"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Split Second

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

“Are you telling me there’s some thing running loose in this city ripping the hearts out of people and eating them so he can take their souls back to Hell?”

“Looks that way.”


I think you will be surprised to hear that I never saw SPLIT SECOND until now. Released against LEAVING NORMAL and NIGHT ON EARTH on May 1, 1992, I guess we could say it was the first sci-fi or action movie of Weird Summer. It’s part of that brief, beautiful phase when Rutger Hauer could be the protagonist of action movies (see also WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, BLIND FURY and THE BLOOD OF HEROES).

He plays Harley Stone, an infamously burnt out London homicide detective in the futuristic year of 2008. His first line of the movie is “Police, dickhead,” said to a barking guard dog while flashing his badge. Later he’ll call the dog a dickhead again and accuse him of knowing something about a murder. So he’s a pretty good action hero.

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Wyrmwood: Apocalypse

Friday, May 20th, 2022

WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE is a very fun Australian zombie movie that just came out here on blu-ray and DVD. It’s the long-awaited sequel to the 2014 film WYRMWOOD (released here as WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD), once again directed by Kiah Roache-Turner and written by Kiah & Tristan Roache-Turner. I don’t think you’d have that much of a problem understanding it without the first one, but I recommend watching both.

When I caught on to ROAD OF THE DEAD it was one of those situations where I assume I’ve run out of reasons to watch new zombie movies and then I see it and think “Okay, never mind. That’s a good reason.” The main gimmick that differentiates this apocalypse from others is that the meteor that caused the zombie outbreak also changed the earth in such a way that combustible engines no longer work. But then some guys figure out that the green fumes exhaled by the zombies can be harnessed as fuel. So this is a world where road warriors attach tubes to zombies’ mouths, strap them onto the back of their vehicles and burn rubber (or dirt). (read the rest of this shit…)

Delicatessen

Friday, May 13th, 2022

“Just like you said, the wind’s shifting. Everyone’s gonna get it.”


At the 65th Academy Awards, the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar went to a French film – the historical drama INDOCHINE. I’m sure it was great, but people like me didn’t know to pay attention to movies like that. We paid attention to the French film that we heard was really cool looking and darkly funny and had something to do with cannibalism. That was DELICATESSEN, the feature debut of directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro, which Miramax released in the U.S. on April 3, 1992, a year after it came out in France.

I don’t know how many screens it played on, because it didn’t make enough to show up on the box office charts, but I think it traveled around for a while. I remember seeing ads for it at the arthouse theaters – it was a much discussed cult movie of its time. Since this is maybe the most interesting of the April releases that kept playing into the summer it seemed like the best way to kick off this 1992 – Weird Summer series. (read the rest of this shit…)

Street Trash

Friday, April 29th, 2022

I was thinking about STREET TRASH (1987) after I revisited the TOXIC AVENGER series a couple months back. I had seen the movie as a teen and all I really remembered was a part where some dude is taking a piss and his dick gets ripped off and a bunch of guys play keep away with it. Of course, any movie would be proud to have a memorable scene like that, and most filmmakers would tip their hat to it, just out of professionalism. But it is widely known that TOXIC AVENGER director Lloyd Kaufman hates STREET TRASH and the people behind it. I heard him grumble about it at a book signing, and he refers to it sometimes in his books, without really going into specifics. People ask him about it in interviews, but he’ll just make a joke. The best explanation seems to be that he thinks it’s a rip off of the Troma style. Also, there was apparently some incident involving its “little shit” director Jim Muro on an episode of The Morton Downey, Jr. Show.

It definitely traffics in a similar in-your-face repulsiveness/taboo-violating to the Troma movies. It takes place among a community of homeless alcoholics in Brooklyn and uncomfortably blurs the line between offensive caricature and (very mildly) sympathetic portrayal. I can’t think of a character in the movie that’s not intentionally repellent, but the movie at least recognizes that they’re up against a cruel and unjust world. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

BLOODY MUSCLE BODY BUILDER IN HELL (1995) is a movie I watched partly because it was described as “the Japanese EVIL DEAD” and partly because it was called BLOODY MUSCLE BODY BUILDER FROM HELL. It’s a short, very low budget movie that does indeed pay tribute to the early works of Sam Raimi. I like seeing his influence reach across oceans and cultures like that.

In a prologue, a woman catches a guy named Naoto cheating and tries to stab him, so he kills her and buries her under the house. Years later, the house is rumored to be haunted. The man’s son Shinji, who is introduced lifting weights with a Muscle & Fitness magazine nearby, has inherited the house, and agrees to bring his ex-girlfriend Mika there, because she writes about hauntings for a living. They bring along an uptight psychic named Mizoguchi for his expertise (though Shinji thinks he’s full of shit). (read the rest of this shit…)

Deadly Games

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

DEADLY GAMES (1982) – not to be confused with the much better DEADLY GAMES (1989) a.k.a. DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS – is a slasher movie that I guess was very rare on video until now. I never came across it during my Slasher Searches, but now Arrow put it out on a nice blu-ray.

