Saturday, October 20, 2012

Films 7 - October part 3

...aaand the last 11 horror films I'm going to review for October.

'Def By Temptation' - 1990
Some of you may be familiar with this since Troma put it out. That being said, it's NOTHING like a regular Troma movie. I would put this film in a category with stuff like 'Where the Dead Go to Die' and 'The Room'...i.e. 'outsider' cinema. This is obviously the product of one man's imagination. It's very religious, sometimes hard to follow, and homemade-looking. However, it is also very artistic and enjoyable (even if it steals a scene from 'Videodrome'--whatever though, more films NEED shots of dudes getting sucked into TVs.) Also, look for a brief appearance by Samuel L. Jackson!

'Troll' - 1986
Lesser-known than the disasterous 'Troll 2,' but equally awful/awesome. If you don't know, 'Troll 2' does NOT feature any trolls, and was created by a guy who spoke English as a second language and insisted on writing the script IN English. He also hired a bunch of Italians who didn't speak English, then only hired American actors (the film was shot in America). It was released as 'Troll 2' to capitalize on the success (?) of this film, which was already a z-grade picture. What the fuck? Anyhow. This one's about a troll that takes on the form of a little girl and terrorizes her neighbors in an apartment complex, turning their homes into bizarre troll habitats along the way. It's pretty fucking weird, and with the PG-13 rating, totally family friendly--if you're into that sorta thing. Apparently this was also the first film Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus was in, too.

'The Immortalizer' - 1989
Upon researching, this seems to be a direct-to-video release. Figures, it was pretty goddamn bad. A mad scientist somehow hides the fact that he's stealing young people and putting rich old peoples' minds inside their heads. He does this with the help of some fucked-up mutants he accidentally created. It might be godawful, but this prime piece of 80's trash still comes recommended if you're a b-movie fan like me.

'Trancers' - 1985
I hold films released by Full Moon to a higher standard than most b-films. Part of that is because I saw 'Puppet Master' at a very young age and thought it was awesome, and part of that is because this film is so damn good. Okay, the plot isn't very strong, some of the acting is questionable, and the whole premise is an obvious attempt to not outstretch their budget (I mean, c'mon...cop from the future goes back to 1985? Why even bother making it a sci-fi film?)....but 'Trancers' ends up being a really artistic piece of low-budget fun. Tim Thomerson is awesome as usual, the special effects are cheap but effective, and I dunno, it's just a good time. I can't recommend this one enough...

'Brain Dead' - 1990
Not to be confused with Peter Jackson's 'Dead Alive' (which is also titled 'Brain Dead' in some countries, and I believe it has that title on the image I posted a few weeks ago), THIS one comes from the mind of Charles Beaumont, one of the original writers for the 'Twilight Zone' series. I didn't realize until looking this up that he died in '67, meaning the script must've been in the vault for a looooonnnnng time. Oh well. Look at the cast of this shit. Bill Paxton AND Bill Pullman. Bud Cort (aka Harold from 'Harold and Maude). Cool, right? When I rented this, everything about it screamed 'b-movie,' from the shitty cover art to the shitty music during the title sequence, to the washed-out 80's look of the whole thing. However, the story here is VERY unusual and the acting (obviously) is top-notch. It's almost like the inclusion of a superb cast and a story by a legendary writer overcame EVERYTHING ELSE about this film. Oh yeah, it's really intentionally funny, too...some great jokes and unusual secondary characters here. Definitely for when you want a horror film that's more heady than the usual fare.

'The Stuff' - 1985
I finally watched this because it was compared to 'Street Trash' and 'Slime City,' but I think that's just because it involves people melting kinda. Not as good as those two, and not nearly as offensive as 'Street Trash,' but this was still a fun piece of 80's trash. I mean, just the idea of people freaking out about a 'new dessert' that's going to 'replace ice cream' but isn't anything like it is so unbelievably stupid. It's like the movie just formed without anybody taking the time to write it. Worth the time if you're stoned/drunk enough.

