Posts Tagged ‘movie

23
Mar
20

(NSFW) Night Killer (1990): Tasty Fright Chicken

Night Killer poster

“FRIED CHICKEN AND FRENCH FRIES!” – Peter Hotten as Axel, Night Killer (1990)

a Primal Root written review

1990 was filmmaker Claudio Fragasso’s year, man. In 1990 his magnum opus, most fully realized and beloved film Troll 2 saw the light of day as a direct to video release. It’s a film that has gained an ever expanding and rabid fanbase with it’s bizarre concepts, lost in translation screenplay, goofball acting and bargain basement effects mingling with it’s genuine nature basically guaranteed it would find an audience over the years to laugh and cherish it for it’s bonkers presentation.

 

But, a far lesser known darker, more adult and, until recently, incredibly difficult to find offering from Claudio Fragasso was released in 1990 under the title Night Killer. It’s film that, too, has gained cult status for many the same reasons as Troll 2, even enjoying a similar retitling to try and sell it as a sequel to something it was never intended to be. Italian producers actually retitled the thing Non Aprite Quella Porta 3, which translates to Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, therefore making Night Killer Italy’s unofficial third sequel to Tobe Hooper’s legendary Texas Chainsaw Massacre despite Night Killer not featuring a single chainsaw in any shot of the film much like Troll 2 only featured Goblins…and not a single goddamn Troll.

Image result for night killer 1990 gif

Night Killer begins with a spastic and, frankly, embarrassingly bad dance rehearsal for some kind of on stage production. One of the performers arrives late, gets naked and then then punched entirely through the gut by a killer is a strange, creepy fright mask that looks like it might have been left in the car too long on a hot summer day, as it appears more than a little melty. Not only that, but the killer is also wearing a dark trench coat and highly rubbery Freddy Krueger inspired glove on his right hand featuring long corn cob yellow finger nails. When you put all the pieces together, The Night Killer actually kind of looks like Freddy Krueger and The Toxic Avenger’s love child.  So, after we see the late dancer’s bare breasts, she is impaled and dies. Farewell and adieu to you bare breasted lady!

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 6.09.10 PM

Noticing her absence and also having the epiphany that whatever fucking musical dance show she is directing is going to suck goat balls, the musical’s director flies into a bizarre, seemingly unscripted improvised rage where she mumbles a lot, and stumbles over what she’s saying before storming off the stage to find the late performer who went to change. When she finds the dead dancer’s corpse, The Night Killer slits her throat takes his fucking time chasing her off the top balcony of the theater where she plummets to her death. The chase takes what feels like an eternity as the director gasps for air and tries to scream while dramatically stumbling down corridors, up stairs, downstairs and eventually over the railing. It feels like an appropriate death scene for a theater major.

Image result for night killer 1990 gif

We are then treated to an opening credit sequence where a woman hands off her pre-teen daughter and her luggage to an unidentified man, then the man brings the little girl to who I must assume is his wife. Honestly, this happens over the opening credits and I have no idea who these fucking people are, how they’re related or what the situation is. I assumed it was a pair of divorced parents and the little girl was going to spend the weekend with her Dad and her step-Mom, but we find out, later, that this is not the case at all. But this child hand-off opening sequences is totally baffling as there is no dialogue whosoever to establish just what the Hell is happening.

night-killer-melanie-e1581958821690

Turns out, the lady who just sent her daughter packing is our main character, her name is Melanie Beck (Tara Buckman, who you may remember as Billy and Ricky’s slain Mom in the original Silent Night, Deadly Night) who eats what looks like an entire club sandwich for breakfast before lowering the neckline of her oversized sweater to stare at her tits in the mirror and perform the rare horror movie soliloquy about her marriage being on the rocks before being interrupted by a call from her ex-husband who she estimates is “drunker than usual” and explains to him that Clarissa has gone away to the country with Annie, so, again I must assume here that Clarissa is Melanie’s daughter and Annie is possibly the woman we saw in the opening credits. It’s strange having a movie that’s so damn mysterious you have to try and figure just who the characters are. Anyhoo, the phone call with who might be her estranged husband ends with he her screaming “DON’T EVER CALL ME AGAIN!” into he receiver before slamming the phone down and her possible estranged husband shattering his glass in his hand and screaming “MELANIE!” We never see his face, as his back is turned to us in every shot he is in and his voice sounds a lot like the killer’s. Could it be him?

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 6.09.32 PM

 

Fast forward a second or two and she receives another phone call from the actual killer who tells her “You’re a fine looking woman, Mrs. Beck. You’re just MADE to be fucked senseless.” and “I won’t kill you straight away, first I’m going to fuck your BRAINS out!” She hangs up, calls the cops, but it’s too late. The masked killer reveals himself to already be inside her home with the line, “I can’t wait 5 minutes, Mrs. Beck, I’m too HORNY!” Melanie fights valiantly to kill the intruder, but it’s no use. Once cornered, the killer reveals his face to her, not the audience, and we cut to a week later where she has amnesia and it turns out she was rescued offscreen by a man named Sherman, who is married to Annie and takes care of Melanie’s daughter Clarissa. See, it’s ALL coming together! Sherman even got a deep cut across his face for saving Melanie. And, for whatever reason, only Melanie can identify the man who held her captive for eight hours despite Sherman’s face to face encounter with the Night Killer. I’m sure there must be some logical explanation for this, but being that this is a Claudio Fragasso film, you never know if this is a clue, a red herring, or just inept screenwriting and filmmaking, so everything is absolutely unreliable. We also learn from Sherman that Melanie’s husband was booted off the police for undisclosed reasons. The plot thickens to the point of crusting over as it becomes unidentifiable!

night-killer-freddy-e1581956342537

 

Immediately after Melanie is released from the hospital an asshole in a jeep drives up next to her and begins cat calling her between taking swings of his 40oz. She flicks him off and speeds off, but he stalks her down to a restroom where she pulls a gun, makes him strip nekkid, and dump his clothes in the crapper. He runs out of the restroom and drops this incredible line of dialog…

Image result for night killer 1990 hd

Now, you might think this sweaty, bug eyed creeper with the incredibly active body language will never be heard from again, but this psychopathic stalker actually tracks Melanie down at the beach where she is attempting to kill her herself with a load of pills. This guy actually picks her up, carries her into the ocean, forces her head under water so she is forced to drink salt water so she’ll barf up all the pills she just ingested. This moment of valiant and violent heroics is followed by this guy kidnapping Melanie and keeping her locked in a seedy motel room where he presents her with Kentucky Fried Chicken and French Fries “Nothing does it to me like friiiiied chicken!” before sticking a unloaded gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger and tying her down nekkid and making her say “Pretty Please” over and over again. This bug eyed, vicious rapist is named Axel (Peter Hooten from Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) and Inglorious Bastards (1978)). We are led to believe this guy is the actual Night Killer as we see THE Night Killer impaling voluptuous blonde woman at the local aquarium after hours and killing prostitutes in his art studio after they recite the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and then putting them in identical masks as him and making out with their dead bodies as Axel hold Melanie hostage. Are they one and the same? Are there two separate homicidal rapist scumbags running around this little city? I can only tell you that this film is so absolutely off the wall unpredictable and poorly put together, I doubt you will be able to guess every twist and turn Night Killer has to reveal by it’s laugh out loud what the fuck conclusion.

night-killer grope

Night Killer is actually a pretty impressively devious, dark, demented horror film that doesn’t let logic or any for of real common sense get in the way of it’s hysterically over the top, super imaginative, if completely illogical twists.  What really helps are the no holds barred over the top performances from the entire cast. Top to bottom, everyone is going for the gold and trying to sell this fucking movie. Sure, their performances are wacky and laughable…across the board, actually, as they try with all their mediocre acting might to pull of this ludicrous dialog. There are even some moments of genuine terror, especially during scenes between Melanie and Axel as the actors both play off one another really well. Every scene is pitched to the extreme and it’s something that works in Night Killer‘s favor and makes the proceedings far more enjoyable and engrossing, even if it is in a laughably Trash Cinema way.

