Posts Tagged ‘NRA

16
Jul
20

Nightbeast (1982) White Trash vs. Predator (NSFW)

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“The most vicious creature to ever span the intergalactic void has come to pay it’s respects.” – Narrator, NIGHTBEAST trailer

a Primal Root written review

In 1987 John McTiernan unleashed Predator starring the, art the time, box office juggernauting mother fucker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and penned by snappy patter master Shane Black. As expected, the flick was a huge success, has a massive following of folks who adore it and spout “Sexual Tyrannosaurus” quotes to their significant others that are rolling their eyes and inspired countless cash-in clones the same way Alien, The Terminator, JAWS and Star Wars did in the year preceding it. Something hits big? Expect goofy, trashy, sometimes extraordinarily entertaining knock-offs. It’s a forgone conclusion. If a recipe works, other less talented chefs are going to try to copy it and either come out with a bowl of chicken soup or chicken shit.

But what if I were to tell you there’s a 1982 film that follows a similar premise? One that features a malevolent alien creature who shows up to lay waste to as many primitive human beings as possible as long as they’re alive? One that takes place in the small town of Perry Hall, Maryland and our murderous alien fiend must face off, not with specially trained mercenary badasses whose wise cracks work just as effectively as their automatic firepower spewing hellfire into the jungle, but backwoods rednecks with double barreled shot guns, pistols and no concept of self preservation?

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Enter the quirky, brutal, hilariously over the top independent killer alien rampage film NIGHTBEAST written and directed by independent no-budget horror/sci-fi filmmaker Don Dohler. Don began his film making career in 1978 with The Alien Factor, an imaginative, high concept film about several different species of aliens laying waste to a small town in Maryland and focuses on the local yokels fighting for their lives and trying to defend their little hamlet from the onslaught of vicious aliens. In 1982, Don would write and direct NIGHTBEAST, which would essentially be a retelling of The Alien Factor story reuniting most of the cast from that film, some even in the same roles,  but with a leaner, meaner script and some better effects.

I say things got better with NIGHTBEAST, and indeed, Dohler feels like a much more confident as a filmmaker when you;re watching it, but NIGHTBEAST still has the feel of a no budget movie shot in someone’s backyard, which is actually confirmed in the film’s commentary track, that Dohler shot many scenes in the woods of his own backyard. And in this passion and drive to get his film made no matter what, even if it isn’t up to the $30 million Hollywood standard, even if the effects aren’t seamless, even if the acting is below community theater level, that is where the charm and enjoyment of a film like NIGHTBEAST lies. Don Dohler began shooting movie on 8mm in his backyard when he was 12 years old and it was a calling he pursued his whole life and would bring his stories to life no matter what obstacles stood in his way. Don, along with his cast and crew, wanted to bring their idea to life, and nothing stopped them. They made it and that’s what fucking counts.

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NIGHTBEAST begins with our alien crash landing in the middle of the Maryland wilderness and comes out blasting laying waste to hunters, campers, Uncle Dave taking leak and any little brats that get in his way. The NIGHTBEAST is equipped with a ray gun that, like the Martians in MARS ATTACKS, will literally incinerate you. If one of those lasers comes in contact with your body, your whole body will light up like a Christmas tree as you scream in agony and then…nothing. No remains, nothing. Just a puff of smoke. This blaster can EVEN make ENTIRE saggy old station wagons vanish WITH passengers inside! However, it does nothing to tree trunks or stone walls people hide behind. Go fucking figure, I guess no weapon can be perfect.  However, that’s not all our alien creature is capable of! In the event of up close encounters it likes to just stick it’s meaty pudge paws directly into your gut or chest cavity and begin sliding out whatever it happens to find inside all over the front porch of your backwoods house as your booty call stands behind the screened in front door screaming in her Wal-Mart brand nightie. See, NIGHTBEAST actually devours human flesh to survive as well! So, he can’t blast all of us into the nothing, he actually has to give his trigger finger a rest from time to time in order to chow down on our tender vittles.

the nightbeast | Tumblr

The aforementioned NIGHTBEAST is a brown, fairly tall, hairless creature with two bugged out eyeballs that are very close together, and a gob chock full of snaggle toothed fangs! The monster has super creature strength, some big, bone crushing, flesh ripping hands with some razor sharp nasty nails on ’em and dressed in an early 70’s silver disco jumpsuit that, apparently, is some kind of “motorcycle range suit” that makes the NIGHTBEAST disarmingly adorable. It even looks like it’s smiling through the whole movie, which makes you wonder if slaughtering living creatures is a laugh riot wherever this thing comes from.

