Jul 31, 2012

YESSSSSSS


This.

Jul 29, 2012

PREPARE


Imagine: You half-hear a low, guttural sound from outside as you lay sleeping. You figure it's just your stomach after too much delicious Mexican food...but a sudden thud on the outside wall of the house shakes you from a peaceful slumber. Deep within the primal centers of your brain, you realize the dead have risen to claim our once-peaceful realm. What do you do? What do you need? The dead have risen, and they've returned as something different. Those you were once closest to now hunger for your flesh, and possibly the Mexican food you had for dinner.

There is no room for error when dealing with the undead. Our Z.E.R.O. (Zombie Extermination, Research and Operations) Kit takes into account all the different aspects of surviving the looming zombie apocalypse. When the undead hordes rise from their shallow graves to wreak havoc on all decent civilization, you'll need to both fight back (Extermination), and find a cure (Research).

Always be prepared. In the new zombie world you can be king of the hill, or the tastiest treat in town.
Source.

Jul 28, 2012

SHITTY FLICKS: CRAZY FAT ETHEL 2

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis.

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.


Once upon a time, a fat woman named Priscilla Alden met an auteur named Nick Millard.

"I could put you in the movies!" he cried. 

Priscilla made a slight gurgling noise. 

"That's a good idea," whined Nick, and they made a movie called Crazy Fat Ethel aka Criminally Insane.

Thirteen years later, Nick ran into Priscilla at a pie eating contest. Priscilla was in the lead, whereas Nick had attended just to steal all the leftover crusty pie plates to snack on until his next unemployment check posted to his account. Their eyes met and they knew what they had to do. Nick hastened to his mother's bedroom, where he wrote 20 pages worth of a screenplay on the walls.

In crayon.

Making a trail of chicken wings up to the bedroom, Priscilla followed. He then showed her the screenplay, circled with barbecue sauce. The rest, as they say, is history. The two became one for a second time with another film: Crazy Fat Ethel 2.

After Ethel’s first bout of fatting and killing, she was shipped back to her former home: the Nappa Mental Institute, where she now resides in a room, sullenly leaning against a wall as she dreams about the first movie. After a couple rounds of that, Ethel feasts on some bread, sopping up some plate sauce and stuffing it in her fat hole, working it around as Nick Millard becomes acquainted with the zoom function.

Crazy Fat Ethel 2 is comprised largely of footage from the first movie, and it should also be noted that while the first film was shot on 16mm, this movie was shot with someone's borrowed VHS home video camera. The two mediums, when combined, are glaringly different, and it really shows just how pedestrian this sequel looks in comparison to the first film. This also produces a strange realization: as bad as the first movie is, it's nothing when compared to this movie. If Crazy Fat Ethel 1 was a ball of shit, then Crazy Fat Ethel 2 is a ball shit that the previous ball of shit somehow shit out.

 Sure, working sixteen-hour days was a daunting task,
but those old truck parts she was promised was a
treasure well worth earning.

In the hospital, a very real doctor named Dr. Stephens sits in his very real doctor's office, complete with a desk lamp and framed inspirational picture of whales, as he establishes with another very real doctor how the state has cut funding to the hospital and the less dangerous patients (which includes Ethel, despite her murderous and cannibalistic past) must be transferred to halfway houses. Other doctor only nods in agreement and is probably never seen again.

Ethel, meanwhile, snacks on a small glass jar of pudding, and as long as it takes for her to eat it, that's how long we're forced to watch it. Then she throws down the glass jar and spoon upon its completion and farts, "It's too damn little!"

This is when we meet Hope Bartholomew, who is wearing the skins of a recently deceased zebra. She fields a call from Dr. Stephens, who requests that she agree to take in Ethel to her home, which she does, proclaiming, “You know my motto! We must never lose hope!”

Ethel is dropped off at Mrs. Bartholomew’s, wearing her signature fat body and brown duds.

“Welcome to Bartholomew House, Ethel," says Mrs. Bartholomew. "I trust you’ll be happy here.”

Ethel’s poorly lit face remains emotionless, signifying the same lack of interest in her life that I have in this movie. Mrs. Bartholomew’s attention to Ethel will cause her to believe that she is actually her Granny, and she’ll refer to her that way for the rest of the movie.

Once inside, Ethel freaks out upon seeing a particular patient, insisting that he is the cop that put her away at the conclusion of the first movie. As the camera zooms in on her fat face over and over, the man disinterestedly stares back at her, sniveling his mustache.

A close up of an intercom (brought to life by a woman obviously shouting off-screen) informs us that it’s lunch time. Ethel eagerly slimes off her bed and thunders downstairs, only to stop and see the wall groper, Greg. After watching this groping man for far longer than is necessary, Ethel sits down to a nice hot bowl of black water, all the while giving the evil eye to the mustachioed man she still believes to be the cop.

Greg at first refuses to sit down to lunch, but mustachioed man placates him, telling him that he would give him “some of that special seasoning” he likes: dead flies.

Say, these guys really are crazy!

After a while, Greg grows tired of eating fly soup and begins to play an imaginary piano.

Later, Mrs. Bartholomew tries to give Ethel her medication, but she reacts negatively, flinging the tray from Mrs. Bartholomew’s old hands and pooing, “I don’t want any damn pills! I want a snack, Granny!”

