Monday, August 31, 2009

Paranoiac And More

Good morning, y'all. My article for The Daily Tourniquet is on the 1963 Hammer horror flick Paranoiac starring Janette Scott and Oliver Reed. You can read about it right here. And while you're at it, why don't you peruse the rest of what The DT has to offer? The site has a great collection of original horror fiction and short horror films. You should also join the forums so that we can BS about all things horror. Hope to see you there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dang Friday

Stupid dang Friday, why do you stand between me and Saturday? As I mentioned before, I'm filming "Crazy Fortune Teller" with some friends this weekend. I am going to spend tonight cleaning me and the wife's apartment and most of the day on Saturday turning our living room into a movie studio. I'm so super psyched about this short film project that I've been pretty intolerable all week (wait, just this week?), talking about CFT constantly and probably taking all the fun out of it.

Download the screenplay (if you can call it that) here.

And here's a trailer for The Possessening. A film that my friend Zac and I still haven't finished.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Revenge of the Living Dead Girls

Someone is trying to blackmail an industrialist by poisoning milk with radioactive materials. Three young women die from drinking the milk. This would probably be the end of the story except these women just happen to be buried at the same cemetery that the aforementioned industrialist orders one of his men to dump toxic waste into. The three girls return from the dead each night to exact their undead revenge on the people responsible for their untimely demises (and whoever else happens to get in their way). And what is a "Cambodian wheelbarrow" supposed to be exactly?

What the hell did I just watch? Revenge of the Living Dead Girls is a damn good time if you're looking for pieces of shit to ridicule. The dubbing is glorious and the soundtrack is a quirky and magically lame synth-affair. Acting is abysmal all around but you won't care with all the forgettable characters being thrown at the screen. Good luck remembering anybody's name. Gore isn't too bad with a couple of standout sequences but the stiff and rubbery zombie makeup sucks.

The three undead ladies are very active despite their condition and can be seen driving a car, playing a church organ and yes, swimming in a freakin' swimming pool. They also manage to rise from the grave each night AND close their tombs behind them each night which I think is pretty ridiculous. That's just what I think. The zombies girls also turn out to be bisexual and quite horny, managing to pass on an undead-STD to a guy who didn't realize he was sexing a zombie. I don't blame him though, the editing was so bad, I wasn't sure what had happened either. He passes this little unwanted surprise onto his pregnant wife with hilariously vomitous results.

This is all fun and games until one of the two genital mutilation sequences (yes, there are two) goes a little too far. When something genuinely shocking happens in a movie that is comically bad like this one is, it kind of ruins everything. File this scene under the "oops, swords don't go up there" category. This film is a thinly-connected sequel (lawsuit pending) to Jean Rollin's The Living Dead Girl but don't tell anyone I said that, okay? Revenge of the Living Dead Girls has some potential for a fun time with friends and alcohol just make sure you don't invite any feminists or pregnant women or French people. I guarantee they will be offended.

I'll get the skimmer.

The trailer is right here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Old School Anime - Part 1.5

Sometimes I think Netflix is making fun of me and now I have proof. Psychic Wars is one of those tapes I remember gathering dust on the shelves of Blockbuster. I figured "Hey, how bad could it be?" Take a wild guess. This OVA is about a doctor who removes a tumor from an old lady. The tumor is a demon and the lady is a messenger from Jesus (not really). The good doctor becomes a super doctor, inheriting the powers of ancient warriors and proceeds to fight demons. The animation is occasionally good but the main character is so fucking ugly I want to die. What the plot description on Netflix doesn't tell you is that this is kind of like He-Man but way more embarrassing.

"All that glitters is gold!"

Super Don Johnson!


Gimme them dragon ballz!

He-Man? My Little Pony? WTF?

Oh so now you're trying to be a comedy?

Duder just killed the Roxy Music album cover.

Crazy Fortune Teller (Coming Soon)

(Are you teased by my teaser?)

