Archive for June, 2007

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Vanishing Point

June 24, 2007

Vanishing Point

“Just for kicks I like to put one of these down my pants.”

Finally a break from the horror marathon that I’ve been on the past few months. Vanishing Point is a return to the cult 1970’s car chases where vehicles got 12 miles to the gallon, everyone had perms, and girls rode around on motorcycles naked. Well maybe not that last one so much. Vanishing Point was the inspiration for Tarantino’s Death Proof which was a part of the double feature Grindhouse film and you can definitely see the influence. Though I think Tarantino made a better film.

Barry Newman plays our reluctant hero Kowalski, a man with a deep past, no first name, and a need for speed. Apparently no longer king of a sausage empire, Kowalski is actually a former race car driver now hooked on narcotics and working for a car delivery service. He has little regard for the car’s condition once they arrive so he drives them like they’re a Hertz rental car. The thin plot revolves around him making a bet with the local pimp that he can get a 70′ Dodge Challenger from Colorado to California in less than 15 hours. I say to always put your money on the pimp, they know how to play the odds.

The cops who have all the competence of the police force from the Dukes of Hazard , attempt to stop Kowalski from his speed infractions and non-signaled lane changes. This mostly consists of following his dust trail and cursing loudly but it’s a nice break from their decisions over glazed or sprinkled doughnuts.

Meanwhile in a desolate Arizona town where nobody apparently speaks, the only blind black DJ who plays R&B music learns of the epic car chase on his police band radio. As the entire Arizona police force chase our hero through the desert, “SuperSoul” (not his real DJ name) tries to talk to Kowalski through his radio broadcasts and through his SuperSoul Psychic Connection tm

Kowalski takes a shortcut off the main road encountering a snake catching prospector who helps him hide his vehicle from the police helicopters. The old man, who sounds a bit like Yosemite Sam, gives him some vague directions on how to actually get back onto the highway where our hero faces the choice of jail or forced construction labor. All these headaches could have been avoided with a planned route with Google maps.

Vanishing point has some decent car chase sequences and a naked girl on a motorcycle but overall it’s somewhat of a snoozer. I would advise watching Grindhouse instead. You’ll see the same great Dodge Challenger in some much better racing sequences and with some much prettier ladies driving it. Barry Newman sure makes an ugly girl with his 70’s perm.

Keep an eye out for…
– race car drivers with bad perms cranked on speed
– pipecleaner shaped naked girls on motorcycles
– jive takin’ blind psychic DJ’s
– death by highway construction
– gratuitous use of flashback sequences
– imprompto desert music festivals
– heat stroked snake catchers
– hippies on mopeds

SuperSoul…now with 40% more soul cleansing power.

rated 7.2 out of 10 for the movie

Learn more about this movie at imbd.com

Check out the trailer for Vanishing Point

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Demons

June 17, 2007

Demon

“I don’t which hurts more…being eaten by a demon or you twisting my nipples like that.”

Dario Argento the Italian master of horror wrote this little 80’s gem of terror. Yes the same man responsible for movies with underwater zombie/shark fight scenes and close up eye gougings.

Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) is your typical American girl living in the big American city (which appears to be West Berlin but whose nit picking?) On her way home from her communist rally she is stalked by a chromed masked guy in break dancin’ parachute pants who is giving away some free movie tickets. This stalker-marketing approach seems to work as she asks for another ticket for her equally dim-witted big haired friend-Hannah (Fiore Argento.)

That night at the theater opening, a big frizzy haired workers dressed like a giant leprechaun works the ticket booth and patrol the audience with her annoying flashlight. Among the small audience there’s a blind man and his seeing-eye girlfriend whose job it is to explain what’s happening in the film. She also likes to sneak away to make out with the greasy stranger in the back of the theater. There’s also a pimp and a couple of his employees taking a break from a long day at work. I knew he was a pimp from his disco leisure suit and the giant satellite sized gold medallion around his neck.

While at the theater Cheryl and her friend encounter a couple yuppies in polo shirts and tennis sweaters just fresh from shooting their docker pants commercials. Anyone that wears a sweater wrapped around their neck deserve a demon attack. The movie-within-the movie begins and has some teens motor-crossing across some ancient ruins eventually encountering a burial mask that turns them into a pointy teethed demon creatures. While seeing this on screen one of the theater patrons also transforms into a drooling demon and goes on a carnivorous rampage turning other theater patrons into monsters via some vicious neck slashing, eye gougings (of course) and impromoto lynchings. The survivors try to flee only to find an apparently fast contractor built a wall over the exits trapping them in so they instead barricade themselves on the balcony hoping for a rescue.

Meanwhile in what seems and entirely separate film, some coke snorting cola drinking Billy Idol fans are cruising the streets in on of their mom’s station wagon. Exchanging witty banter and eluding the cops through a series of carefully signaled right turns, they break into the now demon possessed theater. But unfortunately they get turned into demons themselves….so not really much of a character change for them. The movie continues into a cat and mouse chase ending with a helicopter crash. Yeah I was confused too.

What is the mystery of the creepy theater? Who will survive the night? Why do movie snacks cost more than the tickets? How many times did I mention the word “demons” in this review? All these questions and more are answered in “Demons.” This is one of few “Italian made, English dubbed, movies filmed in West Berlin that is supposed to be an American city” movies that I’ve enjoyed, so I say check it out and always be sure to check your pimps and ho’s for demon scratches.

