Dec 31, 2012

EVE

Dec 30, 2012

RANT: HYPE

hype  /hīp/
  • (noun) – Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.
  • (verb) – Promote or publicize (a product or idea) intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits.

   

Ah, hype. It’s a motherfucker. It seems to come from nowhere, usually starting with a group of people, or perhaps just one, which is all it takes to get the ball rolling. What soon becomes an act of first discovery leads to a small cult following, which leads to propaganda, which leads to mass brainwashing on a global scale, which leads to Roddy Piper demanding Keith David put on those goddamned sunglasses so he can filter all the bullshit and see the world for what it really is.

As cynical as I am (and boy howdy, am I ever), it is very hard not to fall victim to that dreaded “h” word. When you can sort through all the genre films that come out in one calendar year and count on one hand the ones that are actually worth seeing, let alone great, it’s difficult not to become disillusioned. And it’s even more difficult for your ears not to prick up when buzz starts rolling in. How do you hear phrases like “genuinely scary” or “instant classic" (a phrase I abhor) and not become immediately enthusiastic and excited?

Internet has changed everything, for better and for worse. I am of the age where, though I completely adore my Internet life, I can also remember what life was like before it. Back then, if you wanted to know about the next installments of Phantasm or Halloween, you only had Fangoria Magazine (unless said installment starred Jamie Lee Curtis – then Entertainment Weekly suddenly cared). And all you were allowed to know about their productions was what Fangoria allowed you to know – a quote here, description of a scene there, and topped off with a publicity still that, nine times out of ten, wasn’t even indicative of a scene in the film. For a long, long time, that is all we had. In fact, when I was a tyke still unaware of Fangoria’s existence, the very first time I knew of the coming of Halloween: H20 (I was completely obsessed with that boogeyman in my youth) was a teaser trailer in front of Scream 2. Not even euphoria could represent what I had felt. It was like meeting a superhero, or winning the lottery. A franchise that had been dormant for three years, and seemed all but dead after the abysmal Curse of Michael Myers, was suddenly back with a vengeance – and not only that, it hailed the return of Laurie Fucking Strode!

Holy shit!


I was so excited that I literally left the theater to use a payphone in the lobby so I could call a fellow Halloween-loving friend and attempt to recall every beat in the trailer. I felt like a celebrity, as if I had been the first person in the world to experience such groundbreaking news, and that it was MY privilege to alert the masses that it was coming. And for months after that, I waited impatiently for movie posters to appear in the theater’s lobby, to confirm that what I had seen was not just a dream, but a reality. And I would stare at that poster and marvel at The Shape’s mask and know it was coming soon…

That – to me – was magical. To be taken completely by surprise, with what was nothing but exemplary news, still lives on in my mind as one of the happiest moments I ever experienced. And here I am, nearly 15 years later, and the idea behind what I am saying – undying devotion for what is essentially Halloween 7 – sounds completely ludicrous. Though Halloween: H20 is still one of the best sequels in the series, it’s certainly not great. But fifteen years of perspective and maturity will do that to a person.

Here’s the point: how we find out about developments of projects – whether they be part of franchise cannon, or a coming adaptation of a book we have always loved, or even simply something that sounds promising coming from a bunch of people we consider to be filmmaking giants – has been changed by this magical Al Gore-inspired thing called Internet. We no longer discover via trailers or movie posters that things for which we’re jonesing are coming soon. No, now we find out in Internet headlines, and they are usually married to that specific journalist’s smarmy opinion on the current news, or that director’s last film. We find out matter-of-factly, with little fanfare, in black and white. We find out so early the projects themselves don’t even have titles. We soon come to know every excruciating detail, from first announcement, to who is writing, to who is re-writing, to who is cast, to which actor/actress is acting like a total asshole/cunt on set (with audio!), to which director is experiencing what battles with which studio. Trailer premiers are forecast and later released online on specific dates. Teasers trailers for full trailers are also a thing. Early reviews are available via film festivals or special screenings, or even leaked studio copies of unfinished products that do not at all represent the finished films. And that goes for every film. But the good ones? Oh, boy.

"YOU will love this."

"YOU'VE never seen anything like it."

"YOUR new favorite film."

Over and over we are told with near-offensive hyperbole that we are about to witness something transcendent.

So by the time the damn film is released, we’re expecting nothing short of living art. And how often does that really happen?

There is no denying great films are released every year, but the way in which we discover them has changed.

That’s where hype comes in.