This Saturday, I'm going to gather some colleagues of mine together to shoot a short film. I was thinking of calling it "Suggest Me to Hell" but I settled on the much more catchy "Crazy Fortune Teller". The screenplay I wrote (my first by the way) is about a crazy fortune teller with telekinetic powers who has gone mad and is killing her customers. I don't want to give too much away because let's be honest, the internet has too many spoilers already. The aesthetic I'm going for is early 80s home movie written by a demented child.

I'm still using my Sony Hi-8 which my parents bought me for my birthday back in 2000. Hopefully, the old girl is still up for the job. I've got some homemade color gels (transparency sheets with Sharpie ink all over them) for eerie lighting and a bunch of lamps. Blood, brains and bone fragments will be constructed out of felt and yarn.

More about this later.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ladies of Giallo # 7

Oh wow, look at that. It's Barbara Bouchet! She is the newest Lady of Giallo over at The Daily Tourniquet. Wow, it's Monday. Holy shit, I feel like my brain is on vacation, yo. Anyway, you can read Ladies of Giallo # 7 right here. I hope you digs. I promise to be more coherent once this week has some more days in it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inglorious Basterds

We had a good though small crowd over at Muvico Starlight 20. My wife LeEtta and I were able to drag ourselves out of bed for the 10:05am show on Saturday (sorry Nafa, we just couldn't wait!). Ah yes, this truly is the best way to see R-rated movies since most of the people who would want to watch senseless violence probably don't wake up until noon. But the crowd was enthusiastic and I think a good time was had by all (no one stormed out during the first scalpings anyway).

Anyway, the film is about an anti-Nazi guerrilla strike force led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) with orders to go deep into Nazi occupied France and kill as many Nazis as possible. A young woman named Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) whose family was slaughtered by the 'Jew Hunter', Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), is in hiding as the owner of a cinema in Paris. Their paths cross when a Nazi film festival is planned to take place in Shosanna's cinema and nearly every high-ranking Nazi officer will be in attendance.

Shosanna plans to burn the place down with the highly flammable films in the cinema's library while everyone is locked inside and Lieutenant Aldo and his very angry (mostly) Jewish American squad intends to blow it up. These two groups, who have no knowledge of each other, set about on two suicide missions with the same goal: Nazi obliteration. The stakes are raised drastically when Adolf Hitler himself (Martin Wuttke) decides to attend the cinema on that fateful night.

I was waiting for Tarantino's apology for Death Proof (which I both loved and loathed) and Inglorious Basterds is it. This film has a whole lot of intrigue, historical inaccuracies, hilarious dialogue and brutal violence. The cast is excellent but it is Christoph Waltz who steals the show as Hans Landa, one of the greatest evil pieces of Nazi shit of all time.

I need some more time to process all of the insane goodness of this film but let me say this: I didn't realize that our generation needed our own The Dirty Dozen but yeah, we did. Quentin Tarantino has reminded America of one of its favorite pastimes: killin' Nazis (and their wives)! While my German-American heritage was deeply offended by all the damage done to my people, LeEtta explained to me that those weren't Germans, those weren't even human beings, they was NEH-ZEEZ! Go see this one.

Spoiler time! Don't read on if you ain't seen the movie.

The finale is pretty fucking incredible and is an orgasmic release of Jew-rage. The sight of Eli Roth and Omar Doom gunning down Nazis and their (probably innocent) wives and/or mistresses as the cinema burns around them made my hair stand on end. When Hitler gets his face chewed up into a thousand pieces by machine gun fire, the alternate history element struck me as very wonderful. Everyone wishes that Hitler hadn't had a chance to take his own life and it feels mighty good to see him destroyed and mutilated before our very eyes.

The brutal death of Shosanna is quite unfortunate and it is made even more painful thanks to the fine performance by Mélanie Laurent. However, she does go out like a hero and the image of her laughing face projected onto the smoke of the burning cinema is all kinds of eerie and beautiful. I just noticed how much time I spent on the finale. There was a great movie attached to it, by the way.

I love calling this movie "Terds"!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Old School Anime - Part 1

(Yours truly in 1990.)

When I was 14 years old, during a summer sleepover, one of my friends brought over a bootleg VHS of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. One of my buds had described this hyper-violent masterpiece to me that afternoon and I begged them to bring it over so we could watch it. Thanks to Robotech and Voltron, I knew of the existence of Japanese animation but nothing had prepared me for the extremes of Akira.

