Posts Tagged ‘alien

09
Apr
20

Evils of the Night (1985): Invasion of the Platelet Snatchers

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“Why you touchin’ my nipples like that?” – Jerry Butler as Eddie in Evils of the Night (1985)

a Primal Root written review

Man, the 1980’s seemed like a magical time when I was a child. I was born into them, 1982, as a matter of fact. The world was new to me, a bright, Technicolor spray of vomit filled with wonder, excitement, lessons and ideas that would boggle my mind and shape me into who I am today. Of course, later you lear the 1980’s were fucking terrible to huge, wide ranging section of our American society and the world abroad. You had the AIDS epidemic, the war on drugs, intense poverty rather than the prosperity Ronald Reagan’s trickle down economics gave us, the Iran Contra scandal, the shameful treatment of our Vietnam veterans…It was just was basically the pre-show entertainment before 2020. But  through the eyes of a fresh faced youth, the world was all Hi-C, chicken nuggets, movie monsters and big bouncy boobs.

But were you also aware that far off in distant galaxies they had it just as rough in the 1980’s? And, no, I’m not talking about Star Wars, besides, that happened a long time ago. No, I’m talking about the severe platelet shortage of 1985 that affected whatever planet John Carradine and Julie Newmar are from. What are platelets you ask? I’m glad you asked!

plate·let
/ˈplātlit/

noun

PHYSIOLOGY
plural noun: platelets
  1. a small colorless disk-shaped cell fragment without a nucleus, found in large numbers in blood and involved in clotting.

 

As we all know, the best platelets of all come from humans in their late teens, early 20’s which is why back in 1985 vast intergalactic civilizations were landing their UFO’s at local Lover’s Lanes, taking over abandoned hospitals, hiring sociopathic mechanics by paying them in gold coins to kidnap and deliver them captured kids, so that their platelets could be removed and beamed up to their Mother Ship for the survival of their species. Only, these brilliant civilizations with their space age technology never considered the one flaw in their planning…summer vacation!

“Network men analyzed many places and they decided that this was the ideal secluded college town. Well, Network was correct up to a point, but research didn’t know about summer vacations. College is closed until September which is too late for our purposes.” – Dr. Kozmar (John Carradine); Evils of the Night

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Okay, maybe that wasn’t ACTUALLY happening in the 1980’s but it sure as shit was going down at the Drive-In’s and Indoor Theaters of the time thanks to one of the strangest, most absurd and, to my amazement, thoroughly engrossing low budget amalgams of slasher horror, sci-fi and teen sex comedy I’ve ever witnessed, Evils of the Night.

Before the credits even roll we see the landing of a UFO from a far flung galaxy. No narration, no clue the what, when or where, and the credits unspool over two unlucky couples who decided to get it on under the cover of darkness in the woods surrounding the local lover’s lake. One couple gets right to it deep in the woods, where the couple next to the lake decides to smoke some of The Devil’s Harvest, before swimming and THEN plan on pummeling the her love piñata. “Great, now we can get HIGH!” the young man exclaims as the young bikini vixen pulls a dank joint from her thong clad crotch region. In a matter of second we are treated to some full frontal nudity from the sex starved co-ed in the woods before they start banging away doggy style after she lick lubes his rump splitter, while another cute couple gets high and goes swimming. She even gives him the rarest of sexual acts, the under water oral. Gang, I do not understand the logistics here. Then again, I am a severe asthmatic, so I can’t hold me breath all that long, especially not long enough to truly deliver any kind of memorable oral pleasure. But I guess it’s the effort that’s really endearing. Perhaps it’s different for you folks with normal, healthy, designer brand lungs. Feel free to let me know of your beneath the surface sexual encounters in the comments.

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Anyhoo, it all feels like the beginnings of  genuinely lovely evening, when all of a sudden some elderly gents wearing ski masks and grease stained mechanic work shirts…with their names on them, descend upon the young couple and leads to one of my favorite kills I’ve ever seen. You know that couple that is going at it with the fella burrowing from behind? Well, one of the masked mechanics sneaks up behind him and strangles him to death while his lascivious lover continues to pound out the veil! It’s fucking fantastic, she has no idea he is dead and continues to ride the fuck trolly to Mr. Fleshpod’s neighborhood! She steadily slows her motion as she realizes something is wrong, turns around, and is abducted. It is one of the funniest, perversely sexiest and simultaneously disturbing kills I’ve seen in a while. I know there’s something similar to this in Adam Green’s bland 2010 slasher film, Hatchet II, but Evils Of The Night did it to much greater impact, if you ask me.

Wait a minute, that’s 80’s porn star Crystal Breeze fucking the strangled corpse of her lover playing “First Girl Having Sex!” Would you believe this is the same year she starred in The Sperminator, Flaming Tongues and Cummin’ Alive as well as nineteen other porn flicks? Man, 1985 was a busy year for Crystal! Not only did she deliver the EXCEPTIONAL full frontal female nudity, but she also knocked her brief roll out of the park. Crystal, you are a legend and us sleazoids are forever in your debt.

