Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rottweiler (2004)

Rottweiler is certainly a bad movie. But it has something wonderful in it. However, first the bad stuff...

The movie begins with a prisoner getting kicked and beaten. We don't know who he is, or what he's done. Later, on a chain gang, another prisoner is stung by a scorpion, which somehow allows this prisoner to escape. A metal dog chases him, but he manages to elude it. At least for a few minutes. Soon a bounty hunter who works for the prison catches up to him. The dog, apparently, is his, for he has the dog with him.

We then get a flashback of the prisoner - whose name is Dante - on a boat with his girlfriend. It appears to be a boat full of refugees, but Dante and the girl (named Ula and pronounced Oola and then later Ola), say they're infiltrating. No clue what they're infiltrating. But infiltrating all the same. But the boat is stopped, and they jump overboard.

Back to the present, Dante tricks the metal dog into looking at a rabbit, then kills the bounty hunter and the dog, and escapes. He takes the guy's boots. The next morning he sees a metal skeleton of a dog on a hill and shoots at it, but it's just an hallucination. This leads him to find some drug runners in a cave. They share their food and a Cheech & Chong-type joint with him, but when they ask for his boots in return, Dante says no.

Meanwhile the dog comes back to life because of a smoke machine (and possibly because of a scorpion). And the dead bounty hunter also comes back alive long enough to tell the dog, "Find him, kill him."

Anyway, Dante is trying to find his girlfriend. He shows a picture of her to the drug dealers, and then we get another flashback. The two of them swim to shore, where they're caught. They're immigrants with no papers. They explain that they're playing a game called "Infiltration." Yes, seriously. They describe it as roleplaying in the real world. The next morning when Dante wakes, the drug runners are gone, and so are his boots.

Moments later the dog kills the one with his boots, clearly mistaking him for Dante. But then he somehow gets on Dante's trail. Dante is swimming, and the dog goes after him. Dante taunts it, "I can outsmart you any day of the week, you fucking dog." And then he runs, naked, through the woods. Which gives us time for another flashback. Ula is being raped in a truck, and some blonde asks Dante for a light. That's the entire flashback.

Meanwhile a little girl is afraid of monsters in a cellar on a farm. Anyway, naked Dante arrives, and is given pants by the girl's mom, who then immediately takes them off and fucks him in the Jesus room. Seriously, check out the neon blue glowing cross - it looks like a beer sign - and the Jesus portrait over the bed. Who says Christians have no sense of humor?

The scene where the dog tears the mother apart in front of the daughter is great. The girl is in the cellar, looking up at her mother, whose blood drips down onto her. Wonderful.

But the best thing in this film (and one of the best things I've ever seen in any film, no exaggeration) is the rooster's reaction shot to the dog jumping out of the cellar. The rooster is by far the best actor in the film. This shot is amazing. Dante managed to get the dog into cellar (after getting the little girl out), and locks the door. But the dog is jumping up against the door, banging on it. The rooster looks over at it, curious and a bit nervous. Then the dog springs out of the cellar, and the rooster's reaction of terror is incredible. I can't stress this enough. It is one of my favorite moments in the history of cinema. Again, I am not exaggerating. It's worth owning this movie just for this moment. I watched this scene a dozen times, and it cracked me up every single time.

But eventually we had to let the movie continue. A shame, because we get another flashback, where his girlfriend is finished being raped. Dante tells her it sounded like she was enjoying it. So at that point we want Dante to be killed by the dog. What a bastard. He wanders into a graveyard, and a dead guy from the boat leads him to believe his girlfriend is dead. Suddenly Dante is in the red light district, trying to find Ula (now Ola). Anyway, more stuff happens. But who gives a shit? As soon as the movie was over, we went and watched the rooster a few more times. Amazing.

For those who don't want to sit through the first fifty-five minutes of the film to get to that moment, here is a link to the shot on You Tube: Rooster deserves Oscar.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nail Gun Massacre (1985)

Nail Gun Massacre is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's incredibly bad, a total mess from beginning to end. It begins with a woman being raped by a group of guys. We don't know who this woman is; we don't know who any of the men are. Then it cuts to a guy in a shack who is angry because he doesn't have a clean shirt. Just as I'm starting to relate to the guy (I need to do laundry), suddenly the killer appears - in a camouflage outfit and a motorcycle helmet, and carrying a nail gun. We can only assume that the guy with dirty shirts was one of the rapists. And that the killer is either the girl who was raped, or a relative of that woman.

And yes, the killer is going after all the rapists. The problem soon arises, however, that there just aren't enough rapists to fill the length of a movie. So the killer kills a lot of other people too. People who are introduced halfway through the film only to be killed in the same scenes in which they're introduced. Women as well as men. So is it really about revenge? One of the victims tells the killer that if it's money he wants, he's out of luck because he's broke. The killer says he's not after money. He wants revenge. Okay then. Only problem is that this guy just arrived in town in the previous scene. Revenge? And apparently he dies from a nail through his hands.

Which reminds me... Another victim is killed on the highway. The cop and the doctor arrive on the scene and the doctor says that none of his wounds were fatal. What? He's dead, isn't he?

This film suffers from some of the worst acting ever in the history of film. There is an old lady playing a store clerk who is so awful that I joked that it must be the director's grandmother. My friend Ryan guessed that it was the actual clerk of that store. Turns out we were both right. She flubbed one of her lines, then corrected herself, but apparently that was the best take. The entire scene was done in one take, with no coverage or anything, even though many of the lines are inaudible, and there's a radio playing.

So is this movie so bad it's good? No, not quite. But it is strangely a bit of fun. You'll have fun filling in your own dialogue during moments when the actual dialogue is inaudible because no one was miked properly. You'll have fun trying to figure out who the main characters are. There is a group of characters living in a house where someone was killed, and for a while the film focuses on them. But then suddenly they disappear. And for some reason it's the doctor who has to solve the case. He does this partially by calling another doctor he knows in Dallas and asking for his help. Does that other doctor help? We don't really know, actually. And how would this doctor help, given that he has no details about the case? Is the cop the main character? Sometimes. Does he solve the case? No. But at least he shows up at the end.

There is an interview with the filmmaker as a special feature on the DVD, and he said that because of problems the 80-page script became a 25-page script. The movie is 85 minutes long, which means that an hour of it was improvised. Yikes. It's rather obvious. I almost felt bad for the director while watching that interview. He had this to say: "It's a very enormous experience to undertake. I mean, trying to make a movie is just very, very hard to do. You gotta have a bunch of people." Indeed.

The movie feels like it was written by a twelve-year-old boy. There is an early nude scene, and the guy suddenly has to leave because he promised his friend he'd help him chop wood that day. The woman complains because she thought they were going to play doctor all day long. Seriously. She says that. She also says her breasts need attention. And the camera zooms in and then lingers on her large breasts. (By the way, it turns out this entire scene was shot later because the distributors asked for more nudity. That explains the problem the scene creates - the next scene is the wood-chopping scene, and in that scene the dialogue makes it clear that is it in fact the friend who is there to help this guy chop wood. It doesn't matter because both wood-chopping guys are soon dead anyway. And the nude woman is left to play doctor by herself.)

There is another sex scene in a car. Well, it's not really a sex scene, because the two never quite get their pants off. The guy is between the girls legs, and he keeps pulling at her pants. But really, unless he moves he's never going to get them off. And he never does. A terrible song is playing on the car stereo, and when it's over, the radio DJ says it was a request. Apparently, it was the only song the filmmakers could get the rights to, because it then starts playing again. Did someone else request it? I certainly didn't. Fortunately the killer arrives before we get too far into that song again and kills the two people.

So, what's good about this movie?

There is a nice bit when a guy who is having sex with some girl against a tree is shot in the head with the nail gun. (Though the long shots of them having sex before that bit will completely try your patience.) I love that the two roads in this town are called The Main Road and The County Line Road. For some reason, that makes me laugh. Sometimes The County Line Road is described as a dirt road, and sometimes it's a paved road, but that doesn't matter.

