Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2016 - Zack Carlson ""

Friday, January 27, 2017

Film Discoveries of 2016 - Zack Carlson

Zack Carlson is part of Bleeding Skull and one of the schmos behind Fantastic Fest, the nation's largest genre film festival. He produces movies for filmmakers he likes, was one of the original programmers for the Alamo Drafthouse, has owned a punk record store, and has amassed a bone-crushing collection of over 4000 forgotten VHS treasures. He lives in Austin, TX, where he writes with Bryan Connolly under the banner King Originals. Their show The Suplex Duplex Complex, created with Todd Rohal, will be premiering on Adult Swim in a month or two. Zack and Bryan also wrote the (now hard to get) book about punks on film -DESTROY ALL MOVIES!

See his Discoveries list from last year too!

Hi! I watched three new movies in 2016. Why did I do that? I could have been discovering three more discarded jewels from the 20th century, like the following ten that temporarily distracted me from the mounting horrors of civilization:

(Presented alphabetically)

1975, Dir. Lela Swift
A primordial, uncomfortable shot-on-video TV movie funded by the coins found between the producer's couch cushions, but 100% effectively eerie. A freshly orphaned teenage girl falls in love with the sweet-talking alien being who transmits via an unplugged television in the attic, and may or may not want to annihilate our species. Broadcast as part of ongoing ABC series The Wide World of Mystery, this queasily uneasy scifi chiller apparently scarred children across the continent, remaining burned in their subconsciouses for decades. Note: Alien Lover has been uploaded to YouTube in multiple parts, but be warned that the quality is pee-pee.

1992, Dir. N.G. Mount
Forever walking the line between sub- and superhuman, French filmmaker N.G. Mount followed his feral backwoods gore epic Ogroff The Mad Mutilator and his Metamucil-powered action opus Operation Las Vegas with this wildly misanthropic assault. A group of specially trained soldiers is formed to track down and destroy a rampaging, kill-crazy mercenary who's been assembled from corpses. There are more murders in this movie than there are funny-colored pants in House Party 2. Possibly Mount's crowning achievement in person-hating, which is saying a whole lot. Hiiiiighly recommended.

1993, Dirs. Steve DiMarco & Paul Ziller
The late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper is a self-loathing hard-drinking cop who WILL NOT TAKE YOUR SHIT. Tae Bo master Billy Blanks is a hate-driven vigilante who WILL NOT TAKE YOUR SHIT. And even though they've never been in a movie together before, they're BACK! IN!! ACTION!!! Piper is at the height of his alcoholic uncle charm, and puts in a much better performance (and fistfights) than he did in They Live. Meanwhile, Billy Blanks is a seething, sinewy god of rage. When they're near each other, cars flip over, faces make out with knuckles, and everything blows up. This is exactly the type of movie that shitty people avoid because they don't know that having fun is cool.
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1973, Dir. Nathan H. Juran

Young Richie is enjoying a weekend camping getaway with dad (Kerwin Matthews), but the good times get hosed by the bite of a flannel-clad werewolf. Pops spends the next 80 minutes menacing pine trees, murdering young lovers, and trying to figure out which part of his son to eat first. Meanwhile, a fat hippie Jesus throws several fits. Dopey, clunky and relentlessly entertaining, this deceptively kid-marketed horror feature is actually a celebration of absolute hopelessness. Hey kid! There's no Santa Claus either! Go be dead!
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1982, Dir. Richard Lang
Continuing in The Boy Who Cried Werewolf's vicious disregard of the American family, neurotic businessman Dennis Weaver moves his wife and kids into a possibly haunted house in the LA suburbs. Somewhat similar to the equally great Superstition, which was released the same year, though this one doesn't feature a buzzsaw tearing through a priest's chest so it gets docked three points. Nevertheless, ghosts, Ruth Gordon and "The Sweetest Taboo" (pre-adolescent character death) join forces to create a richly negative TV movie masterpiece. Always remember: there is NO HOPE.

1990, Dirs. Nico Mastorakis & Peter Rader
An unexpected starring vehicle for talented longtime Hollywood character actor Brian Thompson, who looks like a Masters of the Universe action figure made a baby with some really handsome shredded wheat. Here, Thompson plays a macho master mercenary who is assigned to pose as a gay fashion designer to infiltrate a dictatorship, with an army of female assassins posing as his runway models. Oliver Reed is wallowing in the most concave point of his career as the mustachioed overlord of the Third World hellhole, and we even see him make out with the film's male lead in one scene. I wonder if Thompson got drunk from Reed's tongue.
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1995, Dir. Joseph Merhi
No no no no, not Walter Hill's Sergio Leone remake where Bruce Willis shoots at a bunch of newsies in a ghost town. And no no no no, not the one where Road Warrior maniac Vernon Wells is an underground boxer pushed to his limits. Hm? Oh, no no no no, not the 2011 Last Man Standing where a female ex-marine must return to a life of violence to save everyone she loves. Huh? NO no no NO, not the long-running Tim Allen sitcom. Jesus christ. The OTHER one. It's good.

1990, Dir. Frank Harris
This San Jose-made crime-grime pleaser stars a bunch of guys who definitely work at Jiffy Lube when they're not shooting guns in alleyways. But despite its budget, Lockdown is elevated by an incredible, top notch performance from eternally reliable, horribly scarred reptilian superstar Richard Lynch. Whether playing opposite Oscar-caliber actors (in The Ninth Configuration) or swapping blows with asthmatic gym coaches (here), Lynch ALWAYS put in 500% of the work that was required, and is easily among my favorite actors ever. The filmmakers of Lockdown understood his value, and though the movie's lead is ostensibly the greaseball renegade cop on the DVD cover, this is absolutely Lynch's show to the megamax. In fact, it's time that we change the film-nerd definition of "Lynchian" to something that doesn't involve pulsing lightbulbs and broken doll heads. Get real. RICHARD LYNCH. Yell it.
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1975, Dir. Milton Katselas
A greazy, sleazy, displeazy slice of police procedural tragedy set in New York's uriniest, barfiest, pubiest mid-'70s underbelly. Yaphet Kotto and Michael Moriarty are plainclothes detectives assigned to the filth fountain of 42nd Street. Young Bob Balaban plays a mentally ill homeless amputee who assists them or bites their legs, depending on his mood. Report is packed to the brim with suffering and fear, with one particularly intense scene in an elevator featuring more sweat than in any fifteen Vietnam dramas combined. I'm talkin' about dripping, pouring, running, sweaty sweat. Bags and bags of sweat. You'll be all like, "Damn, stop sweatin'."
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1988, Dir. Godfrey Ho
This is one of 18,007 movies that former gladiator actor Richard Harrison made with Hong Kong director/barrel-scraper Godfrey Ho between 1984 and 1988. Most of these films featured frowning cops, slow car chases and white guys in "NINJA" headbands throwing smoke bombs at each other. I mean, Scorpion Thunderbolt does too, but also includes a lady turning into a lizard monster while watching a porno movie, plus several blind stumbles into the wild world of Eastern occultism. Witch assassins, evil castles, and a snake-kicking nerd elevate this one to ground-level brilliance. 
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...and a Special Mention goes to the 1995 HBO TV-movie Indictment: The McMartin Trial for the scene in which James Woods earnestly screams, "YOU KNEW SHE WAS A FUCKIN' BANANA!!"

1 comment:

The Movie Waffler said...

Scorpion Thunderbolt is the ultimate Godfrey Ho movie. Pretty sure it's three seperate unfinished movies cobbled together. You'll never get another erection after watching the sex scene set to Jean Michel Jarre.