For roughly sixteen months prior to its full nationwide release, I could not read a story on Paranormal Activity without seeing the words “truly scary” or “the scariest movie in decades.” In fact, it was so “scary” that the trailer hardly contained footage from the actual film, but instead showed night vision footage of viewing audiences cowering in fear and hiding behind their gigantic, flat-brimmed baseball hats. Distant memories of The Blair Witch Project, the last to come along in such a way that truly scared the hell out of its audiences, floated in the back of many minds. It had seemed very much that Paranormal Activity was the next step. And I couldn’t have been more excited.

Then I saw the film.

While I will not take away the craft and thought that went into it, and while I will give director Oren Peli and producer Jason Blum credit for going with a less-is-more approach and making what turned out to be a pretty quality film, I had to ask myself: Where was that fear I was promised? Where was that cold sweat on my back, or the tremble in my knees? Hell, where was my slightly increased heartbeat?

It simply wasn’t there. It was nowhere to be found.

I tried to keep myself wrapped up in the hype and go along with what I was being told. Following our advanced screening, I told anyone who would listen: “See Paranormal Activity! It’s one of the scariest movie I’ve ever seen in theaters!” Which, while seemingly a glowing recommendation, is the worst kind of truth: one by default. Because I’ve seen an awful lot of horror in theaters over the years, kids. And only once before had I been left shell shocked – the first Blair Witch Project. If that was to be number one, then something had to take second place. So what would it be? Well, considering most of the horror I’d gone to see in theaters was garbage – stuff like Darkness Falls, Jeepers Creepers, etc. – Paranormal Activity was scarier simply because it had no real competition. And believe me, the chasm between The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity was wide, and ever widening in the days and weeks following my having seen the latter.

Paranormal Activity wasn’t the first movie ever to be over-hyped, and it shan’t be the last. A slew of other semi-new films from the last five years prove that.


For instance, remember Trick-r-Treat? Remember how it was supposed to be released sometime in 2006? (Maybe you don’t.) Well, the anticipated release date came…and went…and no one saw hide nor hair of the thing. And then word spread that Warner Bros. had shelved it, citing they didn’t know how to promote such a thing to a wide audience. They suddenly didn’t have faith in the anthology format and were trying to determine a proper marketing strategy. Year after year people who knew the film existed waited for a release announcement, and nothing came. And in that time, well-meaning sites like Dread Central and Shock Till You Drop, both of whom had seen the film, bemoaned its lack of release. Because, you see, it was one of the best horror films they’d ever seen. It demanded to be viewed with a large audience. It was “a better Halloween[-related] film” than John Carpenter’s film of the same name.

Whoa.

Well, once it was finally determined that the film would be making its debut on home video, courtesy of Warner Bros.’ now-defunct direct-to-video line Warner Premiere, all eyes were on its 2009 release date. I know mine were. And on that day I snapped it up, brought it home, excitedly hit play…and 90 minutes later, found myself seriously underwhelmed.

Look, I’ve revisited Trick-r-Treat several times since then (in October, as I’m sure most other repeat watchers do), and it’s certainly fun, well told, and clever. It’s not at all bad, and I enjoy watching it. But again…one of the greatest horror films ever? Scary?

Hyperbole much?

I wish I could stop here. I wish these two titles were my only examples. But sadly, the list keeps going.

Hailed as one of the best of its release year, Attack the Block dropped on video following a wave of accolades, and what I saw was a bunch of street hoods in unintelligible British accents fighting off a swarm of Cousin Its.

The most recent to drop was V/H/S, a film Rolling Stone Magazine called “the scariest of the year.” A clever combination of the found footage concept utilized in the anthology format certainly made it stand above the rest, but what we ended up with was a very mixed effort, whose strongest stories book-ended a film made up otherwise of very pedestrian and straight-to-video-level garbage. Even the segment from Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Inkeepers), whom I like very much as a director, ended with an “oh…” I wish I could say that Radio Silence’s final segment was worth the price of admission alone, but fifteen minutes of greatness do not make up for the previous ninety minutes of lame scares, obnoxious characters, and completely shoe-horned-in nudity.

Honestly, the list goes on and on. (Don't even get me started on House of 1,000 Corpses.)

Here’s the thing about hype: it’s the flu, or the common cold. Try as you might to avoid it, unless you live like E.G. Marshall in Creepshow, who maintains residence in a hermetically sealed apartment to keep himself free from germs, you are not immune. Neither you nor I can avoid letting preconceived notions of horror films seep into our subconscious. We’ll never truly defeat the idea of hype and allow ourselves to go into something with low expectations. But there are things we can try to help soften the blow of the next disappointment.

Do what I do: Don’t watch trailers. Don’t read reviews. Don’t read the coverage. If a TV spot comes on while you’re watching the tube, flip to the next channel for a second. By now you’ll have developed a keen sense on when a project is worth following or not. Is the premise intriguing? Do you like the talent involved? Then leave it at that. Wait for the release. See it expecting the worst.

