Posts Tagged ‘trap

24
Nov
13

Motel Hell (1980): Hearts in the Right Place…The Meat Grinder

motel_hell_poster_01

a Primal Root review

“Sometimes I wonder about the karmic implications of these actions.” -Farmer Vincent

With Thanksgiving mere days away,  I begin contemplating  good old fashioned family values and the anticipation of devouring finely prepared, mouth watering, slaughtered animals. Hell, there’s nothing better than celebrating your thankfulness with the ones you love than by roasting the carcass and then sinking your teeth into the delicious flesh of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, honey cured ham, or human torso. After all, as Farmer Vincent says, “Meat’s Meat and a Man’s gotta Eat.”

This is the central conceit of Kevin Connor’s 1980 black comedy horror masterpiece, “Motel Hell”, the story of a family Motel and Meat curing business torn asunder by the meddling of outsiders who just don’t understand their ways.  Tall, white haired, skinny as a rail Farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun, charming as ever) and his large, imposing, deranged sister Ida (Nancy Parson, Coach Balbricker from Porky’s!) run the rural Motel Hello and adjacent Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats stand. Their meat and down home hospitality are legendary to those who grew up int he area, and tourists come from far and wide to get a taste at Farmer Vincents secret recipe… I have a feeling you know where I’m going with this, it ain’t just an extra dash of Tabasco in those cocktail weenies!

Yeeeeah, I think I'm gonna go find a Ramada...

Yeeeeah, I think I’m gonna go find a Ramada…

Vincent and Ida spend their evenings laying out intricate traps in order to capture unwary travels who make the mistake of passing near their homestead int he middle of the night. Once they’ve nabbed their prey, those poor souls are interred in the sibling’s “secret garden” and go through a very special procedure to prepare their succulent human flesh for the famous family recipe giving their cured meats that one of a kind flavor. As Farmer Vincent cheerily exclaims, “It Takes All Kinds of Critters, To Make Farmer Vincent’s Fritters!”  The two siblings seems to have a real good thing going, the business sis booming, their little brother and local law enforcement officer, Bruce, has no idea what they’re up to and there’s no lack of dim witted heathens to run off the road and turn into beef jerky treats. But it’s when Vincent takes in one of his victims, the lovely Terry (Nina Axelrod) and decides it might be a good idea to settle down that their whole cannibalistic world begins caving in.

Now, before I go and give you the idea that Vincent and Ida are both out of control backwoods psychopaths ala The Texas Chainsaw Massacre family, let me state that these are two of the most friendly, accommodating and thoughtful human flash slurping cannibals in cinematic history. These two are concerned with making their victim’s, er, livestock’s slaughter as painless as possible, and go through some bizarrely comical means in order to make sure of this. Hell, they even have lovely introspective conversations where they ponder the karmic implications of their work and whether or not they will be remembered fondly for the work they do on the farm. Vincent and Ida are murderers, plain and simple, but one cannot help like this introspective, God fearing duo.  Hell, later in the film when Terry starts flashing her tits and Vincent and tries to make out with the old man, he stops her and insists they should be married before there will be such hanky-panky. Could you ever imagine Leatherface doing this? Hell, head probably start hollering, tearing his hair out and rev up his chainsaw…Not Farmer Vincent, that guy’s got one strong, if deeply flawed, moral compass.

don't worry, I'll send the Christ cuts to Hebrew National.

Don’t worry, I’ll send the Christ cuts to Hebrew National.

In one stand out scene from ‘Motel Hell”, Farmer Vincent, Ida, and younger brother and lawman Bruce, tell Terry a down home story about how their long dead Grandmother was the one who taught Vincent everything he knows about curing and smoking meats out of necessity since the family didn’t have an icebox. One day, when Granny was sick and tired of a neighbor’s dog constantly barking, she asked Vincent to go take care of it. Vincent chuckles as he recalls throwing the dog in the meat smoker and serving it up for dinner. Ira and Bruce both chuckle and join in, recalling how the meat was a bit like goat meat, only stringier, as Terry looks on in stunned disbelief before chocking it up to simple hillbilly behavior.  Farmer Vincent justifies his actions by quoting his Granny, “Meat is Meat and a Man’s Gotta Eat!”

Really, being raised with such a mentality it’s totally understandable that Vince and Ida don’t see a difference between the meat of animals and the meat of human beings. Int he end, really, what is the difference? The slaughter, clean and cut up the meat just the same as all the others int he smoke house. It’s just business, nothing personal, plus it gives them their one of a kind flavor which makes them stand out from the competition! It’s literally a dog eat dog world in Motel Hell, as our homicidal duo take care in selecting those they feel don’t contribute to society like bikers, metal bands, working girls, swingers and FDA inspectors, and add them to the ever growing mouth watering deathloaf. Even though the public has no knowledge of the human content in their smoked meats, at least they can rest easy knowing here are no chemicals or preservatives in the product they just ate. Hey, that’s just good, down home quality! Who has time to worry if a couple members of that missing hair band you saw last week are in that jerky stick?

Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby, can you dig it?

Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby, can you dig it?

As we all expected from the beginning, Terry wonders into the smokehouse and stumbles onto the big family secret and end sup bound, gagged and listening to Vincent’s fundamentalist dogma as he explains why it is he does what he do all while chopping a human body into hot dog meat. Vincent goes on to explain that he’s helping out the human condition by controlling over population and handling the food shortage problem all in one fell swoop. “What gives you the right to play God?” Terry asks. “Play God? I wouldn’t even know where to start! I’m just helping out.”  It’s a strange “Greater Good, God’s Plan” argument I feel many folks on the political right could totally get behind, especially when espoused by such a seemingly down to earth and loveable folk hero as Farmer Vincent. Hell, we all have to make sacrifices, right? Might as well be the working class that won’t be missed!