This magnificent film transported me to a horrible world where teen angst meant comically macho freaks taking handfuls of pills, busting skulls in gang wars, wrecking motorcycles and leaving a gaggle of pregnant girls in their wake. Throw in a crumbling society, government conspiracies, immoral medical experiments and deadly telekinetic powers and I was moved. Just writing about it now, I can still feel that hollow sickness in my stomach. I felt forever altered and the only thing that would satisfy me was more anime.

I became so desperate for anime that I would rent just about anything from the video store to fill my new and insatiable craving. I started watching stuff that was either really bad, mediocre or just sooooo not my style.

One of my biggest anime mistakes (1994?) was dumping $35 of my then disposable income on the original Appleseed OVA (originally released in 1988) on VHS. I went home, unwrapped the tape from the cellophane, put it in the player and then immediately regretted my decision. I fucking hated the film and began to fast-forward to see if it got good. It did not! I jumped in the car and drove right back to Past Present Future Comics (in North Palm Beach) and begged the duder to let me return the tape. For some reason, he was very cool and let me exchange Appleseed for the 1985 version of Vampire Hunter D; yet another unseen purchase.

This was more like it. The original Vampire Hunter D was just what the doctor ordered. The film is beautifully drawn, insanely gory and violent, badly dubbed and includes some gratuitous nudity. Good times! I must have watched this film a dozen times and memorized the awkward dialogue: "Oh good God, no! It's got Luke!"

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ponyo and Other Stuff

This week has been a bit hectic lately. I have a couple of days off and then some extra busyness at work so my head isn't screwed on right (when is it ever?). Here is some Marnie Stern to make us all feel better:

So what was yours truly doing at a G rated Tuesday yesterday morning? Well, aside from it being my wife's birthday, Ponyo is the new film by world-renowned animation director Hayao Miyazaki and I wasn't going to miss it for the world. This breathtaking and fun film did not disappoint at all and I'm glad that somebody, somewhere is smart enough to realize that there is always going to be an audience for this stuff.

The odious ending song caused some hilariousness. The fools at Disney decided to translate the lyrics to English and then do a painful remix with the American voice actors rapping about Ponyo. Everyone in the crowd friggin' bolted for the door when this unholy and shitty noise started. Now I've heard the Japanese version and I don't really like it either bit the American one is like having your face bashed in with a candy hammer. Some kind soul has posted a comparison of the two on Youtube:

You see, I am an old anime nerd. When horror slipped from the top spot of my main entertainment focus (a dark time indeed), anime stepped in to dominate my life for many years. Over the last couple of days, I got onto an old school anime kick and just wanted to either revisit some old titles or see some things that I missed (or have been avoiding for years). So I checked out Dominion Tank Police and one of the Black Jack movies online at ye olde Netflix.

I was really surprised by the Black Jack movie. It ended up being really entertaining and horrifying with some really freaky medical experimentation gone very wrong. The Earth Day message tacked on at the end was really bad and me want to go out and poor bleach on some flowers. Dominion Tank Police was fun and all but there were a lot of abandoned plot threads (maybe due to the English translation).

To be continued...

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Dead girls!"

A famous man once said "everybody hurts sometimes". Well, that dude was serious. Crazy Lips hurt me and I wrote about it because I had to face that pain. The Daily Tourniquet is the stage and my one man play is called "The blood in your family is crazy!". If you are a truly brave soul then you may check it out right here.

