Before I knew shit about Romero and the original Dead trilogy, there was only one sequel I knew to Night of the Living Dead, and that was Return of the Living Dead(1985). As I would come to find out further down the road, Return wasn't a real sequel as much as an homage or a piggybacking off of Romero's earlier zombie works, much like most of the Italian zombies works from the 70's and 80's. Even after hearing this news I still didn't give a fuck. Return of the Living Dead is still one of my favorite horror movies of all time, despite the camp, no matter how many horror purists chastise me for loving it.
It also has one of the best soundtracks of all time. Sure, it's not composed by Goblin and Morricone, but there aren't that many OST's out there that have such a great line-up of 80's "punk" royalty. The Cramps. TSOL. 45 Grave. Throw in some goth/death rock and a little weirdness from Roky Erickson and your good to go. You can't deny this is classic shit. And thanks to the power of Youtube, I am able to provide you, the general public, with the kick ass soundtrack to drown out an hour of work day sorrows.
(Bear with me.I'm trying to put this in the correct order as seen on the OST but I'm getting different listings from different sources)
1. Take a Walk - Tall Boys
2. Dead Beat Dance - The Damned
3. Burn the Flames - Roky Erickson(for some reason, Youtube doesn't have this song in it's entirety, dammit!!)
It's not very often I hear about action movies featuring Korea's national art, Taekwondo, especially in this day and age. I know they are out there, but considering the Asian action cinema world has been dickhard over Thailand and Malaysia, it's not suprising they slip under my radar. Well The Kick(2011) didn't, and with good reason. It's made and Thailand and directed by Ong Bak's Prachya Pinkaew, so technically Korea still isn't getting their day in the martial arts sun. Fuck it, they still have the horror market.
As far as I can tell, The Kick plays out out something like a Taekwondo Family Robinson. A family of Taekwondo experts moves to Bangkok for..um....bluer skies in hopes of setting up a gym. Some kind of treasured piece of art is stolen and it's up to "Robinsons" to solve the mystery and kick ass along the way. Exactly what I would expect from a Pinkaew film, just like the plot lines of his previous works. Seriously though, I don't usually watch martial arts films for storylines and plot devices any more than anybody else does. I watch them for the ass kicking and stunt work, something Pinkaew does well. And from what this trailer tells me, he is doing again.
Sunnyside, Queens is one of the few NYC neighborhoods, outside of Brooklyn, I would probably live in. That is, of course, if I wasn't financially strapped to Bushwick for FSM knows how long. Unlike most of the fauxhemian Brooklyn snobs, like myself, who make up a great portion of the outlander population flooding northern BK, I have no qualms with living outside of the cool zone. My girl's sister lives there, so I have a plenty of time to explore the nabe on my own. It has so many more amenities than Bushwick for one, the melting pot is so large that the local cuisine is so much more diversified than any hood in Hipsterville. Cheaper rents, safety, yada-yada...I could probably go on for quite some time. Truth be told, if I'm not staying in Bushwick or moving out to the Northwest in the next year, I'll probably end up in Sunnyside.
Sunnyside(1979) also happens to be the name, as well as the setting, of the 70's street gang movie I watched this morning, starring one Joey Stallone. Stallone plays Nicky, leader of the Nightcrawlers, one of three of the biggest gangs in Sunnyside. Unlike the other gangs, Nick's boys are more community organizers than career criminal. Sure they involve themselves in illegal activity, but nobody seems to get hurt but rival gangs. Nick happens to get fed up with the carny folk coming into his hood and ripping off the community so he plans on robbing them blind to teach a lesson. Unfortunately, the Nightcrawlers can't do it on their own, so they arrange a summit with the 2 other rival gangs to discuss a large group activity. Three rival gangs working together, what can possibly go wrong? Well, Nicky's bright idea ends up killing three, two being leadership of an opposing gang, all thanks to our friendly neighborhood, coked-out sociopath, Eddie Reaper. Now that Sunnyside is down a street gang, Reaper wants to make sure he can eliminate all the competition, especially the Nightcrawlers.
New York City is probably my favorite setting for genre films from 70's, bar none. There is just something about the grittiness of both the backdrop and the characters that you will find in no other city setting during this era of American film. I know it's been said time and time again, but NYC circa 70's is just a backdrop, it's actually a character. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten the same kick out of Sunnyside if it was filmed in LA or Detroit. There is just something about the Best City in the World that automatically adds points to any film I watch, an example being Joe's Apartment(pure garbage).
It was also nice to see that the movie was actually filmed on location in Sunnyside and not in Jersey City or Brooklyn(see Bronx Warrior). There is just something about seeing that Greenpoint Avenue sign that got me excited. Being a 32 year old movie, the street signs were the most recognizable things. If I ever watch it again, I will be sure that it's with someone who actually grew up in the area so I can get a better idea of the filming locations.