The end of the movie is completely retarded, but by then you have totally given up not only on this film, but on film as a medium, and begin to consider fingerpainting as high art.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rest Stop: Don't Look Back (2008)

The first big problem with Rest Stop: Don't Look Back, the sequel to 2006's Rest Stop, is the idea of The Old Highway, a highway that is not on any maps. First off, it's already called The Old Highway in the 1973 scene. Now it's thirty-five years later. Are we really supposed to believe that AAA is still unaware of this highway? And what about Google Maps? And the road has clearly been maintained. Who has been taking care of this highway all these years - the ghosts in the RV?

Another problem is that these characters are definitely not likeable, at least not at first The main guy is the brother of the character from the first film, and this one starts off with him getting home from overseas, where he's been serving in the military. So there is a party for him to celebrate his safe return. At the party, his girlfriend says, "I gotta get out of here or I'll go Columbine." Seriously. I mean, this guy has just returned from military service, and this blond bitch casually threatens to shoot his entire family. His response should have been, "Fuck you, bitch. These people are my friends and family." Instead he takes her on a road trip to find his missing brother.

A dorky friend tags along on the trip - but following in his own vehicle - because (and this might be the most stupid motivation for a character ever in the history of cinema) he's in love with Nicole, the brother's girlfriend who is also missing, and has been missing for a year. He figures that if he saves her, she'll let him fuck her.

Anyway, we get that typical gas station scene with close-ups of every odd little artifact that the set dresser found. We've seen this gas station in basically every horror film that takes place out in nowhere. And why is the attendant always so reluctant to help? Wouldn't he be happy to finally have a customer? And why is the place so filthy? What has this attendant been doing all this time to earn his pay? If I ever make a horror movie with a gas station in the middle of nowhere, it will be the cleanest gas station ever, with the nicest, most polite attendant. "So good to see you I've just been cleaning this place for the past fifteen years since my last customers came through."

But there are some good things. We do finally like the blonde later when she puts a gun to the gas station attendant, demanding information. And the attendant's reply is pretty cool. And there is some seriously fucked up gore. Of course, it's all tied up in the ridiculous concept of sin.

Rest Stop: Don't Look Back does manage to capture that great nightmarish feel of nothing and yet everything being real, with the characters wondering if anything they do has any effect.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Top Of The Brine (2011)

Top Of The Brine is an odd little entity. This film is a strange collaboration, the product of several film buffs. Done in the manner of the exquisite corpse. Each filmmaker was instructed to do three ten-second shots. At least one of them clearly couldn't follow these simple directions. Each filmmaker only saw what the previous one shot, not the entire piece - and had to continue the story based on what he saw. So of course, there really isn't a story.

But there are some cool shots, and some great moments. The opening is actually pretty cool, with some insane shots of a person's mouth. The movie actually starts with a man being punched until the phone rings. The man doing the punching answers the phone, and says "That's why water is poison," and that leads to the next filmmaker's section. Several shots of water, presumably poisonous - rain, water running in a kitchen sink, a man drinking a glass (this is a filmmaker that did more than three shots).

It's the next section that I love. A man turns off the television (on which the movie thus far has been playing), and then turns to the figure seated next to him and begins sawing his head off. Totally random, deliciously gory, with plenty of blood spurting out. The best bit is when the doorbell rings, the man spits some of the other man's blood out of his mouth. At the door is a bloody (and shaking) package, which one filmmaker gets to open, and which the next filmmaker reveals to be a silly hand puppet. The film went from horror to comedy, with some not-at-all-convincing screaming from a man with his hand taken off.

The final section takes place in what is referred to as "Damon Packard's meth lab." The presence of Damon Packard, playing himself - well, a fictitious twisted version of himself - is wonderful. Most people know Damon Packard from his 2002 film Reflections Of Evil. But he has quite a list of films to his credit, including The Untitled Star Wars Mockumentary (2003) and SpaceDisco One (2007). Anyway, in Top Of The Brine, Damon watches over a couple of topless meth slaves who are mixing chemicals for him in the kitchen. And who is that weirdo in the surgical-looking shorts?

There are seven sections, including the opening/title section. So seven filmmakers. Is the result a film? Not really. But it's only a few minutes long. So relax.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Decadent Evil (2005)

Decadent Evil begins with a voice over and several quick scenes of a hot pianist being turned into a vampire. It makes the movie feel like a sequel to some other film. It seems like the voice over should be saying, "Previously, on Decadent Evil..." Now the pianist is moving to the United States to start her own clan. It sounds like a spin-off. Right?

Anyway, we then have a long terrible scene in a strip club. Some lame guy named Bruce is taking his girlfriend there, though she's not into it. But after all, he did buy her dinner, so what's her problem? One of the strippers gives the girl a free lap dance and then invites the couple back to her house. Or castle. And they go. The girl, whose name is Tami, is still whining that she's not into it. But whatever, she followed a stripper to a castle and is in her bedroom. At this point she should just shut the fuck up. Bruce thinks he's getting a threesome, but what he gets is death. Because the stripper is a vampire.

Decadent Evil would be typical softcore vampire nonsense were it not for Marvin and Ivan. Marvin is this little demonic-looking puppet in a cage. Ivan is a midget vampire-hunter who acts like a film noir detective. He's played by Phil Fondacaro, who is by far the best actor of the film. And he has all of the good lines. Well, all but one. A tied up prostitute has a great line when Marvin climbs into bed with her. She says, "What are you - some little fucked up monkey?" She's curious, but not alarmed. Clearly, this whore has been around.

The two stripper vampires are named Sugar and Spyce. (Yes, "Spyce with a Y," she says.) Sugar is played by Jill Michelle, who is the worst actor of the group. Watch and laugh especially when she tries to keep the main vampire from killing her boyfriend. She just sort of waves her arms above her head for a moment. I watched that bit twice. And laughed both times.

There is a Shakespeare reference in this film. Ivan tells the boyfriend, "I hate to break it to you, Romeo. I think your little Juliet's a vampire."

During the end credits, there is a trailer for the sequel, Decadent Evil II. I've never seen someone put a trailer in the closing credits before. Very tacky. By the way, those closing credits were the slowest-moving credits I've ever seen. The movie was so short that clearly the filmmakers decided to draw out the credit sequence just to add a bit of time.

This movie is included in a two-disc collection titled The Midnight Horror Collection. Eight movies for five dollars at Ralph's. Not bad.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Decoys (2004)

The idea behind this one is pretty good - that squeaky blond sorority girls are actually aliens. It's not that far-fetched. And wouldn't we all prefer to think of these morons as being another species, rather than have to admit to having any similarities to us? And the movie plays for comedy. It makes fun of dumb jocks as well as the sorority girls. Apparently aliens are as shallow as sorority girls, because two of them are actually upset with each other over the selection of this year's Ice Queen.

So anyway, these extraterrestrial bimbos have sex with men and in the process kill them, freezing them from the inside. They're actually trying to mate, to save their species. (That might remind you of another science fiction horror film - and yes, Decoys does owe a lot to Species. That's my polite way of saying that it really rips off Species.)

There is some interesting use of music - songs rather than a score - which also helps to keep this film from being real horror. It's more like some twisted version of a Dawson's Creek episode or something. You'll know what I mean when you watch it.

There are some questionable things in this film. Like, the main guy is a college freshman, so he's 18 years old. But it turns out that he used to date the female detective. When? When he was 15, and she was 28? I was really curious about that, but it's not really explained.

So yeah, this movie is kind of bad. But I really did like it. It doesn't take itself seriously at all. And there are actually some good turns that this film takes that make it feel original. I'm not going to spoil them by mentioning them here. But I was pleasantly surprised.

(This movie reminded me of a song I wrote in the early 1990s. Here are the first few lines:
Squeaky blond sorority girls
Squealing in the sun
What makes them tick?
What makes them talk?
What makes them seem like so much fun?)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Harvest Of Fear (2004)

Harvest Of Fear could have been a pretty good film. The filmmakers certainly put in an effort to set up a town full of suspects. Who is doing the killing? It could be anyone. It could be everyone. Except of course, for the increasing number of dead people - they're probably innocent.