Nightbeast prowl

Well, it’s not long before the Sheriff Cinder (Tom Griffith from The Alien Factor), a man with a porn stache, a sizable salt and pepper perm, and the build of an overlong string bean must face off against the alien menace and sees first hand what sort of blood curdling terror has fallen from the stars to their little backwoods slice of filthy redneck heaven. He heads into battle with his gun toting best bud, Jamie Lambert (Jamie Zamarel from Grease, believe it or not) and the demure but deadly bleach blonde deputy Lisa Kent (Karin Kardian in her first and only role; a hairdresser by trade). The tree lay down a suppressing fire against the NIGHTBEAST, but to no avail, as their trucker hat and plaid posse of deep fried, backwoods locals are blasted into the void around them. And, man, that NIGHTBEAST brings the heat! He blasts at least five or six shots every second. Typically missing everything, even humans just standing still shooting at it. But, when you just spray lasers into the forest, you’re bound to connect with something sooner or later, and about a dozen men are imploded into stars and moonbeams.

nightbeast blast

The Sheriff retreats and decide to regroup and wait for daylight with one mission in mind, destroy that NIGHTBEAST’S ray run and then shoot it in the goddamn melon and put an end to it’s right of terror. They enlist a local marksman and his son to help in disarming the creature, which succeeds in destroying the ray gun…but NIGHTBEAST manages to elude death, and in the process, kills the old marksman’s son which leads to a moment of genuine grief as the old man sobs over the loss of his adult son who was blasted into smoke during the daylight battle. I’m not going to lie, watching this old timer cry over his dead son is actually pretty moving for such a low rent, poorly acted piece of Trash Cinema. It’s a well placed bit of real humanity which gives gravity to this batshit insane scenario and it’s, dare I say, poetic?

Nightbeast Cinder

Sheriff Cinder decides he has to evacuate the town and goes to Mayor Wicker (Richard E. Dyszel better known as horror host M.T. Graves) to ask for his permission to do so, setting up a very JAWS like conundrum, because Mayor Wicker is throwing a pool party for the visiting Governor filled with buxom bikini clad beauties and he will NOT close his town because of some alien invasion hoax. That’s right, despite nearly half the town’s NRA members being killed within the last six hours, the main labels this emergency fake news and goes about drinking straight bourbon, fondling his well endowed young lover, Mary Jane (Eleanor Herman) and planning his weird Girls Gone Wild party for the incoming governor. As Sheriff Cinder and Deputy Kent leave, Cinder says he’s going to evacuate the town anyway. Deputy Kent mentions how Mayor Wick isn’t going to like that, to which Cinder replies under his well manicured sexy stache and smoked aviator glasses, “Tough shit!” Something tells me the Mayor is going to be a bit to sloshed to actually care.

nightbeast mayor

If you assumed the only danger in this tiny hamlet with the recently arrived NIGHTBEAST, you would be wrong. DEAD wrong. In fact, there is a resident in town who rides a motorcycle, sports a bouffant hairstyle, a leather jacket, a really well maintained moustache and an irrepressible contempt for everything besides himself. This motherfucker’s name is Drago (Don Leifert from The Alien Factor) and it turns out Sheriff Cinder’s best bud, Jamie, has been banging Drago’s girlfriend, Suzie (Monica Neff) a raven haire beauty who happens to have an extensive beer bottle collection in her little wood paneled bungalow and projects a party girl vibe despite only having about 5 minutes of screen time, half of which she spends without clothes on. Jamie drops in on Suzie while she’s buck nekkid and recently smacked around by Drago and quickly tells her to pack up and evacuate with the the rest of the town, she agrees, and just as Jamie leaves Drago show back up and strangles Suzie to death in a fit of jealous rage and then goes on a bizarre murderous rapey rampage of his own based solely on jealous, lame, white boy rage which runs parallel with the more pure, homicidal carnage spread by the NIGHTBEAST! Drago is really every violent, loathsome, small minded white trash stereotype boiled down and concentrated into one repulsive character.