'Buttcrack' - 1998
Yes, there really is a movie about a guy whose buttcrack turns you into a zombie when you look at it. Yes, it really features Mojo Nixon. Yes, of course, Troma released it. Almost too stupid for its meager hour-and-six-minutes length.

'Dollman' - 1991
It's not really a horror film...more of an action/thriller than anything, but you'll be glad you saw this one. Featuring Tim Thomerson (the lead in 'Trancers' and several other Charles Band productions) as a foot-high cop from another universe named Brick Bardo. It should be noted that, at this point, Full Moon didn't have the budget to properly do a film like this. Thomerson is constantly being put in odd angles in order to make his short stature seem 'realistic.' Whatever, though, this shit rules. There's barely anything going on, but Thomerson is so badass with his so-dumb-it's-smart tough guy schtick. The sequel to this pits him against the evil toys from 'Demonic Toys.' Apparently, all of these films are a sequel to 'Bad Channels,' another fantastic Full Moon feature. I can't remember exactly what it is, but Brick says something really funny to a fat kid in an elevator.

'Ice Cream Man' - 1995
This has long been one of my favorite b-movies. The lead is b-movie king Clint Howard (also Ron Howard's brother? Huh...didn't know that) and it's about an ice cream man that kills kids and then turns them into gross-ass ice cream flavors. Yes, it's VERY stupid. But it's got some great one-liners, and a carnival-esque atmosphere that's not unlike the 'Puppet Master' films. My favorite was when Clint says 'you're ice cream, kid' to a boy he's about to kill.

'Teenage Caveman' - 2002
Although there's a 50's movie with the same title, this is only very loosely based on it. From the sick mind of Larry Clark (the guy who found a 17-year-old Harmony Korine skateboarding and hired him to write his film 'Kids.'...also the guy who stole Korine's ideas for later films and did his own sleazy fuckery along the way...'Bully,' 'Wassup Rockers') comes the post-apocalyptic story of a tribe of 'cavemen' whose leader likes to be the only dude havin' any sex at all. Some of his tribe figure out that they're not really cavemen, but the remnants of modern man, who was killed off in a nuclear blast. They escape and go into the city and find some goth weirdos who make them do drugs and listen to the Misfits. Then they start exploding. No joke, that's about it. The acting is awful (as with most of Clark's films) and it's about one step away from being a porno, but that's the magic of Larry Clark. You get the feeling he's closer to the characters in his films than a 'trash' film maker like Andy Warhol or something.

'Dead Dudes in the House' - 1991
Finally, one last Troma masterpiece. Although not directed by Lloyd Kaufman, I guess this is a pretty highly-regarded flick from the Troma catalog. It's also a great instance of their tendency to exploit their own filmmakers, marketing the films however they want in order to get the most viewers. In this case, it's marketed as a 'fresh, hip-hop comedy horror.' There is NO rap music ANYWHERE in the film, and the characters are more like annoying guidos than anything. Regardless, the dialog is stupid-funny in the same way as 'Redneck Zombies' and you don't like any of the characters, so it's fun to watch 'em die. I was worried the plot would wear thin and the middle would drag too much for this to be enjoyable. I was wrong, the movie definitely plays on its strengths. Check it for sure if you can find it.

Alright, that's 31 horror movies reviewed for the month of October. I'm sure I'll watch some more before the end of the month (lots of these I haven't seen in years) and maybe they'll show up here.

Also, I tried to keep this list on the 'underground.' I figure most people who find this blog have seen the more well-known stuff I could recommend, but just in case you haven't, PLEASE watch these films:

-ALL David Cronenberg, especially 'The Fly' and 'Scanners.'
-ALL John Carpenter, specifically 'The Thing' and 'Prince of Darkness.'
-'Carnival of Souls'
-SOME Troma flicks. Namely the original 'Toxic Avenger' and 'Poultrygeist.'
-'Rosemary's Baby'
-'Evil Dead 2'
-The first 2 original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' films.
-'Hellraiser' 1 and 2.
-Fucking 'Eraserhead.' I hope you've seen this.

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