Basically twenty years ago twelve people were killed during Harvest Fest (which is described as being like Spring Break, but just before final exams). And now it's Harvest Fest again. And guess what? There is suddenly a new string of murders. Is there a connection to the other murders? Are the current murders even related to each other? According to the sheriff at the town meeting, "Although there have been nine murders, we're not ready to say that any of this is connected." Okay, then. (I could only remember eight murders, but I didn't go back to the beginning to figure out if I missed one.)

Where the filmmakers don't seem to be trying at all is in being original. Everyone is aware of the murders, and yet couples are still sneaking off to barns in the middle of the night to fuck, like in every other retarded horror film. And then the couple will separate for some lame reason (like so the guy can go get a condom). Over and over we hear, "I'll be right back." Is this a deliberate nod to Scream, or is this just lazy filmmaking? It feels like the latter.

You get this scene multiple times:
GIRL: "What was that?"
GUY: "Nothing." Or, "I didn't hear anything."
Girl and Guy are then murdered by the thing he didn't hear and she couldn't identify.

It's a shame. Because the setting was chosen with care. And they took their time to set up the town really well. But then they just didn't know what to do with it.

But they do give us a good dose of nudity. The first scene has a woman running topless through the woods. (What i didn't like in that scene was the killer smashing an acoustic guitar against a tree. There's no need for that. Kill the woman, sure, but don't destroy a guitar.) At some point in the chase, she manages to put her top back on. But then later we see her at the morgue. She's dead, but once again topless. So for those who like that sort of thing, there you go. Later there is a redhead in a cute sweater, which i appreciated.

By the way, Harvest Fest is totally lame. It's like a dozen people at someone's house, where a few leaves are hung up as decorations. There's not even a band or anything. And yet couples would rather stay for this lame event and risk getting killed than just going to a bar or out to a movie or something. These are people that probably should be killed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Horrors Of Spider Island (1960)

As far as we know, it's an island, and there certainly is a spider. But horrors? Not really.

The movie begins with a series of dance auditions, but the folks holding the auditions aren't really asking the women to dance. In fact, the first woman that they do ask to dance is a ballet dancer. She tells them right up front that ballet is her area of expertise, so they ask her to dance. And she's good. But when she's finished they tell her they're not looking for ballet dancers. Odd that she's the one they wanted to see dance.

Well, several women are chosen, but their plane crashes into the ocean before they reach their destination. Apparently they all survive, though the stock footage of the plane going down makes it look like everyone was doomed. Anyway, it's been four days, and they're on a raft, hoping a boat will pass by. But guess what, they see land. So they manage to get ashore, but don't bother securing the raft. I guess they figure they'd rather die than get back in that thing and try their luck at sea.

Later they begin to scout the area. The one man in the group - Gary - finds a hammer. That proves the island is inhabitable, he deduces. Then he says, "A hammer with a long handle. It must be for the purpose of excavating some sort of metal, most probably uranium." This is the guy who hires trashy dancers. This is after several days with no food or shelter. And that's what he says. He doesn't seem all that excited about the prospect of civilization. Instead, he shows off his odd knowledge of hammers. But guess what? The island's inhabitant - the professor (where's Mary Ann?) - was finding uranium deposits. But he's dead now. They find him attached to a giant spider web. Uh-oh.

Gary soon gets bitten by the spider. Moments later he is beginning to turn into a spider himself. His transformation, however, only extends to his face and his hands. He runs off into the jungle to get accustomed to his new identity on his own. He does show up again, though, to kill Linda for some reason.

When the others find Linda's body, we get this amazing dialogue:

STUPID GIRL #1: "She's been strangled."
STUPID GIRL #2: "The spider."

Anyway, after one girl is dead and Gary is missing, two guys who work with the professor show up, and the remaining girls decide to play dress-up. Gladys says, "The boys will be surprised when they see how we dressed ourselves up in our island costumes." Indeed. And I was surprised that the girls weren't more interested in getting off the island. They're more interested in fighting over one of the men. One of the girls even professes to be in love with him. Wow, that's fast.

It's interesting too because they establish early on that the food they find in the professor's cabin will last a month. And then later one of the girls says that it's been twenty-eight days. You'd think they'd be concerned with the lack of food and the prospect of dying and all. Oh, also early on there is a scene where the girls fight over the clothes they find in the professor's cabin. Of course none of them ever wear these clothes.

Anyway, the movie ends with Gary running into quicksand. Lame. And the girls get on a boat and sail away. But they probably never got to their dancing gig. And perhaps the boat sank and they had to spend another four days on a life raft, and then starting eating each other. That's how I imagine it, anyway.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sasquatch (2002)

Sasquatch could have been a better film. It has a decent cast, and a decent premise. A plane has gone down, and after two months, the search has been called off. So Harlan Knowles (Lance Henriksen) assembles his own team to go looking for the plane, because his daughter was on board, as well as a piece of machinery that's important for his company. Each of the characters has his or her own reason for wanting to go on this search, and of course their hunt leads them into the territory of the sasquatch. Sounds okay, doesn't it?

But the problems start right at the beginning. We get lots of exposition, and most of it is given to us twice - first by a news reporter, and then again by one of the main characters. It's not like the information is hard to follow. A plane went down; they couldn't find survivors - we got it.

There is an attractive blonde in the group, and when she goes to her tent to turn in for the night we get some odd softcore porn music as she takes off her sweater and pants. And the camera angles get all weird. Seriously, it's like we're suddenly watching a strip flick, except that she has on another shirt underneath the sweater, and leaves that on. It's impossible to figure out the filmmaker's intentions with this scene, unless it's simply to annoy the viewers.

The blonde keeps hitting on Lance Henriksen. In one scene she mentions something about going to a hot spring that she saw earlier, and wants one of the men to accompany her. One of the other guys jumps at the chance, but she turns him down. So Lance begrudgingly volunteers. Another guy gives Lance a gun in case they're attacked, and Lance says, "If she gets fresh, I'll use it." That's a good bit of dialogue. And there are other nice little moments like that, and a couple of surprising bits, like when they find a gun on the plane, and there is an arm attached to it. And when they stumble upon the sasquatch's stash of goodies. Of course, Lance Henriksen is always good. I particularly like the moment when he's watching the footage his daughter shot on her video camera.

But the editing is all over the place in this film. There are lots of annoying fades that seem to have no purpose. And there is a scene whose editing defies explanation. Lance and another character are talking in the cockpit; then Lance is in the other section of the plane; then they're back in the cockpit, talking; then Lance is outside the plane; then they're back in the cockpit talking. What the fuck is that about? My only guess is that the editor thought that the cockpit scene was too dull, so he spliced in bits from other scenes.

And there are some big leaps - like that the sasquatch would somehow know what the piece of equipment was for. Come on, that's ridiculous. Most of the film's characters don't even know what it's for until Lance explains it to them. And some characters do things you just don't believe at all. Like the blonde - she suddenly decides to steal the equipment and make a run for it at night, even after they've been attacked by the sasquatch. Totally unbelievable, especially considering that she's already gotten what she wanted from Lance.

This is a bad movie that could have been better had the writers done a few more drafts, and the editor not been on heavy medication. (Oddly, the editor also worked on Brothers Bloom, a movie that I absolutely loved.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Domino (2005)

I had heard that Domino was bad. I heard it was really bad. So I thought I was prepared. But no, this isn't just a bad movie. It's an obnoxious, irritating and pointless pile of garbage. I want to rub Tony Scott's nose in this film, and hit him with a rolled up newspaper. This movie is worse than Showgirls, worse than Black Dahlia, worse than Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. We're in BAPs territory here.

Rarely is a film this irritatingly bad - so awful that everyone responsible for it deserves a painful death. Seriously. I mean everyone involved - assistant directors, craft service people, the drivers, everyone. Or at least some serious jail time. Tony Scott should be gang-raped in a prison shower. (I'm not kidding.)

The plot? I don't know. Something about a dumb bounty hunter named Domino telling her story to an FBI agent played by the lousy Lucy Liu. And so everything is in flashback, and lines are repeated over and over - not that any of them were interesting the first time around. Images are repeated too. As you watch the movie, you feel like you're actually watching it two or three times through, and that is infuriating because it's not worth sitting through even once. Anyway, there is some stolen money. And a reality show. And an extended scene with Jerry Springer for some reason. And a pointlessly severed arm. (The reason for its being severed is so horribly contrived and stupid that Richard Kelly, the screenwriter, should be forced to submit to dangerous experimental medical tests to redeem himself.) And then at the end of the film they edit in the climactic gun fight from True Romance. Seriously. Watch carefully - that's actually Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette at the end. Pretty sure, anyway.

