Archive for May, 2011

30
May
11

The Wanderers: Teen Angst and Switch-Blades.

a Primal Root written review

There are certain perks one encounters when working at a video store. Free rentals, free coffee, cute girls asking about Friday the 13th movies, etc. But one of my favorite things is when a customer walks in and starts talking about some movie I’ve never even heard of.  Just last week a young guy by the name of Alex came in singing the praises of a 1979 period film called ‘The Wanderers’. Now, I was certain he meant ‘The Warriors’ until he began describing this flick to me.

‘The Wanderers’ takes place in New York City in 1963 and is the coming of age story centering on three twenty-something high school boys who happen to be in the Italian. golden jacket clad greaser gang, The Wanderers.  There’s Richie (Ken Wahl- ‘Fort Apache, The Bronx’.) who is kind of the unofficial leader of the gang and happens to be courting the young daughter of a prominent mafia kingpin. We get to to witness Richie giving her the wiggle stick before the credits roll! What a treat.

Our other lead is a wormy king named Joey ( John Friedrich – ‘The Final Terror’) who is secretly an incredible artist, lives with his alcoholic, physically abusive, gigantic Father and dreams o a better life while acting like Lenny and Squiggy’s missing brother. At first his shtick is a little annoying but by the end of the film I ended up really liking the character despite myself.

And then there’s Perry ( Tony Ganios – Meat from the ‘Porky’s’ Trilogy) whose the new kid in town, stands at least 6’7″, has shoulders broader than a barn door and plays the voice of reason as soon as he arrives and saves a select group of The Wanderers from being crushed into Wanderer Jelly Preserves by about a dozen members of The Baldies…

The Baldies are bat shit crazy.  They will kill you without thinking twice, will allow any race or gender to join as long as they shave their head and are up for crushing skulls at a moments notice. They are led by a monstrous psychopath who goes by the name of Terror ( The late, great, Erland van Lidth). Terror’s a complete asshole but he does have a great sense of humor and a flare for excellent penis-centric practical jokes. The Baldies also have a mascot in the form of Terror’s girlfriend, Peewee ( Linda Manz – ‘Gummo’) who is either remarkably short of is just dwarfed by all the members of The Baldies. She’s got greasy hair, a leather jacket and strikes like a cobra. But hidden underneath that tough exterior is the heart of a romantic. Quite a cool supporting character. I honestly wish there were more of her in the story.

The film itself is an adaptation of the novel by Richard Price which drew much of it’s inspiration from his life experience . ‘The Wanderers’ focuses on a rivalry that grows between The Wanderers and another gang called the Del Bombers who are all black. It’s feud they plan to settle and they do…on the football field. That’s right, the story leads us to a football game of glory that leads to a final confrontation that will either push these gangs apart even further or finally bring them together.

However, as the movie unfolds we are introduced to much more real life drama going on behind the scenes as each of these young men deal with family issues, troubles with women and even problems that develop in their friendships. Hell, even a pre-Raiders of the Lost Ark Karen Allen shows up as a character named Nina to add some fuel to afew fires in the film. And let me tell you, she plays one heck of a plot device. She shows up, causes havoc, and is only seen once more. Her part is small, but pivitoal and surprisingly memorable. Karen looks GORGEOUS in this flick, by the way…especially during that strip poker game.

But as much chaos as Nina and The Baldies cause they all look like Quakers when compares to Ducky’s Boys. Holy shit, I have no idea who these guys are but their numbers reach up to at least several hundred, they are creepy as hell, blood thirst as sharks and the only character study we get of them is the fact that they are devote Catholics ( As if that’s not scary enough!). We are never sure what their motivations are  or what their end game is. The never utter a single word. They simply smile at you like the Cheshire cat and the swiftly jam their switch blade into your loser neck. These guys are definitely the ultimate villains of the piece, and like any good bogeyman, they are made far more frightening by their lack of explanation.

‘The Wanderers’ certainly shows it’s age. Then again, I watched an old VHS copy in a giant turtle case…Either way, it’s a damned good, entertaining coming of age gang movie. One of the better ones I’ve seen and would make an excellent double feature with that other 1979 gang flick with the ridiculously similar title ‘The Warriors’. It plays like American Graffiti with switch blades, extreme profanity, violence and gang warfare.

This is some forgotten Trash Cinema well worth tracking down. ‘The Wanderers’ delivers the goods and then some. Sure, it’s got it’s technical flaws (oh man, don’t get me started on the editing) but overall, Phillip Kaufman’s (Quills, The Right Stuff) tale of growing up in a blood soaked, and insanely tense environment holds some very human moments that strike right to the heart of everyone whose tried to escape the hand life’s dealt them. Or those who have done battle with Catholics.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

26
May
11

Devil Girl of the Month for May; Bambi BlueEyes

A Brief Message from Bambi BlueEyes:

I chose to create my photos around the cult classic “The Stuff” because it is one of the first cheesy horror films I ever saw. It is so terribly awesome! I really wanted to make my head explode with “Stuff” like the most epic death in the movie, but decided to have it oozing out of my skin instead. I hope you guys enjoy the pictures! It was a blast to make!

