Halloween Horrors 2012 #22 THINGS

Sometimes amazing THINGS can happen.  The existence of THINGS on a loaded DVD for example. Or moreso, having a few friends by and popping some THINGS like this “film” into the player at random.  THINGS will make fans of weird cinema’s thighs weep with joyful sweat.  THINGS will shake your cinematic ass faster than a Bounce singer at WALLYWALLYWALLYWALLYWAL-MART!  THINGS is just that, a THING of pure cinema that is a delicious blend of the shit you always wanted to do, and all the other shit you feared might happen if you did it.
THINGS is fucking magnificent.

It is almost impossible to really encapsulate what THINGS is about, but lets see what I can come up with. After a mysterious woman in a mask shows us some boobs and begs for a baby (!!) we are brought to the “real world” of THINGS where two guys, Don and Fred, wander around a shabby house and find a potentially demonic book (and tape recorder) in the freezer as they raid Don’s brother Doug’s house for some brews.  Why not?  It can’t get weirder tha…wait…what?  It can?  OH. KAY.

Doug comes home and there is a fluffy dog that wanders around, getting oddball cameos.  A woman explodes and a THING comes out of her. Oh, and then there is a random extended gore scene that makes The Burning Moon look like Spartacus (hey, I’d take the Ittenbach film every day if given the choice) that has the totally no clue what the fuck this guy is supposed to be doing playing a Mad Scientist dude portraying Dr. Lucas killing people. He impregnated Doug’s wife mysteriously (THE DEVIL you dumb hosers!) and she exploded.  Yet somehow, finding some bestiality on the television that tunes to different dimensions is more important.  THINGS run around.

Oh, and Amber Lynn appears reading some cards to her right…I think she is talking about stuff. George Romero comes up…he is apparently trying to sue to get the rights back to Night Of The Living Dead back so people can’t abuse it. Note, that is NOtLD playing in the background!  Brilliant.  And Amber looks the most like a Rob Liefeld creation I’ve ever seen.
There is more stuff, too much to list that you need to experience.  A plugged in chainsaw bug massacre. Gore and eating bugs and farting and watering down beer (fine American Lager!) and people get killed and for some reason Fred vanishes (into those TV dimensions…or getting help though we never see it referenced…or what??)  He comes back. And everyone gets THINGS on their brain.  You can’t even take a proper piss in this house without getting a THING on ya!
And this barely scratches the surface.

To describe THINGS does it a disservice.  You will either go with it or run screaming in the other direction, but you will not forget the experience. All the sound is post synch and you’ll swear that you are losing your mind and blanking out on proper sentence structure as you hear the letters strung together as words and words looped together as sentences.  The awesome sentiments of bug catching and random farting are conveyed with a disconnected style that starts to make sense if you apply the right stimulants to your mind. Cinema is my drug of choice, and this is like getting an eyeball full of accelerant that spins your brain out of control with it’s endless potential and utter failures at being a film collide.
But that failure is so fascinating that it becomes it’s own piece of outsider art.  There is obvious love for the horror genre here sometimes, but the people behind it seem to be talking through a megaphone with play dough jammed into it.  I have no idea what they MEANT to make, but what they did is something everyone that has ever dreamed of their very own horror film being made needs to see.  You may not even enjoy it, but that is not the point.

It’s THINGS and I’m humbled that it exists, and all these years later continues to find an audience and has been digitally preserved and given the GOLD standard treatment by Intervision!  In THINGIAN fashion, I have no desire to break down the special features of the DVD, I’m almost fearful to go behind the scenes here and find out what happened and instead focus on what I got, and will get, from future visits to it’s twisted hollows in the Super 8 monster kid world of make believe.  It has it’s own vision, it’s own language and it’s own funk that all of us need to smell to see what we make of it.  THINGS picks it’s nose and shoves the snot down your throat, but sometimes it tastes like bubblegum, and other times it tastes like spearmint shit.
I leave you with this early image… we do a tag along with the two dudes headed out for brew and surrealistic mayhem and pass this sigh.  BROKEN ROAD indeed… THINGS is utterly broken, it may even break you along the way. But it will provoke a response and I just can’t imagine anyone reading this would be bored by the many sludgy charms it has to offer.

This review is dedicated to the normal and fine souls that survived their trip through THINGS last night…may the damage and flashbacks not last too long!

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Halloween Horrors 2012 #21 SHOCK-O-RAMA

Halloween is a time for embracing all the rubber mayhem that invades the local abandoned shops, the big empty auto mile locations and that back aisle of the local drug store.  That is, in a way, the spirit of Brett Piper films in my mind.  A monster movie maker with a heart that beats in stop motion, I always find his movies fun to watch for what they are and as pure entertainment.  Shock-O-Rama is a weird little slice of anthology filmmaking that takes the usual stable of softcore entertainment crew at Alternative Cinema something strange to do and contains my favorite stop motion car mech EVER!  Let’s look at the bits n’ pieces.

Misty Mundae is on hand armed with her sweet smile and easily dropped towel (which is given quite the little wink n’ nudge here) as Rebeca Raven, horror starlet. Tired of the Tits n’ Terror flicks fobbed on her by a distributor, she heads off for a break.  In the ZOMBIE THIS segment she ends up having to face an undead creature and embrace her roots as a horror heroine.  She does in fun, and funny, fashion.  Look for the payoff a the features end since this is the wrap around bit that gives us a production “that starts Monday” doing a talent search for naked chicks in two shorter segments!  First up, MECHARACHNIA!

Some aliens crash land in a junk yard and have the owner, and his now distant ex-wife, trapped in said refuge of refuse until they find a way out.  They shoot at each other as nifty little animated creatures fight our occasionally funny foils for the action.  But it all comes to a head as the titular creature is unleashed, and it is a ton of fun.  Genuinely funny on occasion, the sheer craziness of the car-eature sells me on the entire film.  Brett Piper AGAIN shows he is tapped into the very core of what starts building a horror film fan.  Look at the picture.  That is cool.  Oh, and this as well…

That takes us into LONELY ARE THE BRAIN which features a house of psychotic women being tormented with dreams of gruesome horror and lesbian long tonguing.  Add to it that the sinister sexy scientist (played by Julian Wells) is just abetting a giant overstimulated brain from the future that is basically a sex negative from a futuristic Cafe Flesh and is causing all this bush, boobs n’ blood and you are deep in Eerie Pubs territory!  It sort of meanders at times, but incorporates surreal images with campy flashbacks and a style that is unique to Piper’s work to make for a fun second segment.  I really enjoyed the interplay with the monster and his prey at the end, the dialog is sharp and actually works very very well. 
LONELY ARE THE BRAIN appears to be a RINSE DREAM acid trip made for the horror crew nostalgic for the films of their youth, with the “dirty and forbidden” excesses of the 70s Drive In flicks that sat at the bottom of triple bills. 
And I love those as well. 

If you don’t know Brett Piper’s work I would point you to They Bite first, but Shock-O-Rama is a great little film that hits all the right buttons as a both a tribute to camp classics and as a piece of EI Cinema’s line of skin n’ sex flicks.  Give it a look if you dare!

Halloween Horrors 2012 #20 WRONG TURN 5

I did it!  All 5 entries in the Wrong Turn franchise are now part of this months HALLOWEEN HORRORS.  I don’t know if I deserve a pat on the back or a clonk in the face with a shovel, but I enjoy this series and part 5 doesn’t disappoint.  It has some definite minuses, but keeps things in the positive column for fans of the series (and probably very few others) as it tries something different.  After 3 flicks that stuck to the formula, director Declan O’Brien varies it up again by building off the rather tiny “history” provided in part 4 and has the backwoods boys in an entirely new adventure.  They have a new wrangler, and it is none other than Doug Bradley!  He gets all the good lines of course, and adds a new mission for the lads to go on a rampage of physical special effects pulled off carnage.  See, right there, I dig that they don’t just slap these in the standard sub-standard Amiga grade effects machine and churn them out with a “fuckit” when it comes to bringing the exact thing they promised when we put this in the player. It’s gory for sure.  But…those minuses keep it from being one of the best in the series at times.

After a great opening bit with a jogger in a Bruce Lee tracksuit (the Bruceploitation fan in me nerded WAY out) we have the first hand chop to make you say “ooooo” and then PLOP, right into the above credits sequence.  GREAT fun, and it sets the tone right off the bat.  A little lighter than the previous episode, Three Finger, Saw Tooth and One Eye are really just gibbering maniacs that act more like children than the feral hunters of the original film. They are pointed to destroy by their new father figure, a murderer on the run played by Pinhead, and they do it.  Endlessly. And gleefully.  The opening scene ALSO points out a flaw with the approach. The make ups look really silly when they just sit out in the open with no real lighting or dramatic effect.  I actually thought that it was going to be a prank that Three Finger was actually the character until the gore started.  But…I got over this quickly.  Because it doesn’t really matter in the end, it’s about putting some jeopardy in the horror movie spinner and seeing who survives the day.
 And there are boobs right after this stuff, we like attractive ladies getting undressed right horror fans?  So we are tracking here…take out the “scare” expectations and lets roll on.

