Rupert Pupkin Speaks: June 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Trevor Schoenfeld

 Trevor Schoenfeld is an awesome dad/teacher as well as being a rabid film fan. He runs the excellent Schofizzy Movie Review site (www.schofizzymoviereview.com) and can be found on twitter @Schofizzy. Also, his podcast TOP 5 FILM is highly recommended(http://www.top5film.com/)!


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All my life I continue to consume as many movies as I can. Movies of all variety from the schlock on late night cable to highly rated films that are touted as the cream of the crop each year. Movies are my escape, they are my window into new things and perspectives, they give me an outlet from everything else going on in the world. Watching a wide swath of films over the course of my life I have seen countless movies that others may deem as "bad" but for whatever reason I connected with them. These titles gave me some form of joy that may be deemed strange or foreign to others. These are ten "bad" movies I love in no particular order...

BOXING HELENA
In all honesty seeing this movie started off as simple teenage sexual desire. Think back to a time before every single person on the planet had internet access, back when VHS tapes, magazines, late night cable were a teenage boy's best possible ways of seeing some nudity. I saw a preview for "Boxing Helena" on Showtime and immediately set my VCR to record. What I expected was a awesome nudity-filled movie with the beautiful Sherilyn Fenn (Fenn was a girl my teenage self continuously lusted after following seeing her in the 1985 romp "Just One of the Guys" and later on the television series Twin Peaks). "Boxing Helena" certainly delivered on the nudity factor but it also opened a different door I didn't expect, a door into the world of taboo. Amputee sex and other strange on-screen desires I had never fathomed were injected into my thought process. This film illustrated that a movie could be both sexual and have some ripe ideas for discussion and debate. It opened my mind in ways that perhaps a teenage shouldn't be thinking but regardless I fell love with the film.


LEONARD PART 6
I grew up with Bill Cosby. Whether it was Fat Albert, his comedy albums, Jell-O Pudding pops, or The Cosby Show I have nothing but fond memories of the sweater-wearing comedian. With that background, first time I saw "Leonard Part 6" was on cable about halfway through the 85 minute movie and I was immediately sucked into the campy CIA spy story. It finished and I instantly looked in our TV Guide to see when it would be on again so I could watch it all the way through. After a complete pass through I knew this was a movie I would continually watch. One it made me laugh endlessly. Two it loosely reminded me of the 007 and other spy movies that were so prevalent from the Cold War era on. Three, it is the kind of ridiculous I like. From the ballerina shoes that Leonard Parker wears to fighting off evil vegetarians with magic meat, "Leonard Part 6" is a couple eggs short of a dozen but it works for me. On a basic level it is a simple comedy adventure spoofing spy movies much like "The Naked Gun" spoofed procedural police work. It is quirky and it has moments where you wonder just what the hell they were thinking but again it all strangely works for me. Lastly, when the star of the film Bill Cosby told people to stay away from the movie, that screams to me means you gotta see it.

GIGLI
Hello, my name is Trevor Schoenfeld and I am a Ben Affleck-holic. It started with Richard Linklator's "Dazed and Confused" and the character of Fred O'Bannion. From that point on anything that Ben Affleck was involved in I had to see. As his career pushed forward while most people were laughing at his acting I was reveling with each new performance. My level of addiction to Affleck aka Afflecktion became clear as his movies were becoming more and more easier to pick apart. I was wondering what was wrong with everyone else. Why didn't people thoroughly enjoy "Phantoms," "Daredevil," "Surviving Christmas," "Jersey Girl" and "Gigli" as I did? Was my level of Afflecktion blinding me? Probably, but I don't care, I think Ben Affleck is national treasure and I am thankful that he has and continues to make movies for all to see. Now specifically about "Gigli," a movie that most people's jaws drop to the floor when I tell them I love it. They always think I am joking, but there is no joking here, I unabashedly love Gigli. If I see it on cable I will immediately stop what I am doing and watch. So why do I love Gigli, there are a couple factors. There first is how corny the romantic comedy is and not just Ben Affleck. Justin Bartha is hysterical as Brian an individual with special needs that Larry Gigli (Affleck) kidnaps. Second the off-screen romance between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez that made producers revise a script to work in romance into Gigli fascinates me endlessly. It is a bad re-write too but J.Lo and Affleck's chemistry makes in awkwardly work. Affleck does do much of the ham-boned heavy lifting as the obtuse Larry Gigli that really makes me laugh. Plus Bartha and Affleck really do make a terrible odd-couple that is fun to watch on screen. Third factor is how much fun the cast looks to be having making the movie, well at least Ben and J.Lo. The off-screen couple have an electric energy that is undeniable and this movie is a time capsule of their fling I will forever cherish.


HOWARD THE DUCK
Never read the comic books but when this movie released in 1986 I remember begging for one of my parents to take me to see it. My mom earned that role something I know she wishes she could undo. "Howard the Duck" represents one of the first times I remember walking out on cloud 9 from an epic adventure only to be knocked off that cloud when my mother responded that was the stupidest movie she had ever seen. What was so stupid I wondered? Was it the duck? Was it the human-duck romance that buds between Howard and Beverly? It couldn't have been the action or all the funny? Was my mom crazy? No, it seems everyone else in the world hated "Howard the Duck" too but I loved it. A few reason I love Howard. I love the work that went into the puppeteering, even as a kid I was fascinated by how it was done. I loved that it was crass. I mean within the first 10 minutes we see a naked duck (with nipples) taking a bath, as a nine year-old boy, duck nipples made me do a double-take real fast and as the movie presses on the raunch continues to come in not so subtle doses. Part of that crass is Howard's humor that I get an ultimate kick out of. He's an asshole but he's a funny asshole so you partially forgive his brash nature. Or maybe that was just me because, most have major contempt for this flick; even my wife will roll her eyes when she sees me put it on.


