Posts Tagged ‘thought

31
Oct
13

Root’s Top 5 Tales from the Crypt

Tales

The Primal Root’s Dirty Thoughts

Greetings, Creeps! It’s your ol’ pal The Primal Root here, getting into the groove of another Halloween season. Recently Ms. Bootsie Kidd and I sat down to enjoy a marathon of the entire series run of HBO’s original series “Tales from the Crypt” based on the old and incredibly popular 1940-1950’s horror comic book series of the same name. The comics featured gruesome morality plays where evil doers always ended up of the gory end of karma’s comeuppance. The comic book series, including such title as “Tales from the Crypt” “The Vault of Horror,” “The Haunt of Fear,” “Two Fisted Tales” and “Sock SuspenStories” were censored into oblivion by the Comic book Code, which blamed the aforementioned comics as the prime contributors to our nation’s juvenile delinquency problem,  were all resurrected in the late 1980’s as an HBO series entitled “Tales from the Crypt”, which  adapted stories from every horror/action/thriller comic at some point or another. The impact of these comic books left a huge impression on the the talents who came together to breath new life and pay tribute to these once thriving graphic novels.  Filmmakers such as Robert Zemeckis, Richard Donner, Tom Holland, Mary Lambert, and countless others all were dying to take a stab at their favorite stories and turn them in twenty five minute long short films.  The show didn’t always knock it out of the park, but when it did, it was glorious. and, Hell, even their weakest episodes proved to be interesting, at the very list.

What I did find myself doing, however, was constantly saying “Oh, this is a great!” or “This is one of my favorites!” just about every other episode. That’s when I decided I really needed to sit down, do some soul searching and make a list of my Top Five Favorite Tales from the Crypt. It was a tough process whittling it down to only five, but I must admit, I was chomping at the bit to see which ones would make the CUT!  So, without any further a due, let’s see which Terror Tales made the final CUT!  AAARRRGGHHHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha…

5) “People Who Live in Brass Hearses” dir. Russell Mulcahy (Season 5, Episode 5)

Who knew the ice cream truck industry was this depraved? Bill Paxtion plays a scumbag ex-con Billy DeLuca, who enlists the help of his emotionally stunted younger brother Virgil (Brad Douriff) to pull of a heist that will even the score with ice cream truck driver and excellent puppeteer,  Mr. Byrd (Michael Lerner) and Billy’s old boss  Mrs. Grafungar (Lainie Kazan) after they sent Billy to prison for stealing from the till.  When everything goes wrong  and their heist ends up in a blood bath leaving the brother’s with nothing, they must turn to desperate measures in order to get the money Billy feels he so richly deserves.  But, as per usual with the Tales from the Crypt formula, nothing is as it seems, and this sick puppy has a twist ending that comes somewhere out of left field and pegs you right in the gob.  This is among the strangest episodes of Tales from the Crypt in my book and the fact that it features such an excellent all-star cast makes it every bit stranger. Once our players are established the tale hits an insane pace that feels almost like an action story, but then the meat hooks start being gouged into people’s skulls and folks begin having their skulls chunked all over the dining room from well placed shotgun blasts. Trust me, even with all these gory goodies, the episode still manages to whack you over the head with it’s sleazy, disgusting and inspired conclusion. You’ll laugh in disbelief as soon as you pick your jaw up off the floor.

4) “Four-Sided Triangle” dir. Tom Holland (Season 2, Episode 9)