One of the abducted teens, the stoner boy in tiny shorts, comes to in the abandoned hospital now inhabited by sexy ALIEN nurses wearing tiny glittery skirts and and several damn pounds of hairspray and make-up. He manages to escape while the two nurses, I shit you not, begin suggestively fondling one another. Huh? So, tiny shorts manages to overhear Dr. Kozmar (John Carradine) and Dr. Zarma’s (Julie Newmar) plan to extract as many platelets as possible from their victims before they die, any extracted after death, contaminates the whole batch. The platelets are used to stop bone deterioration int he elders of their kind and ALSO allows for them to live for hundreds of year. So, would it be accurate to call these platelet snatchers from beyond infinity intergalactic vampires? Feels accurate to me! Tiny Shorts then escapes into the woods only to be blasted to death with neon green lasers from one of the nurses. In his final moments, he gives one of the most spastic and wonderful laser guided death performances I’ve ever seen.

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Cut to the next day at Lover’s Lake where all the cool kids are sipping on Pepsi, swimming, playing pranks, spying on two topless girls covering one another in tanning oil which, in turn, inspires your girls friend to take her top off and try to fuck you on the beach, which you turn down. Seriously, it looks like this Lover’s Lake is happening with a bunch fun loving kids. The stand out amongst them, and who the poster art seems to be featuring, is the blonde in a tight, white and red horizontally striped shirt named Connie (G.T. Taylor, this is her only film role) who is incredibly sweet and kind of a dunce, but is a genuinely fun and charming character to be around. She’s out camping with her friends Brian (David Hawk, in his only film role), Heather (Bridget Holloman from Slumber Party ’57 and Stoogemania) and the engaged to be married love birds Ron (Keith Fisher from Cyberon and an episode of Diff’rent Strokes) and Nancy (Karrie Emerson, the raven haired beauty from Chopping Mall and White Dog). They spend their days frolicking in the sun and at night they put their hands in their campfire to see who is the better man (hint: It’s the man smart enough NOT to injure himself to prove his manhood) and talk about penises.  “Why make a big deal out of such a small thing?” Connie asks as Brian and Ron debate sticking their dicks in the fire to prove their manhood.

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From Left to Right: Ron (Keith Fisher), Nancy (Karrie Emerson), Connie (G.T. Taylor), Heather (Bidget Holloman) Brian (David Hawk)

There’s another unrelated couple who break into the cleanest, most well kept abandoned home I’ve ever seen. There’s no shit stains on the fuck mattress, the floors looks to be freshly swept and mopped, none of the windows are busted and there’s narry a cigarette butt, beer can or crusted over used condom in sight! What kind of abandoned, haunted fuck shack is this? Anyhoo, the couple Eddie (Jerry Butler as Paul Siederman, prolific porn actor from 1987 to 1995. You may have seen him the XXX films Snake Eyes (1985) or Star Angel (1986) and Joyce (legendary porn actress, Amber Lynn, who is STILL working in the adult industry to this very day, which is remarkably long career in pornography. She has won to AVGN Awards, one for best Sex Scene in a Feature Adult Film in 1986’s Ten Little Maidens and one in 2018’s Humanitarian Achievement Award) strip down and start going to town on the incredibly posh mattress at this crab shack. Well, she strips nude anyway, he actually keeps his jeans on, which I will never understand in slasher films. Fellas, have you EVER fucked with your pants on? Are you afraid of losing them? It’s so much easier just to take them off, I cannot even imagine the zipper burn one would inflict on their wang doodle. Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention Eddie’s dog lick form of smooching. This guy licks Joyce like a canine going after piece of Beefaroni. It’s probably the most energetic moment in the film as he licks all over Joyce’s tits and neck and chin and sucks on her chin, and it’s kind of…kind of gross. Perhaps that sort of tongue bath thing was the height of eroticism in 1985, but for me in 2020 it’s kind of gross.

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Joyce gets a tongue bath from Eddie in the nicest abandoned house I’ve ever seen.

Soon we learn that the masked mechanics are actually two great elderly screen actors who turned to horror cinema as soon as the choice rolls stopped coming their way. The two murderous morons for hire are chunky yet fleet-footed Fred (Aldo Ray from many classic films of the 50’s like 1955’s We’re No Angels and 1958’s The Naked and The Dead and would later be featured in 1986’s Star Slammer and his final film, 1991’s Shock ’em Dead) and the intensely perverse and sociopathic Kurt (Neville Brand from the Oscar winning 1959 film Stalag 17, Birdman of Alcatraz from 1962. He eventually went the horror route with Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive in 1976, Without Warning in 1980, and Evils of the Night would be his final screen roll.)  These two are introduce as playful lunk heads as they maintain their auto repair shop, but that playful, dopey demeanor can turn on a dime as they strike without warning, cracking your skull with a tire iron, and putting you out with some either, and then dragging you to the abandoned hospital under the promise of gold coins so you can be sucked dry by the vampires from outer space!

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Kurt and Fred: The Burt and Ernie of Space Vampire Murder for Hire! Gold Coins only, please.

