Posts Tagged ‘cops

28
Dec
17

New Year’s Evil: Dropping the Ball

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“It’s been a really bad year for me.” – Richard Sullivan, New Year’s Evil

a Primal Root Review

New Year’s Eve! That oh-so special night when we all come together to celebrate the passing of another year of set backs, horrible crimes against humanity and affronts to moral decency as we fill our bellies and blood streams with excessive amounts of alcohol in the hopes we can some how kill away the pain we feel in losing a portion of ourselves to such a godawful twelve months of our lives. That is, before we wake up New Year’s Day and roll out of our crusty, cold, puddle of puke from the night before, pluck the used condom from out of our assholes, we hope, that maybe…just maybe…, to quote The Counting Craws, this year will be better than the last.

You think of the multitude of traditions associated with this yearly world wide party and all the festive goings on and one wonders how an early 80’s slasher film could go so wrong with using this year end hedonistic smorgasbord go wrong? Well, the makes of New Year’s Evil has found a way!

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It’s New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles and the supposedly “sexy” host of a rock n’ roll call in show called Hollywood Hotline, Diane “Blaze” Sullivan (Roz Kelly), who looks like a Christian soccer Mom got accosted by Hot Topic,   is hosting an all night television New Year’s party where they are celebrating new year’s in every time code. But one caller tells her to call him “Evil” and that he is going to kill someone at every stroke of midnight. Blaze ignores her troubled actor son and focuses on her live telecast responsibilities while trying to get the local police to do their jobs and halt Evil before he kills someone close to her, as he has threatened. This will not be so easy, as the killer is a MASTER OF DISGUISE! Implementing fake mustaches and priest outfits that do very little to change his appearance at all!

As the corpses begin to mount, the cops deduce that Evil is killing one person every hour from 9 to midnight. Will the police be able to track down the killer before the final stroke of midnight and Blaze get snuffed out and is there any hope that they can make this movie the least bit exciting or entertaining?

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Okay, New Year’s Evil is one of the greatest letdowns I’ve ever forced myself to sit through. Where does one even begin? The movie is all over the damn place, and not in a good way. It feels like the filmmakers were scrambling to find ANYTHING interesting to thrill us with but are constantly coming up short. There is absolutely no gore to speak of, literally, non. Zip. Nada. Not only that, but there is hardly any nudity to seduce us with. Listen, if you hardly have a story and don’t have a budget for any kind of gore effects in your mother fucking SLASHER movie, at least throw us a bone and feature some nekkid flesh, because watching shitty bands play terrible music in between people talking on the phone, exchanging clunky, passionless dialog, and literally just waiting for something to happen does not an fun, entertaining, or so-bad-it’s-good piece of Trash Cinema make.

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Kip Niven as Richard Sullivan who we know is Evil from the very beginning does his very best with the material he is given, with varying results. It goes from being dull as a dog turn to unintentionally comical, but he never quite settles on a tone. Grant Cramer as Blaze and Richard’s ignore son and struggling actor is actually pretty fun to watch, although his screen time adds up to about five minutes. One scene that stands out is when he takes some pills, dons a red stocking over his head and begins angrily pulling rose buds off a bouquet he gave his mother.  It’s nothing really special, but in this snooze fest, it actually passes as mildly intriguing. Then there’s Roz Kelly as Blaze, who might be the most poorly cast and most ill equipped actor in the film. The whole films rest squarely on her shoulders, it is her’s to carry and she simply is not up to the challenge. She is supposed to be energetic, down and dirty and fun to be around! She dresses the part but comes off as tired, bewildered and completely out of place during her New Year’s Eve call in television party.

Really, there’s not much to recommend…the scenes meander along and go from one to the other out of duty but you never once sense any kind of passion of the project. You get the vibe that everyone involved is sort of just going through the motions to collect a pay check. There’s no fun to be had, it’s an utterly toothless, literally bloodless feature length film that has nothing to offer even the most easy to please fright fan.

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Okay, well, there is kind of one thing I enjoyed. When it’s “Revealed” that Richard is Evil and he explains his motives to Blaze it’s pretty damn funny. He hates that his wife is so busy and doing so well and flirts with other men and ignores her son. I mean, was a divorce out of the question? He HAD to kill several people who had nothing to do with his shitty marriage? “You’ve castrated me and that is not nice.” Richard explains, like the loser he is. Because his wife is successful and he and their son feel left behind, there just had to be a killing spree… “Women are manipulative and deceitful and immoral and very very selfish” And this is coming from a guy who just killed a half dozen people while is disguise and lying to them simply because he doesn’t like his marital situation.  Not only is this moment a nice little peek into a dark and slimy world of late 70’s misogyny, but a reminder that these kind of guys are still very much a part of the fabric of our loves, just like cotton, here in modern day America. Only they typically resent women for playing leads in remakes of Ghostbusters and are pissed that women are badass Jedi’s now in their Star Wars sequels.

