Monday, June 22, 2009

Quickie(s) In the Back Room

I've been away for a couple of weeks thanks to my piece of shit computer that I refuse (i.e., can't afford) to replace. I've seen a lot of unmemorable shit , but a few things stuck with me. I don't remember enough to do full scale reviews. If you want a "proper" review check out my just finished People Under the Stairs write up below. I just figured that I watch so much shit I don't write about that this might be a decent way to keep track of it all. Perhaps I'll be able to recommend (or not) some of the shit I've waded through.

Hitch-Hike (1977)
David Hess (The Last House on the Left) rapes and murders his way through some Italian desert standing in for the American south west. Actually, Hess hitches a ride with Italian journalist Franco Nero (Django) and his lovely wife, Corinne Clery (The Story of O). The married couple are not happy, he's a drunk and she's a bit of a cold fish. Into their lives comes Hess fresh off a bank robbery and a double cross. Along the way, they encounter the dumbest cops this side of Roscoe and Enis, Hess's jilted partners in slime, a little rape, a little murder, and some good old fashioned 70s misogyny. Mix all this shit together and it doesn't work, right? Somehow, it does.

House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

Here we have another Italian film where David Hess rapes his way through the run time. Unfortunately, this thing is directed by the guy that brought us Cannibal Holocaust. Fortunately, no animals were massacred during the filming of this picture. Hess and his effeminate buddy crash a party hosted by some spoiled rich kids. This being a Hess picture, things get ugly pretty quickly. It's pretty reprehensible stuff, even for me. Girls get naked, girls get raped. Even the attempt at a moralistic ending is completely offset by the idiotic fact that the terrorized kids had a gun hidden within reach the entire time (Hess only had a knife). I almost turned it off when he started slicing the virgin. Hess, as an actor, had some chops. It's a shame I've only seen him in three pictures and he brutalizes women in all of them.

Circle of Iron (1978)
I hoped to review this as a fitting tribute to David Carradine, but then I watched the thing. Carradine stole Kane from Bruce Lee in life and, in death, he stole old blind man, monkey guy, and Arabian douche bag from him (Lee came up with the story hoping it would make him a star). There's not much to recommend here. Jeff Cooper is the statuesque (like a totem pole) star who loses a martial arts tournament (he won, but cheated) and still decides to take the spoils for himself (a chance to face the three trials and, ultimately, fight Zetan (Christopher Lee wandering on set from a completely different movie - Wicker Man, perhaps). Cooper looking all Beastmasterly is a cocky motherfucker who we wish would suffer greatly. And then die. Along the way, he meets David Carradine who plays a blind flute player (a part he plays very well, i might add) and also David Carradine as a guy in monkey costume. Here's a quick aside: Why cast Roddy McDowall in a picture that features a clan of kung fu fighting monkey men and not have him perform feats of ape-fu? Hell, McDowall was totally wasted as the decidedly human overseer of the tournament. The fights are stagy, unimpressive, and also infrequent. Eli Wallach provides the best moment as a guy whose been sitting in a cauldron of oil in the middle of a desert for nearly a decade dissolving his own junk.

Dead Snow (2009)
Here's a Norwegian Zombie picture that rips off (or is it homages?) things like Evil Dead 2, Shaun of the Dead, The Descent, probably even Severance. Some friends go out to an isolated cabin. The twist is it's a mountain cabin and there's snow every where. Old man comes to warn them off, drinks their booze, etc. Nazi zombies attack. People die horribly while the visual jokes abound. The Zombies were creepy and sorta had personalities. I wanted all the characters to die not because they were vile. Because they were all so god damned uninteresting. The fat guy gets screwed by the hottest chick so I guess there's hope for all you fat guys. Too much time spent coming up with ways to reference other, better, movies. Not enough time spent working out the story or creating characters we could give a shit about. The gore is enough to satisfy those that can get through a movie based on splatter alone. The best compliment I can give it is It's not terrible, just extremely ordinary.

The Story of O (1975)
Because I am one perverted mother fucker.

Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus (2009)
Lorenzo Lamas. Debbie Gibson. Mega Shark. Giant Octopus. This thing should fucking write itself. Actually it did. Unfortunately, it's an Asylum production meaning they wrote, cast, shot, and edited the thing in about a week. The best scene is when the shark leaps out of the water and takes out a commercial airliner as it descends to about 10,000 feet (it's in the trailer). Unfortunately, too many scenes of Debbie Gibson and her lover not doing anything remotely arousing; playing with left over re-agent in vials in a science-y type lab, having post-coital chat in the closet, spouting off about pheremones, etc. Lamas was sorta fun as a racist government official. Watch the trailer, skip the movie.

Eaten Alive (1980)
Holy shit. Italians, if we are to belive their movies, have little use for women (except for sex - consensual or not). In this one, a southern belle searches for her sister who was taken in by a Jim Jones style cult somewhere in New Guinea. New Guinea = Cannibals. Full frontal ungroomed nudity abounds. Also, animal killings (maybe it's stock footage, but still, Come on...). The southern girl enlists the aid of an Indiana Jones type to lead her deep into the jungle. He's a decent enough fellow that thinks nothing of slapping her around when she goes all woman-y on him. Despite the title, there ain't much in the way of being eaten alive until the end. Luckily, Indiana Jones knocks out Marian with a wicked right hook before she can bear witness. I don't know whether to recommend this or attend some meetings.

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