As I said before, I probably wouldn't have liked this film as much if NYC wasn't the setting. It wasn't a bad movie per se, but you can tell that this was a start out role for most of the actors. It was also a bit too serious for my taste. I like my street gang movies to be quite a bit less believable, Like the Warriors or Class of 1984. The trashier and more ridiculous the better.
For those of you who love 70's films set in NYC, or are actually born and raised in the Big Apple, this is something you might want to check out. For those of you who know nothing of the gritty character of 70's New York, you're probably not going to enjoy it as much.
Over the years my tolerance for low-budget indie horror has risen to epic proportions. There used to be a time when even newer Troma releases bugged the shit out of me. But over time, I have become a heluva lot more excepting of the new kids on the block working with a video camera. It probably has something to do with working programming on film festival a couple years back. Since then, I have actually had the desire to see amateur films, no matter how low the budget.
VS(2011) makes it's big screen debut October 26th at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival . If you take the time to watch the trailer, you can see what I mean by part Saw/Part Kick Ass, but that's the first impression I got. I have made it known time-and-time again about how much I'm not a fan of the Saw films, but I also grew up a rabid collector of all things X-Men. So all you have to do is throw the protagonists in some capes and tights and I'm good to go. Wait....the didn't sound so good.
Besides that, the Director, Jason Trost, wears an eye patch and developed his own martial art. That information alone is enough for me to want to see every movie he's ever made, no matter how low the budget.
Soccer season. Though I am a new found fan of the world's most popular sport, having discovered my love during the 2010 World Cup, coupled with Fall it makes for the most perfect of moods. It has also given me the excuse to ignore my movie-watching process, and a piss-poor excuse at that. Years before I was a fan of the sport, I found myself drawn to some of the folklore surrounding it. By this I speak of Football Hooliganism, an area of interest I've had for a long time stemming from my obsession with British subcultures of the past. It's not behavior I support, mind you, but the Ultra subculture behind The English Disease is something I have always found somewhat fascinating. It's because of this that I've taken come to enjoy such films Green Street Hooligans and I.D. in the past, and as of this morning, The Firm(1989), starring one Gary Oldman.
Oldman plays the slightly yuppy-ish Bix Bissell, real estate agent by day, mustached gang leader by night. Bix and his crew, Inter City Crew, are rabid supporters of West Ham United, one of London's most popular Football Clubs who's real-life supporters happen to be notorious. The England National Team is about to head to mainland Europe for the European Championship, and Bix has big plans of leading a team of hooligans comprised of several other firms. Unfortunately, the other firm bigwigs aren't fond of this idea unless the ICC can beat the other gangs fair and square the only way they know how..through sheer brutality. Just how far is Bix willing to go to lead his envisioned super crew in Europe?
At a very short 67 minutes, it's no surprise that The Firm is a made-for-tv movie. What is surprising though, is how much of a full- length event the director was able to fit into a little over an hour. I'm guessing it had a lot do do with the quality of the actors present, something most of the movies I review don't really have. Even though most of the actors, with the exception of Oldman are no-names in the USA, there is definitely something to be said for the quality you get on the BBC.
I can honestly say I was expecting more a gang of skinheads than one of ultra-violent yuppies before I started this movie, knowing both the history of the director and similar roles Oldman had played during this time period. It was a pleasant surprise though that was tied up in a 10-second news blurb while the gang were watching the telly, a scene I'm sure was purposely thrown in the mix because I probably wasn't the only one thinking these thoughts. Again my obsession with British subculture getting ahead of me. It makes sense though, seeing as the hooligan movement starting taking a more "casual" approach to dress in 70's to avoid altercations with the authorities.
Thanks to The Firm, I will be spending the next couple of days, or weeks even, indulging my obsessions with all things football and skinhead related, so don't be surprised if the next couple of reviews are related. At that, if you're able to procure a copy of the Firm, covet it, because it will in no way be a wasted expense.
Not wanting to cut this short, but I've got a 2:00 Shamrock Rovers match to watch.
Since Futbol(one of many pretentious ways of saying soccer)and primetime season are both in full effect, I haven't really spent much time watching movies over the last couple of weeks. Trust me, it will pass once the new TV shows get weeded out and/or I get bored with re-workings of old favorites, So it shouldn't be very much longer before I'm back in the swing of reviewing trashy movies once again.
Since I still want contribute something to my recently neglected trash cinema blog, I'm going to leave this entry with the just-released trailer of Tsui Hark's epic wuxia The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate(2011) starring Jet Li. Scheduled for a Winter release in China, word on the streets is that Flying Swords is going to be given the 3-D treatment. Typically I could give to shit about modern cinema's most overused technology, but this guy loves him some wire-fu and Chinese fantasy, which can only be made better with the use of 3-D tech. Since IMDB isn't really telling me much of what the film is about, I'm going to have to revisit in a couple of weeks. Until then, feast your eyes on the action-porn.
