Wednesday, July 6, 2022

big dog - a statement.

 


Saturday, June 25, 2022

mandate.

The kids have finished school for the summer (and in the twins case - forever!) so my days are now chockablock with weans.

Unfortunately I've got bugger all work on right now so I'm having to 'parent'.

At least I can keep them entertained with the top quality films on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Or I could just make them watch this.

The Super Inframan (中國超人. 1975).
Dir: Hua Shan.
Cast: Danny Lee, Wang Hsieh, Terry Lau, Yuan Man-tzu, Bruce Le, Kong Yeung,
Dana Shum, Lin Wen-wei, Lu Sheng and Fanny Leung.




Rayma, now you are filled with power and energy! For you, nothing will be an impossibility! Your senses are intensified, so you can even see and hear through walls!



It's the futuristic - for 1975 - year 2015 (which is now the past, spooky) and the  primary 2 class from the Mary Bell junior school are heading home after a hard days clipping 'up west' but as the excitedly look forward to snacks and pop their joyful bus-based songs are rudely interrupted when what looks like a huge, green plucked turkey drops from the sky onto the road in front of them shattering the concrete and causing the bus to screech to a halt and wee Jimmy to spill his Ribena.

As the fairly sexy supply teacher herds the kids to safety the crack-creating chicken attacks the bus sending it and its unfortunate driver off the edge of a cliff.

But that's not the only thing causing havoc on this wet Wednesday afternoon as all across Hong Kong - and maybe even the world - natural disasters are occurring: everything from earthquakes to previously dormant volcano exploding via your mum burning her souffle, the whole planet is in chaos.

Lucky for us, the bewigged and (pube) bearded boffin and part-time Dave Lee Travis alike Professor Brian Liu Ying De (A Better Tomorrow's Wang) and his world renowned - and silver jumpsuit clad - Super Science Headquarters team is on the case.
 

"Are you looking at my bra?"



 Scanning the local area for any clues as to what's happening the team are surprised when the nearby Devil's Mountain explodes revealing a huge carved dragon skull cum secret base entrance from which steps the sinisterly sexy sorceress resplendent in a huge silver dragon hat and matching bikini top, thigh boots and carrying a whip in her dragon headed right hand.

I don't know why but I think she may like dragons.

Demon Princess Elizebub (or Princess Dragon Mom as the dubbed version amusingly calls her and played to thigh slapping perfection by Terry Liu, best known for her performance as the tight uniformed and knee-high booted lesbian warden Mako in Bamboo House of Dolls) for this is she, shoutily informs the team that from this day forth she is the Earth’s new master and we must either surrender and live as her playthings or be destroyed.

Well I know which I'd choose.


Even thinking about it would probably kill you.


Anyway to prove her point she unleashes her leather-clad skeleton army and assorted mutant types including a huge Plasticine monstrosity with drills for hands,, a big red pompom with horns that can fire laser beams from its arse, a tentacled plant monster, the crab suit left over from Space Amoeba and a pair of metal men with spring loaded limbs to wreak havoc and cause general mayhem around the local area, pissing in phone boxes, tying the swings around the crossbar so no-one can use them and knocking on doors before running off - you get the idea.

Helping her to organise the attack - as well as keeping everyone fed and watered -  is her second-in-command, the sultry Ms Witch-Eye (Shum from Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon), a kinda sexy space secretary cum junior despot in a cycling helmet and eyeballs in the palm of her hands that fire hypnotizing laser bolts when needed.

Which is nice.


"Eye hen!"


Is there anyone who can defeat these monsters?

Luckily in his spare time the Professor has been beavering away on a top secret project - code-named: BDX it has the ability to transform a normal human into a bionic, red latexed super-hero.

This can be achieved, he explains, by wiring the subjects arms and legs with powerful transistors and computerized parts, injecting them with a super serum and to top it off inserting a tiny nuclear reactor in their heads.

Unfortunately tho' the procedure is very painful.

Oh and may result in death.

Enter - roughly and from behind after jumping them in a dark alley - Jeff Rayma (Lee from the classic City On Fire) who eagerly volunteers to strip down to his pants and get tied to a table by a much older man in order to become the much more than human, if slightly less manly looking Infra-Man, defender of the Earth and scourge of all girl private schools everywhere.

"Put it in me!"


Cue 90 odd minutes of enough kicks and punches to make you want to sell your soul for a PaRappa the Rapper live action movie as Infra-Man and his pals battle everything from giant plant monsters whose massive foam vines attempt to smash the science base to brainwashed traitors in their midst via a bizarre subplot involving the Professor youngest daughters wish to become Infra-Woman when she's older.

And all performed by a cast of which the majority are wearing way too tight Bacofoil jumpsuits.


Here come the Belgians!



But it's not all fist fights tho' as after a couple of defeats at Infra-Man's hands, a fairly angry Elizebub sends the aforementioned brainwashed minion to steal the secrets of Infra-Man's power so that she too can build an invincible warrior prompting the Professor to upgrade our hero (nothing too fancy mind, just adding Thunderball Fists that can be launched from his wrists, alongside a deadly solar attack device that kills instantly, a 'lethal flame kick' embedded in his Cuban heels and lastly a set of mini-rockets place just above his tummy in the off-chance that anyone uses a freeze ray on him at any point - like that'll happen) in preparation for the final battle.

But whilst all this science shit is going down Elizebub has kidnapped the Professor's beautiful daughter Liu Mei-mei (the button-nosed Yuan Man-tzu from The Clones of Bruce Lee) and is threatening to kill her (to death) is the Professor doesn't surrender himself and his secrets.


Laugh now.


 As so begins a race against time (and good taste) to save not only the Professor and his daughter but humanity itself from the slender clutches of the Demon Princess Elizebub.

Will the traitor be uncovered?

Will Infra-Man lose his power when the sun is blocked out even tho' he's allegedly got a nuclear reactor embedded in his skull?

Will Demon Princess Elizebub turn back into a chicken for the stunning final battle?

Will there be a sequel? *

There's only one way to find out cos I'm not telling.




