Saturday, October 11, 2008

kiss my face.

KISS Meets The Phantom of The Park (AKA KISS Meets the Phantom, KISS in the Attack of the Phantom. 1978).
Dir: Gordon Hessler.
Cast: Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley (AKA KISS), Anthony Zerbe, Deborah Ryan, Terry Lester, Carmine Caridi, John Dennis Johnsto, Lisa Jane Persky and John Lisbon Wood.

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"What do you compute, Space Ace?"
"Insufficient data at the moment, Star-Child!"



Welcome to Magic Mountain, the world's most unpopular and dare I say it, shittiest theme park where the frighteningly plain Melissa (Ryan) and her Lego-haired beau (and park employee) Sam (Lester) are enjoying a romantic date wandering around the empty stalls and rides.

The park's business manager Calvin Richards (Caridi) has begun to notice how much cash he's losing so decides (in a fit of pique) to book the world's (nay the universe's) biggest rock band, KISS to play three nights in the Magic Mountain car park.


This decision doesn't go down well with everyone tho', especially the park's head techie guy and all-around mad scientist, Dr. Abner Devereaux (the creepily craggy cult king Zerbe).

You see Abner is the creator of the parks frighteningly realistic animatronic exhibits (you remember, the ones that are losing them all the cash) and reckons that all the public really need for a good time is a quick look at his stiff, moth-bitten robot monkey jerkily rocking backwards and forwards like Norman Wisdom during his final days and not some spandex clad nonces letting it all hang out whilst wearing their mums shoes.

To prove he knows what he's doing, Abner plans to soup up a few of the parks rides (including the kiddies spinning teacups) with a kinda super-charged energy thing which would've been a great plan had a group of bad men not decided to sabotage the bumper cars that day almost killing a group of orphans and blaming the poor doc (saying that tho' he may have hired them to do it, I wasn't really concerntrating if I'm honest).

Not too surprisingly Calvin sacks him on the spot (but does let him keep the keys to his secret lab hidden below the waltzers, which is nice).

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Insert cock here.


Stomping off like a stroppy teenager (or a substitute teacher discovering pics of themselves pissed on t'internet whilst looking up pictures of fluffy bunnies for her class) Devereaux promises himself revenge on the park and it's owners before locking himself away in his lair.

Whilst all this is going on, Mel and Sam are still wandering aimlessly around the park stuffing their faces full of candyfloss and firing airguns at ratty teddy bears.

Suddenly, as if he's just developed some kind of spider-sense, Sam announces that there's 'something wrong in the park.... something I don't understand' (could be anything, dating etiquette, personal grooming, hairstyles that suit a big square face...) and promptly leaves to check 'it' out.

Heading straight to the doc's underground lab Sam accidentally leans on a shelf revealing a secret door leading to an even more secret (and deeper underground) laboratory full of bits of old teevee's, glittery blouses, orthopedic shoes, wooden legs and the like.

What evil plan could Devereaux have up his sleeve?

By a strange (or convenient) stroke of luck, Melissa has been following Sam and she too happens upon the daffy doc's ultra-secret underground lab and is even greeted at the door by, Devereaux himself.

Making his excuses and muttering something about brainwashing her date and building evil robotic replicas of KISS the doc sends her on her way. Being a girl she thinks nothing of it and continues her walk no doubt daydreaming about make-up, chocolate and stuff.

Just when you'd given up hope of them ever arriving (or at least checked you were watching the right movie) KISS finally turn up at the park, flying in from the skies and firing lasers from every orifice opening their killer 'set' with the top pop number "Rock and Roll All Night."

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"KISS my hairy man nipples!"


Watching from afar is Melissa who, after spending a fruitless day looking for her man and forgetting to buy a ticket for the gig has decided that KISS may be able to help her find Sam (makes you wonder why the McCann's never thought of this). Unfortunately for her tho' the folk hired as secrurity refuse to let her in (they say it's because she doesn't have a backstage pass but I reckon it's cos her hair looks so shite), just then Gene Simmons raises his head and booms out the words "Star-Child!" in a weird, wibbly wobbly voice, causing Paul Stanley to shoot crimson lasers out of his eyes that penetrate Melissa's mind.

KISS, never ones to desert a damsel in distress take Melissa under their wing (well, glittery capes) and offer to show her their magical talismen (talismen? talismans?....is it really that important?).

Dirty sods.

As it happens the band have a magic talisman that give them 'special' powers and they reckon that this would be a good time to explain this to the audience.

Gene (AKA The Demon) has the aforementioned scary voice power and can shoot fire from his mouth. Paul (AKA Star-Child shoots lasers from his eyes that can read minds, eavesdrop on conversations and blow shit up whilst Ace (AKA Space Ace) can teleport, make bird noises and do handstands (do you have the feeling that they were running out of idea's at this point?) and Peter (AKA The Catman) has the ability to be redubbed and appear as a huge black guy daubed make-up and a leotard in longshot.