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 6.10.05 PM

I understand writer/director Claudio’s original vision was to make a psychological horror film with very little violence and gore, but the producers balked at the director’s initial edit of the filmed and hired exploitation legend Bruno Mattei (director of Rats: Night of Terror (1984) and Strike Commando (1987)) to add some gore to the proceedings, hence, all the really out of place moments of Night Killer’s claw punching through people. I honestly think the psychological horror elements are the strongest of the film. You can feel what Claudio was really going for with Night Killer and the gore elements always come off as out of place and make the film feel even cheaper than it obviously is.

punch

This was my very first time seeing Night Killer and I was genuinely impressed by this trashy slice of cheese. It was not afraid to go to some pretty extreme places, took a lot of risks, and obviously not afraid to create a film that was absolutely baffling and send the audience through a dark, nasty tale without a map or even a compass. You literally are thrown in totally blind, with no clue as to who these people are, what’s going on, what the time frame is or how things are connected and you are expected to keep up and fill in the blanks. And it works. It blows my mind to say it, but by the film’s end, being kept in the absolute dark makes it all work. It’s either really tricky and somewhat smart screenwriting, or it’s absolutely moronic and they got lucky. I like to think it’s the work or a Trash Cinematic genius. Let’s face it, Troll 2 shouldn’t work either, but goddamn if it’s not one of the most legendarily entertaining Trash Cinema films ever made. Night Killer is cut from the same cloth and deserves just as much notoriety and recognition among Trash Cinema fans.

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 6.09.44 PM

I am awarding Night Killer FOUR AND A HALF out of FIVE DUMPSTER NUGGETS.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

 

14
Nov
17

(NSFW) Bat Pussy (197?): Long Lost Trash Cinema Treasure, Mother Fuckers!

bat pussy poster

 

“You sell your pussy for two cents on the street, but Bat Pussy here is fer law and order!” – Buddy, Bat Pussy

a Primal Root written review
Recently, at a Trash Cinema Night I hosted at Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack here in Tallahassee, the stinky taint of Florida, I overheard someone questioning the appeal of bad movies and how they’re such a waste of time. Let me tell you, the obsession with the terrible, the obscene, the seldom scene and outcasts of cinema is not a pass time for the lot of us who devote ourselves to it, it’s a passion. I’ve wasted so many years of my life in pursuit of the sleaziest, strangest, worst films ever made. I lust for horrendous dialog, shitty acting, out of focus, bargain basement cinematography, and junky audio. Give me the things no one in their right mind would ever want to watch and you can keep your bazillion dollar Marvel superhero franchises and Star Wars sequels that are farted out faster than sloppy, lukewarm Big Mac’s at one of the billion stinky McDonald’s that dot this great land of ours. I want to see that rarest of rare shit that only the strongest and most devoted will ever lay their eyes on, that only those of us with the taste for the truly misbegotten will ever appreciate and savor the flavor of. Motherfucker, give me Trash Cinema or give me death!

 

All this to say, after decades of hearing the title of this ridiculously rare, hardly ever seen outside it’s original scarce skin flick theater run during some odd year in the 1970’s (IMDB has it listed as being released in 1973, but the truth is, no one really knows), I have FINALLY witnessed it… Bat Pussy. That’s right, Bat Pussy, the film many claim to be the very first pornographic parody film, in this case, LOOSELY based on the Adam West Batman television series. To this day no one knows where it was filmed, who the actors are or who the creative minds were behind the camera. The only hint we have that it was possibly shot in Arkansas is a Razorback tattoo on our male lead, Buddy, prominently feature pasty white ass.

Screen_BatPussy2_756_426_81_s

 

Bat Pussy is a legendarily bad, rare hour long pornographic film. The cast contains three leads: Buddy, a fowl mouthed greasy dude with a farmers tan.  Sam: A beehive wearing, immensely freckled frustrated possible wife to Buddy and BAT PUSSY (aka: Dora Dildo): Our super heroine who protects her Holy Gotham City whenever her twitching pussy alerts her to a crime about to be committed. Her accent and enthusiasm help to liven up the flick.

Bat Pussy tells the tale of Buddy and Sam, a married couple who spend the duration of the film totally nude and in bed together hurling insults at one another while applying ample cunnilingus, fingering, fellatio and long discussions about fucking, but without actually doing it, which could be the result of Buddy’s dick being eternally flaccid.  Just a guess.

Anyhoo, Buddy and Sam get the idea to try some of the debauched and dirty deeds pictured in a stroke rag which alerts Bat Pussy to the imminent danger, exclaiming the remarkable like, “Dirty Muthafuckas fucking in my holy Gotham City!” Before pulling her nighty over her head, where it gets stuck ever so briefly, puts on her Bat Pussy uniform, straddles her “Hippity Hop” and bounces out of Bat Pussy Headquarters, which happens to be an outhouse. And Gotham City is basically just a state park… we spend about five minutes watching Bat Pussy bounce down dirt roads, empty fields from about a quarter of a mile away, and beat a sexual deviant to the ground with her “Hippity Hop” to save a young nubile woman from his clutches.

Screen_BatPussy1_756_426_81_s

In the meantime, we are throttled face first back into the bizarre, angry, and certainly smelly love life of Buddy and Sam. What started out as a kind of cute, if nasty, bout of dirty talk and slight name calling has erupted into a profanity laden tirade that is being totally improvised and feels a little too on the nose for these two “actors” to not be an actual married couple. It gets mean, but it’s also head scratchingly surreal and often downright hysterical as Buddy bounces around the bed, limp dick flapping around, and Sam just lays there hardly moving at all, unless it’s to slurp the dangling noodle.  Please, allow me to illustrate the sheer brilliance of their dialogue…

Buddy: (Right after a quick pussy munch) What is that shit? Goddammit, stop coming in my mouth!

Buddy: I’m gonna fuck my secretary right in the ass and then come home and make you suck my dick.

Buddy: Every time I run my tongue up your pussy it comes out your asshole. What’s the goddammed deal with that?

Buddy: I want a hot pussy on the grill. That’s what I wanna hear.

Buddy: My horoscope says I’m supposed to fuck you in the nose, in the ears, in the mouth, and in the pussy.

Sam: My horoscope said to get another man.