Mrs. Bartholomew leaves the room to rat Ethel out to Dr. Stephens, who continues to be a real doctor by sitting behind a desk in a white room and wearing a lab coat.

"Hello, I am a real medical doctor. I would like to order
some pill medicine, and some of those brown medicine
jars with the lids that are hard to get off. No, I will not
hold. I am due in a brain surgery meeting."

An extremely Jewish looking man plops down the steps, an alarmingly accurate clone of Parenthood’s Tom Hulce. He proudly states that Mrs. Bartholomew had to go into town, and has left him in charge. When Ethel demands to know when dinner will be served, he responds that he “doesn’t want to hear any complaints about the corn-beef hash.” And then we cut to see him prying open cans of dog food and divvying them onto several plates.

Let's all laugh together, shall we?

As the other members of the halfway house debate over the quality of the meat, Ethel laughs absurdly for absolutely no reason.

Later, as Ethel is washing dishes, she catches Tom Hulce sexily eating a candy bar in the kitchen. She longs for it from afar, biting her lip and dreaming of its chocolate nuts, and how good it would feel inside her.

After what feels like two weeks, Tom Hulce states, “This candy bar is SO good! It’s so chocolaty and sweet inside!" As Tom Hulce withdraws another from his pocket, I can’t help but wonder: why can’t I be dead?

Ethel, not one for letting sleeping hot dogs lie, procures a length of rope from the curtains and jimmies a booby-trap on the banister that wouldn’t have even trapped the Wet Bandits. But no worries, because it works almost instantly, as Ethel drops the noose around Tom Hulce’s neck and somehow lifts the man off his feet with her flabby arms, killing him. Mustachioed man slowly shuts the door, having witnessed this horrible crime, setting in motion his dastardly plan.

Ethel then replaces the length of rope, because why not? I've shat out better things than this movie.

Priscilla just kept laughing, hoping the crew would forget
they had asked what happened to the entire table of day-old bagels.
 
Later, Mrs. Bartholomew talks with a cop in her living room. The cop soon turns his sights on the very large bastard that is Ethel Janowski as he questions her about the strangling of Tom Hulce

“I was watching 'Gunsmoke' on TV!” cries Ethel, staring at her fat feet. She runs into the kitchen and is confronted by mustachioed man, who tells her he will rat her out to the cop unless she “gives up [her] dessert for the next month.” The horrified look on Ethel’s face as the camera zooms out is almost priceless.

Ethel, so distressed by this recent development, takes yet another nap, where she dreams of the first film—more specifically, murdering Rosalee, her atrocious-looking sister, and John, her atrocious-looking pimp.

At dinner, Ethel begrudgingly hands over her pudding to mustachioed man, who eats it slowly in front of her. Ethel stares back in slight curiosity and utter desire, trying to understand the man’s intent. Wishing she could smush the chocolate deliciousness into her own mouth, she quickly tends to the whistling tea kettle in the kitchen and pours a healthy dose of rat poison (courtesy of a large white box with ‘rat poison’ written in unrealistically small letters) in mustachioed man’s tea.

As Ethel sips apprehensively from her pig mug, the two attempt to ignore the fact that they're outlandishly insane and make idle chatter about tea, and how they like it “hot”or how they like it “good and hot.” The oddly sexual undertone of the scene comes to a mercifully quick close as he puts down the mug, deciding not to drink it. Ethel rolls into the kitchen, where she bangs pots and eats an apple. Mustachioed man busies himself at the sink as Ethel withdraws a very small blade from the drawer and stabs him in the back, the knife flopping immediately to the side. She withdraws several more knives, applying them sloppily to his back. She pauses for a moment to snack off her apple, and then continues stabbing, laughing as she does so.

"What? No, Ethel, you can't suck on the fucking ham bone."

As the cop “discovers” the body in the kitchen, stating, “I might as well set up shop right here,” without the least hint of horror, Ethel snacks on forbidden pretzels in her room. She then hides them as Mrs. Bartholomew enters to explain that her house had never seen such horror, miles from the realization that this only happened once Ethel came to live there.

“You know my motto: we must never lose hope!” she restates.

As Ethel sticks her hands in her mouth, Mrs. Bartholomew spots the pretzels and attempts to leave with them, but Ethel shouts, “You give me those pretzels, Granny,” and chases her into the hallway where she beats her to death with a tiny candle holder.

“I guess I just lost hope!” Ethel says to no one, spraying the room with pretzel crumbs as she cackles.

Dr. Stephens, the real doctor, decides to take a trip out to the Bartholomew house after not being able to get in touch with her over his doctor phone. Ethel panics and lunges at the good doctor with her large knife into the sitting room where she chases him around the couch three full times, grabbing at random pieces of furniture as she runs for some support, lest she wipe out and beach herself like a fat ass whale waiting for a mouthful of warm, dead meat. The very fit-looking man opts to make a break for the front door. Thanks to the power of editing, the extremely old, fat, and feeble Ethel catches up and stabs him in the back, burying her fake knife into a pillowcase of ketchup. Does it matter that he falls on his stomach and his white shirt is stabbed, but a different cut shows him on his back and wearing a blue shirt?

Yes, yes it does.

It really does.

But not in this movie.

