Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - THE CAR & THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE on Blu-ray ""

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Scream Factory - THE CAR & THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE on Blu-ray

THE CAR (1977; Elliot Silverstein)
There are just some movies that a different to explain to people. THE CAR, at its most basic, is a killer automobile movie, but it's oh so much more than that. For one, it is one of my very favorite JAWS knockoffs. What does a demon-posessed car have to do with a shark gobbling up swimmers off the coast of Amity Island? The two premises don't sound all that aligned form the outset, but they line up in a lot of ways. It's just about the structure of the thing. Monster on the loose, terrorizing a small community with a lone lawman left to try to save the day. Granted, Roy Scheider has help in JAWS and more less ineffectual help than James Brolin's sheriff character does in THE CAR. He just has Ronny Cox. Normally Ronny Cox would probably be of some help, but in THE CAR - not so much. So like JAWS, THE CAR starts with an opening "attack scene" involving youngsters at the beginning and things slowly begin to reveal themselves from there. The "discovery" phase of the two movies is very similar and there both even have set pieces that involve the monster menacing a large group of citizens in a public area. It's a darker, more evil and more over the top JAWS-esque story and that's part of what I love about it. It also features one of the greatest kills in the history of cinema wherein a woman is run down by the car in her own home (played basically in one shot). It's quite outstanding. One thin that always makes for a good movie is a good villain and the car itself in THE CAR is a pretty spectacularly designed sinister-mobile. Said car was design by the late great George Barris ("King of the Kustomizers") who also created the original 60s Batmobile, K.I.T.T. from KNIGHT RIDER and the less popular but equally epic SUPERVAN. The car in this film was a modified Lincoln Mark III and what a beauty she is. She looks like an armored pimp-mobile with a jet-black paint job and fully black tinted windows. A demon on wheels for sure and of course the car even has a memorable honk (which plays prominently in the trailer). It's a goofy sound to be a signature, but is nonetheless unnerving. It makes you want to see a standoff between this car and Christine. It'd be a glorious battle and whilst Christine played appropriately threatening 50s pop songs from her stereo, the car would return fire with a barrage of devilish honks. It'd be delightful. But I digress. This movie is just a hoot and has become one of my favorite horror movies. I even have the Australian poster for it framed in my office at work. It's been neat to see folks respond to that poster over the years. THE CAR is absolutely a cult favorite and that is evidenced by the fact that most folks I know that have seen it are dedicated fans of it. It is a delight from beginning to end. Very excited to own both this Blu-ray AND the Arrow Video version as well. It's the kind of movie I'll buy in every version and format basically. Worth owning!

Special Features:
-(NEW) Mystery Of The Car – An Interview With Producer/Director Elliot Silverstein.
-(NEW) The Navajo Connection – An Interview With Actress Geraldine Keams.
-(NEW) Just Like Riding A Bike - An Interview With Actress Melody Thomas Scott.
-Theatrical Trailer, TV Spot & Radio Spots.

THE CAR arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory on December 15th. Buy it for your horror-loving pals:

The cinematic capitalization of fads that were popular around a certain time period are often amusing to look back on. For one thing, by the time the fads become part of the cultural zeitgeist enough to be thought of as movie material, they are often on their way out and so look outdated even upon their initial release. To understand the significance of The Garbage Pail Kids, you must first understand the utter phenomenon that was Cabbage Patch Kids. It's difficult to fathom the remarkable popularity of these dolls unless you were around at the time, but think of it as the new iphone times 1000 in terms of the rampant "must have! must have!" sentiment that was going down circa 1982-1986 or so. They were the absolute Christmas gift that most parents wanted for their kids and they demand was far too great for the manufacturers to keep up with. Thus, these dolls were incredibly sought after and obligatory and that kind of thing can create something of a backlash eventually and that is just what happened. Around 1985, Topps (the trading card company) in conjunction with Art Spiegelman (creator of Wacky Packages as well) came up with the idea of parodying the Cabbage Patch Kids with a line of trading cards that were very much in the vein of an almost Mad Magazine style of gross out humor. These Garbage Pail Kids were a big hit with a lot of kids I knew at the time and I think part of that had to do with the off-color humor on display in their design. So one popular idea spawns another idea making fun of the original thing, but it is also popular so.... why not make a movie out of it? I think you can understand that this idea is a little flawed from conception to execution in that it takes something that was gross, but funny in an animated, two-dimensional card format and makes it "real" in the live-action sense. Do kids really wanna see these disgusting Garbage Pail Kids brought to life? The answer was of course "no, they don't" and the movie flopped and was universally panned as one of the worst movies ever made. To this day, I have seen it on many "worst of all-time" lists and that is really saying something if you think about all the bad movies that have ever been pooped out into the world. The movie did fail at the box office yes, but it cost about $1 million to make and pulled in about $1.5 million. How that happened, I don't know but clearly a movie with that meager a budget wasn't off to a great start to begin with - especially one that had some many special effects heavy costumed characters. Minor tangent - this reminds me a bit of the recent scenario with the JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS movie. This too was another very low-budgeted movie that had source material that would very much have lent itself to having a much larger production to support it. The result is a smaller movie that took a critical beating and didn't draw much box office despite not having to make much to recoup its costs. I actually enjoyed JEM for what it was so this makes me a little sad, but it was perhaps not the best idea to make a film out of that property. At least it makes for a coherent movie and the thing that the filmmakers came up with is pleasant enough and seems to make sense as a movie whereas THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE is a real head-scratcher. It's absolutely one of those "what were they thinking?" kind of deals and in all honesty, I am strangely drawn to movies like this. Is it a bad movie? A mess? Perhaps, but when you've watched enough movies there is a craving for the unusual and odd and GPK is certainly that. At the outset you might ask what kind of a story could be weaved around these little disgusting creatures and you'd be right in thinking that it might not be all that coherent. I think a lot of people have connected to it because they saw it when they kids and it charmed them with its weirdness in some way. Nostalgia is a bizarre mistress though in that it cloaks the very terrible in a layer of gooey, sweet comfort pheromones or something so that we that have it for a movie like this get some pleasure from it whilst others without can only recoil in disgust. I can't elucidate upon my affection for this offering from a literal trash bin, but it is one that I must return to regularly. Now the name Rod Amateau may not have any immediate significance for you, but I am a fan of his work. Two movies of his, DRIVE-IN and HIGH SCHOOL USA (this was a TV movie technically, but it's amazing nonetheless). He also directed a few episodes of the Patty Duke Show, so he basically gets a pass for life from me for that too. Anyway, the point here is that you should get to know Rod Amateau. 

Special Features:
Hats off to Scream Factory for not only bringing this movie out on Blu-ray (I sincerely never thought that would happen), but for also loading it up with supplements (which I never ever ever though would come to pass). Fun stuff:
-(NEW) The Effects Of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie – Interviews With Special Makeup Effects Creator John Carl Buechler And Makeup Effects Artist Gino Crognale.
-(NEW) On The Set – An Interview With First Assistant Director Thomas A. Irvine
-(NEW) The Artful Dodger – An Interview With Actor Mackenzie Astin.
-(NEW) The Kids Aren't All Right – Interviews With Garbage Pail Kids Actors Arturo Gil (Windy Winston) And Kevin Thompson (Ali Gator).
-Theatrical Trailer
THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE oozes onto Blu-ray on December 8th. A perfect gift for the 80s-obsessed goofballs in your life:

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