NIGHTBEAST Drago

Thankfully, we are told that the residents are all on their way out of town, as they are unable to actually show us this mass exodus, and the remaining team of concerned citizens, law enforcement, and medical specialists stick around to defend the town and come up with a plan to defeat the NIGHTBEAST before he depletes all the victims of Perry Hall, Maryland, and moves on to the next hunting ground. But also, a s you might expect, a romance (fuck session) must bloom between Sheriff Cinder and Deputy Kent. That’s right, after one battle with NIGHTBEAST Cinder suffers a severe injury injury to his trousers and Deputy Kent invites him over to HER place for some medical attention as well as some TLC. She yanks the sheriff’s britches off, patches him up, takes a couple longing glances at the bulge beneath his tighty whites, strips nekkid and they jump one another’s bones! It’s one of the most admirably awkward love scenes I’ve ever witnessed and I cannot count the ways I love it. These are two insanely average looking indevidual with bodies FAR from the societal “perfect” form we are peddled to try and strive towards. These are two normal people sharing a vulnerable, nekkid sexy moment together and we are lucky enough to witness this most original and unexpected of fuck scenes. I, for one, am all for this. All these toned bodies and six pack abs and even tans, Gang, it’s goddamn boring. Give me real EVERY goddamn day of the week. This is great, weird, trashy stuff. Because who can resist a little nookie in the middle of your small town’s genocide by alien? Especially after an injury to your upper thigh where, I assume, your Deputy will be grinding in just a moment or two which WILL NOT be comfortable.

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But, I digress, the town’s two medical examiners have an encounter with NIGHTBEAST and come to the conclusion and electricity is what it will take to kill the NIGHTBEAST after it steps in a puddle of water and a loose wire from the dryer in the basement shocks the shit out of it and sends NIGHTBEAST fleeing into the night. It is up to our ragtag group of heroes to stop banging and put together a plan for their final standoff with this most viscous of interstellar visitors.

nightbeast | Tumblr

NIGHTBEAST is a fucking delight and an absolute joy to watch. It’s film driven by it’s filmmaker’s joy in creating and that joy is contagious and radiates from the film, even several decades after the fact. It has that undeniable charm of a backyard movie which allows the audience to forgive and savor the shortcomings and actually look at them as strengths. You can tell there were lessons learned in the wake of Dohler’s 1978 debut film The Alien Factor. There are no long, tedious stretches of exposition and explanation. The story tellers realize the audience is smart enough to follow along and more time is given to alien action, character and the bizarre story beats that drive the action forward. The pacing is pretty goddamn good and keeps everything rocketing to a bloody, shocking, satisfying conclusion. Plus, all the characters are adorkably weird and rural which makes the whole film feel like Trailer Park Boys Meet The Predator but played totally straight.

Don Dohler would tragically succumb to cancer in 2006 and would leave this mortal plane with a catalog of uncompromising films based on his original stories and ideas. Not only that, but he had garnered a sizable cult following in the decades leading up to time. His name might not be a household term like Spielberg, but the man brought his frightening, imaginative, strange ideas to fruition and never gave up despite every hardship that came his way. If you ask me, that doesn’t just make Don Dohler a Trash Cinema Legend. That makes this man a hero.

I give NIGHTBEAST FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets.

This movie delivers on all fronts with Blood, Breasts and Beasts and manages to tell a great alien invasion horror story effectively with a minuscule budget. This is the stuff, Gang, and I highly recommend it.

TRIVIA:

NIGHTBEAST is filmmaker J.J. Abrams very first movie credit. He composed the score (as Jeffrey Abrams) along with Robert J. Walsh.

NIGHTBEAST is the film Red Miller (Nic Cage) and Mandy Blooom (Andrea Riseborough) watch in Panos Cosmatotos’ 2018 film Mandy.

 

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/

11
Oct
15

Hell Night (1981) Party on, Garth!

POSTER-HELL-NIGHT

a Primal Root written review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hell Night ghost projection

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

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

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

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

Stay Trashy, Gang!

-Root

19
Nov
13

The Pit aka: Teddy (1981) Boners, Food and Homicide; The Puberty Triple Threat

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a Primal Root written review

It’s high time we talked about “The Pit” aka: “Teddy”, one of the creepiest goddamn coming of age movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.  The plot goes something like this; a young, mentally deranged teenage boy named Jamie (Sammy Snyders) with parents who apparently travel quite a bit and regularly leave poor Jamie in the care of attractive female twenty something year old psychology students.  And buy, does he burn through them.  See, Jamie is kind of a creeper. The extent to which this kid will go to express his love aka: raging hard-on for just about anything wearing a bra is pretty impressive. He even tries the old “I dropped my napkin” ruse at the dinner table when he’s being introduced to his summer caretaker, Sandy (Jeannie Elias). Of course, this scheme works a whole lot better when you don;t announce loudly “OH NO! I DROPPED MY NAPKIN!” and then lunge your whole body head-first under the table to gaze up a woman’s skirt and into the crotch fabric of their panties.

