Saturday, March 31, 2018

hop to it.

Happy Easter all!

Night of The Lepus (AKA Rabbits. 1972).
Dir: William F Claxton.
Cast: Stuart Whitman, DeForest Kelley, Janet Leigh, Melanie Fullerton, Chris Morrell, some rabbits (obviously)  and Rory Calhoun.



Attention! Attention! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way and we desperately need your help!


Can I just say that on those rare occasions when a movie opens with grainy, documentary footage of big hunky men armed with large pointy sticks slowly advancing on some fluffy bunnies whilst an oh so serious voice over tells of the famine and disasters caused by 'rabbit plagues' over the years you know you're about to experience something special.

And no I don't mean Mr Tumble stumbling about shit-faced in a car park whilst signing 'cheap booze' at an anorak-clad moppet.

Tho' admittedly that would be worth seeing.

And who knows, the great man himself may even turn up in this film at some point.

I mean stranger things have happened.

But I digress.

A wee bit like the film actually as the almost Blair Witch/Alternative 3 style shockumentary footage is quickly replaced by a grainy shot of a field somewhere in the American mid-west where a group of disinterested extras are rounding up a group of painfully bored rabbits.

Indeed cinema doesn't get any more exciting - or Leporidae obsessed - than this.

But is there a reason for all this bunny bothering?

Well yes there is as it soon transpires that the local rabbit farm has been destroyed by fire meaning that the rascally rabbits are all making a bid for the prairie and freedom.

This in turn is upsetting the local cow poke because their horses keep falling down the rabbit holes and breaking their legs.

Luckily the local ranch owner Cole Hillman (Calhoun - don't judge) owns a big gun and is quite happy to go around shooting any fallen foles in the face.

Well until he realizes that if it continues the whole town will be skipping about banging coconuts together if a better remedy isn't found soon.


The real McCoy? (sorry).


Luckily a local pair of entomologists, Lenny Bennett and his wife Elizabeth (an unusually sober Whitman and an obviously slumming it Leigh) alongside their pal Eglin Clark (Kelley) offer their expertise in order to solve the rabbit problem.

But which course of action will they follow?

A. Hire the Elmer Fudd like, gun crazed Cole to go out and shoot them all.

B. Rabbit poison.

C. Use a never before tested experimental DNA-altering serum that could cause hideous mutations.

Reckoning that blindly tampering with nature on a genetic scale is more environmentally sound than poison they plum for the serum, which the Bennett's decide to test on their young daughter Amanda's pet rabbit first.

What caring parents.
The company that make these refused to put "Shite in mah mooth!" on it. Killjoys.



Amanda, as you can probably guess, is slightly upset by the thought of her dad sticking something in her pet so to this end sneaks into her parents lab and kidnaps the rabbit under cover of darkness.

As in at night obviously, not whilst disguised as Justin Hawkins but to be honest that may have brightened up the movie a wee bit.

Heading over to the Hillman ranch she soon comes across Cole's permanently scowling son Jackie (current resident of Chesapeake, VA and father of 3 Morrell in his only film role) who wrestles the rabbit from the poor girls grasp before popping it down a nearby rabbit hole unknowingly setting in motion a deadly series of events the likes of which the world has never seen.

And probably never wanted to anyway.

It's only a matter of time (well it is a short movie) before the local towns folk discover that their carrot patches have all been dug up and that a number of locals start turning up dead with huge incisor marks over their bodies.

Could these things be related?

Well most of the locals are so it wouldn't surprise me.

After a quick scientific natter our heroes decide that the serum must have mutated the rabbits to giant size.

Oh and turned them into ferocious meat eaters.

Which is nice.

Surprisingly everyone completely accepts this explanation without question.

They don't even get angry, just shrug their - collective - shoulders and begin to plan a counter-attack.

You've gotta love those plucky Americans.


"Fuck me! It's George Galloway!"



Meanwhile the rampant rabbits are on the move - in slow motion to add to the menace obviously -  first eating a not only a truck driver but the entire contents of his truck before chowing down on an unfortunate group of campers and finally setting up home in an abandoned lemonade mine.

Following the trail of corpses and carrot tops our heroes soon find the loopy Leporid's lair and quickly agree that the best course of action would be to blow the furry fuckers sky high with dynamite.