THE HAPPENING
I have a theory that M. Night Shyamalan is a big fan of b-scifi movies and "The Happening" is his ode to low-budget science fiction movies similar to what Mystery Science Theater 3000 made fun of for so many years. Most have dismissed Shyamalan's film as junk, although using my theory I find this flick to be pretty damn enjoyable. For one you have utterly rigid performances by the entire cast with dialogue that is laugh-out-loud ridiculous. The cardboard performances and laughable dialogue generates amusement that ages like a fine wine. Two there is a intriguing hysteria versus disaster debate that carries on throughout a great deal of the film. While one side certainly wins out over the course of the story watching the process unfold builds a eerie tension. Three, the airborne neurotoxin allowed for some terrifying sequences throughout the film. I love that Shyamalan uses wind as the killer. It is a faceless and invisible threat that he wields a multiple good scares from. Lastly the odd blend this film has kept me hooked and a constant defender of it. How can a film be so corny and so eerie at the same time? The master craft of M. Night Shyamalan's ode to b-scifi that's how!


ELIMINATORS
"Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are... Eliminators." A tagline that calls out to people who love action, ninjas, mandroids! "Eliminators" is a rare men-on-a-mission movie that invaded my childhood and never let go. As far as storyline goes it is paint by the numbers what makes this flick so memorable is the half man-half tank created by wait for it, an evil scientist. River rats are sure to appreciate the amount of time spent on the water in Eliminators, there is a few choice action sequences and plenty of explosions to keep the blood pumping. Eliminators is filled with so many things that I loved as a kid that no matter how goofy it may be, I appreciate what it accomplished (even if it was on the cheap). When I say rare I mean it too, Eliminators never made the transition from VHS to DVD but can be seen chopped into segments on youtube (which I don't recommend).


THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE
I'll admit that Andrew Dice Clay's schtick is tiresome but for this one movie it shines in loud neon colors for all to see. I love "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" and all of its crass humor endlessly. It is one of many movies I remember my father taking me to on my request. I also remember him insisting that I stop constantly quoting the movie and doing the Andrew Dice Clay "Ohh!" after everything I said. Outside of fond memories with my pops, 'Ford Fairlane' is an honest to god fun detective comedy in the likes of "Beverly Hills Cop," "Fletch," or "48 Hrs." Sure it is brash and it houses a plethora of crude jokes but it works incredibly well despite the basic plot points (granted you can get past Andrew Dice Clay's schtick). Someone must have thought Renny Harlin did a good job with 'Fairlane' because he went to direct Stallone's "Cliffhanger." Plus Harlin's previous directorial effort with Nightmare on Elm Street 4, gave Harlin an excuse to bring one of my favorite horror icons into a wise cracking detective pulp. 'Ford Fairlane' houses a number of musical tie-ins that easily won me over. I am a huge Prince/Morris Day and the Time fan and having Morris Day along with a Shelia E. added to my continued enthusiasm. Lastly it has one of my favorite lines to quote when I see a super slutty girl in a tiny dress; "You have to shave to go out in a dress like that and I don't mean your legs. Ohhhee!"


GENTLEMEN BRONCOS
Have you ever told someone how funny something is, show them and they don't find it as funny? Welcome to my world with "Gentlemen Broncos." I have laughed nearly to the point of peeing myself watching this movie meanwhile I watch my friends sit deadpan watching the same scene. Being Jared Hess's follow-up to "Nacho Libre" I expected quirky humor that some would not find amusing but I never expected the response 'Broncos' received. Michael Angarano, Sam Rockwell, and Jemaine Clement are so good in their performances as the oddball characters Hess wrote for them. Not anyone can handle Hess's characters and I think this cast was ridiculously under appreciated for their work. Rockwell's performance alone as Bronco/Brutus is a riot as he plays the same character twice but under different constraints of the opposing writers. This is one of those movies that I think as time moves on more and more will come to appreciate its charm and quark.


THE POSTMAN/WATERWORLD
There is a overlapping tone between both of these films and it is optimism. Kevin Costner with these two films was facing a rough patch of his personal life and that may or may not come across on screen. Regardless what we are left with is two post-apocalyptic adventures that have stirred mixed reactions. I have always been a Costner fan (not to mention a apocalypse die hard) so these two movies appeal to me almost automatically. They have flaws that are not deniable but they both also have real heart and conviction that Costner poured into them and I can feel it bleed through each time I watch. I love Waterworld for all of its stunts, action sequences, and its epic vision. Its like a copycat Mad Max on water and it just speaks to me. Postman on the other hand gives me a reminder why I am proud of my country. It is on the nose and it is as some have said a failed parable but it still embodies a strong enough message to remind me how important aspects of our country are and why we should fight to maintain them.


Friday, June 29, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Marc Edward Heuck


 Marc Edward Heuck runs the excellent blog, The Projector Has Been Drinking which should be added to your feeds forthwith. Marc is a truly talented film writer and I am always honored to have his contributions as part of any series I am running. I did this interview with him a while back for the GGTMC and I recommend you give it a listen also.

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It may strike many of you as odd, but it is surprisingly difficult for me to offer up a contribution to this current RPS summer series.  Like many other contributors have pointed out in their prefaces, I don't believe in guilty pleasures...85% of the time anyway...and like The Tick pointed out, bad is just plain BAD - you don't cotton to it, you gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled up newspaper of goodness: BAD DOG! BAD MOVIE! I would liken my dividing line to, say, the difference between a beleaguered city-appointed attorney defending a maligned client who he genuinely believes is good and innocent, and the slick intelligent professional who represents scoundrels he knows damn well are guilty because there's just something about them he can't resist.  As such, many of the movies that have been cited by my esteemed colleagues fall into that first group, and I will not put the "bad" word on them.  But yes, there are a fair number of films that, for me, are in that latter camp of criminality.  I once wrote about these kinds of unlovable movies and why I stood by them when I offered a huge mea culpa for SUCKER PUNCH, a movie which served the same purpose as a cheap bottle of bitter vodka would if I had spent a month in captivity with that wing of my family that don't allow drink, cable, or dirty jokes, in a house where the walls are too thin for any noisy private stress relief.  And after dusting off the skeletons in my closet, I have found a few more rogues for this gallery.



