Monday, February 10, 2014
Dir: Avi Nesher.
Cast: Sandahl Bergman, David Goss, Elena Wiedermann, Gregory Snegoff, David Traylor, Gordon Mitchell, Quin Kessler, David Brandon, Andrew McLeay, Harrison Muller Jr and some camp tramps.
|"What's a bomb?"|
But nuclear annihilation isn't the scariest thing on screen, oh no.
That'll be the fact that it's only taken 23 years for the sad remnants of humanity to return to dressing up like pound shop new romantics, fighting with swords, flamethrowers and chainsaws instead of guns and riding around on ponies like a collection of underfed rag and bone men.
The only thing that hasn't change is the bizarre obsession with minor celebrities.
In this case it's Arnie's ferret faced Conan sidekick, dancer cum actress Sandahl (daughter of famed Space:1999 scientist Victor) Bergman who, until someone more famous comes along is currently worshipped as a living God.
Which is nice.
Meanwhile the common folk spend their days wandering around the local market in the hope of picking up cheap meat offcuts, dodgy phonecards and pirate DVD's.
Not really so different there then.
It's in one such market that we meet the duo who will act as our heroes for the next 90 minutes (tho' it will seem much, much longer), a Chuckle Brothers for the 21st century, blond bombshell Tom (Goss, currently working as a production assistant on that hit show The Bachelorette) and his pube haired (almost) comedy sidekick Dick (Muller Jr. from The Final Executioner) who, within minutes of arriving on the scene are viciously assaulted by a small group of hooligans clad in the contents of a child’s dressing up box.
Albiet a child with a swastika obsession.
That'll be me aged 6 then.
|"To me!" "To you!"|
Within a matter of minutes they've beaten our dynamic dunces senseless, stolen all the Yorkies from the sweet shop and kidnapped Tom’s sister - wait for it - Hari (Wiedermann, Wiedermann does whatever a Wieder can).
Anyone else would probably be distraught but good old Tom is frankly unaffected by the whole thing and decides, along with Dick to go and pick up a prostitute to drown his sorrows.
By drown his sorrows I obviously mean to have the sex with.
Unfortunately being an evil whore she drugs the duo, chaining Dick up in the shed before delivering Tom to the immortal 'She' (that'll be Bergman then) to use him as she sees fit.
|"Are you looking at mah bra?"|
Because of (or despite his) lack of manbreast, She dispenses with her usual shag and stab routine deciding instead to submit Tom to the ominously named Path of Blood, a tiny obstacle course built in a child’s sandpit that consists of a series of sharp wooden stakes thru which Tom will be led blindfolded whilst being kicked and fondled by a dozen Granny panted Suzi Quatro lookalikes before being abandoned to die in the wasteland.
Which seems a little extreme but what do I know?
Luckily, for the movie if not for us, the next morning he’s rescued by a token British homosexualist and part time science man named Stony Tark (McLeay) who whisks Tom away to his secret laboratory where he can be told various plot points that may, or may not come in useful later.
You know, important stuff like the fact that his sisters has been grabbed by the Norks (no sniggering) and that the only person that knows the how to get their hands on those pesky Norks (no seriously) is She herself.
And with this Tark promptly disappears from the film, never to be seen again and leaving Tom with no alternative than to rescue his buddy Dick from the hands of the evil hooker and kidnap She in the hope that she'll show them where those infamous Norks hang out.
Seriously you couldn't make this shit up.
Tho' scarily somebody (I'm looking at you Avi Nesher) did just that.
Anyway, making his way back to the village - and wearing a child's army helmet as a disguise - Tom punches out the prostitute (isn’t that extra?) and rescues Dick from a life of pig based humiliation before settling down to plan their next move over a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
|You know the convention was going downhill when drunken ex-weathergirl Ulrika jonsson tried to violate Clash of the Titans star Bubo with a chocolate dildo.|
Meanwhile it's the time of the month where She has to endures the gruesome sounding Trial of Blood This involves She dressing up in her best bed-sheet and fighting a variety of wind up robots, Roman Centurions and a Frankenstein monster secreted in huge wooden crates in a cave haphazardly filled with barrels, televisions and old washing machines.
