip a bong load in your apartment and watch The Hills Have Eyes on DVD?  There is one couple that drops acid, and that actually makes some sense.  I heard it’s best to do acid in the desert because you’ll see all kinds of crazy shit, like maybe a bat-winged Jim Morrison swinging a flaming sword at a minotaur while a cactus breakdances nearby (not too nearby).  Of course, I keep my temple clean, so this is all just stuff I’ve heard through the grapevine.  The acid tripping does lead to some cool shots I guess, like where the chick is dancing around with a red sheet and teleporting around to different spots.  These little bits actually reminded me of the video for Romeo Daughter’s “I Cry Myself to Sleep at Night”.  It’s a very obscure pull, but one that I’m happy to make considering I have nothing better to talk about.

I should’ve mentioned that there was an 8th member of the group, a frumpy burnout girl who talks shit to the others and brings along a video camera.  However, she stops being interesting when she turns nice because one of the douchebags who’s a deadbeat dad shows her a picture of his kid, a kid he’s probably met like three times.  I’m sure he just shows off that picture to help him get laid.  If you thought this burnout character would provide an interesting found footage angle to the movie (to the extent that found footage could ever said to be interesting), you would be wrong.  No longer taking her douchebag friends down a peg, she becomes just another person you don’t give a shit about.

They find a human ear and quickly decide to get out of dodge, except for the slightly gothy douchebag who’s tripping balls.  He just tells his buddy “you wanna bring it to the lost and found…I “ear” they’re missing one!”.  I thought acid was supposed to inspire and provoke the imagination, and you come with that sorry bullshit?  How about you make like a tree and “leaf” the jokes up to the professionals.  Anyway, you’d think their escape plan would be easy.  You get in the car and drive in a straight line and, viola, you’re home in L.A.  However, they start arguing and going crazy I guess, and occasionally spot some slime, and decide that wandering off from the road and yelling is the way to deal with the situation.  Too bad Maxim magazine never featured any articles on crisis management. 

I’d like to say that the movie surprises and doesn’t go with the obvious Hills Have Eyes cannibals like I presumed, but I’m not quite sure what is going on here.  The group seems to be affected by some sort of plague that makes them go crazy and not want to keep driving, but there is also clearly a creature of some sort off camera that is never really seen.  There’s even a conspiracy theory guy rambling on the radio.  Maybe it all makes sense if you pay close attention, but I wasn’t paying close attention, and I’m not going to rewatch the movie.  Instead, I’m going to listen to some more Romeo’s Daughter.  Sure they are crap, but they are better at sucking than pretty much anybody.

P.S. This was written as part of "Project Terrible", hosted by the lovely and prolific Alec over at the Mondo Bizarro blog.  This particular movie was chosen for review by the even lovelier but less prolific Michele over at The Girl Who Loves Horror.  Clicky and check 'em out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Now, I’m no geneticist, but I think I can glean an interesting bit of scientific business from a film like, I dunno, The Burning. The setup: a group of silly camp boys play a prank on the meanie caretaker Cropsy. This involves humorously sticking a rotted human head (covered in maggots, with two candles sitting in its eye sockets) on his bedside table. This awakens Cropsy in chuckle-inducing fashion, setting off a chain of slapstick involving a can of gasoline that results in a raging meanie inferno, eventually culminating in a silly time tumble into a lake.   He he!

At the hospital, the token black dude nurse correctly diagnoses him as a "fucking Big Mac overdone". Cropsy promptly grabs somebody’s arm, as he apparently is already well versed in mongoloid stalker union regulations. Here we have a transformation that transcends mere crispiness. Crospy the caretaker starts as a mild mannered asshole working man, and through the mystery of intense heat, becomes an invincible, angry retard and professional shock machine. Somehow, his nucleotides melted slightly, altering the base pairs, resulting in a mongoloidal mess. He’s unable to feel pain, and exists solely to cut-up teenie slackers. This transformation occurs for every horror movie burn victim in history, so surely it must be based on some scientific fact. 

Anyway, five years later, Cropsy is being wheeled out while a doctor’s voice over explains to him that life as a crispy mongoloid will not be without its speed bumps. First things first, he heads to the local red light district, hooking up with a prostitute in a motel room. He jams a pair of scissors into her sternum, above the waist but below the bra, which qualifies as borderline tasteful for these “stabbing a hooker with scissors” scenes. Cropsy smashes a window, lightning flashes, and hooker blood squirts on a mirror. This is all just a bunch of flash to spice up what is a mere practice detour on his camper hacking fun spree. 