Also, there is one line of darkly brilliant comedy dialog when Richard chains Blaze to the bottom of an elevator, “Enjoy your farewell party tonight. Get smashed!” BWAHAHAHAHA! Oh man, that was good. If only the ENTIRE movie could have been this witty or darkly comical.

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Okay, Richard’s Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy) mask is kind of creepy…

 

In all honesty, this might be the most boring slasher film ever produced. How fucking sad is that? I think I will commence to getting shit faced now. I cannot wait till New Year’s Eve after watching New Year’s Evil…

ONE 1/2 out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

20
May
17

Death Spa aka: Witch Bitch (1989) Let Me See Your Body Drop

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a Primal Root written review

“Alright, I’ll show you fried chicken, bitch!” – Michael, Death Spa

 

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, the gym is a pretty uncomfortable place to spend time in. I’m not going to lie, I;m out of shape. I have the keg as opposed to the six pack, my complexion is of the fish belly white variety and I get winded walking up the stairs to the office building I currently work. The stink of sweaty bodies, the harsh judgment in the huddled masses eyes as my flab goes to bouncing on any given piece of exercise equipment designed to improve my cardiovascular function as I gasp for air and my face turns the shade of the ripest tomato in town. Honestly, this is possibly one of the finest setting for a horror films I could imagine. Plenty of scantly clad hard bodies and a few out of shape oddballs thrown into the awkward situation of having to deal with one another as they each spend exorbitant amounts of money to utilize dangerous equipment to try and make their bodies match the standards set by society so that they might be attractive by photoshopped celeb standards and, hence, more desirable and a far shallower level than someone who is sweet, kind intelligent and not so hung up on their own body image. Oh yes, there is plenty of creeping fear to be found in this scenario, no doubt.

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Enter DEATH SPA! A 1989 bargain basement horror film with all the earmarks of a film made right on the cusp of the 80’s and 90’s. The fashion trends of the 80’s are still there, but beginning to get much more neon, the focus on body beauty is strong and the health food, new age craze is about to explode like a bukakke tape all over the face of the consumer market.  Death Spa takes place within the space age (for the late 1980’s) confines of Star Bodies gym, a place that’s every bit as popular as Uncle’s Day at a whore house, but also exceedingly prone to hazardous, deadly, truly horrifying accidents. We are introduced to this establishment as a young, blonde. gorgeous, perfectly fit frolicking dancer decided to call it a night, disrobes, and hits the sauna. After some much appreciated full frontal nudity and gratuitous sweaty body self fondling, the steam becomes some form of poisonous gas and our nubile young fitness expert begins to suffocate of toxic chemical fumes. As she thrashes, and bounces her perky young body in panic around the sauna room, she manages to keep it together long enough to throw an epic kung-fu chop to the sauna’s small peeping tom window at the entrance door.

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We then cut to a woman on fire in a wheelchair , seriously, that is what we cut to after watching a nekkid young woman collapse to the floor with her boobs bouncing in slow motion. Turns out this is a retrospective nightmare of our main character and Star Bodies owner, Michael (William Bumiller), whose wife was crippled in child birth, lost the baby, went insane with jealousy and immolated herself to teach her husband a lesson…huh? Anyway, he is plagued every night by these horrible nightmares of her burning herself into “unrecognizable ashes.” However, when he wakes from this particular nightmare, he finds himself right in the middle of a living one, as it turns out the lovely nekkid blonde dancing babe who just survived a near fatal gassing was, in fact, his new fuck buddy, Laura (Brenda Bakke from Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight and Hot Shots part Deux). She’s not doing so hot and her eyes have been severely damaged resulting in temporary blindness and the necessity to keep them covered in gauze for the remainder of the film, which is a real shame, because Brenda Bakke has some DAMN lovely eyes. Man, what a waste… at least they didn’t skimp on her bodacious body exposure.

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Well, as you might have guessed, this leads the local authorities to the front door of Michael’s establishment and our suspects begin to organize in a single file line.  Leading the investigation are Sgt. Stone (Rosalind Cash from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and The Omega Man), a no nonsense, dreadlock sporting badass and Lt. Fletcher (Francis X McCarthy of Altered States and Interstellar fame) as a man who never stops eating, make bizarrely insensitive, unfunny quips and looks like his heart is fixing to explode any second. These two add a constant police procedural subplot that is one of the few subplots not dropped or forgotten along Death spa’s running time. On their initial investigation the find out that the entire gym is run by a highly sophisticated super computer designed and controlled by David, Michael’s ex-brother in law and his dead wife’s twin brother ( David is played by the late Merrit Butrick who tragically died of health complications due to AIDS and is the one shining performance in the whole film. He’s probably best remembered for his role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.) David has a deep loathing for Michael, but they still have to work together, which makes every moment between them exceedingly awkward and, dare I say, fun?

