Posts Tagged ‘community

05
May
12

Carnosaur (93): Handpuppets from Hell

a Primal Root review

“It’s heading this way!” – Smith, Carnosaur

If there is one thing we’ve learned from good ol’ Roger Corman is that you sure as Hell don’t need the same budget as the big boys to beat them at their own game and rake in a little money for yourself. Case in point, Carnosaur, a low budget dino-chicken on the loose tale made strictly to make money off the then upcoming Speilberg project some of you may have heard of  “Jurassic Park”.  In fact, Carnosaur was released merely two weeks before the Jurassic Park showed up on the scene to break all kinds of box office records and usher in a new era of innovation in special effects.  Therefore, Carnosaur did exactly what it was designed to do and scraped up some profit by riding the coat tails of the oncoming giant and undoubtedly falls into the Mockbuster sub-genre.

That being said, there are few similarities between Carnosaur and Jurassic Park. In all actuality Carnosaur is one bizarrely unique horror film, at least in concept. The story proper involved an evil geneticist,  Dr. Jane Tiptree (played by Diane Ladd, of all people), who has hatched an idea to destroy humanity by bringing dinosaurs back onto the playing field through genetically altered chickens. I shit you not, these dinosaurs are born of omelets as these poor hens grow gigantic dinosaur eggs within them and explode in a gush of blood rather than actually laying the damn things. One by one these clucking little guys rip and pop open to reveal the dino-egg prize within.  Poor chickens, that’s pretty fucking rough no matter what animal you are. Save a leg for me!

Anyhoo, these dinosaurs begin raising Hell all over the American south west as they attack just about every human being in sight, and in some cases, teleporting to do so. These dinosaurs get around, man. From a pick -up truck full horny teens to some Native American fellow who is introduced just long enough to have his lower intestine yanked out of him and slurped down by a couple Carnosaurs as if this was Hershel Gordon Lewis’s personal version of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.  One has to wonder if these damn things ever get full because they devour just about any and everything their gaze happens to fall upon.

but the dino-chicks aren’t the true plan, only a red herring. See, Tiptree has created a type of virus that will steadily kill us all and prompt the female of our species to ACTUALLY CONCEIVE THE DINOS and then GIVE GRAPHIC, BLOODY, PAINFUL BIRTH to the little jerks! Thing Alien or Humanoids from the Deep if you want something to compare it to. It’s nasty, it’s mean and it’s pretty damn messy.

All that stands in Dr. Tiptrees way is a drunk asshole and an environmental activist who must aside their differences to fight the good fight against dinosaur baby birthing and basic disemboweling by dinosaur in general.  The pacifistic idealistic Ann, aka: Thrush, becomes an trigger happy dino killer once her Eco-concerned gang chains themselves to some bulldozers in protest of…um, stuff that hurts the environment and end up getting chewed into hash by a rampaging, munch happy, dinosaur in a harrowing sequence. Did I say harrowing? I meant hilarious. The cheese factor is through the roof on this one and my favorite moment of this massacre has got to be when one young lady ends up getting her leg taken off by an adorable little dinosaur. She screams, kicks and fights but once her leg is gone and she begins to spew geysers of blood from her fresh leg stump she seems kind of okay with it. No longer screaming or reacting at all, really, she just sits and seemingly contemplates, calmly, the fate of her appendage.

Now, the resident alcoholic named Smith, his motivations are a little less clear. He is somehow tied to the evil corporation responsible for these dinosaurs and the killer dino-preggo virus, but his official position from what I can gather is “Passed Out Drunk In Mobile Home”.  Now, he could be some kind of guard or something who watches over all the equipment right outside his door, but if that’s the case, the man is a pretty big fuck up allowing protestors to chain themselves to the equipment and then going out to dinner while said protestors become dino chow. Why he begins a campaign to infiltrate the evil corporation and put a stop to their shenanigans is vague. Either the small lake of blood that used to be his front door has given him a new found respect for human life or he is now in the throws of the nookie monster as he has overcome his whiskey dick thanks to the blonde, militant and cute as a button environmentalist,  Ann aka: Thrush.