Obviously 'inspired' (you think?) by Tsuburaya Productions utterly fantastic Ultra series - even going so far as re-using Toru Fuyuki's score from Ultra Seven - as well as the daikaiju and kyodai hīro genres - still - so popular in Japan, this Shaw Brothers epic has the distinction of being not only the very first Superhero movie made in Hong Kong but the first film promoted there using a hot air balloon.

Which I'm sure you'll agree is a useful fact to know.

Brexit in a nutshell.


Confidently directed by HK cinema stalwart Hua Shan (who would later go on to give us such classic Fayre as Kung Fu Zombie, Jade Claw, Ghost Killer and Dreams of Eroticism) from a script by the prolific science fiction author and script writer Ni Kuang (responsible for, among other things, writing One-Armed Swordsman, The Assassin and Crippled Avengers as well as the Bruce Lee starrer Fist of Fury) and produced by the legendary Runme Shaw, Infra-Man works best because it unashamedly embraces it's Japanese inspirations rather than just blatantly ripping them off, even going as far as hiring Ekisu Productions - famed for their work on many a Toei superhero series - to supply the sets and monster costumes as well as designing and building Infra-Man himself which all adds a certain legitimacy to the proceedings that something like Juan Piquer Simón's 1980 superhero misfire Supersonic Man lacks plus the acting is top notch and played with eye-rolling conviction by everybody onscreen.

As a bizarre side-note, Bruce Le - who plays the brainwashed Lu Hsiao-Lung - has a cameo in Juan Piquer Simón's classic Pieces as a Kung Fu teacher with a dodgy tummy.

Tho' this coincidence may not be related to his later arrest for tax evasion.



"Put it in me!"

Talking of actors, kudos to not only the frankly fantastic Terry Liu but also to Wang Hsieh who manages to give his portrayal of Professor Liu Ying De a quiet dignity and earnest believability whilst all the time clad in a silver labcoat two sizes too small and wearing a pound shop Elvis wig and comedy beard. 

And as the eponymous hero himself Danny Lee is all bowl-haired, boys own bravado, holding his own against an evermore outlandish array of monsters or when being forced to lie naked - save for a big nappy - on a pool table whilst being injected with food colouring.

It's a job I suppose.

The Howard's Way remake looks a bit shit.


Top quality super-heroics lovingly wrapped in a big bow of brightly coloured goodness, I mean what's not to love?

Recommended.

Twice.






































*Unfortunately not.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

dribbly beef.

After the accidental hiccup of mistaking the Syngenor for the Slithis yesterday I took full advantage of it being too cold to go out today (as well as being too lazy to work) and finally got around to watching.....

Scared To Death (1980).

Dir: William Malone.

Cast: John Stinson, Diana Davidson, Jonathan David Moses, Toni Jannotta (Sherry Carpenter), Walker Edmiston (Police Chief Dennis Warren), Kermit Eller (The Syngenor)

 

Arse!

Welcome to Los Angeles where - unusually - the city is being terrorized by a series of brutal and unexplained murders, with victims all been with swollen lips and a total lack of spinal fluid, leading the cities finest (and the police) to come to the conclusion that there maybe a serial killer on the loose. 

Tired of the lack of progress being made, Detective Lou Capell (Pound shop Austin Stoker - Moses) turns to his ex-partner (as in police partner, they weren't shagging or anything, tho' they might have been I mean who am I to judge?) Ted Lonergan (Stinson, standing in for ruffle-haired rocker Rick Springfield who left the production just days before shooting was set to commence, much to the chagrin of Diana Davidson, his girlfriend at the time and who'd only agreed to the sexy scenes as she'd be appearing with him), who's swapped his sidearm for a typewriter and now churns out cheap furry erotica novels.

Probably.


"Do you require any scissors sharpening?"



After listening intently (or is it trapped wind?) to his pals woes over a game of chess (yes I know) Ted ultimately decides against helping solve the bad murders and instead reckons it'd be much more fun to reverse into a ladies car on the way home, partly to introduce a female character into the movie but mainly to give us a glimpse of the kooky 'nice guy' character he is, rather than the arsey, slightly sexist side we've just seen.

Unfortunately this just makes him a slightly kooky sexist.

Jennifer, for it is (aforementioned Davidson from Dirty Harry) is not overtly impressed by Ted’s 'bloody wimmin drivers' shtick when he prangs her rear end (phnnaar) but is soon warms to his boyish charm (and big hair) when he eventually agrees to pay for the damages in cash and in a matter of no time she's invited him round to her house for a slap up meal (and the sex) before suddenly agreeing to doing some temping work and light typing duties in his office.

Result.

Frizz.

 

As their bizarro romance blossoms over talk of trashy novels and dead parents (no really) more and more folk are falling foul to the mysterious killer loose in the city, from sewer workers to roller skaters, no-one is safe.

But it soon turns out that our heroes aren't hunting a mere mortal mentalist but that the murders are in fact being committed by a genetically engineered creature known as the Syngenor (SYNthesized GENetic ORganism or Tony to his friends), which has escaped from the local laboratory (or it may be from the local factory that produces lawsuit skating knock-off Giger-style fancy dress outfits - who knows/cares?) and is currently living in the sewers, only surfacing to suck the spinal fluid from whoever crosses its path.

Oh and to buy cheese obviously.

And maybe cake.

What your mum gets up to on bingo nights.


Unfortunately this information comes too late to save Jennifer from becoming the creatures next victim tho' and she's only saved from certain death due to the creature being disturbed mid snack (oh and by having a tiny spine).

As she lies comatose in hospital, Ted - missing female company and tired of clumsy, drunken knee touching with Lou (he has needs too) organizes a dinner date with one Dr. Sherry Carpenter (Poundshop Adrienne Jo Barbeau, Jannotta - who may or may not now be a famous jazz singer these days - I'd check but I really can't be arsed), who as it turns out, just happens to be one of the scientists that created the Syngenor in the first place.

Good luck or lazy plotting?

YOU decide.

So, stroking Sherry's slightly fuzzy chin with one hand and holding his massive weapon in the other Ted (with Lou in tow) heads into the sewers to confront the creature and put an end to its reign of terror.

Well, reign of mild inconvenience if I'm honest.



From writer/director William Malone comes this lo-fi, sci-fi slasher most famous for its fairly impressive creature suit than anything else.