We are also introduced to our gym rats, several folks in skin tight leotards showing of their tits, asses, and packages while they sweat out their butt cracks. One of these gym rats is Marvin, played by the legendary Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead (1978) and From Beyond. He is basically Michael’s right hand man and security for Star Bodies. First time I watched this flick I assumed he was the killer, but he is so under utilized and hardly seen in the film for most of the story, that hope pretty much faded away. Really. the poor guy’s screen time is maybe 5 minutes. Really, who besides Rob Zombie would cast this guy an make him a mere cameo? Anyhoo, before the cops leave there is another accident in the gym, this time a diving board collapses into the pool plummeting the diver into the water below…and uh, yeah, that’s it. Pretty insidious, huh? The diver is unscathed and everyone walks away fine and the diver, a bit moister, which she was planning on getting anyway.

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Michael picks up the now blind Laura from the hospital and after a surreal candle lit dinner and sexy food feeding segment, asks her to move into his enormous condo which has very few railings for a late 80’s house with several high areas where one who, say, cannot see could simply walk off of them and end up obliterating their spine…Of course she says yes.

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But back at Star Bodies, we are treated to an extended shower scene were a half dozen nekkid ladies treat us to the lathered up fully nude forms before the shower tiles begin flying off the walls and cutting their pretty faces! Not only that, but someone cranks up a fog machine full blast, obscuring our view of their goods, as they begin screaming as if it;s the second coming of Christ, and do that weird slow run out of the shower, like they don;t really want to go, but their noses are getting hacked off, so they might as well.  The cops and Michael start pointing fingers and Dave and the super computer, but Dave throws out the apt point that the computer doesn’t control the fucking shower tiles, and the argument falls flat as Michael, who has a handicapped girlfriends waiting for him as home, invites two of the traumatized yet horny hot shower massacre victims to come fuck him later to make up for the incident. Michael, what a guy!

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And just as this occurs, another gym rat gets his rib cage ripped open by a weightlifting machine that malfunctions and a girl in the locker room gets impaled by a pipe and stashed in a locker…and in the course of the film is never ever found. Even the cops mention later that this young woman has been missing for two days. In fact, the last time we ever see her is when the blind Laura is gathering her items from the locker the young ladies’ corpse  is stashed in, but Laura, you know, doesn’t see her. It’s honestly one of the better scenes in the movie and lasts all of 5 seconds as Laura reaches around the body getting her birth control and buttplugs out the locker as we wait for her to grab a hand full of cold bloody cadaver flesh, but it never occurs. Bummer.

Michael is convinced there is something supernatural afoot and hires a paranormal investigator who ends up trying to shoot the ghost only to have his hand exploded and get tossed around the room till dead. This all culminates with a Mardi Gras party at Star Bodies as women are being melted with acid in the basement, yet omitting no odor, and pools or recently crushed to death clients are still being mopped up at the food station. You really get a sense of a broken community of fitness enthusiasts as they all gather, get drunk and party down while fucking like jack rabbits in the sauna room. Hey, like they say, grieve in the way that makes you feel good.

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Before long, the killer is revealed, the horrifying and laughable incidents reach their fever pitch as people get their hands stuck in blends, people suddenly have wooden chunks hanging out of their heads with no explanation as to how they got there as a topless woman screams at the implication of this, and this might be the one film I’ve seen where flying zombie fish attack someone sending geysers of crimson spraying across the walk in freezer. It’s truly spectacular.

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Michael decides the only way to kill the vengeful, possessing spirit of his undead wife is to…electrify himself after telling her he will show her fried chicken? He starts shaking and spiting and the ghost which is highly flammable (who knew?) begins burning as she unloads her murderous ghostly powers to lock everyone in the party and send them to Hell one by one.  Michael, may I remind you, is a mortal man and walks away from his deadly electrocution TOTALLY unharmed while the ghost of his dead wife burns…back to death? In the computer room up stairs. Our “heroes” make their way out of the gym while all the other extras trample one another and burn to death. The movie ends, hysterically, with the burned into a bloody, gooey skeleton of Catherine, Michael’s jealous, vengeful ghost ex-wife (Shari Shattuck of The Naked Cage fame) as it vows even further revenge on Michael, his current fuck buddy AND his mother fucking gym! All before gagging on her own drippy insides and her eyes explodes like a giant zit. FREEZE FRAME! ROLL THOSE CREDITS!