Or as we call it in the UK Birmingham.
After a slight and uninspired slow fight the bloodied and battered She ventures deeper underground where she meets an old lady who urges our heroine to strip naked and enjoy a long hot bath in the healing waters of a conveniently placed spring.
As She gently caresses her breasts and ample thighs the old woman mysteriously intones...
“You have passed through the cycle again, Goddess. But the prophecy still stands. A man will come to claim your heart. For him you will break your vow. Through him, you will be destroyed.”
At this point I really think I should point out that although this scene sounds as tho' it could be really important at some point further in the movie it is, bizarrely never referred to again.
Yup that's right.
At no point does She fall in love or end up destroyed. A wee bit muddy yes but that's about it.
Great, now let's move on and catch up with Tom and Dick who succeed in kidnapping She from her bedchamber before riding off into the local playpark with a bunch of butch Amazonian warriors, led by She's best pal Shanda (the mighty Kessler, in truth the only real reason for watching) in hot(tish) pursuit.
|...Inside Dave Lee Travis' mind...|
After what seems like hours of galloping and lame wise-cracks inter-cut with random shots of muscly thighed women on horseback our trippy trio come across (you know the drill) a band of mutants wrapped in dirty bandages and all clad in big nappies called the Nukes who, after a wee bit of polite conversation decide to execute the threesome in a handy trash compactor.
Luckily Shanda soon turns up and using a mix of pantomime swordplay and unbridled sex appeal defeats the Nukes before any harm can befall Tom, She or Dick (which in his case in a crying shame).
With She untied and looking as leathery as ever and Tom and Dick surrounded by angry Amazons you'd be forgiven for thinking the quest to save Hari (remember her?) would be over but, oh no, She takes pity on Tom and Dick and helpfully points them in the general direction of Nork Valley before letting them on their way.
Unbeknownst to our plucky pals She has decided - along with sexy Shanda - to follow the follow the pair from a distant so as to see what wild and wacky adventures they may have.
|Shanda: Five fingers, never touched the sides.|
Wandering deep into the woodland that conveniently sits opposite the park Tom and Dick discover an idyllic country house occupied by a group of handsome (in an 80's Italian way) young men and big haired women draped around a swimming pool in togas and reciting bad poetry to each other.
Their leader (Italian genre stalwart and ex-Caligula Brandon) upon noticing the newcomers charmingly invites them to join the group for dinner.
And maybe a side order of the sex.
Our heroes, obviously forgetting what happened last time someone offered them a shag excitedly accept the offer and spend the evening stuffing their grubby faces with turkey sandwiches and crisps, dancing badly to cheesy 50's ballads whilst wearing ill fitting tuxedo's.
Just a normal night in Blackpool really.
|Your mum and sister at my house last week.|
Although I've heard that they spit that bit out.
Just as all seems lost who should turn up but She and Shanda, annoyed at missing a free meal and ready to kick some hairy arse meaning our fantastic foursome live to ride another day.
Or at the very least get captured by someone else about 10 minutes later.
With thank you's (and a few lustful glances 'tween Dick and Shanda) exchanged they soon arrive at a quaint old town, seemingly untouched for years save for all the walls, doors, windows and very slow dogs being covered in some fairly well designed (for a child) retro-communist style posters emblazoned with the word Godan and what looks like a picture of a young Eli Roth complete with glowing green eyes.
|"£6.50??!!?? I can almost hire a whore for that much!"|
They don't have much time to discuss the merits of feltpen vs. crayon tho' (or even Roth's more recent acting roles) as She and her pals are suddenly captured (surprise!) by a group of elderly monks who take them before the great god Godan (Robotech voice artist Snegoff) himself.