I mean come on, it was good enough for Playboy Video Magazine (and US Customs Classified) director George Elanjian Jr. to base an entire sequel around 10 years later so it can't be all bad.

It's a pity then that the rest of the movie is just so much dirge, lacking the sheer incompetent joy of Spawn of The Slithis, the unbridled fun of The Being or utter mentalism of The Alien Factor, the film is just drab, dark and hideously disjointed - the buddy cop bits are at odds with the romantic subplot (what there is of it) and the monster bits seem to come from a totally different albeit slightly better movie.

Or at least from a fairly passable episode of Kolchak.

I mean everyone is trying their best - and admittedly Diana Davidson has lovely hair - but it's just not enough to make any of it in any way interesting.

The fact that the still that appeared in Starlog Magazine to promote the film is actually better than anything on screen says more about the whole movie than I ever could.

So here it is:


A wee bit like the whole Crater Lake Monster debacle I should have probably stuck with my memory of this photo and my imagination.

It's not all bad tho' as surprisingly William Malone actually went on to have a fairly successful career (well he's done a damn sight better than me but saying that it isn't hard) directing such classics as House on Haunted Hill, Creature and - gulp - Feardotcom.

Take from that what you will.

Be seeing you.

 


 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

mudhoney.

Finally got a copy of the (in no way a rip-off of Alien but on the cheap) 1981 film Scared To Death which is pretty exciting seeing as up till now I've only ever seen the sequel Syngenor (1990).

Yes my life is that interesting.


 

Anyway I thought this'd be a great opportunity to revisit my Syngenor review and do a frankly fantastic double bill type thing that would no doubt bring in more readers.

So imagine my surprise when I realised I'd never actually reviewed Syngenor and couldn't find it in the cupboard to rewatch it.

So I decided to rewatch this instead.

Swings and roundabouts really.

The Spawn of The Slithis (1978).
Dir: Stephen Traxler
Cast: Alan Blanchard, Dennis Lee Fault, Judy Motulsky, J.C. Claire, Steven J. Hoag, John Hatfield, Rocky Fumarelli, Mello Alexandria, Dennis Falt, Hy Pyke, Wendy Rastattar and Win Condict.


“Why is it called Slithis?”  “For the same reason your parents named you ‘Jeff’.”



Our story begins with a sub-Jaws style score and a shaky pan across what looks like one of the rougher areas of Dudley (that's in the West Midlands in Englandshire for any Americans/thick people reading) settling - luckily before any of us vomit from the drunken camerawork - on a couple of kids playing frisbee.

In slow motion for some reason.

Thinking about it it's probably as one of them is morbidly obese so it's a good excuse to focus on his wobbling mantits as he runs about which, if I'm honest is about as exciting/erotic as this movie gets.

Anyway, after a particularly long toss from the fat lad his small ginger pal comes across a pair of mutilated dogs lying by the canal.

As the pair disinterestedly ride away in search of cakes the local radio news announces that there has been a spate of dog attacks around town and as if to prove this to the audience we abruptly cut to evening time where a yappy mutt is busy barking at a camera with a plastic cup sellotaped to the lens in order to give us an 'otherworldly' point of view of the proceedings that just makes it obvious that we're looking thru' a kids tumbler.

At least the thought was there.

If not the budget.

Or the imagination to come up with anything better.

Oh well.

His owners are woken by the noise and head downstairs to investigate only to be cruelly dispatched by the unseen intruder.

By dispatched I mean killed obviously, not packaged up and posted.

Pink ball straight in the pocket.

The police are convinced that the spate of bad murders are the work of a Manson style cult but rugged high school journalism teacher and ex-reporter for the Baldpate Advertiser Wayne Connors (Blanchard who left acting to sell insurance in the Merrimack Valley area of northeastern Massachusetts fact fans) has other ideas.

Mainly about acceptable fashion choices for heterosexual men by the look of his outfits but each to their own.

Anyway Wayne decides that if he alone cracks the case and writes the story (as well as writing and singing the theme tune obviously) it'll safe him from a turgid life teaching scantily clad cheerleader types how to spell, so much to the chagrin of his wife, Jeff (The Big Bus and Idaho Transfer star Motulsky, who was also once married to top Star Trek villain Charlie X himself Robert Walker Jr.), he heads off to the home of the two most recent recent victims for a wee nosy around.

Breaking into the house and having a quick rummage thru' the drawers it's not long before he's accosted by a sneezing policeman whom he placates by giving a cough sweet before leaving with a handful of dried shite he scraped off the carpet which he excitedly takes to be analyzed by the school biology teacher, Doctor John Leslie (Claire in his only film role) before returning home for an evening of snacks, soda and scrabble with his missis.

"Is it in yet?"




Their romantic night is interrupted tho' when an overenthusiastic Dr. John turns up at the door eager to share the results of his tests.

And by that I mean the ones he did on the shit not that he's about to announce that he has Hep B.

Tho' he does have a yellowish pallor to him, which in fairness may just be the lighting.

Anyway John grabs a beer and begins his big scene, explaining that the scraping is a wee bit radioactive and is a - little - piece of organic and inorganic stuff that he's never before encountered.

Tho' the fact that he looks like he's even never encountered a real woman before let alone anything remotely scientific dents the authenticity of the claim somewhat.

All this talk of radiation and shite tho' does remind him of something he read in GetWell! Magazine once when he was in the dentist waiting room.


Get Well Magazine: Get in the fucking sea you uneducated showers of shites - Reversing Autism? I would trust the writer to reverse a fucking go-kart. Wankers. And breathe.




You see nearly twenty years ago, the very first nuclear power plant opened for business in Wisconsin, everything was hunky dory till one afternoon a tipsy cleaning lady accidentally lent on an important lever causing a radiation leak to mutate the mud at the bottom of a nearby lake and made it sentient.

Aye, sounds legit.

This was discovered after a wee boy became ill with sickness and diarrhea after inadvertently drinking some of the water and his mum took him to the doctor for treatment for his explosive poo - or 'shitils' as the boy called them.

Hence the scientists named the organism Slithis as shitils sounded silly and not at all realistic.

True story bro.

But John is quick to point out that mutant mud doesn't have legs or eats folk so this version of the Slithis would have to absorbed a person or something.

