Posts Tagged ‘mutilation

25
Jun
13

Sleepaway Camp (1983): The Importance of Boating Safety

Sleepaway-Camp-Poster

a Primal Root written review

There are certain movie watching experiences I”ll never forget; the first time I laid eyes on Jessica Rabbit at the Grand 10 Theater in Winter Haven Florida,  witnessing Tim Burton’s darkly imaginative take on the after life in ‘Beetlejuice’,  and witnessing the adorable mogwai after their pupal-stage lay siege to Mrs. Peltzer’s kitchen before being blown to bits in her microwave. Yes, there are some moments that stay with you forever.

‘Sleepaway Camp’ is one of those films. Loaded like a revolver during a game of Russian roulette, Sleepaway Camp delivers some pretty disturbing jolts as the trigger clicks through some nasty slasher movie shocks and then, at the very end, the movie’s hammer makes contact with the story’s primer and sends a bullet of shock so mind blowing it left a deep seated scar I carry with me to this very day. I can remember renting ‘Sleepaway Camp’ from a local Mom & Pop video store in Fort Pierce Florida back in the late mid to late 90’s and expecting a tongue in cheek, not so serious slasher film.  And it just about has you fooled with it’s opening sequence involving a young father, his two young children(a little boy and girl the same age) and a ludicrous motor boating accident leaving two of the three dead in the water.  I;m still not exactly sure if this sequence is being played for laughs on purpose or not, but the dead pan reactions to the horror that’s unfolding coupled with one teenage girl who witnessed the accident’s hysterical cries for help makes it hard to interpret any other way.

Or maybe I was, and still am,  a cynical kind of kid.

Then again, I had grown accustom to watching these kid of slasher movies with pretty sizable groups of my childhood and teenage buddies, which kind of imbued us with the power to laugh and make fun of the horrors shown to us in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of impunity. Nine times out of ten, the horror was goofy, not very scary or shocking,  and wasn’t tapped into the true stuff of nightmares.   Hell, a lot of the time the movies seemed to make fun of themselves.  However you slice it, I was not prepared for what ‘Sleepaway Camp’ had in store for me.

sleepaway camp John-Dunn

Kid after my own heart.

Like the original Evil Dead, I watched Sleepaway Camp by myself, in a pitch black living room at about two in the morning so the movie’s horror had no filter. No peanut gallery to help soften the blow. It was just me, who started out chuckling at a poorly staged, but somewhat surreal opening inciting incident which introduced us to sweet, naive and incredibly quiet Angela  and her cousin, the cool kid with serious anger management issues and a potty mouth to match, Ricky.  Angela is the one child who survived the tragic boating accident who killed both her father and sibling. These two tweenagers are being packed up and shipped off to Camp Arawak by the slightly comical, slightly unnerving Aunt Martha. Again, this scene can be taken as bizarrely comical or somewhat creepy. There is something off here, something wrong with this family dynamic.

Desiree Gould as Aunt Martha, can you say "Red Flag"?

Desiree Gould as Aunt Martha, can you say “Red Flag”?

Ricky, who is no stranger to Camp Arawak, has taken it upon himself to be Angela’s caretaker and protector, as this is her very first year and she clearly has some deep seated issues we as an audience are not exactly privy to.  As the kids arrive at camp we are immediately introduced to the cooking staff who gather on the lawn an watch as all the children stream off the buses  and run towards some undisclosed location.  Do kids ever run off the bus when they get to camp as it is illustrated here and in countless other summer camp movies? Where the Hell are they going? Anyhoo, of course, the cooking staff is headed by a slimy,  beefy, blonde and bearded pedophile named Artie, who ogles the little girls running by and affectionately explains to his fellow staff members that where he comes from they call these little objects of his carnal lust “baldies”. His cohorts just laugh it off as good matured child rape humor, but something about the way he chews on that stick and leers at the little girls in their tiny jogging shorts tells us this man’s intentions might not be to tickle his staff, but to tickle his pickle in a very tiny pickle jar.  *shudders*

As you might guess, he makes his first move on tiny, silent, Angela who he is asked to give ice cream to. He takes her in a back room and asks her “see anything you like?” as he saunters towards her, unbuckling his belt and drooling like a dog staring at a bag of “Beggin’ Strips”.  Angela simply stares at Pedo Man as Ricky takes this moment to rush in, grab her hand and get her out of corn hole alley! Snidley Rapist screams at them that he will kill them…and then begins making the tallest pot of boiled corn on the cob ever conceived which, thanks to an unseen assailant, he ends up soaking in at it’s peak boiling point as retribution for almost raping a pre-teen child. It;s a fitting, yet undeniably painful, fate for such a slimy child fucker. The last we see of him he is being rolled off on a gurney and covered head to toe in gauze. Thankfully, there is a police detective nearby to explain that every nerve in his body must be on fire and that he is probably experiencing the worst pain that could ever be imagined.  Why, thank you, detective!

Hard Boiled Pedophile. Well, that's one method of reform.

Hard Boiled Pedophile. Well, that’s one method of reform.

There are enough scumbags and assholes employed and/or attending Camp Arawak to give any concerned parent pause. Actually, you know, there’s an equal distribution between mentally deranged employees, cocksucking teenage boys, cont faced teenage girls, and sweet folks genuinely looking for a good time and not trying to harm anyone.  Sleepaway Camp is smartly designed in the “whodunnit” format and there is a pretty good list of suspects to choose from, although it gets whittled down pretty damn quickly as asshole after asshole ends up meeting his or her maker in grisly and imaginative fashions.  The one thing they all have in common? They were all dicks to Angela. Which just about everyone seems to be, so there’s quite a big pool of victims to chop into meaty, bloody, bits for the audience’s pleasure.

Karen Fields as Judy plays one of all time great cunt faces of cinema! At least she's got a way with words.

Karen Fields as Judy plays one of all time great cunt faces of cinema! At least she’s got a way with words.

One of the most memorable, and one of my favorite characters in the movie, is Camp Arawak’s resident uber bitch, Judy. Judy is played by a well developed actress, Karen Fields, who was a good bit older than the rest of her pre-teen cohorts. It pays off though! Because this lady turns in one of the hands down BEST over the top performances in the annals of horror. The way she mugs through infinitely quotable lines such as  ” She’s a real carpenter’s dream! Flat as board and needs a screw!” and makes it her mission to turn Angela’s summer camp experience into a living Hell. In fact, Judy even gets a jerkola camp counselor by the name of Meg to assist her in that unholy mission, and in one depressing scene, even pick Angela up and throw her in the lake to drown, I guess, seeing as Angela can’t swim.

By the grace of pure rage these two villains get what’s coming to them. Meg gets sliced open in the shower and Judy receives a perverse  death that is left almost completly to the audience’s imagination as our killer knocks the bitch out with a well placed right cross, lays her out, spreads her legs and then…in shadow, lowers a piping hot curling iron down towards her…well…down towards her area. The curling iron is opened up, lowerd and the unmistakable sound of sizzling flesh is heard as Judy’s muffled screams of agony fill the air and she raises the “hand of desperation” in the air before succumbing to the deadly hot curling iron, which we can only assume, was shoved up her love cavern. Personally, I imagine the super hot and girthy portion went up the HOOHA and the clippy part of the machine got inserted into the pooper zone.

A police officer is shocked and horrified after witnessing the aftermath of the Judy Curling Iron Massacre. It was so disturbing  his mustache transformed into sculpting putty.

A police officer is shocked and horrified after witnessing the aftermath of the Judy Curling Iron Massacre. It was so disturbing his mustache was transformed into sculpting putty.

By films end, just about every major player who “had it coming” has received his or her just deserts which sets up a final rendezvous with Angela and her little love interest Paul down by the lake.  As the police and camp counselors begin discovering bodies of various victims in age ranging from 6 to 87  strewn all over camp with arrows through their throats, churned into coleslaw in their sleeping bags, or impaled through the vajayjay with curling irons, Angela suggests she and Paul get nekkid lake side…which sets up one of the most mind shatteringly brilliant twist endings in the history of horror cinema. Certainly in the slasher sub-genre. Hell, M. Night, Shyamalan has nothing on the end of Sleepaway Camp.

****SPOILERS, MOTHER FUCKER, SPOILERS!****

As two counselors approach Angela on that darkened lake shore, we can barely make out the shape of Angela sitting on the sand, Indian style, with Paul’s head in her lap. The counselors call out to her, Angela rises, Paul’s decapitated head rolls to the ground and there Angela stands. Naked. Growling and inhuman growl, face frozen in a terrible wide eyed, open mouthed face of total insanity and…what’s that dangling between her legs? That a set of cock and balls.  Turns out it was the little girl who died in the boating accident, and her brother survived to be taken in by his Aunt Martha. But aunt Martha, being the unhinged woman that she is, already had her son Ricky and decided she would rather have a girl…and so she dressed this boy up as a girl, treated her like one, and for all intent and purposes transformed her into Angela. Angela was killing all these people not only to protect her/his secret, but out of sexual confusion/frustration.

