Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fool's Views (11/28 – 12-4)...with MORE Turkey!

Welcome back, peeps and peepettes,

As promised, following the spirit and excess of a certain Thanksgiving holiday, the feasting that began at Chateau de Kitley spilled into the next week as I continued to gobble the cinematic gobblers. Most of said beasties were provided courtesy of Netflix’s streaming service, although I was not above digging into my own private stash to round out the dishes. (In the spirit of full disclosure, IMDb’s Turkey Challenge earns an additional 5 points for “trifectas” featuring the same director or turkeys from a franchise, hence the comedy team of Uwe, Larry and Noriaki.) But, after the calendar page finally flipped, we also indulged in some “legit” horrors, all of which delivered the goods in their own individual fashion – not a stinker in the bunch…although according to some of my fellow blood brethren, that assessment might not be universal. Check ‘em out, see what you think.

As always feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll be sure you get some change back.



Evil Ed (1995)
(1st viewing) d. Jacobsson, Anders
Raucous bloodsoaked joyride (from Sweden, no less, although set in the U.S.) revolving around timid film editor Johan Rudebeck who is tasked with trimming particularly offensive scenes from his production company’s T&A horror romps. Deliberately taking satiric aim at the prudishly held belief that watching cinematic psycho killers makes one a psycho killer, Ed soon loses his marbles and begins seeing demons, talking to corpses, and chopping up everyone in sight. Though it never quite reaches Evil Dead heights (one of director/co-writer Jacobsson’s obvious influences), it’s still a lively, splattery love letter to horror fans.

Gog (1954) (1st viewing) d. Strock, Herbert L.
This underrated sci-fi effort has probably not gotten the attention it deserves because it’s not incompetent enough to be genuinely silly, sharp enough to serve as a parable or satire, or paced well enough to stand as a superior popcorn flick. That said, this perfectly serviceable programmer centers on a top secret underground facility where a research team – alongside rolling, flamethrower-sporting robots Gog and Magog – is working with supercomputer NOVAC to harness the sun’s radiation…only to have members of the team gruesomely bumped off one by one. While undeniably talky at times, the film maintains a serious tone (which, along with its subterranean setting, reminded me of The Andromeda Strain) and the murder mystery elements make for a worthwhile third act. Originally shot in 3D. Streaming on Netflix and definitely worth checking out for classic sci-fi buffs.

Haunted World of El Superbeasto, The (2009) (1st and 2nd viewings) d. Zombie, Rob
Having not heard much about this animated feature (or maybe I was deliberately, petulantly ignoring it due to Zombie’s mistreatment of the Halloween legacy with his updating and subsequent sequel), I finally decided to give it a go. Much to my surprise, the juvenile mindset that has undercut Zombie’s attempts at comedy in his horror features is given full reign here and the animated format allows for an exuberance that keeps pace with the foul-mouthed, splatter-happy, libido-crazed characters that populate the screen (based on the graphic comic series created by Zombie). Bottom line, there’s enough sex, gore, nudity, action, toilet humor, inspired musical sequences and classic horror references – all delivered at breakneck pace – to satisfy. Zombie also recruits a superb cast of voice actors (including Tom Papa, Paul Giamatti, Brian Posehn, Rosario Dawson, Danny Trejo) alongside his requisite casting of weak-link bride Sherri Moon, with dozens of cameos ranging from Sid Haig to Tura Satana to Dee Wallace. Perhaps not for all tastes, but I dug it.

Kidnapped (2010) (1st viewing) d. Vivas, Miguel Angel
Terrific single-camera exercise from Spain that pits a husband, wife and daughter against a trio of masked Eurothugs who break into the family’s new home and hold them hostage. The handheld camera footage is used to good effect, as the ragged action mirrors the characters’ anxieties, with offscreen action heightening tension and suspense. However, it is after husband Fernando Cayo is taken from the house to extract funds from various ATMs that the film really steps up its game, not only in its plot machinations (which are sturdy enough) but also with the use of split screen, depicting dual dramas unfolding at home and outside. The onscreen violence consistently ramps up in the final 30 minutes – which is where it earns its horror stripes – delivering an intense and dark finale that should herald co-writer/director Vivas as a force to be reckoned with. (His zombie short film, I’ll See You in My Dreams, is also available on YouTube and worth checking out.)

Red State (2011) (1st viewing) d. Smith, Kevin
Better known for his slacker comedies, writer/director Smith takes on the horror/thriller genre to great success, assembling a worthy, second-tier cast to flesh out the story of an extremist religious cult given to entrapping and executing members of the community given to “low moral fortitude” i.e. homosexuals and anyone else who happens to enjoy sexual communion out of wedlock. To go into further plot details would be a disservice to the viewer, but suffice to say the story goes in directions one would not anticipate and while I do take issue with Smith’s too-hasty denouement, there are surprises aplenty. However, the biggest revelation is not one of plot, but of performance – screen veteran Michael Parks is electrifying as the soft-spoken cult leader, oozing understated menace from beneath his flowing silver locks and horn-rimmed glasses. Parks makes the film a must-see all on his own.



Mars Needs Women (1967)
(1st viewing) d. Buchanan, Larry (2.9)

Martian Tommy Kirk
Needs some babes with which to spawn
Hey, that there’s Batgirl!

Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1966) (2nd viewing) d. Buchanan, Larry (2.9)

It Conquered the World
With even lower budget
Agar in for Graves


Bloodrayne: The Third Reich (2010)
(1st viewing) d. Boll, Uwe (3.0)

Busty vamp with blades
Clint Howard as Mengele
Eh, could’ve been worse

Postal (2007) (1st viewing) d. Boll, Uwe (4.2)

Poster child for
Way non-PC comedy
Hey, kinda liked it

Seed (2007) (1st viewing) d. Boll, Uwe (2.8)

Way effed up slasher
Plus yucky PETA snuff stuff
Wow that hammer scene


Gamera vs. Gaos (1967)
(2nd viewing) d. Yuasa, Noriaki (3.3)

Big G makes the shift
From monster to kiddie fare
Fighting weird bird-thing

Gamera vs. Guiron (1969) (3rd viewing) d. Yuasa, Noriaki (3.1)

Space chicks want tyke brains
G stellar high bar routine
Watch knife head, it’s sharp

Gamera vs. Zigra (1971) (2nd viewing) d. Yuasa, Noriaki (2.4)

God, I hate those kids
Um, spaceship made of Skittles?
God, I hate those kids


Cape Canaveral Monsters, The (1960)
(1st viewing) d. Tucker, Phil (2.6)

Scarred space kooks kidnap
Young teen lovers for their bods
Robot Monster Phil

Invasion of the Star Creatures (1962)
(1st viewing) d. VeSota, Bruno (2.3)

Bumbling buck privates
Versus space Amazon babes
Ain’t no Bud n’ Lou

Snow Creature, The (1954) (1st viewing) d. Wilder, W. Lee (2.8)

First 50s yeti
Fair but no winter winner
Monster needs more hair


Rumble Fish (1983)
(1st viewing) d. Coppola, Francis Ford
Completely different in tone than Coppola’s other 1983 S.E. Hinton screen adaptation (The Outsiders), this moody, black and white version of the classic young adult novel earns major points for the director for not simply repeating himself. Dreamy and leisurely paced, which, along with its R-rating, probably put off the Teen Beat crowd, but with superb early work from Matt Dillion, Mickey Rourke, Nicholas Cage and Diane Lane flanked by veterans Dennis Hopper and William Smith. Screenplay by Coppola and Hinton (who cameos as a prostitute).

2011 totals to date: 571 films, 355 1st time views, 332 horror, 47 cinema

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