"RRRRRRRRRRRRRRangers!"


And with that he bids his farewell and we cut to a pair of homeless men drinking cheap wine and gazing at each other far too intently whilst sitting next to a boat.

Actually it could be behind the scenes footage of the director and writer, who knows?

Anyway as the pair sit, sup and talk bollocks - in order to boost the running time - some spooky music kicks in and we're back with the plastic tumbler as someone - or something, OK we know it's something - watches them from afar in a totally non-pervy manner.

Well I assume it's non-pervy tho' I may be mistaken.

I mean imagine a movie where a mutated pile of shite furtively masturbates over tramps before eating a dog or two.

The fucker would be box office gold.

So the beardy tramp named Bunky and played to piss soaked perfection by John Hatfield who I assume isn't the American professional baseball player from the 1860s and 1870s - decides that after all this imbibing that he really needs a piss so off he trots to find a bin to go behind but just as he's about to unleash his engorged, pock-marked member the Slithis jumps out from the shadows and scares him so he runs away.

His friend and ex Ordinary Boys frontman Preston (Fumarelli, kissy lips and stinky trainers) meanwhile has fallen asleep so sees or hears nothing.

Fuck me that was exciting.

Rolf Harris is taking the divorce well.


Whilst attacks on dogs and fat folk seems to be the norm it appears that attacking the transient community is a step too far as we're now treated to exciting footage of various law enforcement types looking in bins and pushing tramps as the desperately try to find the person responsible for the killings cum piss spying.

Unfortunately everyone they meet is dressed as tho' they were auditioning for an off-Broadway stage musical version of Midnight Cowboy so the film takes an unexpected turn into camp territory as we're subjected to more and more shots of stubbly topless men in a variety of ever shorter - and tighter - cut off denims.

Even Wayne gets in on the act when he heads downtown to pump a few of them for information, decked as he is in a navel revealing cheesecloth shirt and a jaunty panama hat.

Heading over to the boatyard our hero indulges in a vaguely homoerotic chat with Preston - all long lingering looks and lip-licking as they discuss homeless drinking habits and how best to keep warm at night - regarding the whereabouts of Jethro before heading into town to offer cash to a variety of semi-dressed young men lounging on statues with their legs spread and finally turning up at a rundown motel where Bunky is slouched in a chair looking for all the world like an abused beanbag cosplaying Tom Savini.

Which is nice.

"My film."

Offering him a cash incentive to talk Wayne finds out that Bunky did in fact see the beast whilst trying to have a wee but due to outstanding fines for public urination can't go to the police but does give Wayne a pretty good description of the creature.

And a wee hug before he leaves.

Bless.

After a tearful wank, a Pot Noodle and a shower Wayne and Dr. John decide to visit the scientist behind the original Slithis outbreak, the caramel faced human testicle Dr. Erin Burick (voice actor Falt who's done everything from Silent Hill to Castlevania) to see if their idea that the Slithis can now walk about and eat stuff is true.

He reckons so and suggests that they collect some mud samples from the river where the creature originated not only to be 100% certain but to also add a Jaws dimension to the film seeing as that was quite popular and anything that will help this monstrosity to be seen must be a good thing.


S obviously they're gonna need a (bigger) boat.

Enter (roughly from behind whilst indulging in a frantic reacharound) Captain Chris Alexander (Alexandria famous for Psychic Killer and playing a naked dancing hologram in THX 1138) who offers not only the use of a boat and crew but throws in some vaguely stereotypical 'jive-talkin' black dude' dialogue for good measure.

He must be related to the cleaner cum housemaid Elsie in Mausoleum, yo dig?


"So how much for a wee mooth shite-in boys?"


Heading out to sea - OK heading onto the lake, albeit a fairly big one but still - aboard the good ship Creation, they 'anchor' the boat just offshore enough to not need filming permits and Chris scuba dives down in order to get the samples.

Obviously we have to take his word for this seeing as the film's budget wont stretch to any underwater scenes so to make up for this Wayne sits on the boat looking into the water for what seems like days whilst every so often Chris pops up and hands him a jar.

Stunning.


Anyway all this bobbing up and down is tiring work so the boys all head home and after a sweet late night phone chat 'tween Wayne and Dr. John regarding the lack of consistency  between the samples (?) our hero decides it's time to shower Jeff with some of the attention he's been paying to the local tramps.


Unfortunately it goes all soft focus before the good bits.

But Wayne isn't the only person feeling a wee bit amorous this eve as we're suddenly in the towns most happening bar where the swarthy sex obsessed Doug (ex catalogue model and documentary producer Hoag) is busying himself betting on a turtle race - no really - whilst keeping a lookout for any under-aged talent that may wander by.

And he doesn't have to wait too long as the bubble gum popping, cousin visiting  Jennifer (David Cassidy - Man Undercover co-star Rastattar) soon catches his slightly less milky eye.

Checking if she's 'old enough'? ("Does it matter?" is her reply - zoiks!) Doug takes her up the marina where he's parked his boat a seductively tells her to go onboard and pour a drink whilst he has a piss.

The smooth talking devil.

Cue what seems like hours of lecherous small talk and illegal lolita lust as Dug plys Jennifer with more and more cheap wine before inviting her to his bedroom for a nude massage.

Luckily the Slithis turns up and kills Doug before he can get naked but just to make things even more uncomfortable than they already are we're treated to a 5 minute scene of the Slithis tossing Jennifer around the boat in slow motion - with the cameraman making the effort to show her pants as often as possible - before the beasts clumsily tears her blouse (which is a shame as it was smashing) for a much needed breast shot* and then biting her to death.

Just in case you thought I was taking the piss.....


The thing that haunts you about this (totally unnecessary) scene tho' isn't the dubious sexual politics or latent misogyny or even the fact that Doug has a framed photo of himself - surrounded by candles - on his bedside table.

Nope, it's the fact that during the monster molestation bit the photograph is replaced by a shoddy drawing.

No, really....just look:

Sexy portrait.


Shit sketch.



And they thought we'd be too busy looking at some poor actresses breasts to notice?

Well they obviously didn't count on someone with Autism powered super pedantry watching it did they?