And now a palette cleanser... Here is a clip from The Awful Truth starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Dunne plays Grant's soon-to-be-ex-wife and in this clip she is trying to get him out of a jam by pretending to be his sister. Of course, she's really trying to get him back but I won't spoil the whole movie for you. Be sure to watch the whole thing when you get a chance. The wife and I have been on a Cary Grant kick lately thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Killing Hour

The Killing Hour
AKA The Clairvoyant
Directed by Armand Mastroianni
Released: 1982
Starring Perry King, Norman Parker, Elizabeth Kemp, Kenneth McMillan, Jon Polito, Joe Morton, Antone Pagan, Barbara Quinn
Running Time: 97 minutes
DVD Studio: Image Entertainment

A woman's nude and handcuffed body is found floating in the Hudson. Suddenly, a rash of murders begins with the common factor of each victim being handcuffed. The cops are baffled because they're all idiots but the biggest idiot of them all is Detective Larry Weeks (played by Norman Parker). Weeks is a part time comedian and is a full time unfunny motherfucker and is a huge part of botching the investigation. He gets conned into slipping information on the case to Mac McCormack (Perry King), a sleazy TV reporter who begins challenging the killer on his show.

Meanwhile, an art student named Virna Nightbourne (Elizabeth Kemp) with big shoulder pads comes to the police with drawings that she did using her psychic powers. Her drawings depict details of the murders that only the killer would know. Detective Weeks starts hitting on Virna but not before Mac can woo her. Even with these two dudes taking turns protecting her (meaning: sexing her up), the killer still tries to take out the psychic doodler before she can identify him.

The Killing Hour is proof that some obscure films should stay that way. This trashy film has some interesting moments but thanks to some poor writing, it never really comes together. The dialogue is corny, character motivations are confusing and muddled and the love triangle between Virna and the TV reporter and the cop is cringe-inducing. On the upside, camerawork is marvelous and the score by Alexander Peskanov is gorgeous but The Killing Hour is kind of a mess. Director Armand Mastroianni made an excellent though heavily sedated slasher called He Knows You're Alone, a few clunky horror films like The Supernaturals and even some episodes of "Friday the 13th: The Series".

The Killing Hour trailer

And just because I mentioned it:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mutant Chronicles

Mutant Chronicles
Directed by Simon Hunter
Released: 2008
Starring Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Sean Pertwee, Benno Fürmann, John Malkovich, Anna Walton, Tom Wu
Running Time: 111 minutes (director's cut)*
DVD Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment

During a great war between the four corporations that rule the Earth, an ancient alien machine that transforms human beings into murderous mutants is awakened. For thousands of years, a group of monks has been guarding a weapon which will stop the machine. A monk named Brother Samuel (Ron Perlman) chooses a group of soldiers from opposing sides to go into the heart of the enemy's lair and end the destruction of mankind.

I wasn't planning on talking about Mutant Chronicles when I sat down to watch it last night but it was just too dang weird not to. Based on the role playing game of the same name (which I didn't even know existed until just now (I told you I was out of touch)), the film has the script of a Syfy (yes, that's how they spell it now) Channel movie and the look of a video game. What Mutant Chronicles also has is an infectious energy that is impossible to deny and an excellent cast.

Where did this movie come from and where did it go? This mad blend of action, science fiction and horror went straight to video here in the States but had a wider release in Russia and the Philippines (according to IMDB). This is very surprising considering the talent involved and how great it all is. Mutant Chronicles is kind of like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow except it's good or like The Keep except it actually delivers.

Now don't get me wrong, this is pretty much the cheesiest thing I've seen in a while but there is nonstop action and gore on display and the scenery is fantastic (if you can get past the inconsistent CGI). And the weapon designs! And the steampunk machines! Ah!!!! The essential thing here is that my kid-brain loves this one. Mutant Chronicles would have been my #1 movie in 1987. This will be some kid's Robocop. Okay, maybe not Robocop. Time Bandits! That's it. Mutant Chronicles is like Time Bandits except with more bodily dismemberment and no dwarves. And no John Cleese.


Steiner: "Any last words?"
Hunter: "Shut the fuck up."