But as is always the way in movies like this they decide to go and explore the mine first in the vain hope of finding some vintage lemonade bottles and therefore make a few quid on the side.


Makes sense I guess.


"Lick yer lips luv!"


Stumbling about in the dark for what seems like days whilst the crew scrape enough cash together for a halfway decent matte shot Lennie and Cole do eventually come across the rabbits and stop to take a few selfies with them.

No, really.

Not too surprisingly the camera flash coupled with incredulous cries of "Fuck me! look at the size of the ears on that!" wake the brutish bunnies who then give chase - well give hop - after our heroes.

Scrambling out of the mine in the nick of time the pair detonate the explosives burying the rabbits under tonnes of rock and Cadbury's Caramel Wrappers.

Admit it....



With a spring in their step and a song in their hearts everyone returns to the ranch for a celebratory evening of cake eating, cousin kissing and moonshine moothing safe in the knowledge that the rabbit threat is no more.

The party is interrupted by a knock at the door and Cole, expecting a delivery from the Davenports man goes to answer it.

But it's not a delivery of booze but the rabbits, returned and ready for revenge.
  
Scarily it turns out that in all the excitement of explosions, cakes and whatnot everyone appears to have forgotten the fact that rabbits are actually quite well known for digging.

We've all done it.

Running to the barn to find his remaining horses eaten, Cole decides to leg it to the nearest town for help but on arrival finds it spookily deserted save the big brooding shadows of giant bunnies staring at him from the darkened windows of the local pub.

"Did you spill my pint?"


Brave Cole slowly tiptoes to a pay phone and calls the National Guard whispering the immortal lines "There's a herd of killer rabbits in town and we desperately need your help!"

Will the combined strength of the US military and the surviving townsfolk be enough to repel the might of the Lepus or will they eventually defeat humanity, hopping across the entire Earth like furry, big eared stormtroopers.

But let's be honest do you really care?





From writer/producer/director William F. Claxton (best known for his work on Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza and The High Chaparral amongst other TeeVee hits) Night of the Lepus is one of those rare movies that needs to be seen - with witnesses obviously - to be believed.

Terrifyingly neither tongue in cheek or camply humorous, the movie was made as if everyone involved actually thought that the scariest thing in the world would be if giant killer rabbits existed.

And I for one raise my glass to them.

If not question their sanity.

"Laugh now!"

There's really nothing you can add to the above description as any criticism seems redundant in the face of what's on screen so I'll leave the last word to
Lee Sollenberger, one of the films FX crew who was once interviewed (by trading standards no doubt) about the films grueling shoot and enduring legacy.

"Anyone who has ever worked with animals knows how difficult it can be. "Lepus" was a very difficult film to do. We worked in tremendous heat conditions and had hundreds of rabbits to deal with. It was a fun film for the trainers I think because no one had done a horror film with rabbits before".Or it turns out, since.

A misjudged gem of a movie.

And by that I mean utterly shite in every way.

Monday, March 26, 2018

spectrum sinema the return.

Greetings reader(s)!

One of those rare (semi) serious posts I do occasionally so apologies in advance but thought I’d celebrate Autism Awareness Week (or as we call it a normal seven day period) by blatantly rehashing this handy (and quite small) print out and throw away guide to the best Spectrum-based cinema available.....enjoy!

Swoon.

DRIVE (2011) - Neo-noir thrills meet arthouse style in Nicolas Winding Refn's high octane heist classic.

Ryan Gosling's uber-cool unnamed driver has become the unofficial hero of ASD in cinema, showing that characters on the Spectrum don't have to be geeky and freaky but can be not only super cool but 'a real human bean' too.....The Spectrum at it's sexiest.

And with a cool coat to boot.

DARK FLOORS (2008) - Finnish Eurovision stars Lordi write and star in probably the best Silent Hill adaptation ever made.

A creepy and kooky spookfest centering around Sarah, an Autistic girl residing in the decrepit St. Mary's Hospital.

Trigger.

When her concerned father attempts to take her home he inadvertently drops her crayons and in the confusion mixes the reds with the blue and yellow causing a portal to another dimension to open leaving a ragtag group of patients and staff fighting for their lives with only Sarah able to save them.

Luckily all the corridors are signposted.