THE BLACK DAHLIA (2006)
It seems that on the subject of Brian DePalma and his less-than-loved movies, you can find apologists for THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, you can find defenders of SNAKE EYES, hell you can find sincere appreciations for MISSION TO MARS, but it's readily apparent that nobody wants to stand up for THE BLACK DAHLIA.  And with good reason.  The acting is wooden, the story perfunctory and predictable, and...goddammit, there were NEVER any clandestine lesbian nightclubs in the late 1940's with that level of production value! There's poetic license, and there's GILLIGAN, YOU'VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME! This movie is so phoned in, that instead of spotting those red antipiracy watermark dots on screen, I spotted a caller ID number from Bulgaria. And yet...it's still DePalma, with the excessive cranes and the tracking shots and the super-slow-motion reveals and the lush music score. For as much as the last generation of film school brats say they love him, you rarely see his technique being emulated in a world of "Oh my god, I've let this scene run for 10 seconds without cutting? BLAM!", so even when it's executed badly, there's that part of me that's happy to be there.


BURIAL GROUND (1981)/ NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES (1980)
I'm lumping these two movies together, because I saw them in the same marathon screening event back in my early L.A. days, they are both films about the dead and their thirst for blood, both made by Italians in the '80's, and films I remember playing drive-ins in Cincinnati as a kid, but never saw then. The first, BURIAL GROUND, struck me as the horror equivalent of one of those "wall-to-wall" porn highlight tapes that were so popular in the dying days of VHS smut: almost no plot, but nonstop action and gore. No explanation for why the dead have come back, or the characters' links, or that creepy "kid" who, dubbed by an adult trying to emulate a teenager, came across even more freaky. In short, ludicrous, stupid, but filling. It was so obvious this thing was cut by an impatient American trying to save money on film stock.
The second film, NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES, was even more gonzo. This one I was familiar enough to know that the director was Bruno Mattei, not "Vincent Dawn" as the badly Anglicized credits would have you believe. This one did attempt to present a plausible explanation for the dead's return, a covert conspiracy by world governments (See, the man is keepin' us down, bro!). But it had been padded out with an absurd amount of stock footage of random jungle animals and weird "native" rituals, like someone stole some cans from Discovery channel or something. Then again, that's pretty much what Terrence Malick did with THE THIN RED LINE, and his movie didn't have much of a plot either. Maybe Mattei is a genius. NAAAH! Again, lots of story lost along the way from Italy to America. Looking at the posters for these two films, I seemed to recall a story, maybe in Fangoria, that for a while, certain mobsters were operating film distribution companies as legit fronts, and I think at least one these movies originally were released by one of these folks. That would explain the choppy editing: "Explanation? Fahgeddaboudit--let's see some more blood."


 KING FRAT (1979)
Joe Bob Briggs once said that part of the effectiveness of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE was that it looked as if it were filmed by actual cannibals. In a sense, that is the same aesthetic that makes me appreciate a completely derivative and puerile wallow in the muck like Ken Wiederhorn's KING FRAT, a college comedy so tasteless that after me pressing him to watch it, fellow blogger Witney Seibold actually wrote "Screw you, movie!" in his review. I cannot argue that there's any originality to this low-budget ANIMAL HOUSE ripoff, or any characters worth sympathizing with, or anything redeeming about the horrid behavior depicted in the name of comedy.  But what it does have that I can't resist is a peculiar stench of authenticity: it looks as if it were conceived and shot by actual drunken frat boys!  It's as if some producer said, "OK, here's a 16mm camera, here's three kegs of Schlitz. Knock yourselves out!"  As such, you get the sensation that, compared to the wild but well-thought-out and smartly-scripted hijinks of National Lampoon's classic, this level of lowbrow stupidity is closer to the real mentality of the average alumnus of your local I Bea Dipshit chapter.  I would daresay that if one called ANIMAL HOUSE the Big Star "Radio City" of fraternity movies, KING FRAT is The Memphis Goons "Teenage BBQ" - a much more crude punkish creature that, well, is still kinda groovy. An ultra-cheap DVD, mastered from 3/4" tape and paired with Harry Kerwin's CHEERING SECTION, was briefly released by Code Red, and for reasons I still do not understand, an extremely unflattering picture of me wound up gracing the cover, which of course makes my father REALLY proud.  "That's my son: the retro slob!"


 MOTHER OF TEARS (2007)
After Dario Argento had kept people waiting for over two decades for the completion of his "Three Mothers" trilogy, the general consensus is that he should have just never completed it.  In interviews, he stated that he wanted to try a different approach to this installment, to not indulge in the saturated surrealism of SUSPIRIA and INFERNO, and instead set it in a more realistic environment.  A noble idea, except for the fact that consequently, the first half of this movie plays like an episode of "C.S.I. ROMA", and his budget, higher than recent memory but still a pittance, means that while we are supposed to believe an ancient curse has fostered chaos in the streets, the best he can summon up to demonstrate that notion looks merely like two Italian soccer hooligans fighting over a game ball.  Thankfully, once Udo Kier shows up we finally begin to get more of the classically batshit Argentoverse us faithful fans have loved him for. And while she's not as hypnotic as Ania Pieroni was in her brief INFERNO tease (which the now-retired Pieroni refused to reprise for Argento), Moran Atias is certainly an alluring Mater Lachrymarum.  Besides, there's always la ragazza Asia. In short, between reminisicing on the better days and watching his daughter running from scissors, I'm willing to forgive ending this series on a whimper.