*The version I got from Netflix was around 93 minutes long and I have no idea what the differences are between it and the director's cut.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Notes On Devil Times Five

Sometime in August last year, I watched Devil Times Five with the intention of reviewing it. Well, I'm lazy and I never did get around to it but here are my notes from the film:

soundtrack jazzy AM electro strangeness awesome
demented children's music

who is this Papa Doc? what a dick! Harvey?

is it winter or Summer?

sped up film for the bus crash

evil kidz the children are coming! slowly

don't pick on the simpleton - Ralph
why is this lady seducing a retard? lovely?
what an evil and horrible bitch

chick fight! nudity! sex! classy

slo mo kill scene - ludicrously prolonged and post dubbing
ominous - what a silly little film

Harvey and his wife. they're fun

really odd kids
do they keep switching that one kid? wig? wtf?

a little talky - confusing

happy and dysfunctional

Rick - white butt
very weird


let's reminisce over Harvey

nihilistic but so dang clunky
strange editing
sick and twisted

"I had a mother and two sisters but they squished in a bus."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Collector

Nafa and I met up with our friend Rod at AMC Veterans 24 on Sunday to check out The Collector. This was a new theater for me. I am such a psychotic fan of Muvico Starlight 20 that I felt like I was committing an act of infidelity with a cheap whore. While it is a clean and very nice theater, Veterans does have one fatal flaw: it is too close to the airport. How the hell can I enjoy a movie when I know we're about to be hit by a dang plane every few minutes?

Here is the painfully simple plot: A thief named Arkin (played by Josh Stewart) who has been casing the house of a jeweler must steal an uncut gem in order to save his ex-wife and kid from evil loan sharks. When he arrives at the house, Arkin discovers that a serial killer (played by Juan Fernández) is already at work on the family. Trapped in the house with the sadistic son of a bitch and a bunch of crazy booby traps, the thief decides to save the remaining members of the family from the evil serial killer. But... can he save himself? Wooooooooo!!!!!

Okay, so The Collector is awesomely awful. I liked the movie while I was watching it but a few hours after we left the theater, my mind began to eviscerate the whole thing. The first half hour is really good. The setup is filmed with an excellent grainy look and a claustrophobic feel that just reeks with dread and foreboding. The soundtrack is surprisingly cool with some fantastically pretty and eerie music.

Unfortunately, the film pretty much goes to shit once the Collector duder goes to work. Now the character is cool and very creepy thanks to Juan Fernández's performance. His mask is freaky and his animal-like eyes reflecting in the darkness are quite a chilling sight. While his elaborate traps are pretty neat and occasionally add some suspense, they are wildly preposterous and get old after a while. Josh Stewart makes an excellent not-so-innocent protagonist and I wish the movie had been a better horror vehicle for him.

The director and writer both wrote a couple of Saw movies (as well as the Feast movies) and I just can't believe they aren't friggin' sick of booby traps by now. The saving grace of The Collector is that no one involved in the editing of the Saw franchise got to ruin things in post production. The film is blessed by great camerawork, perfect lighting and none of that herky jerky bullshit in-your-face editing that plagues the Saw films. So yeah, The Collector is equal parts good and bad. I have a tough time saying that it sucked but I can't really recommend it either.

Beware the SPOILER paragraph:

The family's naughty daughter (played by Madeline Zima) gets the lamest death scene in the movie. She gets catapulted across the room and sticks to the wall on some long spikes. Every time they showed her corpse, the audience would chuckle a little bit at how ridiculous she looked. And that ending! Nothing is resolved. The writers set up a sequel that I know I'm not waiting for. Evil isn't vanquished, it is merely inconvenienced for a little while.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sorority Babes!

I spend my life trying to find that one movie that I would trade all the others for. Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama isn't that movie but oh yes, it is pretty damn close. On The Daily Tourniquet, I have tried to glorify this classic within reason. Just kidding, I'm never reasonable about Linnea Quigley. Anyway, here it is. Let me know what you think.

P.S. Tomorrow I'll share my thoughts on The Collector. Does anyone care? Do I care? YES I DO!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Alphonse? No, the Devil.

It's Friday again and I think we can all agree it is the worst day of the week. So to make us all feel better, I've decided to share a little "horror movie" my friend Ryan and I made 7 years ago. It's called "Alphonse? No, the Devil. Alphonse? No, the Devil." Basically, it is my friend and I talking for what seems like forever and then a demonic mousepad comes and kills us. Anyway, there's lots of cursing and it's really boring.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm Caligulated!