Ethel then wanders into the back yard and pulls a Julie Andrews, spinning around with her arms spread and doing some killer prancing, content that she has murdered the entire household and probably eaten large quantities of buttered steak.

Ethel, now having finally lost everything in her mind, answers the knocked door to see the cop. “Hello, I am Hope Bartholomew,” she moos. “Welcome to Bartholomew House. I hope you’ll be happy here.” She then laughs as the cop looks as disgusted and annoyed as I feel right now.

Ethel tries to distract herself with some television as a
plumber performs some monthly maintenance on her vagina.

After the end of Crazy Fat Ethel 2, Nick Millard and Priscilla Alden felt they should say farewell to their exploitation horror films featuring a wide-assed woman eating eclairs and committing heinous murders. And then, Nick Millard wrote a screenplay about a wide-assed woman who commits heinous murders (while dressed as a nurse). In keeping with his style, this particular screenplay was scrawled on the side of a tractor trailer at a truck stop that Millard visits to get peed on by road-weary truckers who are into that sort of thing.

What I Learned From Crazy Fat Ethel 2:
  • Watching a stationary shot of a fat woman eating pudding for three real-time minutes is as unappealing as it sounds.
  • No, seriously, using footage from the first film of a series in the second installment is a great way to save money while also being a lazy douche bag. (See Death Nurse; Death Nurse 2; Silent Night, Deadly Night 2).
  • Standing/facing walls and quivering took off as the national pastime in America in 1988, just below baseball and sex.
  • Always make sure to pay your taxes, or else mental institutions will lose funding, close down, and seriously let the insane wander the streets.
  • Flies in soup taste really good if you're batshit insane.

Jul 27, 2012

ONE

 

After nearly 30,000 visits and 230 posts, The End of Summer turns one year old today. I'd like to thank the folks at Greenleaf & Associates, Drafthouse Films, Breaking Glass Pictures, The Asylum, MTI Media, MVD Entertainment, FilmBuff, and the other movie companies generous enough to send me screening material. Much more importantly, I'd also thank everyone who has visited, and especially those who have made it a consistent stop during their daily Internetting. Writing is fun and all, but it's especially rewarding knowing folks out there appreciate it and come back for more.

Here's to another year.

Jul 25, 2012

REVIEW: HEADSPACE (DIRECTOR'S CUT)


I wish I could say that Headspace was an interesting failure. Not many films merit that kind of simplistic response, but it does happen. But Headspace is really just one of those unfortunate, regular kind of failures. It is a hodgepodge of ideas liberally borrowed from other movies, mixed together by filmmakers who seem to be taking themselves way too seriously, all of which is wasted on a cast of horror veterans who deserve better roles and a better movie.

In a prologue that completely wastes Sean Young, a mother of two young sons goes nuts and monstrous and needs to be dispatched by the boys’ father (the always wonderful Larry Fessenden). We flash forward about ten years, and see what has become of the younger son, Allen (Christopher Denham, the mental patient from Shutter Island who was convinced a nurse wanted to see his penis so she could laugh at it). Allen, separated from his brother, and out of contact with a father who signed away the custody of his children, lives in New York, where he has cursory friendships with people we never quite learn enough about. One of these friends includes a neurotic hippie looking man who plays chess every day in the park. Allen forms an instant connection with this man, even though the guy seems to be halfway insane.


After Allen becomes super smart for seemingly no reason, he suffers a seizure and is taken to a hospital, where tests are performed on him. Once released into the care of a psychologist, people around him begin to die one by one. And frightening visions of monstrous, Lovecraftian things lurking in dark corners begin to torment him.

Headspace is basically a re-manufactured version of Jacob’s Ladder, even borrowing some of director Adrian Lyne’s signature quick shaky-head effects. The big difference between the two is that while Jacob's Ladder was both unique and interesting, Headspace is neither. Our lead character is almost immediately unlikeable, especially evidenced when he realizes that he can memorize entire books just by flipping through them a single time, which leads not to worry on his part, but overwhelming pride. At one point he even lurks outside a friend’s window and watches as he fucks his girlfriend for a solid five minutes. How are we supposed to sympathize with a person like this? And how are we supposed to take these filmmakers seriously after they’ve shoehorned in a completely useless sex scene?

"Trust me: I've killed werewolves, Critters, and Cujo."

Headspace is a movie that wants to fuck with your mind, but all it does is test your patience. You’re never really given a reason to care about Alex, his problems, or those folks who his problems are immediately affecting. And once the big reveal comes in the final act that is supposed to blow your mind, you’re only left with the reaction, “Who cares?”

Headspace features some grisly and well-done effects, the best involving a shotgun blow to a head. A limited budget causes some of these effects to be captured in quick cuts or overly edited sequences, but what we do manage to see is pretty effective. It’s also nice to see the likes of the aforementioned Young and Fessenden sharing the screen with Dee Wallace (The Howling), William Atherton (Ghostbusters), Udo Kier (Blade), and Olivia Hussey, who will always be sorority girl Jess, Audra Denbrough, and Mrs. Bates, and who is destined to be beautiful no matter her age.


What attracted me to this film in the first place was its recent re-release dubbed the “director’s cut.” Releases like this have become commonplace, but only when big money is involved, and half the time what is termed a director’s cut is just the original movie with an extraneous scene added back to the movie in order to market it as different. You hardly ever see “director’s cuts” of low budget horror films that hardly set the world on fire. Every once in a great while, you manage to come across a director's cut that is somehow inferior to the original theatrical cut (Donnie Darko, for one; and some would argue Richard Stanley's Dust Devil). If this version of Headspace is the director’s cut - and therefore the "better" version - I sympathize with those unfortunate enough to have suffered through the first incarnation.

Jul 24, 2012

MASS HYSTERIA

"For the first time, the stage-scenery of the senses collapsed; the human mind felt itself stripped naked, vibrating in a void of shapeless energies, with resistless mass, colliding, crushing, wasting, and destroying what these same energies had created and labored from eternity to perfect."
- Henry Brooks Adams

Jul 22, 2012

DREAM

I had a dream I was interviewing Joss Whedon about a project he was producing. For some reason during my questioning I began ripping off little pieces of paper from my notes, rolling them into little balls, and throwing them at his head. He was a good sport and ignored the first few, but after a while he said:

"Stop it, or I'll bite you."

"Do your worst, Whedon," I said and bounced one right off his nose.

He promptly lunged for my left leg and sunk his teeth in just below my knee cap.

"Fucker!" I shouted. I tried to rip away from his jaws but he held on like a shark. I began punching the back of his head, but with each punch he just clenched tighter and tighter.

Beginning to panic I tried everything I could think of to get free: I continued the punching but I also flicked his face with my finger, ripped his hair, and even stuck my hand through his open teeth and stabbed at his tongue. With each assault he bit down harder and harder.

After I while I began laughing uproariously. And as I did so, Joss Whedon began to laugh, too, and eventually his toothy grip on my leg loosened. Soon he had let me go and we both just laughed at how absurd everything had just become.

Then I delivered a really solid sucker punch to his face, and we freeze-framed on this action like it was the last shot of an '80s comedy.

Then I woke up.

Jul 19, 2012

REVIEW: THE DISCO EXORCIST


The other day I received a screener for The Disco Exorcist in the mail. I took one look at the synopsis...and I groaned. And after I watched the trailer, out of curiosity...I groaned even louder. But, because I vowed to review every single piece of material sent my way, I bit my lip and hit play.

I gotta tell ya...I laughed quite a bit. And not ironically. I found much of it to be legitimately funny.

As is all the rage these days, The Disco Exorcist is shot to look like a '70s film - more specifically, a satanic thriller...but with a lot of sex. Think Boogie Nights, when Jack Horner wants nothing more than to make a legitimate cheesy action film that happens to feature a lot of sex. Bad wigs, bad disco, horrendous acting: that is The Disco Exorcist in a nutshell, but on purpose.


As the opening title sequence declares, Michael Reed is Rex Romanski: The Disco Exorcist. From what I can garner, he has no job whatsoever, but because he is a wicked disco dancer, he manages to bed pretty much every single woman who catches even a mere glimpse of his ludicrous wig. One day Rex beds and dismisses the wrong girl - a fellow discoer named Rita Marie - who happens to not only be completely insane, but also a bewitching practicer of the dark arts. Once Rita Marie is scorned, she turns her devilish attention to Amoreena Jones, Rex's new main squeeze as well as a porn star. Murderous manipulation ensues. Black-eyed possession becomes commonplace. And it is up to Rex Romanski to save the day, vanquish evil, and receive, like, fifty blowjobs during the course of the adventure.

The Disco Exorcist is exactly the kind of movie Troma would make, only it actually manages to be funny. And it also has a lot more penises. While not all of the intended humor works (and to be fair, not even your favorite comedy is flawless in this regard), I have to say the screenplay was not only very funny at parts, but in some ways reminiscent of Woody Allen's late '70s career, where he took more chances and seemed both angrier and more absurd. Props especially must be given to Rich Threteway as Angel, whose every line gave me one laugh bigger than the last. His poorly performed and faux Italian accent made each of his ridiculous lines all the more amusing.

Though for films like this the temptation to be self-aware may be overpowering, there are no cheap jokes in regards to The Exorcist, The Evil Dead, or the like. (Although I'll be damned if I didn't hear an, "Oh, Hi, Mark!" crammed somewhere in there.) 

The filmmakers did a great job in post of making the film look every bit as old as it's supposed to be. Unlike Tarantino's Death Proof, his half of Grindhouse, they actually bothered to maintain the weathered look from beginning to end, and it lent a touch of novelty to the movie's bizarre events.

Even better, The Disco Exorcist is actually smarter than you would think. What appears to be, on the surface, nothing more than a c-grade skin flick is actually a morality tale about misogyny, monogamy, and women empowerment. These were common themes in the horror genre during the '70s, perhaps best exemplified by Meir Zarchi's Day of the Woman (aka I Spit on Your Grave). Not bad for a movie that rips off a man's penis and throws it across the room (for laughs).