As soon as the heroic, if incredibly dumb and rapey, Bruce bursts into the smokehouse to save the day, “Motel Hell” dives head first into it’s absurd, surrealist underpinnings and bursts through the floodgates with blood spattered jubilant glee as Farmer Vincent dons a severed pigs head, picks up his chainsaw and engages his little brother in chainsaw, to chainsaw combat while laughing like a maniac the entire time. It’s graphic, it’s goofy, it’s gory and unlike anything I’ve seen before or since in the annals of American backwoods cannibal horror cinema. It feels like some kind of blood drenched fever dream you would have after consuming to much Christmas ham and then getting a stomach bug. My words fail to do the finale of “Motel Hell” justice, you’ve gotta see it to even begin to comprehend it.

Babe III: The Reckoning

Babe III: The Reckoning

“Motel Hell” is a queer duck of a horror film. It delivers the horror and the comedy, but it doesn’t exactly mix and ends up more often than, simply being absurd. I laughed my ass either way,  as this is some truly peculiar, yet, entertaining food for thought.  Try not to fall in love with Farmer Vincent and Ida, I dare ya. Those two are such fantastic, memorable characters, you’ll find yourself deeply saddened to see them go by film’s end.

So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for your family, friends and take a closer look at that dead thing you’re shoveling into your face. you never know just who might be over for dinner.

Four and a Half out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets. Root highly recommends you spend a night at “Motel Hell!”

Stay Trashy!

-Root

25
Aug
13

You’re Next (2011) Warm Blood & Rich People…plus a short essay on slasher cinema history

you're next poster

a Primal Root written review

The late 60’s  through the 1970’s were the golden years for American horror cinema. Not only were young, truly talented filmmakers delivering inspired pieces of art, they gave cinema indispensable time capsules of the days troubled times and the lasting, horrifying impact of our actions on not only the inhabitants of our nation, but the world. films such as Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”, George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, Wes Craven’s “Last House on the Left”, John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and many others illustrated , the brutality both at home and abroad as peaceful protesters were gunned down by our National Guard in cold blood, blacks in our country were beaten and murdered by our police officials, our brothers, sons,  husbands and Fathers were being drafted to serve in a wildly unpopular war and the hippie movement had given way to disillusionment in the wake of Charles Manson and Free Love regrettably spread venereal disease like wild fire through the loins of our nation.  Independent horror cinema had never been more vital, more important in our country as it was during this era.  Horror was the purest illustration, the unfettered subconscious, of our society.

Soon the 1980’s were ushered in and movies such as “Halloween” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”, which had proven incredibly profitable, gave way to a sub-genre known as the “slasher” genre, which gained a foothold in this decade and squeezed as much blood out of the concept as  possible. John Carpenter’s Halloween became a franchise, Sean Cunningham’s “Friday the 13th” spawned a series of films repeating the same formula for over 20 years, and Wes Craven delivered a trail blazing, brilliant, post Vietnam horror film in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, but it was soon watered down into a franchisable commodity.  Slasher horror films became a staple of the decade as they proved to be resoundingly profitable for studios, and sequels that regurgitated the story on repeat could be relied upon to turn a profit. It was fun while it lasted, and some pretty damn great slasher films were produced during the decade, but   gradually, a form of horror that had once shown us how fucked up our system was, had been yuppified and sold out. The films became less of a societal rorshach test, and more like a series of Saturday morning cartoon adventure. Hell, it was the 1980’s in a capitalist country! As George “Buck” Flowers said in John Carpenter’s 1988 science fiction masterpiece, “They Live”, “We all sell out every day, might as well be on the winning team!”

But by the end of 80’s the slasher formula had grown as stale as a year old box of opened and then forgotten about croutons in the pantry, and by 1990, many folks deemed the sub-genre dead.

BUT THEN CAME POST-MODERN SLASHERS!  Ushered in by Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and to a much greater extent, his “Scream” franchise, which replaced the usual gang of teenagers ready for the chop, with teenage characters who have been raised in the VHS generation and are completely aware of the slasher formula, it’s cliches and it’s caveats and are loaded up and ready with quips, jokes and references to horror movies history!  The resurrection of the slasher genre was given life thanks to the ever increasing knowledge and awareness of the audience who had spent their youths combing through video rental stores and boning up on their horror movie knowledge.  Two decades earlier, it was Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” who had been savaging the cinema while wearing the remains of his victims. Now, in the 1990’s, the filmmakers were the one’s wearing the remains of the genre’s past and exploiting it as a joke and laughing at the power these movies once, and to the viewer willing to watch without a jaded eye, still contain.

But, there are only so many in-jokes you can make about the genre before Post Modern gives way to straight up spoofs like the Wayans Brother’s brain dead “Scary Movie” franchise.  Oh, what has post modern horror wrought?

In the mid 2000’s, after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and the War in Iraq marched on with seemingly no plan and no end in sight under the George W. Bush administration, the slasher genre got a heavy, dark, deeply mean spirited and cynical makeover in the form of James Wan’s “Saw” franchise, Now audiences were thrust into morality games where victims and victimizers alike were suddenly forced to endure and try to survive brutal and disturbingly painful forms of grueling torture in order to survive and are expected to walk away having learned some kind of life affirming message. Assumign they survive at all. (Spoiler: most folks end up splattered across the linoleum.)  Also, taking hold in this decade, was a sudden popularity in remakes. Classic horror films like Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” were open game for modern retelling and face lifts. These proved successful as money making ventures since the titles were already well established and could be relied on to turn a profit, but many folks took this as a sign that “Hollywood” had, indeed, run out of ideas and that set of balls they once relied on to give up and coming filmmakers a chance at showcasing original product, had now finally been cut cleen and tossed int he waste basket. The studio now only seemed interested in “sure things.”  Young filmmakers who came of age during the slasher heydays were now creating their own slasher movies…but more times than not, for cynical laughs and nastiness rather than genuine scares or fun.

With the exception of a few sporadic, slasher films produced independently, with varying degrees of success, the blood in the veins of a once extremely popular genre has been cooling down and slowing to a coagulated halt as it’s once thriving body withers up and passed away. Them’s the brakes.  I had very little hope in ever seeing a slasher film worth a piss again on the big screen.

Death Zoo 2000

Death Zoo 2000

And then I saw “You’re Next”.