-Bambi BlueEyes

Photography by Dirt Candy Photography

http://www.facebook.com/dirtcandyphotography
http://dirtcandyphotography.tumblr.com/

14
May
11

A Cult Influence: a short documentary by Daniel Krone

Primal Root’s  Dirty Thoughts

Hey Gang,

Came across this nifty short subject documentary about what exactly makes a film into a cult flick. A Cult Influence also delves a little bit into the realm of the remaining Mom & Pop video stores that are beginning to reemerge now that Blockbuster has shut it’s doors for good.

Enjoy! And be sure to let us know if you agree with these definitions of a cult film and share some of your favorite cult flicks with us!

Stay Trashy!

-The Primal Root

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13
May
11

Tantacles or Who I Ripped Off on My Summer Vacation

a Primal Root written review

In the summer of 1975 there was this little movie directed by a no name filmmaker about a particularly blood thirty great white shark. You might have heard of it. It’s called JAWS. Yeah, the awesome horror flick that, along with Star Wars, ruined movies forever more because everyone wanted to make a blockbuster action movie. Fast forward decades later and we are gearing up for Transformers 3. Anywoo, the more immediate side affect of JAWS was onslaught of late 7o’s sub-par carnivorous water dwelling creature pictures.

And not to sell them short right out of the gate, to be fair, there were some really cool flicks to come out after JAWS trying to chomp the same chum.  Joe Dante’s excellent killer fish flick, Piranha (78).  Humanoids from the Deep (80) and even Alligator (80) re all unique and interesting spins on the JAWS formula and awesome Trash Cinema flicks in their own right that make for great summer time viewing.

And then there are the really bad knocks offs.greasy, lame-o copy cats who try to take the exact same premise and throw it back at the audience. Most notoriously, the Italian film ‘Great White: The Last Shark’ (81), which is the tale of a great white shark that terrorizes a small island community. Sound familiar? Universal thought so too and they sued the pants off those guys and had the movie withdrawn from theaters. Till this day it’s tough to track a copy of that sucker down.

But there is one films that ripped JAWS off properly. Remove the damn shark entirely and add a totally different vicious sea creature so no one can sue you for directly stealing the premise of the Speilberg’s blockbuster epic! That’s right, the 1977 film ‘TENTACLES’! The story of a blood thirsty GIANT OCTOPUS that terrorizes a small island community. Now we’re talking!

The movie begins with several mysterious attacks around the beach. First off, a 10 month old infant is snatched from it’s stroller when Mom isn’t looking and is promptly gobbled up. Later, at a marina, a scruffy man with a peg leg swabbing the poop deck is yanked from his work and chewed up post haste only to explode up from the depths all chewed up in front of some guy double tasking while he fishes and sucks face with some scantly clad 400 pound girlfriend…we later see him wrapped in a blanket starring into the distance with his mouth hanging open. I think he’s supposed to be in shock from witnessing Peg Leg Pete surfacing like a rocket from Hell, but in all honesty, it could have been because he envisioned his make-out partner in the nude.

No one is quite sure what could have done this. It was no motorboat, and it wasn’t Jack the Ripper and it sure as shit wasn’t any shark. The body of the womb fruit and the old geezer are found with flesh completely stripped off the bone. The local newspaper reporter, Ned (John Huston), begins to to think this might have something to do with the rock excavation being done by Trojan Construction (I can only assume they construct prophylactics as well.) which is headed by Mr. Whitehead  played by Henry Fonda, who has no scenes with any other cast members and vanishes half way through the movie.

And, believe it or not, Shelly Winters also shows up for this thing. She plays the aging, seductress (?) and single mother, Tillie. She also happens to be the sister of our roving reporter Ned. Her son is about 13 years old and we are introduced to her as she has some adorable, good natured banter about how she mashed fuzzies with one of the local bartenders last night. These are mental images far more troubling than anything those tentacles could ever hope to accomplish.