You'll wish he'd written "Redrum" when this is all over and done with.

You’ll wish he’d written “Redrum” when this is all over and done with.

But this is the least of Jamie’s issues. See, he also has a teddy bear he he talks to…and Teddy talks back, stoking young Jamie’s deviant behavior and offering up suggestions on how to be a more effective weirdo. Also, Jamie happens to know the location of an isolated pit deep in the woods populated by furry, malevolent, flesh eating creatures with glowing yellow eyes.  Teddy and the Tra-La-Logs (Why, oh, WHY is this not a band name?) are the two folks Jamie feels he can confide in. and it makes sense, seeing as everyone in the town seemingly loathes this kid. From the his teenage classmates who lovingly punch him in the face and pull humiliating pranks on him, to the Librarian lady who refuses his pervish advances, even the elderly woman in the retirement home down the street can’t stand Jamie and even predicts he’ll probably just grow up “to be one of those hippies!”

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No one understands me like the beasts on the edge of Hell.

So, yes, Jamie airs out all his issues with a the psychotic voice in his head he hears through the inanimate object named Teddy and a batch of vicious monsters living in a hole deep in the woods.  The Tra-La-Logs do not judge Jamie, they simply gnash their teeth, stare at him and drool as he explains the twisted thoughts of his diseased mind. Jamie grows to care a lot about these critters and Teddy hits upon the winning idea of starting to feed the little monsters! So, in between sessions of staring at Sandy’s bare breasts while she sleeps and faking kidnappings in order to snap some Polaroids of  Librarian next door’s  hush puppies, Jamie steals some of Sandy’s cash and buys a ton of hamburger meat and feeds it to the creatures in the woods.

That's a bad touch, Sandy.

That’s a bad touch, Sandy.

 

Of course, this can’t last, as Sandy catches on quickly to the fact her cash is vanishing quicker my singles at a strip club. Where can Jamie find a new, cheap source of meat for this ravaging, razor toothed, carnivorous creatures? Why, yes, tossing the screaming, soon to be devoured bodies of the people who have wronged you is completely valid option!  In a montage of great dark comedy, Jamie lures about a half dozen people to their untimely deaths including Sandy’s boyfriend who he tricks into the pit by throwing a football around with him and making the guy “go long”, which leads him right into the jaws of the enemy. Even better,  Jamie kidnaps the mean old lady from the retirement home, rolling her down the nature trail as she shrieks and waves her hands around in terror, and launches her into the pit where she is ripped to pieces.  I’m not kidding, I laughed so hard I farted.  this is prem-o stuff, Gang.

Suck it, Grandma!

Suck it, Grandma!

There’s even a slightly more profound moment where Jamie is about to roll a young girl into the pit who laughed at him while he was getting the snot beaten out of him.  “You sure are a pretty girl. But only on the outside. Inside you;re ugly and you will probably spend your whole life giggling at the pain of others.”  a pretty chilling statement about the nature of bullying and the violence it spawns. Treat people with kindness or you might find yourself the main course in gore drenched buffet of fury. Never mess with the kid who is rumored to be psychotic, he may just prove you right. It’s a moment I think all kids who were picked on can relate to. I think at some point we all wished we had a giant hole int he ground we could roll our tormentors into so we would never have to hear from them again.  I can see a little bit of wish fulfillment here.

D'Awwww...

D’Awwww…

After making the major miscalculation of actually showing Sandy the Tra-La-Longs down in their pit, she insists they bring out some scientists to check out the discovery when Jamie made her promise to keep them a secret, Jamie ends up accidentally pushing her into THE PIT where she is slowly ripped into meaty chunks and feasted upon by the ever hungry monsters. It might be the bloodies moment of the movie and works like gang busters and Sandy’s bright red entrails and slurped down and her bones and crunched to pieces by the terror of the Tra-La-Logs.  Jamie is traumatized by the death of someone he actually wants to put his penis in, and decides to throw a rope down the hole and let the creatures loose upon an unsuspecting public and, in the process, unleashes holy Hell upon the inhabitants of his little hamlet.