The Disco Exorcist opens with sex, closes with sex, and crams a whole lot of sex into the middle portion, known as "the rest of the movie." And though the ironically-titled green band trailer (which wasn't "green" at all) should have prepared me for all the sex, I was still taken aback. And before you shout at me, possible fan of the film, I understand that the horror genre has long included, even since the 1960s, this sub-genre of c-grade to z-grade exploitation films featuring very shoddy film making, even shoddier acting, and very mangy nudity. Some of the stuff is often outright porn, with some tedious set pieces in between the hardcore scenes serving as pathetic tools to keep the action moving forward. This isn't a sub-genre I particularly seek out, not for any reason other than it's just not my bag. I know some people out there are into this, and that's cool. Perhaps me complaining about the amount of sex is like saying there are too many dream sequences in A Nightmare on Elm Street. I'm sure one of the points of the film was to fill it with campy and over-the-top sex scenes, as that's exactly what the filmmakers were going for. It's a tough call to make, but for me personally, crude humor was used as a crutch far too often. Were it not for all the debauchery involved, I would happily recommend The Disco Exorcist to more of my like-minded friends, for if I did that now, they'd look at me as if I were some kind of pervert. 

I guess The Disco Exorcist will have to remain my dirty little secret.


Definitely NSFW Trailer.

Jul 18, 2012

Jul 16, 2012

ARE YOU HENRY?

"In Heaven, everything is fine.
In Heaven, everything is fine.
You've got your good things.
And I've got mine."

Jul 14, 2012

REVIEW: GOD BLESS AMERICA

"My name is Frank. But that's not important. The important question is, 'Who are you?' America has become a cruel and vicious place. We reward the shallowest, the dumbest, the meanest, and the loudest. We no longer have any common sense or decency. No sense of shame. There is no right and wrong. The worst qualities in people are looked up to and celebrated. Lying and spreading fear are fine, as long as you make money doing it. We've become a nation of slogan-saying, bile-spewing hate-mongers. We've lost our kindness. We've lost our soul."
Between his feature film debut, World’s Greatest Dad, and now with this, Bobcat Goldthwait just might be the angriest man alive.

Luckily he’s got a sense of humor about it.

Frank (Joel Murray, “Mad Men”) has had enough. After being unceremoniously fired from his job for harmlessly sending flowers to the receptionist, and after being told by his extremely snotty daughter that she refuses to come visit because he’s boring, and after being told by his moon roof-loving doctor that he has an irreparable brain tumor growing inside him, Frank gives up. And after catching glimpse after glimpse on his television of how ugly and rotten American culture has become, he decides to take down as many rotten and spoiled motherfuckers as he can before eating his final bullet.

Sounds all kinds of bleak and depressing, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. It’s actually kind of hilarious.

Along the way, Frank meets Roxy (Tara Lynn Bar, star of copious Disney programming), who is equally disgusted with the state of American culture. After witnessing Frank kill Chloe, who is meant to be a riff on the starlets of MTV’S "My Super Sweet 16," Roxy joins Frank on his crusade to exterminate the vapid and the offensive. It brings them literally across the country, laying waste to those they feel are harming every day citizens, as well as punishing the rude and mean when necessary. Their relationship is very similar to the one shared between Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page from last year's Super.


God Bless America is a concept that I’m sure many of us have been writing in our heads over the last five to ten years. I know I have. It is an absolute crucifixion of the American culture, a term I really use loosely. Because America has no culture. As the Republican Party attempts to cut funding to National Public Radio, a harmless little radio station that only wants to play classical and jazz, present live readings of literature, and transmit audio documentaries, "Jersey Shore," meanwhile, is greenlit for a fourth or fifth or whatever-the-fuckth-season. As arts programs in public schools shrink smaller and smaller, every single fucking kid in the world inexplicably has an iPhone or an iPad. And as schools struggle to have at least one computer in each classroom, those that do are used to log onto Youtube and watch people die, or hurt themselves, or hurt others.

Think of God Bless America as an angrier and darker Idiocracy.

I’m sure many of us have had enough. Filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait definitely has. The movie isn’t just a condemnation of American culture, but a warning as to what so many of us are very possibly thinking. For how much longer will Bill O’Riley or Rush Limbaugh get away with imposing their personal and vitriolic political opinions but calling them facts before some of us finally go mad and do a bit of house-cleaning ourselves? How many of us would take a baseball bat to Snooki’s knees if we ever came across her in a dark alley? How much longer will we all be able to stand seeing multiple television shows capturing every waking moment of the Kardashians, or Paris Hilton, or every single person who is famous simply because they were born into money, but are actually terrible and cruel people?


Interestingly, Frank’s anger is directed at “American Superstar,” very much an “American Idol” parody that re-imagines the William Hung fiasco with a mentally challenged singer named Steven Carter. I say interestingly because while it becomes the focal point of Frank’s rage, the show is actually depicted as the least harmful and least obnoxious of all his other targets. I suppose that could have been the point—that the most harmful parts of our culture are those that aren’t on-the-surface evil until we began to really break them down and realize just how much they are infecting our unconsciousness and turning us into an army of insensitive assholes.

And that scene in the movie theater…tell me with a straight face that you’ve never fantasized about blowing off the faces of the assholes sitting a few rows behind you who frequently answer their phone and talk way too loud.

Watching God Bless America, you might be shocked, and you will definitely laugh, but as the credits roll on the film, that indifference and angst you might have momentarily put away will come flooding back. Because this movie is just that: a movie. When you go out your front door, people are still going to be rude, and hurtful, and completely self-absorbed. When you turn on that television, people who have never worked a day in their lives are going to act like fat, nasty cows while you count the few miserable waking hours you have before retiring to bed to prepare for another nine hours in your too-hot, cubicle-shaped prison cell.