Buddy: That’s the biggest goddammed pussy I ever seen in my life

Buddy: I’d like to suck your pussy til your head caved in.

Buddy: What’s all this white stuff coming out of you? Why didn’t you tell me that dinner was ready?

Sam: You never can get a hard on so I have to use a rubber dick, you son of a bitch!

Buddy: Want me to fuck you in the ass?

Sam: NOPE!

See, this is what I’m talking about. It’s fucking laugh out load funny stuff. Also, every once in a while you head Buddy go, “Huh?” and look off camera before the audio drops out. My guess is this is the director barking out orders or suggestions to liven up these INCREDIBLY long takes of these two pornographic thespians bickering at one another and groping one another’s genitals in the most unerotic ways imaginable. Also, there are a couple moments the director can be heard burping just off camera. We don;t call it Trash for nothing, folks.

vlcsna12

Soon enough, Bat Pussy shows up on the scene to fight crime and stand up for law and order! But wouldn’t you know it? She gets stripped nekkid almost immediately and starts getting really into whatever is happening in the bad. She writhes, and moans and thrusts her ungroomed lady bits high into the humid air and Buddy continues to complain and pretend to possibly be fucking despite obviously not actually being aroused in the slightest. One of my favorite moments occurs when Sam and Bat Pussy are put into a sixty nine position and Sam just refuses to get her face anywhere near Bat Pussy’s Bat Pussy. Sam keeps her eyes closed like she taking a nap and plays dead. The roll around, writhe, moan, grope, and in the case of Bat Pussy, start hacking up a lung every couple minutes, which is about as sexy as sexy gets. After about fifteen minutes of this action, Bat Pussy throws her costume back on, departs and the film just…ends. Yeah, that’s it. No wrap up, no catharsis, no “plot” closure. It’s just fucking over. You spent your nickel, we’re DONE!

Screen_BatPussy3_756_426_81_s

I feel like my above synopsis comes nowhere close to doing Bat Pussy justice. People say The Room, Plan 9 from Outer Space Troll 2, Samurai Cop, etc. are the worst movies ever made. That THOSE are bad movies. Gang, you have no idea how bad trash cinema can get until you see Bat Pussy. This remarkable feat of total filmmaking ineptitude is so strange and mind boggling, it gives off the sensation that you are watching something forbidden, something mankind was never, ever, actually supposed to witness. This might be the holy grail of obscure trash cinema.  However, I can only recommend this sweaty, greasy, hairy slice of cheese to the most devoted and iron clad of Trash Cinema lovers among us. Honestly, I can only see the rarest of breeds, like Bat Pussy itself, ever really having an appreciation for something so fucking indescribably odd and filthy. Unlike any film I’ve ever watched, you have to see it to believe it. And in the recent 2K restored blu-ray release from AGFA & Something Weird, you will see more than you ever bargained for.

HERE’S A TIP!: If you want to turn this movie into a drinking game, just take a drink anytime someone says “Mother Fucker.”

I’m awarding Bat Pussy:

Three and a Half out of Five Dumpster Nuggets.

AVAILABLE TO RENT AT CAP CITY VIDEO LOUNGE! 

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

03
Jun
17

(NSFW) Sarah Leeann: June Devil Girl of the Month

Hello, Gang! The Primal Root here and if you thought it was warming up before, just wait until I introduce you to our sexy, talented, badass cosplay chameleon, our June Devil Girl of the Month, Sarah Leeann! Prepare yourselves for an dark, brutal, sensuous reveal all spread inspired by Alice from the Resident Evil video game series. Sarah has created a photo spread with Rewski Photography sure to get you hoping that the zombie apocalypse will hurry up and get the fuck going, already! First, let us get to know Sarah Leeann, our Devil Girl of the Month, a little bit better.

Primal Root: Sarah Leeann, welcome to The Trash Cinema Collective! It is an absolute pleasure to feature you as our Devil girl of the Month. You spread is astounding and I just wanted to know what sparked the idea or the Resident Evil themed spread?

Sarah Leeann: My idea was sparked by someone requesting it in a blog. I thought to myself… what in the hell… why did I not think of Alice!? The perfect mix of sexy and badass.

PR: As a fan of the Resident Evil series, which incarnation appeals to you more, the video games or the movies based on those games?

SL: I’d have to say the games because the fear is really there to taunt you. The angles and lighting control really adds to the eerie creepy factor that we all love. The dogs get me every time. *shivers*

PR: Do you have any favorite Trashy living dead films you dig watching from time to time?

SL: I actually don’t.. because I don’t watch a lot of horror zombie movies. The video games are where it’s at for me.

PR: Okay, I gotta ask, what is you personal plan of defense when the zombie out break finally occurs?

SL: To be honest, cling to my husband for dear life and follow him like a puppy when hell breaks loose.

PR: I know you are an avid and varied cosplayer. What other characters have you cosplayed as? Do you have any favorites? Some that you revisit from time to time?

SL: Oh the characters… I’ve done a few other video game characters like silent nurse and Tira from soul caliber 5. Some anime cosplays I’ve done are fem ichigo and yachiru from Bleach. I’ve done alot of original characters also like an asylum style joker to mermaids. My favorites change so often I’m not even sure which one I’m on. I plan to revisit Tira later on.

PR: Do you happen to have a link you would like to share where we can see more of your cosplay?

SL: I have a Facebook page, Instagram, and patreon.

Www.facebook.com/roguex1987
Instagram: @roguex1987
Www.patreon.com/sarahxleeann

PR: Any words of wisdom from our May Devil Girl of the Month to our Trash Cinema Collective?

SL: Don’t be afraid do to what you want to do…. be you and let the creativity flow. You never know what you will come up with.

PR: Finally, what song would you like our viewers to have ringing in their ears as the feast their eyes on your incredibly sexy and badass Devil Girl spread?

SL: My music style is rap however I don’t feel that’s the right vide for this set. Not sure what to pick so feel free to pick something. Thanks for the interview.

Photography by Kayla King of Rewski Photography

https://rewskiphotography.smugmug.com/

03
Oct
16

TROLL 2: A Trash Cinema Trashgiving Event!

troll_2_poster_by_yannickbouchard-d73ds8a
WHO: The Trash Cinema Collective
WHAT: A screening of the family trash cinema epic Troll 2!
WHEN: Saturday November 5th at 9pm (EST)
WHERE: Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack
WHY: Because we’re thankful for all you beautiful, filthy members of The Trash Cinema Collective and nothing says “Trashgiving” like a good, old fashioned battle between a white bread city family and a kill happy, blood thirsty posse of vegan goblins.

As always, NO COVER!
Goblins welcome! We have Veggie Burgers!

Hey Gang, the Primal Root here, and I am deeply honored to announce our November Trash Cinema Nights at Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shackselection is none other than the cult classic “Best Worst Movie”, the one, the only, the legendary… Troll 2!