What's good about it? Nothing. And I mean nothing. Not a single moment, not a single shot, not a single line of dialogue is worth a damn. There is nothing the least bit interesting about this film. It's like the whole movie was an experiment to see what an audience would put up with. Every shot is irritating. Every character is irritating. The whole thing is so contrived and so full of itself. It's like a violent retarded child that you intentionally leave at the park in the hope that someone else will take it in, but no one does, and it keeps showing up at your door demanding attention. Put it down and move on.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Surf Ninjas (1993)

I've done a lot of research, and i discovered the true story of how Surf Ninjas came to be made. A well known and very serious writer - who i can't name here, for fear of a lawsuit - was at work on a depressing drama, and needed a break. So he set aside his very serious script for approximately forty-five minutes, and wrote all of the dumbest jokes and most preposterous scenarios he could think of - just to get them out of his system. When he was finished, he wrote, "Surf Ninjas" at the top of the first page and signed it. Then he set it aside, and finished his very serious drama (which won him an Oscar).

Anyway, a little later his house was broken into and the script for "Surf Ninjas" was stolen. Recognizing the writer's name, the thieves started shopping the script around. Because the writer had won an Academy Award, the project was greenlit without any studio executives actually reading the script.

Of course, the very serious writer, when learning that his joke was actually being filmed, got very upset and demanded that his name be removed from the script. Enter Dan Gordon, the credited writer. At this point in his career, Dan Gordon had two addictions: coconut juice and angry hairy midgets. Using these two points, and a tank of nitrous oxide, the executives were able to persuade Dan to attach his name to the script. Then they needed a director.

It had been nearly ten years since Bachelor Party, and Neal Israel wanted another comedic hit. When he was handed the script for Surf Ninjas, he knew right away that this wasn't it. But the producers promised him that if he agreed to direct it, they'd include one of his shitty songs in the film's soundtrack. Neal agreed, and though one of his shitty songs is included in the film, it didn't make it onto the actual soundtrack album. But by then Neal Israel was in a heroin-induced coma and didn't care.

So, anyway, what's good about Surf Ninjas? The thirty-year-old Rob Schneider playing a high school kid? No. The music? Absolutely not. In fact there is very little that isn't just plain god-awful in this film. Almost nothing. The movie is 87 minutes long, and if you took all the bits that didn't completely suck and put them together you'd have a one minute thirty-two second film. And even that wouldn't be all that great.

But this movie has something that i've never seen in any other film. This movie has a child riding a black man down the side of a mountain as if he were a sled. It's worth watching just for that moment.

Be sure to have plenty of alcohol before attempting to make your way through this film. It starts off as one of the worst movies ever made, and only goes downhill from there. (Downhill on a black man, however, so there's that.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ice Spiders (2007)

The terrible score often distracts viewers from the stupid script and the atrocious acting.

Ice Spiders (2007) begins with the two worst hunters of all time. They're hunting elk with bows, when along comes a spider - a giant ice spider. The hunter with the bow can't seem to hit this rather large target. What the two guys do is run away, splitting up. The spiders kill Rocky, and wrap Bob up for later.

Next the viewer is introduced to a school bus full of skiers who are training for the Olympics. It's established early on that there is no cell phone reception at Lost Mountain Resort, where they're going to be training. Chad, one of the young skiers, has an attitude.

By the way, there is no training. The only times the viewer sees any of these guys skiing, their coach is not with them. In fact, the one bit of coaching that this guy does is from the chair lift, when he yells down to two of the guys that it's quitting time.

Vanessa Williams As Doctor Sommers

Besides a ski resort, there is also a secret government lab on the mountain, where they are raising giant lethal spiders in order to save the world. (That's what they say. Really.) Doctor Sommers, played by the incredibly awful Vanessa Williams (Candyman), is the main lab person, but she goes to get her mail at the ski resort so that Dash Dashiell (Patrick Muldoon, Starship Troopers) can flirt with her. Dash used to be a professional skier, but now teaches skiing.

Chad, the young skier with attitude, is suddenly going to race Dash down the mountain. So the movie stops for a while so that this can take place. But it doesn't matter who wins, because it has absolutely no bearing on anything that occurs later. But a few of the shots of them skiing are actually pretty good.

Ranger Rick

A character named Ranger Rick (yes, seriously, and yes, they make jokes about it - for a writer to name a character that just so that he can call attention to the fact that he named the character that is so lame) asks Dash for help in finding two missing hunters. So off they go, and of course they find the bodies, and then Ranger Rick is killed by an ice spider.

Meanwhile Dr. Sommers returns to the lab and finds her co-workers dead. Except, Joseph, who is still alive and wrapped up in a web. He says the spiders got hungry and broke loose. "She took my legs," he laments. And then he actually has the line about being cold before he dies.

Dr. Sommers pulls a fire alarm, which sends a group of armed men in. Apparently they work as guards for the facility. Why they're not actually at the facility is something of a mystery, but whatever. (And what if there had actually been a fire?) Apart from the leader of this group of armed men, they're all terrible actors. Their facial expressions and reactions are so over-the-top and unbelievable. But the leader, played by Thomas Calabro, is actually pretty good.

Anyway, it's finally revealed that there are six spiders. Well, five, because Dash is able to kill one by hitting it with a snowmobile. He has a chance to run another over with a truck, but for some reason drives around it.

Spiders Don't Like The Cold

Characters in this film keep mentioning how cold it is, and how the spiders shouldn't be able to deal with these very low temperatures. But no one seems cold. The armed guys are all in short sleeves. Dr. Sommers wears just a pink sweater. No one has gloves on.

Well, the spiders begin attacking the skiers. Everyone runs inside the lodge, and Dash takes charge. When one character (played by possibly the worst actor ever to appear in a film - or a possibly a play, including school plays) challenges him, Dash says that he was a Marine for twelve years. So of course he should take charge.

Another Screenwriter With Math Troubles
Okay, let's stop and do a bit of math. Dash was a professional skier for a long time. He then shattered his leg. He said that it was two and a half years before he could even put on skis again. So then he had to learn how to ski again, and get good enough to be able to train others how to ski. And he's been working at this resort for several years. So when was he a Marine? Before he became a professional skier? Or after he shattered his leg and couldn't ski anymore, but before he took this job training others?

If he became a Marine right after high school, then he wouldn't have gotten out of the service until he was thirty. A bit old to take up skiing, and turn pro. But let's just say that's what happened. Then after he was a professional skier long enough to be famous (as all of the young skiers on the bus have heard of him), he shattered his leg. So, let's just say ten years. Then two and half years passed while he mended. That brings him up to age 43. Then he had to learn to ski again, get good enough to be able to train others, get this job and keep it for several years. So is he 50? Or 55?

Spiders On Steroids

Anyway, it's finally revealed how the spiders got so large. The folks at the lab forced the spiders to take hormones and steroids, because they wanted more webbing in order to make bullet-proof vests, and they figured the larger the spiders were, the more webbing they'd produce. And with the bullet-proof vests they planned to save the world. They say the web is stronger than steel, but multiple times in the film, characters simply brush it aside.

Terrible Score

In a film full of problems, by far the worst element is the score. There are moments in this film that could be really suspenseful, but the score interferes.

Ice Spiders was written by Eric Miller and directed by Tibor Takacs.

Horror House on Highway 5 (1985)

Poor DVD Transfer Mars What Would Otherwise be a Terrible Film

Uh-oh, Nixon's coming. Better get your toy rocket.

Okay, try and follow this one. The film opens with two men looking at Tarot cards. One man holds up a card that says, "La Mort." The other guy says, "La Mort. That means death." The first guy says, "No. La mort. Love." He proves it by pointing out that the skeleton on the card is smiling.

Nixon Wrestling

The next scene is at a couple's home. The guy is wearing a Nixon mask, and he goes outside to put a bag in the car, but there is already a killer in there, and he kills the guy by grabbing him. Then while the woman is in the shower - because of course she has to take a shower - the killer puts on the Nixon mask and puts the guy's body in a cabinet for the woman to find.