SNOWBALL EXPRESS (1972)
There are plenty of fond memories of multiple Disney eras for multiple generations - the rise of their animation brand in the '40's, the family dramas of the '50's, the exquisite Sherman Brothers musicals of the '60's, the Eisner/Katzenberg revolution of the '80's, the Jerry Bruckheimer action epics of the '90's - oops, did I leave out the '70's?  Yes I did! Because nobody wants to remember that period.  It's a time of TV stars collecting slightly bigger paychecks, former greats trying to stay active or do one for their grandkids, and theatre operators dutifully running this treacle in order to get the lucrative reissue of MARY POPPINS in a year or so. When you watch Paul Schrader's AUTO FOCUS, do you sense that Bob Crane's lowest point is his sex and videotape addiction, or when SUPERDAD is playing to an empty El Rey theatre?  If, in trying to be generous to the Ron Miller era of the studio, you consider that comedy lovers like me will look kindly to the Knotts/Conway chemistry of the APPLE DUMPLING GANG series, and that FREAKY FRIDAY, ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, and even friggin' Herbie the Love Bug were considered worthy of remaking for new generations, that there is still a whole body of films that are never discussed and have been left to the memories of sugared up Baby Boomers and their barely-patient parents...you may just understand how badly back then, beneath the Magic Kingdom, the ground was sour.  And SNOWBALL EXPRESS is just one of many forgettable fluff flicks that let the multiplex pretend they were family friendly while they knew teens were buying these tickets and sneaking into THE EXORCIST.  So why do I remember this one and speak for it today?  Well, it's an early movie memory for me: I went to a drive-in with my parents, while they were still together and ostensibly happy, to see it on a double bill with THE WORLD'S GREATEST ATHLETE, another dim Disney comedy.  I remember that I liked it though I could recall very little of it, so much that years later, when my grade school would have that monthly Arrow Book Club order solicitation from Scholastic, there was a novelization available and I bought it, and liked what I read.  Then it popped up on that pre-cable subscription service ON-TV, and I taped it and rewatched it, and it still amused my tweener-anxious-to-get-grown-up sensibilities.  I like that it had Johnny Whitaker who played Jody on "FAMILY AFFAIR" in it, because I thought he seemed nice, and nowadays I always think of him when I see the fine UK actress Jodie Whittaker from VENUS and ATTACK THE BLOCK, and wonder if she'll ever play a character named Jonni?  And I think at the core, I just have a soft spot for Dean Jones.  Disney will treat and talk up Dick Van Dyke and Hayley Mills and Annette Funicello like royalty for life and beyond, but you're never going to see them acknowledge this steady friendly face that spent so many years keeping families in theatre seats.  There's no "Dean Jones Golden Collection" on DVD!  Watch the long loud character parades at Disneyland and you'll never see a tribute float for THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE!  (At least a certain murder specialist in HORRIBLE BOSSES seems to appreciate the man.)  Maybe that's why I'm so compelled to speak fondly of this artifact, so that history will not forget a dying Dean.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Paul Malleck

 Paul Malleck is also known as Dormarth. He is a voracious VHS collector and has a wicked zine that he puts out himself called Dormarth's Horror Review which you should all subscribe to immediately.
I interviewed him for The GGTMC Podcast a while back, check it out.


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1.  THE HOLLYWOOD STRANGLER MEETS THE SKID ROW SLASHER 1979 d. Ray Dennis Steckler
 Ray Dennis Steckler made himself a handful of movies.  Most of his movies were quite bland in pacing, value and cinematography.  The artistic scenery was often dusted over as his movies were shot in Nevada where he resided.  This particular movie brought the dusty dander of Nevada into it's cultural hub, Las Vegas.  What works for the movie is the slow sludge pace of two notorious serial killers who eventually cross each others paths, fall in love, and kill each other.  It's one of the few films where its shit pace and grey washed color scheme works when paired with the gritty plot and final climax.  In other word this movie sucked until the end tied it all together.
2.  SAVAGE HARVEST 1994 d. Eric Stanze
Everyone I seem to show this movie always exclaims, "What the fuck dude, that fucking sucked".   Of course it's a shot on video 90's rarity with bad direction and dialogue, but the movie also kicks ass.  A handful of teenage shit-bags on a camping trip come across the Cherokee trail of tears and all of it's legendary glory.  One of these legends speaks of the nearby lake being a vortex into the underworld and bloody cosmos.  "Yeah, whatever"  laughs the teens, as they continue boozing and boning.  One thing for certain is these are REAL PEOPLE in every sense of the word.  Damn they are ugly people, and the sleeveless Budweiser shirt doesn't help much.  One night the surreal and supernatural rear up and out do the ugliness of the teens 10 fold.  Most of the gore and monsters come out at night and this adds to the creepiness and general uneasiness of the film.  The gore effects are awesome, and this one is a real creeper, be it the monsters or the Chimo looking douches.  
3.  THE HOWLING 5: THE REBIRTH 1989 
A group of people are rounded up in a motel after winning a couple of nights in a Hungarian castle are whisked away on a greyhound to their final destination.  The castle is absolutely beautiful and gothic, and the characters are well developed throughout the plot.  As the movie rolls along it becomes a horrorized version of "CLUE" and "TEN LITTLE INDIANS".  There seems to be a werewolf in the castle who is popping people off one by one.  The realization that one of the guests has a tail tucked between their legs like a penis on a transvestite proves a catalyst for more drama.  Granted the film is slow and there is not much gore and minimal action, but the stormy nights, moonlit snowy castle, and the overall mystery and game like aura made this one a gem. 
4.  THEY SAVED HITLERS BRAIN  1968 d. David Bradley
A complete mess coming from the film "THE MADMEN OF MANDORAS"  combining footage years later and released to TV audiences as what we know now.  Nazi's ship Hitlers surviving brain to South America and keep it alive in order to spearhead another NWO in the distant future.   I don't know what it is about South America and the fucking Nazi's, but the real life Angel of Death Joseph Mengele also kicked it in Brazil after WWII!?!?!!?  The movie is full of so many holes and loose ends it's ridiculous.  A terrible terrible film, but I'm a sucker for Nazisploitation,especially old ones like this and "THE INVISIBLE AGENT".
5.  ZOMBIE 90:  EXTREME PESTILENCE  1991 d. Andreas Schnaas
A shot on video epic following 2 doctors trying to stop the zombie epidemic caused by a military crash and chemical release in the forest.    There is so much gore in this movie.  It seems to be shot without much of a script and dives into a long dream sequence which is way too long.  The film was dubbed into english by actors who just winged the whole process.  Jive talk, Honky hootenanies, tough guys, and weasel voices are all used in slapstick manner.  A Jimi Hendrix song is even sung in Jive when a black zombie shows up.  Only for fans of extreme sarcasm, gore, shot on video madness and all around partying.  This film asks to be laughed at, so I went for it balls deep.
6.  THE LEGEND OF BIGFOOT  1976 d.  Ivan Marx
 Mr. Ivan Marx was a wildlife photographer, animal tracker and all around adventurer who like many Sasquatch researchers had their lives changed forever when they saw the Gimlin/Patterson footage on television as a child.  Ivan got involved in Squatching, found a few tracks and decided to do a documentary.  The problem with that, is he found more money in frauding the general population with absolute horseshit.  He liked to have his wife film himself in an ape suit TOTALLY anatomically incorrect with an actual bigfoot and pass it off as reality.  He let is imagination drift on this film into another dimension.  Apparently sasquatch dance like Tiny Tim in tulips, hang out high up in trees, carry their moribund relatives to the north pole and deposite them into volcanic trenches procluding this is why we find no bigfoot bones.  As a documentary you have got to be a complete retard to believe anything this dude says.  As a contrived other-worldy adventure, this comes highly recommended.  His legacy also lives on as he passed on the fraud to Tom Biscardi, the acclaimed hoaxer in charge of the Geogia bigfoot hoax 6 years ago.  So please check out his documentary "BIGFOOT LIVES", and watch it as complete fiction and enjoy it. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Dale Lloyd

Dale Lloyd is a big-time VHS collector/appreciator, and can be found on Twitter under the handle @VivaVHS.
He has been actively collecting tapes since the age of 13, and would like to think that he has a decent understanding of both good and bad movies.
Check out his site also:
 


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Here are my choices for 'bad' movies we love:


MAC AND ME (1988)
It would have been too easy for me to go with THE PIT, so instead i'm opting for a movie that appears in every bad movies list created by popular film magazines. So it's quite clearly capitalising on the success of E.T., and in places feels like a 90+ minute advertisement for McDonald's, but come on, this movie offers so much more. Again, like most movies on the list, this one holds a special place in my heart as a film I was practically raised on. I used to beg my parents to let me rip apart my huge teddy and let me wear it as a suit. Looking back, maybe they were worried i'd bring back memories of THE SHINING. Who knows. I adore this movie and watch it every few years with my wife, the very same wife that occasionally likes to join me in raising our hands and whistling 'that' tune, sometimes in public. Also, the dance scene in the middle of the movie is the stuff dreams are made of.
 

NOTHING BUT TROUBLE (1991)
I'm a John Candy completist, and so tracked this one down in the mid 90s. It was a £1.50 rental from my local store and I rented it monthly. So much so in fact that when the store eventually closed, they held a tape sale and this was one of only a few titles I purchased from them. It will never leave my collection. The cast is incredible and the film is a really fun watch, which makes it even harder to swallow that Aykroyd hasn't returned to the directors chair since. It features a death trap roller coaster called 'The Bonestripper', and a condiment train that will have you wandering why it never caught on. With contraptions like that, who needs a plot? And who can say that they didn't enjoy the rap scene? Damn, just writing this has made me want to revisit it again.


THE LAMP aka THE OUTING (1987)
My one true horror entry on the list. I first saw this movie with my friend when I was about 12 years old. He had this odd looking VHS tape that featured a lamp and some flashing lights on the cover (i've never tracked that exact tape down since). I couldn't remember much about it other than the museum tour that the school takes, the genie inside the lamp itself, and the fact that I enjoyed it immensely. I revisited the movie a few weeks back and i'm happy to report that it's still as great as the day I first saw it. The deaths are seriously creative. I won't spoil too much by saying a few people get attacked by venomous snakes, another by a rotating helmet with a built in vice and even one by fan blades. This is one hell of an underrated horror movie with plenty of gore and chills to please most.



HERCULES RETURNS (1993)
I find it odd that none of my friends ever speak about this comedy classic. I picked this up on VHS from a market because it was on the famous Tartan label, a label that could really do no wrong in the 90s. Featuring the usual eccentric performance from Brad (David Argue of RAZORBACK and BMX BANDITS fame), this is the story of newly funded cinema in Australia, that plans to open with a Italian adaptation of HERCULES. Sadly, the print isn't checked until opening night and it's found to be unsubtitled and of course, Italian. Brad and his friends quickly take it upon themselves to dub the entire movie with their own voices and sound effects. Admittedly, I haven't revisited this one in a while but I remember laughing the whole way through and loving every minute. There are some fantastic one-liners and i'd be very surprised if you didn't find yourself quoting it daily, at least for the first week after.



ONE WILD NIGHT aka CAREER OPPORTUNITIES (1991)
The film on the list that I have seen more times than any other. I first saw this movie in the mid 90s and it owned me from that moment on. I'm obsessed with movies set inside shopping malls or supermarkets. Films like; NIGHT OF THE COMET, CHOPPING MALL, INTRUDER and alike. So imagine my delight when the plot read that both Frank Whaley and Jennifer Connelly are locked inside for the night?! It's funny, sweet, charming, and features Jennifer Connelly straddling a rocking horse. If you haven't seen this movie, I dread to think what your comparing everything you watch to.



REMOTE CONTROL (1987)
A film about a videotape that once rented and watched, controls the viewer and makes them attack anyone near. The footage contained on the tape is a shockingly bad 50s B-movie, but has such a wonderful standee and box art, that it looks very appealing in the store. Video store clerk, Cosmo (Kevin Dillon), is armed with the task of attempting to stop the tape from breaking out and being distributed worldwide. It obviously appeals to me because it's mostly set inside a video store, but the plot is so damn stupid and fun that you can't help but get right behind it. If i'm still not selling it, allow me to mention the fact that Jennifer Tilly pops up, which is always nice.
No DVD release.

BABES IN TOYLAND (1986)
When I was about 6 years old, my parents occasionally left my Sister and I with a babysitter, a sitter that worked on weekends at a local video store. Her name escapes me but I always remember her renting and showing us the same two movies; THE NEW ADVENTURES OF PIPPI LONGSTOCKING and BABES IN TOYLAND. Now don't get me wrong, this movie is the only one on the list that I will go on record as saying it is atrocious, but it's also one that holds very good memories from my youth. It wasn't until recently that I remembered the name of it during a conversation with my Sister. I said "Remember that movie we used to watch as kid, and it started with a song and snowfall near some shops..." That was it. She cut me short and shouted "BABES IN TOYLAND!". It's a movie best left in the past but I adore it unconditionally for the memories it brings back. The plot? Think Takeshi's Castle meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
No DVD release but available on Netflix, I do believe.



There are far too many honourable mentions to list, but here are a few to give you a general idea of my tastes:
HAUNTED HONEYMOON ('86), ROLLER BOOGIE ('79), WATCHERS ('88), HEAVENLY BODIES ('84), BACHELOR PARTY ('84), TAPEHEADS ('88), STREET TRASH ('87), JINGLE ALL THE WAY ('96), STAY TUNED ('92), THE PIT ('81), SUPERSTITION ('82).




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Doug Tilley

 Doug Tilley is a frequent contributor to DailyGrindhouse.com, co-host of the No-Budget Nightmares podcast(www.drunkonvhs.podomatic.com), and a burly, bearded Canadian. He loves kung-fu movies, ultra low-budget shot-on-video nonsense and long walks on (deserted) beaches. He spends most of his time battling ennui by detailing the minutia of his day-to-day life on Twitter(@doug_tilley).

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These kinds of lists are always difficult for me to write, and - in fact - I've pretty much ignored the listed topic entirely. The sorts of movies I write about are of the ultra low-budget variety, so the likelihood of them being terrible is already quite high; but I have no interest in going into watching a film with a great deal of cynicism. For me, if a film is entertaining on any level - then it's already accomplishing something that most can't. So, here's my tribute to some films that are not strictly good, but that I still get a lot of enjoyment - or at least fascination - out of.

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967)
I can't really explain my fascination with THE ADVENTURES OF BULLWHIP GRIFFIN, an entirely forgettable Disney family picture from the late 1960s directed by James Neilson, who also helmed the atmospheric Doctor Syn adaptation THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH. There's nearly nothing to distinguish BULLWHIP from any of the dozens of other films being produced by Disney at the time, but still.. There's something about the wild west setting and Roddy McDowall's stiff-upper-lip performance that I found enchanting as a kid. And I still do. It's not strictly "bad", but it's certainly forgettable.



Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
Now, I think in 2012 the general consensus on HONEYMOON IN VEGAS has shifted towards the positive, and it's certainly not strictly a bad movie. It's just entirely different than the sorts of movies I usually enjoy, thanks to the truly bizarre tone set by Andrew Bergman's script and, especially, the completely unhinged Nicholas Cage performance. Yes, strange Cage performances are a dime a dozen, but it was the first time that I remember seeing an actor intentionally subverting his own role, and a director just letting him run with it. The supporting cast is great, too. Peter Boyle, Pat Morita, Seymour Cassel and especially James Caan; but Cage plays every moment as if he's entirely fueled by rage and frustration - in a romantic comedy! 



Tintorera: Killer Shark (1978)
I experienced TINTORERA on 35mm at the first SHOCK & AWE all-night Grindhouse marathon in Toronto, and it wasn't quite love at first sight. I was hopped up (literally and figuratively) on cold medicine, and the 3AM showing was accompanied by noise-makers being distributed to the crowd for them to "scare" the shark whenever it appeared on-screen. My memories are of a hyperactive mix of (real) fish death and group sex, which a second viewing confirmed to be actual elements of this fantastically misguided JAWS rip-off. Hugo Stiglitz (yes, that guy) stars, with René Cardona Jr. - who had quite a run in the late 70s - directing, and there are so many strange sub-plots and tangents that it's difficult to ascertain who the movie was made for. There are many versions out there, but try and seek out the full 126(!!!) minute version for maximum insanity.


Hip Hop Locos (2001)
Here's a surprise. Regular listeners of the NO-BUDGET NIGHTMARES podcast will know HIP HOP LOCOS as the movie which all terrible movies are compared against. I hesitate to use the word "unwatchable", because there are certain people who see that as a challenge, but it's such a wrongheaded, terrible viewing experience that it eventually transcends being bad entirely - your brain simply won't believe what it's seeing. "Love" is a difficult word to use to describe it, but in terms of knowing the depths to which no-budget film-making can sink - this is a great measuring point.

Pulgasari (1985)
North Korean kaiju movie. Or, at least whatever the North Korean equivalent of kaiju is. Fiercely political, and - notably - directed by kidnapped South Korean director Shin Sang-ok, it's quite a poor, often tedious film to watch. But the scope is magnificent, with the influence of the "great leader" leading to thousands of on-screen extras, and the monster being gleefully silly looking. It's all a fairly transparent rallying cry against capitalism, but when else are you going to see such a thing wrapped up in a big, dumb monster movie?



Redneck County Fever (199X)
Here's another one from the No-Budget file, but with a twist. A film that barely exists - with no IMDB page, no credits, and apparently stuck in some sort of time vortex. Two (Texas-based) surfer dudes are coming home from college for Thanksgiving break, but have a series of comedic adventures after breaking down in REDNECK COUNTY. Apparently lensed in the early 90s - the zubaz pants are a dead giveaway - it's braindead, goofy, and alternately entertaining and confusing. But it holds a special fascination for me, since a group of people obviously cared enough at some point to devote weeks of their lives to making it.

The Guy From Harlem (1977)
I wish I could get across just how awesome the theme song to THE GUY FROM HARLEM truly is. Beyond that bit of funky gold, there's still plenty to enjoy in Rene Martinez Jr.'s late-era blaxploitation film as long as you like retina burning decor and action scenes featuring characters hurling themselves awkwardly at one another. The truly awful performances are a beautiful thing to behold, while the weirdly episodic plot jumps around almost as much as Loye Hawkins as P.I. Al Connors. I can only hope we'll someday see THE GUY FROM HARLEM 2!

Contamination (1980)
Italian rip-offs of American movies were an accepted part of 70s and 80s film-making, but making a killer sea-creature copycat of JAWS was simple compared to re-creating the blockbuster special effects in STAR WARS and ALIEN. But don't tell that to Luigi Cozzi, who followed his unforgettably weird STAR CRASH with CONTAMINATION, which replaces ALIEN's expert pacing, character development and special effects with GLORIOUS GORE and FANCIFUL NUDITY. It has a great Goblin score, and they even throw in a James Bond-ian climax for some reason, but this is truly poor film-making and I absolutely love it. There's a scene with a rat that had the teenage version of me practically jumping for joy.


Fantasy Mission Force (1983)
JACKIE CHAN in FANTASY MISSION FORCE. Well, not really. Jackie only shows up for about five minutes (as a favor), while the real star is notorious dickhead Jimmy Wang-Yu and the fucking INSANE plot which involves Wang-Yu trying to rescue Allied Generals from a  Japanese-run Military camp (which is apparently somewhere in Canada). There are cannibals, hopping vampires, NAZIS, and lots of really strange comedy - but if you give yourself over to the randomness it's a sublime acid-trip of a movie.


Dolemite (1975)
Yeah, we all know DOLEMITE, but how could I not include my favorite bad movie ever? And - let's not mince words - it's a terribly made movie. But it's also definite proof that you don't need quality production values or even passable acting to make an endlessly entertaining and quotable film. You just need a charismatic lead and TONS of quotable dialogue. Rudy Ray Moore carries the whole thing on his back, while the continuity errors, errant boom mics, hilarious foul-mouthed dialogue and lengthy "rap" breaks just add to the threadbare charm. Moore realized the joke by the time he made THE HUMAN TORNADO - which is entertaining in its own right - but DOLEMITE is the great because of how serious it (sometimes) wants us to take it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Paul Corupe

 Paul Corupe writes about movies for RUE MORGUE magazine, Fantasia Festival's official webzine SPECTACULAR OPTICAL and my own site, CANUXPLOITATION. From the CANUXPLOITATION site:
"Since 1999, Canuxploitation.com has been exploring and documenting the murky world of Canadian "exploitation" cinema. With an emphasis on the past, our dedicated review team digs into dusty VHS deletion bins, combs through dollar store DVD racks and braves the wasteland of late night TV to investigate and reclaim Canada's once forgotten B-movie tradition with style and humour. "

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Top 5 Bad Movies I Love



Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965) 
Less a cohesive film than the musings of a child trying to create a story for action figures from incongruent toy lines, Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster is perhaps my favourite kind of so-called "bad" film--an unapologetically moronic concept that still wields enough manic, genre-defying fun to lodge itself in your brain forever. In the film, invading alien Dr. Nadir shoots down a moon rocket over Puerto Rico only to discover it's piloted by an experimental robot named Frank (he's "like a Frankenstein," we're told, probably so we don't feel too cheated by the misleading title). The crash scrambles Frank's circuits (and face) and sets him off on a murderous rampage. Luckily NASA is on the scene and fixes Frank in time to square off against Nadir, who has turned his ray gun-happy minions loose on nearby bikini go-go babes in an interstellar kidnapping scheme. It all concludes with a final reel showdown between Frank and Nadir's Space Monster (looking like the offspring of the Robot Monster and a yak). Whether shamelessly pandering to a pre-teen audience, shoehorning in NASA stock footage or cranking out UFO-rattling garage rock by The Distant Cousins and The Poets, the film is a complete mess, but there's a loopy DIY energy to Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster that makes it—and, to me, all these kinds of films—irresistible.