There’s no telling, but the film reaches it’s awesome climax as the government shows up to neutralize the situation by killing every single living thing in sight and it is left up to Thrush and Smith to take down the big daddy Tyrannosaurus-Rex with by battling the creature with industrial load bearing equipment. Really, it’s the action packed climax Jurassic Park only wishes it had.

Carnosaur is not to be taken seriously by any means. In fact, the things a pretty ridiculous experience to sit through. From the opening credits informing us that chickens are being cross bred with vultures and iguanas (?) to the very first appearance of the gut bustingly funny appearance of the forced perspective hand puppet dinosaur and then the films laughably goofy final act, Carnosaur is the epitome of the guilty pleasure, bad movie night viewing experience. The thing has one very strange concept going for it, some game actors and the thing sure as Hell doesn’t skimp on the gore or arterial spray. And a performance by the inimitable Clint howard, and you have yourself on Hell of a Grade-A ticket to B-Movie paradise!

Bottom Line, Jurassic Park might be considered a modern day classic. Even a milestone in contemporary cinema tic history.  Carnosaur, in my humble opinion, is it’s own milestone. Few horror movies have captured the horror of being eaten by a dinosaur and the prospect of child birth and combined the two so well! Name another film that taps into this uncharted nightmare terrain! Sure, the film is silly as all get out, has sock puppet dinosaurs that are far more adorable than they are menacing, and our heroes are all rather unlikeable, but at the end of the day, Carnosaur is pretty dang entertaining for a total piece of cash-in schlock.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

01
Jan
12

Rawhead Rex Wants to Skull Fuck You and I’m Okay With This.

a Primal Root written review

When I think of monsters larger than life a number of creatures come to mind. Of course, Godzilla, King Kong, Cloverfield…Hell, even Bruce from JAWS and the graboids from Tremors make appearances.  And then there’s Rawhead Rex, the red headed step-child of all giant monsters. Yeah, while Godzilla is off crushing noodle factories in Japan, Rawhead Rex is stomping around rural Ireland ripping the heads off teenage love birds and literally pissing in the faces of local priests. Now this is The Root’s kind of monster. Sure, Rawhead’s not nearly as tall as some of the other monsters on the block, but he makes up for his mere 10 or 11 foot tall stature with plenty of murderous spunk and personality. Unlike other monsters who are brought about by man’s experimenting, or are simply Mother Nature’s own killing machines, Rawhead is just a mean mother fucking demon. He’s not here for sympathy or for us to see ourselves reflected in him…no. This guy just wants to bite your face off and smear his shit on the bloody mess beneath. I doubt you will find a sicker, meaner, more sacrilegious monster in 80’s cinema. I feel it is my duty, as ambassador of the Trash Cinema Collective, to shine a light on one of the nastiest, meanest, most atrocious cinematic monsters ever brought to life, Mister Rawhead Rex.

"I feel good about me!"

Our movie takes place in a dreary farming community in Ireland where a group of men try to remove and ancient totem from one of their fields. Soon, the sky darkens, red lightening rains down and the totem falls releasing a horrifying demonic monster older than the Christian faith whose only purpose in existing is to destroy any and everything in it’s ugly path. At the same time, an American family has come to town headed by historian and writer, Howard Hollenbeck, who is traveling the countryside compiling research on pre-Christian sacred sites and is interested in the local church’s unique history and stained glass windows.  All the while, Rawhead is painting the entire countryside rd with the grue and entrails of the local villagers, twisting off heads, terrifying children, setting people on fire and tearing ladies blouses off to expose their breasts before tossing them into trees. How can Rawhead be stopped? The clues and secrets to the creatures destructon are all held within the walls of the towns ancient church. Can Hollenbeck get aid from the incompetent local authorities, deal with the psychotic Reverend Coot’s and unlock the mysteries to defeating Rawhead Rex before he destroys the town and Hollenbeck’s family?

Rawhead Rex is based of a short story by Clive Barker, the man who brought us Hellraiser and Nightbreed. not only boasting source material from Clive Barker, but a screenplay by the man as well, Rawhead Rex isn’t a very good movie. However, it is a ridiculously fun and entertaining one. The movie actually follows the original story pretty closely but is also devoid of just about all the thought provoking, serious pagan/spiritual concepts that made the story such a brilliant, philosophical read and, instead, just goes berserk and delivers a fucking crazy ass monster movie that delivers all the goods. That is, if you don’t mind a generous helping of cheese with your cinematic entree.