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Gang, I am here to tell you my descriptions of the content of Death Spa do not get anywhere close to doing this hunk of Grade A Trash the justice it deserves.  With it’s over the top, outrageous gore effects, lack of respect of it’s characters, actors and audience’s intelligence, Death spa makes with the goods, spewing fourth some gratuitous, mean spirited gore, some extended gratuitous nudity, and there is plenty to go round! It;s basically the all you can eat buffet of trash cinema exploitation all wrapped up in one poorly written, awkwardly executed and endlessly entertaining supernatural splatterfest.

Plenty of Blood, Breast and Beasts! Death Spa is a nasty little piece of dreck sure to liven up any Trash Cinema Night you and yours plan to have. The Primal Root says check it out!

I award Death Spa FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets! Only for true Trash Cinema Aficionados.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

 

 

11
Oct
15

Hell Night (1981) Party on, Garth!

POSTER-HELL-NIGHT

a Primal Root written review

“If you weren’t screaming, and we weren’t screaming, then someone is trying to mind fuck us here.” Seth, Hell Night

I’m not going to lie to you, there were a ton of slasher films made in the wake of the independent horror mega hit, Halloween in 1979. They all followed the formula with varying degree of success. Many tried new ground and failed to deliver the goods, others just didn’t understand the appeal and tried for a quick, meaningless cash grab, while others delivered on the gore and tits but left little to be desired in the thrill department.  Being a life long, die hard admirer of the horror genre, I am willing to give anything a go and I am always thrilled to find an example of a genre film that has every excuse in the world to be a lousy phoned in slasher flick actually put forth the effort, rises above the cliched premise, and delivers something entertaining, actually scary and downright fucking solid in execution. 1981’s Hell Night is a perfect example.

Four pledges, Marty (Linda Blair of The Exorcist and Savage Streets fame) Jeff (Peter Barton from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), Seth ( Vincent Van Patten from Rock and Roll High School) and Denise (Suki Goodwin…umm…) must go through with the initiation ritual pleasantly referred to as Hell Night which means they all must spend the night in the abandoned Garth Manor, where a dozen years or so earlier Raymond Garth murdered his wife, killed off all their deformed offspring and then committed suicide. The youngest of their spawnage, Andrew referred to as a…Gork (?), was never found and the legend goes that he still lives somewhere within Garth Manor, which contains numerous secret passages and catacombs running below the enormous mansion.

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Once the four lovely young people are locked in for the night behind the 12 foot tall wrought iron fence which encircles the property, complete with razor sharp spikes at the top where anyone trying to haul their asses over it “might cut their nuts off”, Fraternity and Sorority leaders begin a campaign of pranks in an attempt to scare the shit out of the pledges all while Seth and Denise get all weird and kinky in an upstairs bedroom playing goofy and endearing surfboard role playing, Marty and Pater spend their time chatting and forming a friendship by the living room fireplace. But it isn’t long before the presence of these young people bring to life a dark, malevolent force in the house one that strikes out at the pranksters first and then slowly, mercilessly, begins hunting down our four pledges.

Hell Night works shockingly well despite what comes across as a pretty by the numbers premise. Stick four attractive young people in a dark, forbidding location, unleash a plot contrivance to search them down and kill them one by one according their sluttiness and casual narcotics usage, leave one girl behind to kill the monster and call it a day. But where Hell Night succeeds flawlessly is actually taking the time to create real, interesting, human characters and not some phony, cynical bullshit axe fodder that you can’t wait to see get their heads ripped from their neck stumps. The young people in Hell Night are genuinely likable, shit, even relatable. And this is a huge fucking rarity for a “dead teenage” flick.

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Let’s take a moment to look at Seth, probably my favorite character in the flick. This guy is a muscle bound, blonde, weed smoking surfer guy who, according to himself, only cares about drinking, surfing and screwing. In your run of the mill slasher film, this guy would be written of as dead meat right then in there. Horny jock? That sucker is toast! But in Hell Night, these conventions are kicked to the curb and Seth is proven to be not only quite intelligent, but heroic, loyal, and resourceful. As a long time fan of the slasher genre, I can tell you, Seth’s behavior and acts of heroism are not often seen in the slasher formula. In a way, this makes Seth a kind of wild card, as we so very seldom see this kind of character, we are put of edge not knowing just what might happen to him.