What follows is probably the most ineffective, yet still entertaining, sequence of “The Pit”. The movie takes the focus away from Jamie and, instead, focuses on the rampage of the Tra-La-Logs which are obviously nothing more than short people in furry suits running around the woods. Int he darkness of the pit the creatures came off as scary and mysterious, in the bright light of day they are laughable. Still, they manage to run about the rural area ripping young folks and big breasted teenage skinny dippers (one of which happens to be the director’s daughter) into finger food before a posse of angry, card carrying NRA locals track them back into their pit and blow into blood spattered shag carpeting.

Cut back to Jamie who is now headed to his grandparent’s farm to be taken care of for the rest of the summer, only this time he is not alone. His younger little lady cousin is there and they run off to go play together. It looks like Jamie has finally found a friend. Someone who is not sickened or terrified of his mere presence.  The sun is setting in the sky as the two children laugh and run off into the woods…only, they find something…another pit in the ground. Jamie knows all too well the horror that lies ahead. “They eat people…” he says. “I know.” She replies…

It's basically a prequel to "Ted"

It’s basically a prequel to “Ted”

“The Pit” is one very unique, sleazy, unusual and even disturbing little slice of forgotten horror gold.  It has the usual limitations you might expect from a low budget 80’s horror flick, but it still manages to pull off it’s concept for the majority of the running time. Sammy Snyders’ performance as the bizarre, creepy teenage killer is damned impressive. This is some very strange and often whacky material for a young actor to be performing, but the guy really gives his all and ends up giving a very believable and unsettling performance.  I’ve read interviews with the “The Pit” screenwriter Ian  Stuart and his disappointment in what was originally intended to be a much darker story with far fewer  flourishes of dark comedy. I understand what he’s saying, and I do wish that version could have been made, but the film we ended up with is still one pretty goddamn strange cinematic cocktail. From the bizarre sexual obsessions and oglings of Jamie, to the crew of bloodthirsty Hell beasts and the psychotic voices in Jamie’s head who transmit themselves through the boy’s Teddy bear, it’s one of those movies so peculiar it truly has to be seen to be believed.  I’d put it along side movies like “Tourist Trap” and “Pin”, movies that are damn strange and certainly effective, but lost and waiting to be rediscovered.

Three and a Half out of Five Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

04
Oct
13

Amityville II: The Possession (1982) or Touched By a Creeper

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a Primal Root written review

“Dishonor thy Father. PIGS!” -Demon, “Amityville II: The Possession”

In the annals of horror there are few settings that originate terror more depraved or unsettling than that generated at home, within the family. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” “The Shining”, “Night of the Living Dead”, “The People Under the Stairs” and countless others have proven to us that our home isn’t always the utopian safe havens they are meant to be.  Behind the closed doors of Home Sweet Home, behind the guise of perfect, happy families,  can often times be a hiding abuse, repression, shame and torment.  Behind these doors can hide the most vile and heinous horrors of all.

 

"For God's Sake, Move in!"

“For God’s Sake, Move in!”

“Amityville II: The Possession” does an excellent job of establishing an eerie atmosphere from the outset as our family, The Montelli’s, comprised of Mom, Pop, two teenagers (a boy and a girl) and two little kids (again, a boy and a girl), and their movers drive up to the house at 112 Ocean avenue one by one on to begin a new life at their incredibly affordable and haunted as fuck homestead. Instantly upon arrival folks can feel the eyes of the house upon them, get chills, upset stomachs, notice the windows have been nailed shut, the hidden basement room is filled with dookie, and…oh yeah,  a sink that sprays blood from the faucet for about fifteen seconds before gradually turning into tap water. Thankfully, Mom is in denial, not only over the apparent evil that dwells in the house from the the basement secret room where evil resides and piles of shit ferment, to the top floor where her first born son Sonny now resides, but she also likes to think her family isn’t on the verge of some horrible violent tragedy.  Let me tell you, from the get-go, it seems like the Amityville demons are the least of this families’ problems.

Now, I am an only child who was born into a house that championed passive aggressive behavior over the the punch you in the throat and topple you over the third floor bannister to the hard wood floor at ground level because you didn’t say “Yes, sir!” level of abuse that’s on display in “Amityville II: The Possession”, so this level of hardcore abusive insanity is pretty goddamn upsetting to a guy like me.  And it’s Fight Club just about every five minutes with this family, and the Amityville spirits do nothing to help the situation.