 See that, a little lighting helps. Especially when someone is getting Anthropophagized. 
So, the plot this time is that during a local town festival that draws EVERYONE but a few people out of some empty sets in Bulgaria (ur…North Carolina), the clan tries to pick off some kids headed for fun with their loose bras and weed. Problem is, the leader of the band is captured and locked up by a pretty policewoman with what appears to be a lot to prove. She is going to get some justice.  The kids end up just sort of being let go (!) because we need to put someone on the soundstage. And then the film goes batshit nuts with crazy kills.  I was particularly impressed by Three Finger in a little earthmover thing driving around and mulching people ala Motel Hell and there is even an occasional good bit of chase action, but O’Brien doesn’t focus that way, instead he puts up elaborate gore scenes AFTER the hunts are done. Sort of swaps up why these films started, but why not. This is part 5.  Can anyone survive?  You, my hardcore horror loving friend, will probably see this on cable and find out.  It’s a good ending really…I liked it and will certainly take on Wrong Turn 6 if it happens. I’d like them to go to space if possible.

So this is where I think to myself, what is the best way to put across what Wrong Turn 5 is, exactly. Think of the SAW films and remove ALL the plot and characters and insert some very very inventive mutant hillbillies instead of an evil genius.  Jigsaw has mechanized mayhem.  The Hillbillies have hammers.  Jigsaw brings “enlightment”–and The Hillbillies bring agony.  This is really simple filmmaking, but it’s done well enough that I find it to be entertaining on the level of a promise fulfilled to me as a viewer.  One thing that I can’t quite wrap my head around is the decision to remove a lot of the stylized views of the clan however, it would be fine if they were being used a bit more humorously, but as laughs go, Wrong Turn 5 features some very sadistic deaths (O’Brien refers to the fact that he spends a lot of time pacing in his office trying to think of new ways to kill people)…they aren’t played for chuckles at all. It’s like a demented carnival ride (I love those), but the staff of the haunted house aren’t doing it exactly right in order to get the maximum “YAAARGH” from their patrons. 
Deeper cinematic questioning than Wrong Turn 5 demands for sure.

So, did YOU like the others. Did you like them all and hate #4?  I liked 4 more than this, but as always, our opinions may not match. If you were drawn to watch 4, then you will probably want, need and deserve to watch number 5.  I did. I do. And I got what I deserved and I liked it! 
And this promo by the way, is awesome….

Halloween Horrors 2012 #19 PREMUTOS: DER GEFALLANE ENGEL

I’m back for more Olaf Ittenbach this Halloween Horrors season.  After BLACK PAST rocked me back into the German Splatter Zone I couldn’t resist heading back into one of the most ambitious and gore drenched low budget films I’ve encountered, PREMUTOS!  I truly HATE that this received a completely pathetic US release that featured a German version without subtitles and a wretched half dubbed edition that demolishes everything in the film, from the cool moments to the INTENTIONALLY funny bits.  And this film NEVER disappoints.  You want to try to count the amazing effects? I bet you’ll run out of space on your tally card before you are 1/3 of the way through the movie!

Premutos is easy to recap, it’s a heart warming (and eating, and exploding) tale of a nefarious fallen angel that travels through history in an attempt to get back to Earth and hold dominion over we poor little flesh sacks known as humanity.  But humanity is tougher than this Fallen Son would think…and the movie tracks the dastardly beast through all kinds of scenarios. From the crucifixion of Christ (!!!) to the battlefields of histories most violent conflicts, Premutos is there.  I bet it thought it had found the perfect place to strike as we meet Mathias (Olaf Ittenbach)…a merry loser that gets his teeth drilled (watch for the DISGUSTING blood suction gag…ACK!) and his testicles SMASHED by a soccer ball. And that funny bit even sets off a horrific flashback that leads to massive dismemberment from a past life intruding into his thoughts.  Nobody said being the son of Premutos would be easy.  Ittenbach takes a whole lot of latex laden punishment in these scenes!  It’s nastier than the jumbo swollen dong he is left with after the ball bursting.

Of course, it doesn’t go well as Mathias’ family and there friends gather for his zany dad’s birthday party… and in one of the most stunning sequences in a berzerker history of HOLYSHIT moments, watch as Ittenbach is impaled, exploded, wrapped in barbed wire and reborn into the harbinger of hate!  And then we are off to the races.  The goofy party goers RULE not just because they fall in massive fashion and eventually whip out a tank (yes, a tank) to battle Premutos, but because their little sub stories are actually entertaining and funny and well put across. The woman that slaps the crap out of Hugo cracks me up, she is really laying it on hard!

I think this is the crossroads for viewers that settle down with these earlier Ittenbach films.  I think he has a very unique style not only in the effects and scenarios he crafts (and these are crafted)-but also with his sense of pace and attention to character details that aren’t exactly the usual way these films play out.  You’ll either get into it, or you’ll tune out after the 814th flying limb or the 200th gallon of red fluids splattering your screen.  I love the drive and ambition in every frame of Premutos.  Even when the script says “then he flicks a snot ball in her mouth” the director puts together an effects scene that has as much tension in the build up as most slasher films get for the horror sequences.  I’m all in for Olaf…and the like minded readers here will be as well.  Find a subtitled print…settle in and be prepared for pure splatter and some great laughs along the way!

Halloween Horrors 2012 #18 THE BRAIN

I’m fairly jaded.  I know it.  I also know I must have rented this one 20 years ago (or more) and marked it as OK and all that. But now I am ready to accept this haunting tale of the most EVILEST FLESHLIGHT EVER SEEN!!  I have enjoyed October so very much already, but nothing could have warmed me up for how excited I was by this 1988 flick from Canada, THE BRAIN!! 

RECEIVED indeed!  Right out of the gate we have David Gale as a cross between Morton Downey Jr., L Ron Hubbard and Barry Convex from Videodrome.  His local TV show, INDEPENDENT THINKERS is all the (murderous) rage as everyone seems to think he is just the grooviest guy ever.  Problem. He is actually using a giant brain monster to hypnotize everyone that is watching.  Luckily a local scamp of a lad in the little High School can take some time out of his SODIUM PRANKS (keep that in mind, the word SODIUM appears constantly in the background of the wareshouses and buildings) and getting laid to be discovered as BRAIN PROOF by the evil villain.  Therefore, the town is set against him as some Cerebellar Smashing occurs and he is blamed for it. Poor kid, he can’t stop hallucinating (ahem, Videodrome) and embarks on a cheapjack adventure like no other.  By the way, did I mention that THE BRAIN actually flies about and eats people? While roaring louder than Jaws 4?  David Gale can only quip, “well, that’s food for thought.”
HAH!!!

Yes, that is a teddy bear shooting out a fleshy tentacle to strangle a woman while her daughter tries to battle free of the bad BRAIN WAVES.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much odd goings on made me smile in this movie.  It’s a very very basic old time monster film at it’s damaged little heart to be honest, and having the presence of Gale as the insane scientist that MAY NOT BE WHAT YOU THINK (ahem) really adds to the fun. But honestly, it’s all about the rubber here.  I am not one that enjoys heavily condomed lovemaking, but I’ll strap this sucker on any day and let my Cinerection lead the way to paradise.  It’s fairly well made, the only real plot device to stop the monster is laid out so flat and so many times you can’t miss it, but who cares. Heck, they even apologize and advise YOU not to do what kills giant brains monsters in the closing credits. LOOK AT IT!!

SODIUM!!!!

This was, by far, my most exciting rewatch of the season, because I’m now ready to admit that this can hold the same warm spot in my heart that THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE does.  It’s a little tacky in spots, but when things slow down in the polyurethane pummeling the filmmakers drop a car off a really really really high cliff to keep guys like me interested.  I dig that. If you want a goofy monster flick, this is one you deserve to put in the player and chill with.  If my words don’t convince you, here are more images from this really distinct, really groovy, utterly cerebral HALLOWEEN HORROR!!

Halloween Horrors 2012 #17 THE FOREST

Now this was an unexpected treat amidst the carnage of HALLOWEEN HORRORS 2012… an early 80s slasher film that I had not seen finally popped out of the pile!  And it is a weird flick that utterly fails as a slasher, but manages to pull off a cross the genres flip with a ghost story that works to make it a horror film that is most Eerie Publications in it’s delivery.  Cheap, slightly gory, very silly at turns, but I can’t resist enjoying one that has me guessing as to the end AND crossing it as one of the few films that reminds me of my favorite Fulci film, HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY.