With the blatant sexism out of the way it's back to the main plot and Wayne and Dr. John have gone to the police station to explain who all the bad murders have actually been committed by a human sized bit of radioactive sea shite.

And it's during this scene that we find the movie's one saving grace.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you - no fucking take him, please - Hy Pyke as police lieutenant Jack Dunn:


"Is it Giro day?"




In a - slightly shy of - 4 minute performance that bares absolutely fuck all relation to the plot, Pyke delivers one of the greatest - and most terrifying performances ever committed to celluloid, coming across like the bastard child of Joe Spinell and a Fraggle he eye rolls and screams thru' a page and a half of nonsensical dialogue with all the warm, humour and charm of a man with his hemorrhoids trapped in an infants mouth.

They really should have just had him play the lead and have done with it.

Or at least feature him getting his shirt ripped off in slow motion by the beast.

Suffice to say he's tells our dynamic duo to get to fuck leaving them no alternative but to deal with the creature themselves.

After much chat Wayne figures out that the Slithis must be using the water lock to enter the canal from wherever it is he spends his days so to this end decides to close it off leaving it no way to get into town.

And I thought the public transport here was shite.

Anyway as night falls head over to the locks only to find the gate padlocked but luckily Dr. John has the key as his best friend who works at the water authority is really forgetful and hands out keys to folk he trust so he wont lose them.

Shutting (locking?) the, um, lock the pair head over to Captain Chris' boat and armed with some handy sonar equipment from the high school lab set sail to find and kill the Slithis once and for all....




Shot in just twelve days over the long hot summer of  1977, Slithis is a no budget, lo-fi fleamarket 50s throwback that comes across as cheap and downtrodden as the hobos the beast feasts on, with precious screen time taken up with dozens of (non) actors stumbling thru' banal dialogue wearing a succession of more and more uncomfortable charity shop outfits rather than with gruesome killings and when the titular creature finally appears in all his rubber glory you'll be more concerned about how it can manage to walk with such oversized (albeit womanly) hips rather than elicit screams of terror.

But don't worry as there's some underage nudity and murder on a houseboat to keep the audience happy.


Said no director ever.

Talking of directors, the man behind this one, Stephen Traxler, is fairly interesting.

He first got the movie bug - as opposed to a tummy one - whilst serving in  Vietnam and upon his return home got straight to work on creating the greatest monster movie he could.

Unfortunately he was short of time - and money and nearly everything else - so made Spawn of the Slithis instead.

Not too surprisingly it was another 21 years till he directed again but scarily he didn't slack off in the meantime as he stuck by his dreams of film success, ending up becoming an industry renowned production supervisor with stuff like Waterworld, Gleaming The Cube and Windtalkers under his belt.

But not literally obviously.

Scarily he also co-produced Legally Blonde 2: The Crackdown.

Which let's be honest is more than I'll ever achieve sitting here typing shite that no-one reads so fair play to you Stephen, at least you're living the dream as opposed to wanking for coppers at the bus station like most of the cast ended up doing.

"Aya mah BCG!"

And it's this obvious love of cinema - but possibly loathing for the audience - that stops you turning the movie off and setting light to it as soon as a fat lad bouncing in a too tight T-shirt appears or when various local homeless guys are forced into ever more revealing Daisy Dukes.

Seriously it's actually fairly enjoyable despite itself.

Especially if you have a few bottles of wine handy.

And you haven't eaten.

Which is quite possibly the bizarrest recommendation I've ever given.




"You chase me now!"



True there's way too much exposition, many of the scenes drag on for what seems like an eternity and the editing/effects/acting can only be described kindly as utter bollocks but it's heart is in the right place.

It's just a pity it's brain isn't.    

































*This is what we call sarcasm.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

axe the family.

Found this in the cupboard today whilst looking for a Playstation 2 camera.

Can you tell I'm bored?

Edge of the Axe (1988).
Dir: José Ramón Larraz (as Joseph Braunstein, go figure).
Cast: Barton Faulks, Christina Marie Lane, Page Moseley, Christina Lane, Fred Holliday, May Heatherly, Patty Shepard, Elmer Modlin, Joy Blackburn and Jack Taylor.



Insert memorable quote here....oh hang on there aren't any.




Welcome to the tiny Northern Californian community of Big Bear Lake - famous for its big bears, its, um lake and the world renowned Sparkle Car Wash.

And it's at the aforementioned Sparkle Car Wash where our story begins with the harsh yet strangely attractive nurse Mirna Dobson (Lane - but not the one who wrote Comfort and Joy: Cooking for Two and blogs about food obviously) who, after a hard day wiping old peoples arse and cleaning sick off walls has decided that her grimy but reliable Lincoln Mark VII LSC needs a good clean, so to this end pays the $3.60 for a drive thru (car) shampoo.

Unfortunately she never lives to see the sparkle of the by now spotless bonnet as halfway thru' the wash cycle a masked mentalist brandishing an axe appears from behind the giant brushes and hacks her to death.

"I'm sorry I have my woman's period." (can we still say that?)


After that wee bit of bloodshed it's time to start up the plot good and proper so we're quickly introduced to the human pipe-cleaner Gerald RR Martin (Oscar winning Coen Brothers film and star of Freeze and Future-Kill Barton Faulks, looking for all the world like Mark Hamill drawn from memory) - a geeky obsessed with computers who has recently moved to town and who lives in a huge potting shed owned by a beardy old bloke named Brock (Modlin, from loads of stuff including The Story of O 2 and Rosemary's Baby).

Reading this back I've realised that I'm giving these characters way more background than writers Joaquín Amichatis, Javier Elorrieta, José Frade and Pablo de Aldebaránever (yes, it took fucking four of them to write this) did but that's lock-down for you.



Anyway when not spending his time 'online surfing the interwebs' Gerald works alongside professional stud-muffin Richard Simmons (Mosely from such varied fayre as Quantum Leap, The Jigsaw Murders, What's Love Got to Do with It and Melrose Place as well as your Auntie Jean's bed) in his extermination business.