****END OF SPOILERS! YOU ARE SAFE!****

There I sat in the darkened, empty living room as the end credits began to roll over Sleepaway Camp. I couldn’t move, I was so shocked and disturbed by the finales revelations. I was used to the sting in the tail ending by this point thanks to ‘Carrie’, ‘Friday the 13th’, etc. but ‘Sleepaway Camp’ packs much more than a simple jump scare. The final five minutes of Sleepaway Camp and the chill it sent down my spine that night, the chill that revisits me every time I watch it, are what transform this film from passably good slasher movie to a bonafide cult classic. This flick is packing the goods.

What the fuck is happening here?

Made you look!

It’s honestly one of the most shocking and clever twists I’ve ever witnessed. And just when they reveal this the movie ends while you try to catch your breath and wrap your mind around the reveal. Christ, just telling you about the ending is giving me goose flesh.  Sleepaway Camp follows the summer camp slasher flick formula pretty damn closely, but what sets it apart is how natural these kids and their interactions with one another are. It’s casual, honest, and it gives the proceedings a bit more credibility than other slashers who follow the summer camp formula. Hell, even the majority of the campers are PLAYED by kids. and aren’t played half badly either.

The story isn’t exactly ground breaking, but due to the film’s twist, going back and rewatching ‘Sleepaway Camp’ viewers see things totally differently and can detect every single moment that is setting off the killer and prompting the murders. Everything takes on a new meaning as soon as you know who the killer is and what their motivation was. Sleepaway Camp stands as one of the very best of the Summer Camp slasher films of the 1980’s. If I were being totally honest, I might just confess I enjoy ‘Sleepaway Camp’ more than I do either ‘Friday the 13th’ or ‘The Burning’. It’s a well done piece of summer camp slasher Trash Cinema and one I HIGHLY recommend everyone see at least one. And after you’ve finished watching it, you may want to go back and just watch it one more time, for your own sanity’s sake.

Perverse, darkly comical and quite unsettling, The Primal Root can’t help but give Sleepaway Camp 5 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

Family circus was REALLY funny this morning.

Family circus was REALLY funny this morning.

05
Nov
12

Uncle Grumpyfuk Remembers ‘Blood Feast’ (1963)

Unkce Grumpyfuk Remembers…

..Ugh..BUURRRPPP! …oh mighty Crom whisk away my poor hungover soul to thy grim grey mountain abode or let me find that damn pill bottle full of cricket legs! Urp,whew, yer ol’ pal Uncle Grumpyfuk comin’ atcha with some serious peach-fuzz on the brain this ..afternoon, shit. Me and a couple of buddies ..rather, a couple of buddies and I, ahem, had some unusually good fortune last night ..and earlier this morning, wait, what time is it? Uh, nevermind..time is…(eyes cross)..uh, give me a few minutes folks. I know you’ve been there. Buuurrp!