A kind of home invasion slasher film that’s done the impossible and taken a tired formula, one that’s been played to death, and made it feel fun, interesting and new again. Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun watching a slasher film in…well…YEARS! I know there’s been quite a bit of hype surrounding this flick over the last couple years since it’s premiere in 2011, and although I do feel the praise this thing has gotten is, indeed, a bit overblown, “You’re Next” does a dandy of a job showing it’s audience a good time.

The premise comes across as fairly standard. A very wealthy family reunites for a weekend at their secluded mansion in the middle of winter. It;s cold, it’s snowy, and if a band of crossbow shooting, axe wielding maniacs happen upon their house, they are more or less trapped and/or completely fucked.    One thing I greatly appreciate about “You’re Next’ is that the family and other assorted characters are written as actual human beings, characters and players in the drama at hand rather than just jokes and punch lines ready to be cashed in.  Sure, some situations come off as comical, but never because the characters are anything more than flawed, damaged and mistake making human beings. Things are tense before any psychopaths even show up! Hell, I haven;t seen a dinner scene this tense and uncomfortable since The Sawyer clan sat down to dinner in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” (No, Tobe Hooper’s not paying me to drop that title as many times as possible in this review) The family dynamic feels like a bomb just waiting to go off as it seems some siblings cannot be near one another for more than five seconds without anger and resentment rising and an argument breaking out.  One cannot help but feel bad for Erin (Sharni Vinson) who is there to meet and spend some quality time getting to know her boyfriend Crispan’s (AJ Bowen) family.

Things go from awkward to “Aw, fuck” as family dinner is violently interrupted and suddenly everyone is scrambling to survive. To the amazed wonderment of the family, Erin seems to have the survival instincts of a wild cat and, once the rich families plans are all proven to be disastrously moot, takes control of the situation and ends up being on the the very best, if not the quintessential Final Girl.   Rarely in the slasher genre have I ever witness a final girl so aptly and efficiently tackle with her antagonists.  She turns her aggressors into bumbling idiots over the course of the film and it drew much appropriate applause form myself and the rest of the audience.  This is no screaming, lame-o final girl running around in her panties and hoping to fight the killer to a draw. no, Erin is out for blood and she’s honestly one of the greatest assets “You’re Next” has.  Many folks have labeled “you;re Next” a “feminist” horror film.  Hell, I thought most horror films, especially slashers, featured strong female protagonists besting and hulking male antagonist. By definition, isn’t the majority of slasher films feminist?

What a woman will go through for a decent boyfriend.

What a woman will go through for a decent boyfriend.

But, I digress, “You’re Next” also delivers some excellently executed gore set pieces that seem to escalate as the films closes in on it’s graphically violent, over the top conclusion.  People meet their end in brutal, uncompromising fashions at the end of axes, arrows, knives, screwdrivers and countless assorted implements of destruction and kitchen accoutrement.  Those looking for and carnage candy will not leave disappointed.  Another thing I was impressed with was the film;s dark, yet fitting, sense of humor. Unlike other recent slasher films that slowly devolve into “Not Another Teen Slasher Film” over the top, slapstick gore and gags (Hatchet & Hatchet II, I’m looking at you.) or post modern slashers that draw laughs from our knowledge of horror film history,  “You’re Next” keeps things serious and to the point, but manages to draw comedy from it’s bloody situations. The jokes are dark, but the levity is appreciated and doesn’t feel out of place.

On the negative side, once the shit hits the proverbial fan,  “You’re Next” invokes some of the most annoying shaky cam I’ve ever endured. I;m not exactly sure if I got used to it after it’s initial use or if the filmmakers decided it was only necessary for this one moment of panic, but my God, it was distracting and pointless. The actors were doing a fine enough job portraying their shock and horror at what was occurring, the last thing we needed was some guy shaking the camera around like he’s being mauled by a grizzly bear during the shoot.  Seriously, have some faith in your on screen talent. I wanted to watch their performances and not gain a migraine headache for my efforts. Also, sadly, the central question underlying the whole flick is pretty easy to figure out. Boots and I knew what was up as soon as arrows began flying. But, in the end, this didnt diminish my enjoyment of the film at all.

meow.

meow.

Any other gripes? Not really. “You’re Next” is a shockingly solid piece of slasher entertainment in a genre I thought had been bled totally dry by 80’s over exposure, 90’s postmodernism, and new millennial remake dookie splatter.  It was treat being able to watch a fun, TRULY old school style slasher film with an appreciative, loud, and lively audience just as into it as myself and Bootsie Kidd were. Not nearly as revolutionary as many critics and supporters have hyped it up to be, “You’re Next” is still one of the very best times I’ve had seeing a down and dirty slasher flick in ages. It has a keen awareness of the genre itself  which allows the filmmakers a chance to play around with our expectations, passes itself well, contains serviceable performances and has one very cool throwback synth driven score. Almost sounds like John Carpenter himself could have done the music for this sucker.

This is not the second coming, but it is proof that you can play with slasher formula without turning it all into some masturbatory joke. “You’re Next” has given me a smidgen of hope for a long flailing sub genre of horror and I am hoping filmmakers interested in working within it take note of what “You;re Next” has done right. Because there are few roller coaster rides as fun as a fun, well executed slasher film with the right audience. I only wish I got to take the ride more often.

If you’ve ever held even a drop of affection for the slasher genre in your horror nerd heart, you owe it to yourself to see “You’re Next.”

4 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

20
Jan
13

(NSFW) Gore Whore: Deadly Tricks and Happy Horses

The Final Chapter

The Final Chapter

a Primal Root review

Well, I suppose I’ve kept you all waiting long enough.  It’s time for The Primal Root to take a look at the final installment in Hugh Gallagher’s legendary straight to VHS Gore trilogy. We’ve covered ‘Goregasm’, where a perpetually topless, large breasted woman was paid to spin in circles and then kill her clients providing them with the “Ultimate Climax”. We’ve checked out ‘Goreotica’, the story of a jewel heist gone wrong, necrophilia and the dead body for AIDS patients black market…but now, now it is time for us to delve into what might be Hugh’s most high concept endeavor of the entire trilogy.  His ‘Return of the King’, if you will. That’s right, it is time to get elbows deep and take a deep, appreciative whiff of 1994’s  “Gore Whore!”