Caligula starring Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, and Helen Mirren has always haunted me but I had never seen it before last night. In the 80s, the VHS was in every video store in my childhood and that image of the coin with the bleeding eyes used to always be there watching me. It was one of those brilliant VHS covers that made me have to see the film. But I never did.
You see, Caligula was one of the only films at the time to be equal parts horror, drama and porn so it always had some kind of a parental advisory sticker slapped on it. Now my parents would have let me get a horror movie with that sticker but Caligula was probably too infamous for me to try and slip that one past 'em. But you know what? I never tried so...
The story behind the film's production, its (VERY poor) critical reception and multitudinous versions is actually a fascinating one. But I'm not going to regurgitate that for you, especially not in slow motion the way Malcolm McDowell did when Caligula came down with a very bad fever which I think he caught from his horse(?). No, I'm going to try and relate a few of my thoughts from my first impression of Caligula.
You see, I got the first disc of the Image Entertainment 3 disc set from Netflix in the mail yesterday and I was thinking that everything would be all right. WRONG! The first disc is the dang porno version! Apparently, disc two has the softcore version and is supposedly a much different and better cut of the film. One day I will probably break down and rent the second disc and see if that version of Caligula fares any better than the lame XXX version.
Anyway, here are my observations:
1. Caligula is like Fellini Satyricon but with way more dicks.
2. After a while, scenes with clothed actors seem ridiculous.
3. Peter O'Toole has never been scarier (except in Man of La Mancha).
4. Holy shit, there's John Steiner! Wow, he is friggin' creepy with no dang hair.
5. Wow, Malcolm McDowell has great legs (for a dude).
6. Helen Mirren: 30 years of hotness and counting.
7. Porn ruins everything.
8. We're at the hour and a half mark and NOW CALIGULA IS GOING MAD!?!? Seriously? NOW?! So he's been totally sane up until this point? What the fuck?
9. I actually kind of really like this movie, no wait, we just got to the whore boat. Caligula is damn near impossible to love. At least that dwarf is having a good time.
10. The ending is pretty much the most brutal and awesome thing I have ever witnessed with my eyes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birthday Haul

Yesterday was my dang birthday and I thought I'd take a moment to gloat on the glut of sweet presents that showed up on my doorstep or were available at a fine retail establishment (Wal-Mart). Yes, I am totally spoiled (33 going on 13). I will also mention that I totally indulged myself with cigar and Tex Mex and all kinds of other special things for the special birthday boy (ME!).

I actually ordered Countess Dracula/The Vampire Lovers before my birthday but the DVD took so damn long that I will count as my birthday present to myself. Countess Dracula has haunted me for years and years. So damn good.

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers (yikes), you can pick up this sweet apocalyptic double feature in the $5 bin. I love The Last Man on Earth (and he loves me!) but I haven't seen Panic in Year Zero yet.

Since Paramount is a bunch of dicks, this will be the only Friday the 13th I will be replacing on my shelves. The biggest draw being that after nearly 30 years, this film is finally uncut.

This is why wish lists were invented. My sweet wife got me the new Four Flies on Grey Velvet DVD so that I can finally replace my junky bootleg.

Ah yes, a blast from the bast for me. I have very fond memories of renting Dead Pit when it came out on VHS back in the day. This goes into the pile of very, very special things for a very, very special moviethon. Another DVD from my awesome lady.

My mother-in-law is totally great and wonderful. Again, this is why wish lists are so dang genius. At 500+ pages, Nightmare USA is the unholy tome of the ages. I will be buried in this monstrosity for weeks to come.

Last but not least, my friend Nafa hooked me up with my life juice. Vitamin Water is great and XXX is just grand.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ladies of Giallo # 6

I have returned once again to haunt The Daily Tourniquet with another Lady of Giallo. This time it is the amazingly amazing Florinda Bolkan of Don't Torture a Duckling and A Lizard in a Woman's Skin. Read it right here, please. The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful. There was a screaming match at the laundry room in my apartment complex which I was witness to. That was pretty amazing. Um, I bought a new hat and my wife and I went on a date. I started working on the screenshots for Giallo Meltdown 3 (yeah, it's STILL not done yet!) and I watched a mess of flicks.

Here's some trailers and clips from stuff I watched: