Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Mike 'McBeardo' McPadden ""

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Mike 'McBeardo' McPadden

Mike “McBeardo” McPadden is the author of Heavy Metal Movies: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big-Scream Films Ever!, coming from Bazillion Points in 2014. He’s also the Head Writer at Mr. Skin (active), and publisher of the ’90s sleaze zine Happyland (retired). Tweet away @Mcbeardo.

I spent the bulk of 2013 in the homestretch of writing Heavy Metal Movies: The Book and, in doing so, I watched literally hundreds of pre-1990 films that had slipped past me the first time This epic tome, which comes out in April (finally!), will include 666 reviews, culled down from more than 2,000. It’s been an interesting couple of years, this process. Oof!

Among the most brain-blasting headbanger cinema standouts I discovered for myself in 2013 are the following:

AMERICA 3000 (1986)
Taking place “900 years after the Great Nuke” in a world gone “woggos” (future-speak for nutzoid), America 3000 is lower-tier Cannon Films post-apocalypse sci-fi rendered highly memorable by a Aargh the Awful—a Sasquatch-like creature who parties with a boombox. 

John Cassavetes stars as Cody, leader of badass biker outfit the Skulls in a downbeat, almost scary follow-up to Roger Corman’s The Wild Angels (1966). The Skulls war with law enforcement and rain destruction rained down on a seaside town during its summer fair season to a ferocious score by Mike Curb (Kelly’s Heroes) and killer instrumental by Davie Allan and the Arrows. “Devil’s Rumble”, by the Arrows, is as doom-laden a forecast of heavy metal as anybody else put out in ’67.

One scene, we all know, can make an entire movie. And it’s sort of perversely satisfying when that one scene occurs in the opening moments of a film and then everything else follows is a big nothing. Such is the case of Killer Party, a slasher flick that kicks off with the no-hit-wonder mullet-metal combo White Sister tearing up their anthem “April (You’re No Fool)”. I can’t undersell the hilarity of White Sister’s performance, except to point out that the most uproarious aspect isn’t even that we can clearly see that the guitars upon which they are wailing CONTAIN NO STRINGS. 

LONE WOLF (1988)
Lone Wolf alternates between playing it straight and occasionally shooting us a wink without ever abandoning the seriousness of lycanthropy—in this case, specifically, how it complicates the love life and music career of college student Joel Jessup (Kevin Hart), the lead singer of a heavy metal band that specializes in playing youth events—most notably, a school dance that turns into a howling bloodbath.

MAD FOXES (1982)
Swiss metal mavens Krokus provide Mad Foxes with the theme song “Easy Rocker” and if ever a song title were (fantastically) misleading, that’s it. NOTHING in this 77-minute cyclone of Nazi biker rape and muscle car a-hole revenge rocks easily—not the karate students let loose on the motorcycle maniacs, not the removal of the gang-leader’s penis which he then is forced to eat, not the point-blank shotgun blast to the head of a crippled mom, not the disembowelment orgy… nothing! 

An oddity even by the standard of director Luigi Cozzi (Starcrash, Contamination, the Lou Ferrgino Hercules), Paganini Horror depicts the ghost of the 19th century classical music icon dispatching members of an all-female hair metal band with a razor-sharp violin bow. The fun of the movie never rises to the audacity of its premise but, still, that premise is really something. I also appreciated how it prompted me to learn more about Paganini himself—a decadent proto-rock-star and virtuoso so bewitching in performance that he earned the nicknames “Devil’s Son” and “Witch’s Brat”. Get your education wherever you can, kids. 

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