As out tape gets rolling we are treated to some slow moving credits featuring some Atari 2800 level lettering placed over a slide show of turn of the century bondage images which have a large black, spinning dildo superimposed over them. Believe it, or not, this giant black dildo actually plays a major role in the story which is about to unfold. The credits end as the black cock dildo shoots a gob of digitized green cum out the tip and onto the screen spelling out “GORE WHORE”. And so our fantastic journey into the filthy world of undead prostitution, science run amok, peeping on co-workers in the shower and “true love” begins.

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“Gore Whore” starts off right in the middle of the action as some greasy fellow in a brown leather jacket flops down on crusty, crab infested mattress in a room with blank, white, walls as he turns his eyes to his prostitute friend who begin doing a wonderful interpretive dace to a mix tape she had made and queued up specifically for just such a magic moment.

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And what a moment it is! As prostitute Dawn Day begins sashaying across the jizz stained floors of her low rent apartment stripping off articles of clothing until there’s nothing between her and her client except a thick batch of pubes and a pair of cross-eyed tits courtesy of a  birth defect I was also cursed with growing up called, Pectus excavatum.  Once it became life threatening it was something I had surgery to correct, but it looks like our leading lady Ms. Audrey Street, decided to live with the deformity and all I can say is more power to her! It certainly gives her character, who is required to get naked in just about every damn scene she appears in, a  very strange and unsettling vibe that you just can’t get with the effects a shoe string budget, straight to video production can buy. It’s a deformity that can be very awkward and I give Audrey kudos for having the balls to flaunt what she’s got. I doubt I would have been so brave when I had my concave chest.

Soon Dawn is tying her client down, warning him that condoms won;t be enough to protect him (she must have some very potent pussy grime), proceeds to unzip his fly, whip out his little John and bits that sucker off with a single chomp! He screams bloody murder as raspberry syrup his the bedroom wall and Dawn begins gnawing on his neck. Dawn gnaws for a second or two before he client’s head comes tumbling off just as her mix tape comes to an end and we fade to black. That girls got some serious chompers on her, good god!

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Fade up and we’re inside a dimly lit bar where we are introduced to our hero, Chase (played by Brady Debussey, the same guy who played the necrophiliac in a cape who had AIDS in Goreotica), who looks to be spending his day emptying various bottles of whiskey and napping on the bar room pool table wile dreaming of a blonde lady holding a cleaner shaven version of himself in a poorly lit gazeebo.  See, Chase lost the love of his life, Susan to cancer a year or so ago, lost his job as the town’s head detective and now just lounges around on gaming equipment completely shitfaced.  This is our hero, ladies and gents.

Thankfully, mad scientist Witman shows up to hire Jim Beam, er, Chase to investigate his missing lab assistant who stole an experimental serum of his. And surprise, surprise, the lab assistant in question is none other than Dawn Day, the scrawny, filthy haired hooker from earlier! Witman offers a Chase money up front to investigate and retrieve this serum but Chase isn’t so quick to take up the proposition for some reason. Chase, buddy, you’re stinking drunk, broke and unemployed, just take the fucking money and look into this shit. Who cares if it seems like a waste of time! What are you thinking? Think of all the booze that money’ll buy!

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Yeah, looks like hero material to me.

Chase begins his investigation by sitting on the side of a dirt road until Dawn happens to drive by. Chase gives chase but not before we have a completely unrelated cutaway to a very content and happy looking horse just chilling out nearby watching our gumshoe go to work.  The horse has nothing to do with the story and never appears again and is the only genuinely happy character in the video.

Hello there!

Hello there!

Chase follows Dawn to a tall, blonde, married Catholic woman’s house. The character  with wide, creepy, haunting eyes, long blonde hair, nice, bountiful breasts and a well groomed shaft alley is only known in the script as “Swingin’ House Wife” . Chase peeps through the window as the two ladies begin swapping spit that I can only imagine smells like stale Arby’s and makes the observation “A LESBIAN LAB ASSISTANT!” out loud so the idiocy of the statement is allowed to sink in with the viewing audience before he continues thinking out loud and tells us his next move before rushing off to his dented, sagging, piece of crap Chevy, “While she’s here munching carpet, I better go over to her house and investigate!” the man was the Dick Tracy of his time and place.

"Swingin' House Wife" is one spooky chick.

It’s as if “Swingin’ House Wife” is staring into my soul.

Swingin’ House Wife has called Dawn over to make out, get totally naked, discuss how her husband doesn’t get her needs or desires and then get ruthlessly, and hilariously butchered on the living room carpet. ‘Swingin’ House Wife’ seems more concerned with keeping the strawberry syrup out of her eyes and hair than she does trying to prevent her own gruesome death by filleting as Dawn flings her butcher knife around in the air as if it’s not making contact with anything. Eventually the massacre ends, bright red, sticky syrup covers nearby scripture, the naked dead body of “Swingin’ House Wife” and Dawn herself, who quickly begins the daunting task of cleaning the mess  up with her tongue.

Over at Dawn’s place, which it’s interior is inexplicably covered in vines,  Chase discovers a fridge containing nothing but several large containers of blood. how does he know it’s blood? The moron actual sinks his digits in there and then licks the crimson liquid of his sausage fingers. “Blood!” Chase exclaims. “A lesbian lab assistant that drinks blood!” The plot thickens and Chase has now orally contracted hepatitis C.  His work here is done.

The Paternity Test concludes, Ronald McDonald, you are the Father!

The Paternity Test concludes, Ronald McDonald, you are the Father!