And it's whilst on the way to an extermination job at a local tavern (which it must be said appears to be made of matchsticks) that we find out a wee bit more in regards to everyone's character and motivation as well as discover the huge swathe of latent misogyny running thru' the script like Jimmy Savile running thru' a school shower block.
You see it appears that Richard is unhappily married to local businesswoman Laura (US born Eurotrash star Shepard who appeared in everything from Hannah, Queen of the Vampires to Slugs via the Terence Hill/Bud Spencer classic Watch Out We're Mad) who he admits to only marrying for her money because "She's way too old for anything else!" (the actress was 43 at the time) and whom he hates because she has male friends she does business with. Obviously - he surmises that because of this his habit of sticking his cock into anything female that moves - or doesn't move fast enough - is also her fault.

Because women.

"Is it in yet?"


And with that the pair arrive at the tavern where the owner has reported a bad smell (that surprisingly isn't related to Richard's attitude) in the basement.

A basement that scarily for viewers in The Scotland has a Tennent's Lager poster on the wall.

Can I can't?

 

Poking about in the dark our delightful duo soon come across (not in that way tho' with Richard's attitude to women I wouldn't be surprised) the rotting corpse of a missing barmaid named Mary West, whose body has been jammed into a cupboard alongside an old copy of Razzle and some old crisp packets.

Obviously the barman phones the local police who decide it'd be easier to say she killed herself before hiding in the cupboard and leave it at that.

She is only a girl after all.

Deciding that a beer or two is in order to calm their nerves after such a gruesome discovery, Richard and Gerald head over to the local lakefront bar where not only is Laura out fishing with her business buddy Christopher (genre God Taylor - seriously his CV is cinematic gold - Exorcismo, The Ghost Galleon, Dr. Jekyll vs. The Werewolf, Female Vampire, Marquis de Sade's 'Philosophy in the Boudoir' and the all time classic The Vampires Night Orgy among others) but Susan (Blackburn, best known for her stand out role as the Concession Girl in Anguish), the only barmaid in town that Richard hasn't fucked yet, is starting her afternoon shift.

Leaving Richard to rub his knees violently as Susan bends into the car to hand him his drink Gerald decides to head to the lounge for a few shots on the bars video game machine because if you remember he's a geek and this was the fashion.

Well, it was about 5 years previously but there you go.

That's not a joystick and she's not a real welder.

His high scoring prowess is soon spotted by the bars owner, the button-nosed Lillian (Lane in her only film role) and the pair soon bond over their mutual love of all things computer-based culminating in Gerald offering Lillian his old computer so that they can 'connect' online too.

Which is nice but let's be honest we're here for the killings and we don't have to wait long as, later that night after a few drinks and lewd suggestions in (another) local bar the town beautician cum prostitute Rita Miller Exterminators of The Year 3000 'star' Moro) is brutally murdered while walking along the railroad tracks.

This time the police are actually slightly concerned (well concerned enough to involve folk dressed like extras from a Thomas The Tank Engine fan film) but only because it means that their wives will start being suspicious that all the men are now staying in, even when they interview one of her main clients - the hammer carrying handyman Beardy Pete he's painted as the true victim and Rita as the evil seductress extorting money from the weak willed menfolk.

Seriously the film is less of a throwback to a bygone, more sexist era and more of a manifesto of mad misogyny that would do Trump proud.

And no-one, I mean no-one wears a bra.

It's like they were banned on set.


"Oh no!" said Thomas, "Sir Topham Hat's wife is a dirty whore!"



As all these bad murders continue so does Gerald and Lillian's burgeoning, stone wash clad romance, tho' Lillian is a wee bit concerned that Gerald's computer contains a list of the women killed so far but luckily he explains that he just likes collecting data for a laugh.

So that's OK then.

With a fairly short running time and more murders to fit in we've soon jumped forward to night-time where during a terrible storm another woman is attacked and killed by the mysterious mentalist.

Luckily tho' to differentiate this one from all the others it features some pigs in a barn.

And with that out of the way we can get back to the more important plotline regarding Richard's attempts to shag Susan on a boat.

Well we never know if he does or not as just as the pair start getting frisky the severed head of another victim bobs up in the water next to them resulting inscreams from Susan and many manly stares from Richard.

Well either that or he's holding in a really big shit.


Your mum looks nice tonight.


Realizing that they've killed a woman off-screen (which frankly just isn't on) it's full scream ahead for the next murder, which this time is of the - sensible shoed - leader of Lillian's church choir, Anna Bixby (Heatherly from Cannibal Apocalypse, where she was treated way better it must be said) who after returning home to find her dog bludgeoned to death is stalked around her house for a bit in the hope of creating some (any?) tension before having her fingers cut off and finally being hit repeatedly with a foam axe.

And if that wasn't enough the killer also trashes her fishtank.

Bastard.

All this murder isn't getting in the way of Lillian and Gerald's ever growing romance tho' (I mean it's only women getting killed, not real people after all) and the couple are wiling away the afternoon playing on a kids swing.

As grown adults are known to do obviously.

The to and fro motion has a strange effect on Lillian tho' who suddenly starts screaming "Charlie! Charlie!" before storming off in a huff.

Giving chase Gerald soon catches up with her and begs her to explain what's going on, turns out that she's just discovered that her cousin - the aforementioned - well screamed Charlie - has been recently released from a mental hospital following a head injury he received as a child when Lillian violently pushed him off a swing.

No, really.

Bobbins.



But that's not all, as Lillian suspects that it is in fact Charlie who is responsible for the killings.

Because reasons.

With the girlie hysterics over and done with the pair head back to Gerald's shed for a Cuppasoup and some crisps.

And maybe even a scotch egg if there are any in the fridge.

As the pair sit scoffing Lillian asks Gerald if she can use his computer to look up plastering course at the University of Portland as she's decided she no longer wants to be a pipe fitter, Gerald reckons being married to a plasterer would be pretty cool and leaves her to it as he goes to make some coffee.

Little does he realize tho' Lillian is actually looking up the names of local psychiatrists dealing with swing-based head trauma.

To be honest, reading this back it makes even less sense than when I watched it, which is pretty worrying.

Boris Johnson farted....and it smelled of egg. And shame.



With the climax lurching drunkenly into view it's time to go back to Laura and her 'friend' Christopher - partly because that subplot seems to have been forgotten about in the middle of all this woman hating but mostly because they're paying Jack Taylor as shed-load of cash for doing absolutely fuck all.

