Posts Tagged ‘government

28
May
18

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014) High Octane Corpse Grinder

 

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a Primal Root written review

“You get to see what the Adults do after dark…” – The Doctor, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

The zombie apocalypse has been done to fucking death. I used to eat every film, every book, every piece of pop culture I could find related to the re-animated, flesh craving undead ever since I unearthed a VHS copy of both George A. Romero’s classics Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978) from a  bargain bin inside the Tallahassee Mall back in the early to mid 90’s when the zombie genre was far from thriving. I was infatuated, tracking down as much as I could back int he day before there was a computer, let alone the internet, in our house. Fast forward over twenty years later, and not only has the living dead genre risen from it’s shallow grave and crawled back to life, but the hordes of these shambling corpses have practically taken over pop culture to point they are appearing of throw blankets, children’s films and are the central issue in long running, incredibly repetitious television programs.

To me, the zombie genre has been irrelevant and tiresome for decades. The last time a living dead film really got me revved up it w=as probably Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, when a filmmaker decided to create an updated version of the creature and new rules were invented. It livened things up and gave us something new and truly interesting within a genre that was just beginning to come back into sharp focus within the cinematic landscape. But, before long, it was the same old horde of zombies, following the same old rules, chasing the same rag tag group of thieves and misfits. It’s tired, done, to death, and no real fresh blood has been injected to give this world something to interest me.

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That all came to an end the other night when I sat down to a viewing of the 2014 film entitled Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead. An Australian independent horror film that took nearly four years to create and touts itself as”Dawn of the Dead Meets Mad Max.” The film has more unrestrained energy, ferocious creativity and enthusiasm for the genre than I’ve come across since Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive aka: Brain Dead from 1992 and Drew Bolduc & Dan Nelson’s The Taint from 2011.  Wyrmwood is the living dead film I have been craving for 25 year, a film so fun, so heartfelt and so genre defying while staying true to it’s spirit, it not only revived my love and hope for a genre that has been the lackluster, stale floating turd of horror for far too long. Wyrmwood is the new high watermark of the genre. Seriously, it is THAT good. This mother fucker IS the fiery, fresh shot of new blood the likes of which I never even dreamed I’d see again.

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Wyrmood: Road of the Dead starts off on familiar territory, we are introduced to our central characters which will be Barry (Jay Gallagher) a bearded, well built handy man, husband and father of a cute and rambunctious young daughter who is woken out of a sound sleep by the sounds of a society starting to collapse just outside the door to his warm suburban home. Brooke (Bianca Bradey), his sister who happens to be a makeup artist working on a photo shoot with two other young ladies when the outbreak begins, and Benny (Leon Burchill) who is on a camping trip with his mates when they all witness the plethora of shooting starts lighting up the sky the night the outbreak begins. All prove to be more than capable of defending themselves against these living dead, human meat chomping, ghouls, but it soon becomes apparent that these zombies are not playing by the familiar rules set up by George Romero 40 years ago. No, these foul breathed carnivorous creeps are something entirely different.

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Sure, some of the same rules apply, obliterate their head and they drop like a sack of monkey cum, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how people are becoming infected, not only that, but there’s a strange new mystery revolving around which certain machines have stopped functioning. The story splits off into two different tales as we follow Barry and Brooke on their struggles to survive. After Barry loses both his wife and daughter, he is left suicidal, but soon begins to cross paths with other survivors, discovers answers to mysteries about their current biblical Doomsday situation, and steadily gains back his will to live by harnessing his grief and rage into being proactive and moving forward into this new, horrifying world while trying to protect those around him. Brooke, on the other hand, is abducted, drugged and experimented on by a disco dancing wack job in a hazmat suit who is part of a roving pack of the Australian military, it would seem, who continuously inject her with a serum  created using the blood of those infected with this reanimated virus which results in some very unexpected consequences.

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If you think any of what I’ve told you above is a spoiler, trust me, they are not by a LONG shot. I went into Wyrmwood knowing nothing at all about it and the film left me absolutely thrilled and slack jawed by it’s immense creativity and bold new and totally out of left field rules. On several occasions Wyrmwood completely inverts audience expectations and leaves you wondering just where the Hell the filmmakers are planning to take you. It’s a spirit and kind of maniacal glee in a team of creative thinkers always one upping themselves and deciding to crash right ahead down the road less traveled and blazing a whole new path that they know will leave the audience on the edge of their seats and smiling ear to ear. Several time during our viewing, Bootsie Kidd and I turned and looked at one another, eyes wide, gapping smiles and laughing with absolute joy at just how insanely intelligent, hilarious and deeply human this Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead was. Not afraid to introduce likable characters and then rip them away from us brutally, and often with fates worse than death, and allowing viewers to feel the gravity of these losses. Sometimes you might laugh at the absurdity of the loss, but there’s almost always a moment of sorrow for them being gone.