Chase heads over to the local police department where upon entering we see the only officers on duty are the one officer deep asleep behind his desk and another who is HEY! It’s the pint sized and gorgeous D’Lana Tunnell playing the adorable, cynical, poorly named deputy Pat who has a huge helmet of Manic Panic red colored hair and a not so great grip on her lines, but she does try, and that’s gotta count for something. Chase asks Pat for a bit of help researching Dawn Day in the computer data base, but Pat is reluctant. She throws out an exposition guilt trip about Chase being a sad bastard and a disgrace to the department ever since his wife died (yeah, boo-hoo, you cry baby!) and it’s his own fault for getting kicked off the force and there’s no way she’s helping him out! Chase whips out a crisp, clean $5 bill and Pat is suddenly eager to please! And Chase is the disgrace to the local police department? Between sleeping beauty by the front door and the rockabilly pinup model deputy, this place has a pretty low bar set for disgracefulness.

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“Prostitution, Prostitution, Prostitution.” Pat exlaims as she reads from her computer monitor what sounds like the lyrics to a pop song. “Oh, and she shouldn’t be hard to track down. She’s dead.” Ah, thanks Pat, I guess this case is closed. WAIT! She’s dead? Well this just doesn’t make sense! How can a dead woman go to a lonely housewife’s house and tickle her zesty love taco with her slobbery oral love slug? Can Chase follow the clues and solve the riddle? He tracks Dawn down to her final resting place where she happens to be lounging about naked in the mid afternoon sun. Chase watches through his binoculars and Dawn begins filling a syringe with a batch of neon green Re-animator style goo, snaps on the handy , dandy, giant black dildo attachment, runs the it between her tits, down her stomach and into her clam strip with a *GOOSH* noise that really sells the effect.

It's cock o'clock somewhere!

It’s cock o’clock somewhere!

Chase stumbles back, catching Dawn’s attention. She finishes depositing her green love sauce into her holiest of hollies, slips on her black nightie, deposits her black dildo, green goo kit into an open grave and departs leaving Chase alone to check out the cemetery.   As one might imagine, this leads to a scuffle with a nearby zombie decked out from head to toe in some little tan plaid number. Chase and the zombie partake in classic Filipino crotch fighting as the two grab one anthers shoulders and vigorously thrust areas towards each other. Before you know it, the zombie is on Chase’s car hood as he tries to escape at top speed. To get rid of this pesky undeader, as opposed to stomping on the break and making the zombie go flying, Chas e instead rams his car into a parked automobile whose occupant just so happens to be, and I’m not kidding, masturbating to a copy of Swank magazine he had tucked under his shirt. Who are these people? What town IS this?  The total carnage results in the zombie falling into a creek and the innocent bystander losing his Johnson. Tragic.

Ensemble by Andre 3000

Ensemble by Andre 3000

But the battle doesn’t end there! Turns out there’s a hidden lady zombie in chase’s backseat which behind munching his neck! Chase continues driving at top speed, as opposed to pressing the brake and making a far less deadly situation for himself, goes over a small hill in slow motion, before wreaking his car in a two foot deep gutter. With his car, it’s believable.  Chase stumbles out of the vehicle as the blonde, lady zombie in the backseat has vanished, falls on his face only to look up and see Dawn Day approaching.  She belittles our alcoholic hero and gives us her M.O.  She’s tired of being subservient to wimpy men who buy her company and now it’s time to turn the tables! see, she’s undead, must feast on blood to survive and inject herself with Witman’s green goo pussily once a week. See, she is the undead hooker queen of this dung heap of a town and she’s turning all her tricks into and undead army! THE GORE WHORE HAS RISEN! ALL HAIL THE ZOMBIE HOOKER QUEEN!

Yeah, I'd say you botched this Bris, mister.

Yeah, I’d say you botched this Bris, mister.

Dawn leaves Chase to be killed by a decapitated head and body team brought to vivid life thanks to a hole in the ground and a blue screen effect that puts George Lucas and his Star Wars prequels to shame.  In a bit of comedy gold, the reanimated body kicks Chase around a little which in the cutaways make it look like the body is doing some manner of the hustle. Chase impales the body before giving the green foam spewing severed head a little speech about once being the kicker on his high school varsity football team before punting the head into a nearby lake. While soaring through the air the severed head cries “FUUUUUUUUUCK!” adding the cherry to the top of this it’s-so-bad-it’s-bad-but-I-can’t-stop-watching- sundae of awesome.

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It’s been a long day and Chase is pretty fucking beat. He makes his way to Pat’s house where she’s in the middle of one of those extended “scrub your tits until they are gleaming” showers where he breasts encounter about an entire Irish springs bar of soap worth of lather. Ladies, is this generally what you do in the shower? Rub your boobs with soap for thirty minutes at a time eatin’ up all the dang hot water? Low budget Trash Cinema is one of the few genres brave enough to graphically illustrate this plight. What a brave, and selfless move on the part of these filmmakers.

But I digress, Chase breaks into Pat’s house, peeps in on her showering for about ten minutes as he hallucinates that the well built, brightly red headed and short D’Lara Tunnell is his tall, lanky, blonde dead wife. Hey, if you have actresses willing to get totally naked for your artistic piece of cinema, you might as well use them! So we are treated to two lovely women lathering their breasts, buns and rinsing out their hair for what feels like a quarter of the movie. Note, I am not complaining. This is Trash Cinema at it’s finest, folks. I rent these kind of movies almost specifically for these scenes!

I guess she couldn't afford a shower curtain one a police officer's salary. Times are tough...

I guess she couldn’t afford a shower curtain one a police officer’s salary. Times are tough…

Pat steps out of the shower without feeling the need to cover up despite being shocked that a drunken, bleeding, hallucinating mad man is standing in the doorway with a protruding erection in his trousers and drool dripping from his bottom lip and unenthusiastically asks “Chase, what are you doing here?” as chase tumbles to the floor and Hugh Gallagher composes the most beautifully orchestrated shot of his entire career as he provides the viewer with both a magnificent close up shot of the lovely D’Lara Tunnell’s rump AND Chase’s hysterical pratfall.  Gang, this is why I go to the movies.

Why The Primal Root loves movies summed up in one single brilliant shot.

Why The Primal Root loves movies summed up in one single brilliant shot.