Keep an eye out for…

– ticket scalping Phantom of the Opera rejects
– bald pimps in white leisure suits
– face scratching Halloweens props
– motorcycling samauri lobby displays
– illegal use of Billy Idol music in a station wagon
– eye gouging, neck scratching, leg chewin’, finger choppin’ demon party animals
– the handy-dandy Ginsu demon slicer

If gold medallions are a sign of being a pimp would Mr. T be the king of all pimps? I pity da pimps.

rated 8.4 out of 10 for the movie

Learn more about this movie at imbd.com

Check out the trailer for Demons

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Phantasm

June 11, 2007

Phantasm
“Don’t even mess with me…I have balls of steel!”

Before Elvis met the mummy in Bubba-Ho Tep, Don Coscarelli directed his first and finest legendary cult horror film known as Phantasm. A touching family tale about a boy, his brother, and a balding ice cream truck driver. Actually it’s more of a horrific story about a creepy mortician who steals bodies and makes them into dwarf slaves and protects his lair with flying head drilling sphere of death…but that’s splitting hairs (and heads in this case)

Jody the younger brother sees some weird things happening at the local cemetery when his buried uncle is dug back up and hauled back into the mortuary. Apparently a victim of a voided warranty. I was at first concerned that Jody was actually a motorcycle riding ugly girl due to his extremed feathers 70’s hair style…and the fact his name was “Jody” but luckily I figured the truth out after a while. Jody discovers that the recently buried are being shrunk down like human shrinky-dinks to fit into handy dandy dwarf containers for inter-dimensional slave trading. Shockingly his brother Michael doesn’t believe this totally plausible story. Jody brings back proof in the form a sliced off finger from the Tallman that mutates into a giant bug. A bug by which even the Orkin man would cower from.

Michael enlists the help of his local hippy friend Reggie. Reggies is a local ice cream salesman who cruises around in a pimped out ice cream truck convertible never seeming to actually sell ice cream but he does like to stop to play guitar solos on occassion. Michael, Jody, and Reggie fight the tall man along with his dominion of star wars inspired sand people in the cemetery mosoleum, all the while dodging brain drilling spheres and avoiding creepy ladies in purple dresses who are turned on by tombstones. The Tall Man played by Angus Scrimm, a great evil actor’s name if I ever heard one, stalks the two brothers in his hearse while they race to save their friends from the fate of slaved Oz munchkinism in their muscle car Barricuda. Some generally creepy moments and overall weirdness make this a must see. I say check it out as well as the great sequel Phantasm II.

Keep an eye out for…
– vague palm readers with cigar boxes
– sand people from Star Wars
– head drilling flying spheres
– t-top ice cream truck cruisers
– feathered hair styles that would make Donnie Osmond jealous
– gratuitous use of a guitar solo
– Hemi-Cuda coolness
– cemetery motorcrossings
– creepy women who hang out in cemeteries
– dull bladed garbage disposals
– barrels-o-dwarfs

You can’t fake a Phantasm.

rated 9.2 out of 10 for the movie

Learn more about this movie at imbd.com

Check out the trailer for Phantasm

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The Stuff

June 3, 2007

The Stuff
“When good smores go bad….real bad.”

How intelligent can snack food get? I often pondered this question while staring blankly into my nearly empty refrigerator late at night. A small cup of vanilla pudding mockingly stares back at me as the only remaining item that’s edible. Fortunately not only is vanilla pudding delicious and packed with sugar, it’s also not an alien life form that oozed up from the earth’s center to take over my mind….   or is that just what the pudding wants me to think?

In “The Stuff”people aren’t so lucky to have passive desert snacks. Instead some backwoods hillsman decided to taste something he sees bubbling up from the ground…because when you can’t identify something it’s always a good idea to taste it! Before you can say mass marketing, the yogurt like substance is on every shelf and in every refrigerator in America and appearing in lots of bad 80’s commercials.

Not everyone is not hooked on it though. Our pint size protagonists, Jason, in the obligatory “annoying kid who can’t get killed” role first realizes the sinister nature of the snack when he sees it crawling in the fridge. His family is hooked on The Stuff trying to get him to join their new diet plan but Jason thinks fast and fools them by eating some shaving cream instead. Jason is really the McGuiver of his time. Meanwhile A coalition of ice cream executives decide to hire an industrial spy, David “Mo” Rutherford…where the Mo stands for “needs mo acting lessons.” David’s southern charms his way into the corporate headquarters of the Stuff to try to find out how it’s made. Things are not as they appear though. The townsfolks are always eating cups of The stuff, have apparent gastoral problems and constantly spray yogurt out of their faces. That eventually makes David a tad suspicious. The laid back way Dave just matter-of-factly reacts to the horrifying events around him is pretty hilarious to watch. It’s like southern charm and witty southern banter are his only defense.

We also have some militia army guys hiding out in an abandoned renaissance festival castle just itching for the opportunity to fight vicious snack-food. David and his girlfriend enlist them to help fight “the Stuffies” and let the rest of the world know the truth. but as you well know fighting alien yogurt with bullets is like trying to nail jello to a tree.

There’s a special cameo of The Chocolate Chip Cookie King who steels the show among the various annoying standout characters most of which we find out have creamy nugget centers and there’s lots of blob-like marshmallowy evilness trying to stop our heroes fight to save humanity. All in all, a fun time so I’d say check it out. You really can’t make attacking yogurt very scary, but you can often make it hilarious.

Keep an eye out for…
– human smores
– way too southern southerners
– toasting marshmallows with no campfires
– grocery market snackfood vandals
– attack of the albino blob
– the ice cream mafia
– the evil land of dairy queen…a gravel pit of non-fat yogurt
– shaving cream eating
– The Chocolate Chip cookie King

“Come ‘n listen to my story ’bout a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed
And then one day, he was shootin’ at some fools
And up through the ground come a bubblin’ food.
The Stuff that is. alien yogurt, evil ice cream

rated 8.4 out of 10 for the movie

Learn more about this movie at imbd.com

Check out the trailer for The Stuff