"Oh yeah, your lymph nodes are WAY swollen..."

The film itself is competently made and pretty well acted all around. Director, George Pavlou, does an excellent job of keeping the pace up, composing some fantastic shots and utilizes them to their best affect, and even takes some risky chances with his subject matter. Keep in mind, Rawhead Rex was released right in the midst of the British “Video Nastis” fiasco, so Pavlou had to walk a very fine line in order for his film to see the light of day. In all honesty, the violence here works rather well. It’s kind of muted in parts but it’s still gets the point across. But where Rawhead really scores points with me is that it has the brass balls to put kids in mortal danger, and even goes out of it’s way to kill a few! Yes, Rawhead  completley destroys a kid or two in his rampage. It happens just out of camera shot but with some great post production foley, the sound of these kids getting folded in half and ripped into meaty chunks drives the point home.

Now, I know everyone’s  gripe about Rawhead Rex is how shitty his costume is. You know, I love the way Rawhead looks. It’s cheesy as all hell and nearly destroy the credibility of the film, but there’s something about it I find really endearing that keeps this whole affair on a B-Movie, Drive-In level. Really, the the monster looks like a cross between a dog, a horse, and The Ultimate Warrior. He’s goofy enough to make you laugh, but strange enought that you don’t want that fucker within 1,000 yards of you.  I, for one, appreciate Rawhead’s fantastic dark sense of humor and that so much of the violence is delivered tongue in cheek. Don’t get me wrong, there are some creepy ideas at play here, a legitimate sense of dread, and a hand full of genuinely shocking scenes… but you cannot deny the film i a Hell of a lot of fun. There are moments when Rawhead runs after people where he looks like a little boy skipping and hopping after them, moments where he celebrates turning over motor homes where he begins dancing like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, he even whips it out and pisses on a kneeling, willing, Reverand Coot’s in a kind of demonic Golden Shower baptismal cleansing, in what is possibly the film’s most notorious scene. Personally, I couldn’t stop laughing.

I can't help but wonder what Rawhead looks like with his mouth shut. Such a Chatty Kathy, that guy...

Within all this bizarre-o action, blood thirsty monster mayhem, and religious nose thumbing, is a pretty interesting story. Sure, it’s not at all what Clive Barker probably envisioned but it still manages to please as crazed, no holds barred, monster movie sporting a larger than usual set of testicles it drags through the dirt behind it. There are so many aspects of Rawhead Rex that are worth praising. I especially loved the ending conceit the Rawhead Rex can only be destroyed by that which he can never be…and finding out exactly what that means. It’s a rather poetic and lovely idea tossed into an otherwise wild, and grotesque mix. But it’s moments like these where the air is cleared of the action and horror campiness and a little bit of heart shines through.

I highly recommend Rawhead Rex as pure, unadulterated B-movie love. If you come across a copy for cheap, snatch it up as quickly as you can. As the runt of the larger than life monster litter, Rawhead is about as fun and lovable as they come and well worth bringing into your home. Even if he’s not house broken.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

12
Oct
10

Satan’s Little Helper: The Many Faces of Evil

a Primal Root Review

****SPOILER WARNING****

“JESUS IS SATAN!” – Jenna makes a startling revelation in Satan’s Little Helper

Well, it’s that time of year again! My favorite holiday, Halloween, is just around the corner and I felt it would do the season justice to bring you a review for one of my favorite new films to take place on my favorite day of the year. We’re talking about the 2004 warped, jet black Halloween horror comedy, Satan’s Little Helper. A film that explicitly details the highs and lows of befriending someone who is pure evil and doing everything hey ask you to do. It also illustrates how easily lead and stupid children are. And how hot your sister is. And how creepy Amanda Plummer is. And how much hipster drama majors suck. All in one action packed movie! Let us get down to business.

 

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen, Satan.

 

Satan’s Little Helper begins with our little kid star, Dougie (Alexander Brickel) riding in the family sedan wtih Mom (Amanda Plummer) on their way to pick up his sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) who has come back from college to celebrate Halloween with her kid brother. Dougie is dressed up as Satan’s Little Helper, the main character in the violent horror video game his father bought for him. In the game, Satan’s Little Helper follows Satan around and murders people for points while avoiding detection by God and getting killed by an Avenging Angel. Now, if only this film had become more popular, every kid in North America would be playing this game. Including me.