If I had seen Paranormal Activity or Trick-r-Treat free of Internet baggage, I would have liked them a lot more. V/H/S, too, would have played better for me if I had thought it was just a direct-to-video effort. (Nothing could have saved Attack the Block – a lot of people were drinking the Cool Aid on that one.)

As previously mentioned, it’s bad enough a small fraction of the horror released is worth watching. It’s even worse when it gets crammed down our throats by the same few sites on a daily basis until we can’t take it anymore. While I know some of this constant fellating of grassroots horror comes from the natural urge to boast that few have had the privilege to bear witness to something the world has yet to, I also know that most of it comes from a genuine place. We are, after all, horror fans, and we deserve the right to be excited about something coming down the pike that may possibly prove to be different, original, and scary.

But I also think we deserve to make up our own minds.

Dec 29, 2012

SOME SHINE AND SOME DON'T


I love when stuff like this is unearthed from seemingly nowhere...

This comes from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is currently hosting The Stanley Kubrick Exhibit. The below comes from an attendee:
“One of the coolest parts, especially for a designer like myself, was these sketches by Saul Bass for the film poster of The Shining. Previously I had no idea that Saul Bass had created the original poster so this was a really cool surprise. I’ve read online that Kubrick made Bass go through at least 300 versions of the poster until finally ending on the extremely alien looking version we now know.”





Every single one of these, in my opinion, is better than the final, infamous yellow version. That first one with the hand/trike is tops. You can click each image to embiggen and read Kubrick's own criticisms.

All was stolen with love from Dread Central.

Dec 27, 2012

LITTLE GREEN MEN

On May 24th, 1964, Jim Templeton, a fireman from Carlisle in North England, snapped some pictures of his young daughter out to the marches overlooking the Solway Firth. Although it was an uneventful outing, Templeton and his family noticed an odd "aura" to the area there - as if there was an electric charge in the air before a storm. No storm came, but Templeton did observe that some nearby cows seems overly upset and spooked. A few days later, after the film was developed, Templeton was shocked to discover that a strange man appeared in one of the photos of his daughter even though they had been alone on the marshes. The man appeared to be wearing a space suit like an astronaut! Kodak offered a reward for anyone able to give a rational explanation for the space man picture, but no one was able to. Experts concluded that the picture was not the result of a double exposure, nor was it the result of tampering with the negative.

The mystery didn't end there. Templeton reported that shortly after the picture became public, he was harassed by men in dark suits who asked him odd questions about the weather conditions on the marsh, bird behaviors, and what Templeton was doing out there on the first place. They then tried to make him admit that he had faked the picture and, when Templeton refused to, they became angry and left.

Dec 26, 2012

SHITTY FLICKS: DEATH NURSE / DEATH NURSE 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.


Say what you will about Nick Millard; he remains faithful to the series that shat out his legitimate (read: non-porn) career. Most likely on the exact day that Crazy Fat Ethel 2 (the sequel to his truly divine Criminally Insane) wrapped principle photography, he announced that he "kinda had an idea” to keep going with this premise of an obese woman killer, because frankly, he had absolutely nothing else to do. Luckily, he was able to coerce frequent go-to-"actress" Priscilla Alden's hand out of a large honey jar and bring her along for the ride. And thus, Death Nurse, a departure of sorts (only not at all) for the directing/acting duo came to fruition.

Given that both Death Nurse and Death Nurse 2 are only each less than an hour long, and given the fact that each movie relies heavily on old footage that we have all seen countless times from previous movies, and also given the fact that Death Nurse and Death Nurse 2 barely even qualify as movies, I am going to do you, dear reader (and me!), a huge favor: I am going to combine both films into a single review. To ask more than that of me would result in self-death.

Gay Sherlock Holmes Presents

Death Nurse, originally conceived as Look, It's Fat-Ass Fucking Pig Ethel! Let's Watch Her Fat Around For A Third Time!, was a movie Nick Millard had pitched to the same half-assed company that actually released the first two Crazy Fat Ethel films. Embarrassed of their business relationship with this turd, they demanded that Millard come up with a new concept to explore. Suddenly, an actress dressed as a nurse walked by in the hallway.

"I got it! This time, she's a nurse!"

The film executive, who had seen the same nurse, shook his head, mortified he worked with such douche bags. But he greenlit the movie anyway, because he's a film exec, and films execs majored in Communications, which means they don't know any better.

