Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Hallo-fucking-Ween (a week and a half late): Wrapping it up with some mini-reviews!

Yep, Halloween was a week and a half ago and I'm just finishing this thing up now. No apologies necessary. It's my blog and I don't get paid for this shit. Also, I wasn't around on Halloween and then I just sort of forgot all about it. Also, I don't have any movies fresh in my head to finish this countdown off with. So, instead of the standard shit, you're getting the shorter, less detailed, shit. I may expand on these write ups at some point.

Tourist Trap (1979)
Tourist Trap is just strange. Like Pixar's Cars it's a movie about the death of the small town. The interstate highway system swoops in replacing the old system of routes and..uh...non-interstate highways. Little towns become disconnected from all but the most patient of travelers. Businesses must either relocate or eventually fade into oblivion. One such place is SLAUSEN'S LOST OASIS, an old timey wax museum run by Chuck "The Rifleman" Connors. Still open for business, but failing to get any. Connors (as Mr. Slausen) is forced to be aggressive to drum up customers. Luckily for him, he comes across four teens searching for their friend (the friend's demise is splendidly depicted in the opening scene). By "looking for their friend" I mean skinny dipping in a swimming hole (unfortunately for us, no nudity which is an absolute shame when you consider that Tanya Roberts is one of the teens. Doubly frustrating when you remember that she showed her assets in the PG rated Beastmaster). The teens end up at the tourist trap (car trouble?), admire the wax figures for the life like artistry, drink sodas, get separated, and then slowly picked off one by one. You know the drill. Standard shit, except for several unique touches strewn throughout. You got weird humor, telekinesis, creepy mannequins that seem to come alive, chases through a swamp, and an oddball score. The final freeze frame is hilarious in its bizarreness. A somewhat forgotten oddity that deserves a renaissance.

Kidnapped (1974)

Out of all of Mario Bava's pictures, this is definitely my favorite. It's easily his most modern. Shelved for over twenty years (after Bava died and the studio went bankrupt) it was finally released in the 90s. I've seen two different cuts (Rabid Dogs and Kidnapped) and if they were fresher in my mind I might actually take the time to dissect the differences. What we have here is something completely unlike any of Bava's other works. Gone are the gothic trappings, the supernatural elements, any of that giallo shit we might be used to. Instead, everything is stripped bare. It's like the Bava accoustic album (don't worry, the score is pretty fantastic). It's like Bava watched Last House on the Left and then decided to make something similar while setting the entire thing in a car. Not just any car. A little car. The plot is simple. Four hoods, with names like "Blade" and "Thirty Two" rob a bank and, in the process of getting away (during which their driver is shot and killed), commandeer a new car and take some hostages (a man, a sick child, and a woman). Bava prepares us for the trip by involving the hoods in a standoff with the police where one of the hoods slits a woman's throat to show they mean business. We now realize anything can happen in that car...and anything pretty much does. Their boss attempts to maintain order and, for a while, he's successful. The tension escalates until it becomes nearly unbearable. Bava plays around with identity. The horrors here are real. We even got a scene where a poor woman urinates for her captor's amusement (and if that doesn't sell you on this thing, well, uh....). I was going to mention how this was a clear influence on Reservoir Dogs (at least in part) but according to the imdb it was released five years after Tarantino's film. You'll be disturbed and exhilarated simultaneously. The ending of this mother will shock you.

Chopping Mall (1986)
I'd long considered Chopping Mall as one of my own personal holy grail type films. The kind I'd long heard about but wasn't quite sure if I'd ever get a chance to see it. Basically, I'm lazy since this film really isn't that hard to track down. It's not on NETFLIX but damned if I couldn't find it on AMAZON. Anyway, I found a shitty edition in NEWBURY COMICS for ten bucks and it was totally worth it. A science fiction/horror amalgam filled with humor, references to Roger Corman films (his wife produced this), large naked breasts, and gore. Several horny teens get trapped in a shopping mall. It's a high tech mall with steel doors that slam shut and won't open until morning. Also, there are some security bots roaming around. Actually, they were security bots until a random lightning strike rendered them killbots. Now they're out for blood and also to make sure people "have a nice day". Apparently, the stars of Eating Raoul (unseen by me) have a cameo. As does Dick Miller reprising his role as Walter Paisley (now a beatnick janitor apparently) from Roger Corman's great A Bucket of Blood. The cast of teens are disposable. Thankfully, they are. Disposed of I mean. The funniest moment involves them hanging out in a department store, broken off into couples, as the camera pans across them displayed (on furniture) in various states of fornication. It comes as no surprise that the two nerds of the group are shown platonically sitting on a couch engrossed in a shitty B movie. I want to say "clearly they lived" but I was too drunk to possibly recall such minute details. One girl's got porn star tits, and she shows them. That I remember. The robots are ridiculous looking but they get the job done. If you must, go to youtube and spoil the head shot.

That's all I got time for. Maybe check these out and pretend it's halloween or something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

is porn the only winner during credit crunch?