Realizing that Godan is a wee bit of a mentalist, used to getting his own way, full of self importance and with little respect for anything other than his own needs (hang on...are you sure that this isn't Eli Roth?) Tom and Dick quickly pretend to be disciples and are soon re-enacting the rape scene from Aftershock whilst setting fire to each others trousers, totally ignoring the fact that She and Shanda have been dragged off to the dungeon in order to have their sweaty, leather-clad bodies whipped and poked for Godan's amusement.
|"Put it in me!"|
After enduring, oooh minutes of torture (and chaffing) Godan decides that the best way to interrogate She would be to have her taken to his room and sex the information out of her (what this information is I've still no idea).
Unfortunately (for him) this is the last straw as far as his dedicated priestess Sylvia is concerned, seeing as she's been waiting on him hand and foot for years without even a hint of a penis going her way and she reacts in the way that most women would when spurned by someone who has absolutely no interest in them.
Yup, she buries a large axe into his chest.
Obviously poor Godan wasn't expecting this but manages to summon the last of his supernatural eye powers to strangle Sylvia with a handy curtain cord.
And what pray tell do She, Tom and Dick do during all this?
That's right, they just stand around ineffectually whilst trying to remember if they had anyone else with them.
Or in Bergman's case desperately trying to remember Arnies phone number in the hope that he can pay for her ticket back to the U.S.
Finally remembering that Shanda is still tied up downstairs (as in to a rack in the dungeon, not having trouble with her ovaries), our motley crew quickly untie her and head of deeper into the woods leaving a small group of old men with nothing else to do but stare at each other and wonder where their next meal is coming from now that their leader is dead.
Well, it's good to know that American foreign policy survived the apocalypse even if fashion sense and basic storytelling didn't.
|Sandahl farted in the Jacuzzi and it was an eggy one.|
With She and Tom enjoying the countryside and Shanda and Dick involved in some playful flirting no-one notices the slightly foul smelling gas emanating from a nearby bush until it's too late. Our heroes are soon overcome by the smell of egg, gravy and shame as a gas mask-clad hulking figure gleefully watches the scene unfold from a safe distance.
Waking with a terrible headache and his trousers on backwards Tom frantically searches for the others soon finding Shanda unconscious on a nearby rock, beads of sweat collecting in her mighty cleavage and glistening like tiny diamonds.
Aroused and ready for action the pair call on their comrades but to no avail.
It's as tho' they've vanished into thin (but still stinky) air.
But we know the truth don't we?
Yes, they've been kidnapped (I know who'd believe it?) again but this time it's by a bearded transvestite giant and a pale-faced old man on his way to a Scarlet Pimpernel party who've decided to put She and Dick in huge plastic bags in order to experiment on them in their greenhouse cum private love nest.
Not that Tom is too bothered tho' seeing as he's decided to head along to Norksville on his own.
|On further examination, the Amanda Knox bedspread that Noel Edmond’s purchased from Ebay turned out to be a fake.|
But not for long because although the land of the Norks is within sight Shanda, obviously bored of the by now frankly ludicrous script and missing the feeling of a big powerful animal between her thighs volunteers to head back home (alongside the trannie for reasons best known to herself) to get reinforcements or something leaving She and Dick to go it alone.
|The Jimmy Savile/Kurt Russell cloning experiment was more successful than even William Roache could imagine.|
By this time Tom has reached the Nork fortress, all he has to do now is cross the bridge that leads over a dangerous minefield and knock on the front door.
Well it would be if the bridge weren't guarded by the mighty Xenon (America's top comic Traylor), a frighteningly jumpsuited genetic mix of Michael Barrymore, Snake Plissken, Des Lynam and a caffeine addicted paedophile.
And that's before he opens his mouth.
His secret weapon?
Following whoever attempts to cross the bridge whilst doing bad impressions of Groucho Marx, the Cowardly Lion and James Cagney.
Tom being a man of few words and even less patience reacts in the only way he knows, yes attacks him with a sword, chopping off his arms and legs.
Which would be fine if the severed parts didn't grow into more versions of Xenon.