BLADE RUNNER (1982) - What can you say about Ridley Scott's dystopian classic that hasn't been said before - and by much better folk than me?
Well how about the fact that the whole replicant plot (with it's quest to be 'human' - or even to be accepted by humans and it's "Voight-Kampff" empathy test among other things) can be seen as a metaphor for Autism.


"Hey Harrison..it looks like rain, man."

The analysis/discussion on this goes much further but would take up an entire post on a blog much more intelligent than this one.

Oh yes and it's very blue, almost as blue as Thomas and Rainbow Dash forced into a blender and poured into a very blue glass.

MANHUNTER (1986) - Michael Mann's adaptation of Thomas Harris' Red Dragon features the first appearance of not only Hannibal Lecter (or Lektor as he's known here) but of top FBI criminal profiler Will Graham, better known now - and officially an Aspie - thanks to the Brian Fuller TV show 'Hannibal'.

Smart, sexy and quite possibly the second blue-est film ever made.
 

Stance.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE (2003) - McG's action comedy sequel features the frankly magnificent (and undisputed king of the Spectrum) Crispin Glover as the Aspie hair obsessed Thin Man in a role gratefully expanded from the original, probably his greatest role outside 'Simon Says'.


No caption required.


Oh, go on then....outside The Wizard of Gore remake.

And River's Edge.

or Willard.

If scifi is more your thing then look no further than the light blue hued tones of everyone's favourite version of 2001: A Space Odyssey for kids - Star Trek The Motion Picture.

The cinematic equivalent of lying in a really well equipped sensory room ST:TMP (as folk call it) is so laid back and leisurely as  to be almost horizontal with no distractingly bright colours (other than blue) to detract from the overall comfyness of the film and any emotional responses you should have are helpfully cued by the gorgeous Jerry Goldsmith score.

It even has an overture to get you in the mood.

And as a plus point it wins out over the aforementioned Kubrick classic by having the decency to actually explain what happens at the films climax.

Proper genius.

And if you don't cry at the Enterprise flyby then you really are a freak.

"Ahead Spectrum factor one!"
 

But the most Autistic movie(s) of all time?

It's pretty obvious really.
And it's also THE bluest hued cinema of all time.

Especially the second one.






I could wax lyrical for hours as to the reasons for this but it's always easier to show than tell.

Not convinced?

Well here you go.

Suffice to say it's a fact, just accept it.

They should really just name it Trautism and have done with it.

Scarily enough tho' a few years back someone decided that what the world needed was a Tron Legacy/Star Trek The Motion Picture mash-up just to send the Autism levels off the scale.

In a good way that is.

And you can find this piece of cinematic perfection here.

Enjoy.




















Just a word of advice when it comes to judging the Autistic merits of cinema in relation to the colour blue, beware of Blue Is The Warmest Colour, I came to it imagining a Kubrick-esque style Autistic film-fest and was shocked and surprised to find that it was, in fact totally neuro-typical in it's storytelling.

Tho' it did feature a couple of toothy French ladies having sex.

A lot.

Fancy trainers not shown.



 Oh yes and Craig Baldwin's Spectres of The Spectrum has absolutely sod all to do with Autism (tho' from the editing I'd like to think that there was a fair bit of it behind the camera) but is still worth a look if you like grainy stock footage cut into a rudimentary scifi-style plot.

And 1950's flying helmets.



Monday, March 19, 2018

hang the deejay.

Sorry for the lack of updates (this is becoming a habit) but I've been dead ill so haven't been around much.....I even managed to miss a whole day of Frightfest hence the lack of reviews.


Luckily I have an understanding doctor who recommended a diet of David Warbeck (and daily masturbation) to aid my recovery.


Panic (AKA Bakterion, Zombi 4. 1982).
Dir: Tonino Ricci (as Anthony Richmond tho' to be honest I'd change my name if I directed this).
Cast: David Warbeck, Janet Agren, Roberto Ricci, José Lifante, Miguel Herrera Eugenio Benito, Ovidio Taito, José María Labernié, Ilaria Maria Bianchi
Fabián Conde, Vittorio Calò and Franco Ressel.









Something has gone terribly wrong at the local chemical factory -  eminent science Professor Gerry Adams (Ricci, son of Christina) has accidentally infected himself with something or other which has turned him bright green and lumpy with a thirst for human blood.