That same sentiment goes for the character of Marty. Linda Blair creates a unique and admirable blue collar badass out of Marty. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, comes from a working class family where she grew up fixing cars along with her mechanic Father (PLOT POINT!) and provides an interesting contrast to the other, more privileged, pledges.  There’s even a great extended conversation early in the film about class structure and capitalism between Marty and Jeff. It’s a fantastic moment where two characters are feeling one another out as they get to know one another along with the audience. We’re not talking anything deeply philosophical here, but it far exceeds what the format typically calls for, and that’s worth praising. These characters are real to life, identifiable and ultimately likable. We fear for them and it really does suck when these characters are killed and are no longer in the movie. You actually mourn the loss. See, this effort makes Hell Night far scarier than it’s next of kin.

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There are no red herrings in Hell Night, only a menacing, blood thirsty antagonist that remains hidden in the shadows for about 95% of the film’s running time. AGAIN, this works in Hell Night‘s favor, as it adds a legitimate feeling of unease and fear as we imagine just what or whom is lurking in the darkness, in those catacombs, racing towards us down the candle lit hallways of Garth Manor.  However, the number of killers at work here is left in question, which also adds to the uneasy tension Hell Night generates. But, when you stop and think about the premise of Hell Night, it does kind of dawn on you that these college kids ARE trespassing on Private Property…I guess The Garth clan has every right to butcher these assholes invading their home. Who are the real bad guys here? 😉 This flick even manages to create some genuine suspense as one young pledge, in a panic, decides to scale the high fence surrounding Garth Manor and must hoist his weight over numerous spikes poised to pierce his tender young flesh. When looking for help, all the young people can find is useless authority and they must rely on themselves, their cunning and resourcefulness to survive Hell Night.

Alright, so when all is said and done, is Hell Night original? Hardly. What it actually is, is a well crafted and performed Spook Show Haunted House. It’s genuinely thrilling, fun, and even pretty goddamn nightmarish at times. Hell Night is a sadly overlooked piece of slasher film history, one I continually wait to see it becoming rediscovered and reaching the cult status it so richly deserves. Boasting some fine performances, nasty, mean, mother fucking monsters, some outstanding cleavage from a still baby faced Linda Blair, a genuinely creepy score and the patience to really create some worthwhile characters, Hell Night is, in this filthy fright flick fan’s opinion, is one of the better slasher efforts to come out of the 1980’s.

WORD OF WARNING: There is NO nudity in Hell Night.

I’m awarding Hell Night FOUR out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy, Gang!

-Root

28
Sep
14

Little Monsters & The Return of the Living Dead: A Trash Cinema Collective Double Feature!

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WHO: The Trash Cinema Collective‘s The Primal Root
WHAT: DOUBLE FEATURE! Little Monsters (1989) and The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
WHEN: Saturday, October 4th starting at 9pm
WHERE: Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack
WHY: Because it’s October, we’re getting in the Halloween spirit, we’re keeping Tallahassee Trashy, and because we love you.

As Always, NO COVER!

Hey Gang, The Primal Root here, and I am thrilled to be hosting a Trashy Halloween inspired double bill featuring two of my all time favorites! We’ll be starting the evening off with the Fred Savage, Howie Mandel children’s coming of age whimsical horror comedy from 1989, “Little Monsters” and following it up with the nihilistic, hysterical, punk rock brain muncher, 1985’s “The Return of the Living Dead!”

It will be a night of unadulterated ghoulishly Trashy pleasures as we take a trip down memory lane with two horror classics just in time for Halloween Season!

So, come on out and join your friends from The Trash Cinema Collective at Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack Saturday October 4th, grab a pitcher of your favorite ice cold beer, chow down on a juicy, beautiful burger and brace yourself for Monsters! Reanimated corpses! Chemical spills! Pee drinking! Cat food scarfing! Lawn Dart Throwing! Nekkid Tombstone Dancing! Rabid Weasels! Subtle Nazi references! Prosthetic female crotches (referred to by actress Linnea Quigley as “The Plug” *shudders*)! And plenty of nasty delights, perfect for for kicking off Halloween 2014!

See you there!

Stay Trashy!
-Root

30
Mar
14

Pieces (1982) Bastards and Bloodshed

Pieces

a Primal Root written review

Slasher films were a dime a dozen back in the 1980’s. Once “Friday the 13th” dethroned “The Empire Strikes Back” of it’s number one slot at the box office and proved just how ludicrously profitable this low budget sub-genre that had once been relegated to Grindhouses and Drive-In’s could be,  big studios suddenly hopped on the bandwagon draining every last drop they could out of the fad before leaving the lifeless, dried up corpse of slasher cinema to rot and fester. Yes, it was a glorious time filled with blood, breasts, beasts and masked madmen. Every weekend brought the promise of a new holiday themed slasher film, a new ensemble cast of lovely young people too stupid to stay out of the woods, or the mines, or the haunted house. We hollered our wise advice at the silver screen week after week but to no avail, and we wanted it that way! Boyfriends getting their heads crushed and tossed through windows during the final chase, young actresses we rarely ever heard from again got their quick fifteen minutes of fame as they whipped out they bouncing sweater puppies only to have their throats slit and their sticky, Kayro syrup blood sprayed all over their ample young bosoms. My God, it was a glorious time to be alive.