  I and my buddy Tangletoe and a fucking crazyass Irish ginger buddy of his…I’ll remember his name in a minute, were sitting in Tangle’s old truck hammering ‘fuckuppers’- Old Ezra Sour Mash Whiskey, Mountain Dew and 14 Sugar Pops -yep the cereal, crushed and stirred in, and a dash of tobasco. Talk about a drink that’ll put fire in your belly and get you going like a handfull of speed! We were listening to the radio and lo and behold, that the local boring shitty rock station was having a ‘beach party’ down at Lake Fornication today at noon so we figured fuck it, let’s pop some more Valium, head down there early and start the party ..13 hours ahead of time! Yee-haw!
  We found our way to the landing around midnight and what did our eyes behold but a party tent already set up under which lay 10 kegs of cold beer and 12 bushels of raw oysters, on ice, and a wasted hippy couple standing around a nice bonfire drinking beer and eating oysters,motioning for us to join the party, aaaand we did..post haste! Ugh, buurp. It was surreal, the radio station had obviously set everything up the night before so they wouldn’t have to in the morning and the braindead dj’s didn’t have the sense to leave someone to guard it! Deerrp! ..and to think those people can drive..and vote! Scary.
  Anyway the hippies left after about an hour or so, so the three of us stood there in front of a roaring fire,drinking and chowing down, having truly found our personal Shangri-la. A little while later,no idea how long, heh, we hear a distant mechanical growl and soon around 8-10 bikers and their old ladies roared up. We encouraged them to join us drinking free beer and eating free oysters,they finally caved after about .12 seconds and the ‘beach party’ was awn! So we sat there for several hours drinking and eating and trading stories of getting busted and wasted, of smashing rival gang members’ heads in with bricks and collecting comic books. At one point one of them saw me drooling at his skanky old lady’s tits so he let me screw her from behind for my 12.00 pocket knife. Let me tell you, whoever says that bikers aren’t good people has never gotten wasted with them and screwed one of their old ladies doggie-style! Hell, she even let Tangletoe and Sanchez,that’s it! Sanchez! …let Tangle and Sanchez have a go just because they were standing there watching! That’s a real woman for you, by cracky!
  Well I guess it was close to 6:00 AM when Tangle and I finally left. Sanchez stayed around for more and the bikers hadn’t slowed down a hair either! When we pulled out of there 2 kegs were empty and a third had been tapped, and almost 4 bushells of oysters had magically disappeared. It was amazing, in over 6 hours not one other person had come by, no cops, no one from the radio station, no other drunken partiers, no one. Shangri-la folks, seriously! After we got home I staggered down the street towards my duplex but felt those oysters wanting to see the light of day again, so, I lurched over to a hated neighbor’s Volvo and puked in the open window all over her upholstery. Ha-ha-ha! We wanted to listen to the radio station this morning to see if they mentioned going out and finding they’d missed their own party, but we totally passed out! Ha! ***
   Today my dear fiends, Uncle Grumpyfuk is proud, nay, honored and humbled to review a pivital film in trash cinema history. This is a film that horrified audiences and changed the art of film forever more..for the better! Fuckin’ay! I speak of one, some say the greatest of the Unholy Trilogy of the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis, starring our favorite Playboy centerfold Connie Mason! Yes Mrs. Freemont it is exciting! Ha-ha-ha! …ah but I get ahead of myself. Yes my friends, I speak of the drive-in classic, the one and only, “Bloodfeast”! Yes, yes …(over 7 minutes of thunderous applause erupts, finally the din quiets a bit).. yes, thank you, I know, my genitals are covered with anticipatory sweat too. I shall strive to do my very best to honor the King of Gore and one of his masterpieces – I never have been able to decide whether I think this or 2000 Maniacs is better…AND Gruesome Twosome…I-I don’t know… I just love them all so much! (applause) Yes,we all do. Thank you, thank you.
  The film opens with a tense kettle drum beat and we see none other than Barbara Handler, daughter of the creator of the Barbie Doll, who named it after her! It’s her, I’m totally serious. I swear on your children’s’ future graves it’s her! ..Well ok it’s not her, but just look at’er! She’s the spit and image! You just want to pull her head off and give it to the family dog and pour lighter fluid on her body and set it ablaze! Damn!
  Anyway she turns on the radio as a report of ‘another murder’, that a girl was found ‘brutally mutilated’ and that all females should stay in after dark. The news ends and she strips her clothes off – tasty, and gets into a bubblebath. Now that is a great opening to any film, regardless of genre. She’s a scrub-dub-dubbin’ away, getting Miss Puss all nice and clean when she’s shocked to look up and see the psychotic eyes and dashing features of the protagonist of the film, one of your favorite actors, and mine; Mal Arnold! Yaaay! .. STAND AND APPLAUD you pisswipes!!! This man is the walking breathing definition of a cult star! ..well he’s no longer walking or breathing since he croaked but seriously you should applaud, I mean fuck. (more applause) Thank you,thank you.
  He stabs Barbara in the eye and begins hacking away with a carving knife and smiles proudly at his excellent knife-work, holding up a nice bloody giblet so we can see it real good- what a considerate gesture. He has a little more fun then chops off her leg for a keepsake perhaps? ..or possibly a future piece of folk art. Suddenly the screen is filled with the image of a cheap sphinx and pyramid replica,in front of a hotel in my own home state of Florida,where this film was shot! Yaaaay! ..and the credits roll. Thank you,thank you.
  Next we find ourselves down at the pigpen in the homicide bureau chief’s office. Inside he and one of his officers, Pete, played by another “2000 Maniacs” alumni, Connie’s companion Thomas Wood – the two of whom later became married in real life for many happy years; Tom you are the fucking man! – are engaging in some riveting dialogue concerning the murdered women’s’  mutilated states, concluding that a psychological killer just might be involved. Gee, ya think?
  Now we find ourselves outside Fuad Ramses Exotic Catering where our hero Mal, or Fuad runs a grocery/catering operation. In walks a ditzy rich blonde wearing a baby harp seal around her neck and a huge flowery hat any fat old black woman would be proud to wear to church’. She approaches the counter and begins to introduce herself as Mrs Freemont when her voice is cut off by Fuad’s intense,cobra-like gaze that leaves the air-headed bird mesmerized for a short spell, such is his irresistible charisma! At this point I have to mention Mal’s hair and eyebrows; they’re more thickly matted than a sloth’s fur, sans the vermin and disease, and although they appear to be grey, his hair and eyebrows blend in with everything in the background that’s blue. Tre chic Mal! How about it folks? (applause) Thank you, thank you.
  Mrs. Freemont explains that she wishes to throw a surprise party for her daughter, something different and unusual. “What do you consider to be unusual Mrs. Freemont?” inquires Fuad. She doesn’t know of course, stupid bitch, so he delivers the classic line “Have you ever had, an EGYPTIAN FEAST?” and we get a full-on shot of Mal’s dynamic peepers, whoa. She explains her daughter is into ancient Egyptian crap and that it sounded perfect. Fuad gets payment first, then hypnotizes her again, commanding her to give him a sloppy blowjob,then ejaculates on the back of her expensive coat, so that after she left everyone pointed at the gargantuan load dripping down her back like the fucking Blob’s albino offspring,with the dingy ditz blissfully unaware. Fuad you dog-you! Am I right folks? (applause) Thank you,thank you.
  As she leaves he slinks to the back of the store, through a back door to a room where he prays to an incredibly cheesy idol of his chosen goddess Ishtar, a department store mannequin, painted with cheap make-up and sporting the most dubious expression as if she just really isn’t sure about this guy and his goings-on.
  Outside Connie reads the headlines of the daily paper, “Legs Cut Off!” Heh, we’re way ahead of them aren’t we folks? The baffled cops are still pissed and clueless.
  After night-time has set in we see a couple of young lovers laying on the beach sucking face. She’s nervous but Tony really wants some snatcheroosky,so they begin rutting when she looks up and screams. Tony was confused; he hadn’t even mentioned trying anal yet! Wtf! Then he gets a split second glance of Fuad looming over him, machete raised and ready before Fuad smashed him good, then repeats with her. He cuts off the top of her skull for a really neat cereal bowl and takes her brains to boot! ..um, I don’t mean to boot as in kick it around in the dirt, I mean,you know, ‘in addition to’…just clarifying there. Anyway the camera shows some excellent shots of her ‘Jane Mansfield Look’ and concludes by showing some blood and bloody skull fragments in the sand, and about a foot-and a-half away is a boa constrictor being pulled out of camera range by an unseen hand. ..oookay.
  The cops arrive and revive Tony who blubbers and carries on like a foreign woman, totally unable to give them any pertinent information. The performance by the actor portraying Tony is bad on a magnificant scale, Bravo,bravo- actor who played Tony! ..what’s his name? Hell I don’t know, there’s the remote,you rewind it and look it up! Shit, lazy bastards.
  Back at the station the girl’s parents are carrying on like foreign women, at least the mother is, in a truly horrendous performance. All the cops learn is that she belonged to a book club.
  The screen goes red and we see Fuad’s hand placing some meat into a bloody pot and then he gives it a stir. Yummy! ..oooh Uncle Fuad when’s it gonna be ready? I’ze so hungry! Haw-haw-haw! What a knucklehead!
     Next we’re outside the hotel again,I mean apartment building just in time to see a sweet convertible pull up and out climb Abe Vigoda and Doris Day – it’s them I swear! 😉 – four sheets to the wind drunk. They manage to make it upstairs to her apartment door, she ‘gets a headache’, so he heads back down to the car and ends up falling asleep spanking his monkey. Two hours later the police arrive to find him, slimy cock still in hand, snoring away. Take it from yer Uncle, that is SO embarrassing!..though my paw thought it was hilarious. Hmph!
   Well while Abe is slappin’ the sloth who appears peeping around the corner? Yeppers, that devil-may-care kinda guy, our Fuad, up to his shenanegans. He knocks and Doris opens the door, thinking it’s Abe with more booze and one of the most shocking scenes in film history,up to that point anyway, takes place. Fuad reaches into Doris’ mouth and rips out her tongue and once again generously holds it up for our inspection. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds. It’s said that when Cecil B. DeMille viewed that scene he puked his guts out; talk about a compliment! Damn! Actually it was a sheep’s tongue,but that’s irrelevant, and when Fuad held it up for those 60’s audiences to see they fucking freaked out! I know,you’re envious too, it must have been pure bliss.
  The next scene is priceless. Connie and her mom are at home talking in the living room, discussing the upcoming surprise party and it’s easy to see that Connie is reading all of her lines off of cue cards placed around the room. ” I just shudder when I think about that butcher… that maniac,butchering all of those girls!” That’s a keeper there boys! What a woman,whew, down boy.
  That evening Connie and the cop, we’ll call him Maxwell Notsosmart, attend a lecture on ancient Egypt,the orator’s subject being ancient cults, namely the cult of Ishtar; priestesses, virgins, sacrifices, orgies, dirty rabble – some bloody fun times back then but talk about hazing, geez! As he speaks we get a flashback from those ancient times, of an ancient high priest, who turns out to be our own Mal Arnold again,showing his versatility by playing multiple roles! Thank you,thank you. A female sacrifice lays prostrate on the altar, Mal the high priest offers the sacrifice to Ishtar and places the handle of a plastic knife on her chest! He then quickly pulls it away and attaches a plastic blade with red paint on it and cuts out the girls bloody heart! Barbaric! Oh, and the boa constrictor is back hanging around the scene …but that’s why they call them the good old days folks. Now you point a fucking bb gun at someone’s ass and the feds put the whole fucking nation on magenta alert and declare martial law!
 After the lecture Connie and Maxwell go a-parking. Yay-yuh! He leans back and relaxes while she goes to town on that pole, slobber flying everywhere,showing how she got that Playboy gig! 😉 Heff you suck so badly..you fucking boss!!! Suddenly a radio bulletin interupts the suckfest and announces that another mutilated chick was found somewhere,or something. Pressed for time Maxwell says ‘fuck it’, grabs two handfulls of that golden hair,wraps it around his throbbing manhood and jerks off on top of her head. They teach’em that in cop school. It’s ok, Connie was totally up for it.
  Back at the station Chief tells Maxwell that the girl is still alive though her face looks like she made out with a weed eater. They race to the hospital and after the doctor tells them not to get her excited,they punch her in the stomach and slap her a few times to wake her up and answer a few questions. She tells them it was a wild eyed, wild looking old man who said ‘it was for Eetar, Eetar!’, so they put out an APB for Christopher Lloyd. Then she croaks and it’s really,really funny. I mean it’s a film so of course it’s funny when someone dies,but when she exhales her last breath and falls down,so much dogfood, there’s a little ‘Womp!’ from a trombone,signalling that she’s gone. It’s downright hysterical!
 You know,one thinks sometimes what we’d do differently had we created the universe ourselves, like give sea turtles the ability to breathe fire, or shrink all of the assholes to 4″ in height,to be preyed upon by insects and frogs, give eternal life to the members of Motorhead,that type of thing. It really is an ingenius idea,having it so whenever someone dies, have a little fart-like trombone sound effect signify that life has passed from the mortal shell. ‘Womp.’ “Well,he’s gone..heh-heh-heh.” That would be so fucking funny!
  At the grocery store Fuad opens a letter; an order from Connie for his book, “Ancient Weird Religious Rights”, otherwise known at the AA Handbook, a copy of which each victim has owned. Hmm. He calls and realizes Connie is Mrs. Freemont’s daughter,for whom he’s preparing the banquet! It seems he thinks the feast and sacrifice will bring Ishtar back to life. You never know, Uncle Grumpyfuk says it’s worth a try! Things are just going too well for him and his sly demeanor as he hangs up the phone is truly Oscar worthy. Notice the hair blending in with the blue items behind it? So cool, isn’t it folks? Mal Arnold ladies and gentlemen. (applause) Thank you, thank you.
  Connie and her friends are over at her house enjoying her swimming pool and Connie, now get this, is reading a book! I shit you not. She looks down and reads a page then laughs and it’s like her skull is made of rice paper and we can see her very thoughts. “Words are funny! ..and when you put them together they mean things!” Yep, a real keeper- lucky-ass Maxwell! As she’s looking at the pictures we see the shadow of a menacing hand float over her  body,but when she looks she sees nothing. When we look we see Fuad, right over there, climbing slowly and clumsily over the wall then limping away slowly. He’s like,right there. A keeper folks.
  One of her friends decides to go shopping at Xmart to see if there are any larger dildos than her own available (there aren’t). Connie makes sure to warn her to about not getting her head bashed in by the killer-at-large,but she gets it mixed up and as she’s walking down the sidewalk, Fuad sneaks up behind her in broad daylight, and bashes her head in with a rock. Her reaction when hit is as hilarious as watching Mal try to pick her lard-ass up and carry her off to the crock-pot! That’s how you injure your back by the way folks, that is what henchmen are for,for goodness sake, to do the heavy lifting! Fuad is a ‘One Wolf’ kinda guy though so, no-go. His really fakey limp doesn’t help.
The cops can’t find Lloyd. Connie invites Maxwell to her mom’s feast of Ishtar, he secretly hopes for the six days of rapine and gluttony but knows better. Dern it.
  Fuad is adding more meat to the pot, wink, and gives Connie’s friend a good whipping with the ol’ cat’o nine tails until acheiving a disappointing orgasm. (applause) Thank you, thank you.
  Maxwell sits at his desk at the office, repeating “Eetar, Ishtar, Eetar, Ishtar…”, he thinks it would make a pretty cool song! After a few he and Chief get hungry so they head over to Fuad’s for some grub, arriving just after Fuad left with the ‘feast’. They go in and find Connie’s friend and it looks like the makeup guy sat there and dripped fake blood over every inch of her body,very cool. Realizing they’re too late,they smell the delicious aroma from Fuad’s cooking and head over to the Freemont residence,stomachs a-growling!
  Fuad has arrived already and with great flourish announces that the banquet is about to begin, and requests that Connie assist him in the kitchen. If all goes well Fuad thinks, he can perform the sacrifice and still get home in time for ‘F-Troop’ reruns! Connie can’t remember to do anything right so by the time Fuad finally gets her in position in comes mom just in time to prevent him from bringing to life the great goddess Ishtar! Damn it I wanted to see if that was going to work! Stupid bitch. The cops arrive, tell everyone that Fuad is the killer, that Connie’s friend was the main course and Mrs Freemont wisely sums it up; “Well I guess we’ll have to have hamburger for dinner!” – extra cheese on mine please!
  Fuad takes off with the cops hot on his tail, through the neighborhood, across the nearby landfill, I bet it smelled nice filming on that location! Fuad manages to reach a trash truck that’s just leaving and jumps in the back,only to be crushed to death by the merciless jaws of the trash compactor. It’s a tragic and sombre moment. Maxwell then explains to Chief in lengthy, unnecessary detail how he brilliantly realized that Eetar and Ishtar sounded similar! The Chief doesn’t look too bright though so perhaps it was necessary to draw it all out for him. The End. (thunderous applause erupts and continues for several minutes) Thank you, thank you.
  Well that wraps it up folks, a true classic that is now 50 years old, hard to believe, and it still holds it’s own – the sign of a true masterpiece. Uncle Grumpyfuk hopes you vermin have enjoyed this one,I endeavored to do Herschell Gordon Lewis’ masterpiece justice, I pray to Crom I have succeeded, so this is yer ol’ pal Uncle Grumpyfuk signin’ off until next time!