I’ve always been an admirer of down home horrors and “Four-Sided Triangle” is one fine example of horrific wages of dysfunctional rednecks. This episode is a small, intimate one featuring three players on a isolated farm. Old married couple, the limping, strict, and stern Luisa (Susan Blommaert), her lecherous, scheming and alarmingly horny husband George (Chelcie Ross),  and their young, voluptuous, sexy as Hell captive farm worker, Mary Jo, (Patricia Arquette). As you might expect, the story revolves around George trying to get his monkey tail down Mary Jo’s sweaty bloomers. In fact, the very first scene features George’s wide eyes peering into the chicken coup as Mary Jo bends over and writhes around as she sexily, yet innocently, collects eggs for her white trash captors all while displaying her ample bra-less bosom in a tiny tank top and her robust booty in a pair of well worn, skin tight pair of LEVI’S.  After a failed rape attempt in which Mary Jo gets the living snot beat out of her by George, she stumbles into the corn field where she hallucinates that a scarecrow reaches down to help her. Her brain must be batter, because she becomes obsessed with the scarecrow and declares loudly and frequently how much she loves him while singing songs about how she doesn’t care about chicken pot pie.  Anyhoo, Luisa is on to George’s lustful yearnings for Mary Jo, even going as far as to threaten him with performing the same procedure on him that they do when they want to change a bull into a steer.  As we all know, these threats typically fall on deaf ears when it comes to horny rednecks and “Four-Sided Triangle” culminates in a  conclusion that is both bloody and inescapable.  We can see where the story is headed but the tale is so well directed, staged and acted, you feel every bit of suspense and horror and the doomed “Four-Sided Triangle of the title meet their doom. This was among the first Tales from the Crypt episodes I ever saw and it made a lasting impression on me. And introduced me to Patricia Arquette, for which I am eternally grateful.

 

3) “What’s Cookin’ ” dir. Gilbert Adler (Season 4, Episode 6)  

One of the smartest, sickest, most wonderfully depraved episodes of Tales from the Crypt, “What’s Cookin” features a great comic turn from Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, as a struggling restaurant owner named Fred. See, his restaurant specializes in one thing and one thing only… Squid. Yes, squid. As you might expect, the restaurant he runs along with his wife Erma (Bess Armstrong, from My So-Called Life) is way overdue on their rent and hasn’t seen a customer in weeks, well, with the exception of officer Phil (Art LaFleur) who drops by for coffee from time to time. Their busboy, shady drifter, Gaston (Judd Nelson) keeps prodding Fred to try out his family’s classic barbecue recipe, but Fred won;t stand for it. The man’s got a dream and refuses to give up on it. That dream nearly ends when Chumley (played in a bit of truly inspired casting by Meatloaf), the landlord, shows up and evicts Ed for being over two months late on rent. The following morning, as Fred and Erma begin to shut down, Officer Phil comes in for coffee and eggs. To Erma’s astonishment, there are a half dozen fresh steaks in the fridge than Gaston brought in from his own, private supplier. Erma cooks this up for Phil, and just as he takes his first bit Gaston reveals to Fred just who is supplying the steaks. Yep, there in the meat freezer, to Fred’s dismay, hangs the corpse of Chumley. Soon, Fred and Erma’s Steakhouse is an overnight sensation with everyone in the city stopping by for a bite of their delicious, hand cut steaks. Only problem is, the police investigation into Chumley’s death is paving a pth right to Fred and Erma’s restaurant and as Fred’s feet get colder and colder Gaston begins plotting a double cross. “What’s Cookin'” is one very macabre and gruesome episode with a wicked streak of dark comedy. The performances are great and the final twist in the end, in typical Tales from the Crypt fashion, will leave you just as satisfied as one of Fred and Erma’s steaks. Is it wrong that this episode always makes me hungry?

 

2) Showdown dir. Richard Donner (Season 4 Episode 8)

Originally created as part of a three piece pilot for a rejected pitch to FOX for a “Two-Fisted Tales” spin off series, “Showdown” spins the tale of Billy Quintaine (Neil Giuntoli), a hardened, remorseless, legendary gunslinger who is cornered in a small desert town by an equally notable Texas Ranger Tom McMurdo (David Morse). After a facing off in a shoot out in which Billy murders Tom, he enters a nearby saloon for a drink, and after ingesting some snake oil from a traveling salesman, realizes he might not be as victories as it might seem. Showdown is one of the most poetic and beautiful episodes of Tales from the Crypt and manages to pack in a plethora of themes including the inevitable outcome and price of violence, the inevitability of death and our current irreverence for our own bloody past and re-marketing it as family friendly, tourist bullshit. Character actor Neil Giuntoli gives a hauntingly human performance as gunslinger Billy Quintaine, as he becomes slowly and painfully aware of his own fate we watch this cynical, callous, man breakdown before our very eyes reminding us that the most despicable  character is, at the end of the day, also a human being. “Showdown” is frightening in it’s implications on a far deeper level than it’s Tales from the Crypt brethren and deals with life and death on a far more thought provoking and meaningful level than the typical epsiode. All that said, “Showdown” ends on a moving, up lifting note leaving us with the hope that when we shed this mortal coil, when all these pretenses are dropped, perhaps we can all finally ride off into the sunset as brothers.