Of course, I was only 8 when the by the time the 1990’s ushered in the end of that glorious era of the 1980’s. A new cycle of horror began and many pop culture critics considered horror dead which was pretty goddamn stupid of them seeing as “The Silence of the Lambs” swept the Oscars in 1991 and that fuckers one Hell of a horror movie. But it was true in terms of the slasher genre. The well had run dry for the time being and, like long suffering Momma’s Boy Jason Voorhees, went to rest for a while until some new blood could get pumped into the proceedings.  THANKFULLY, at this time in my life there was a plethora of these establishments called “Video Rental Stores” where you (or your parents) could get a membership and you would have an entire collection of movies on VHS right at your finger tips! This, Gang, was where my horror education began.

As a kid I spent countless hours with my butt planted in the Horror aisles picking up every case there, admiring the artwork and reading the descriptions. I was particularly fascinated with the “Friday the 13th” franchise and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” flicks. But one tape at Turtle’s Video always caught my eye. On the front it featured the stitched together corpse of an attractive young blonde with a chainsaw perched over her. “YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO TO TEXAS FOR A CHAINSAW MASSACRE!” it boldly proclaimed. I was sold.  It would be several years before I was able to convince my Mom to rent it for me, but once she did and I popped that sucker in my VCR my life was changed forever.

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The movie was the 1982 Spanish splatter flick “Pieces” and it was everything I could have ever possibly hoped it would be.  A goofy Who-Done-It plot set on a college campus, incredible over the top performances, unintentionally hilarious dialogue,  gallons of fake blood and chainsaw dismemberment, impromptu karate instructor attacks, a plethora of nude women including full frontal and a bit of wiener for the ladies, and one of the greatest, strangest, mind blowing jump scare endings I had ever witnessed.  My little preteen mind was rocked. When the tape finished I immediately hit rewind and watched that sucker again.

 

“Pieces” begins in 1942 where we witness a young boy piecing together a puzzle in his playroom. When his Mother discovers that the puzzle is of a naked woman she goes ballistic, calling the young boy’s absentee  Father a filthy, perverted, degenerate and that she’s going to search all through the house and burn everything that features female nudity. She even strikes her son and repeatedly calls him stupid as she slips further into her suitable for Lifetime Television hysterics. But her young son is having none of it,  when she has her back turned he grabs an axe that’s bigger than he is and surprises her with several well placed chops to the noggin’.  Soon after the murder of his mother the boy grabs a hacksaw and goes to town pulling his dead Mom apart. Yes, the boy finishes his puzzle by the time the police barge in and are side stepping meaty chunks and pools of coagulated lady blood  He cries, blames a “big man, big man” and everyone buys his story hook line and sinker. It’s a nasty. bloody, and darkly comical note to begin “Pieces” on, and it only gets better from there.

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Present Day 1982 and we’re on a college campus when women start falling prey to a chainsaw killer. A girl gets decapitated while she is out in the park reading, another young woman gets quartered by the swimming pool, and so on… but this shadowy figure dressed in black doesn’t just kill his victims, he collects body parts.  We discover early on that whoever is doing the killings is, in fact, the same little boy who killed his mother all those years ago and is sawing a trail of blood drenched terror through this college campus as he begins putting together a new puzzle.

There’s a rouges gallery of suspects which includes the creepy, shifty eyed caretaker Willard (Paul L. Smith, Bluto from 1980’s Popeye) a quiet, odd duck anatomy teacher, Professor Brown (Jack Taylor) the uptight Dean (Edmund Purdom) and even the dorkish campus stud, Kendal (Ian Sera) who every woman on campus wants to bang for no readily apparent reason. Well, perhaps it was that lovely singing voice displayed in “Pod People?” Ah, who am I kidding, it STINKS! The suspect pool always seems to be hanging around nearby whenever a murder occurs and never fail to act sketchy as Hell no matter what’s going down.

pieces killer

Two detectives are put on the case, the good natured detectives, Ly. Bracken (Christopher George) and hard case Sgt. Holden (Frank Brana), and they’re both equally clueless. One of my favorite moments with these two is during their investigation of the poolside murder and mutilation of a young college girl. She’s been sawed into a pile of about 6 or 7 hunks of flesh and a bloody chainsaw is laying on the floor next to this tall pile of woman. Lt. Bracken asks Proffessor Brown if he believes the chainsaw might be the murder weapon, to which Prof. Brown replies, after a close examination of the chainsaw, that yes, even a layman can see that this was the murder weapon. Damn fine police work, Bracken!