 

Let me tell you, Evils of the Night is one exceedingly fun and effective b-movie. It actually takes the time to get you invested in the teen characters, who are actually fun, sweet, kind and adorably dopey. They more often than not fight back with all their might against the aggressors and you cannot help but root for them, especially when it comes down to Connie, Heather and Brian who end up tied up in the clutches of the perpetually horny and blood thirsty Kurt. I’m not going to spoil anything, but anyone can die at anytime and it can be genuinely heart breaking because these characters are so much fun to be around. Not only that, but the reactions of friends watching friends die is deeply effective, too, and that goes a long way to making slasher film murder really impact the audience.  David Hawk, who plays Brian, deserves some recognition for really going above and beyond in his grief stricken, rage fueled performance. His is not the norm for such Trash Cinema, where the emotion feels greatly genuine and I found deeply unsettling. I began Evil of the Night laughing my ass off at the cheesiness of the proceedings, but by the films final act I was surprised to find myself rooting on characters in scenes that are actually suspenseful. It goes from laughably cheesy to legit horror out of nowhere and it’s enough to give you whiplash.

Evils of the Night (1985)

 

Evils of the Night was directed by first timer Mardi Rustam, who shows an affinity for low budget horror, which makes since, since he worked in some capacity as a producer on such legendary no budget horrors as Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive and Al Adamson’s Dracula vs. Frankenstein.  That’s one Hell of a schlock horror pedigree! It’s a shame he only directed one other film, James Dean: Race With Destiny in 1996, because Trash Cinema really could have used more films exciting, weird, and uncompromisingly unique as his debut feature. I know the gentleman is still alive, so who knows? Maybe he has a few filthy films left in him.

Evils of the Night  is an honest to goodness Trash Cinema treasure and one well worth checking out. It has a little something for everyone including fans of classic actors and actresses from the 50’s and 60’s as well a hard working porn stars of the 80’s! Whre the Hell else are you going to find the likes of Crystal Breeze porking a corpse while celebrated character actor Neville Brand drills holes (literally, with a drill, that’s not a sexual metaphor) into nubile young women?  It’s unpredictable, filled with fun, no budget science fiction tropes, great goofy characters, gore, one liners, gratuitous female nudity, awesome villains, awesome 80’s soundtrack and plenty of scenes that will either leave you laughing, scratching you head or actually hoping the characters you like survive…the EVILS OF THE NIGHT!

I am awarding Evils of the Night FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

WARNING! THIS EVILS OF THE NIGHT TRAILER CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO NOT WATCH IT UNLESS YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN THE FILM!

Honestly, this trailer gives away the last third of the film and there are some awesome surprises and genuine shocks. Go see the movie first. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

 

 

 

 

08
Nov
16

(NSFW) Vicious Violet: November Devil Girl of the Month 2016

Hello there, Gang, it’s your friend The Primal Root here. Well, today’s election day 2016, time to cast our ballots and see what scumdog will be our next commander and chief. Well, whoever you choose, thankfully, you can take solace in the absolutely stunning, inspired and unfathomably kickass spread from The Trash Cinema Collective’s Devil Girl of the Month, the gorgeous Vicious Violet! She has created a colorful and expertly timed spread for you to feast your eyes upon this election day, Gang. As the numbers are tallied up, and desperation sinks in, remember…THEY LIVE!

The Primal Root: Incredible concept and spread, Violet! What made you think to use John Carpenter’s They Live as your subject for this incredibly sexy and colorful spread? Wouldn’t have anything to do with the upcoming election, would it?

Vicious Violet: Oh, but of course it does! I’m already a John Carpenter fan, and in my own tradition, I watch Halloween movies every day of October. So, in 2014 I watched The Thing, Halloween, and Escape from New York before stumbling across They Live, and I was hooked!! I love Twilight Zone, and felt that this particular movie was a long TZ episode; so terrible, it was glorious. Plus, the message kills me! I decided then that for my next birthday/Halloween costume would be one of these disgusting aliens attending a masquerade ball. And then being invited to be November’s Devil Girl, on the cusp of a tumultuous election year, I just knew They would have to come back for seconds to control everyone to make the right vote! Keep the Alien Overlords in Power! They Live! You Sleep! Obey!

Root: Do you feel like They Live is still relevant in 2016?

Vicious: Oh yes! It’s so creepy how relevant it is to this day. Even more so with the advances in social media–we are all subliminally trained to post updates, consume the “right” products, and compare our lives to everyone else in this little handheld computer that controls us all. I was already shocked to really think about how much media surrounds our daily lives, and all of the product placements geared to get our money. “This is your God” might as well be our currency as I see our world devolve more and more into the importance of money each individual makes, and how unfair the system truly has become. I could go on for hours about how many theories this movie has spurned in my own life and makes me wonder if They really are Living while We Sleep.

Root: I gotta ask, where did you find such a phenomenal They Live alien mask?

Vicious: Well, I am very proud to say this is a one-of-a-kind mask that I made myself. It took two months, two masks, one ping-pong ball, lots of clay, paper mache, and love. After deciding to make this my 30th birthday/Halloween costume, I started early by gathering tutorials and reference photos, looking at the few They Live cosplayers’ how-to videos out there, and took my time constructing it. I’d say this art kid did a pretty good job!