We head to camp, and the girls are playing softball, with Jason Alexander and his athletically challenged friends participating the only way they can; by staring at their asses. The camera understandably prowls the girl's cabin, and one of them goes off to take a shower. She shows her boobs and screams, and understandably so; super nerd Alfred has been peeping at her tits. 

The lead girl rightfully chastises him, so he runs off and complains to one of the counselors about how much he hates camp because he’s lame and has no friends. No wonder he hates camping, what with Joe Dallesandro lookalike Glazer (if Joe had a touch of the down syndrome) picking on him, threatening the nerd with the only form of human communication Glazer understands: pummeling. 

Alfred, Costanza, and company go swimming, and Glazer pushes Alfred into the water, who of course can’t swim, which I guess is an aquatic form of pummeling. Glazer then hits on the girls, but gets rejected, because, frankly, he is a giant, dumb asshole. Alfred, Costanza, and their buddies get a sort of “double-barreled ass revenge” by shooting a bee-bee into his behind, then collectively mooning him (including the dreaded “George Costanza buttock exposure”). These scenes and others robustly showcase the bully and nerd dynamic at work; the boorish dickhead being outwitted by geeky Jews much to the delight of all of the shut-ins in the audience, Hebe and otherwise. 

 that's Jason on the left there

When Alexander (who wears a number 96 jersey, which may be foreshadowing that he’ll be 86’d while upside down in a 69) isn’t showing his ass, he’s handing out porno mags like he’s the St. Nick of titties, and running into the room to give exposition as if he was the Paul Revere of script doctors. He mentions a big canoe trip and, sure enough, the trip begins the next morning while some invisible asshole dicks around on their banjos. 

Meanwhile, a couple goes skinny dipping under a full moon, and the girl is angered by his advances (sometimes full frontal nudity can send the wrong signals). He tells her to "get the fuck out of my face", perhaps a tad on the insensitive side, but so she does, heading back to land. Unfortunately, her clothes are now scattered throughout the woods (probably the handiwork of lecherous raccoons), and her attempts to retrieve them are cut short when a giant pair of gardening shears somehow finds its way into her aorta. 

The next morning, everyone is quite concerned about the missing girl, deciding to split up and search for her. That is, all accept useless slacker extra Holly Hunter, who is more interested in tearing up leaves, and uncaring asshole Glazer, who just keeps hitting on that same fucking girl again and again. A group decides to build a raft and search the lake for the girl, coming upon a still, presumably empty canoe. Admittedly, thine description dost protesteth too mucheth, and Cropsy unceremoniously pops out, blocks out the sun, and promptly goes to work, cutting off fingers, slicing necks, stabbing chests, etc. This awesomely efficient orgy of teenie destruction ends with a close-up of blood dripping off a girls arm and into the water, fading to red, as if to say all of this plasma has managed to soak itself into the actual film stock. 

Meanwhile, lo and behold, Glazer finally gets laid, but alas, he comes in a heartbeat. It turns out Glazer is a bully to make up for his sexual inadequacy, but you probably figured that out from the get go. He eventually gets brutally impaled in the throat with the shears, relieving the world of a future combination gas station attendant/date rapist. 

The final showdown takes place in the hollowed out remains of Cropsy’s burned down cabin (which is a pretty cool looking area to battle a retard). His main nemesis in this case is a male camp counselor, which I think is one of the boys from the prologue all grown up. Cropsy pulls out his flame thrower, seeking an "eye for an eye" in the form of 1st degree burns, but eventually is undone by Alfred.  The credits roll to some layered synth, courtesy of Yes keyboardist Rick Wakemen, taking time off from composing a keyboard/orchestra piece about an evil wizard who summons an army of demon gorillas in order to conquer all of Europe (not the band). 

Here the final girl is replaced by a whimpering Jew nerd, but the effect is similar. A sympathetic character normally unequipped to handle a mad slasher has to summon deep seeded survival instincts, transforming from a mild mannered schmuck into a vicious killing machine. One must deal with a mongoloid on terms they can understand. 

P.S. Not a 4th of July slasher like I Know What You Did Last Summer, but nothing says Americana to me than campers getting impaled by garden shears.