Oh and more importantly (and amusingly) it's also turned his teeth into Pez.

Escaping from the building and into the sewers it's left to the company president  Mr. Milton Bradley (Ressel) to come up with a cover story whilst attempting to discover the whereabouts of the missing scientist before the press find out.

Calling on Adams' associates - Dr. Jane Blake (Eurotrash stalwart Agren) and Dr. Vince Clarke (Miguel Herrera) for help he's shocked to discover that Adams, instead of testing shampoo on horses and making beagles smoke like he was hired to do had been secretly working on a vaccine for gout (or was it bunions?) and had kept all the data pertaining to his work hidden.

Tho' beware as the reason for his actual research may change later if and when the plot requires it.


Don't engage in phone sex with strange men....you may get hearing aids.


As the trio umm and aah over what to do the by now muchly mutated mental medicine man is busying himself tearing various extras limb from limb, starting with a young couple having uncomfortable fake sex in a Morris Minor.

Quickly arriving at the crime scene local policeman Sergeant Richard O'Brien (little mouthed Lifante from Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) soon realizes that he's out of his depth so calls on MI6's top agent Captain Kirk - yes really - to help.

Kirk (Warbeck....hide yourself) enlists Jane to not only help him find Adams but more importantly so he has someone to fire flirty banter at and the pair head over to the scientists house to look for him.

No idea why no-one else had thought to do that but there you go.

There's no sign of the scientist but it's not a total wash out as they do find his man 'friend' strung up in the fireplace covered in blood and green goo, which is nice tho' to be honest I did originally think it was just facepaint that had accidentally wiped off the monster during a cut fight scene.

And I'm pretty sure Warbeck thought that too.

Body on mah bonnet!


Performing an autopsy on the body (as opposed to fellatio obviously) Jane discovers something unusual is happening to its cellular structure but  to explain this would take up precious time where the mental mutant could be pawing at naked women so instead we quickly cut to a suburban house where a particularly harsh faced and hairy armpitted cockernee woman is about to have a shower.

The mutant - attracted by the overpowering smell of boiled onions -  sneaks in and kills her.

But not before we've had ample opportunity to stare at her breasts and lady garden obviously.

Examining the body our heroes realize that each of the victims are covered in radiation burns and green paint with nearly all the blood drained from their bodies.

Which is probably important tho' by the way it's glossed over you wouldn't think so.

is it in yet?


Bored with all this skulking around in shite and killing random women Adams decides to spend the evening watching a movie and so to this end turns up at the local cinema.

Via the sewers obviously.

Unfortunately having a face like a half-chewed caramel causes panic amongst the cinema-goers, especially busty bombshell - or is that busted bombsite? - Agnes (who it must be said looks uncannily like a young Helen Mirren, albeit one that looks like she's been taking crack daily for about 5 years but hey beggars can't be choosers), who after letting her boyfriend Clive have a wee fanny fiddle is feeling a little peckish.

Not feeling a little pecker which after this sparkling exchange I assume she'll be doing later:


Agnes: "That's just to begin with....If you want the rest you'll have to earn it."

Clive: "Now what do you want?"

Agnes: "One of those huge ice-cream cones from the jumbo bar."

Clive: "But it's too far away. It'll take me ages."

Agnes: "Don't be silly, it's just down the street and it's worth it because I'm going to thank you in a special way."

Clive: "You promise?"


Seriously, this actually happens.

Take a few minutes to let it sink in.

Anyway Adams goes straight after Agnes and strangles her before popping her over his shoulder and taking her backstage for a wee nibble on her neck.

Please note he may be a mental mutant but he's not mad enough to go anywhere near her pock-ridden fanny.

It's a wonder Clive has any fingers left.

And that he never found the car keys.


"I can see your house from here Peter!"


Still feeling peckish but with the police in hot pursuit Adams heads off to the local church where the priest is busy dishing out sweets to the young boys in the choir.

Talking of buggery it's not long before Adams is banging on the doors trying to get in forcing the petrified priest to force the boys into a hole (which makes a change from his usual pastime of forcing himself into their holes) as he vainly beats off the beast with a standing lamp.

You'll not be too surprised to find out that he dies.