Root: How was it having your entire body covered in paint? How was it to be transformed into a spirit crushing, soul sucking alien from They Live?

Vicious: It was absolutely delightful!! Having a birthday just before Halloween, and being the weird art kid that I am, I’m no stranger to costuming and cosplay, but I must say, this one was the most intensive I’ve gone for a transformation. I couldn’t have been more comfortable in my paint, but still giggle remembering the attention to detail I received through this process. (“Think they’ll see…?” “Yeah, just go ahead and paint it.” “Okay, so, lean forward and spread ‘em…” Completely normal, yes? And what a gentleman you are, too! )

I had paint from my ears to my toenails, and am still finding blue paint in the strangest of places…but I’d do it all over again if I had the chance!

Root: What song should folks listen to while viewing your spread?

Vicious: I played Deftones Radio on Pandora the whole shoot, so I’ll suggest the same, specifically Deftones’ Knife Party, Diamond Eyes, and Passenger. Gets you into the drone-mindset with a little undertone of sexiness.

Root: Any advice to our fellow Trash Cinema Collective members as they head to the polls to cast their ballots?

Vicious: Obey. Consume. Marry and Reproduce. Honor Apathy. Vote. Stay Asleep.

Photography by Bootsie Kidd and The Primal Root

 

12
Jan
14

Mars Attacks (1996): Carnage Candy

 

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a Primal Root written review

Adapting a notoriously gruesome and controversial trading card series from the 60’s into a PG-13 holiday release for the 1990’s cannot be an easy task.  “MARS ATTACKS!” in it’s original form was a blood soaked Topp’s trading card series created in 1962. Of course, there was parental and societal uproar over the gory, frequently sexual card series which led to the series’ original run first being censored and then being halted entirely. Yes, tell the public they cannot have something because they cannot “handle it” and remove it from the market entirely.  Ladies and Gents, this is how you create a cult following.

In the early 1980’s, “MARS ATTACKS!” began it’s resurgence gaining a whole new generation of young fans while banking on the nostalgia of those who once had this gloriously sick and subversive creation snatched from their grasps by the moral watchdogs that know what is best for us all. Bunch of dick holes, I tells ya! This resurgence culminated in a film adaptation featuring and all star cast and directed by, at that point, creative dynamo, Tim Burton fresh of his biographical film “Ed Wood”, everyone’s favorite cross dressing Trash Cinema film director!

Just how in the world do you take a popular cult TRADING CARD series and transform it into a profitable commercial venture? Well, with the restraints of the imposed PG-13 rating, the best path was to tone down the horror elements and amp up the darkly comical elements which the screenplay by Jonathan Gems delivers in spades. Not only is it a damn funny movie from start to finish, it also manages to be highly intelligent, wickedly mean, and  greatly entertaining. Here, let me lay it out for you…

Martians know never to underestimate the power of the human male's libido.

Martians know never to underestimate the power of the human male’s libido.

It is brought to the attention of The President of the United States of America, that flying saucers have been spotted surrounding planning Earth originating from our neighboring planet, Mars. To the best we can translate, the Martians come in peace, but as soon as they land, they being disintegrating every living thing they come across with their awesome Martian hand cannons.  The remainder of the movie is a series of sight gags, action set pieces and nasty comedy as humanity fights for survival through a full  on Martian apocalypse.

“MARS ATTACKS!” is a blazingly dark, subversive, wacky sci-fi flick. Sure, it has it’s flaws, like a sluggish pace and a feeling that Tim Burton had a tough time juggling his impressive ensemble cast, but at the end of the day the movie comes off  just as anarchic as the Martians themselves. The film extends it’s middle finger towards societal conventions, and then has fun laughing maniacally as it exposes the shaky pillars that they all stand upon.  MARS ATTACKS! sets it’s sights on lampooning just about everyone.  Conservative military leaders and Wal-Mart families to liberal scientists and new agers, MARS ATTACKS! takes delight in taking them down a peg or two.

For the most part, every character is played as a buffoon,  a cartoon version of stock characters from B-movies past, contemporary leaders and everyday civilians.  The only folks not played for laughs are the handful of societal outcasts and misfits who are played as entirely human like the president’s daughter Taffy (Natalie Portman, channeling Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice), mild mannered New Mexican donut peddler, Richie (Lukas Haas) and, most impressively, Byron and Louise Williams (Jim Brown and the incomparable Ms. Pam Grier) as a blue collar, seperated African American couple trying to make ends meet and raise two young boys.  Louise drives a bus in Washington D.C. while Byron, once a Heavy weight Boxing Champion, now works in Vegas. They are by far the most honorable, loving and genuine characters in the movie and the ones you end up rooting for in the end. When everything else in the film is a lark, you want nothing more than a happy ending for this family.