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I really don’t want to say a whole lot more about Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, and I STRONGLY advise you don’t watch the trailer and simply go in blind. I can guarantee it will be a far more rewarding experience, as the trailer spoils pretty much everything that’s surprising and original about the film itself. I know Wyrmwood likes to advertise that it’s like Dawn of the Dead meets Mad Max, but to me, it feels almost like a spiritual offspring of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead meets Peter Jackson’s early work, specifically Bad Taste and Dead Alive aka: Brain Dead. It’s a go for broke, low budget, independent labor of love. The kind of love you can feel just oozing from this thing like so much maggot filled vomit from the black, rotten, gob of and long deteriorating zombie. Truly, it’s the kind of film I could see Oscar winning director Peter Jackson making today is he were to get back to his roots ala: George Miller with Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s honestly that fucking impressive.

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Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is the low budget high energy and inspiration action gore fest the genre has been lacking in for what feels like fucking ages. I happen to know the film’s director, Kiah Roache-Turner has a new film coming out this year entitled Nekromancer, a tale about a man who hunts down and destroys demons in the internet. After watching the absolute joy that is Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, I am chomping at the bit to see how Kiah will subvert the genre and surprise us in the future.

I am awarding Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets.

Check this breathless and badass motherfucker out, Gang.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

06
Jun
12

Cabin in the Woods: Roll with the Changes

a Primal Root review as originally published in Tallahassee’s Capital City Villager

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, okay, here goes. A jock, a slut, a pot head and a mousy chick decide to spend a  weekend in the woods only things don;t go as planned as malevolent forces beyond their control put a bloody an unexpected halt to their fun filled outing. Sound familiar? To any fan of the horror genre the principle set up could be lifted from any one of the multitude of slasher films released between the late 70’s to today.

It’s the same formula that’s been set up, rinsed and repeated for generations. But this basic premise is where the similarities between “The Cabin in the Woods” and your typical teen body count horror films end and the inventiveness begins.  This is precisely what makes the film such a tent pitchingly awesome treat for both hardcore horror fans and even general audiences who have, no doubt. become well aware of such genre tropes. Joss Whedon (the man behind the immensely popular and critically acclaimed “Buffy the Vampire” television show) and co. have created a horror film that not only includes  all the fun, over the top brutal violence, imaginative creatures, and gratuitous tits and ass we’ve all come to expect and love about this type of flick but also imbues the picture with a wealth of knowledge about horror tales in general and uses that as a way to revitalize it by packing enough wit, brains and a plethora of unexpected surprises to keep even the most well versed fan second guessing themselves as to just what will happen next and what cliche will be chopped down and tossed onto the fire.  As a connoisseur and life long fan of this well worn cinematic sub-genre, I am purposefully sidestepping any further mentioning of the veritable cornucopia of plot turns and unexpected twists, because to do so would be an unforgivable disservice to any audience plopping their asses down to view “The Cabin in the Woods” for the first time.

“The Cabin in the Woods” from writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard completely annihilates every convention of the genre and reminds all of us that there are still avenues left unexplored in what some might see as an exhausted form of storytelling. It may only be a matter of story tellers hiking off the trail and further, deeper, into the woods.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

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

24
Sep
10

Rotten Review Ep. 15: Return of the Living Dead 3


Hey Gang,

The Primal Root is back after a month off and to celebrate I am showcasing a piece of Trash Cinema featuring one of my all time favorite zombie femme fatales. That’s right, Ms. Julie Walker as brought to glorious undead life by the unfathomably gorgeous Melinda Clarke.

Get ready for a Special Guest Appearance from Ms. Jessica Critten (in her final appearance), grotesque body self mutilation, angry Latinos, tortured sewer dwelling do-gooders, half naked dancing zombies in chains and lederhosen, 2-4-5 Trioxin, dumb scientists, brain freeze bullets, teenagers listening to lite rock, necrophilia, terrible government security, brain munching and plenty of slimy, freakish canned zombies.

It’s a wild, bloody, stupid ride with Julie and Curt as they tamper in God’s domain and end up paying the price. It’s not quite Bride of Frankenstein…hell, it’s hardly Bride of the Monster. But Return of the Living Dead cracks me up every time and you cannot deny the appeal of a beautiful  re-animated redheaded  zombie girl with metal stuff shoved through her flesh.

Well, I think I’ve sufficiently creeped you all out enough. Enjoy the latest offering from yours truly, The Primal Root, and The Rotten Reviews.

Stay Trashy!

– Root

22
Aug
09

Spontaneous Combustion

“Stop, Drop & Roll”

a review by Jessica Dawn Summers

S. CombustionThere were many movies that Tobe Hooper directed that never received the fame and recognition of his early classics, such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist.  This gem, however, may just deserve some of that acclaim, even if only for the originality of the material. How many movies have you seen in your life about Spontaneous Human Combustion? This is the only one I have ever seen, that’s for sure. That fact completely aside, I genuinely found myself loving this movie.