He then kills the woman by wrestling her to the floor and bonking her on the head. But of course she's not dead, because he's only wrestled her to the floor and bonked her on the head. So she gets up, and though he's not chasing her, she runs and falls on her glass coffee table. He hears the noise, but doesn't go to investigate. She slowly gets up and then somehow she dies while reaching for a piece of glass.

Confused yet?

City College and World War II Experiments

Next the film takes us to a classroom at City College, where a teacher assigns his very few students a project on the development of the V2 rocket during World War II and the influence of a German scientist, Frederick Bartholomew.

He points to a map and tells them they should do their project out on Highway 5. "There's a small field right here which would be the perfect place for you to complete your research," he tells them. He tells Sally to stay in town to interview people who knew Bartholomew, and for the rest to go test a rocket.

Test a rocket? What? What City College has a World War II rocket?

Anyway, Sally goes to conduct her interviews. But she leaves the first person she comes across without interviewing him. He must really want to be interviewed because he sends another man, Gary, out to go grab her and put her in a sack. Unfortunately, Gary grabs the wrong girl, so he has to go put her on a bench at a bus stop.

Still following all of this?

And what is the advertisement on the bus stop bench? It's for Groman Mortuaries. Mortuaries? That must mean something to do with love.

Journalism Is Dangerous Business

Next a girl in a bikini is looking over plans for a rocket. She quickly gets bored, and so dives into the pool.

Suddenly it's night, and Sally has returned to interview the guy (so Gary need not have bothered going out to grab her). Before she can ask a single question, however, he drugs her and then complains about neighborhood children.

Meanwhile, another student is reading. He finds an article, and a sudden voice over says, "What's this? An article?"

Now it's day again and the two guys take Sally to some other house, where Bartholomew once lived. Gary tries to iron Sally's dress while she's still wearing it, even though she tells him not to - while the other guy reads something in German.

Still reading this?

It's A Horror Movie From The 1980s, So Two Students Must Be In A Van

Okay, now there are two students in a van. The guy says, "Hey, there's a house," and then, "Hey, there's another one." Ooh, the first house is where they have taken Sally. And ooh, look, the second one is the one owned by the couple in the beginning. The girl suddenly stops the van and somehow in doing so she breaks her glasses.

Back to the two men and Sally and talk of a ceremony (which, by the way, is never performed and never mentioned again - not to ruin it).

Dead Cat Means It's Time To Go

It's night again, and the students are in the van, but now there's a dead cat in there with them, which the guy doesn't like. He throws it away while the girl builds a model rocket. But the trash can already has a dead body in it. Who is it? It's unclear. They decide to leave, but guess what - the van won't start.

Another Couple, An Attempt On Nixon's Life

Now a new couple is driving a car, and they almost hit Richard Nixon, who is wandering up the road. (Hey, are they driving the same car that other guy was killed in? It looks very similar.) Well, Joe, the guy, gets out of the car to punch Nixon. But Nixon gets upset, and fights back. So the couple drives away. Joe then turns the car around and runs Nixon down.

The girl says to him, "You just ran that guy over. You must have a low IQ." But Joe's dead too, having hit his head on impact. But Nixon lives, so the girl takes off on foot.

If Playing Records Doesn't Win Her Love, Kill Her

Meanwhile Gary is wooing Sally by cleaning the carpet and playing records. The girl from the car comes in, then leaves, then gets attacked by Nixon.

The guy in the van goes to use a phone, but instead gets a metal rake in his head. His mistake.
The girl from the van walks into the house and finds Sally, who is alone for some reason. She unlocks Sally, but Sally doesn't get up. Instead, she screams. But screaming doesn't stop Gary from killing her.

The girl from the van sneaks away into the Nazi cellar. (By the way, apparently there's a Nazi cellar.)

Everything Is Explained In A Voice Over

Meanwhile, in another room in the house, the other guy writes a letter to Gary (rather than just go into the other room and talk to him). The letter is read in a voice over, saying that they're brothers, and that Bartholomew is their dad and he's dressed as Nixon. So that explains that.
There's a little more, but does it matter? The film is definitely played for comedy a lot of the time. And at times it seems intentionally bad. But intentional or not, it's still bad.

Poor Transfer

The quality of the DVD transfer is awful, off an old videocassette. Think Alpha Video, but worse. In fact, there is a warning at the beginning of the DVD, mentioning the low quality of the transfer, and boy, they're not kidding. It was distributed by Timeless Media Group.

The Creeping Terror (1964)

The slowest monster in movie history kills stupid people who don't step out of its way.

The film opens with a couple driving late at night.

Narrator Is The Real Star

Immediately there is voice over by a narrator: "This man's name is Martin Gordon. The lovely girl beside him is Brett, his bride of two wonderful weeks. It's late August. They're returning from their honeymoon to their home in quiet, peaceful Angel County, California. Martin's Uncle Ben is sheriff of Angel County, and Martin is his senior deputy. Martin has high hopes of succeeding his uncle when Ben retires. But for now, Martin has only the thoughts, emotions and pride of a very happy newly married young man... Now without warning, their honeymoon will become a nightmare."

Thanks for the warning. And isn't their honeymoon over?

This film is narrated like one of those old classroom film strips. The ones that would cause all the students to drift off into sleep.

Rocket Monster

The next shot is of a rocket landing. Actually, it's of a rocket taking off, but they've run the film backwards. The narrator assures the viewers that Martin and Brett didn't notice the rocket, but that a county forest ranger named Jeff saw it and reported it to Ben. (This would actually be a good movie for blind people.)

A small door opens on the side of the rocket, and a creature crawls out. It looks like a big slug combined with a houseplant. And it moves almost as quickly as a slug.

Ben is racing to the site of the rocket, and passes Martin on the road. Ben stops and asks Martin to go with him. So Martin and Brett, instead of just following Ben in their own car, pull over and get in Ben's car.

When they reach the rocket, the narrator describes everything that is on screen: "At the location of the crash they discovered Jeff's truck. But Jeff himself was not around. They proceeded with their investigation." Their method of investigation is to stand in one spot and stare at the rocket for a long time. What this leads to is them finding Jeff's hat on the ground directly in front of them.

So Ben goes inside the rocket, by crawling under it. There are then screams, gunshots, and a creature growling. Martin and Brett stand there for a moment, then go back to the car to radio it in.

Lying On A Blanket Won't Help One Escape From Even The Slowest Of Monsters

A couple is making out in the woods. Uh-oh, here comes the slug creature that looks partly like a houseplant. The couple sees it, but only the guy is smart enough to get up and run away. The girl just lies on her blanket and screams, though all she'd have to do is walk slowly away to escape. Really, she'd have enough time to shake the grass from her blanket and fold it up, and gather any other belongings she brought. But no, she just lies there and screams. So the creature eats her, though clearly the actress is trying to push herself into the creature's mouth.

Martin's First Big Decision As Sheriff

Martin decides the best course of action is to plant an article in the press that Ben and Jeff have gone on a fishing trip to British Columbia. That is a way to avoid panic, because certainly everyone is wondering where the forest ranger is. Oh yes, Martin makes a fine sheriff.

Barney's Upset That Martin's Marriage Has Disturbed Their Friendship (Who Is Barney?)

There is a long scene in which Martin and Barney sneak into Martin's home in order to scare Brett. No idea why. Martin then tells Barney to try marriage. The narrator enlightens the viewer about Barney's psychological state: "He couldn't comprehend that married life brought with it not only new problems and beauties, but the necessary togetherness of husband and wife as well."

The movie is about how marriage affects friendships. The narrator explains, "Barney was growing resentful of her, or at least she felt that he was. Since time began, this change in relationship has probably happened to all buddies in similar circumstances."

What about the creeping terror?

Terrible Mother Dies While Doing Laundry

A woman is taking her baby's temperature. She says, "Poor baby, you'll feel better soon," then goes out to hang up the laundry. Oh no, here comes the creeping terror. Better finish hanging the laundry and walk slowly back inside. But no, she just stands there. Baby is probably better off without her. Perhaps its new foster parents will actually name it.