But these two have a secret weapon! They put two of their very best into action as undercover agents. Tennis Pro and party time law enforcement official, Mary Riggs and possible suspect Kendal, who spends most of the investigation either fucking coeds, trying to get into Mary’s pants or showing up too late to prevent murders or apprehend the suspect. I understand, he’s just a college guy, but the man’s kind of an idiot. Hell, ALL the good guys in this thing are idiots. It’s hard to root for these folks when they’re all so grossly incompetent at what they do for a living! It’s uncanny how they always seem to show up about thirty seconds too late to save the chainsaw killer’s nubile young victim. But it’s never to late to repeatedly scream “BASTARD!” at the top of your lungs.  Well, despite the fact that they all suck, they are at least fun to watch bumble their way through one of the most brutal crime sprees ever to take place on a fictional college campus.

pieces pile

After the climactic final murder that takes place in a  women’s locker room, and yes, you get to view the boner trifecta (Boobs, Bush, buns) where a woman is chased topless by our chainsaw toting lunatic into a bathroom stall where she pisses her pants in closeup as he chainsaws his way in to seal her doom, Kendal and Sgt. Holden get some Wendy’s take out and start going through a bunch of files hoping they just might come across something, and oh boy, do they ever! Kendal ends up cracking the case and figuring out who the killer is, but will he and his detective pals get there in time to save the lovely Mary Riggs? And why in the fuck is Kendal allowed to join the two detectives as they kick down to door into a suspected serial killer’s abode? sure, some idiotic, unarmed, college kid wants to come and hang out in this possibly deadly situation? Yeah, sure! Why not.  Trust me, Kendal pays the price for being a dipshit.

Once the killer is revealed and meets his end “Pieces” drops two of the coolest, meanest, most disturbing shock endings on it’s unsuspecting audience. I am really struggling not to tell you what happens, as it’s one of those ingredients that really clenches “Pieces” as one of my all time favorite slasher flicks. You’ve really got to see it to believe it. All I can say is, Kendal’s stud days are over.

Pieces-horror-movies-24128245-1024-768

I cannot express my love enough for this deeply trashy slice of early 80’s exploitation sleaze.  “Pieces” is one of those rare cases where every weakness it has manages to bolster the film up and make it watchable.  This movie should be a failure,  the last thing it should be is entertaining. But despite all it’s flaws it still manages to keep me entertained from beginning to end with it’s total lack of class, it’s crassness and it’s heart warming lack of politcal correctness. Also, all that nudity sure helps the trash go down smoothly, too.  It’s like a Friday the 13th sequel on steroids.  It’s simple, it’s mindless, it’s filthy and it’s the perfect serving a of junk when you need that Trash Cinema pick me up.

I give “Pieces” FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets! Classic Trash Cinema!

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

09
Feb
14

(NSFW) The Naked Cage (1986): Women on the Verge of a Nervous Shanking

naked cage

a Primal Root written review

What is the appeal of a women in prison movie? Could it be the hardened women struggling for power and survival behind bars? The depiction of corrupt officials and politics behind prison walls and how it mirrors our own government? Or is it simply the fact we are almost guaranteed some gratuitous female shower scenes? I ask you, why can’t it be all of the above?

“The Naked Cage”, directed by Paul Nicholas and produced by Cannon, marks what many consider to be among the last truly great women in prison flicks, a genre that became popular and peaked in the mid to late 1970’s.  “The Naked Cage” tells the story of a young, blonde, nubile bank teller and bareback horse rider, Michelle (Shari Shattuck) who ends up getting sentenced to three years in a vicious women’s prison after her bonehead, coke head ex-husband decides to pull a stocking over his head and rob the bank where Michelle works. Of course, none of this would have happened if Michelle’s ex hadn’t recently gotten mixed up with the sexy, murderous, psychotic escaped convict, Rita (Christina Whitaker) who likes killing cops and having cocaine snorted off of her nipples (true story). Michelle ends up unwittingly getting pulled into the heist, which ends in a bizarre getaway that consists of driving around the bank parking lot several times and then in blood, and is thrown in jail after Rita testifies that Michelle was the ringleader of the heist. Me thinks Michelle should get herself a better lawyer.