1) “Death of Some Salesman” dir. Gilbert Asler (Season 5, Episode 1)

Good God, this episode is revolting. It’s a buffet of loathsomeness where, as a viewer, you ill wonder if you should laugh, cringe, or go for the barf bag. “Death of Some Salesman” is the story of Judd Campbell (Ed Begley Jr.), a charismatic, sleazeball con-man posing as a cemetery plot salesman. The man is a gifted liar, using his skills to con old widows out of their inheritance and even to convince  nubile young waitresses to “drop their panties” by pitching love and escape. The man is a scum bag that you know will be paying for his trespass and the man get’s his rotten just desserts in the form of The Brackett family. By blind luck, Judd ends up knocking on the door of Ma and Pa Brackett (Both played by Tim Curry). Judd’s invited in and the sale seems to be going incredibly well as Pa and Ma Brackett head down to the basement to get Judd the money for two none existant cemetery plots. That is, until Judd discovers the decaying corpses of several dozen salesmen who previous had the misfortune of knocking on the Brackett’s door. Judd is captured with Pa Brackett intent on killing him, but Judd sees a way out if he can only convince Winona Brackett (also played by Tim Curry), Ma and Pa Brackett’s comically hideous daughter that he loves her. This is the pitch of Judd’s life as he must chock down the bile and try to convince the skeptical Winona that he does, in fact, love her. the lengths of which Judd must prove is unwavering devotion is extrodinarily and will have you groaning and laughing on your couch. Tim curry gives the performance for the ages as The Brackett family, managing to blend mirth and menace in equal amounts. And the always game Ed Begley Junior should have received the medal of valor for this things.  “Death of Some Salesman” encompasses everything I love about the old E.C. Comics horror anthologies.  Sick humor, nasty violence, a damn fine twist ending, and a fantastic morality tale. Curry and Begley Jr. who are performing what is basically a two man show, give such phenomenal performances it practically MAKES the episode.  It’s a stomach churning, hysterical tale which taught me at a young age that deceivers and liars will invariably find themselves in a world of hurt.

Well, kiddies, there you have it! My Five Favorite Tales from the Crypt! A mixed bag, but a damn good time, if I do say so myself.   Feel free to let us, here at The Trash Cinema Collective, know what your favorite episodes are! Have a Trashy Halloween!

-Root

12
Feb
12

The Primal Root’s Top Five Trashy Valentine’s Day Mood Killers!

One of Primal Root’s Dirty Thoughts

Valentine’s Day is a strange holiday.  Unlike Christmas or Thanksgiving, no one gets Valentine’s Day off. It’s not like Halloween which is renown for it’s fun frights and sugar fueled excess, St. Patrick’s day with it’s green beer and date rapes, but what of Valentine’s Day? There’s no way to avoid it.  You take your special lady friend over to the pharmacy to pick up her birth control and you are greeted with aisles upon aisles of heart shaped, overpriced pieces of  cardboard stuffed with enough tooth decaying sweets to put the entire population of the east coast into a diabetic coma as well as grotesque stuffed animals that play Marvin Gaye’s “sexual healing” when you squeeze the shit out of them.  Like anyone wants that kind of sentiment coming from a furry friend such as a bear or a cat. The whole notion is sick! JUST SICK!

But, I digress,  ANYHOO,  with our collective taste in cinema, Valentine’s Day is a tricky day of the year, especially for us Trash Cinema Connoisseurs.  Which is why I am compiling this list of movies that we might watch on Valentin’s Day,  but might ruin any shot you possibly had at getting some Valentine’s Day love friction.