Connie Mason: You Read About Her in Playboy!

08
Apr
12

Castle Freak: Inherit Madness

a Primal Root review

Inheriting a castle in Italy has to be pretty dang cool. Finding out you’re descended from royalty? That’s the icing on top of the hoity-toity cake to which so many aspire. Yeah, it all seems great on paper until you take your horrendously dysfunctional family there to assess the situation and sell that hunk of junk off to the highest bidder.  It’s drafty, dull, dusty and, making matters worse,  your wife hates your guts no matter where you take her and the one surviving kid is still blind and your single digit son is still pavement pizza due to your dumb, alcoholic ass driving the family mini…vehicle over a small hill and flipping the vehicle at 25 MPH.  Or 85 MPH in sped up film time…

And then, of course, there’s a horrifying, psychotic, mutilated freak chained up in the castle’s basement. Buyer beware.

TOUCHDOWN!

Castle freak is, at it’s very core, the story of a family dealing with a heart crushingly tragic incident where the family patriarch and reformed alcoholic, John Riley (played pitch perfectly by Gordon collaborator Jeffery Combs) managed to get completely shit-faced before picking up his teenage daughter and 5 year old son during a torrential down pour and then swerving off road resulting in the death of the son and blinding daughter,  Rebecca (played by a very game and sympathetic Jessica Dollarhide).  Of course, there are some resentment issues between John and his gorgeous wife, Susan (always reliable Barbara Crampton) who apparently lives to torture and be spiteful towards John every second of every single day therefore turning his life into a Hell on Earth of guilt, regret, and shame.

As you can tell, the story is already pretty dreadful before there’s even a freak for the family to contend with.

The Reilly’s  move into their new castle after the old woman who was living there died in her bed from a heart attack after beating the chained up freak in the basement within and inch of it’s life which looked to have been a long standing supper time tradition and Casa de le Freak.  This poor creature has obviously never known affection, love or humanity living a life of agony chained up and naked down in the dank bowels of The Reilly castle. Much like John Reilly himself, who is living a life of pain due to his past mistakes and the fact his wife reminds him about it on a near minute by minute basis that he’s responsible for the death of their son.

Castle Freak is a far cry from the what we’ve come to expect from a Gordon, Combs, Crampton, collaboration. Typically fun,m over the top and colorful, Castle Freak is drastically different. Thee pacing takes it’s time, and the whole story is just gruelingly sad. This is not Re-Animator or From Beyond by a long shot. In fact, it’s a very dark and honest look at redemption, forgiveness and family as John must defend his family from what could be seen as his horrific doppelganger, his id or symbolizing the young Reilly boy whose memory they still cling to and is tearing the whole family apart.  There are no laughs to be found here and  no easy outs in Castle Freak.  This is straight ahead horror dealing with some pretty real issues. Only these real issues are set against the backdrop of an Italian castle with a freak looking to molest your cute little blind teenage daughter and frame you for the murder of a hooker and your housekeeper. For a freak, this guy is surprisingly crafty.

Castle Freak Foreplay: Not nearly as fun as you'd imagine.

One night, after Susan gives John a particularly vindictive verbal thrashing, John heads to a local watering hole where he quickly jumps off the wagon. And who can really blame the guy? He takes shot, after shot of some kind of counterfeit rot gut and ends up taking a whore back to his castle’s wine seller where he eagerly chows down on her bowl of “Down South” spaghetti.Again, you can totally understand his need to feel the touch and connection to another person.  Trouble is, he happens to be performing in front of a captive audience as the Castle Freak studies John’s moves like he’s preparing for the S.A.T.’s.  And you know castle freaks, they are more than happy to go after the sloppy seconds…

As our hooker goes to leave the castle, it’s resident freak abducts her, chains her up and has his way with her including a graphic nipple eating and a sickening reveal of the Freak’s genital region that’s sure to make your stomach churn. In fact, the film seems to focus quite liberally on the Freak’s disturbing genitals which, I suppose, does make some sense since that is kind of the Freak’s motivating factor. Looking for affection, someone to be close and have sex with.  Or, director Stuart Gordon could have simply just wanted to showcase a little something for the ladies. Soak it in, girls! Still, even though the Freak, in my estimation, is only looking for compassion, tenderness and a connection to another living creature, he can;t for the life of him understand how to give these things. Remember, this is a person whose entire life since birth has been spend locked away, abused and mutilated only ever understanding violence and pain.  How Freak goes about violently raping the hooker, yet mimicking what he witnessed John do to her, furthers this point. That violence begets violence.

Feel the Excitement!

But, I digress, at the threat of spoiling the whole sleazy, blood encrusted, drippy scrotum flopping affair, let’s just say Castle Freak is a one sad, violent, and effective story of redemption. The story of one man’s quest to find meaning and forgiveness in a world that refuses to see past his mistakes and misdeeds and see the man who is in need of compassion and just wants to feel human again. Now, am I talking about John or the Castle Freak of our title or both?

Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak pulls off an impressive feat in capturing some very deep, dark, human situations and maintaining a fairly well paced and interesting story. As a viewer you grow to like most of the characters, and even the unlikable few are at the very least, you can understand where they’re coming from.  And for a film made in a creepy castle with a miniscule budget, Castle Freak works thanks to some spot on performances, creative shot compositions, great make-up/gore effects and also gains a lot of atmosphere from the genuine Italian castle where the action is set. Which just happens to be owned by the president of Full Moon Pictures.

Castle Freak isn’t exactly a fun, crowd pleasing movie experience but is still a fine piece of trash cinema. One that will certainly speak to anyone who has ever made a grievous mistake and feels they are destined to pay for it the rest of their lives.  Even if we can;t directly relate viewers will empathize and come to understand that there really are a number of fates that can feel worse than death. Only through love, forgiveness and understanding can we ever truly regain what makes us human.

And a good bit of reconstructive surgery and upper plate dental work in the case of The Castle Freak…

Love may be blind but she can still smell you, Freak.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

02
Apr
12

“Bride of Chucky”: Une petite morte never killed anybody!

a Bootsie Kidd review

It seems too few flicks are able to juggle sheer playfulness, gore, heart, and raunch to give a film one helluva personality.  But with veteran deviants like Jennifer Tilly (Tiffany) and Brad Douriff (Charles ‘Chucky’ Lee Ray [I-IV]) directed by Ronny Yu (Freddy vs Jason), and the Child’s Play franchise’s head wordsman Don Mancini how could ‘Bride’ not have a style unlike any other.  Though Chucky still has as much of that acerbic charm as ever, ‘Bride’ differs from Child’s Play’s usual thrills that made you want to trade in your Cabbage Patch for a Skip-It.  Both hardcore fans and newcomers to the series may be skeptical of this installment’s ability to deliver, and while it’s true that ‘Bride’ brought Child’s Play into a new scope viewers would do well to remember that like our hero, himself, packaging rarely indicates punch.

 

Yu opens with harkening back to beloved James Whales’ atmospheric originals; a playfully spooky dark and stormy night with an expendable-looking cop nervously slinking through an evidence room.  We’re given just enough lightning flash to make out tagged items from other investigations.  Highlighted are cubbies containing a candid homage to horror legends, Michael, Jason, & Freddie (Jason face & Freddy fingers boxed in together… premonition much?).  All of which seems a not-so-subtle declaration of Chucky’s right to be counted amongst the greats.