When Chase comes to he talks Pat into helping him out in his investigation. She agrees only after, again, telling him what a fucking loser he is for still mourning the death of his wife. Chase gives a dark, sad speech about Heaven and Hell and how Hell is right here and now on planet Earth. It’s not a bad little speech for a flick that’s spent most of it’s running time telling us things we’ve already gathered from the action on screen, but it does kind of his me directly in that little spot in my heart where that emo little teeny bopper “woe is me” self resides. Life can certainly be shitty sometimes, but as we’ve learned from ‘Gore Whore” it’s nothing a bit of self medication can’t solve.

Chase and Pat head out into the hot steamy Bum Fuck Egypt night to follow up on a hunch that Dawn will be at a local watering holw where her favorite band and customers “The Third Graders” will be playing. Cut to- a deserted sports bar where three middle aged guys in colorful wigs jerk off with their instruments and Dawn day performs another one of her captivating dance numbers. The Third Graders make it through one who song before hoping off stage in the hopes of purchasing a piece of tail from Ms. Day. Unfortunately for them, she has other plans, as she whips out her Rosco and pops a cap in all their asses. If only this could have happened to Nickelback.

Chase and Pat, he's a boozy private dick with nothing left to lose, she's a feisty, small time cop, together THEY'RE DYNAMITE! Coming this Spring to FOX!

Chase and Pat, he’s a boozy private dick with nothing left to lose, she’s a feisty, small time cop, together THEY’RE DYNAMITE! Coming this Spring to FOX!

This prompts Chase and Pat to rush in looking like one of the coolest gutter scum, down trodden television cop duos ever devised! Pat pulls her gun and points it at Dawn’s greasy mug as Chase tells her to shoot. “NO!” Pat screams. “She’s unarmed!” Chase, along with the entire viewing audience roll our eyes and scream along with “JUST SHOOT THE UNDEAD WHORE, YOU IDIOT!” At this point Pat lowers her weapon and puts all her attention on her debate about shooting Dawn thereby giving Ms. Day the advantage. Day quickly squirts some green goo up one of the dead “musician’s” asses where he springs to life and takes a whopper of a bite out of Pat’s lovely little neck. Poor, sweet, Pat, you were a mean person who had trouble empathizing at all with anyone and you were a horrible police officer. But what you lacked in humanity you made up for with ample nudity. Farewell, Officer Pat. you were one fetching, wasted character.

Chase doesn’t make the same mistake. He quickly pries Pat’s firearm from her cold, dead hands and pops a fiery load into Dawn Day dropping her to the sports bar floor.  Chase grabs Witman’s glowing green, ass and pussy ooze formula and rushes over to the the mad scientist’s lair to deliver the good, get his money and ask a few questions as to what in the Hell he just had to deal with. And Chase doesn’t have to waste any time getting over there because that sports bar where that shooting massacre just occurred was LITERALLY EMPTY. Sure, there was a concert taking place, sure they were open for business, but there was not a soul there beyond the band and Dawn Day.  This makes for an ideal getaway for Chase!

Chase arrives to find Witman waiting for him and by this point Chase has had a while to stew and seems kind of living as he begins cross examining the scientist. Winston remains silent and jauntily escapes into his plywood lair where Chase follows. On a wooden table there lays a fresh corse covered by a blood stained white sheet as Witman explains his principals and that he created his re-animation formula quite by accident. He performed several tests on animals before getting his hands on Dawn Day, bringing her back to life, and making her his undead sex slave.  It;s all shit we already pretty much gathered over the course of the film but now Witman sets it all in stone. It’s at this point that Dawn Day swoops in from out of nowhere, drop kicks Chase to the ground and attacks Witman, bashing his noggin repeatedly into the floor killing him. chase comes to, grabs an aluminum baseball bat and knocks that Gore Whores mother fucking block off! Her head goes sailing through the lab and crashes against the cement wall with a a pleasant, warm, *squish* sound and leaving a spatter of blood and grey matter on the wall.

MY DOCKERS!

MY DOCKERS!

It’s a triumphant moment to be sure, but this flick has yet to reach it’s climax. Chase drags the lifeless body of Dr. Witman down to the cellar and in full, agonizing detail we are treated to Chase sticking a black dildo full of green life cum up his ass to revive him. At this point, all of us watching ‘Gore Whore” know how the procedure works. Then again, maybe they had five minutes of time they just HAD to fill.  Witman awake to find Chase standing over him with an axe. Chase looks him straigh in the eye and says “Pain is something you’ve gotta live with.” before hacking both of Witman’s legs off in the most hysterical scene of the entire film. I believe it’s the performance of Paul Woodard as Witman that gives this scene the levity it has.He channels Jim Carrey at his spastic best in his reaction to having both his legs unceremoniously removed.  It really is unfathomably precious, especially once Chase goes to the top of the stairs, grabs something off camera and yells to Witman, “HEADS UP!” and tosses Dawn’s chomping severed head at him. It’s one of those scenes you must see to truly understand.

And then Chase shaves and  reanimates his wife’s rotted old cadaver so they can make out again thereby ending the film on a rip off of Pet Semetary’s conclusion. That’s pretty fucking weak and far too obvious. I still think it would have been really disturbing if Chase found his wife in Witman’s basement, reanimated and being used as a fuck slave thereby making chase go totally insane and giving him a bit more of a reason to go all Jigsaw on Witman.  But, who am I to mess with Hugh Gallagher’s creative vision.

Insert "Getting Head" joke here.

Insert “Getting Head” joke here.

“Gore Whore” is fucking ridiculous from the very first frame to the very last credit. Hugh Gallagher was going for broke on this flick and it shows. From the collection of goofball effects, to the eclectic cast of characters, over the top concept, wall to wall use of naked women, even the added production value of a single, unmotivated shot of a horse chilling out makes this a video store find like none other. I guarantee you, you will never find another film that matches the gonzo, low budget trashiness of “Gore Whore.”