Guitars Don't Kill Monsters

Next there is what the narrator describes as a "hootenanny" happening near the woods. A couple sneaks off into the woods to make out, or to get away from the horrible singer/guitarist. The woman is wearing a furry sweater, but then from the other angle, it's suddenly gone. Did the creeping terror eat her sweater? Or did the hungry script supervisor eat it? No matter, as these two are soon dead because they just sit there rather than walking away from the creeping terror.
When the monster attacks the rest of the group, the singer/guitarist hits the creature with his guitar. That doesn't work. He should have tried singing to it.

Shy Monster At The Dance

There's a dance going on somewhere in a dance hall. Cut back to the creature outside in the woods, then to inside the dance hall, then back to the creature in the woods, then back to inside the dance hall, and then suddenly the creature is inside the dance hall. Is the dance hall in the woods? Is the door large enough for the creature to get in? Did it have to pay a cover charge? Can it dance?

Even though there is plenty of time for everyone to get out (because the creature is just standing in a corner, like any shy one at a dance), fights break out at the exit. People are more concerned with keeping others from leaving than simply leaving themselves. Ah, who is the real monster in this story?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tower Of Blood (2005)

Tower Of Blood is one of those completely pointless low-budget horror films that you put on knowing that it most likely will suck. But you have this hope that it will be a bit of fun as well, and have a few interesting shots or at least a few laughs, with some jabs at its very genre. Tower Of Blood fails to do even that much.

It begins with a nurse in a mental hospital entering the room of one of the patients. "Why are the lights out?" she asks, then demands, "Timmy!" And then she's killed. After that, we get this insanely long sequence of the killers legs as he walks through Los Angeles. It seems to go on for like fifteen minutes, but is probably like three minutes - which is still way too long. I found myself wondering why the credits weren't playing over this sequence.

Anyway, he ends up at one building, and then my question about the credits is answered. The filmmakers decided to come up with what i'm sure to them felt like an original and cool idea for the credit sequence. An elevator door opens, and we see the name of one of the actors. Then it closes. When it opens again, we see the name of another actor. Okay. But it does this through the entire opening credit sequence, not just for the cast. I didn't count how many times that fucking elevator door opened and closed, but it took the length of two songs.

After the opening credits, we see a janitor cleaning an abandoned building. Why? Who knows? But he's listening to the radio, and on the radio is (of course) a report of the murders in the mental hospital. What's amazing is that it says "the police have no leads." Really? No leads? Do you think it might be the one mental patient who is no longer there? The one in whose room was found the corpse of the nurse? Could that be a clue? Hello?

At that moment, i realized the filmmakers were complete morons. But it gets worse. The killer appears and holds a machete up in front of the janitor. Instead of turning around and running, or even backing up, he just stands there and screams. For like thirty seconds. He just lets the guy kill him. This, it turns out, is par for the course. Not a single victim runs from the killer. Every time he is going to kill someone, the victim stands there and screams, which of course is not a very sound strategy. And if i were the killer, i'd be bored.

Anyway, three couples decide to have a party on the roof of an abandoned highrise. The same one the killer has made his new home, of course. In addition to the three couples, a guy named Jack comes along. Now all of these people appear to be in their late twenties. But when we're introduced to Jack, he's in bed, masturbating, and his little sister walks in. (Not to be mean to the child, but holy shit, that girl couldn't act to save her life - she was absolutely horrible.) And then he has to buy beer for the party, and is forced to doing what Toad did in American Graffiti - stand outside the liquor store, asking people to buy for him. And another character, Kirk, is told by his father to be home by one a.m. How old are these guys supposed to be?

One good thing: the party is at 8 p.m., and Kirk tells Maggie that he'll pick her up at 6:30 p.m. So this film actually took L.A. traffic into account.

Well, of course the group starts splitting off into couples so that they can be killed. And Jack starts wandering around. He gets very excited, as he comes upon two of his friends making out. This apparently is the most thrilling thing for him. He spies through a hole in the wall, and says stuff like, "Wow." From his perspective, what he sees is his fully clothed male friend's back. But then the killer steps into the room. Instead of shouting out a warning to them, he just watches as they're killed. Not a very nice guy.

There are a few amusing moments. Maggie asks Kirk where Sean is, and Kirk says, "He's probably looking for Randi or smoking a joint somewhere." The next shot is Sean lighting a joint. It was timed well. However, he then takes like two hits and tosses the joint on the floor and snuffs it out with his shoe as if it were a cigarette. No one on the planet would do that. No one. Finish that joint, asshole!

Randi ends up in a garage that has several cars, which makes no sense, as the building is abandoned, and the couples all parked their cars around the corner from the building. Whose cars are these?

Well, the three women are not unattractive, and they all have rather large breasts. Two of them take off their shirts, so there's that. But really, there isn't much else going on in this film.

One other thing. The DVD says the film is 81 minutes. Those 81 minutes include a closing credit sequence that is more than nine and a half minutes. Seriously. And that elevator opening credit sequence had to be at least five minutes. So really this is a 66-minute movie. And i still got bored.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Introduction To Scientology DVD Review

In what is supposedly his only filmed interview, L. Ron Hubbard rants against psychology and psychiatry, and claims that Scientology raises people's I.Q.

Step aside, Andy Kaufman. The real sly comedic prankster is of course L. Ron Hubbard. He put one over on a lot of people (even Tom Cruise!). What a goof. He was a mediocre (at best) science fiction writer who, as the story goes, made a bet with a much better science fiction writer (Robert Heinlein) that he could get rich by creating a pseudo-religion. What a lark! What a cad! And the best part? He won the bet. And he's still winning, even from beyond the grave.
Fortunately he left the DVD-watching public this comedic gem. All of his best material is here - his rant against psychology, his racist remarks about Asian culture, his claim that Scientology raises people's I.Q. So sit back and listen to the master of mischief.


The first topic broached is how L. Ron Hubbard came up with the idea for Scientology. He talks about how people in Asia had reached "the lowest states of degradation." And he began to wonder, "What depths can man fall to?" Then he answered his own question by creating Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard puts down philosophers, accusing them of spending their lives in "ivory towers." He also says that philosophers don't know anything about science or math, but that he himself did study these things in college. He also claims to have studied primitive cultures and then decided that they needed a hand. He says, "The real work here is to put man in a mental condition where he can solve his own problems." The goal of Scientology is to put people "in a position where they can confront their own problems and solve their own problems, and so bring them up by their own bootstraps" (well, sure, that and several thousand dollars worth of courses and purification ceremonies).

No Crazy Folks, Please

He doesn't want to help everyone, of course. He says, "The insane and so forth - somebody else can have them. They've already failed." Wow. He says an "auditor" (a practitioner of Scientology) has to have "very good moral fiber" - they won't take anyone with any bad background. He doesn't expand on just what he means by that. But he does say that Scientology only helps the able-bodied, sane, non-neurotic types, and that they're the only ones who should be helped.

About psychology L. Ron Hubbard has this to say, "Psychology is 1870-something - 1879 - decided that men were all animals." What? About psychiatry, he has this bit of brilliance: "Psychiatry has to do with the insane. And we have nothing to do with the insane whatsoever." Aww, no crazy people can join Scientology? That's hilarious. "The insane - well, they're insane," says the insightful L. Ron Hubbard.

And what exactly is Scientology? L. offers this definition: "Scientology means knowledge or truth, study of." He says, "The overall training of an auditor compares to the same number of class hours in college of about twelve years." Twelve years of class hours? That is a mighty long time to be in college, L. But it's worth it, because as one studies Scientology, one's I.Q. is raised.

Brain Is Brain
L. Ron Hubbard says that intelligence is arbitrary, and that one's brain has nothing to do with intelligence. He says, "Brain is brain. What it does, I'm never quite sure." Clearly.

"Processing is the principle of making an individual look at his own existence." Does that sound similar to psychoanalysis? L. Ron gets a bit flustered and says, "Don't associate Scientology with such people. That's terrible. That's bad manners, you know? That business about sex and all that sort of thing."