Troll 2 (1990) tells the magical story of young Joshua and his family, who set out on a vacation in the small country town of Nilbog. Despite the warnings from Joshua’s recently deceased Grandpa’s ghost, the family soon finds themselves being hunted down by the entire town of Niblog which is populated by goblins disguised as humans, intent on transforming them all into part vegetable part humans (a goblins favorite food) and then eating them alive! Can Joshua and the spirit of his Grandfather save the family before they become a buffet of slimy, jiggling green gelatin for the hordes of freakish goblins and their witchy Queen? It’s going to be a battle for the ages as these two families go head to head in the little town of Nilbog…

So, come on out and join your friends from The Trash Cinema Collective for Trashgiving! Sink your teeth into the BEST damn burger in Tallahassee, slurp down some salty love on the half shell, and wash it down with a pitcher of your favorite adult beverage as we kick back and enjoy one fo the trashiest movies ever made, the cult classic and legend of cinematic idiocy, 1990’s Troll 2!

I’ll see you there, Gang!

Stay Trashy!
-Root

11
May
16

Basket Case & Brain Damage: A Deep Cult at The Junction Double Feature!

basket_
WHO: The Trash Cinema Collective
WHAT: A Double Feature screening of Basket Case (film) and Brain Damage!
WHEN: Monday May 23rd at 7:30pm
WHERE: The Junction at Monroe
WHY: Because you need a slice of sleaze to start your week.
 
$5 Cover
BYOB
maxresdefault (11)
 
Hey Gang, The Primal Root here, inviting YOU to start your week out on the trashiest note possible as we celebrate the work of grindhouse prodigy and life long purveyor of fine cinematic filth, Mr. Frank Henenlotter with a double feature of Basket Case followed by Brain Damage!
 
Basket Case (1982): What is the secret Duane has hiding in his basket? As young Duane visits New York City and it’s sleaziest dives, whatever lurks within his locked basket is maiming, molesting, and murdering people throughout the inner city. What is the secret behind this bloody rampage of horror splattering the darkest corners of the city in blood and entrails? Come out to our special screening of Basket Case and find out…If you dare.
 
Brain Damage (1988): One morning, Brian, a young mn living with his brother wakes up to find a talking, singing, disgusting parasite has attached itself to his brain stem. Through Brian’s brain stem, this parasite who goes by the name Aylmer, puts Brian in a euphoric state of happiness…but as we all know, such bliss often comes at a terrifyingly high price. Find out just how that cost is in Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage, the Requiem for a Dream of Trash Cinema…
 
So, come on out and join us for Trash Cinema Night’s Deep Cult at The Junction for a double feature of grotesque creativity, gnarly violence and deeply dark humor! Get some delicious booze to share and prepare for an evening;s filth like none other!
 
See you there, Gang!
Stay Trash!
-Root
10
Feb
16

Phantom of the Paradise (1974): Salutations from the Other Side

phantom-of-the-paradise

a Primal Root written review

I’ve long held that the golden age of American horror cinema stretched from the late 1960’s to the end of the 1970’s. It was an age when turmoil, violence and change was in the air. Filmmakers of the day were shaken and inspired by the horrifying, nightmarish world around them, internalized this terror and in the end brought it out of the darkness as some of the most devastatingly influential horror films the world will ever witness.  There is one other genre that happened to thrive in the 1970’s, one I know far less about, and that is the Rock Opera.

Flicks like Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, The Wiz not to mention, The Rocky Horror Picture Show would either garner rave reviews and great success or go on to become beloved cult films the world over. However, some fell by the wayside and are just now starting the reemerge and find recognition as beautiful cinematic oddities they are. And there is none I am more proud to see finally garnering the praise it has long deserved, Brian de Palma’s 1974 film, Phantom of the Paradise.

image014

Phantom of the Paradise blends the horror trappings of The Phantom of the Opera and Faust together and give it a glam rock makeover serving as a dark comic satire of the entertainment industry. Phantom tells the tale of Winslow Leech (William Finley in an awesome performance) a young and naive composer looking to make it big with his life long work, a cantata based on the legend of Faust. No sooner does the the owner of Death Records, an utterly charming, smooth talking, calm, collected and utterly malevolent man who has sold his soul to The Devil and goes by the name of Swan (Paul Williams) hear Winslow’s music does he find a way to steal it, exploit it and turn it into pop music garbage to open his long delayed rock palace, The Paradise, with. Swan frames Winslow and has him sent to jail where he is volunteered for an experiment which requires him to have all his teeth removed and replaced with new metallic chompers.  It isn’t long before Winslow hears his own composition on the radio, recreated as a turd of a pop song, and flees from prison. In a psychotic rage Winslow breaks into Death Records, ends up getting disfigured in a vinyl record press, vanishes into the night and is presumed dead…But soon after his disappearance a masked phantom begins stalking the darks hallways and backstage at The Paradise, determined to rain murderous vengeance upon all of those who have hurt and betrayed him.

6a0168ea36d6b2970c01b8d076ccfe970c-800wi

Along the way, The Phantom ends up becoming infatuated and falling in love with a young, inexperienced but quite talented singer named Phoenix (Jessica Harper), the only person The Phantom permits to sing his work. Anyone else who tries, he promises, will be killed. Of course, Swan makes the decision to have The Phantom’s music performed by what he considers to be the future of music, a glam rock monster who goes by the name of Beef (Gerrit Graham, who is funny as shit in the role). Despite mid shower plunger to the gob warning from The Phantom, Beef is convinced to perform as scheduled…

9532_1

Phantom of the Paradise functions as great piece of anti-establishment satire against the soulless corporatization of art and artists alike. Not only this, but Phantom is also a full on musical, complete with song and dance routines, with every song written and composed by Paul Williams. These elements together do nothing but accentuate the strangeness of the film, it’s so bizarre, so daring and so breathlessly creative, it leaves the viewer’s mind reeling. All this quirky genre blending and tonal shifts leaves us with an unexpectedly heart wrenching musical tragicomedy. I can think of few other films that achieve this level of absurdity and poignancy.

Phantom of the Paradise - 4

Still with me? I know the description above may sound a bit overwhelming, and indeed, there is a whole lot to take in with Phantom of the Paradise. It is sensory overload, but in the best possible way you can imagine. Despite the film’s litany of references to other cinematic greats, (Touch of Evil and Psycho, to mention just the tip of the iceberg) Phantom of the Paradise is among the most singular and unique films ever made. Any attempt at synopsis can only do Phantom so much justice, because the heart of the film lies in the experience of watching it. It is very often compared to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, released a year after Phantom of the Paradise, and if I am being honest, the two couldn’t be more different. I suppose it is more inviting to spend time with a group of people basking in their own carnal desires than with a group of tortured artists who sold their soul for rock and roll. It’s just a damn shame Phantom of the Paradise never quite caught on in the states. Of course, I’ve heard the film is fucking HUGE in Canada. And, in face, the two fellows from Daft Punk, according to Paul Williams, met at a screening of Phantom of the Paradise! But that has nothing to with anything…just a cool bit of trivia.

phantomswancloseup

However, in a way, I kind of hope it remains a hidden gem that exists just below the radar. This way it will never be over exposed to the point of nausea or run into the ground to the point of tedium. Phantom of the Paradise is much beloved by those drawn to it’s peculiar story, dark, comedic, enchanting characters, beautiful songs and unchained artistry. Phantom is a film every bit as much for the misfits as Rocky Horror, but with a much more tragic and lyrical fantasy narrative. You cannot help but feel pity and sympathy for Winslow and righteous indignation once he is transformed from sweet Winslow to the pained and murderous Phantom and finds his revenge. One cannot find something darkly funny about Swans form of easy going, suave, laid back evil as he knowingly manipulates those around him to his bidding, feel sadness as Phoenix is corrupted by fame and absolute astonishment at the the radical comedic performance of Gerrit Graham as Beef.