Our lackey nabs a bulky black plastic bag and makes his way to the drop-off point, placing a call during which we hear one of Hollywood’s most familiar raspy coos.  Shortly after, owner of said coo makes our film’s first kill and it’s a gusher.  Tiffany slits Officer Crooked’s throat letting us know W.) just where a fair bribe & the moral high-ground can shove it and X.) she isn’t exactly the squeamish type.  Fun side note: he’d just lit a cig possibly making this the best anti-smoking ad ever.  Quothe the Tilly, eat your heart out, Truth.

 

And just who is this slaughtering pigs right out the gate?**  Enter the ultimate in 90’s sex appeal!  Blonde, boobs, and black leather is how Tiffany rolls, and, baby, it’s just fine by me.  She unwraps the loot and we get our first glimpse of our Chucky’s mug, well, 4/5 of a mug and looking like he’s seen better days.  Still, toy in hand Tiff and swaggers off to hostess one killer crafting montage complete with creepy doll appendages & eyeballs, brutally long hooks, thick black wormy string, and staple gun.  Compounded with Rob Zombie’s rough & dirty tunes, Tiff is like the warped, older sister May’s (2002) parents forbid her to be like.

She’s into crafting. No, really…

She’s into crafting. No, really…

     Next up: the ingénues and oppressive fatherly types.  Gordon Michael Woolvett, as David, reminds us we’re in the 90s with his strategically placed frosted tips and that being gay in this decade’s cinema meant you knew EVERYTING about orchids and were attending Princeton to study theatre arts on your figure skating scholarship.  A young-and-feeling-fresh Katherine Heigl, as sweetheart Jade, flexes her prissy-pants, pouty-face shmacting muscles and veteran John Ritter as Chief Warren Kincaid grunts, barks, and squints, firmly establishing himself as the meddling square that must later die in some satisfyingly creative way.

 

David is supposed to be Jade’s date for… prom? Yeah, that unnecessary plot-point thankfully fell to the wayside, but Oh, these wile kids!  We soon find Jade’s all googly-eyed for Tiger Beat hunk Jesse (Nick Stabile) who’s hiding in the backseat & reveals himself just long enough to shove his tongue down her throat.  This moment is the climax of their sexual/emotional chemistry throughout the movie.  However, these rascals are soon pulled over by Lt. “Needle Nose” Preston who, by virtue of his unrelenting grin, remains the absolute creepiest character of this film.

Unless you count Damien, (then Robert Arquette, now Alexis Arquette) one of Tiff’s puppies who she couldn’t take less seriously.  In her defense, it’s no easy task with a dude who looks like Marilyn Manson, acts like Brian Hugh Warner, and sounds like Keanu Reeves.  This pseudo-badass is more Creed than Cradle of Filth despite his best efforts to convince Tiffany that he’s the deranged sociopath of her dreams.   He weirdly crawls all over her bed mispronouncing “la petite morte”, the French idiom for an orgasm, but still manages a surprising sultry line, “Come on, Tiffany, let’s die a little”.  But minimal seductive powers are hardly enough to redeem this guy.  “HEYTIFFANY!” is the perfect introduction for Damien.  “Come on, I’ll catch my death out here!” to which she disinterestedly replies “Promises, promises”.  The contrast of her casual confidence against his pasty fragility makes this one of the best delivered lines of the flick & pretty much this sums up every relationship she’s waded through for 10 years since Chucky’s bizarre toy store demise.

 

Oh, right!  So just prior to Damien whimpering up Tiff’s tree, she successfully summons Chucky’s being back into his trashed little body.  Yu is wise in letting Chucky’s first move be to play on his strong suit, pitter-pattering around and appearing at the perfect moment to monumentally fuck with his prey’s head.  Being the perfect pair, Tiff also likes to play with her food.  She seductively cuffs Lamien to the bed, and though we know his demise is just around the river bend he sports a grin that looks like the unholy hybrid of Gary Busey & Julia Roberts’ mouths.   Upon revealing himself, Chucky tears out Dame’s crucifix labret weirdly rendering a veritable bloodbath, and covers his face with a pillow casually plopping down on it to sit and catch up with Tiff.  It has been 10 years, after all.

He had it coming for the sharpie tribal tatts.

Now, here comes a practical reason for my love of this movie.  Don Mancini, writer of the entire Child’s Play franchise, does a decent of job of getting personalities, chemistry, and history across in a pinch, managing to give you, dear viewer, the info you need while keeping you highly entertained and eager for more.   One of film’s weaknesses, however, is in giving their lackluster teen-vs-world subplot waaaaaay more attention than it merits and making moves like cutting away from Chuck & Tiff’s reunion to make time for dry toast characters.  The kids have to take a breathalyzer in the pouring rain, we get that Kincaid’s a weight-throwing douche bag constantly dogging on poor folk, Jade spouts off a couple awkwardly melodramatic lines, and we get the sense that they’re going to “get the hell outta dodge and nevah look back.”  Okay.  Are we done here?

 

Back to Tiff & Chuck.  Fellas, if your woman ever goes to the trouble of sewing up your tattered ragdoll of a body, holds séances in her (enviably cool Goth-chic) doublewide to call your spirit back from some nebulous limbo, AND cooks you Swedish meatballs… try not to laugh in her face and imply she’s “fuckin’ nuts” when she talks marriage and babies. It’ll just piss her off.  Hell hath no fury as we find when Tiff Masterlocks Chucky in what she’d hoped would be their child’s play pin leaving the casual viewer to wonder, “Was the lock-and-key baby digs really for their potential offspring?!”, already-parents to think, “Hey, now, there’s an idea…”, and Child’s Play aficionados noting, “Yeah, she’s going to need that, later…”

 

-'B-I-T-C-H’. That is incorrect. The correct spelling of woman is W-O-M”
-"Shows how much you know.”

How Chucky can launch the nanny out the window but he can’t break out of some dinky wooden box is beyond me.  But ironic ingenuity prevails when Chucky uses Tiff’s assumed engagement ring to file down the bars and gain freedom (see what they did there?).  In what is a visually spectacular scene, Chucky electrocutes Tiff by way of knocking the boob tube into her bubble bath while she’s watching Lanchester own it in Bride of Frankenstein (see? they did there it there, too).  He does the dirty deed with her dead body… transferring her being into the obnoxiously wholesome bride doll she bought to torture him.  Why?  Y) He’s a vindictive asshole, Z) to get her on board with the plan.  What’s the plan?  To retrieve an amulet buried with Chucky’s rotting corpse in Jersey and trick gullible dope Jesse and increasingly whiney Jade to hand over their bodies for inhabitation.  So now we have to road trip with these kids…  Are we there, yet?

 

Small price to pay, however, for the treat of seeing Tiff school Chucky on how to murder and murder good.  “Who the fuck is Martha Stewart”, Chucky’s inquires after Tiff’s inspiration for improvised “homicidal genius”.  She devises a booby trap (teeheegetit?causeshehasbigtits) that involves literally nailing Kincaid.  Tiffany’s critique of the go-to knife technique as 80s kitsch not only shows that Chucky’s in a new age, but that horror itself is always morphing into new form.  While horror filmmaker and fans seem fairly apt at respecting their roots, horror is a vehicle for reflecting the times and the times do change.  Just as monsters gave way to slashers, so slashers have taken somewhat of a back seat to the theme of ruthless ingenuity manifested through franchises such as Saw and given premonition by Tiff’s airbag nail launcher.  But such a creative genre isn’t given to choppy black and whites.  Chucky proves that that he’s still got it by later finishing off Kincaid with your tried-and-true maniacal multiple stabbing noting that “a true classic never goes out of style”, a move likely to leave true fans grinning and glowing with pride.                   

 

But still Chucky shows he can keep up with the time’s sense of inventive mayhem, with a make-shift car bomb making Needle Nose and his disturbing smile no more.  Ruthless Deviants: 3, Crooked Cops: 0.  Okay, look, Tiff and Chucky have some major bloodlust issues, but they’re not aimlessly drawn to killing.  It’s an enjoyable means to an end.  What’s that? How can you avoid certain death the next time you’re appearing in this movie?   It’s simple, really…

 

Survival Tips:

–  No looking in plastic bags – stay uncurious

–  No tampering with plots & rides

–  No happily allowing a self-professed murderer to cuff you up

–  No stumbling into highway traffic

–  No being an obnoxiously unnecessary character

–  Try your best not work in law enforcement or own a camper

 

Meanwhile, Jesse & Jade cope with their plans getting mucked up and being prime suspects for the past 4 murders by endlessly blaming each other.  So let’s see… now that we know what an irredeemably crappy couple those kids make and now they’re at the top of the FBI’s shit list what scene should we shoot for next?  Oo!  How bout a painfully awkward wedding?  At least it gives Tiff & Chuck the chance to have an actual heart-to-heart and us the chance to get in on some actual character chemistry.

Quick, they’re filming! Look like you’re into me!