Before long there's a whole army of irritating impressions following the poor sod to Norksville.
|"Hey big fella how'd you fancy a wee bit of mooth shite-in?"|
Scratching his head with the swords blunt end Tom has no idea what to do next, so it's lucky for him that She and Dick soon arrive, cutting thru' the creepy comedians and tossing them into the minefield before they can regenerate.
And with that problem out of the way all that's left to do is sneak into the Nork city, win Lord Norks trust and rescue Hari.
But how are they supposed to enter the city unmolested?
Just then She notices a poster flapping in the wind.
It appears that Lord Nork is having a competition to find the best fighter in the world and the winner gets to meet him and his new priestess Hari.
And guess what?
The competition starts today!
|Ladies and gentlemen....Destiny's Child!|
Or at the very least from having to marry a man who insists on dressing in tinfoil with a lampshade for a hat to stop him getting infected by radiation.
Tho' compared to actually sitting thru' this shite that seems like a more humane option.
From the undoubtedly twisted (re: drug addled possibly) mind of "one of Israel's all-time greatest filmmakers" (he's won awards and everything) via the pen of H. Rider Haggard (creator of Allan Quatermain and arguably the whole 'lost world' genre), She is a 90 minute threadbare freak show of half arsed awfulness that plays out like a series of rambling comedy sketches written for a rejected Benny Hill Mad Max parody by Barry Cryer after being forced to ingest meth and children's tears whilst listening To Rick Wakeman's The Burning score on a warped cassette.
And that's just the pre-credit sequence.
With it's swastika clad villains, sexy Jewish girls kicking arse and it's lead characters habit of just strolling in and taking land that doesn't belong to her the movie is obviously some kind of Mossad sponsored mind control project aimed at doing something to somebody (I'm sorry but conspiracy type stuff just isn't my strong point) add to this the fact that America co-funded the movie only adds to the theory.
I mean come on, if any other country had produced a toxic shite of this magnitude Uncle Sam would have declared war on them within minutes.
After completing the movie, director Avi Nesher was flown out of Italy under cover of night back to Israel to continue his career as a 'serious' film maker, a career that bizarrely continues today, his last film The Wonders, his third with actor Adir Miller opened to critical and financial success becoming one of the biggest hits of 2013.
True it was shot entirely in Hebrew and only shown in Israel but it still made more money than the last movie I worked on so who am I to judge?
|Director Nesher is sneaked out of Italy after death threats from livid Ursula Andress fans.|
Of the rest of the cast only a few survived a massive cull by secret service agents in the months after the film was released. It appeared that someone didn't want the movies secrets made public.
Luckily Bergman used the influence of her friend the former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (with whom she shared the actors first ever love scene) to defy the many attempts on her life whilst co-star David Traylor wasn't so lucky.
|Nice flat tummy, face of fuckness.|
It was only thanks to a mysterious benefactor (said to be one of the films composers Justin Hayward) that Traylor was inducted into the top secret and highly experimental Robo-comic programme, emerging some years later as Mr. ZED the Robot Comedian whose first appearance in the UK was strangely enough alongside Jim Davidson, who it was once rumoured had once worked undercover in Palestine for MI6.
|A rarely seen pic of a post movie, pre surgery Traylor, here being looked after by comedian cum scientist Kelly Monteith.|
Plus I'm sure Winona Ryder is short of a few bob right now.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Blood Beach (1981).
Dir: Jeffrey Bloom
Cast: David Huffman, Marianna Hill, Burt Young, John Saxon, Otis Young, Lena Pousette, Darrell Fetty, Harriet Medin and Stefan Gierasch.
|"Hey, Harry! What colour eyes your stewardess have... had"|
Welcome to the wacky world of handsome Harbour Patrol officer, Harry Caulder (the late, almost great Huffman, teevee stalwart and ex-thesp) who, in between rescuing drowning dogs and making love to his leggy blond air stewardess girlfriend becomes embroiled in a bizarre missing persons case when his ex-girlfriend’s wacky (and fairly hot for an old bird) mom (Medin, Death Race 2000's Thomasina Paine) mysteriously vanishes from the local beach mere seconds after chatting to him about house insurance prices.
|"Please sir! Can I go to the toilet?"|
Well all of them that is except the towns sexy Police Captain Pearson (Lord John of Saxon), who instead spends the movie with the look of a man haunted by ever increasing tax bills and outrageous demands from an ex-wife.