phantom-print-with-watermark

Phantom of the Paradise is a marvel of a film. Brian de Palma, Paul Williams and company have crafted something so different, so daring that mainstream audiences had no idea what to make of it. A film so beautiful, poetic, energetic and well played is obviously becoming relic. A thing of the not too distant past, when artistry, creativity and taking chances we heralded above ticket sales and domestic box office grosses. I suppose it’s no big surprise at this point for me to reveal Phantom of the Paradise would rank as one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time. It’s a story of love, passion, betrayal, revenge and possibly redemption set to some of the grooviest goddamn songs to ever be featured in a motion picture. A story of how monsters are created and the good guys and bad guys we all have the potential to be. For those who have never seen it, I recommend highly recommend checking it out, but keep in mind it is not everyone’s cup of glitter. For those of us who adore the film, it;s always worth heading over the The Paradise from time to time and witnessing one of the funniest, most lyrical, most enjoyable tragic love stories ever told.

I’m awarding Phantom of the Paradise 5 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy, Gang!

-Root

21
Nov
15

(NSFW) The Living Deads (LIVE) and The Taint: A Trash Cinema Event!

download

WHO: The Living Deads and The Trash Cinema Collective
WHAT: a screening of the 2011 flick The Taint followed by a LIVE performance by our good friends in filth, THE LIVING DEADS!
WHEN: Sunday, December 13th at 9:00pm (EST)
WHERE: Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack
WHY: Because the bodacious Trashmas blessings keep on rolling in, Gang!

 

Print
Hey Gang, The Primal Root here, and this Trashmas season just keeps getting sleazier and more enjoyable all the time. On Sunday December 13th at 9:00pm (EST) come join your friends from The Trash Cinema Collective as we kick back and enjoy one of the nastiest, scummiest, most genuinely entertaining pieces of contemporary Trash Cinema, that I, The Primal Root, has witnessed in a very long time, THE TAINT! If extreme comic violence, projectile cumming penises, face ripping, and coat hanger abortion sterilizations offend you, this is not the movie foe you. However, if you into the truly depraved, hilarious and inappropriately Trashy, The Taint will more than satisfy your hunger. It’s like Troma meets John Waters. The delicate flowers have been warned.

AND GUESS WHAT! Right afterwards we will be treated to a LIVE performance by the one and only THE LIVING DEADS! Get ready to shake your ass to some down and dirty old school rock and roll from the sexy, sultry, Symphony Tidwell and that badass brute, Randee Mcknight! Every time these guys come to town and play at Bird’s it becomes the stuff of legends. You never know what will happen!

12243013_957362721017165_1371300558005938144_n

So, come on out and join your friends from The Trash Cinema Collective for an evening’s entertainment you will never forget! Seriously, you will be changed forever.

Hope to see you there, Gang!

Let’s get Trashy!
-Root

04
Oct
15

Pet Sematary (1989) Love and Agony or What Scares You?

artwork by Matt Ryan Tobin

artwork by Matt Ryan Tobin

a Primal Root review

“The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. A man grows what he can, and he tends it. ‘Cause what you buy, is what you own. And what you own… always comes home to you.” – Jud Crandall, Pet Sematary 

Recently a friend of mine proposed this question, “What horror film really scares you?” Of course, several gents responded with the standby response, “Horror movies don’t actually scare me,” but I took a moment to ponder this. The first film to come to mind was Mary Lambert’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. It’s not the jump scares, or the grisly visages of death returning from the grave to haunt, taunt, and ghoulishly murder the living. Sure, that stuff is down right sickening and terrifying on a visceral level, but for me, the true horror is the idea of losing the ones we love. The moment that still breaks my heart and  has left the deepest scar is the presentation of the sequence where the cute as a button toddler, Gage (Miko Hughes) is run over by a speeding semi outside the family home in full view of his mortified parents and little sister. We hear the agonized screams of Gage’s Father, Louis (Dale Midkiff), as we images of Gage’s all too short life flash before our eyes. In all the horror films I have ever seen, this scares the ever loving shit out of me. This is pain, this is suffering, this is pure horror. It is not played for laughs, it does not rely on special effects, it relies on our empathy and the knowledge that we as viewers understand this grief and dread it everyday. It’s unthinkable, but we always know deep down, that the ones we love can be unceremoniously ripped out of our lives without a moment’s notice. This is primal terror. This is life. Life is horror.

Sorry to go off on a tangent there, but I used to not like Pet Sematary at all. Honestly, it just never appealed to me as a teenager. But one day I decided to give the film another shot and it was like a sucker punch to the gut. I was older now and suddenly Pet Sematary made absolute sense to me and chilled me to the core. Horror can be an exceedingly powerful genre, and at it’s very best, it crushes audience expectations and explores societal taboos. What Pet Sematary explores is the inevitability of death. The journey ends for all of us, sooner or later and we’ve created elaborate myths we call religion around death in order to make some sense out of it. That life goes on somewhere beyond our short time here on Earth that there is an eternity in Heaven or Hell, or that we are reincarnated, or turned into Star Childs, etc.  We will get the answers one day, and I sincerely doubt it is anything any of us will ever expect. I can’t wait to laugh my ass of when it all fades to black and there;s simply nothing just like there was before I was born. But, I won’t be able to. Because I am gone.

pet-semetary41

Pet Sematary plays out like a Greek tragedy. The Creed family moves into their gorgeous new home out in the country or rural Maine. it’s miles from town, but is located near a very busy road where huge semi’s cannonball down it day and night. Also on their property down a wooded path is a Pet Sematary, they are show this by a long time resident and neighbor, Jud Crandall (played by the legendary Fred Gwynne). On Louis’s first day at work as the resident doctor on the local college campus, he treats a jogger, Pascow (Brad Greenquist) who was mowed down by a car and dies on Louise’s operating table. That night, Pascow returns to Louis as a spirit and warns him to not visit that Indian burial ground that lays beyond the Pet Semetary. He warns, “The barrier was not meant to be crossed. The ground is sour.”

When Louis and Rachel’s daughter Ellie’s cat, Chuch, is run over on the highway, Jud leads Louis out beyond the Pet Sematary to bury Church on the Indian land. The next day Church returns, but is now malicious and smells of death. It is not the cool cat the family knew before getting creamed out that means stretch of road.  Louis is given precious little time to ponder what has just happened when a far greater tragedy occurs. While flying a kite on a beautiful sunny day, their youngest child, Gage, wonders onto the highway and is crushed under the tires of a speeding truck.

Stricken with sorrow and regret that he could not save his son in time and Gage is gone forever, Louis considers unearthing his dead son’s body and entering it in the “sour” ground of the Indian burial mound. Over the objections of both Jud and Pascow’s spirit, Louis bury’s little Gage in the soul of the Indian burial ground and it isn’t long before Louis and Jud must face the reckoning of their decisions.