He is a legitimate actor you know.

Except get more and more drunk that is as poor Laura complains that her investments have gone wrong and she's now bankrupt.

Morally and monetarily if this film is anything to go by.

The pair leave the bar and Laura offers Christopher a run home but just as you think he's going to pull some smooth, sexy moves he actually pulls a dog blanket up from the floor and falls asleep before letting out a fart so noxious  that she crashes into a tree.

Stumbling into the woods to look for help she soon gets bored and returns to the car only to find Christopher's body gone and the mad axe murderer sitting in his place, she runs screaming, the killer runs after her, the cameraman tries to track them both in the dark and eventually the killer catches up with her and she dies.

Don't get too upset tho' remember she was old and her hubby only married her for her money so now she's skint it's probably for the best.

Or so the film would have us think.

I mean the next morning, Richard angrily turns up at Gerald's complaining not that Laura is missing but that the money out of their bank account is missing and when her body is found you can tell that all he wants is to search it for loose change.

And you're sure that in this script the police would let him.

Interestingly as soon as Christopher's body is discovered everything changes and the local police suddenly decide that there's a killer on the loose that must be found.

Hang on, I know I said that there was a (very) thinly veiled streak of misogyny  running thru' the movie but I may be mistaken, maybe they're just all gagging for a prime piece of man-ass and the ladies were in the way?

Whichever it is the police find a badge from the Lillian's dads bar on Christopher's lapel so decide to head over there as soon as enough time has passed for Lillian to hear noises in the bar as she's home alone.




Taxi for Castlemilk.


Upon investigating the aforementioned noise, she is surprised to find - a really sweaty - Gerald skulking about behind the bins.

Terrified for her life - and no doubt for her career -  Lillian angrily accuses him of actually being her cousin Charlie, who has return to extract his revenge for the terrible swinging incident.

Moving slowly toward her Gerald begins to explain that after researching her background on his computer (as you do) he has discovered that Charlie is actually a figment of Lillian's imagination - it was actually her that fell off the swing and banged her head causing a spate of mentalism that required her to be hospitalized.

No really.

But if that wasn't enough it turns out that each of the victims were either hospital employees involved with Lillian's recovery or women who had attempted to shag her dad.

The new Erasure video looks a bit shit.



Being female and mental (or is it just female?) Lillian attempts to kill Gerald with a handy axe before running into the carpark with Gerald in hot pursuit shouting "I love you Lillian!" just as the police turn up.

Seeing Lillian jiggling and crying and Gerald not jiggling and sweating they decide to shoot him dead.

Just because that's how apprehending folk works in America obviously.

As the police secure the crime scene, the sheriff consoles Lillian with a big hug not noticing her "I'm a bit mad me!" smile to camera....






It has to be said that by far the most terrifying and disturbing thing about Edge of the Axe is that it was directed by José Ramón Larraz, the masterful Spanish film maker behind such classics as the fang-tastically erotic lesbian vampire cum National Trust camping advertisement that is Vampyres thru' to the equestrian-bothering The Coming of Sin (which still has one of the scariest film posters of all time) and the pyscho-sexual scare-fest Symptoms - all of which  tended to feature acts of startling - and disturbing - sexuality and wanton acts of violence set against an idyllic backdrop of everyday British (or in the case of The Coming of Sin) or Spanish life.

So fuck knows what he was thinking when he decided to direct this.

His usual interesting take on the power of female sexuality is replaced by basic unreserved misogyny, the flirty and confident (and sometimes uncomfortably damaged) females of his previous films are replaced with denim clad, bra-less stereotypes of whores, harridans and faceless bimbos whereas the men strut around with permanent erections and too tight jeans and are shown to be straight up bullies and sex beasts unlike the pitiful testosterone-fueled caricatures of his other work - spending the whole film as they do fucking, flirting and complaining their way thru' a plot so threadbare as to almost disappear in a puff of in-consequence long before the frankly ludicrous reveal.

And it's the cheap laziness of everything on show that, if anything, is what saves it from being just downright offensive.

I mean it took hours to even remember anything of consequence that happened in it - and I'd taken notes. 

Anulka Dziubinska and Marianne Morris - not in this film.


Put it this way, when the most memorable bit of a slasher movie is the use of a wide-angled fish-eye lens during a funeral service (for no other reason it seems than to show up the pores on Jack Taylor's nose) then you know you're in trouble.

It's almost like he sobered up at this point just long enough to remember what he was doing then quickly fell back into a coma whilst leaning on the camera enough to point it vaguely in the direction of the actors.

And I use the term 'actors' loosely.

I mean come on they even pronounce Icarus incorrectly.

Grimmer than your dad's post-divorce dating history and flimsier than your aunties baby-doll nightie she wears when you visit Edge of The Axe is at least fairly short.

Which is a blessing if I'm honest.


Friday, June 10, 2022

mental as anything.

The podlings have had a mix of dancing, camping and proms this week so our trio of terror are well and truly knackered giving Mrs Unwell and myself a rare evening free of screams and fire starting.


So what better way to celebrate than with a nice romantic movie.

Doom Asylum (1987).
Dir: Richard Friedman.
Cast: Micheal Rogen, Patty Mullen, William Hay, Kenny Price, Harrison White, Kristin Davis, Ruth Collins, Dawn Alvan, Harvey Keith, Steven Menkin and Farin.

“Yes, I am mad, mad with hatred and revenge!”



Welcome to generic country backwoods USA where divorce lawyer extraordinaire  Mitch Hansen (Basket Case 2 star and father of Seth, Rogen) along-with his client/squeeze Judy LaRue (Frankenhooker herself and one-time Penthouse pet of the month, the milky thighed Mullen) are celebrating her divorce/his trial win with a high speed, champagne fueled trip along the winding roads (with it must be said, gay abandon and to a really shite MOR soundtrack to boot), racing home in order to pack off her daughter Kiki to boarding school so that they can indulge in some of the sex.

But we're not here for a legal-eagle drama or love story we're here for some copious amounts of blood and gore (with a couple of breast shots thrown in too probably) so within minutes of this romantic scene playing out the couples car swerves out of control and crashes into a tree.