Yay!! Fall is finally here!!! After NYC's record breaking sweatbox of a Summer, I can finally get back to feeling comfortable in my own skin....and blog on a more regular basis. Case in point, the fact that I've only committed to 10 or less entries a month since the weather started getting warm. It's not like I didn't hermit myself inside for most of the summer, because I did. I think it's just the psychology of the situation. Still though, I've managed to almost triple my outcome of blog entries than any previous year, so I'm not that big of a slack ass. Now that Fall is here, I think it is officially time for me to concentrate on the importance of cinema blog maintenance....and watching soccer! Lots and lots of soccer!
I'm not ashamed to admit that I watch the Youtube sensation Epic Meal Time, although I probably should be. In fact, I watch it pretty religiously when the new episodes are released every Tuesday. Yeah, I know that hype has died down over the last year since the blew up the internet with horrible eating habits and obscene cooking practices, but the shit still makes me laugh. I'm also the type of guy that will watch the same episodes of the Office and How I Met Your Mother over and over again, so it's no surprise.
This weeks episode deals with the preparation and gourging of one's self on what I'm guessing is beef brains, so it's no surprise that those Gluttonous Ballers from Montreal would step it up with a zombie episode. I know what your thinking. "Urghh...zombies." I've ranted time and time again about how sick I am of zombies so I'll spare the page another paragraph of bitchery. You guys know how I feel, because you probably feel the same way. But when the I see EMT crew in full make-up(a decent job I might add) eating cow brains in huge portions, I don't get pissed off about it. I think it had something to do with the gurgles and clicks....but the eating of cows brains more importantly. The guys at Epic Meal Time usually play pretty safely with what food items they play with, so it was nice to see them step out of the safe meat bubble and work with organ meat. Especially brains.
And as I said, the make-up job is actually pretty good.
I've been on a small Diane Franklin kick as of late. Who is this Franklin girl you ask? All it takes is two words and you will know who I'm talking about..International Language. If you guessed "cute French girl from Better Off Dead, the greatest comedy ever made" then you guess correct, my friend. This was the girl that was the archetype for my vision of feminine perfection when I was a teenager, and probably still exists somewhere in the complex mind of Steve the Adult to this day. She was a bit of a teenage crush, but it wasn't the actress herself as much as the character she portrsyed. If it were the other way, I would probably hold Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to the same light as Better Off Dead.
So after seeing The Last American Virgin a couple weeks back, I spent a little time perusing Franklin's IMDB entry and discovered the entry for Terrorvision(1986). Seeing that it was executive produced by one Charles Band, I knew it was something I had to see. Ten minutes into the film and it was an instant favorite, or at least somewhere in the top 100 or 200(I watch a lot of movies).
The Planet Pluton dispenses it's garbage much like scientists have been telling us we should do it for years..by shooting it as far into space as possible. Much like humans, the "Plutonians" believe if you can't see it, it must not exist anymore. As an advanced species, the Plutonians just don't launch garbage piles into space via rockets. Instead, garbage matter is converted into energy and shot into that deepest and darkest depths of the Final Frontier. Unfortunately, one such "garbage beam" headed towards Earth ends up bouncing off a couple of satellites, causing the trash beam to be directed into the home of the Puttermans. Unfortunetly, one Plutonian's trash is not necessarily another man's treasure, unless you consider a man-eating, mutant space fido your idea of gold doubloons.
Sounds pretty awesome so far, doesn't it? I don't really think the summary I gave will really do it as much justice as Terrorvision is deserved because the characters are what really make this cheese factory of a flick shine.
Stanley and Raquel Putterman - The parental units. Not exactly Ozzie and Harriet, but it'd the 80's so it's totally okay for a middle-aged yuppie couple to openly swing in front of there kids and hang x-rated bondage art all over the common areas of the house.
Grampa - a veteran survivalist who has a dream of one day marketing lizard tails as a renewal food resource.
Sherman Putterman - When is the last time you say a 10 year old kid who looked natural carrying an automatic weapon?
Suzy Putterman - Played by Franklin herself. The oldest child and a punk rock princess, she has a taste for metalheads and the brains of a piece of plywood.
O.D. - Suzy's boyfriend. Doesn't have much going in the brains department, but he rocks a WASP tee and studded leather gauntlets. By far, the best character in the film.
Throw in horribly written dialogue, PG-13 comedy, R-rated gore, and a decently designed puppet mutt and you have yourself a keeper. Did I mention that Charles Band was not only the executive producer, but he also wrote the music? What can't that fuckin' guy do?!?