Post-nuptials, Jesse & Jade are as supremely miserable as ever in their lavishly hokey honeymoon suite and are soon infiltrated by a couple who make you wonder which you loathe more: their painfully unfunny mayhem or that they resorted to goofy undies to try and trick you into finding them amusing (HAHAHAgetit?causethey’resilly).  They slight Chucky, steal Jesse’s dough, and freak out the kids with schmaltzy advances.  Feeling threatened by this woman’s ability to ruin a scene more effectively than she ever could, Jade kicks them out.

Tiff seeks revenge against the “thieving slut” shattering their ceiling mirror, the shards of which apparently fall at a velocity that impales the raunchy couple and their waterbed splashing tidal waves of bloody water all over the joint.  It’s all over for Chucky, he’s smitten.  He gets down on his knees, bites the ring off the newlydead’s severed finger, proposes in front of a roaring fire, and realizing “all the plumbing works” and “he’s feeling like Pinocchio over here” the saxophone & heavy panting begins.

 

Back on the road, a clusterfuck occurs in which the David’s obliterated by a semi, Chucky & Tiff reveal their alivedness (my review, my vocabulary) and their plans taking Jesse & Jade hostage at gunpoint, and kill a couple poor schmoes for their camper.  Soon after, the planets align and Jessie has the intelligent idea to pit Chucky & Tiff against each other.  Insults are thrown (“Take it from me, honey, plastic is no substitute for a nice hunk of wood!”) and chaos ensues!  Winnebago rolls & explodes, Tiff gets charbroiled, Chucky kidnaps Jade, Jesse kidnaps Tiff, amulet is retrieved, chicks are swapped, in a last second stroke of conscience Tiff dukes it out with Chucky, and a detective arrives just in time to see a possessed doll and clear Jesse & Jade’s names just before she blows him away (apparently high profile investigations are easily put to rest with one dude’s unfounded speculations).  WHEW!  Good thing they managed to magically roll our motor home a block away from the cemetery or this could’ve been complicated.

 

The ultimate Planned Parenthood ad.

Oh, and Tiff gives birth to an evil mutant abomination that eats the detective’s face off.  Completely ruining Jesse & Jade’s alibi this movie ends on what I would consider a bonafide high note!

 

In the end, ‘Bride’ is one of those raunchy rides providing a healthy dose of laughs, sex, and horror.  Although equipped with some righteously bloody moments, its aim is different than its two predecessors; it wants you to get to know your anti-heroes.  A strong part of Chucky’s appeal is that he thinks, talks, and acts like a person… a supremely disturbed person but a person, nonetheless.  He swears, cracks wickedly dirty puns, digs meatballs, gets horny, calls his gf ‘babe’ but has little patience for shmoopy romance, etc.  He’s a colorful dude.  Who wouldn’t want a little peek into his personal life?                                

 

And, my God!  Tiffany, alone, offers more than enough guts & heart to  get you hooked.  Even as her dolls self montages into her usual platinum bombshell- painting herself in magenta & black, donning a classically tough black pleather jacket, and lighting her cig with a zippo swiped from her 2nd to latest victim’s corpse- her wedding dress remains pristine beneath the flash. Underneath a playfully sadistic exterior Tiffany is tender-hearted to the core, wanting only to love and be loved.  Course, Tiff is a total Harvey Dent, so the flip side of that warped coin is in remembering that no matter how canned her dreams of marital bliss & baby-making may seem she is far from your brainwashed Stepford.

 

While prone to “female hysterics”, Tiff manages to put on her big girl panties, hatch the vast majority of their plans, and practically creams at the thought of getting her hands bloody.  She is bad, savvy, & devilishly resourceful.  Tiff seems like Mancini’s response to the new millennium woman’s identity crisis; wanting genuine intimate connection without having to sacrifice our hard-earned sense-of-self to acquire it.  She’ll go above and beyond to prove her love (i.e. 10 years bribing/killing cops to find her bf’s possessed plastic corpse, slave over that hot stove perfecting her Swedish meatballs, etc) but WOE to the man-doll who takes it for granted…  Sound familiar? By now, it’s a cinematic classic- the woman wielding her rolling pin in juggernaut resentment when she isn’t given her due. Domesticity’s alarming 180 from assured subservience to a yammering nag was film’s way of saying,”Wow, woman, your standards for respect are pretty obnoxious”.  Although Tiffany has her cliched lecture & dish throwing down pat, it’s easy to sympathize.  Maybe Barbie can eat her heart out, but Chucky’s a far fucking cry from Ken and a hijacked camper is the dreamiest house they’ll ever have.

The entire Child’s Play franchise seems to reflect a certain fear of role irregularities or reversals.  What was once a thing of comfort becomes the epitome of terror.  That the seemingly sweet, innocent youth could foster something dark and sinister is a trend possibly correlating with two monumentally impactful and sometimes oppositional American movements, women’s and children’s rights.  It’s no well-kept secret that hardcore classics such as Rosemary’s Baby & The Omen helped us deal with the controversies of Roe vs Wade, rewiring our cultural understading to actually consider the needs and wants of women (some would argue even to the detriment of a child’s right to life).  But the 80s and 90s brought on a new a strange blend of children’s rights and a crackdown on child criminal offenses.  Children were being seen less as saintly cherubs and more as actual people, capable of both kind and vicious deeds.

In Child’s Play, Andy & Chucky satisfy these extreme opposites, manifesting both the hopes and fears of parent and society. That little Andy is gradually introduced to the evils of the world through Chucky on such an extremely intimate level threatens these hopes of childlike purity. It addresses the increasing fear many had in those conservative times of children being exposed to too much of the world too quickly, how subversively evil can take form (the Good Guy with a Bad Boy streak), and how deeply that evil might take root in children (a plot to literally infiltrate Andy’s mind and body implying undertones of lewd & lascivious intent, yet ANOTHER sickening issue receiving big-time attention in the 80s and being addressed through other villains such as Freddy).

Christ, was there ANY large-scale issue Child’s Play didn’t cover?!  Well, we could always talk about its representation of single-parent homes, economic crisis, systemic discrimination against women in the workforce, shamelessly kid-focused consumerism, crooked cops (though we kind of covered that one), questioning the legitimacy of diagnosing psychosis… dude, we could go on for a while, right?  But these were and are all very real, very tense issues naturally needing one helluvan outlet.

And, baby, Chucky gave it to ’em.

Thanks for reading and stay trashy, kids!

**Bootsie lovingly respects & supports those in Uniform, even if the characters I love don’t.

 

Many thanks to Chuckyholics for providing killer images!

http://www.chuckyholics.com/site/gallery/bride-of-chucky-screencaps/?nggpage=7

 

05
Mar
12

Rape Squad aka: Act of Vengeance (1974)

a Primal Root written review

Okay, we’re getting into a touchy area right now with Rape Squad, the 1974 Rape/Revenge exploitation sleaze fest. Hell, the title alone is enough to make one uncomfortable which may explain it’s alternate title… The rape/revenge format is one of the very few film genres that still disturbs me. I can watch a whole camp full of horny counselors get hacked into chop-suey and laugh my ass off but watching the depiction of anyone, woman or man, being sexually violated always chills my blood and makes me sick to my stomach. It’s probably the last form of violence you can film a fictionalized reenactment of and it will chill my blood.

That being said, the first act of Rape Squad is some pretty harrowing stuff. We are introduced to Linda ( played by the very lovely Jo Ann Harris) who is briskly established as running her own food truck and works with horses. It’s not ten minutes into the movie before Linda is attacked in the middle of the night at the stables. Jack, the man who rapes her, she later finds out is known to the authorities as “The Jingle Bell Rapist” as he always demands his victims sing the popular Christmas carol as he rapes them. Jack seems to be a little obsessed with the holiday season as he is constantly overheard singing carols and compare stripping his rape victims to unwrapping presents. Even stranger, it looks like he’s committing his raping spree in the middle of summer…a little explanation as to why this psychopath is so caught up in the yule tide cheer would have been appreciated. One thing I now know, there’s something REALLY creepy about someone not only forcing sex on you AND making you sing while they do it. It’s some pretty sick, disturbing shit. Not only that, but Jack dressed in an orange jumpsuit and wears a hockey mask and comes off looking like a rape happy, jail break spawnage of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. I’m sure those two are truly disappointed in their son…

The rape scene goes on for what feels like forever as Linda repeatedly fights for her life and escapes the clutches of her attacker several times before finally being brought down and violated. Jack likes to boast that he’s the best and Linda should thank him for kicking her in the face, slapping her around repeatedly and then raping her. It’s all very rough to take and it gets just about as bad as Linda faces the aftermath of having to go down town to the police station to report the crime. She is questioned about the details of the attack (were you drunk? Did you try to resist? Did you provoke the attack?) by a male detective in front of about a dozen perps and fellow lawmen. It’s grueling and extremely uncomfortable to watch as the traumatized young Linda does her best to put up with this disrespect (there’s not another female in sight) before finally justifiably laying into the detective about how she’s being treated like the criminal for having being dressed in a kind of Daisy Duke Lite ensemble when she was assaulted. Of course, she is labeled a bitch and sent to the doctor to undergo a rape kit.