However, if you do watch these with that special someone and they still glance at you longingly as opposed to sheer terror before bolting out a closed window (ala: any 80’s/90’s action flick) followed by a restraining order  arriving in the mail 30 days later…you’ve found a keeper. 😉

On with the awkward, grueling and stomach churning!

5) Street Trash (1987) dir. J. Michael Muro

Because if there’s a batch of thing you want to think about when you’re groping your lover after dinner at 4 star restaurant, it’s the aroma of a career New York City hobo. Street Trash tells the tail of the internal strife and trouble of the immense Hobo population of NYC who live in a sprawling metropolis of filth and shit puddles down at the local dump.  A new threat has been introduced into their world in the form of a long lost batch of booze known as Tenafly Viper which turns anyone who drinks it into a thick, brightly colored puddle of glop. The very first unlucky victim end up slowly, horrifically and semi-comically melting into a toilet and inadvertently flushing himself down it.

Street Trash is a sick and twisted little film that comes off feeling like one of Peter Jackson’s long lost early works.  the film features necrophilia, an fairly nightmarish group rape,  police officer’s beating people within an inch of their lives and then puking on them, and a moment where a lovely young woman nearly gives a bum a blowjob…a filthy, stinky bum who hasn’t bathed in months and has been sporting the same pair of crusty B.V.D.’s out in the summer heat. Who in the world would put themselves through that?

As hobos melt, women get repeatedly raped and fat guys explode, Street Trash is sure to douse the flames of burgeoning passion pretty fucking fast, my friends.

 

4) The Brood (1979) dir. David Cronenberg

Ah, David Cronenberg. The master of body horror and making us not only feel intense anxiety regarding our physical being but basic human interaction in general. Which could be the reason he appears TWICE in my Top 5 Valentine’s Day Mood Killers List.  The man have a panache for pulling the rug out from under the typical sappy cinematic notions of love, romance, sex (that’s for damn sure) and the notion of a classical happy ending. Hence, his 1979 classic embittered divorcee film, “The Brood”.

Speaking from a experience, unless you are with a partner that is incredibly confident, bringing up an old relationship or flame is a sure fire way to throw a bucket of cold water on any kind of romantic moment.  I know many guys and girls are guilty of that whole past relationship jealousy trap. It’s ridiculous when you boil down, hell, you’re with this person now but for some reason you can;t get over the fact that *gasp* your lover had a life before you! You should be thanking your lucky stars their ex (girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, gimp, dominatrix, stalker, etc.) isn’t manifesting their intense bitterness and hatred into child sized, hoodie sporting, murderous minions born through saggy, goop filled abdominal pulp sacks…Really. You’ve got it good.

The Brood is one of those films that’s going to do little else than make you and your closest companion feel uncomfortable. You’ll end up watching and imagining a few psycho ex-partners and how if they could make little midget killer sacks pawns grow out of their gut fat and come after you with malicious, creeping rage and a meat clever in hand, they would not hesitate to do so.  And who in the world wants that shit running through their head when you’re laying on the cough with your lover in your arms?  And nothing brings on a make out session like a woman gnawing open some grotesque, dripping belly goiter and then licking the living contents clean with her tongue. No amount of smooth talking is going to get the mood back after that kind of viewing experience.

 

3) I Spit On Your Grave (1978) dir. Meir Zarchi

Oh boy…yeah, I guess this one really goes without saying, but if you REALLY want to obliterate a sweet, lovey-dovey evening beyond the point of no return? Meir Zarchi’s quintessential rape/revenge epic is your weapon of choice. When you absolutely, positively have to turn off every mother fucker in the room? Accept no substitute.

But, in all honesty, rape is probably the last subject you want to bring up with perspective girl/boyfriend let alone an established relationship. I Spit On Your Grave features one of the longest gang rape sequences ever committed to film. Just when you think our victim/avenger, Jennifer (the stunning and talented Camille Keaton) has escaped she runs afoul of another rape happy redneck ready to violate her.