Pet-Sematary-1989D

In the horror genre death is a given. Characters are killed off all the time to the point we actually look forward to seeing how folks are going to meet their maker. Franchises like Friday the 13th, The Omen, Saw and the like revel in the graphic depictions of the splattery deaths of people we don’t know or really care about.  It has become the punchline to a joke for the majority of slasher horror cinema and it’s played for thrills, humor and entertainment. This is perfectly fine, horror can be a damn good time and a way for us to let loose, experience something visceral and know that no one actually got hurt or died. It was all for the nasty fun ride and then we get to go home safe in knowing this shit will probably never, ever, happen to us. Rarely do horror films so well conceived staged and vetted that they ask us to confront death head on. Pet Sematary is takes a meaningful, deep dark look into the nature of death, and in the very place we fear it the most, our immediate family and ask us what we will do on that day we lose someone we cherish.

So, yes, I would say Pet Sematary is the one horror film that truly, honestly fills my heart with dread and scares me like none other. Just like it’s source material, it is a story built upon the hardest, most horrible of human experiences and languishes in them. Grief, anguish, desperation, they’re all accounted for. The supernatural elements are intriguing and there, but at the end of the day, it’s the honesty in the human element of Pet Sematary that gives the film it’s power to disturb and to horrify. It is a film that has always stuck with me. It reminds us to cherish every moment with those we love. Every smile, every laugh each and every spine cracking bear hug, because we all know that one day, we will never touch these people, hear their voice, know their warmth, these souls  so close to us, so dear to our hearts, ever again.  It’s the inevitable tragedy of life. We must learn to except loss. We must grieve and move on. Like the wise, warm and lovable character Jud Crandall says, “May be she’ll learn something about what death really is, which is where the pain stops and the good memories begin. Not the end of life but the end of pain.”

I award Pet Sematary FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

12
Sep
15

The Last American Virgin (1982) or The Heartbreak Kid (NSFW)

tumblr_lyug332l6i1r6gufko1_1280

a Primal Root written review

“I’ll take a rocky road!” – Diane Franklin as Karen in The Last American Virgin

Like so many of my peers I spent my pre-teen years glued to the late night cable every Friday and Saturday night hoping to get a glimpse pf some nekkid female flesh. And you know as well as I do that typically the best place to find bouncing, glorious, nekkid young ladies beside slasher movies was the pot o’ gold known as the “Teen Sex Comedy” aka: Teenspolitation. You know the kind, Porky’s, My Tutor, The Cheerleaders, Screw Balls, Private School, etc. where a group of guys, typically three dudes, are on a quest to get laid and/or see naked women and sometimes end up learning a little something about themselves and the nature of mature, adult love along the way. Watching these films as a kid in the cover of darkness in my living room I imagined that this was exactly what was in store for me in the years to come. Sexual escapades, peep holes in the locker room, girls getting naked and attacking me while I slept.

Of course, now I am in my thirties. I am thrilled to be married to the love of my life, and I have a bit of experience under my belt (pun intended) that I will be sure to pass on to our future spawnage one day as they discover the wonderful realm of the opposite sex and Teensploitation. I will do my damnedest to make sure The Last American Virgin is their introduction to the Teen Sex Comedy genre of Trash Cinema. Because it starts out fun and stupid, but becomes something far more honest and dark by the time the credits roll.

lastamericanvirgin-screens3

The Last American Virgin tells the story of Gary  (Lawrence Monson of Friday the 13th:The Final Chapter …uh, fame), a young high school pizza delivery guy and the last last American virgin of our film’s title. Gary appears to spend every waking moment when he’s not delivering pizza getting into bizarre, awkwardly comical, borderline criminal sexual misadventures with his two best buds, lady killer and local stud Rick (Steve Antin, that kid who gets propelled off of a toilet while taking a dump in The Goonies) whose hair gel must have cost half the budget of the film and David (Joe Rubbo in his first of only three acting rolls) as the very natural and truly funny overweight comic relief. These three promise the girls cocaine to get them in the sack at Gary’s place, and then under the gun, feed them lines of Sweet & Lo with a side of “Crispy Chips” before Gary’s parent’s show up and discover a bunch of topless teenage girls stomping around the house and nearly leads to Gary’s Mom getting sexually assaulted by David. If they’re not lying to blossoming teenage girls in order to fuck them or trying to fuck one another’s Mothers, they can be counted on to be having a hardon measuring contest in the high school locker room, “The guy with the biggest tool wins the pool!” or waiting in line at the apartment of one of Gary’s horny pizza delivery clients in order to run a train on her, or attempting to drown their recently acquired crabs in a public pool.  Yeah, it’s typical Teen Sex Comedy stuff, but it has a bit of a darker, edgier feel than most.

lastvirgin4big

Gary happens to be absolutely smitten with a new girl in school, the gorgeous Karen (Diane Franklin, from Terror Vision, Amityville Horror II: The Possession, Better Off Dead and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) whose first line, as she orders a scoop of ice cream and the local teen hangout, foretells not only her story, but Gary’s, “I’ll take a rocky road.” In fact, Gary orders the same thing. Maybe I am reading too much into these character’s ice cream preferences, but after watching this movie a couple times, I can’t help but think this is am excellent use of ominous ice cream flavors by the screen writer in order to drop a hint as to where this movie is going to end up drop kicking you to.

lastvirgin6big

Gary is so creepily in love with Karen he deflates the tire on her bicycle one morning in order to drive by in his “Pink Pizza” car and offer her a ride to school. This is straight up stalker behavior. We’re supposed to empathize with Gary as he offers her help, then a ride to school and is then rejected when he asks her out on a date before she heads off to class. But Gary is kind of a creeper. Karen claims she can’t go out with Gary to a party because she has something else to do. What is this other thing she has to do? Well, turns out she is attending the exact same party but is hanging all over Rick, the local high school cherry buster and go-to fuck buddy. As expected, Gary is heart broken, ends up drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniels before acting like an idiot an being sent home where he embarrasses himself further by trying to fuck one of his Mom’s friends.

Typical life of a teenage, man.

Also, I just want to state that Karen’s best friend is played by none other than Kimmy Robertson from TV’s Twin Peaks. I think she’s supposed to be playing the annoying nerdy friend, but man is she cute. Plus she looks absolutely fetching in her tiny bikini by the pool. Just sayin,’ I don’t see why no one wants to date her in the movie.

file_91_49-e1410019455744-640x360

See, turns out Karen is a virgin just like Gary and he wants to date Karen, and be good to her, treat her right and romantically, gently lose their virginity to one another in his warm or her parent;s warm bed. What is it with people wanting to fuck int heir parent’s bed in teen sex movies? I guess it’s bigger than their own bed? Still, the lack of space of my own bed would be preferable to getting it on in the bed my parents presumably do on a regular basis. ESPECIALLY if I;m popping a girls cherry. How in the Hell do you explain the blood stains to your folks? They go away for the weekend and come home to think their son is an axe murderer who seduces women and then chops them to pieces between the sheets. Is it worth the risk?  I mean, if it were my kid I would laugh my ass off and perhaps take the ruined sheets and have it sewn into a commemorative flag and have it framed for them before hanging it in their room.