I'm assuming that these are his actual powers and not the effects of him being way to junked up to do anything other than dribble (and occasionally piss himself) during filming.

Gene explains to Melissa that without this collection of tacky trinkets that they'd become a group of powerless mere mortals with tiny cocks.

Probably.

Leaving the talismen on a shelf near an open window our heroes retire to bed.

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Bag o' shite.


Later that evening Devereaux unleashes his secret weapon on the park, a giant robot Gene Simmons intent on smashing up the popcorn stand and abusing (but not in a Gary Glitter way thank heavens) the locals hired as security.

So it comes as no great surprise when the next morning Richards shows up at the bands hotel in a wee bit of a tizz.

Gene, who is busy sunning himself whilst wearing and a long, hooded, silver robe denies all knowledge of the attacks, telling Richards that he was in bed with a cup of cocoa by nine. The rest of the band agree leaving the bizarre question of who it was that really smashed up the park.

Leaving the band to prepare for that nights gig, Richards strikes a deal with the bruised and battered security guys, If they'll let KISS continue with the park shows, he'll let them get revenge on Gene during the after show party.

Could things get any worse for the band?

Later that night as KISS relax after the concert by entertaining Melissa (yup she's still there) with a fantastic acoustic version of "Beth", a brainwashed Sam has been programmed to break into their room and steal the talismen.

The rotter.

Little does he know that they're protected by a mystical force field, giving KISS enough time to finish the song before giving chase.

Breaking into the park (well, climbing over the fence) the band spend what seems like the next six hours battling a variety of robots in a shoddily unconvincing kung-fu style whilst a late seventies wah wah beat plays in the background.

With the good guys busy stomping on a robot monkey in a scene reminisant of a high camp version of A Clockwork Orange, Devereaux sends Sam (this time armed with a force field nullifying laser gun) back to attempt to steal the talismen again.

The plan works leaving KISS (slightly less) powerful (kinda....it doesn't really make sense) and before long they're captured by robots things and locked in a cage.

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Jack Crowly kicks out against
Rob Zombie haters.
And his parents who wouldn't
let him have his ear pierced.


A gloating Devereaux excitedly tells the captive KISS all about his plan which involves replacing the band with robots and giving them hypnotic powers which, when the crowd hears certain (added) lyrics will make everyone go mental and (wait for it) smash all the rides.

Is it really worth it?

Leaving the talismen on a table next to the cage that KISS are locked in the doc heads off to the concert to oversee his masterplan for world (well funfair) domination.

Evil robo-KISS head on stage to jeers and boos at the new lyrics but with Devereaux powering up his hypno-thing the crowd begin to get jittery and start slashing the seats.

The real KISS, meanwhile, remember the fact that they still have some power even without their gaudy trinkets and, using psychokinesis make the talismen spookily fly back in their possession ready to KISS some ass!

Not literally tho'.

KISS use the superpowers to fly to the concert arriving just in time to stop the riot and take down their wicked robot duplicates. The crowd, thinking it's all part of the show, cheer uncontrollably as eight tubby stuntmen in drag throw each other about by the hair.

Tearing the robots limb from limb before throwing them into the mosh pit, KISS encore with "Rock and Roll All Night" before tracking down Devereaux, who due to the radiation emitted by his hypno-ray has aged over a hundred years and is sitting helplessly in the corner of his lab covered in his own piss.

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There was a time (before Bill and Ted revived their fortunes - ask your mum) when KISS were the biggest band in America (over here we had Slade who to be honest could've kicked their arses).

Replacing any determinable musical talent with glittery space persona's and fright make-up the band had already signed to Marvel comics so a movie couldn't be far behind.

Hiring genre veteran Gordon Hessler (director of such classics as Scream and Scream Again, The Oblong Box, Cry of the Banshee and the fantastic The Golden Voyage of Sinbad) may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but on viewing his limp and turgid excuse for 'direction' you can tell his glory days were behind him (either that or he just couldn't be arsed).


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Co-produced by Hanna-Barbera (which is really all you need to know) and obviously seen as a way to showcase the band's love of scifi (good and bad) this is more panto than pathos with KISS doing little more than standing around whilst obviously ad-libbing most of their dialogue (at least I hope no-one got paid to write this tripe) before a team of crap (sorry I mean crack) circus performers take over for the slow fighting scenes and Peter Pan style flying stuff.

Scarily Gene Simmons actually did go on to have an acting career (playing opposite Tom Selleck in the robot riot that is Runaway and as an evil drag queen in Never Too Young to Die) and is now best know for appearing on 'top ten celebrity shaggers' shows sticking his tongue out whilst hinting that he's had your mum.

Which of course is a lie.

It was mine.

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