But it’s not all touchy feely stuff,  let us not forget the fantastically depicted carnage. Holy shit, is this fun stuff to watch! Martians bowl through Easter Island statues, crush mobile homes with their colossal Martian manned robots,  and in my personal favorite gag, crush a troupe of cub scouts with the Washington Monument. See, you don’t get this kind of flesh pulping fun in crap like “Independence Day”. One of the aspects I admire about “MARS ATTACKS!” is how the Martians use the phrase “We Come in Peace” and “We are your friends” to gain our trust several times over in order to implement surprise attacks. Once, killing off several military leaders and countless innocent spectators and the second time killing off Congress. It worked so well int he past that later in the film we see Martians roaming a burning landscape, guns drawn still claiming that they come in peace and blasting anything living they come across while exclaiming “Do Not Run! We Are Your Friends!”   It’s a great joke, but it’s a goddamn chilling one as well.

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By film’s end, Earth is saved by a decent young man who went out of his way to save his Grandmother from her rest home which was under siege and, unbeknownst to them, unlock the secret weapon that will destroy the Martian threat and save what remains of planet Earth and it’s inhabitants.  It’s one of the most absurd deus ex machina’s I have ever witnessed in cinema, but in a campy, B-Movie send up such as this, it feels perfectly fitting.

Finally, when Earth is reduced to a smoldering husk of it’s former self, it’s the underdogs who survive. The blue collar workers, those who risk life and limb to save the helpless, and Tom Jones. And in this I see hope. Early in the film, before the Martians reveal their true intentions, Annette Bening’s character states to at her AA meeting that she thinks the Martians have come to save us. And in a way, by destroying the institutions that have always held us back from truly progressing, leaves us with a clean slate to start from. In a way, they’ve given us a second chance and left our world int he hands of the misfits. The survivors.

“MARS ATTACKS!” is one Hell of a flick.  Sharply intelligent, subversive and damn funny.  This is one film well deserving of it’s cult status. highly recommended!

Four and a Half out of Five Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

09
Nov
13

V/H/S 2: Cassette Carnage

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a Primal Root review

Anthology movies, like Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, and VHS, are so often a mixed bag of the mediocre, boring and sometimes genuinely outstanding,  which is why I am happy to report the majority of VHS 2 is a pretty horrific and entertaining ride. That is, if you can make it past the the wrap around segments which are just as dull as they were in the original VHS, and the very first story entitled “Phase 1 Clinical Trials” which is a cure for insomnia, you will be okay because it all picks up from there.

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See, in “Phase 1 Clinical Trials” we are shown the story of a young man who loses and eye and gets it replaced with a…bionic one that not only allows him to see, but records everything to a VHS recorder I’m assuming the doctors implanted up his ass. Now, why a hi-tech procedure like this would end up having the recordings of it’s clinical trial dubbed to something as defunct and rarely used as VHS is beyond me, but at least the 15:9 aspect ratio kind of makes sense, I guess. Anyhoo, the new allows this guy to see dead people meandering around his posh house out in the suburbs. He is befucked by a young woman who explains what going on and exposes her lovely tits in the process. Things go from bad, the worse, to I;m going to gouge my bionic eye out with a three pronged kitchen utensil because I’ve seen a couple ghosts over the span of 12 hours.   It’s dull/ Even by my standards, I just could not muster up the effort necissary to be interested, that is, until that fleeting moment when the read head takes her top off. Otherwise, this entry is on par with the wrap around, it fails to engage and feels like it’s there to fill up time. Eye implants have been done (Tobe Hooper’s segment in Body Bags, that terrible movie with Jessica Alba that featured a truly inspired title, etc.) and this one was not an impressive entry into that sub-genre.

DO NOT DESPAIR! I nearly did, too. Trust me, things get better.

VHS 2 MOVIE

Goddamn zombies. Those fucking things are everywhere. Prime time television to baby bibs and lunch boxes, those undead fucks are as inescapable as Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. Enter “A Ride Through the PArk” the story of a young gentleman who goes on, you guessed it, a ride through the park. Things take an interesting turn when a bloody and bitten young woman collapses onto his bike trail screaming for help. Our fellow goes into help her and gets his neck chomped for his trouble. Soon he dies and transforms into a shambling, bloody, undead zombi himself and is able to record his sticky, gruesome, blood soaked escapades via the camera attached to his helmet. What makes this entry somewhat interesting is the use of POV, it’s expected, but this is the first time I have seen it happen from a flesh eating corpses perspective and it actually proves to be an interesting and darkly comical experience.  Our protagonist undead biker guy ends up devouring a couple who stop to help him out, transforming them into zombies in the process. Things hit a high note as soon as the zombies meander upon a little girls birthday party in the park. It’s one of the funniest and wildest moments in a franchise that has seemed overwhelmingly beholden to the morose and ugly. Sure, this is tragic, but my God, it’s fun watching parents scatter and children scream as they flee into the woods and mini-vans.  The zombies are doing their jobs and doing them well as the living  constantly fuck up, you know,m throwing baseball bats at creatures intent on stripping the flesh from your bones rather than hanging on to it, you know the type. Well, some of our undead biker’s humanity still remains and it leads to a sad and, again, guiltily comical finale. This entry has energy, creativity and is a hoot AND a holler. When I found out Eduardo Sanchez directed this puppy, it made me all the happier. The man was half the creative mind that brought us 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” which helped blaze a trail for all the found footage horror film that followed. He’s also had a hand in numerous damn fine horror and sci-fi films over the past decade or so under the radar. It only makes sense that he would join The Collective who brought us he VHS franchise. Well done, sir!