I assume it's a tree because the films budget is so low we only get some out of focus camera swirling and a scratchy sound effects LP in lieu of some actual stunt work. 

Luckily they kept a few quid back to show us the aftermath which features poor Mitch covered head to toe in strawberry jam with the arse ripped out of his trousers cradling a dirtied up and dying Judy as her severed hand lies in the grass.

Rum, sodomy and the lash.


Thanks to some top quality cutting we're suddenly at the local morgue where the studly and shaded Dr. Bob (stuntman for hire Keith obviously trying to hide his identity) and his assistant Barry (producer Menkin in a cash saving cameo) are preparing to perform an autopsy on a naked and badly burned Mitch.

But as Dr. Bob instructs Barry to start cutting away at Mitch's face the lacerated lawyer wakes up screaming and without further ado - or any reason whatsoever - proceeds to kill the pair with their own instruments before donning a labcoat and disappearing into the hospital basement where he will spend the next ten years watching old copyright free Todd Slaughter movies whilst caressing Judy's severed hand.

And wanking himself off with it.

Possibly.

Look we've all been there.

Especially those of us self isolating.

Anyway a lot has happened in ten years, including the hospital closing down and Judy's daughter Kiki growing up to be the spit of her mum (which is lucky as they can use the same actress) and she too is now driving along the same road accompanied on the journey by her indecisive beau Mike (Hay in his only film role - why am I not surprised?), geeky, trading card obsessed manchild Dennis (non-hit wonder Price), token black cool kid Darnell (White who actually went on to have a career working with such luminaries as David Fincher and Kermit The Frog), and the bespectacled beauty Jane (button-nosed Sex In The City babe and Stuff magazine's no. 42 in their 102 Sexiest Women in the World survey 2002 Davis in her film debut).

It seems that the group are retracing Kiki's mothers final journey on the anniversary of her death, first stopping off next to the tree where she died (where Kiki finds her mums broken mirror) before heading off for a picnic at the by now abandoned hospital.

Each to their own I guess.

"How'd ya like dem apples?" - and by apples I think they mean breasts.



Approaching the hospital the group can't help but notice the strange sounds emanating from within so Darnell decides to investigate, soon coming across (not in that way tho' I'd seriously consider it) local punk legends - and real life Pizzazz And The Misfits -  Tina and the Tots rehearsing.

Not being a fan of female based industrial post-punk Darnell sneakily unplugs their sound system much to blonde bombshell Tina's (Collins, producer of the William Shatner TV show Moving America Forward) chagrin who loudly vows revenge on these musical philistines.

Before laughing maniacally.

For around fifteen minutes.

Probably THE greatest fictional band since DeJour, the incredible Tina And The Tots - emanating so much girl power that even the thought of a sly titwank would kill you.

But as Tina issues threats from the hospital roof (where the only real threat is that of her breasts escaping from her studded bikini top) the bands keyboard player Godiva (the pixie-like Alvan) gazes dreamily at Darnell and in a sequence as brilliant as it is misplaced fantasizes about the pair running thru' wheat-fields and kissing to the cheesiest library music this side of a Cheddar ad.

Rapunzel (the mysterious Farin) the Russian drummer is less impressed tho' as she stomps about shouting about politics and stuff in an accent so thick it's as if the soundtrack had been dipped in treacle.

She does have a very pretty skirt tho' so I guess that makes up for it.

Meanwhile our teen pals are busying themselves dishing out the crisp sandwiches and bottles of Tizer as the prepare their picnic and with this being an American movie the picnic also involves Kiki and Jane stripping down to their swimsuits in order to 'soak up some rays'.

Which probably wont be as absorbent as the tissues grabbed for by the audience of horny teen boys on release at the sight of Davis looking incredibly uncomfortable in probably the highest cut all in one blue swimsuit ever committed to celluloid.

It's obvious that she picked this costume - rather than the flimsy red number worn by Mullen - in order to retain some semblance of modesty, unfortunately from the camera angles used the director had other ideas.

And I wonder why she never talks about this movie during interviews?


Somewhere to park your bike at least.


But as the group settle down for some salty snacks and excited chat a strange figure is lurking in the bushes watching them....

Cue 50 minutes of fag end gore, sexy 80s goth boots, Kristin Davis' terrifying bubble perm, punk on preppy punch-ups, condom water balloons, some quick and unnecessary nudity and a running joke regarding our heroine calling her boyfriend 'mom' that drunkenly stumbles toward a climax of pure nonsensical joy.







Shot over 8 days for $168* by ex- Goldman/Sachs banker, biblical scholar or the guy behind Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge depending on which Wiki entry you click on Richard Friedman in an actual abandoned hospital, Doom Asylum is at once the nadir and the pinnacle of lo-fi 80s horror from it's non-acting cast who all appear to have only recently discovered the power of speech to it's Blu-Tak make-up effects held together with piss and vinegar the whole exercise reeks of desperation and shame - and that's even when you ignore the look of utter embarrassment on poor Kristin Davis' face as she's forced to wander aimlessly around a hobo-paradise clad in an arse splitting swimsuit and a pair of wee boys trainers.

"Boiled onions!"





But at points it manages to transcend the limitations of its budget/editing/general cack-handedness to become something if not competent at least entertaining.

Especially when Ruth Collins is on-screen coming across like the results of an unholy union 'tween Tracie Lords and Tura Satana as she throws our hunky lead off a roof, attacks picnickers with condoms and beats the shite out of the villain with a big metal pole - all whilst laughing like a drain and clad in a studded bra.

Feminine perfection.

Thank fuck Linnea Quigley was too expensive for this movie.

Which is a terrifying thought in itself if I'm honest.


It's cheap and tacky with more holes than a crack addled whores duvet but to those of us of a certain (old) age  Doom Asylum is a guilt free way of reliving our teen movie watching years, peering closely at the flickering portable TV in our bedroom waiting for a glimpse of gore, our free hand on the cabled remote control as we awaited a flash of lady parts or a sexy 80s style swimsuit.

Just me then?

A must for anyone the wrong side of 40, tho' everyone else will probably think that it's just utter shite from start to finish.

































































*The extra $100 was paid to actress Ruth Collins when she agreed to flash her breasts.

True story bro.