L. Ron Hubbard claims that a person "actually can exist independent of his body. This is one of the more interesting discoveries in Scientology." It sure is. And it makes getting right up front at a Bruce Springsteen concert a whole lot easier. He also says that Scientology has proved that there is life after death. But he doesn't go into it.

Mind And Spirit And Avoiding Medical Bills

He says a person's mind is "a record of his experience." "Man has an automobile accident. He has a picture of an automobile accident. He has all the sensations of having been hurt in the automobile accident. It takes him a long time to recover because he's still wearing the automobile accident. If you said, 'Hey, why don't you take this automobile accident and throw it away,' why, all of a sudden he recovers from the automobile accident. Naturally." Naturally. Folks, don't try this at home.

So that's the mind. And the spirit? L. Ron says, "You ask somebody, 'What is a spirit?' You might as well ask, 'How are you?' You get the same response." So apparently the spirit is I'm-all-right-how-are-you. Good to know.

Only Interview With L. Ron Hubbard

An Introduction To Scientology is hailed as the only filmed interview that L. Ron Hubbard ever granted. It was shot in 1966. The interviewer is shown only twice in the same frame as L. Ron Hubbard, and both times his back is to the camera, so there is no way of knowing what the guy was actually saying. At one point in the interview, L. Ron Hubbard stands up and moves over to the spot where the second camera would have to be to get the shots of the interviewer. Only, there is no camera there. That means all of that shots of the interviewer asking questions were filmed at another time. How sly!

About the press, L. Ron Hubbard says, "Most press is motivated by vested interests, as anyone knows. And they merely say what they're told to say." Exactly like this interview, exactly like this DVD. One last thing: in the interview, he claims to have never made any money from Scientology.

And that's that. Apparently L. Ron Hubbard never made another film after the hilarious An Introduction To Scientology. And that's a shame, because the world needs a clown and a prankster, especially in these uncertain times.

(Note: I originally posted this review on May 25, 2010.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Psycho Cop 2

Psycho Cop 2 is not a terrible movie. It's really not. It has a good sense of humor, and realistically depicts the police mentality.

Basically some guys are planning Gary's bachelor party. Rather than rent a hotel suite or go to a strip club, they've decided to use the office building where they work, and have the strippers come to them there.

In the opening scene a couple of guys are talking about the party in a doughnut shop, where Psycho Cop is enjoying his coffee. Psycho Cop overhears their conversation, which includes something about grass. He then leaves the shop, skipping to his police car, because he knows he's in for a fun night. In his car are severed body parts. The number "666" is written in blood on the dashboard. It's an excellent introduction to the character.

The cop then follows the guys to their office building (slowly, in his car), making one of them panic and drop the bag of pot into a nearby mailbox.

Psycho Cop parks his car outside the building. When we get a shot of the inside of the car, there is the sound of flies buzzing - a nice touch. Nobody is safe when there's a cop lurking about. You just know that real cops get together and watch this movie, using this lunatic as a role model.

After the party has started, Psycho Cop gets the night watchman to let him in, and then kills him, making wisecracks. The jokes in this film are obvious, but still generally work because they're coming from an insane cop. He feels justified in killing the watchman because he saw the watchman taking a bribe from one of the guys. Like any other cop, in enforcing the laws and rules, he breaks them all himself.

He shoots the groom in the head, and then reads him his rights: "You have the right to remain dead. Anything you say can and will be considered extremely strange because you're dead." He then kicks the corpse. Scenes like that are hilarious. Later, when pursuing one of the women, Psycho Cop says, "Subject is blond and considered extremely fucking stupid." Obvious, yes, but funny.

One of the characters, Brian, is nervous and suspects something terrible has happened to his friends. So later when they begin finding the bodies, he shouts, "Oh my god, I was right! I'm never right, but now I am right!" It's a great moment, poking fun at other horror films, and the genre in general.

And at the end there is a wonderful reversal of the Rodney King beating.

Also, there is a good amount of nudity in the film. And for the most part the women are actually pretty damn sexy, particularly Alexandria Lakewood as Cindy.

But there is some bad acting. It's admittedly difficult to act drunk, but these guys fail completely. It would have been better to actually get these actors drunk. And though the movie is really short, it still manages to wear out its welcome. The wisecracks become tiresome several scenes before the end. And characters do incredibly stupid things. They have plenty of opportunities to escape, but somehow manage to remain in the film. And that blonde that he calls "extremely fucking stupid" really is extremely fucking stupid. She has a gun pointed at Psycho Cop and could very easily kill him, but allows herself to be talked into dropping the gun and kicking it toward him. And this is after she knows he's killed several people. And thus the chase resumes. At that point, I checked out of the film.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Miracle Beach (1992)

Miracle Beach is a silly and superficial movie about a guy named Scotty (played by Dean Cameron) who goes home one day to find his girlfriend in bed with his boss. His boss then fires him. A moment later his landlord evicts him. So he's having a rough time. Meanwhile Jeannie (a genie), played by the adorable Ami Dolenz, is sent to Earth to check up on humans or something. She doesn't want to go, but she's told that if she messes up this assignment, she'll be forever locked in her bottle without any powers.

Well, Scotty is trying to sleep on a bench at the beach, and a homeless guy played by Pat Morita gives him a blanket and a bottle. Scotty wishes that he had a warm bed and a couple of babes. In the morning he wakes in a big bed with two babes - though that bed is on the beach. Right away he realizes he has a magic bottle, which he grabs off the bedside table (though he didn't wish for a bedside table) and takes to some mystic, played by the wonderful Vincent Schiavelli, to get the scoop.

That's one of the things that's good about this movie. It has an interesting supporting cast. In addition to Pat Morita and Vincent Schiavelli, there is Martin Mull as a movie producer, Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman) as a volleyball player, and Alexis Arquette as Lars. Yes, Alexis Arquette when he was still a boy. I personally prefer him as a girl - he's much better looking as a girl.

But the movie is pretty shallow. Jeannie begins granting wishes left and right to Scotty and his two friends. So they end up with a giant beach-front home and they throw a big party for some beauty pageant contestants. There are some slightly amusing jokes involving the beauty contestants, like Miss Iraq and Miss Kuwait fighting, and Miss Bermuda Triangle disappearing. But Scotty is using all his wishes to make a hottie (played by Felicity Waterman) fall in love with him. This isn't someone he's been pining for for years or anything. It's just some woman he saw on the beach and decided she was the one for him.

Predictably, she's not a good person, and Jeannie falls in love with Scotty. But he doesn't see that Jeannie is the one for him. It's the same old thing we've seen a million times (done best in the film Some Kind Of Wonderful). So Jeannie tries to help him win the girl's love while falling in love with him herself. We get the routine montage where she's trying to make him more cultured - so they go to an art museum and an expensive restaurant and so on. Blah, blah, blah.

Even after cathing Dana with another guy, Scotty's interest in her doesn't wane. Which makes no sense. When he caught his girlfriend with another guy in the opening scene, he immediately broke up with her. So they established that's something he doesn't put up with.

All through the movie i kept wondering, Wait, why was Jeannie sent to Earth? What was her mission? Because if she fails, she'll be stuck in the bottle forever. Forever. That's huge. So she's something of a genie fuck-up. And she turns out to be favor the Clippers over the Celtics, so clearly she's a mess.

Oh, and when the beauty contest actually happens, both Dana and Jeannie enter it, which is lame and makes no sense whatsoever. Dana is Miss Miracle Beach, and Jeannie is Miss Fantasy Land. Guess who wins.

The movie does provide a good amount of nudity in the form of the beauty pageant contestants. And there are some funny jokes: the vanity plate on Scotty's car says, "WISH #10." But basically this movie is flat and pointless.

The Loch Ness Horror (1981)

The Loch Ness Horror features an item i've never seen in another movie: a magic telescope. A man is in his home looking through this telescope, which is pointed straight out through his window, not up at an angle. What he sees is a fighter plane high above the ground. The plane dives down, and the camera (so also the telescope) pans with it. The plane continues down, actually going below the camera, which means that the plane is somewhere in the first floor of his house. The film cuts back to the man, and the telescope is still pointed straight out through the window. And again we see through his telescope. This time (and keep in mind it's pointed exactly where it was a moment earlier) he sees the Loch Ness Monster pop its head out of the lake. That is one amazing telescope.