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“Safe Haven” may just be my favorite short film in this batch. It tells the story of a a news crew doing an investigative piece about an Indonesian cult. The leader of this cult is small, wide eyes fellow who, it is implied, sleeps with all the little girls in his cult so that they may be “purified.” At the cult’s headquarters, which are located far off in the sticks, the news crew is thrust headlong into a very important ceremony for this cult. The tension swells as we the viewers know this is not going to end well for anyone. This segment keeps you on your toes to the very end, turns every convention on it’s head, and manages to actually be shocking and horrific in it’s Jim Jones styled story. It’s no surprise, seeing as it was directed by Gareth Evans, the gentleman who delivered one of the best, bobe crushing, martial arts films in sometime “The Raid: Redemption” in 2011. The man understand staging, suspense building and character payoff. “Safe Haven” is one very strong, stiff drink and  I don’t want to spoil a damn thing, you really need to see this short.

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And the final segment “Slumber Party Abduction” is another entry that manages to knock it right out of the park. This entry involves a step brother and sister spending a weekend together as their parents head out of town for a vacation. The older sister invites her arrogant boyfriend over and the younger brother invited his buds and all manner of hijinks ensue.  There are water balloons, interrupted sex acts and masturbation caught on doggie cam. It’s a ll pretty sophomoric and stupid as this kind of shit always is, but THANKFULLY there’s some insidious shit going down that the hardly register to the kids until it’s literally right outside their door. What we end up with a siege film caught on tape and once the chaos begins, the action and horror never lets up until the final, frenetic moment.  you know how the second tale was told from the zombie perspective? This tale is told almost entirely from “Doggie Cam” since the dog has had a waterproof camera attached to his head. The poor little dog, Tank, captures every last terrifying moment on tape and ends this episode on a brilliant, downbeat and heartbreaking note.  Jason Eisner takes advantage of his set up by presenting terror through the eyes of several helpless children and their pint sized pooch. The kids are very natural and easy to believe, and once the shit hits the fan, each loss is felt. Damn fine piece of horror film making.

And then the movie ends with the shitty, uninspired conclusioon to the wrap around story which involves murder, crab walking, a bloody, wagging tongue and a well times thumbs up.  Come on guys, give me a fucking break.

At the end of the day. VHS2 is an upgrade over the original anthology which almost felt like an excuse to expose an ample amount of female flesh rather than present any truly affecting horror stories. Three out of four stories are solid gold which is more than I could have ever hoped for. I was braced for  disappointment and found myself surprised and fairly impressed.  It cool to have a new anthology franchise out there, especially one to feature found footage, it seems like the possibilities are limitless and could produce more great horror stories and bring unappreciated filmmakers some well earned limelight.

3 1/2 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets. Worth checking out!

Stay Trashy!

-Root

19
Aug
13

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) or “Why is there a Watermelon there?”

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“No, no, no, don’t tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to.” -Buckaroo Banzai

a Primal Root written review

He’s a rock star, neurosurgeon, mystic, nuclear physicist and the star of his own comic book series, Buckaroo Banzai (Weller) is a man of many trades. But above all, he is a man of action.  Let me try and lay the story out for you to the best of my ability…which spells out trouble, really.  Deep breath, here we go!

“The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” drops us right in the middle of this action as Buckaroo is testing out a new jet propelled Ford Fiesta, equipped with his when he takes an unscheduled detour into the side of a mountain the side of a mountain going at speeds that break the sound barrier…and passing right through unharmed thanks to the vehicle being equipped with a piece of hardware of Buckaroo’s own design named “The Oscillation Overthruster.”  However, this impromptu experiment in dimensional travel unleashes more than Buckaroo and his colleagues/ team /bandmates, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, ever imagined. Within this rock were stashed several Evil Black Lectoids from Planet 10 who have been exiled there and have now been unleashed from the 8th Dimension.

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“Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!”

News of Buckaroo’s successful journey across the 8th Dimension spreads quickly and manages to reach Dr. Emilio Lizardo (Lithgow), whose failed Overthruster experiment in 1938 ended up leaving his body possessed by Lord John Whorfin, an evil alien creature who is compared to Adolf Hitler. See, Whorfin is the leader of the Red Lectroids, a race of  reptile, alien creature who waged war against Planet 10 and were later banished to this 8th Dimension.

Still with me? Groovy.

Well, due to Lizardo’s botched overthruster experiment,  and the release of Lord John Whorfin, many of these Red Lectroids pilgrimaged to earth and now work at YoYodyne Propulsion Systems posing as employees and working on a spacecraft while pretending it’s a project for the U.S. Air Force.  Their plan is to rescue the remaining exiles in the 8th dimension and take over Planet 10m which is populated by the far less aggressive Black Lectroids, who threaten Earth with a fake nuclear attack which will set off World War III if Lord John Whorfin’s plans are not halted within 24 hours.

Now, the fate of the entire planet lies in the  hands of Buckaroo Banzai, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, the civilian Banzai Institute volunteers known as The Blue Blazers,  John Parker (the Black Lectroid messenger) and the beautiful Penny Priddy (Barkin).