A mirror in the dining room tumbles over with a clatter and suddenly Dad (Burt Young) is screaming, oldest daughter Patricia (Diane Franklin) is screaming and grabbing at Dad to restrain him from punching oldest son Sonny (Jack Magner) in the face. Thankfully, Mom (Rutanya Alda) screams like a goddamn banshee and gets everyone settled down so they can go ahead with their first dinner in the new house without any black eyes or broken noses. Yeah, this is a family in crises. Don’t believe me? Later that night Sonny ends up pressing a double barrel shotgun up against his Dad’s wattle in order to stop him from beating on Mom and the two youngest children…I know a lot of critics think this stuff is over the top, but I have this suspicion, whether they want to believe it or not, that this kind of family dynamic does exist and it’s far more common than we like to think.

A typical Saturday night with the Montelli's!

A typical Saturday night with the Montelli’s!

But this regularly scheduled smack-down of brutality isn’t all the awkwardness present in the Montelli household. Some of the creepiest moments of the whole film involve Sonny and Patricia, the two oldest siblings, who spend a lot of time alone together in one another’s rooms and share a borderline incestuous relationship as they flirt with one another.  These two don’t act much like brother and sister when they’re around each other, and this adolescent urge Sonny has for his own sister seems to be the weakness that allows the spirits that reside in his home to possess him.

In a lengthy, uneasy sequence taking place while Sonny is left alone in the Amityville home (his family is off to church so Pops can apologize to the priest who came to bless the house before Dad started beating the snot out of the kids in front of him) the spirits, represented by a camera POV shot, float around Sonny and follow him back to his bedroom where they throw him onto the bed, open up his shirt and repeatedly thrust themselves into his stomach. Sense something sexual in this possession procedure?  In Trash Cinema, typically  women are gender of choice for possession, seeing as they have an open entry way for evil spirits. However, to posses a gent, I guess that’s a bit of a filthier undertaking.   Either way, it’s a violation, and it never looks like much fun. No one enjoys having their soul raped.

Pretty sure i give this same smile to every woman I hit on. Which would explain a lot...

Pretty sure i give this same smile to every woman I hit on. Which would explain a lot…

Immediately after the possession takes place, Sonny heads directly to his sisters room and gets his creep on. He tells her she might be the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, asks her to take her nightgown off and pose like a pinup model. Ooooooh, it’s grueling to watch and neve r fails to get me squirming on the couch. And that even before Sonny whips out a pair of Patricia’s panties and confesses to sniffing on ’em while he churns his baby butter. He then has his way with her, raping her, and the trauma of both his sister Patricia and the audience is done. It’s sleazy and upsetting and done very well. Nothing is explicitly shown, but holy shit, if I have a real hard time watching this sequence. I cannot help but imagine how strange and upsetting this scene must have been to shoot. Or what the cast party was like when the flick was wrapped… *shudders*

Quality Brother and Sister time. Amiyville style. As you know, Amity means incest, er, friendship...

Quality Brother and Sister time. Amiyville style. As you know, Amity means incest, er, friendship…

Patricia tries to confess to their priest, Father Adamsky (James Olson) about her brother’s sudden habit of incestual molestation her by doing one of those “What if there’s someone you love a whole lot, and you do it with them, but their penis is a lot like your brother’s” sort of confessions before Adamsky gets a bit too nosy and sends her running back to the Amityville rape house. At Sonny’s Birthday party he embraces his sister a bit too long and suddenly everything comes together for dear, old, Mom. the fact that Sonny grabs Patricia’s lovely ass cheeks probably didn’t help a whole lot, either.  Momma confronts Patricia in the Amityville Stairwell  by bellowing “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!? WHAT DID YOU DO TO SONNY?!?” because, obviously, it’s Patricia’s fault for Sonny having raped her. *rolls eyes* Mom’s kind of an idiot.

The worst cinematic priest ever mourns the blood ejaculated by the cyborg cock of Jesus.

The worst cinematic priest ever mourns the blood ejaculated by the cyborg cock of Jesus.