Now, when Dougie and Mom pull up to the ferry to pick up Kathryn (she had to take a ferry because this place is small and secluded and could be an island or something) she has brought along a fellow theater major and possible suitor in the form of scrawny hipster, Alex (Stephen Graham) who won’t shut up about his abusive father and is never once likable. Needless to say, Dougie is pissed because he wanted to spend his Halloween with his super cool sister but now has to share her with El Douche Bag Theater Major.

Dougie mopes about his neighborhood before coming across someone who may or may not be the devil murdering someone on their front porch in broad daylight and arranging this corpse as a Halloween decoration.  This is the exact same behavior Dougie has come to idolize in his favorite video game so, of course, he’s gotta introduce himself to this silent, masked killer and offer up his services. Satan instantly approves after Dougie mentions the fact that his sexy, melon chested sister and slightly neurotic Mother are both home alone and Dad won’t be home till later.

Dougie and Satan, BFF!

The two embark on an awesome and constantly hysterical adventure together running over elderly blind men and pregnant women with shopping carts, crushing cats against  houses to write Halloween messages in their blood, and kicking elderly women from their walkers and then hanging them out the upstairs window so they can nab her drugs to lace the candy they will later be handing out to children.

Keep in mind, Dougie is not psychotic, he simply thinks this is all make believe and that this is all just like the video game. How could a cild be so damn stupid? I’m not sure. But it does add to the humor to watch a little kid give a murderer a thumbs up as he brutally stabs a grocer to death and toss the body in a dumpster.

The proceedings are all undergone with tongue planted firmly and bloodily in cheek and for those of you with the same sick sense of I possess this is a fucking gem of a Halloween horror movie. The film manages to pull off a pretty believable feeling of a small town Halloween and how easy it would be for a killer to simply kill people and set them all about under the guise it’s simply a Halloween prank or decoration. Half the action takes place in broad daylight with neighbors walking by, and on some occasions, even stopping with the kids to watch and take photos while laughing.

 

Satan gets acquainted with Dougie's big sister, Jenna.

 

The Satan figure in the film, in addition to being both hilarious and brutal, possesses an incredible intelligence and insight into human psychology. He manages to put a dozen webs and traps together and manipulate all his victims into killing family and friends for him. Like a more comical version of Jigsaw from the Saw franchise, Satan has a knack for almost clairvoyant forward planning. It’s really kind of remarkable when you watch the film and think about it.

A third of the way through Satan’s Little Helper, the small community falls into anarchy as the five man police team is decimated and Satan changes faces and his numerous plans come together. People rush to get the Hell out of there as it dawns on them what they assumed were harmless Halloween jokes are, in fact, deadly serious.

It is in this final third of the movie that Satan’s Little Helper, I believe, delivers a bit of a message. Satan changes costumes several times towards the end of our film. First, into Jesus Christ (donning an infinitely creepier mask than his Devil get-up.) who Dougie has prayed for to help him after being led blindly by Satan, whom he thought was his friend before he gutted dad and tied his lower intestines to a dining room chair. Dougie instantly believes this visage of Christ is here to help, little does he realize, Christ is the same evil he is trying to avoid.

Christ stops by.

By film’s end, the family lets a police officer into their home assuming he is there to help. This authority figure is revealed to be the same killer wearing another mask, another costume, of a figure many of us are conditioned to trust and believe in. Watching the film again I began to wonder if this was a Christian film, but in the end I have a feeling it’s a cautionary tale about trusting authority and those in power. Satan, Jesus, law enforcement, or otherwise you should always question those in power and not just play the sheep who blindly follows.

Could it be? A movie that’s such a brain smashingly nasty bit of comic fun as Satan’s Little Helper could jam a damn message into the proceedings? I dunno. I may be reading way too much into this thing. All I know is it’s just as funny to watch Jesus savagely beat people as it is to watch Satan.

This Halloween season, if there’s one flick I recommend you check out if you haven’t already, it’s the indie sleeper Satan’s Little Helper. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, and just maybe learn a little something about yourself.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root




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