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“I can see your whole clam bake, Penny.”

As you can kind of guess, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” is one VERY convoluted, complex, whacky mess of a story. It’s a story it took a couple viewing for me just to wrap my mind around just what the Hell was happening. TAOBBAT8D never gives the audience a moment to catch it’s breath, from the very get-go TAOBBAT8D starts flinging ideas, concepts and theories at break neck speed and dares us to try and keep up with the action on screen. We and jarringly catapulted from scene to scene, character to character in a film made to play like an episode from a serial that has a long standing history with fans, only there was NOTHING that came before this and NOTHING to come after. Well, there was a sequel planned (Buckaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League) but since the movie bombed like Hiroshima, that sequel never had a chance. So we are left with a movie that is bafflingly complex, silly and rallies against the typical dramatic structure we, as viewers, are accustom to, But all of these elements always left me exhilarated by “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension’s” end credits begin rolling.  You are an outsider invited to be a part of this incredibly cool cat’s latest journey.  you are thrown into this wild world and either you can make the decision to hold on for dear life and enjoy the ride or throw your hands in the air and declare that this stuff makes no sense, and just walk away.  If there is one major flaw in the film, it’s pretty slap dash and difficult to follow. But I have a feeling that’s by design.

One thing is certain, The Adventure’s of Buckaroo Banzai and it’s mix of action, science fiction, and comedy are not for everyone. Where some might find a lot of great concepts bubbling forth from the film;s narrative, others might find this flick more than a little tedious, which is a totally understandable view point. for me, the strength of the film lies in the fact that Buckaroo Banzai is unlike any other film ever made, or ever will be made again. It’s a high concept oddity with A.D.D. crackling under with the static of a head full of crazy ideas.  To me, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is one of the coolest, strangest fucking movies ever made, and with every new viewing, I take away another level of appreciation.  It’s one I don’t recommend easily. If you’re a Hong Kong Cavalier or a Blue Blazer, you will have an instinct to check this flick out for yourself.  As for me? “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” holds a special place of honor in my collection.

SIDE NOTE: Also, Breaking Bad fans, watch early on for an appearance by a young Jonathan Banks (aka: Mike from TV’s Breaking Bad) as an orderly at the mental asylum where  Lord John Whorfin is held.

4 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

17
Jun
13

John Dies at the End: Not a Spoiler (2012)

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a Primal Root written review

“Time is an ocean, not a garden hose. Space is a puff of smoke, a wisp of cloud. Your mind… is a flying corn snake hovering through all the possibilities” – Robert Marley, John dies at the End

Let me tell ya, “John Dies at the End” is a film, a story, full of ideas.  Time travel, alien invasions, alternate dimensions, ghosts, monsters, paintball flamethrowers…well, you get the picture. It’s the kind of film that plays it fast and loose with it’s multitude of concepts, throws caution to the wind and wishes you luck as you try to keep up with the blisteringly fast pace. filmmaker Don Coscarelli is the ideal choice to helm such a film. I doubt many other filmmakers would even come close to this material. It’s mind meltingly unconventional stuff and Don’s background with the Phantasm series and decades of maintaining that bizarro franchise and having it make some sort of narrative sense in spite of itself, pretty much makes him  the perfect man for this particular job.

Let me TRY to summarize the basic premise.   At a college party a drug is introduced to the kids entitled “Soy Sauce”. It’s a black liquidy substance that come sin a syringe and promises out of body experiences with each hit. What these youngster’s take to be a poetic sales pitch turns out to be the honest to God truth, as they begin traveling through time and parallel dimensions. The  bitch of it is, many of these youngsters are coming back…changed, and thus heralds in an other worldly invasion that just might spell out the end of life on this planet. Thankfully, college dropouts and general goofballs,  David and John, now endued with supernatural powers are humanities last chance at survival.  It’s one unbelievable story, all of which is being told to journalist Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) in the hopes of making the truth known.

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It plays something like “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” meets “Hellboy” with a dash of “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”. And if that sounds like an insane concoction, you’d be right. “John dies at the end” is almost an acquired taste. The kind of film that becomes more interesting and enriching with each repeated viewing. It all happens at such a rapid temp it’s near impossible to keep up, but with each viewing new images, thoughts and ideas present themselves, fleshing the film out as a whole. I know this sounds like a lot of work for one little move, but I suppose that’s why such flicks become “cult” films. And this flick seems tailor made for that crowd.  Hell, with performances from cult favorites such as Clancy Brown, Daniel Roebuck, Angus Scrimm and Doug Jones, it’s cult status  is pretty much built into it’s very fabric.

Now, I am not a recreational drug user, I know, “surprise, surprise”, but I have a feeling that those dabbling in a few choice narcotics might have a far better time watching this movie that someone who is stone cold sober, like I was during my initial viewing.  Just an idea. If you decide to try this out, let me know how it goes.

I enjoyed “John dies at the End” but I never felt like it really congealed into any kind of coherent story, at least the first time I watched it. This is neither a good or bad thing, just don;t expect anything conventional to come from “JDATE”. It’s unlike any movie you will see at your local googaplex. Which, if you;re tired of the same old mainstream offerings sold to us over and over again, this might just be your ticket.  But I don’t expect this is everyone’s cup of tea.