This is hardly one of the greats, but you know me, I’m a scholar, and I like seeing all the different variations and permutations of the formula. This one is interesting in that it takes place in a little bit more of a world of adults than most of them. And it’s not one of those crude regional movies – for the most part the production values and acting are slick and professional. And Steve Railsback is in it! If Steve Railsback is in it it’s a real movie.

The deadly games begin when Linda Lawrence (Alexandra Morgan, THE HAPPY HOOKER GOES HOLLYWOOD) is alone in her fancy hillside house and gets creepy phone calls from a strange man (calling from a phone booth improbably located in sight of her isolated home). She’s scared, then convinces herself she’s fine. She talks to a boyfriend on the phone and tells him, “No, I don’t look like Janet Leigh” before getting in the shower. Always the PSYCHO shower scene references in these things. Anyway, a guy in a ski mask attacks her and she falls out the window. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wrong Turn (2021)

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

WRONG TURN (2021) was marketed as a remake of WRONG TURN (2003), but is I think either a bonafide reboot (starting over from the beginning) or un-subtitled sequel (after they dropped the original title, WRONG TURN: THE FOUNDATION). If you consider the premise of the six previous WRONG TURN movies to be “travelers are hunted by a family of deformed cannibals,” then this is not a remake. It’s more like a re-asking of the question “what if some young people got attacked in some woods in West Virginia?” that gets a different answer.

I like the structure of it. It begins with grey-haired real estate agent Scott Shaw (Matthew Modine, TRANSPORTER 2) out of his element driving through Appalachia in search of his missing daughter Jen (Charlotte Vega, AMERICAN ASSASSIN). He finds an inn that she and her friends stayed at, and only knows they meant to hike an Appalachian trail. The police chief isn’t much help and also asks “Who’s the Black fella?” when he sees her boyfriend Darius (Adain Bradley, 2 episodes of Riverdale) in a photo. Locals at a bar basically tell Mr. Shaw to give up because if she got lost in those woods she’s surely dead. Rude. But he says he’s not gonna give up. (read the rest of this shit…)

Curfew

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

CURFEW is a 1989 New World Pictures joint, a kinda sleazy, kinda odd home invasion thriller that I never heard of until Vinegar Syndrome recently released it on blu-ray. In the dream-like opening scene, a guy named Bobby Joe Perkins (John Putch, JAWS 3-D, MACH 2) excitedly cuts a piece of cake for a not-very-enthusiastic-looking young woman. Suddenly a menacing man appears at the door – it’s his brother Ray Don (Wendell Wellman, SUDDEN IMPACT), who storms in and attacks the young woman, over Bobby Joe’s protests.

Then all the sudden the Perkins brothers are in prison together. Then all the sudden they’re out of prison together. At times the editing of this movie is incoherent, but there are other times when it’s got a good momentum to it. They stop to talk to some ranchers, cut to the ranchers already dead and the brothers wearing their clothes. Some of it works. (read the rest of this shit…)

Future Shock

Monday, March 14th, 2022

FUTURE SHOCK is a 1994 horror(ish) anthology, it seems very made-for-cable, though it apparently was made-for-video. Or at least as a compilation it was – I believe it’s made from two pre-existing short films tied following a new story and a wraparound.

The connective material stars none other than Martin Kove, who was in a prolific post-KARATE-KID period of his career – that year he also appeared in WYATT EARP, WYATT EARP: RETURN TO TOMBSTONE (yes, a TV movie that came out the same year as the better known one), ENDANGERED, SAVAGE LAND, GAMBLER V: PLAYING FOR KEEPS, DEATH MATCH, CAGNEY & LACEY: THE RETURN, plus a Burke’s Law and a Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Here he’s rocking Swayze/Gibson style long hair, but playing a mostly buttoned down character, Dr. Langdon (yes, THE DA VINCI CODE was originally written as FUTURE SHOCK fan fiction but Kove refused to be in the movies because he knew they were gonna be fuckin boring, that’s why they almost didn’t make them and obviously regretted when they did [citation not necessary]), a psychiatrist who uses virtual reality to help his patients face their fears. (You see? In the form of little Twilight-Zone-ish short stories.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Devilman (2004)

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

DEVILMAN (2004) is a live action fantasy-horror-action film based on the manga and anime of the same title created by Go Nagai – that guy who had the cameo as a food critic in THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II. Like THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II, DEVILMAN begins with friendly narration by its hero, in this case Akira Fudo (Hisato Izaki, CROWS ZERO), calmly telling us about his life and adventures.

The story is about a lifelong friendship between clutzy Akira and his more athletic friend Ryo Asuka (Yusuke Izaki, also CROWS ZERO). We see in the opening flashback that as a little kid Ryo “was a bit strange,” meaning he had grey hair, was obsessed with monsters and said he was one of them. Now Akira is known for his awkward smile and Ryo is known for his creepy lack of ever smiling at all. When some jerks at school beat up Akira a guy with long brightly colored braids (Masaki Nishina) warns them that one time he bullied Akira and Ryo came into his class and cut off two of his fingers with hedge clippers. (read the rest of this shit…)