Sorry, got side tracked there, Gary know that if Karen dated Rick she will end up unceremoniously getting her fresh virgin pussy torn up by a guy who has any number of STD’s and honestly doesn’t really give a shit about her beyond the fact that she is female and looks to be an easy lay. Quite a bit of The Last American Virgin‘s run time is devoted to Gary trying to keep Rick from busting out Karen. Now, this is a pretty standard, undignified stereotype of a guy coveting a young lady as a thing as opposed to a fellow human being. Something of a trophy to be had. Gary is supposed to be a good guy, but he is so wrapped up in trying to get Karen to do exactly what HE wants as opposed to what SHE wants even though it is apparent to the viewer that she is making the decision to fuck a jerk, but that is HER decision to make, even if it’s a pretty lame one. Hey, girls can fuck whoever they want to, too, Gang. So lay the fuck off. As if Gary would be any better a decision. This guy has possessive “Nice Guy” written all over him. Sure, he would be sweet at first, but I guarantee you he will want to know exactly where you are at all times, what you;re doing and photographic evidence and eye witness testimony  if you are out of his eye sight for more than ten minutes.

5007

 ****SPOILERS AHOY!****

So, despite Gary’s best efforts, Karen gets fucked by Rick in the announcement booth at the high school football stadium under cover of darkness. It’s actually a pretty great scene as Karen gets mounted by Rick, makes that little *gasp* as she gets tagged all the while sad sack Gary hangs out just below under the bleachers and gently weeps that the girl he wants is getting deflowered at that very moment just a hundred feet or so over his crying eyes. It’s a fantastically sexy/sad moment and the two moments, one of sexual arousal and one of deep self pity is fucking amazing. Few teen sex movies ever go after this kind of emotional punch and it works splendidly well. It’s an emotional place I;m sure most of us have been before. Sure, it;s selfish, it’s probably a little lame, but it’s honest and it’s real. The person we want to be with so much refuses to give you the time of day and enjoys to the company and genitals of some other person who seems to so easily always get their way. It’s rough, and you hate feeling bad for yourself, but you can’t deny these stupid fucking emotions.

Naked-Nude-Celeb-Diane-Franklin-5

Now, if this were the only scene of such raw emotional content, I would consider The Last American Virgin to be a resounding success. But this film is not satisfied with having us relive one of the darkest moments of our adolescents, no. The Last American Virgin is not done with us yet. See, fast forward after that moment of pleasure in the nicotine stained, B.O. scented announcer’s booth, Rick wants nothing to do with Karen anymore. Why is this? Because it’s almost Christmas break and he wants to go skiing and bang some other random chicks. But more importantly, Karen is pregnant. Gary finds out while trying to comfort an obviously deeply hurt and upset Karen and promptly attacks Rick in the school’s library. Gary claims Karen is a slut and that the baby could be anyone’s before piling into a VW van with a bunch of hot to trot teenage horn dogs and leaving all the responsibility for his actions behind him. Rick, what a guy!

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 3.55.23 PM

Well, “Nice Guy” Gary ends up taking care of Karen and paying for her abortion. Yes, he pays for the abortion Karen wants of the baby she and Rick made. In one brilliantly conceived, acted, shot and edited montage we watch as Gary takes Karen to the clinic and then goes around town scraping up cash to pay for the procedure, $250 to be exact. He pawns his stero equipment, raids his parents rainy day fund, and even begs his boss at Pink Pizza for some cash. Gary works his ass off to get the money together and all this is intercut with scenes of Karen undressing, the doctor snapping on rubber gloves, her legs being spread and bound down as she is prepared for the abortion. There is one shot during this montage that haunts me. It’s a shot that lasts no longer than maybe ten seconds, yet speaks volumes. The shot begins on Karen’s panties as she begins to slowly take them off in the doctor’s office. We see her pubic hair peek over the top of her panties as the camera pans up across her belly past her beautiful breasts and up to her lovely face as she begins to cry. Mother fucker, THIS is one incredible moment in teensploitation! This is cause and effect! We are instantly titillated, as we have been programmed to be, we see the objectification, crotch, sexy belly, a lovely rack, and then we see the face of this beautiful young woman in absolute agony. We register the pain, regret and the horror. It’s a shot of dark, brutal reality applied directly to your trashy, jaded little heart and it stings, man. It stings bad. Because the point is made abundantly clear, simply, efficiently. That these moments of pleasure, these brash decisions we follow in the sake of fleeting passion, these fucking choices have consequences! Again, it;s an ingenious moment of juxtaposition unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed in a movie of this ilk. Sure, Fast Times at Ridgement High has an abortion take place, but it was off screen and no one ever really looked all that torn up about it. The Last American Virgin fucking guts it’s audience, breaking the conventions of the teensploitation form, and shows us that the teenage quest to get laid is a fools quest, that if you are irresponsible, if you rush into things you are not yet ready for, you will face the horribly consequences and be faced with some serious choices. Wrap it up EVERY TIME, kiddos! Did I mention this fucking montage is set to U2’s I Will Follow? I will never hear this sone the same way again…

Well, after these harrowing events, Karen and Gary bond a bit during her recovery and Gary buys her a ring he is going to present to her at a party, he assumes he has finally won Karen;s heart by showing he’s responsible, caring, non-judgmental and will to lie, beg and steal in order to resolve Karen’s bad decisions. Gary  shows up to the party and finds Karen making out with Rick, her aborted fetus’s Daddy, who is back from his Christmas Ski and Fuck Fest Gary splits, understandably devastated. The final shot of the film is of Gary as he drives off into the dark night in tears and the credits roll over his sopping wet face. Still a virgin, forever alone. Ever been kicked in the balls with a steel toed boot? Well, get ready to experience the cinematic equivalent.

vlcsnap-2013-01-06-16h37m00s238

The Last American Virgin is one excruciatingly dark story. Unapologetically honest, brutally raw in it’s depiction of the wages of teen sex, The Last American Virgin is a phenomenal flick. It’s like the Requiem for a Dream of Teen Sex Comedies. Sure, the first half is a lot of laughs and whacky sexual hijinks, but that last half sure busts up that party pretty fast. I’ve never seen a flick like The Last American Virgin. I mean is this a feminist film? The “Nice Guy” manifesto? I think this film is far beyond either, really. It drop these conventions, these labels, and portrays these teens as inexperienced, often times selfish, often irresponsible human beings where the typical teen movie creates nothing more than characatures of tired, old stereotypes. There are no easy answers in The Last American Virgin. Like life itself, so many of these moments that shape us, the traumas that make us who we are go without any closure or reconciliation. The Last American Virgin captures this perfectly. Sure, it starts out as a bit of goofy, escapist tits and ass fueled teen sex comedy, but by the end you will feel like you you got whacked in the but by a sledgehammer as reality rears it’s ugly head.

The Last American Virgin is a classic and I cannot recommend it enough.

FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets!

