Posts Tagged ‘angel

10
Mar
14

Funland (1987) Dancing with the Angel of Death

funland

a Primal Root written review

As a lifelong Floridian, with The Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios close by,  you grow up having a special kind of understanding of the amusement park business.  I’m sure to those who travel hundreds or thousands of miles and spend entire fortunes to come visit our state’s economic clit ticklers still feel the magic when walking down main street while wearing your short Dad shorts and fanny pack  in the skull liquifying summer heat or  watching film legend Brendan Frasier mug for the camera as they are thrown around on the indoor roller coaster based on the contemporary cinematic classic, “The Mummy Returns”, but for those of us in Florida who take a stroll through these parks on an almost annual basis, we can tell you there’s some shady shit going on just beneath the fairy tale surface…

This just might be why 1987’s bizarre, skit heavy, amusement park centered comedy/psychological drama “Funland” holds a special place in my rotten, filthy, heart.  “Funland” is one very strange, very off kilter film filled with a dozen or so ideas of which only about a half of them ever take root and really make an impression.

Funland is preparing for another season of family friendly fun and attractions, with hundreds of new recruits just chomping at the bit to press the “START” button on the park’s rides,  clean brat puke off the sidewalks or sell concessions at the ridiculously racist “Fresh Watermelon” stand! Most excited of all is Bruce Burger (David L. Lander, Squiggy from Lavern and Shirley), the clown mascot of “Funland” who was once the head accountant before suffering a complete mental breakdown that left him believing he is the actual incarnation of the parks clown mascot, Bruce Burger. See, the park’s owner, Angus (William Windom) believes in loyalty over profits, and keeps this mentally unstable man on board as Bruce Burger.  It’s a sweet, home spun gesture, but Angus soon meets his end the way most decent men do,  found dead face down in a body of water under mysterious circumstances.  his wife soon after sells the entire business to the mob who are only concerned about the bottom line an begin filling the park with less family friendly attractions like the Celebrity Death and Disease exhibit and dismantling the musical showcase in order to replace it with strippers.. In all honesty, I might actually go to an amusment park with these kind of attractions.

fun1

The mob also decides to fire Bruce Burger and brings in the “National” Bruce Burger whose played by a  classically trained actor who constantly complains about his job and reminisces about his thespian history ad nauseam.  Bruce takes refuge in the recently closed down wax museum and finds solace in long conversations with a hallucination of Humphrey Bogart  (Robert Sacchi, who pulls off an excellent impression of bogie) and a sausage puppet. Bruce continues living at the park and dressing the part, but his hallucinations and psychosis continue to grow worse, culminating in a strange moment in the Funland cafeteria when the gentleman behind the lunch counter begin rapping, The Angel of Death appears briefly, never to be seen again, and the entire crowd drops what they’re doing and start moving and a groovin’. Once this hallucinatory episode comes an end  the ghost of Angus shows up to grab a bite to eat with Bruce and to divulge the horrible truth, he was murdered. So, it is decided over a game of poker between Bruce and his three most prominent hallucinations  to take action. Bruce steals a mafioso’s gun, heads to the top of the theme parks clock tower and opens fire over the strenuous objections of the talking sausage puppet.

“Funland” is among the most bizarre Trash Cinema videos I’ve ever watched.  David L. Lander as Bruce Burger does a damn fine job portraying the gradual mental collapse of Bruce Burger, a man already teetering ont he edge of total insanity. to the film’s credit, Bruce’s steady decline is hardly ever played for laughs. If the awkward, out of place gags featured in “Funland” were edited out you’d have a far darker film on your hands. but, in a way, all the attempts at levity give the movie an even more disturbing quality. One stand out sequence features the aforementioned “Fresh Watermelon” stand where a white junior manager is giving instructions to the four black men who will be working the stand.  The junior manager asks “Is anyone good with knives” and all the black men back away in fear. Can someone tell me just what the Hell this means? What are these guys afraid of? Was there a scene missing where the junior manager stabs a man to death?

Fresh-Watermelon1

When it’s all said and done, “Funland” is far from a  perfect film, but it is the kind of film that you want to watch to the bitter end simply because it’s so unpredictable, so looney and has so many goddamn plot elements you’ll be dying to see how it all gels together. Seldom do you come across a film that manages to undercut it’s amateur execution and redeem it by way of own it’s twisted, surreal  logic.  It’s constantly quirky and strange making all the logical sense of a fever dream.  To my own amazement, this works in the films favor and makes for an enjoyable, head scratcher of a flick.  For fans of unique, one of a kind, absolutely bonkers trash cinema, “Funland” is one you should really check out.

