Sunday, March 10, 2013

Films 9 - More Low Budget Nitemares

Okay...after spending a whole shit-ton of time this week watching bargain-bin flicks, I've got some more to review.

'The Jar' - 1984
Don't know much about this, other than it is VERY weird. In an Amazon comment, the main 'actor' talks about how low-budget the project was, and apologizes for his acting. I dunno, it wasn't really that bad...a lot of lists seem to cite this as one of the worst horror movies of all time, and I guess if you go into it expecting a 'horror' movie that's probably true. It IS a very good surrealist piece, though, and I don't think the surrealism is completely unintentional. Sure, the acting is a little wooden, but (and I hate to keep going back to this, but it's true) so is the acting in MOST David Lynch films, because it's not really 'about' the acting. Basically, a guy comes into possession of a jar that contains some weird, possibly alien being. It starts fucking with his mind, and days start and stop at random...he'll end up someplace different for no reason, and it's not clear what's a dream and what's not. It also doesn't really end. It's apparently not shot on VHS like I thought, but whatever the low quality film stock is, it amps up the menace for sure. I can't recommend this enough for fans of surrealism and creepy low-budget oddities. Probably going to be watching this one a lot more...

'Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness' - 1986
This one is also fairly weird. It seems like it's supposed to be a 'regular' kinda slasher film, but is just a big oddball mess. Not as low-budget as you might think, but there are some very strange editing/story decisions that don't really make sense in terms of filmmaking. It kind of just follows this guy along as he goes crazy from finding his wife cheating on him...he keeps doing ridiculous shit, then getting put in the psych ward (it happens like 3 times) then he gets out and inevitably plays 'truth or dare' with someone...usually imaginary. The 'dares' include things like popping out eyes and cutting arms off...shit like that. I heard this described as a 'fever dream' and that's kind of fitting. The score music comes in at the wrong time often, and stops for no reason, and there's really not a point to the just kinda keeps going and going...aside from about 20 minutes of being way too slow, it was pretty entertaining.

'The Dark Planet' - 1989
This one's so underground it's not even on RateYourMusic...impressive...apparently the work of Richard Corben, who had a lot to do with the 'Heavy Metal' film and the 70's comic book it was based on. I don't remember the film too well, but his segment was called 'Den.' The review I read for this was basically almost don't believe the guy worked on such a cool thing as 'Heavy Metal' upon seeing's VERY poorly done. I don't think there's anybody involved but him and maybe one or two other people.  A lot of the film is amateurish clayamation and puppet-work, and if there's a live actor, it's usually just one on the screen at a time. I guess the structure is pretty similar to 'Heavy Metal,' as it's an incomprehensible mess of 'segments' only held together because they occur on the same imaginary planet and involve the same ancient artifact. I really don't know what to say about's definitely artistic, but it's pretty much a failure, but it's still kinda cool...even though I couldn't even begin to tell you what it's about.

'Woodchipper Massacre' - 1988
Possibly the most zero-budget film I've ever seen...maybe even moreso than 'Quadead Zone.' Basically a young dude (probably 19?) and his family making a shot-on-video flick about a crazy aunt who accidentally gets killed by her nephew while babysitting. Since they have a woodchipper rented for the weekend, the kids decide to just chop her up, but they have to freeze her first because apparently woodchippers don't work for 'wet stuff.' Then they kill her son because he's an asshole and why not? For a 'splatter' flick, it's not very violent, and it reminded me more of an afterschool special or 'Full House' or something. Lots of fun if you have 80 minutes to kill. Writer/director/actor Jon McBride seems to have made some other, gorier flicks that I'll have to check out. This one, like 'Quadead' also seems to be scored on a cheap Casio keyboard. Cool.

'Rubber' - 2010
Pretty decent for a 'newer' flick...which I don't usually like. Aside from the whole 'oh my god, can you BELIEVE we MADE this movie?!' attitude throughout, it was fairly enjoyable. Yes, it's about a tire that blows up animals and people for no reason, but no, it's not a 'retro'-style B-movie. It's more of an art-project kinda thing...about how strange of a concept the film actually is. It makes some good points in that respect, but it's VERY heavy-handed. I dunno, it might have been better if they'd gone for a more retro vibe. As it is, I probably won't re-watch it anytime soon, but I don't regret the 90 minutes I spent on it.

'Big Money Hustlas' - 2000
Yup. The Insane Clown Posse's first movie. I remember being fairly impressed by this in high school (and I hated them then) so I re-watched it. Hilarious. If you hate ICP, watch this, because you will look at them in a totally different light. Yes, it's cheesy, low budget, stupid, gross and foul, but so are the blaxploitation films they're parodying, and they do a much less pretentious version than say, Quentin Tarantino (who I DO still hate). I mean, they even got Rudy Ray Moore to be in well as The Misfits and fucking Harland Williams. Definitely the hardest I've laughed in a while, and it shows that ICP might be loud and obnoxious, but they're NOT stupid. They totally know what they're doing, and the fact that Violent J supposedly wrote this film in like 2 weeks is incredible. Harland Williams, of course, steals the show, in possibly my favorite role from him as officer Harry Cox.


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