I Spit on Your Grave is the purest antithesis of the Valentine’s Day mood setter.  Between the jaw droppingly vicious rape sequences to the well deserved revenge of Jennifer’s, which reaches it’s pinnacle during a bubble bath castration sequence that just made my genitals recede into my abdomen at just the recollection of it, I Spit on Your grave is pound for pound the heavy weight champ of the awkward evening with your sweetheart.  Which might be why I Spit on Your Grave has become a tradition on Valentine’s Day in the Root household. I’m kind of a weirdo, gang, it’s time you learned this.

SO! Unless you want to watch this thing out of some odd, twisted, trash cinema sense of logic like I do, I would keep I Spit on Your Grave OFF your Valentine’s Day viewing itinerary.

2) Cutting Moments (1997) dir. Douglas Buck

Ahhh, the American Dream perpetuated by the constant rotation of the Hollywood conveyor belt. The beautiful wife, the kids, the quaint house in the suburbs with the white picket fence.  These are the measures of success as prescribed to us by society at large. It’s a common, cliched romantic notion that so many of us buy into hook line and sinker. But, as we have gathered through our own experiences of watching relationships and people around us fall apart due to the constant struggle to attain these perceived obligations,  the dream more often than not, fails.

But on Valentine’s Day no one wants to believe in unhappy endings! that things won;t all work out for the best! One things for certain, if you do decide to get hitched, produce some hell spawn, get a mortgage and dwell int he suburbs there’s a good chance things will never reach the level of bloody desperation chronicled in Douglas Bucks’ short film, “Cutting Moments”.

I’ve seen a lot of sick, dark, depressing, stuff, gang. But never have I seen a more harrowing portrayal of an American nuclear family marred by repression, guilt, shame, secrets and lies. My god (Cthulhu) watching this not even 10 minute long short film is just about all you’ll ever need top swear off marriage forever!  The majority of the film is spent in silence with nothing more than the empty sounds of cutting. Whether it’s trimming the hedges, or cutting up carrots. Hardly anyone speaks.These people are so dead inside already it’s like they live in a tomb. There’s no passion, no love, no spark and there’s even the insinuation of child molestation. My god,  did that rhyme?  It’s like they live in a vacuum. It’s only when wife and mother, Sarah, takes drastic measures to put the intimacy back into the relationship with her husband that the blood finally flows back into their lives reminding them once again of the flesh and blood that makes them human.

Too many folks lie to themselves and tell themselves they are with the right person in order to fulfill these empty societal ideals. They get hitched, pop a baby or two out and then either hold all their resentment and bitterness inside or get divorced and use their kids as emotional leverage against their former spouse. It’s all just as sick and saddening as what’s present in Cutting Moments. Watching this puppy on Valentine’s Day is sure to fill your head with enough “What if’s” to have you heading to bed along that night.

1) The Fly (1986) dir. David Cronenberg

Alright, now this is a love story! It really is! When watching Cronenberg’s masterful remake of The Fly it’s easy to forget about the love story at hand taking place between journalist, Veronica and Seth Brundle, the brilliant young scientist working on a breakthrough in matter transference. Veronica falls hard for the quirky, charming, and intelligent Brundle and they begin a whirlwind romance.  Two smart, attractive, young people in love…what could go wrong?

Holy fuck…

The Fly is like a check list of all the things that could possibly go wrong in a loving relationship. Clingy, stalker ex boyfriend? CHECK! Being careless and doing incredibly stupid things in order to prove your love to your partner in a fit of misguided jealousy? CHECK! Inide-Out bloody monkey moosh? CHECK! These two start out as such a believably cute and perfect couple that it makes all the events that much more tragic as Seth begins his transformation from his sweet, adorable, self into a sickly, revolting monster replete with loose body parts and a need to vomit on everything. It’s a terrifying and devastating transformation as we watch, along with Veronica, her love disintegrate and go mad before her very eyes.

The Fly is one of the most epic of all cinematic tragic love stories.  Many critics and commentators have weighed in on the film’s apparent HIV/AIDS subtext, and that’s a smart deciphering of the film, for sure. But The Fly is also a testament to how truly heart wrenching and deeply devastating love can be.  Veronica is unable to leave Seth’s side and tries to help him, to take care of him, however she can only to end up, with all hope lost, and having to come to terms with losing the one she loved and putting the beast he has become out of it’s misery.  Only someone who really feels love and compassion for another is willing to do such a thing.