Hell, that could be said about the Gore Trilogy as whole! It’s a three part series of degenerate, disturbed, sleazy ideas made all the trashier by the production values and VHS format. They do have some very creative and interesting ideas scattered withing their rotten running time, and it’s that blend of utter sleaze and sparks of genuine intelligence that make these tapes worth tracking down and giving a look. That is, if you have to stomach for this sort of drek. Again, one man’s terrible, worthless film is another man’s nugget of VHS gold. And for me, it doesn’t get much better, worse, stranger or more enjoyable than Hugh Gallagher’s Gore Trilogy.

Stay Trashy and watch that pooper!

-Root

Ms. D'Lana Tunnell in a still from "Teenage Tupelo". Another oddity worth tracking down. -Root

Ms. D’Lana Tunnell in a still from “Teenage Tupelo”. Another oddity worth tracking down. -Root

06
Jun
12

Cabin in the Woods: Roll with the Changes

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

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

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

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

Stay Trashy!

-Root

14
Feb
12

Desda “Mae Q” Moana, Valentine’s Day Devil Girl of the Month

Primal Root:  Ms. Moana, please, introduce yourself to The Collective and tell us just what you’re all about. 

Desda “Mae Q” Moana: Hey there, Collective, I’m Desda “Mae Q” Moana. I’m a burlesque artist, theater and film actor, and vintage pin up/fetish model in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m geeked to be the newest Devil Girl, as this kind of shit just melts my butter. Thank you for asking me to come and play in your little world. I like it here.

Root:  Well, Desda, it is an honor to play with you. Do you mind sharing with us what your inspiration was for your Valentine’s Day Devil Girl set?
Moana: The genius minds behind Firepuss Productions were the inspiration for this shoot. You said trash, they said “cheap ass hotel in nowhere, Indiana.” Well, first, we wanted to do a PBR and trailer park theme, but seeing as it’s January, we’re holding off till warmer weather. I’ll get you those pics in a few months. 🙂 We wanted sex and blood. We wanted cheese. I approached Lady Riot, a fellow burlesque artist and photographer, with the idea to do a trashy horror shoot and she just ran with it. Her photog, Brian Hornbuckle, and loving husband, Jonny Voodoo were kind enough to come on the journey with us. Although Jonny got more nervous about my boobs in his face than the small knives near his carotids.

Root: I can understand, you do possess a very serious set of boobs, Desda. Now, I hope you don’t mind me getting a bit more intimate…What are some of your favorite Trash flicks?
Moana: I am a child of the 80’s so my favorites are slashers that attempt plot but fail miserably: My Bloody Valentine is my favorite of all time. So much so that for our Valentine’s Day show, I am currently developing a burlesque act as Harry. Gas Mask? Check. Pickaxe? Check. That’s my kinda Happy Heart day. I also loved anything with the words Camp, Sleepaway, Sorority, or Hell in the title. If sweet little things were going to their death, a psycho was stalking them, and there would be running in the woods in very little clothing? I was all about it. Even better if the plot included lesbian overtones, cross dressing, or gender confusion.

Root: Ms. Moana, you’re gonna fit in just fine around these parts.You;re a natural born Devil Girl. For the sake of The Collective, where can our followers go to see more of you? What projects are you working on and may we pimp any of your sites?

Moana:  Angel Burlesque is my hometeam: www.angelburlesque.com. I am a founding member, and part of the management team. If you’re in the Indy area, check us out. We perform in various venues several times a year. I will also be performing in burlesque festivals around the Midwest this year, and am always available to teach workshops or perform. I get to perform at Gen Con again in August with Chicago’s Glitter Guild…doing Geek burlesque makes my heart happy.

I have a few films being released this year: Scalene, with Margo Martindale is hitting Netflix soon, and Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh, a Giallo styled horror, will be released later this year.

The biggest GEEK OUT I am anticipating is performing at the VIP party for Days of the Dead Con in Indy, July 6-8th. I am doing my Harry Tribute and a creepy doll routine to an ICP song. And? Kane Hodder and Gunnar Hansen seeing me do my thang? I may just pee a little, I’m just sayin’.

Root: I am you will pull a role reversal on those two boogeymen and have their hearts racing when they see you perform in July. Well, Desda “Mae Q” Moana, it is an honor and a privilege to have you featured as our Valentine’s Day Devil Girl. Thank your for your hard work and for keeping it Trashy.

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.

15
Dec
10

Hard Rock Zombies: Night of the Creeping Sex Offender

a Primal Root review

Admittedly, the cheesy movie fan is kind of an oddity unto himself. Someone who won’t go see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen because it’s a contrived multi-million dollar hunk of dog shit but will spend countless hours looking for the next “Manos”: The Hands of Fate that they can laugh their asses off at with their pals while downing some rot gut in the comfort of their own living room. Well, my fellow collectors, you will be happy to hear I have come across one of the strangest pieces of Trash I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a greasy, hairy, spandex clad monstrosity from 1984 entitled, Hard Rock Zombies.

Rocking Hard or Hardly Rocking? If we're talking about the hair then they most certainly are Rocking Hard.

Now, you can never judge a movie by its title. At first, Hard Rock Zombies sounds like it could be just fine– Zombies rising from their graves to munch on the warm, gooey flesh of the living as metal music blares over the soundtrack and the arterial spray spatters against the wall. Alas, no dice. Instead we get a hairy, sleazy quartet of rockers lead by the mustachioed lead vocalist and guitarist, Jessie. They play nightly to crowds of about a dozen or so young women decked out in their leopard print spandex and requiring a cheering track as they couldn’t quite work up the excitement to cheer while they were actually on camera at the concert.

This young lady immediatley contracted a venereal disease upon having her breasts signed by Jesse.

Once their introductory concert is over and the audience endures a scene where they all hang around in their tight little underwear and fiddle around with their junk, they head out for their next scheduled concert in a town by the name of Grand Guignol (SUBTLE!!), a small town Jessie has been warned to stay away from by a young pre-teen girl named Cassie. The warning goes unheeded and as the band rides off in their van while chanting a tune that will raise the dead (Jessie read about it in a “book”) they pick up a scrawny blonde hitch-hiker chick who invites them to stay at her family’s mansion.