G.B.A. just might be something I revisit on a regular basis to live vicariously through Frank and Roxy’s actions, and hope that one day someone actually picks up where they left off…but this time for real.

Jul 12, 2012

KREEG'S TASK

"It happened thirty years ago on a late Halloween afternoon. A school bus was on its usual route, but this wasn’t your typical school bus… and they weren’t your typical kids. There were eight of them, and they were… different… troubled… disturbed. Every day, parents put their dirty secrets on this bus to be driven to a school miles outside of town. But that day, the driver took a different route. And instead of taking the students home, he drove the bus to an abandoned rock quarry. What the kids didn’t know is that over the years their parents had become exhausted… embarrassed… and they were willing to do anything to ease their burden. So one day, the parents approached the bus driver and made him an offer. With the money they collected together, they asked him to do the unthinkable...."
 
 

Jul 11, 2012

DEMENTIA

"Come with me into the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane. This is my world. Let me lead you into it. Let me take you into the mind of a woman who is mad. You may not recognize some things in this world, and the faces will look strange to you. For this is a place where there is no love, no hope...in the pulsing, throbbing world of the insane mind, where only nightmares are real..."

Source.

Jul 10, 2012

REVIEW: A NECESSARY DEATH


"It's not that I want to die. It's just that I don't want to live anymore."

The "story" of filmmaker Daniel Stamm is one that is starting to become irritating and all-too-common within the unhallowed hills of Hollywood. A Necessary Death, his found footage film debut, made the festival rounds and captured all kinds of attention, including that of hack Eli Roth. In conjunction with Strike Entertainment, Roth hooked Stamm up with the gig of directing The Last Exorcism, another found footage film, this time with far less brains and more cheap theatrics. And like so many other directors, whose knack for low budget and unique ideas was wasted on brainless studio fare, Stamm, too, was instead assigned to a generic project that was entirely beneath him. After first watching The Last Exorcism, I was merely disappointed by what as only an overly hyped film. But now, after watching A Necessary Death, I look at Exorcism not just as a bad film, but as a huge waste of time, money, and resources, all of which could have been used on a different project for which Stamm had more interest and passion.

A Necessary Death is not only remarkable, but the most realistic found footage movie I've ever seen. Though it would not be traditionally considered a horror movie, the fact that this narrative could very well have been a real documentary is what truly provides the audience with all the horror it could ever need. In this day and age, in which the curious could literally log onto Youtube and watch real people dying real deaths; and in this time where everything needs to be recorded on video and released to the masses, whether that be journalists being beheaded by terrorists, or a man's face being eaten off on a Florida street, A Necessary Death could literally have been released and marketed as a 100% real documentary and I doubt it would have caused any sort of uproar. It's this kind of demonizing, yet desensitization, to death and dying that has driven our filmmaker/lead character, a college student named Gilbert, to carry out his vision: to capture, from first realization to final act, a person's suicide. It is the very kind of ego-inflated, self-important, pretentious idea that any college student might have, which makes it all the more believable.


After a series of open interviews, in which candidates vie to be the focus of Gilbert's film, he and his crew settle on a kid named Mathew, who is dying from an untreatable brain condition and has opted to end his life before encountering the condition's very painful final stages. After Gilbert explains the "point" of the documentary to Mathew - to strip away the taboo and baggage associated with suicide and show that the person who wants to end their life is completely cognizant of their decision - Mathew agrees to be the focal point.

Like all things in life, God laughs as we make plans, and what started off as a peculiar but straightforward project eventually becomes anything but. It all unfolds strikingly realistically, and except for one or two sequences that reek too much of narrative, it never comes across as blatantly cinematic. Meaning, if a person had told me to watch the movie and told me it was real, I would have believed that person...that is until the ending.


A Necessary Death is an amazing debut from a young filmmaker. It is a highly emotional journey, as the characters onscreen are just as affected by the events as the movie's audience. We understand, condone, root for, and then eventually despise Gilbert. His transformation is as obvious and dark as the unfolding events of the film. A slightly arrogant but ultimately likeable young student (who goes as far as alerting social services after two young girls come to his suicide candidate interview, which shows that he does have a conscience), eventually devolves into the very thing you may have sensed was inevitable, but definitely hoped was not unavoidable. It very much captures very real people experiencing very real conflicts and emotions in conjunction with the project. And the scenes consisting of Mathew and the film crew visiting Mathew's mother, and lying to her as to why Mathew is the focus of their documentary, is especially heartbreaking. We as the audience cannot help but put ourselves in Mathew's shoes. We can't help but wonder how it would seem if that were our mother, or father, or grandmother or grandfather - someone who cared for us and loved us and would die a thousand times before we ever experienced pain - and wonder if we would ever be able to wear that fake smile and tell that lie without breaking down in front of them.

The actors are all incredibly wonderful and real, especially Mathew. He isn't the slobbering mess our preconceived notions of a suicidal person may fool us into expecting. He is a kid who happens to be dying, and who very calmly has made a decision based on his own needs and desires. He's not just some sad sack who is heartbroken over a bad break-up, or who feels the world is a cruel place. Ironically, he is a kid who would actually prefer to live - who shows signs of being happy with who he is and the life he so far has lived - but who understands that his proverbial ticket has already been punched. 