Oddballs (1984)
Sometimes a “bad” movie can win you over from just sheer force of will. Longtime Canadian cinematographer Miklos Lente got his only crack at the director's chair with this eager-to- please camping comedy that shamelessly rips off one Canadian classic ( Meatballs) and infuses it with the balls-out anti-authoritarian humour of another ( You Can't Do That on Television). It's another "lost virginity wager" film from the Roger Corman stable, this time complicated by the fact that these kids look to be about 11 and spend much of their time kicking themselves in the balls so they can have a pretense to ogle the college-age camp nurse. Canadian comedian Mike MacDonald does his best Bill Murray impression as a sleazy counselor unconscionably enabling his campers with fake IDs and make-out tips, while guest star Foster Brooks is the perpetually drunk owner fending off a rich mall developer who is trying to trick him into selling off the camp. As with most Canadian comedies of its time, Oddballs is rife with amateurish acting, contrived twists and offensive characterizations. And, of course, the jokes are thoroughly terrible—puns and slapstick silliness like a promised “stag” movie that's really a nature film about deer, cars driving through oversize cakes, Day-Glo cafeteria food, broad movie parodies, slide whistle pratfalls and gross-out gags. Most of these affronts to comedy wouldn't even pass muster at Mad Magazine, but Oddballs is so absolutely relentless in its onslaught of dumb jokes that I always get overwhelmed by its deluge of base, juvenile humour and surrender to the steady stream of stupidity. There's something charming and admirable about Oddball's commitment to its own crass ridiculousness that keeps it in my rotation of favourites.


The Corpse Grinders (1971)
You never forget your first loves. As an impressionable teen, I was thrown through a loop when I initially caught this Ted V. Mikels film on Buffalo station WKBW's late night B-movie showcase Off Beat Cinema. It was quite different from the campy 1950s fare the show often ran, so I wasn't prepared for the stark griminess of this film, scripted by Arch Hall Jr.’s dad, about a disreputable cat company that turns snoopers into Fancy Feast. I was familiar with Hollywood’s poverty row, but this degree of impoverished production values and clear disregard for taste was startling. Shot with only a light or two, here were uncomfortable scenes of an unscrupulous boss pushing around mentally and physically crippled employees in a dingy basement. It felt dirty and it felt wrong, but most importantly (at the time anyways), it felt dangerous—like any minute the ramshackle production might descend into chaos. The film's laughable cardboard meat grinding machine would collapse, a cat would bite someone and the director would emerge from behindthe camera to tackle one of the actors whose performance was going off the rails. Someone once said that no matter what time you watch Plan 9 From Outer Space it feels like midnight, and the same can be said for The Corpse Grinders. It’s one of the more watchable entries of this particular "bad" film style , though, thanks primarily to its outlandish plot and eccentric actors, rising just above similar bottomfeeders like The Undertaker and His Pals, Queen of Blood and The Creation of the Humanoids—all hazily plotted, bewilderingly garish films that you recall as though you’ve half dreamed them.


Super Soul Brother (1979)
Not as well known as other "party record" comedians like Redd Foxx, Blowfly or Rudy Ray Moore, Wildman Steve made a cameo appearance in Moore's The Human Tornado before breaking out as the star of this ineptly produced movie released in the wake of the Salkind's Superman. Totally bungled by Guy From Harlem director Rene Martinez Jr., the film stars Steve as a homeless drunk who is tricked by gangsters (including a midget scientist named Dr. Dippy) into taking an experimental, ultimately lethal serum that gives him amazing powers. Steve may be temporarily super-strong and indestructible, but he's still none too bright—after setting him up in a swanky apartment with a live-in nurse, the gangsters have him to lift a gigantic safe out of a jewelry store. Eventually, Steve and the nurse realize what's happening and try to find an antidote to the poisonous effects of the drug. Though shot in Florida with an even tinier budget, Super Soul Brother (AKA The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger) feels apiece with Moore's films, but where Rudy played out loosely plotted tales in the guise of one of the larger-than-life personas he created in his act, Super Soul Brother is mostly showcase for Steve's questionable night club comedy skills, as he repeats awkward observations about personal cleanliness, toilets, oral sex and smoking marijuana while the other non-actors look on blankly, stumbling over basic responses. You’re in trouble when you fall short of the competency level of something like Avenging Disco Godfather, but Super Soul Brother is also lighter, avoiding the dark twists favoured some of Moore’s more outlandish entries; a ribald bully revenge fantasy with a mostly likable and sympathetic lead.


Robo Vampire (1988)
I'm a sucker for the steady stream of martial art-themed sewage that once flowed mightily from Filmark International's ninja film factory. Re-editing two existing Asian films (and occasionally adding a few minutes of new footage) Filmark figureheads Godfrey Ho and Tomas Tang created an entire poverty-strapped industry of redubbed ninja movies tailor made for the Western home video market, largely predicated on tricking viewers with awesome VHS cover art. These budget- minded gentlemen knocked out what must be hundreds of unremittingly cheap films, each inhabiting the same off-kilter world where ninja masters named Gordon and DEA agents named Tom fight heroin dealers (always heroin dealers), rollerskating ninjas are decked out in clothing apparently purchased in a dollar store toy section, and everyone is always on the phone, as characters from one plotline must constantly communicate details over to the second story in a half-hearted attempt at basic logic. Though Ho has denied involvement, Robo Vampire is one of the most enjoyable and memorable features made in Filmark's interminable cut-and-paste style, an appropriately simpleminded Robocop rip-off in which a cardboard armour-clad robot blows away Chinese hopping vampires, spliced with the usual drug smuggling antics. Like many of Filmark's works, it's continually exciting to see Ho scramble to try and connect the stories, but the wild robot sci-fi action gives this an edge over Fimark’s more interchangable ninja movies. But even despite increased interest in these oddities, little is known about ROBO VAMPIRE, Filmark, Ho and Tang—their stories are littered with pseudonyms, denials, unsubstantiated rumours and lost films. Somebody write a book on Ho, please.
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