I give “Funland” Four and a Half out of Five Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

04
Feb
10

Legion of Gloom

a primal root review

The first time I laid my black devil eyes on the trailer for the uproariously trashy looking apocalypse at the hands of God and his badass army of angels flick, Legion, you couldn’t have wiped my grin away with a belt sander. It comes across as the kind of bizarre scenario that would have played out in my backyard between my G.I. Joe action figures on a random Saturday afternoon when I was still in short pants. God decides he’s lost faith in humanity and it’s time to wipe them out so he sends in his angel ass kicker dream team to stomp the shit out of us till there’s nothing left. It’s really a ridiculous premise but an interesting one none the less. One of those throw away brain fart ideas that come up from time to time when you’re starring at the ceiling at night or taking a whiz. Not profound, but kind of nifty. Lucky us, someone took our mind dropping and turned it into a feature length motion picture!

too subtle?

Legion concerns the epic battle between grease caked country bumpkins and the horrific evil minions of…God…yeah, the once benevolent and subtle spirit of God is now creating plagues of demons from Hell to try and kill off humanities’ one and only hope for survival. A foul mouthed, chain smoking pregnant woman with a distracting mole on her forehead named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki from Supernatural) is carrying the baby that is going to be our savior. A rebel angel named Michael (Paul Bettany) drops into to inform everyone of this fact. Yeah, you remember, Michael. He was played so memorably by John Travolta a decade or so ago…

Michael before the NRA entered his life.

Anyway, Michael has driven out into the desert and into a quaint little greasy spoon diner/gas station owned by a sweaty grizzled guy named Bob (Dennis Quaid) where Charlie happens to be working. He arrives just after an elderly woman has gone completely ape shit, bitten a guys throat out and climbed across the ceiling like a caucasion Lionel Ritchie from Hell. Michael arrives in a stolen cop car and loaded to the teeth with semi automatic fire power to blow the shit out of God’s demon spawn and angel army as they descend down upon the face palmingly appropriately named locale, Paradise Falls. Those in the diner are informed of their pants shittingly bad situation and are told they must choose to fight or die asking questions.

Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

There’s a good assortment of supporting characters caught in the middle of the action, some of whom are a thousand times more interesting than our key players. Ultimate badass Charles S. Dutton plays cook and Vietnam veteran Percy Walker and pretty much steals the show. The character of Percy is infinitely likable so you know his screen time has gotta be limited. Even the typically lame as can be Tyrese Gibson (yeah, the guy from 2 Fast 2 Furious) turns in a subtle and winning performance as a man whose virtues prove to be his undoing.

Evil Granny: Sucking Face and Taking Names

There’s the obligatory three piece yuppie family unit featuring the bitchy Mom, wise cracking Dad (yeah, the guy who gets his ass handed to him by an evil senior citizen) and the attention seeking, ass revealing teenage daughter. Oh yeah, and Bob’s son Jeep, who is supposed to be one of the stars of this film but Lucas Black turns in such a deer-in-the-headlights performance that you never ever really care about him.

What I really enjoyed about Legion is that I never felt like the filmmakers took this whole God’s personal vendetta concept too seriously. They seem intelligent enough that they realized Legion was in the vein of the good old fashioned drive-in trash flick, albeit, one of a much higher budget and sleeker appearance. I’m not saying this is a great flick. But it’s sure as Hell a fun bag full of horror infused gory shoot outs, monstrous ice cream truck drivers (played by none other than Doug Jones) explosions, angel-fu, acid filled exploding body boils, little tiny adolescent demon girls carrying balloons, a half dozen teary eyed duet scenes for young actors, the movie is packed with all kinds of trashy, low brow win. It’s like Maximum Overdrive meets Assault on Precinct 13 meets the 700 Club on acid. Seriously, it’s just as fun as it sounds. Well, despite there being no nudity at all. You will be entertained. I do recommend some spirits of the liquid form in advance of seeing the movie to enhance the affects.

Doug Jones as Ice Cream Guy steals the movie with only 60 seconds of screen time and not a single line of dialog.

It’s always fun to see someone take a dodgy approach to something considered sacred by many. In the case of Legion, it’s cool to see the whole word of God thing given a complete filth covered trash make over. Really, has God ever been portrayed as such a bitch? I mean, other than in real life? I’m so used to seeing him played by Morgan Freeman and Alanis Morissette or offering up wisdom like on The Simpsons. Never have I seen God get his panties in a wad over the assholishness of man that he sent an entire extermination squad of demons and angels. You’d think he would have seen the travesties committed against the natives of this country in his name and would have put a stop to the humanity thing a long time ago.

God’s back with a vengeance in Legion and this time it seems personal. However, thanks to the second amendment and the work of the NRA, humanity stands a fighting chance. Well, at least at a white trash diner in the United States. Remember, if you are about to get touched by an angel…AIM FOR THE HEAD!

Stay Trashy,
-The Primal Root

Adrianne Palicki plays Charlie in the new film Legion.




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