The doctor lays Linda down and repeats the lines “Thata’ girl” and “Take it easy” as he probes and examines her vagina. It’s cold. clinical and the patronizing language the doctor uses makes the whole sequence feel as if Linda’s being raped all over again. The camera stays focused on Linda’s face as she fights back tears and bears the psychological and physical pain. The test results show no traces of semen so now the police assume she made it all up. And, the cherry on top of the insensitive police department sundae arrives as Linda is leaving the station and an officer makes the offhanded comment “Gee, I wish that would happen to me. I’d just sit back and enjoy it. HAR, HAR, HAR!” Linda stop dead in her tracks, gets in this assholes face and verbally turns him into mince meat. It’s really a pitch perfect response to his idiocy and must be seen and heard to feel it’s impact. It’s one of those little monologues where you want to get up and cheer.

The police do nothing, another woman’s house is broken into and she is, like Linda, slowly, methodically, brutalized by the same hockey mask wearing, carol singing, sicko that stalked her down the night before. The police hold a lineup held behind protective chicken wire (WTF?) and all five of the previous victims assemble in order to identify their rapist. This line up turns out to be a waste of time set up to illustrate how impossible the detective’s job is of tracking down the Jingle-Bell Rapist and even harder it will be for the victims to identify him. (“Well, shoot, guys! This case is just too damn hard! We should probably just give up.”) The victims join forces and create an all woman team they call “RAPE SQUAD”! They start taking martial arts lesson replete with a montage of them repeatedly whacking a sparing dummy in the ballsalogical region, creating an emergency phone line for victims of sexual predators, and providing chaperon service to the apparently all male police station so that victims might have a woman present while being asked “So, were you asking for it, miss?”

The RAPE SQUAD learns how to disarm the offending weapon. It's basically like squashing two Cadbury Cream Eggs and flattening a Jimmy Dean cocktail weeny.

Not only that, but they manage to turn the tables on all manner of sex abuse scumbags from dirty night callers whom they accost in dark alleys, strip, shame, and threaten with law suits to angry horrifically scrawny slap happy pimps whose cars the RAPE SQUAD savagely beat with hammers and then crush their testicles and then kick them in the head till the lose consciousness. They even go as far as to go home with forceful, cocky guys to see if they might be the kind to date rape someone. Once the arrogant would-be raper makes their move, the RAPE SQUAD, moves in to destroy their apartment, beat ’em up, tie em down and dye their cock and balls Smurf Blue so they are marked and identifiable if they should ever raise their dicks to rape anyone.

The ladies kick ass and take names all while indulging is in a few totally nude sequences, one of which they go and dip themselves in a hot tub and discuss their plans to begin the RAPE SQUAD. It’s exploitation, pure and simple, and it;s to be expected. They dealt with the worse case scenario of the rape and it’s aftermath so disturbingly well that a little bit of the ladies getting naked and showing off how comfortable they are with themselves and their bodies is kind of commendable. Either that or I am trying to justify the filmmakers for inserting some titillating submerged full frontal nudity and luscious bobbing breasts in order to play to the crowds baser instincts…The hell with it, it’s an exploitation film and that nekkid shower/hot tub scene is integral to the plot! They just finished kung-fu practice, damn it!

The final act of the film bring the RAPE SQUAD face to face with their rapist as he leads the five of them into a final showdown in a dilapidated, abandoned zoo. The final battle is pretty hardcore and even a bit subversive, bloody, and savage. However, I couldn’t help but wonder how The Jingle-Bell Rapist managed to stay so well hidden while wearing a bright orange jumpsuit and blazing white hockey mask…Well, anyway, when the final conflict finally happens it ends up being a match between the rapist and RAPE SQUAD ring leader, Linda over the fate of the Squad and to deliver vengeance onto the individual who scarred the lives of so many woman…

I smell an act of vengeance a'brewin'.

Rape Squad aka Act of Vengeance was a far better film than I was expecting. The subject matter is handled with great care and some fantastic performances are given. The stand out being Jo Ann Harris as Linda who gives everything she’s got and really sells her rage, shame, trauma and eventual strength and triumph over her aggressor. She basically carries the entire picture and is one very talented actress for an early 70’s sleazy exploitation picture. I really do admire the first parts of the film dealing with Linda’s attack and the horrible aftermath. It feels earnest and like the filmmakers really wanted to make a point as to how horrifying the act of rape is and that victims of this crime should be treated with far more care. I mean, it seems almost unimaginable that those sworn to serve and protect would be so callous towards someone whose just been sexually assaulted. still, I’ve heard many accounts of just such thins happening to women who report being attacked and raped and, if you ask me, I would much rather be stalked down and murdered by a Jason Voorhees style slasher (yes, even the spear gun impale through the dick death from The Final Chapter) than go through what Linda does.

It’s only when the film switches gears from the rape to the revenge plot that it delves a bit into the campy side. Like I said, there is an extensive nekkid hot tub scene and some preventative rape violence that I cannot help but assume were played for laughs. Especially when they beat the living hell of of an angry pimp that looks like a skeleton wearing my grandma’s old wardrobe. But without the intensity of the rapes and the ordeal that happens being illustrated so effectively, I doubt the RAPE SQUAD’s actions would be as crowd pleasing as they are.

Rape Squad is not exactly a sexist film…nor is it a feminist film. This is a really odd package deal. I enjoyed it thoroughly and was pleased how all aspects of the picture were handled. It’s an exploitation film that falls into the usual cliches but not before grounding things in stark, cold, reality and showing us the dark side of violence and ignorance. Rape Squad aka Act of Vengeance is an above average grindhouse flick well worth checking out if you’ve got the fortitude for this type of endeavor.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

04
Feb
12

Hobo with a Shotgun: Make Your Own Change

a Primal Root review

 

I found out moments before I watched this film that it originated as a grand prize winner in a mock trailer contest as part of a publicity stunt for the Tarantino/Rodriguez helmed double feature “Grindhouse”. What was the prize? The folks who made the trailer  got to turn that trailer into a feature length film. Now, let me tell you, the feature length version of  “Hobo With a Shotgun” isn’t going to appeal to the wide breadth of film goers out there. Hell, I have close friends who love Trash Cinema who thought this flick sucked sweaty goat balls. I, for one, thought it was one of the craziest, blow it out a shotgun, fuck it message films I’ve seen in a long, long, time.

“Hobo with a Shotgun” tells the story of an earnest, older transient Hobo (played with gravity by the ever awesome and always game Rutger Hauer) who goes from town to town looking for a break and a means to begin living his humble dream of making a decent living as a landscaper. But, as we all know, in the real world this can be tougher than it seems. Especially when you’ve been reduced to sleeping on sidewalks,  trying to come up with clever card board signs asking for donations and having the chew broken glass for the folks who film shit like “Bum Fights” for a measly couple of bucks. When you are that far down, it’s near impossible to get back up without some kind of helping hand.

If only he had written something witty and clever as opposed to honest...

Sadly, our Hobo has managed to ride the rails into Dartmouth Nova Scotia which looks to be the ninth circle of Hell as it is ruled under the blood thirsty fist of a tiny, greasy, sociopath by the name of Drake  (Brian Downey) and his two equally psychotic, well groomed sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman). This Father and Son triple threat of bloodthirsty scumbaggery have turn this city into a gut crunching, head obliterating, meaty chunk strewn wasteland where no one bats an eye if someone has their skull crushed between two bumper cars or a school bus full of children gets burned alive…as long as it’s not them. In this reality, whoever visits the most brutal death to the citizenry and generates the most fear is king. This is hardly the town to look for a decent person with a dream to find that helping hand.

Our Hobo befriends Abby, the hooker with a heart of gold (played by the talented and gorgeous Molly Dunsworth) who shows him warmth and kindness and becomes a bit of a daughter to our hero. But once Hobo witnesses atrocity upon atrocity and is brutalized himself, he trades in his landscaping dreams for a loaded shotgun and decides to level the playing field as only a vigilante with nothing left to lose can do.  As the bodies of murderous, drug dealing, rapists cock suckers rise Drake and his sons are left with no choice but to retaliate as a full fledged war is declared between the haves and the have nots…and no one is spared.

To be honest, it took me about ten minutes to really warm up to “Hobo with a Shotgun”. It;s early sequences felt like some kind of second rate Troma flick…but as the violent set pieces of the opening came to a close and the film began to focus more on the story of Rutger’s Hobo and his rise to become a homeless moral avenger, it rose way above the the trappings of your typical no-buget grue fest.  This flick has a surprising amount of heart, stays true to it’s characters, and delivers on all fronts.

Hobo with a Shotgun is an interesting animal. On one hand the filmmakers seem to be inviting you to laugh at the brutal carnage going on throughout the film. When a character has his head ripped off and a scantly clad woman writhes in the geyser of fresh blood spraying forth from a gaping hole where the victim’s head should be you can’t help but laugh at how ludicrous it all is. But several scenes later, a character we’ve grown to know and care about is suddenly in mortal danger of being killed off and we suddenly can’t bring ourselves to laugh…we realize this is a world without ruled. A place where the filmmakers are willing to do anything and kill off anyone at any moment. In Hobo with a Shotgun, the typical cinematic tropes need not apply.  Just like the world we live in, it’s so easy to laugh at a crazy headline or crack a joke regarding someone’s misfortune, but when it suddenly that same fate shines on us or someone we love, it ceases to amuse.