After a lengthy opening sequence that doesn’t really generate much in the way of suspense but does set the tone for the look and sound of this little film, a couple is killed in THE FOREST (note that the groovy opening tune sets the stage with “Because many have died…in the dark side…of THE FOREST!” ) we cut to the big city where some dudes complain about their wives and decide to take some man mating time out in THE FOREST.  But the ladies want to get in on the act too.  So, it is a group trip, but each sex pairs off to drive up.  And the guys get delayed…  There is a slasher in them thar hills ladies!

After the usual slasher antics get underway, some stalking is done, some POV shooting is utilized and you know it is about to go down when suddenly…WHAM!  Kid ghosts warn that Daddy is Hunting!  And then a ghostly woman shows up…to PUNISH the kids.  Of course, the girls are freaked out and surprisingly, one is made short work of by the hillside horrorist and EATEN!  And yes, he feeds her to the guys when they finally get there.

His story is one of woe, the ghosts are explained, but it is awesome because it REALLY happens! This isn’t a crazy slasher seeing things, this is a real case of ghosts haunting a man, and his victims as well.  VERY clever scripting that gets let down a little by the skill of getting it on film, but not so much that the fun is completely lost in translation.  And hey, we have a flashback that features a husband scorned and a fight scene between a dude with a pitchfork and another guy with HALF. A. FUCKING. BUSTED. BICYCLE.

 Look at that.
One of a kind.
The Forest rules just for this.

Anyway, there is plenty of backwoods terrorizing to fill up the running time and spooky ghost pop ups like a virus from another film entirely to keep you guessing.   Perhaps the most startling thing that struck me throughout was that I actually LIKED the actors in the roles. They are stiff for the most part, but the scenario is so strange it actually plays to the line readings!  The appropriate levels of panic are on display and I think the film benefits from some strongly weakened acting (does this make sense, maybe not), but I know I’d be in shock if I had to deal with all this at one time.  Of course, I’m also in shock and have acted badly in this blog entry just because I missed this film for so many years!
I really love boopitybeepedy soundtracks and this sucker is LOADED with one!  It’s groovy goofy overdrive right off the bat.

A fun night of woodsy nonsense that features a giant tree. Look at this damn thing. It’s huge!  HUGE like the enjoyment I got with this film.  HUGE!

Halloween Horrors 2012 #16 DEAD EYES OPEN

Ah, German zombie films!  I love German splatter from the likes of Schnaas, Rose and Ittenbach, but I have to say that Ralf Mollenhoff probably won’t be joining those esteemed ranks any time soon.  Well, they are esteemed around here, and perhaps some of you may think I’m setting the bar low, but DEAD EYES OPEN doesn’t even hit the mark of Violent Shit 1 sadly.  However, as most of my readers know, I’m a forgiving guy and I actually found a few nifty things in the short running time of this shot on Super 8 and inexplicably picked up (even by Troma) film.  So, if you hate ultra cheap horror films you can take this as the jumping off point to go to my next HH flick. 
Anyone left?  OK then, here we go.

This is your VERY basic “group of people wander around and are picked off by slow Romero style zombies that sometimes do odd things like hang on bridges and dive off when boats slip beneath them. That is one patient freaking zombie!  But I liked that, inventive if completely ridiculous.  And isn’t that we we would load this up?  Show me something interesting and I’m a fan.  Sadly, that is about the only bit that was cool.  Check out brain zombie up there…he is a legless paratrooper of the dead!

There is dialog, but you won’t care…there are characters doing stuff, but you probably will zone out and wait for the gore.  I have to say this however, Mollenhoff definitely was looking for a “style” here using his Super 8 cameras, and I actually thought some of the editing and processing was nifty in a weird way. It works once in every ten stylistic tries, but that isn’t a bad track record all things considered. There isn’t much else to recommend.  But wait, there is more to discuss. 

George Romero has one HILARIOUS “cameo” since this looks like a convention appearance that has been downloaded from YouTube and then dubbed into “Sinister German Harbinger of Dread” footage.  AWESOME, I salute you Ralf Mollenhoff!  It is so ridiculous!

Who is this movie for?  The ZOMBIPHILE that must see everything will endure. The German Splatter heads will survive. All others shall fall with good reason before the drab finale–but I made it through and I know many who could.  It tries, but…well…I guess I have to admire the crew behind this for getting world wide distribution for their oddball film!

DEAD EYES OPEN is sort of like that one person that goes down on you that wasn’t particularly good at what they were working with, but did it a bit different. You’ll remember it for a bit, but won’t want it again for fear your genitals will end up damaged!