Upon first viewing it’s easy for the love story to get lost under a puddle of neon green battery acid fly man digestive puke. But once you get over that initial shock and awe you begin to fully realize and appreciate the romantic tragedy that is, The Fly. By the end of the film you and your sweetheart may have a deeper understanding of the obligations true love requires. Well, this is kind of a drastic example, but you catch my drift. It’s not much of a romantic notion, but in some situations, there are no happy endings. Even if you’re in love.

Well, those are my top 5 Valentine’s Day Mood Killers! Keep in mind, these are just my picks. There are about a million flicks out there to choose from and I would love to hear which Trash Cinema Epics you recommend as the true cinematic equivalents of a romance epicac. Please, drop us a line in our comments! I would love to hear some of your favorites. 😀

Until next time, remember to wrap it up every time, don’t name it after me and love the one you’re with!HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Stay Trashy,

-Root

03
Dec
09

Eraserhead: Black and White Night of the Soul

a Primal Root dirty thought

Maybe there is a fourth kind of Trash Cinema. One that is born of imagination and is so far outside the norm it leaves both audiences and critics completley dumbfounded. A type of Trash that’s so imaginative and introverted no one knows quite what to make of it. Films born of trash and bound for glorious cult status. David Lycnh’s Eraserhead certainly meets this criteria.

As an avidly devoted fan of all things David Lynch one question I always run into is “Why?” followed almost instantly by the blanket phrase “I don’t get his stuff.” To which I look them dead in the eye and say “What is there to get?” Why must you always be blatantly given something by a film?  The one thing I feel all fans of Lynch’s work have in common is a deep abiding love for mysteries and the simple and obvious concept that, hey, maybe there are no easy answers? No quick solutions? No pretty package wrapped up and ready to be presented to you upon completion. It’s one of the more frightening conceits that maybe…just maybe…we’ll never know the answers.

Recently I was asked about one of David Lynch’s most heralded works and possibly one of his hardest for viewers to grasp. Eraserhead. Coincidentally, this happens to be my favorite of Lynch’s work and one of my favorite films ever made. Why is there so much love for this film? Why are certain people in our society completely bat-shit crazy about this strange little fever dream of a picture? Well, fellow Trash Collectors, I’m going to try my damnedest to express my personal admiration and deep abiding nerd love for this most legendary of midnight movie cultism.

And no it’s not about just “I get it and you don’t.”  That’s all bullshit if you ask me. It runs far deeper than this simple declarative statement.

David Lynch’s debut feature film, 1976’s Eraserhead, is like a living nightmare. It is surreal but there are undeniable human truths and emotions there. Dread, pain, abandonment, longing. But that there is also hope and there is love to be found. As the song says, “In Heaven everything is fine.”

But like all dreams, nightmares, and art, their meaning must be interpreted by those experiencing it. The intent of the artist no longer matters. Eraserhead to me is one of the most honest and disturbing depictions of masculinity and the fear of fatherhood ever put to film. About the insecurities we must mask, the emotions we must bottle up, the dreams we must abandon, and the people whom we are that must be repress in order to get by in society. And the desperate hope that maybe, just maybe, there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It encompasses all my fears as an adult male. That I am not good enough. That I will fail at business, life, love and be left behind. It’s the darkest fears lying dormant but always weighing heavy on a subconscious level.

But see, my reason for loving and appreciating Eraserhead, and my interpretation don’t mean anything! Lynch created a totally subjective piece of art! My reason for loving it is a million miles away from why this guy or that girl love it. And some people just can’t stand it and that’s absolutely fine as well and completely understandable. But for a group of us Eraserhead struck a chord and there is something distinctly human there. Something warm and indescribable. Hidden in our deepest, darkest, places . Rather than give us answers Eraserhead boldly suggests that we find or make our own. That in life there are no easy answers to these mysteries so much greater than ourselves. That it’s up to us to find our own.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

In Heaven Everything is Fine. You Got Your Good Thing and I've Got Mine.




Dumpster Diving

Categories