Shelly Winter’s main purpose is to wonder around this town in a silly, giant sombrero (not making this up) and look on in mock terror as her bastard son and his buddy are attacked by the killer giant octopus during a sail boat race.During the attack the kids are scene laughing their asses off (method acting?) however, only one of them makes it back to shore alive. This attack on the sailing race might be my favorite sequence in the film simply because it’s so ridiculously awful. It’s basically a bunch of sail boats toppling over without a single tentacle in sight. The editing used in this sequence is a hack job. I assume they wanted it to look like things were frenzied, but the end product, looks like some 6 year old was given several feet of film, a cleaver and a tub of rubber cement…yes, it’s that bad. But it’s also pretty amusing to watch. Especially when they cut away to the “hysterical” Shelly Winters…

The only hope this small town has is a street smart marine biologist named Will (played with deadpan accuracy by Bo Hopkins), his two trained killer whales and his his wife whose name might as well be Fish Food. She’s gorgeous, but don;t get too attached. Her death sequence, I assume, was meant to be the big high point of the movie. Her boat is charged by the octopus in the middle of the night and a tiny model is blown to bits by the impact. She tries to swim from the wreckage but is hoisted up and spun all over the place by the Octopus tentacle. Again, it’s edited together so haphazardly it gives the entire moment a comic appeal I don’t believe the filmmakers were aiming for…

This all leads to a climactic showdown between Will, our mean streets marine biologist who doesn’t seemed phased at all by the horrifying demise of his gorgeous and concerned wife, and the killer octomonster who wield the evil tentacles of the film’s title. Luckily, Will get by with a little help from his killer whale pals, Summer and Winter. As Will tells the story, he met his wife in Summer and proposed to her in Winter.  Not many romances spring up the belly of a whale, let alone two separate whales, so it’s really a shame she met her demise in such an untimely fashion and in a way so many anime school girls have gone before her.

I don;t want to spoil it for you, but the action packed finale features a dead octopus purchased from some fish market and two killer whale sock puppets purchased from Sea World. Oh yeah, it’s gotta be seen to be believed.

Tentacles is one botch after another. It’s so bad it’s beyond such trivial labels. It’s really a one of a kind aws cash-in, if there can be such a thing…where the filmmakers behind i lost the point entirely of what worked, stole all the elements that seemingly made Speilberg’s film so popular (underwater shots of flailing legs and shrinking crotches, water logged body jump scares, the death of children, enjoyable real world banter, greedy rich people more concerned with losing money than losing lives, etc.) and then fail miserably to deliver. The most egregious error is not giving the octopus it’s own enigmatic theme music. I imagine the filmmakers sitting at the premiere and looking at each other as they realize how they completely forgot to rip-off the score to JAWS.  There’s not a single drop of blood in the PG rated monster movie! I mean, even JAWS had some graphic content (Quint- Soft on the outside, crispy crunchy on the inside!) and managed to hold down a PG rating. I guess they needed to use that money to secure the rubber tentacles and octopus stock footage…

Tentacles is worth a look. I found myself chuckling through the whole damn thing and slapping my palm against my forehead in disbelief several dozen times as I witnessed the film’s numerous failings. Tentacles is Trash Cinema to the extreme. A rare bird that few have seen and, in all honesty, probably shouldn’t exist.  I am glad it does, though. Because these films are what those adventurous movie renting evening of yesteryear were all about. Grabbing that crusty old VHS tape with the awesome cover you knew would never deliver what it was promising but would certainly deliver the laughs.

Those were the days… Have an excellent summer, Gang! Be safe and keep watching the ocean!

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

10
May
11

Rotten Reviews presents Brainscan

brainscan-poster2

Hey Gang,

Before I begin, let me first apologize for the Year Three hiatus. I am sure most of you heard about the trouble I ran into with my Mac just as 2011 dawned on us. Well, things are back up and running better than ever and I am happy to being you the latest Rotten Review for the 1994, Edward Furlong cyber horror fest, Brainscan!

Brainscan is the tender story of a crippled boy who is into horror movies, grunge rock, plaid shirts and video games. This young man’s name is Michael and he decides to try out the latest in interactive CD-ROM technology called BRAINSCAN. This game of murder turns out to be a little too real for our little Mickey as he learns there is a high cost to murder which includes having to deal with a lame joke spewing villain with an oddly shaped head who goes by the name of Trickster.

Get ready for peeping on the girl next door, bland home decor, annoying best friends named Kyle, Oscar Nominated Actors phoning it in, monsters cocks, fright wigs, cat teeth, gratuitous leg wounds, limping, surprise butt sex, teen angst, name calling, and a TON of Three stooges footage.

It’s the rare horror film with a ZERO body count and brings up some hot button issues as to how much we can blame violent crime on violent entertainment. At the end of the movie, this is all left open for debate. Still, kudos to Brainscan for even bringing it up. I believe you know where I stand on the topic.

Enjoy the latest Rotten Review, Gang! We have a whole lot in store for you in Year Three!

Stay Trashy,

-Root

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYK1kEYA?p=1 width=”640″ height=”390″]

 




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