Gilber, too, is real, and likeable, though marginally less so than Mathew. Because he is the person endeavoring to capture a death on camera, by default you approach him with great caution. Though the movie takes great pains to paint him as an equally sympathetic person, who looks at his project as a way of waking up the masses and forcing them to see that suicide shouldn't be this shameful thing we hide away in our subconscious, the movie relents that because it is providing us with this character, we will never be 100% behind him. But we do want him to succeed. It's a very dangerous gamble to make, as how the audience approaches and responds to the film rests entirely on Gilbert's ability to be a sympathetic character. Luckily, he does.

The rest of the supporting cast, one of whom ultimately derails the the project once they become a bit too close to the film's subject, all do a great job at playing their roles exactly as they should be playing them. They aren't entirely comfortable with the film's topic, though they agree what is being captured is important. At several times throughout the film they all sort of tag up at first to remind Gilbert and the audience that though they're driven to continue, they are hesitant as well. (Stamm also appears as the documentary's cameraman.)


My only qualm is with the ending, and I can honestly say in the case of A Necessary Death that the "alternate ending" included on this screener copy of the DVD is more realistic and more affecting than the one the filmmakers opted to go with. While being as completely spoiler free as I can, I will say this: when the garage door comes down at the climax of the film, your heart will be in your stomach, as mine was. But some of this shock occurs due to its inevitability, which is somewhat telegraphed at the beginning of the sequence. While the "alternate" ending may be less shocking, it is far more realistic, and far more haunting.

A Necessary Death, though made in 2008, has only very recently come to DVD, and can also be purchased through iTunes.

Jul 9, 2012

SHITTY FLICKS: BLOOD FEAST

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis. 

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.


I am Pete Thornton of the Miami police department, and the following is my report on the events leading up the squashing of Mr. Fuad Ramses, a man who wore clay eyebrows, killed women to appease a gold Egyptian mannequin, and passed away in a garbage truck.
No names have been changed because I was too busy reading the funny papers.

The following is my report regarding the events of these past few days, in which I flatly, and without emotion, discovered the following bullshits:
  • Ramses owned a store of canned beans.
  • He was obsessed with ancient Egypt and he killed women.
  • He lived alone, his only company some random Egyptian bullshit.
  • He often shouted at his gold Egyptian mannequin, for he was crazy and lonely.
  • He also often removed super creeper gooey red things from each woman's body, simulating a heart or brain or, you know, whatever.
  • After killing the women, I theorize that he removed their gooey goo parts to use in a stew. Or perhaps a goo pie.
  • His one weakness is garbage trucks.

"Well, ya didn't Tivo Pushing Daisies, Karen,
and you're home all fucking day. Maybe that's
why I'm fucking pissed off."

Fuad Ramses was obsessed with old Egyptian bullshit. He was believed to have been seeking out various woman parts in order to offer them up to his stupid Egyptian mummy gods. His reward remains to be seen, but I, Pete Thornton, believe it could have been a blowjob, or perhaps a new suit.

One of Ramses’s victims, Blue Dress Woman, was just one of many plain-looking women to be torn apart by his stupid knife. His approach was methodical; his cunning, unsurpassed; his suit/eyebrows: a light powdery blue.

Ramses hacked the poor bitch apart as she lay in her tub, soaking in her own filth. Ramses, not one to be greedy, took only a leg. He wrapped it in a plastic bag and disappeared off into the night to go watch "My Three Sons."

I worked closely with my chief, Frank Something, on this case. His preferred method of investigating included unnecessarily reading aloud from the case files as we sat in our tiny office, chain-smoking, and wearing starched suits.

“There is a pattern,” Frank would stammer, frustrated with my inability to find said pattern.

“This looks like one of those looong, hard ones,” I said in regards to the case, not sensing how gay it sounded. I'm not gay, I fucking swear.

In the store of canned goods that Ramses owned, catering services were also made available.

A large cheese-hat woman inquired about his catering services, but requesting something extra special. Ramses, seeing an opportunity to perform more stupid bullshit, made his move.

He leaned in, his clay hair immovable, as he asked, “Have you ever had an…EGYPTIAN FEAST?”

Someone then sat on an organ as the cheese-hat woman looked excited at the prospect.

They made their agreements and she left to find a giant cracker.

Later, Ramses killed two more people: a couple making whoopy on the beach. The hesitant woman, who was unsure about baring her breasts while a maniac was on the loose, was convinced by her boyfriend, who challenged her with, “C’mon, baby. Prove that you love me.”

I wasn’t there, you understand - I was probably at the Suit Store For Whites Only - but this is probably how it happened.

However, the maniac that was on the loose, Ramses, then stabbed the girl a bunch of times, took some brains, and fled. The boyfriend may or may not have been turned into a snake, thanks to some witch magic.

Mary never knew what was better: fucking, or
gravy fights. One day, she did both at once.
It was transcendent.

Also, point of note: cleaning up a crime scene on sand is fucking hard, and it’s one reason I am considering leaving the force to become a ventriloquist.

Ramses struck again, this time at a sleazy motel. He knocked on the door, and when his victim answered, he forced her mouth open with his dirty fingers as he ripped out her tongue. I believe the combination of the woman wearing only a brassiere, along with this mutilation, gave Ramses a huge boner.