Anyway, that was in 1940. The film then takes us to 1980, when two men are on a small inflatable raft in the lake. They talk about how they have all the gear they could beg, borrow or steal - though what it amounts to is two scuba tanks. Apparently, they're not good thieves or beggars. They see Nessie pop her head above water for a moment. So they put on their scuba gear, dive down, and find the plane and also a large egg. One of them is killed, but the other makes it to shore with the egg. An older man is waiting in a camper van at the shore. That night Nessie, who is amphibious, comes out onto the land and kills the guy who took the egg, but not the old guy, who remains in the camper van watching his cohort get killed.

There are also some college students on bicycles, and a somewhat cute (though incredibly prudish) girl with the worst Scottish accent ever in the history of film. And for some reason there's a kidnapping. The old guy in the camper van kidnaps the chick with the bad accent. It makes no sense whatsoever, but soon Nessie eats the guy anyway. That is one of the best shots in the film - the ridiculous Nessie creature with its mouth around the old guy's head. And by "best" i mean funniest.

This film also has an odd Shakespeare quote for no reason whatsoever. And the magic telescope comes into play once more near the end. The girl who was kidnapped returns home, changes her clothes and pretends she was home all along. Then she looks through the telescope and sees a diver on a raft who is about to set off some explosives that will kill Nessie and destroy (or at least damage) the fighter plane.

As the young scientist says at one point, "It isn't easy to achieve monster status." Indeed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1987)

There really isn't much to say about Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. Three dorky guys are hanging out, drinking cheap beer and watching a movie, when one of them has the idea to spy on a sorority house because it's initiation night. So they go there and spy on them, though one of them is drunk from one can of Budweiser (and this guy turns out to be our hero - oh well). There are only two initiates, which is odd until you consider that there are only three girls in the sorority. So adding them almost doubles their numbers. (Apparently, there was no money in the budget for a few extras.)

One of the sorority girls - Babs, the chick in charge - is a bit of a sadist, and goes on paddling the two initiates for quite a while. One of the things i liked about this movie is the reference to the Marquis de Sade.

Anyway, the boys decide that looking through the window isn't good enough, so they sneak in, and watch the two initiates cleaning whipped cream off their bodies in the bathroom. In one of those completely unbelievable movie moments, the three guys stick their heads in the bathroom door, and neither of the girls notices. And for those who love nudity, this is a nice long pointless shower scene. One of the girls cleans the whipped cream from her breasts at least three times - but it's clearly that magically reappearing whipped cream that we've all read about but never been able to purchase. Goddamn government.

Babs, however, catches the guys, and makes them part of the girls' initiation. The five of them must break into a bowling alley and steal a trophy. The guys, thinking that they'll score with the two girls, go along with it, and when they get to the bowling alley they find the door already open. That's because another girl (named Spider) has decided to rob the place, but to rob it very slowly. Also, the bowling alley is somehow attached to a mall, though from the exterior shots it seems impossible. And Babs' father owns the mall, so the three sorority girls sneak in with the aim of scaring the other girls and the guys. But really they just go to the security area and watch them on the cameras.

They find a trophy, but when one of them drops it, an imp is allowed to escape from its confines. At first it promises to grant them each a wish, but then decides to kill them. One of the problems with this movie is that the imp doesn't do any of the killing. Instead, he turns two of the three sorority girls into demons and lets them kill the others while he cracks lame jokes and watches. But actually, he rarely moves, so I guess he's able to see the whole place in his mind or something.

There is no sex in the film, even though one of the guys wishes to have sex with one of the initiates, and so she is suddenly all hot for him. But as soon as they're alone, he tries to stall, saying she's moving too fast. But she's not moving too fast. In fact, their not-having-sex scene goes on for an insanely long time. They keep cutting back to it, with him saying, "Wait, wait, wait, wait." Even the imp forgets about them for quite a while. Whatever.

The acting is terrible. But the imp is slightly amusing, and the movie doesn't take itself at all seriously. And there are a couple of decapitations. And you can't help but love the film's title. So there.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mega Piranha (2010)

This one is incredibly bad, but often hilariously so. Barry Williams (yes, that Barry Williams) plays the Secretary of State. His character's name? Bob Grady. So clearly this movie is not taking itself too seriously. How could it when Tiffany is one of the stars. Remember Tiffany? She was big for a weekend in 1987 for lame covers of songs by The Beatles and Tommy James & The Shondells. She was extremely popular with somewhat retarded girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen.

Anyway, Tiffany has gained in years and girth, but not in talent. She has absolutely no acting skill whatsoever. I mean none. None. Was she hired just because Debbie Gibson starred in Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus? Probably. And just as Gibson always had more talent in the music field, she has more in the acting field as well. I can't stress enough how poor Tiffany's acting job is. Okay, here you go. Remember when you were in like second or third grade, and your class put on some sort of short Christmas play? None of the kids could act, but there was always one kid who was particularly awful - so they made him be a tree or something. Remember that? Well, that kid is fucking Laurence Olivier compared to Tiffany. (Perhaps they should have cast Tiffany as a tree.)

Anyway, the film starts on a small boat on a river. On the boat is a U.S. ambassador and a Venezualan diplomat. The boat is attacked by piranha, which jump out of the water (in a nod to James Cameron's masterpiece, Piranha II: The Spawning, in which fish can fly). Well, the piranha eat the boat - hungry little fuckers.

Every character in Mega Piranha is introduced with a black and white freeze frame of their image, with their name zooming across the bottom of the screen accompanied by a swooshing sound. In the world of this film, that's called style.

Tiffany is some sort of scientist who, along with some other scientists, has been increasing the local food supply by redesigning certain species of fish. She was in charge of piranha. Wait, who eats piranha? Anyway, something went wrong, but please don't blame Tiffany. After all, she helps out a lot during the film by shouting out such useful advice as, "Hurry" and "Shoot them" and "Drive faster."

Anyway, Greg Brady sends Jason Fitch (played by the extremely serious Paul Logan, Bram Stoker's Way Of The Vampire) to find out who assassinated the United States ambassador. Fitch is helped, and then hindered by Colonel Diaz, who is doing something in the jungle. It's alluded to often - Tiffany confronts him at one point, saying that she knows what he's doing in the jungle. And for that, she's arrested. But we never learn what he was doing in the jungle. But anyway, Tiffany hands Fitch a piece of the boat, and Fitch makes his report based on that one little piece of wood. He suggests to Diaz that "a group of animals working together" destroyed the boat. He delivers that line seriously.

Fitch wants to go to the river to continue his investigation. Diaz says, "I'll make sure I fly you there immediately." That is perhaps the oddest line in the film. Read it to yourself out loud a few times. It's goofy. Anyway, they take off in a helicopter, but when they get to the site, Diaz suddenly says the area is off limits, and yells some inane nonsense about the United States, then flies back. Why would he do this? What a waste of fuel and time - you know, if he wasn't planning on helping Fitch get to the spot anyway. And it makes that line he spoke even more ridiculous.

But whatever, Fitch goes there anyway and sees the giant piranha. In fact, a fish flies out of the water to attack him. But he kills it and takes it back to the laboratory. But that's when Diaz decides to shut down Tiffany's laboratory and she tells him she knows what he does in the jungle. So he arrests her and the other scientists. Diaz and his men torture one of the scientists by hitting him with a book. It looks like a paperback, however, so don't worry about him too much.

Meanwhile the fish are getting bigger, and flying out of the water and exploding into buildings. Yes, exploding. No, i couldn't figure out why. But it's bloody hilarious. Though not nearly as funny as the shot of Paul Logan on his back kicking fish after fish as they fly at him.

This movie is insanely silly. The budget seems to have been two hundred dollars, which they spent on alcohol while writing the script. This film repeats the same establishing shots over and over - every time the film returns to a location. And of course there is some terrible CGI. And more than one nod to Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. In that movie, the shark leaps out of the water and eats a plane. In this movie, a piranha leaps out of the water and eats a helicopter.

The end of the film makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but who cares? I'm looking forward to Mega Shark Vs. Mega Piranha, in which Tiffany and Debbie Gibson mudwrestle. Actually, no, never mind, that sounds utterly repulsive.