The Primal Root says you gotta see this one.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

21
Jun
15

JAWS 2 (1978) The Sacred Art of Self Immolation in Times of Crisis

jaws-2-poster

a Primal Root Review

“Get out the blankets, I’m getting black and blue marks all over my butt, and my mom’s starting to get uptight about them!” Tina, JAWS 2

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right up front,  Spielberg’s 1975 summer killer fish movie, JAWS, is a masterpiece. It truly is a fantastic piece of entertainment. Thrilling, fun, horrifying, populated with human characters we grow to care about and monster based in our own reality. Every time you hop in the ocean to frolic in the surf with some naked beach bunny looking to snorkel your wang-doodle, there’s a possibility that a 10 ton aquatic death train of razor sharp teeth and an appetite of destruction is bearing down on you with every intent to turn you into pulled pork and leaving nothing behind but a few buckets of human V-8 juice. Being a Florida native I was practically raised at the beach. Once I saw JAWS, I never looked at those waters the same way again. What’s so incredible, is that this 40 year old master class in how to make a fantastic horror film still holds up phenomenally well to repeat viewings. It’s been parodied endlessly, knocked-off and imitated, but no killer great white shark film will ever top it.

Then there’s JAWS 2. Taking place a few years after the events of the first film we find our star and sheriff of little Amity Island, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) patrolling the beaches again. Taking care of children karatying the picket fences and what not. Until, one day, a pair of scuba divers go missing, Brody knows in his guts that it’s a great white who has made it’s way to the warm, calm, inviting waters of Amity Island which has suddenly become a favorite feeding ground for these black eyes, large mouthed death dealers.  As the narrator in the trailer for JAWS 2 explains “In all the vast and unknown depths of the ocean how could there have been only…ONE?” Sure, I can believe in there being more, but holy shit! To come back to the same little piece of turff that Bruce once went on a rampage through? I dunno, I’ll let it slide. After all, stranger things have happened, I guess.

jaws-brody

Brody’s concerns go unheeded by his wife and the Amity Island board of rich assholes, but soon a water skier gets munched into oblivion and her friend who was captain of the vessel towing her when she got gobbled gets so goddamned terrified that, in a moment of sheer bonkers, off the wall violent brilliance, she pours a can of gasoline all over herself and then blows herself up with a flair gun as our shark is gnawing her boat into splintery chunks. It’s absolute lunacy for about 45 seconds of screen time and, in this viewers opinion, marks the absolute high point of JAWS 2. It’s sad, pathetic and hysterical beyond measure. I’m not sure what her plan was, but it really went the Wile Coyote route. But it does end up giving shark 2 a really mean looking burn scar to make it look super tough and cool. It doesn’t really work in achieving this, but Freddy Krueger would take this exact same concept and run with it a few years later to much greater affect and acclaim.

JAWS2_Helicopter02

Now, before you start thinking this is a film concerning adults, I need to clue you in to the fact that the bulk of the movie centers on a group of interchangeable, unlikeable teenagers who enjoy sailing together all day every day. JAWS 2 was looking to tap into the dead teenager slasher market but never really has the stinky shark gonads to follow through. The two Brody boys are among the group of doofy after school special teeny boppers and end up being the focal point of our new blood lusting great white. In the final action set piece that goes on and on and on for what feels like an eternity, our human scarfing shark manages to kill only two of about a baker’s dozen worth of teenagers. And the only likable teen happens to be among those eaten. It’s a group of teenagers stranded in the middle of the unforgiving ocean on tiny catamaran sail boats with tarp bottoms. Bruce was able to crush The Orca in JAWS, what the fuck is this shark’s issue? There are all these screaming, flailing, dumbass teenagers ripe for the picking and our shark can’t handle it? He manages to eat a helicopter (Oh yes, it does occur, true believers) but can’t rip apart a few flimsy pieces of plastic and tarp bundled together by cheap rope. Man, fuck this shark.

But, I digress, there is a rather nifty kill when a one young man falls over the side of his little dingy and gets pulled through the waves in the clutches of the shark. Also, there a pretty inventive nasty moment when a scuba diver, surprised and terrified by the sudden appearance of the shark, shoots up to the surface and suffers a horrendous case of the bends from his scramble for survival. Its vicious and damn good stuff. A few more of these scenarios would have gone a long way as opposed to extended scenes of teenage prayer groups on stranded sail boats. Where’s Hooper and Quint when you need them? Oh, that’s right, Hooper won and Oscar and Quint got eaten. We’re shit out of luck, Gang.  Also, there’s a nice tip of the hat to the far superior ORCA: The Killer Whale aka: Death Wish for Fish in the form of a dead killer whale which is discovered by two horny teens frolicking among the dunes. How these kids did not smell this dead whale carcass baking in the summer sun a mile away, I will never know.

vlcsnap-2012-09-08-17h15m56s248

Roy Scheider does his best to bring back the charm of the original film and plays Brody honestly, staying true to the character. Portraying the man as someone struggling with PTSD after the deeply traumatic events of the very first film. I’m not going to lie to you, I would have probably been more impressed if there were no shark in JAWS 2 and Brody was just delusional and terrified that something was happening again out in those waters. But, audiences want to see fins gliding through the water and people running out of the ocean, so that concept’s not going to sell any tickets.

Of course, by the end of the film Brody is vindicated by a killer shark actually eating people, dons his super tiny Dad shorts, heads out to find his kids, save their friends and ends up the chef of the Friday evening fish fry as he shoves the towns submerged power cable (Huh?) into the sharks gaping maw. There’s no “Smile you son of a bitch!” awesomeness, but Brody mutters something like “Dinner is served!”, “Come and get it!” or “This is going to be a real SHOCKER, wokka, wokka, wokka!”, but the electrified shark death is kind of fun in the same way watching sparklers are. It’s like sparkler, but coming out of a cheap rubber sharks eyes while black smoke billows out of it’s pie hole. Fun, but not as fun as it was when Brody shot that fucker and blew meaty red chunks through the sunny blue Amity Island sky to the delight of the theater patrons and seagulls alike!

Often times the best way to avoid a shark attack is to simply blow yourself up.

Often times the best way to avoid a shark attack is to simply blow yourself up.

JAWS 2 is pretty bland shit. There are some moments of pure fun, but there are 10 times as many halting trips through dullsville. It’s cool seeing the residents of Amity Island again and seeing a bit more of the town itself, but it’s never as fun or electrifying as that fist trip to Amity. It’s certainly the sequel closest in tone to the original JAWS, but it’s also the least retarded of the lot, which makes it kind of a ho-hum entry. It’s sequel business as usual but it’s never downright goofy and awful enough to be enjoyed for it’s badneess like Jaws 3-D or Jaws: The Revenge. It had potential and a cool enough set up, if they had been more daring and bold with what they had. Perhaps making the film darker and meaner than it’s predecessor, which had no balls to not only kill of pretty teenage girls and innocent children, but the holy grail of audience appalling deaths…a dog.

Hey, at least we learned what to do if a shark starts eating your boat. Just explode yourself! If sure as shit can’t touch you now that you’re a crispy critter. Might as well have explained that in the vast and unknown depths of sucker cinema goers wallets how could we not turn this remarkable film into and tepid franchise with a handful of horrible sequels?

I award JAWS 2 TWO out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets

jaws-2-red-poster




Dumpster Diving

Categories