Michelle takes her sentencing in stride, maintains a good attitude and makes friends quickly with her fellow inmates including her bunk mate and former junky Amy (Stacey Shaffer) and the badass,  muscular behemoth , Sheila (Faith Minton) who runs things on their cell block.  However, Michelle doesn’t quite see eye to eye with the prison’s warden, Diane (Angel Tompkins from one of my favorites, “The Teacher”) who conducts bizarre lesbian BDSM sex games with whichever inmates tickle her fancy. Also on the loose is a sadistic prison guard known as Smiley (Nick Benedict) who takes great pleasure in raping and then murdering female inmates before trying to pass it off as suicides. He justifies this to the warden by explaining “This job is shitty, I might as well do something I enjoy!” It’s not an exact quote, but something along those lines…

I wonder if the warden in "The Shawshank Redemption" ever had Andy dress like this and rub his shoulders?

I wonder if the warden in “The Shawshank Redemption” ever had Andy dress like this and rub his shoulders?

Life behind bars doesn’t treat Michelle that bad, at first. But soon, Rita is released from the hospital, where she was recovering from the bank robbery car chase, and is thrown into prison on the same cell block as Michelle. Rita and Warden Diane join forces and once Rita takes down Sheila, the Warden gives Rita the go ahead to enact her revenge on Michelle. Revenge for what, exactly? Not so sure, seeing as Michelle had little to nothing to do withe the bank robbery turning into a bullet riddled botched bloodbath.  I have this feeling Rita might be projecting her own feelings of inadequacy and failure as a bank robber on to Michelle. Listen, killing Michelle won’t change the fact that you robbed a bank after snorting a mountain of cocaine, let your getaway car get blocked in, and then drove a stolen car in circles around the bank’s parking lot while the police unloaded their weapons into it and you.  Honey, that’s nobody’s fault but yours.

Rita quickly turns the prisons order of power on it’s head, dispatching those who protect Michelle, and turning her closest friends against her.  But Michelle is far more cunning than Rita realizes. As the tables turn, Michelle learns to rely on herself and takes dead aim at Rita and during a violent, awesome prison riot, the two meet in one of the down and dirtiest female convict cat fights I’ve ever seen.

naked_cage_flc_07

“The Naked Cage” is a glorious, spitfire of a women in prison film. One of the very last of a dwindling, glorious Drive-In culture. What really sets it apart is that, despite the conventions and obligatory women in prison cliches, is that “The Naked Cage” takes the time to create so really interesting, believable characters. It pulls off one of those rarest of  exploitation tricks where the viewer ends up actually liking characters and are genuinely saddened when certain folks end up being killed off.  By this point in Trash Cinema history, the women in prison genre had become more satirized and played for laughs or simply to titillate an audience rather  than deliver genuine dramatic story telling. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the formerly mentioned brand of women in prison flick, Hell, I love a good goofy romp through a prison filled with nekkid women. Sure, there’s some campy, goofy bits in “The Naked Cage” like the exceedingly awkward scenes with Angel Tompkins rotating her shoulders topless with random female inmates in her neon light clad secret love chamber as they seduce one another, but overall the film plays it pretty straight if not a little over the top. There is something to be admired about a movie of this breed that does all it can to tell a convincing crime story on an exceedingly low budget and not fall back on cheap laughs.  “The Naked Cage” is bold, goes for the your throat and doesn’t let up. Damn fine stuff and one Hell of a send off to a once proliferating genre.

Oh, and there are plenty of shower scenes and gratuitous full frontal nudity.

I give “The Naked Cage” Three and a Half out of Five Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

31
Dec
12

Rotten Reviews Episode 27: Home Sweet Home

Home-Sweet-Home-Front

Hey Gang!

It’s your old pal, The Primal Root, and to celebrate the holiday season I’ve decided to throw a Trashmas New Year’s Bash over at my pad and everyone is invited! That includes YOU! But beforehand we’re checking out an all time favorite Trash Cinema Slasher film  from 1981 called ‘Home Sweet Home’. It’s supposedly a holiday themed horror movie, but a turkey dinner does not a holiday make, gang. In fact no one even mentions what holiday it is! From what I understand I think it’s supposed to be Thanksgiving?

I digress, get prepared for feral children, satanic electric guitar playing magical Jewish mimes, Body by Jake, body builder body glaze, sex with your pants on, spanish racial sterotypes, bribing cops with “bazooms”, roid rage, flattened grannies,  disapearing balls, hostage negotiations, the missing peas and so much more! It’s The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews Episode 27: Home Sweet Home! Gather round and share it with those you love.

Thank you for all your support and for spreading the word! See you in 2013!

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

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




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