Tho' luckily we're spared the sight of his (man) breasts as it appears only ladies get naked in this film.

As a trade-off tho' in the next scene Warbeck is wearing a pair of trousers so obscenely tight that you can see what he had for dinner.

I think him and Jane were having a serious conversation about Adams' work and how he was creating some new germ warfare shite but I'll be honest and admit that the trousers were so form-fitting that I couldn't concentrate on anything except the fact that he appeared to have a baby secreted in his left hand trouser pocket.

A baby with a massive head.

And a spine.

I need a shower now.

Anyway back in London the (obviously Tory) government have decided to send the army (all wearing berets with bobbles on top for some obscure reason) to quarantine the town, setting up roadblocks and disabling all the phones and TVs.

This scene is made all the more surreal by the fact that although the film is set in the UK the footage of the army driving down the street is obviously filmed in a Spanish seaside resort full as it is with palm trees and mountainous backgrounds.

Every so often tho' it cuts to a council estate wifey kicking a phonebox of a garden shed in the hope of convincing us that we're watching a small English town being overrun by soldiers.

Well at least they tried.

Just not very fucking hard obviously.


"Don't tell him Pike!"


The lack of TV coupled with the green shite covering everything begins to rile the locals who decide to storm the barricades and start rioting but this is soon brought under control when the army shoot up a Fiat 500 whilst shouting "Go home" thru' a megaphone.

If only real-life were this simple.

Milton (remember him?) worried about his family being stranded alongside the plebs phones his friend in Westminster only to discover the real reason for the quarantine.

It appears that Whitehall aren't convinced that the army will find Adams before he infects the whole town so have decided to authorize "Plan Q," which involves dropping a bomb on the town.

It's a good job the film isn't set in the West Midlands then because if you bombed that place no-one would notice.

Especially Tipton, a town so grim even the seagulls refuse to shit on it.

Tipton: Utter wank.


As the clock counts down to zero hour Jane and Vince (yup he's still here) attempt to find an antidote, O'Brien and Kirk take to the sewers in the hope of finding (and killing) Adams before it's too late...



Fuck, marry, kill?




Playing out like a (care in the) community version of Romero's The Crazies - or in this case The Crazy - crossed with Frankenstein (albeit one with featuring a monster with a potato for a head) via the genius of Nightmare City, Tonino Ricci's Panic is a threadbare, poundshop production marred by a lack of logic, budget or common sense that's held together purely by the presence of the late great David Warbeck and his spray on trousers ably aided by Janet Agren with a home perm and sensible slacks alongside the frighteningly ferrety José Lifante dressed for all the world like Prince Charming in a particularly shoddy school panto.

And whilst they leads may have gotten the short straw costume wise at least they get to wear clothes unlike the poor sods playing the beasts victims expected as they are to strip nude at a moments notice to allow the camera to linger over their harshly lit tits before being dispatched by a spud-faced freak dribbling poster paint everywhere. 

The things your mum had to do to pay the bills when you were growing up eh?

Laugh now!


Directed (if you can call it that) in a workman-like (as in he spent all day leaning on a spade wolf-whistling ladies) way by Tonino Ricci, the name behind the arse-numbing Thor the Conqueror amongst other classics - probably - Panic scarily enough was scripted by Victor Andres Catena alongside Jaime Comas Gil (who believe it or not wrote A Fistful Of Dollars) which makes me think that they were either having a bad day or someone did a wee bit of script editing before shooting seeing as entire plot points are left unresolved or ignored - the escaped guinea pig that may grow to the size of a dog, the fact that Adam's is contagious - as Ricci races thru' the threadbare story in order to maximize the amount of nudity on screen as he valiantly attempts to convince us that the entire thing (and not just the second unit stuff) has been shot in dear old blighty by getting Blur and Dick Van Dyke to dub the actors.

It's a pity then that the only Englishman in the cast is dubbed by an American.

Tho' it can't have been too much of a chore for Warbeck seeing as he appears to have gone on holiday for a fortnight halfway thru' turning up as he does around the 50 minute mark with sunburn and a new coat.

Which let's be honest is a fuck load more than we get for sitting thru' it. 

Still it's worth a watch for Warbeck tho.

And for this closing caption obviously:




Utter shit but in a good way and you can't say fairer than that.