The Primal root says take the trip. What could it hurt?

Stay Trashy!

-Root

29
Mar
13

Spring Breakers (2012) Bikinis, Bullets and Britney Spears

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“Jut pretend it’s a video game. Pretend it’s a movie.” – Brit, Spring Breakers

a Primal Root review

edited by Bootsie Kidd

I walked out of the the theater with what felt like a hangover. My head throbbed, my eyes burned and hazy recollections of what I had recently experienced swirled in my mind like some kind of abstract dream from the night before. Was it all imagined? Was it a reality? One thing’s for sure, the images seared into my mind from seeing Harmony Korine’s latest flick “Spring Breakers” won’t soon be forgotten.  It left me feeling as I am sure many young people who go through this yearly right of passage do on their way home. Dirty, a little warped, and and not quite the same as when they went in on their journey.

A title like “Spring Breaks” along with its Disney Queen stable of leading ladies (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens are both here for the party) and the addition of James Franco sounds like some kind of terribly conceived throw back to the days of ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ or ‘Catalina Caper’. But Korine came through with his usual catchy darkness and we’re actually given a badass, fever dream of a film about a foursome of young, impressionable college girls (Gomez, Hudgens, Rachel Korine and Ashley Benson) who decide they MUST go to Spring Break in St. Petersburg, Florida in order to find themselves, and are willing to do just about anything in order to obtain the bread to get there. How do they get the cash to go? Why, by stealing a professor’s El Camino and robbing a local fried chicken hut, of course! Three of the young ladies pull off the heist and coerce their religious, naive friend “Faith” to come with them, and it’s off to the land of tits, pot, and Bud Light for a week of exploitative, brain-dead fun under the deep frying Florida sun!

The young ladies dive head-first into a hedonistic wonderland of narcotics, terrible rap artists, and rampant fornication while taking breathers in order to call their Grandmothers to falsify their shenanigans of flashing tits and guzzling beer from cans phallically positioned cock level by men in seedy hotel rooms wearing nothing but jock straps and caked in their own slimy man-glaze. Of course, the girls are testifying to family members that the St. Pete Spring Break scene is possibly the most spiritual place they’ve ever experienced, and in a way, I suppose it might be as these girls find out what they are capable of and just how far they can bend their moral compass. Which, for most of the ladies, their compass has been pointing south since the get-go. The only girl we are even concerned about in the middle of all this chaos is poor, little, Faith (Salena Gomez) who is perpetually 14 years old but looks to be having a blast for a few minutes there.

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That is until the girls get busted on a drug charge, and are sent to prison with nothing but their bikinis to cover their asses. It’s up to an ambitious sleazy, local drug dealer/rap artist with a grill of silver and scalp covered in rows of corn, Alien (James Franco in an Oscar caliber performance. Stop laughing!) to pay for the ladies to be released and give them a Spring Break they will never, ever forget. And oh Momma, does the man deliver as the girls get dragged into a seedy, drug-ladened underbelly of their spring Break paradise. Oh, and they, also, become part of a turf war between Alien and the man who used to be his best friend Archie (Gucci Mane) and end up going on a well-armed crime spree throughout the city in a slow motion montage to Britney Spear’s slow and drippy song “Everytime”, (whose lyrics might shed more light on the characters of all involved than one might expect, or could just be as vapid and shallow as some might think these characters are). In what must be a high watermark in current Trash Cinema as girls in bikinis and ski masks prance seductively with shotguns and a cornrowed James Franco plays Britney Spears on a white piano with the Florida sun setting behind him. However, Alien has no idea what he’s in for with these Spring Breakers up in his crib. This is art Trash at its finest and I felt my heart soaring during what might be one of the greatest sleazy flick moments in recent memory. Not since Killer Joe has a movie brought Trash up to this level. You’ll know what I mean when you see it…

Spring Breakers is not for the faint of heart or those who have grown dependent of the tropes of the current motion picture main stream crop of films that must spell everything out and whose sense of humor typically revolves around piss, shit or any combination of the two. “Spring Breakers” ain’t that typical piece of shit. This movie is an experience of both heaven and hell, paradise and purgatory, sleaze and beauty. It took me back to a time and place where movies like Harmony Korine’s “Gummo”,  and his collaborative break out hit “KIDS” were the toast of the town and the type of films people actively sought out to see for some unusual, different, grimy, honest and totally unique.

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Spring Breakers can be seen as nothing more than mindless entertainment, and it certainly does function on that level if that’s all you’re looking for, but it also can be seen as a meditation on the mixed messages and desensitization of today’s youth in a culture of crassness, sex and violence. It’s not a new message, to be sure, but it is always one worth taking a closer look at with every new generation. Harmony did it once with his screenplay for “KIDS” (1995) and with his film “Spring Breakers” it feels as if he’s showing us just how far we’ve come since then.  And Gang, it’s a disturbing, sick, nasty sight to behold. And that’s a good thing.

The Primal root Approves!  5 Dumpster Nuggets!

Stay Trashy!

-Root




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