Thursday, July 25, 2013

Films 12 - another helping of summer mindmelt cinema

Well, it's pretty much the hottest part of the summer, so here are some more movie reviews to watch in an air-conditioned room. Or you know, a cabin in the woods that's 'off the grid,' whatever the hell your setup is. Enjoy.

'Roller Blade' - 1986
Here's another example of a film failing on so many levels that it becomes a surreal kind of masterpiece. It's also one of many, many films that aped 'Mad Max' in the mid-80's. Apparently EVERYONE thought the future would be a desolate, nuclear-damaged desert with roving bands of freaks. Huh. Well, this time around, everybody's on roller skates. Not blades, mind you, because that would make sense. There ARE a lot of switchblades, but whatever. Basically, some nuns get their power crystal stolen by the bad guys, and they skate around trying to get it back. But, there's so much more than that. This is prime 1980's trash-culture surrealism at its finest. NOTHING in the film makes sense, and it almost reaches 'Samurai Cop' levels of greatness. The best part is actually not really related to the film. The director, Donald Jackson, along with martial arts master/writer/director/actor Scott Shaw, made about 60 movies using their 'zen' technique of filmmaking, which means they don't use a script. Yes, that's right. So, you've got b-list action celebrities like Frank Stallone improvising ridiculous action and sci fi movies with a handheld camera. I CANNOT recommend their stuff enough. Unfortunately, you have to pay for it, but it's worth it. (Scroll down till you start seeing titles like 'Max Hell, Frog Warrior') They've also done about seven post-apocalyptic rollerskating films, NONE of which was a real 'sequel' to this one.

'Evil in the Woods' - 1986
Apparently 1986 was a GREAT year for cinema. This one honestly has more subplots than a Paul Thomas Anderson flick. I dunno what the deal is, but shit seems pretty homemade. It's also 'knowingly' bad. I say 'knowingly' because there are a lot of 'jokes' about what's going on in the film, but the 'jokes' aren't 'funny,' meaning it's supposed to be knowingly bad but it's actually even stupider than it thinks it is. Or something like that. It was entertaining, though, and any film where the narration is a little kid reading stories in a book is usually good for a laugh. Especially when the directors forget to use that narration more than like, 2 times, making it irrelevant. A real 'what the fuck' experience.

'Max Hell Frog Warrior' - 2002
Again, it ain't free, but 2 bucks isn't a bad price to stream some of the greatest improv-sci-fi flicks ever made. I forgot to mention that Donald Jackson of 'Roller Blade' fame ALSO did the cult classic 'Hell Comes to Frogtown' before goin' off the deep end and doing the 'zen filmmaking' thing with Scott Shaw. Needless to say, he and Shaw did about 50 frog-mutant-related movies too. This one 'follows' a flick called 'Toad Warrior' (interesting acknowledgement of the 'Mad Max vibes these dudes put off) but I don't think it's really necessary that you watch them in order. It's just barely an hour long too, so there's that. It was pretty silly, but I'd probably watch it again. Unfortunately, Amazon isn't carrying what looks to be the best Scott Shaw film, 'Rock 'N Roll Cops.' They also don't have the Sun City Girls-scored 'Guns of El Chupacabra,' How he came to work with them is beyond me, but it's awesome nonetheless.

'The Executioner 2' - 1984
Ah, the 80's. Nowadays people pretty much watch whatever the advertisers cram down their throats, but back then, you had to TRICK somebody into watching your crappy film. Whereas a company like Troma made ridiculously unrelated posters which made their sub-basement productions look like goddamn 'Animal House,' some shadier producers would just lie outright. See, there IS no 'Executioner.' There is, however, a 'Terminator' and an 'Exterminator,' and one can only guess that these folks wanted to draw in the mostly-illiterate crowd. I mean, I GUESS that's legit. If you're too stupid to read a movie box, you probably deserve to see films like this. It's actually quite entertaining, too. Kind of like 'Rambo' on PCP or something. It's a crazy Vietnam veteran taking the law into his own hands in over-the-top violent ways, so yeah, a lot like 'Rambo.' But better, and definitely crazier. Worth your time, I'd say.




1 comment:

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