Unless you a fan of other 80's horror/comedy classics like House and Critters, you might not get as much of a kick out of Terrorvision as I did. It is definitely more for the Killer Klowns crowd than the slasher and gore purists out there. I would never try to sell Terrorvision to my horror aficionado roommate for fear of a straight 90 minutes of whining. But if you're more Freddie Kreuger than Michael Myers, this could be right up your alley.
What's a small, University's Cheering Squad to do when the school's top football players are planning on switching to an opposing college in the next semester? According to Cheerleaders Beach Party(1978), the best plan of action is to follow the boys to their summer retreat and screw up there plans. Better yet, just "screw" their plans, literally.
And that's really all there is to this film as far as a plot is concerned. Throw in a couple of boob shots, bad acting, and jokes written by a 5th grader and you have Cheerleaders Beach Party. When I say bad acting I don't mean the standards which a great deal of the cheesy movies I write about follow. I'm talking You-Will-Never-Work-In-This-Town-Again level of acting skills, or lack there of. I'm serious. If you check out the IMDB entry you'll see that many of the actors only ever acted in this film and the director's previous cinematic masterpiece Cherry Hill. If this is his sophomore film I'm kind of scared to watch Cherry Hill for fear I might never want to watch a movie again, but I'll probably do it anyway.
Beach Party might have been extremely difficult to watch, but the film did have a couple of good qualities besides top naked girls every 10 or 15 minutes, which wasn't even that gratifying. Topless shots in this movie make films like Porky's and Meatballs look like hardcore pornography. Get what I'm saying?
I would have to say the best part of this movie were a couple of one-liners. Even though they were written to appeal to the comedic sensibility of an 11 year old, there were a couple of lines that made the eternal child in me chuckle just a bit.
"As much fun as an autopsy." - This one didn't make me chuckle over the humor but more over the sheer stupidity of the line.
"Humpum for wumpum" - Best line of the entire film. Seriously it is.
There were a few more, but I really didn't have the enough of a will to actually write them down, so two is all you get. That's all, folks. I could probably write a couple more paragraphs about such inane topics as "Why are they wearing cheering uniforms all the time" or " how does a person have sex without removing the pants" but Beach Party is not even worth the number of words I've already put into it. it was that much of a piece of shit. Do I regret watching it? Not really. Will you regret it if after reading this review? Probably. Don't say I didn't warn you.
This shitbox doesn't even have an available trailer. Boo Hoo!!!
I have been praising the Midnite selections over at Williamsburg's Spectacle Theater for months now. Who ever is doing the programming over there obviously knows what the fuck is up, and there is usually something good going on at least once a week for fans of cult trash. Even though budget and social restrictions typically prevent me from going, there have several movies on their roster that I had never heard of but made it a point to seek out. The Death Wheelers(1973) was one of these films I knew I had to see even if I couldn't make the screening. Biker Gangs, Devil Worship and the Living Dead all rolled into one little British package. What more could a man want?
After months of having a copy, I was finally able to sit down and watch it with friends and loved ones. Movies like this I like sharing with the Girlfriend. It also helped that we had a guest and there is currently nothing available on primetime for the next couple of weeks, so the evening's entertainment totally ended up in my favor.
And it was completely worth it.
Granted, it didn't go exactly as described. There was a biker gang, The Living Dead, and they aren't the friendliest bunch. Antisocial is a bit tame of a word to describe their actions. The Devil Worship wasn't really "worship" per se. It was more of a "Deal with the Devil", or a "Deal with the Toad Demon". That's right, I said Toad Demon. In fact, in Death Wheelers toads are the reason for the season. How very odd, but I know I've seen stranger storylines in movies from the 70's.
Then we get to The Living Dead. To most people, "living dead" refers to mindless, rotting husks of humanity who sustain themselves on the brains of the living. Not so much here. To be "living dead" in the Death Wheelers pretty means having all the benefits of higher undead, like a vampire, but without many of the drawbacks (I think there is something bad with crucifixes). To become the "living dead" all one must do is want to die to live. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? Well I can't give everything away.
I had fun watching this film, although there were a couple lowpoints. Namely, the lack of gore. I'm assuming it had more to do with British censors than artistic direction, but I could have used more blood and guts. It also felt slow at parts, which could have been considered a good set-up for all the road action, which I thought was nicely filmed and proper. I was also a huge fan of the music, from the cheesy little acoustic numbers to the psych/mod/soul rock that made up most of the background even if it was pretty repetitive.
If you like Hammer Horror with a higher budget and JD/biker movies, you would probably get a kick out of the Death Wheelers. Even if you don't, but are still a horror and action fan, it's still worth at least one watch.