Saturday, October 19, 2013

Films 14 - October part 2

Alright, a week later and I've watched like 20 more movies, so here are some reviews. These are, of course, low-budget horror films in the spirit of the season.

'Twisted Issues' - 1988
This might be THE coolest punk film of all time. And that's coming from someone who grew up on shit like 'Repo Man' and 'Suburbia' (the cool one, not the shitty 90's one.) Yes, it's shot-on-video, and uses members of the Gainesville, FL punk scene as actors, but if those aren't immediate turnoffs for you, then you should definitely check this out. What started as a documentary on Florida punk turned into a splatter-film involving a power struggle between two bizarre godlike characters (one who spends his time watching TV and taking turns with his girlfriend at murdering each other), a resurrected straight-edge skater, and plenty of stoned and drunk debauchery. It's much more intelligent than your average SOV flick, and a hell of a lot more fun, too. And, it's got a GREAT soundtrack of mid-80's Gainesville punk. Look out for the 'butt people.' You'll see what I mean. Oh yeah, get it from director Charles Pinion himself because he's a swell dude.

'The Bloody Video Horror That Made Me Puke On My Aunt Gertrude' - 1989
Yes, that's the real title of those messy SOV flick. And, as most other reviews will tell you, it's not really all that bloody, and it's just barely a horror film. It's got awful production values and REALLY bad acting, but that's not a reason to avoid it. In my opinion, this is is the movie 'Clerks' would have been if Randall had written and directed it instead of Kevin Smith. It concerns a snarky, lazy video store employee who rents out some equipment to a weird middle-eastern guy who uses it to make a snuff film. Then, for some reason, he accidentally leaves his video in the recorder. To cover his tracks, he kills the young man's boss. Said boss had trouble with the mob, so the video store guy assumes it's the mob who killed his boss, so HE kills a mob guy. There are some ridiculous plot twists I won't give away, but suffice to say most of the film consists of the lazy dude saying mean shit to his boss and being a dick to customers. Whatever the case, from the typed cast list at the beginning to the half-assed ending, this is a film that really doesn't care if you like it or not. I love stuff like this, because when else but the 80's could movies like this end up on the shelves of video stores? It's about an hour-ten, and I didn't feel like I totally wasted a night by watching it. In fact, I'll probably watch it again. Oh yeah, the director also did that awful 'Vampiyaz' movie that Something Awful made fun of a while back. The more you know.

'Things' - 1989
This is what happens when drunk, stoned and demented backwoods Canadian dudes make a splatter-horror film. It has nothing to do with the 'real' world, and makes about as much sense as 'Eraserhead,' but with a room of friends, you can't go wrong with this one. So, you've got a couple guys from 'New York' (yeah, sure) who visit one of their brothers in backwoods Canada. His wife is pregnant, so they need to be quiet, which doesn't really make sense because it seems like they are visiting for a weekend of beer-drinking and partying. Then, she gives birth to some weird insect creatures (which subsequently kill her) and all hell breaks loose. Well, kind of. See, none of the characters really appear to give a shit about this, and they continue to drink, say weird things, make sandwiches, and play tricks on each other the whole time. One guy disappears 'into the 4th dimension' but is back later for no reason. Another guy gets killed at least a few times, but is unphased by it. And, the whole thing is scored with some seriously weird synth music. Yeah. It's fucked. Definitely one of the strangest things I've ever seen, and perfect if you want a horror movie but don't want to deal with all the gore, because it's really not that bad. It's also the first straight-to-video horror flick to come out of Canada, which the director seems REALLY proud of.

'Alien Dead' - 1980
Early effort from trash-god Fred Olen Ray, who also did 'Scalps.'  and like a million other trashy horror flicks. Unfortunately, this one isn't nearly as weird or well-done as 'Scalps,' and it was actually pretty boring. I fell asleep and didn't catch the ending. Oh well. From what I remember, it has to do with some rednecks huntin' gators and instead finding some weird radioactive aliens who kill them. That's about it. There are lots of better films with similar plots, but if you're a fan of Ray's work, it's worth checking out.

'Slaughterhouse' - 1987
One of my all-time favorite slashers. This film scared the shit out of me when I was ten, but now it's just kinda silly in the way that 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' is. In fact, it's pretty similar to that film thematically, though not as funny and original. It's about a fat, mentally handicapped guy named Buddy whose dad runs a failing slaughterhouse. While his dad wants to keep things 'old-fashioned,' some slaughterhouse corporate fatcats (I guess there's probably such a thing...?) are trying to buy him out and turn it into a 'modern' slaughterhouse. Or something like that. The dad foolishly gives Buddy a giant butcher knife for his birthday (oh, dad!) and Buddy proceeds to kill all his dad's enemies, and any teenagers that get in his way (and there are plenty.) A good-time, down-home slasher for ya if you've watched things like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Friday the 13th' too many times.

'Terror Toons' - 2002
Okay, finally into some more 'recent' stuff I guess. I tend to only watch older stuff, so I steered clear of this one for a while (especially since it's a no-budget horror film about evil puppets) but oh man was I wrong to do so. This is one of the most original trash-flicks I've seen in a long time, and director Joe Castro does incredibly with the little he has. The story is pretty simple...a girl's parents are gone for the weekend, so she watches a cartoon video while her sister parties with dudes. The cartoons come out of the TV and kill them all. Hilarity ensues. And yes, this is a hilarious film, and intentionally so. It's also very weird and colorful, and has been described as a bizarro-world version of a Tex Avery cartoon (live-action style, that is.) It's got lots of old-school computer animation and off-color jokes. It reminds me of something Charles Band would cook up, if he was smoking PCP nonstop.alien d


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