Aiding our beleaguered bobbie are the no-nonsense Lt. Piantadosi (star of teevee hit The Outcasts Otis Young) and the modern life loving Sgt. Royko (Rocky co-star Burt Young), a character whose whole demeanour and delivery makes it look as tho' he's accidentally wandered onto the wrong set, his endless monologues regarding the differences between small town procedures and the LAPD coupled with his hard talking smart arse persona make you feel that he'd be more at home in Serpico or Cruising (the film, not actually going out looking for no holds barred sexual encounters with big, buff muscle men, tho' each to their own).
Every time he appears onscreen you're immediately dragged kicking and screaming out of a fairly generic monster movie to an uncomfortable place where you half expect Royko to glass the nearest child in the face and arrest them for aggravated arse burgalary.
|"Are you looking at my bra?"|
Wandering around with absolutely no idea what's going on or causing the sand based shenanigans it's left to Caulder, his guitar playing pube haired side-kick Hoagy (Fetty from, um some other stuff) and the completely off his tits coroner Doctor Demetrios (Dark Shadow's Gierasch, channelling a cuddly paedophile), to look for answers.
Tho' when Demetrios starts ranting - with almost sexual fervour - about it most likely being an underground monster living in the sand everyone looks away uncomfortably and decides that it must be a rash of suicides instead, leaving the disheartened doctor to go back to prodding the corpse of a rapist that was found (minus his cock) on the beach that very morning.
It's not too surprising then that even more people keep vanishing, including Caulder's current beau as she makes her way to our heroes house for some surprise sex.
|"Would you like me to put it in you?"|
But that's not too much of a bad thing seeing as whilst she was away doing stewardess type stuff his ex girlfriend Catherine (brunette bombshell Hill whose career spans everything from Star Trek to The Godfather via Batman) has arrived back in town to help look for her missing mum and on the night in question the pair were enjoying some fairly smelly seafood together.
Suffice to say she's not missed.
Deciding that the best way to solve the case - and also to avoid the resident mad bag lady - is by spending every waking moment in the local bar watching Hoagy murder various middle of the road country tracks, our doe-eyed duo seem to totally forget about the films plot as they rekindle their old romance and it takes Hoagy's death (obviously the creature has some music taste) to spur them back into action.
Well I say action when in actuality all they do is take a walk up the pier where they stumble across a half eaten victim of the beast who helpfully tells them where it's lair is before dying.
At least the poor sod was only involved shite for a few minutes, by this point I felt like I'd been experiencing the whole thing in real time.
|"Shite in mah mooth you crustacean bastard!"|
Informing the police of their findings our heroes stand back whilst the boys in blue rig up a series of explosives and cameras in the creatures lair, obviously hoping to get a few quid from You've Been Framed to top up their wages.
Obviously by this point in the proceedings John Saxon had decided to have it out with his agent with regards to the type of shite he was being offered at the time (Cannibal Apocalypse anyone?) and is conspicuous by his absence, leaving the obviously drunk and dangerously trigger happy Royko in charge of the big red button with the only voice of reason ("Think what we can learn from the creature" etc.) being the daft as a brush Demetrios.
Suffice to say Royko blows the fucker to kingdom come at the first opportunity before reaching into his egg stained overcoat for a creamcake and walking away to an early cholesterol fuelled death safe in the knowledge that the town is safe.
Or is it?
As during the end titles featuring a pound shop selection of scantily clad teens frolicking on the beach, hundreds (well dozens) of tiny holes beging to appear in the sands.....
Unfortunately we'll never know the truth as a sequel is yet to be made.
Obviously (and quite possibly drunkenly) inspired by Jaws 2's tagline - which frankly should have set alarm bells going straight away - Jeffry Bloom's Blood Beach is proof enough (if any were needed) that a massive shite will invariably still stink like a massive shite, no matter how much perfume you dowse it in or how many times you backcomb its luxurious locks.