I, Pete Thornton, randomly attended lectures on ancient Egypt and tried to stay awake during Professor Boring's boring boreshit. From what I heard, while I wasn’t doodling in my notebook and playing with my wiener through my pocket, a mummy once existed and this mummy punched everyone in the face. The mummy punched so many people that it was damned to sit in a room and punch the ground. This mummy is known as Mummia Dude. (I think. I may have filled in my own story, because the man with glasses talked for so long that I was wake-dreaming of screwing the woman next to me.)

The bitch I was with later told me that he talked about something called the Blood Feast, which was when Egyptians would dismember girls and eat them in an effort to stay youthful forever. I told her that was ridiculous, and I went home and talked to a police sketch artist to make some preliminary posters of Mummia Dude.

"Eh...I read about it in a magazine and I wanted to try it.
Guess I fucked it up."

After the borefest, I, Pete Thornton, took some time to do some light, non-evasive kissing with my best girl, who unbeknownst to me, was having a party catered by Fuad, thanks to her cheese-hat mother.

Talk about irony.

You talk about it, anyway. I won’t. I’m Pete Thornton. I carry a badge and a gun. I don’t have time for that homo stuff.

In my town of L.A., I like my women like I like my beer: cool, and with their boobs out. Ramses also liked women with good boobs, and with all the boobs that are everywhere in L.A., it was hard to pinpoint his next move; that move being chasing a woman in broad daylight, knocking her out, and carrying her off to do God knows what bat-shit stuff that man did. And on top of these murder charges, Ramses is also responsible for one of the tamest whippings I, Pete Thornton, have ever seen. Given that I have never seen any whippings, rest assured that the whipping was very tame, resulting in a few red streaks across the victims back; streaks that look suspiciously like water color paint brush swipes.

I eventually stumbled across his workshop of terror and saw what was left of that whipping victim. She looked delicious. Not because I am sick, but because I am pretty sure she was covered in barbecue sauce. I ran a finger along a thigh and tasted it, but it was actually blood. I threw up in my hat and fell down.

Later, after Ramses attempted to kill my best girl at her party, he fled and I followed close behind him.

I, Pete Thornton, single-handedly stopped Fuad Ramses, the jerk-off in question. By employing a tactic we learned at the academy, I chased him across a trash heap for a long time, and then he jumped into a rubbish truck, dying of some massive mush-mush.

I would just like to congratulate myself on a job well done, seeing as how no one else in this half-assed department has yet.

In conclusion, Frog Rammers, or whoever, is now a messy pancake, so it doesn't really matter what my report has to say.

That's it for me, Pete Thornton. I'm off to write a report on another bullshit murderer: The Wizard of Gore. I hope he has candy. And a new hat, for my head.

Things I Learned From My Experience:
  • Frank, the police captain, shrieks at me whenever I show any affection towards my wife. He's gay.
  • Having a gimp can make a killer super creepers.
  • It's OK to leave the dead body of a man behind as long as you've solved the case.
  • Timpani hits provide super creeper tension.
  • Super creeper snakes make any scene ultra goopers.
  • All the white people in my town have weird, blue hair. And all the black people…hmm…well,  I’ve never actually seen any.
  • The only people who still care about ancient Egypt also eat people pie.

Jul 7, 2012

BUY ME THIS: OWL SCULPTURE


I am a lot like The Narrator in Fight Club, only I haven't yet hit the bottom of the barrel and realized I don't need to own every single thing in Ikea to feel complete. I like looking at home stuff, and while browsing through Amazon's coffee tables I found this fella by accident. The price at the time hovered around $50, and while tempted, I couldn't justify buying a fake bird to sit on a table and never utilize ever again.

Unfortunately it's listed as "currently unavailable" on Amazon, and who knows if it will ever be back in stock.

But you guys should keep an eye on it and buy it for me for my birthday, which I should mention is every single day, so you can never be wrong.

Sound good?

Jul 6, 2012

Jul 5, 2012

EXIT HUMANITY

 

I loved this very introspective Civil War-era zombie movie from filmmaker John Geddes. If I can ever get my foot out of my mouth about it, I may just review it. But for now, a beautiful piece of music from the unfortunately unavailable soundtrack.

Jul 2, 2012

IT STILL CONTINUES...

Face Eating Attack In China: Drunken Bus Driver Allegedly Bites Woman's Nose, Lips

A woman was allegedly attacked in Wenzhou, China on Tuesday by a drunken bus driver who chewed off part of her face.

A woman has been hospitalized in China after a drunken bus driver allegedly attacked her and began gnawing on her face.

The woman, identified as "Du," was driving near a bus station in Wenzhou on Tuesday when a man ran into the street, blocking her car. The man, a bus driver identified as "Dong," allegedly climbed onto the hood of Du's car and began hitting the windshield, according to the Malaysia Chronicle.

Du got out of the car, and allegedly Dong tackled her to the ground, where he began chewing on her face, according to Shanghai Daily. Witnesses say they attempted to pull Dong off of her, but were unable to do so.

Dong was ultimately stopped by police, What's On Dalian reports. Officers say he had drunk around 1.75 ml of strong liquor prior to the incident.

Doctors say Dong did enough damage to the woman's face that she will need plastic surgery to repair her nose and lips.
Source.