Starring the amazingly talented Academy Award Nominee Brad Dourif, you might ask yourself, “How is this film Trash Cinema material?” The answer lies within the special effects, prop hands and arms, and bizarre qualities of the pyrotechnics in this movie. I will do my best to describe them, but you must see them to truly appreciate them. Not only will you enjoy the multi-faceted plot, unique storyline, and quality acting, but the icing on the cake is what happens anytime someone starts to burn.

It’s 1950’s America, and fear of the atomic bomb weighs heavy on the hearts of Americans, from scientists to housewives. Young newlyweds Brian and Peggy agree to participate in “Project Samson.” They are to test an experimental vaccine on themselves, in exchange for a fat check to help them as they start their life together.  This vaccine was to make them immune to radiation, and to test such a drug, the two were placed in spitting distance of a nuclear explosion. They survive, and to all tests it appears that the vaccine did in fact protect them! The real treat of this back story is the old fashioned patriotic news reel announcing “America’s First Nuclear Family,” narrated by that rich, masculine voice all the old reels seemed to have.

While in quarantine after the event, Brian and Peggy occupy their time by making a baby. Baby David is a healthy, happy baby boy born on the 10th anniversary of Hiroshima. It appears the couple’s dreams are coming true, until shortly after the delivery, Peggy and Brian burst into flames and die a horrible death; holding each other’s rubbery-looking bodies and screaming until they are nothing but black char.

The couple had been followed closely by a shadowy group of military higher-ups and nuclear research executives who sit at long tables under spotlights and smoke a lot. These guys were originally plotting to abort the baby for fear of what it might become. Now, with the death of the couple, they are left trying to decipher what happened and what might be in store for the baby.

In a bizarre and surreal scene, a creepy guy with an eye patch who apparently works for the shadowy group, rules it “SHC,” or Spontaneous Human Combustion. As if to illustrate his point, he takes a stick, works it into the blackened remains of Brian’s head and pulls out a tiny, shrunken skull. I guess what makes the scene so startling is how absolutely foam-like Brian’s head is. It’s much too light, and eye-patch guy struggles to keep it from falling off whatever it’s propped up on. And does human bone really contain so much moisture that high heat would shrink a skull to the size of a fist? Beats me.

Thirty some years later, David’s new name is Sam and he’s a high school teacher and going through a nasty divorce. On the eve of a new local nuclear power facility coming online, a string of deaths befalls Sam’s associates; each one fire related, after some sort of conflict with Sam.  It’s about this time that Sam’s mysterious fire power reveals itself through burnt fingertips and exploding, flame-spitting holes in limbs which not only resist but are exacerbated by water and fire retardants.

One of my favorite burning scenes is where Sam’s girlfriend Lisa is driving him to the emergency room after a bad “flare-up.” She’s speeding to the hospital in a panic, and Sam starts a terribly timed heart-to-heart speech about his love for her. Lisa then responds in a similarly badly timed fashion to explain how she had been set up all along to watch his progress by the same shadowy group responsible for his pain. He gets emotional, which gets his fire-power going, and his arm explodes into flames again. Lisa screams weakly, keeps her eyes on the road, and only swerves a little – an admirable feat when her passenger is cooking alive and screaming his lungs out. I think that if I were in that situation, I would have at least pulled over, if not flipped the car. I definitely would nominate Lisa for some sort of leadership role should the zombie apocalypse ever happens. This girl can stay focused! Or she’s just a terrible actress. Six one way, half a dozen another.

In the final segment, Dr. Marsh attacks Lisa with a mysterious injection that causes her arm to erupt into flames. Sam’s evil ex-wife shows up and douses Lisa with a fire extinguisher:

Lisa: “Stop! You’re making it worse!”
Ex-wife: “I know.”

In the epic finale, a crispy-looking Sam shows up to fight off the ex-wife and save Lisa. Lisa resists his efforts and flails about, screaming incessantly. Sam sort of melts into a person-puddle, and as Lisa screams, a huge ephemeral hand reaches out of the puddle and pats Lisa’s chest. Lisa’s fire is extinguished, and at this moment, the dubbed screaming continues on for a few seconds, while Lisa’s mouth is closed, then stops abruptly.

This movie really has a lot of things going for it. Brad Dourif sweats buckets throughout this movie, starting at about the 20 minute mark. I suppose it’s appropriate since he’s burning to death. His sweaty, greasy, heavy-breathing, bug-eyed depiction of the character is really, really fun. The burning scenes are absolutely spectacularly bad. Rubbery looking arms are suddenly way too long as they flame up and are held in front of the victim’s face as the person looks down and screams. If I had a poster of this camera angle, I would frame it. The fire strangely does not seem to spread normally, and if you look close, it appears somewhat “on top” of the picture. Clothing somehow doesn’t burn either.

Underlying it all is cautionary tale of the dangers of trying to harness the power of the atom; and the age-old battle of science verses nature. Ultimately, this is a very good story accompanied with terrible effects, but held together tightly by a fantastic performance by Brad Dourif.




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