But, before any of this can be sorted out or dealt with Sonny and his demons get the final word in the movie’s most harrowing sequence. Patricia wakes up to the sound of thunder as it storms mightily outside her bedroom window. She overhears the sound of her parents arguing (surprise, surprise!) and listens in from the darkness of the hallway. As her eyes adjust to the darkness she soon  notices Sonny loading a rifle and looking like like a bowl of rotten oatmeal. Sonny enters their parent’s room and blows them both away. His three siblings are helpless as Sonny has bolted the doors leading outside shut, destroyed the phones and the power has gone out. The feeling of being trapped, hunted and the inevitableness of their doom hits the audience like a brick in the junk. There is no escape and there is no mercy shown. Sonny steadily, methodically, stalks down each of his siblings and kills them.  The sequence plays like a nightmare you’re unable to wake from. Watching Sonny go slowly from room to room and kill off his entire family is shocking and horrifying unlike anything else in this franchise of films. It is a moment of brutal violence and manages to generate genuine dread and fear.

"I don't know, I'm just... happy!"

“I AM the NRA.”

The rest of “Amityville II: The Possession” plays out with Father Adamsky feeling incredibly guilty over the massacre of the Montelli family, seeing as Patricia warned him of an oncoming tragedy and Adamsky decided to go camping with his boyfriend instead of intervening. He shows up at the crime scene, checks out all the still warm cadavers and then goes on a quest to exorcise the last member of the Montelli family standing, Sonny, who is sent to prison. Adamsky, with the help of an idiot police chief, breaks Sonny out of jail and takes him BACK TO THE AMITYVILLE HOUSE! Where, of course, the demon infested Sonny is now more powerful than ever, begins flying around his room like superman, and tearing his face apart in K-Y slathered, meaty chunks,  while Father Adamsky cries out “LET IT BE ME, LORD ALMIGHTY! LET IT TAKE ME!”  Amityville Demon says “Sure.” drops creeper extrodanaire, Sonny and tucks into Father Adamsky.

"HELLO CHRIST!"

“Christ, you’re HILARIOUS!!”

Our fake Happy Ending leaves us with Sonny being picked up by the cops and Father Adamsky still trapped inside the house murmuring Bible verses and sweating profusely in a darkened corner of Sonny’s old room. Sonny, who is STILL the person who killed off his family, let’s face it “I was possessed by a demon!” never stands up in a court of law, should brace himself to ride the lightening.  It’s a downbeat ending for a fucking horrifyingly downbeat haunted house story. Really, not since “Burnt Offerings” has a haunted house flick been so fucking bleak! But, then again, the real crime that took place all those many decades ago in 112 Ocean Avenue is no afternoon picnic to read about either.

“Amityville II: The Possession” strikes me as a meditation on abuse and denial. Dolores Montelli, the families matriarch, consistently ignores or dismisses the blazingly obvious issues in her family and her home whenever they arise. Rather than confront these issues head on, she instead takes a passive role and turns to God and The Church to solve her problems for her, Blood coming from the sink, table clothes mysteriously covering up crucifixes, and even blood spewing from Father Adamsky’s aspergillium (not as dirty as it sounds) in the parent’s bedroom during the house blessing ceremony cannot help but be interpreted as symbolizing the Family being damned due to their internal strife and neglecting to confront them. Hell, even the two youngest children can be seen “horse playing”  in several scenes by mimicking stabbing one another at the dinner table over a minor dispute as to where the fork should go in the place setting, and in one scene the youngest daughter puts a plastic bag over her little brother’s head and triumphantly cries out “YOU’RE DEAD!” before sparing him a death by suffocation by removing the bag and declaring “I love you.” Their parents have taught them well. Think about it, won’t you?

FUN!

FUN!

The Montelli family was doomed from the beginning. They refused to save themselves, law enforcement is apparently none existent, that is, until someone is needed to come pick up the corpses, and Father Adamsky turned a blind eye to the OBVIOUS horrific abuse taking place within the home until it was too late, insinuating  one’s faith in God is ineffectual in stopping abuse.  The abusive and repressed Montelli family never seek help, not matter how bad the situation gets. The pattern of abuse seems normal to them, like they are used to waving guns in one another’s faces and slapping each other to the ground on a nightly basis.  Only once, when Patricia goes to Father Adamsky, does anyone in the family ever venture out for help. But it is far too late. It seems as if there was a countdown from the beginning, and that the demons within the walls of their home merely sped up the process.

The Demons living within this family are far more horrifying than any conjured up from the depths of Hell. For me, this might be the most terrifying implication of all.

Four out of Five Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root




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