Or is that logs?
Which in itself is scarier than the actual movie when you consider the talent involved.
Add to that the behind the scenes presence of such movie legends a producers Irwin (Halloween) Yablans, Neil (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension) Canton and an uncredited Sir Run Run Shaw, not to mention a distributor in the grindhouse god that was Jerry Gross and you begin to realize that the blame can only be laid at the feet of director/writer/ Bloom and his co-scripter Steven Nalevansky, the man who gave us the 1992 American teevee classic Prime Suspect, a movie that still holds the record for the most usage of the word "arse" on prime time US teevee.
Oh yeah, and let's not forget to apportion a wee bit of it to whoever thought that the monster should be portrayed as a giant paper mache venus flytrap sporting a rather fetching testicle for a tongue that even the 1960's Doctor Who production team would turn down for being utter shite.
Whoever designed this abomination your card is marked son, I don't care how long it takes you will pay for your crime.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
So...did you miss me?
Terribly sorry about the appalling lack of activity (paranorman or otherwise) over the last few months but between work and Megan based death threats there's been precious little time to update.
But I'm back now and just in time for this years Glasgow Frightfest.
You lucky people.
|A poster today.|
And this year promises to be a blood curdling bugger of a beast, including as it does the fantastic Ti (don't call me Fred) West's cult of the damned shocker THE SACRAMENT with an appearance by the man himself and Jake (don't call me Ti) West and producer Marc (the Mack) Morris introducing the world premiere of VIDEO NASTIES: DRACONIAN DAYS, their sequel to the critically acclaimed VIDEO NASTIES: MORAL PANIC, CENSORSHIP & VIDEOTAPE documentary this time featuring Jon Pertwee's favourite monsters.
|A Draconian yesterday.|
If that wasn't enough there's also the world premiere of THE SCRIBBLER, based on Dan Shaffer’s bestselling graphic novel (that's a kinda comic book but with swearing and stuff in it) featuring the tissue tearing trio of Eliza Dushku, Michelle Trachtenberg and Sasha Grey.
Expect scares, shocks and stubborn stains.
|The Scribbler: words.|
Director John Suits (you sir!), producer of the bloody nosed CHEAP THRILLS will be in attendance as will Jordan ("And it's goodnight from him!") Barker, director of the terrific sucker punch home invasion chiller TORMENT, starring the yumsome Katharine (I have her home number) Isabelle, which will receive its European premiere at the festival.
Also attending is Indiana writer/director Zack (Saved by The Bell) Parker, with the UK premiere of his Slenderman starring PROXY, a daring and highly original chiller (it says here and who am I to argue?).
And there are more UK premieres including the bigger, wickeder and possibly hairier WOLF CREEK 2, KILLERS, a dark, twisted tale from the Mo Brothers duo of Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto and two highly impressive feature debuts - Cliff (Darth Vader) Prowse and Derek (Enter the Dragon/The Big Boss Man) Lee’s AFFLICTED, a clever spin on the found-footage trend and Spanish director Jorge 'cheese' Dorado’s probing, twisty MINDSCAPE starring Mark (Sinestro) Strong.
|Wolf Creek: Crocodile Dunaweelassieupthearse.|
Monday, November 11, 2013
Apologies to all, creative endeavours have stopped me from updating as late (beware the new year will probably bring a raging torrent of cinematic scum to these pages) but to show that I've not forgotten you here are some vaguely amusing bootleg DVD covers from the orient.
And whilst you're waiting for normal Arena service to resume, why not buy the first collection of Shaftons Place which is finally finished and now available to buy.
54 pages of groovy goodness that hits your lips like an unholy pairing of David Lynch and The Chuckle Brothers waltzing to a soundtrack by Slade.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
54 pages of groovy goodness that hits your lips like an unholy pairing of David Lynch and The Chuckle Brothers waltzing to a soundtrack by Slade.