And in this I feel Hobo with a Shotgun finds it’s message. It’s not just a film that focuses on the violence, and there are copious amounts of  it to be sure, but it also manages to drive home the idea of desensitization, apathy, detachment and how detrimental it is to us as a society.  For us to stand by as other well meaning and good people are crushed under the heal of our oppressors, being too afraid to stand up for fear of the same harm being inflicted upon us,  doesn’t that mean evil has already won out?

One of “Hobo with a Shotgun” ‘s strongest scenes comes when Hobo enters the maternity ward of a hospital and there before him, separated by a pane of glass, are a dozen new born babies. fresh from Momma’s loins. These little souls are pure, innocent and precious.  But for how long? And aged, craggy faced and beaten down man with nothing but the close on his back and a blazing hot, fully loaded shotgun looks in upon them and their advocate, as the spokesperson for their future. You were born into and are inheriting this world of pain and suffering.  This one Hobo finally hit rock bottom, grew tired of seeing his world repeatedly;y raped and violated around him and chose to stand up. Come life or death, this man chose to make that stand to change things.  What kind of world will these babies grow up in?  That’s entirely up to us.

Hobo with a Shotgun, it’s one very bloody,extremely brutal film. One which takes no prisoners, makes no apologies and leaves you feeling like you just took a trip through some kind of cinematic Hell on earth. A weird alternate movie universe tucked somewhere in the scummy, unwashed regions of Trash Cinema that stinks of canned tamales and makes your fingers stick together.   Hobo with a Shotgun sure as shit isn’t for everyone, but for those of us in it’s sights, Hobo with a Shotgun is a blast you won’t soon forget.

And, though I think they’re fucking awesome, I have no idea what The Plague is all about. But I do want their arcade game…

Stay Trashy!

-Root

17
Sep
11

Creature: Of Alligators and Incest

a Primal Root written review

Those who know me also know Drive-In Critic Joe Bob Briggs is pretty much my icon. My hero. The man I look up to as my role model. And those who know Joe Bob Briggs are well aware that he’s broken down the formula that makes a B-Movie worth out time. The elements are the fabled, legendary, Three B’s. That is: Blood, Breasts and Beasts. My entire life this has proven to be the key to my enjoyment of a bad movie. As long as those three ingredients are there I’m not bored.

And then I saw the recent film, “Creature”.  A southern fried monster tale about a mean tempered, horny, century old alligator man who rules over a stinky, tobacco stained Louisiana swamp land looking for a place his slimy gator seed can take purchase. Lucky for him, three supernaturally idiotic marines, two of whom bring along their girlfriends and one who brings along his in heat, hooter flashing sister,  have decided to head out into the swamp in search of a death trap, excuse me, I mean…tourist trap.

Who will survive and who gives a shit?

The six attractive younguns stop by a local gas station called Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and…oh shit, no, wait, it’s just called Chopper’s and is run by…Chopper played by Sid Haig. His little gas station/general store also happens to be a bit of a  museum honoring the local legend…Lockjaw, the malevolent Alligator man who lives in the swamps.  Anyway, Chopper tells them a little bit of the legend, gives them directions (any of this sound familiar?) and the kids head off to go die after flashing their tits and drinking some wine.

It’s a familiar set up and the whole film feels like a brain damaged cross breeding of Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses and Adam Green’s Hatchet. I know both of those films have achieved cult status ( The former of which I can understand. The latter? Not so much…) and I am sure this horror abomination will fit snugly amongst that cannon as an interesting side note to that strange slasher fan boy genre birthed early this century.

Might as well kiss that ass goodbye...

It’s that backwoods hillbilly genre that really took off during the naughties with independent horror. From Wrong Turns, to Devil’s Rejects to Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboots, everyone was digging on uneducated, blood thirsty, backwoods, gut munchers. Hell, that resurgence took hold even before that whole Saw franchise flooded the market with torture horror. However, this trashy flick, “Creature”, pulls one aspect of these films that’s typically only touvhed upon and forces it out there into the spotlight for the audience to take a long, creeped out look at. And that element is the wonderful world of incest.

Yes, incest. I know the old southern saying, “The closer the kin, the deeper in” but this flick takes that sentiment to whole different level. Remember when I told you one of the marines brought his red headed, libido of a rabbit, sister along? Well, when her attempts at date raping one of her brother’s friend’s girlfriends doesn’t work out she finds her brother…and gives him a sloppy handjob in the middle of the swamp and then complains that he now can’t fuck her with his wet noodle.  It’s awkward, to say the least and luckily Sid Haig rushes onto the scene and punches her square in the nose before things can escalate.  Being an only child, I’m not sure if this is how regular brother and sisters, umm, handle one another. They never really touched on this sort of thing on Family Matters or Step by Step.

Anyway, the incestuous sister’s got a date with that wild man bachelor known as Lockjaw!

Lockjaw finds the scent of Herbal Essence hard to resist.

Yes, the eternally wet, red head, incestuous sister is pulling a double header tonight and is now bound, gagged, and ordered to fuck a giant gator man. So, bestiality is now entering the equation in “Creature. But, see, she can only bump uglies with Lockjaw once her feet are hacked off. …the Hell? If someone could explain to me why in the word that is necessary I would greatly appreciate it. I don’t know why in the world they felt the need to make the plot of this thing so damn convoluted and jam as many rules  and oddly out of place plot twists as they could when none of it really goes anywhere.

It’s such a basic story. You have a Gator Man looking for love. A pack of attractive twenty-somethings, three of which possess the proper genitals, wonder into his home turf. The movie practically writes itself and would have been a riot if they had kept it simple, fast paced and FUN! Whoever wrote this thing just bogs the movie down with weird side tracks and sub plots and meaningless stretches of dialog that aren’t funny, don’t mean anything within the context of the movie and advance nothing. It’s as if they were struggling to make this thing feature length and just didn’t know what to do. The movie’s run time is 93 minutes but it feels like it goes on for over two hours as scenes drag into nothing over and over again with neither a payoff or anything that enhances the story.

Daphne and Velma share a tender moment on their latest kooky caper!

HOWEVER! The film does feature a ton of nudity! Three gratuitously displayed pairs of lovely lady breasts and even some in your face full frontal female flesh(Breasts, Buns AND BUSH! Booger would be pleased.) for the audience to ogle in the very opening of the film. This poor, totally naked woman has no lines, is completely nude and is killed and out of the movie in about 5 minutes time. I guess it’s a bad idea to go skinny dipping in a gator/rapey flesh eating Hell beast infested swamp. I am looking forward to her next project because in these 5 minutes Jennifer Lynn Warren won my heart and is one of the most memorable elements of the movie. Being naked as a jay bird certainly didn’t hurt…

The gore is a little lacking. I was expecting a bit more in a film about Lockjaw the Gator Boy who leaves a little to be desired as well.  The creature effects are great and all but I couldn’t help but notice how the monster looks almost identical to the Koopa’s from the live action Super Mario Brothers movie. Yet, the fellow inside this creature suit does a great job bringing it to life and making the most of it. He possess, stalks and attacks like a pro. Sadly, we are never treated to a Lockjaw sex scene. SEE! Now that would have been entertaining! And we do get undeniable proof that such a scenario did occur at some point in the movie, but for whatever reason, we aren’t treated to that moment of pure animal-man on woman horror. Eh, maybe in the direct to video sequel starring Bill Moseley? Only time will tell.

"I Shouldn't Be Alive" New Season Begins This Fall

And they never did explain the regenerative properties of the swamp itself that a man could get shot square in the knee with a rifle then run on that leg for the next thirty minutes of the movie and not even limp. Well, maybe it’s just because he’s a marine? Either way, this might be my favorite unintentionally funny aspect of the film. How much the lead character gets shot, stabbed, and repeatedly crushed and beaten mercilessly by Lockjaw. Including one excruciatingly long slow motion sequence towards the end of the film where Lockjaw repeatedly pounds full force on the character’s sternum and ribs, and then, seconds after the attack, the character can simply get up and walk it off.  I always thoroughly enjoy that sort of stupid shit in trashy films. There’s also a pretty hysterical spider attack sequence where a guy gets pounced by tarantulas and then treats the bites with…bottled water?

I just wish there had been more of that fun, dumb, stuff to tide me over in between scenes of nonsensical redneck banter, jewelry gifting, potato chip scavenging,  and boyfriends getting upset because his girlfriend is getting naked in a tent and making out with another sexy woman looking to get a threesome going. Who ARE these people?

“Creature” has a whole lot of promise and I was eager to take the trip it so obviously wanted to deliver. But somewhere along the way it seems the whole thing got lost, forgot where it left it’s fun, Drive-In, B-Movie spirit and left us imagining all the awesomeness that could have been. “Creature’s” heart is in the right place and the filmmakers obviously have an affection for Trash Cinema. I mean, it was director Fred Andrews first time at bat, so I will cut him some slack. I just hope that the next film he delivers is a bit more streamlined and heavier on the sick, demented fun.

As Joe Bob might say, there’s just too much dang plot getting in the way of the story!

Stay Trashy!

-Root

And, yes, that’s Eggs from the second season of True Blood.




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