'Don't be so quick to judge' might be the message of Hard Rock Zombies. After all, this...being could just be bringing us cookies and rainbows! Nope, just a tack hammer to bludgeon us to death.

Just wait till you meet this bunch. One-eyed midgets, wheelchair bound werewolf grannies, bald-headed blood spattered chicken slayers and even a retired 90-something year old Adolf Hitler who bangs werewolf lady at night with an audience of midgets he calls his grandchildren. And you say that the Sawyer clan from Texas Chainsaw Massacre had awkward family get-togethers! Needless to say, the band sees nothing wrong here, and is even mildly charmed. Upon arrival and hearing constant screams of agony coming from the mansion the band’s keyboardist sheepishly asks the little blond minx, “Um, excuse me. I don’t mean to be rude, but what’s with all the screaming?” Were people just more accepting of this kind of behavior in the 80’s? I suppose this was post-Manson pre-Waco America. Still, no red flags go up? Not one?

As the band hypes the town up over the impending HARD ROCKING by way of a dancing montage where the band members hop, skip, jump and mime (yes, mime), Jessie spots Cassie again and chases her across town. Over the course of the film, Jessie falls madly in love with this 16-year old girl. So much so he writes a tender yet shitty love ballad just for her. His love is so passionate it is already penned and rehearsed to perfection by the band.

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And so, night falls as the band recuperates from a painful but not fatal electrocution at the Freak residence. And it is them after much anticipation, the Freak family ACTUALLY decides to kill the band! This had me cheering in my living room as one by one these hair band rejects get slaughtered in very cheap and awkward ways. The keyboardist and bassist get murdered by werewolf granny, who regains the power to walk when she puts on her wolf mask. Um, Jessie gets crucified on an oak tree and then receives a weed whacker to the chest and the drummer gets it while naked in the shower with the blond hitcher as they try to recreate the legendary scene from Psycho.

I wonder if Alfred Hitchcock was flattered by this far more genital heavy homage to his now legendary scene?

Halfway through the running time and we’re one step closer to actually having some zombies show up now that the entire band is murdered. The small town residents bury the guys a foot or two deep in the front yard of Freak Manor and call it a day. Cassie has a harder time letting go. She sits beside Jessie’s grave and plays her favorite cassette tape of theirs that just so happens to feature… the same REANIMATION ROCK we heard them playing in the van earlier! The four fellows rise from their graves to march around town doing some strange dance before getting their vengeance against the Freaks who killed them.

Oddly enough, our story doesn’t end there. Before you can say “This movie is retarded” those killed by the band rise up from the dead to begin killing anew. That’s right. Zombie Hitler, Werewolf granny, zombie midgets and ever a zombie interpretive dancer! They are all back to tear about the quaint little town of Grand Guignol to pieces.

Will the band impress the big wig record executive now that they are dead? Can Grand Guignol be saved from the zombie apocalypse? Will the band ever be able to convincingly fake-play their instruments? Will there be any explanation as to why the midget zombie has decided to ride a cow? Will any of the severed head jokes make me laugh? Will Hitler’s gas chamber in the Cave of Death come in handy? You’ll just have to check this puppy out to see!

The grave diggers must have anticipated their reanimation since they just threw dirt ontop of the band rather than burying them. Good thinking! That saves time.

In all honesty, probably the only truly disturbing aspect of the entire film is Jessie’s strange lusting for Cassie. The 12 year old girl. The man writes songs about her. He runs after her as she flees. He even corners her to give her a sentimental ring which seems to win her over. There’s even a fantastic fantasy sequence that takes place towards the end of the film as the now zombified band rocks out their brand new Monster Ballad “Cassie” where Jessie sees himself running to embrace his little girl love in a secluded area of the woods while he is decked out in a white leisure suite and a matching ascot. This can only be the sexual fantasy of a mustachioed pedophile with a rotting brain and a taste for the tacky. That sequence was the one that elicited a serious reaction from me, a strange combination of nervous laughter and stomach churning.

Jesse, and his not yet legal love interest, Cassie.

The film reaches a climax as the town folks realize the only way to appease the zombie is to let them gang bang a virgin girl to death. AND THE TOWN FOLKS ARE COOL WITH THIS! They find this information in some random book (probably the same one Jessie got the Raise the Dead song from) and decide it’s time to sacrifice Cassie’s sweet, virginal love outlet to the hordes of the undead who probably can’t get it up anyway.

I mean, kudos for originality, but I have a feeling there was some creative force on this project who liked the prospect of a very young girl getting fiddled with a bit too much. The film already makes one feel dirty while watching it simply due to the production values but the added bonus of this strange Lolita complex makes me want to incinerate my clothes and take a scalding hot bath while trying to scrub away the stain on my soul with a Brill-O Pad and AJAX.

You know who else enjoyed rising from the dead to eat living flesh...

Hard Rock Zombies is a one of a kind film and is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and hopefully, you will ever see again. It’s awkward, bargain basement schlock that is hard to really get a grip on because there’s just so much zany shit going on in every dang scene! People running around with giant pictures of faces to avoid zombie attacks, people fondling dead women’s breasts, old men ascending to heaven after providing exposition, men parading around in tightey whiteys! It must be seen to be believed, and even then, you may not be able to wrap your mind around it.

This was my expression as I sat through Hard Rock Zombies.

In the pantheon of zombie cinema, Hard Rock Zombies undoubtedly is among the very worst. The scummy film at the very bottom of the Trash Cinema dumpster. But no viewer can deny its gonzo kind of creativity and originality. I mean, it didn’t transform into anything good. But, for those of us who find the appeal in the trashiest of bad movies, these are the flicks we are looking for. We’re not looking for something “good.” We’re looking for the forgotten. The oddities. The films everyone else threw away and banished to obscurity decades earlier. And for those of us who make up The Collective we find the beauty in such trash. And that’s what always keeps us searching and, in the end, always coming back for more.

Stay Trashy!

-The Primal Root




Dumpster Diving

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