Edith Mortley, a fat nurse, runs some half-assed rest home/clinic called Shady Palms with her freakishly emotionless brother, Gordon (the fly-soup man from Crazy Fat Ethel 2). Together, they kill whatever poor old schmucks end up on their doorstep in need of some assisted living, merely to collect their pensions, which apparently is perfectly legal, unsuspicious, and untraceable, so long as you are 300 pounds and have access to a primitive nine-digit adding machine.

And oh boy, does Edith add up pensions. Watch as she does it six times during the movie, while you wait in vain for something the least bit interesting to happen.

While not murdering men, Gordon performs haphazard surgery on people, using a dishtowel as a face mask and keeping it in place with rubber bands. And when I say surgery, I mean he hovers a fake scalpel over someone’s chest and sprays much-too-goopy blood all over the place, which he then wipes away with a sponge, revealing the non-wound. Then he grabs a tray of steak knives and forcibly inserts them into the patient’s chest, all while Edith smiles and looks fondly down at the new corpse.

Gordon then digs a hole and fixes himself some ice cream, all shot in pain-staking real time.

When there's a knock at the door, I wonder if it's my soul, who will beg me to turn off this radiation and go outside.

Edith rolls down the stairs and sees a social worker hand over a man who coughs a lot. Edith smiles, shifts her belly to the right side of her knee, and leads the man to his bedroom.

Later that day, she smothers him with a pillow. When his death doesn’t come as quick as anyone watching this film would wish, she lays her fat fucking old body on top of his face until he eventually stops quivering.

I picture that’s pretty much how God is going to end the world when it’s our time: via fat nurse.

It had been seventeen years since Edith's last date,
and yep, she had tit-smothered that guy, too.

A patient at Shady Palms, who is also quite an avid drinker, flirts disgustingly with Gordon until the two go for an incredibly disturbing and unattractive roll in the sack. Wishing death to infants doesn’t even come close to how much pain and unfocused anger a person will experience while watching this scene.

The social worker drops off another patient to the Mortleys, and while you might think this would result in an immediate murder, instead we get to see footage of Ethel holding her fat arms around her fat body pacing around a room as Gordon digs another hole in the backyard.

Edith beaches herself on the couch and dreams footage from Criminally Insane, a movie which is so far removed from where we currently find ourselves that I am actually yearning for it. Then she gets up and helps her brother saw a man. And THEN they chase a cat around the kitchen table for five fucking minutes like a bunch of jerk-offs. After that, Edith feeds tiny pieces of the sawed man to a bunch of rats that live in their basement. 

The social worker comes to the clinic but commits herself, wanting to lie in bed and eat tepid food. I couldn’t tell you why, because at this point the TV is muted and I am counting the ceiling tiles above me.

57.

Edith kills the social worker in her typically awkward and incredibly unrealistic way (why on earth does this movie continue to be?), and she then goes after the drunk who witnessed the whole thing, brandishing a turkey baster that we are supposed to think is a large syringe, and stabs her a lot.

Then she takes another fucking nap and dreams of the first fucking movie fucking again.

A cop comes to the door to see about some missing people. Edith fats her way out of it and shuts the door, smiling and dreaming of cheese fries. The cop, however, spots something suspicious and investigates.

The movie ends with Edith and Gordon sitting on the couch with not-so-bright looks on their faces as a cop discovers the garage of horrors and rats.

"Edith, if you're going to breathe cookie crumbs all over my back,
next time bring enough to sprinkle on my ice cream."

And just when you thought the terror was over, you were wrong. The following year, one of the most auspicious sequels ever to be released took the world by storm, and while that film sure as hell wasn't Death Nurse 2, that came out, too.

Nick Millard sat in the back of the theater, hiding himself from the audience that was screening his film Death Nurse. He relished the moment when the audience jumped to their feet and booed the conclusion of the film and bitched about the money they had wasted to witness this travesty. No one ever told Nick Millard that "booooo!" was a bad thing, so he quickly began planning the final installment of this demented, pointless franchise that no one ever wanted to see.

Nick descended to the nearest Taco Bell, treated himself to a luxurious meal and, while eating on the hood of his car, wrote the script for Death Nurse 2 in the hand not holding a chalupa.

And here we are...at the end of our journey...with Death Nurse 2.

Nick Millard desperately wanted to resolve what happened to the Mortleys at the end of the first Death Nurse, having mistaken the audience's mix of laughter and befuddlement with a genuine, insurmountable desire to see this story through to the end.

So…

Are the Mortleys arrested and tried in a court of law?

Are they killed dramatically in a struggle between good and evil?

Does Edith eat an entire carton of moon pies?

Well, the sequel picks up where the previous film left off, and we see the cop wander over to the front door after perusing through the garage of horror and rats and is stabbed once or twice by Edith, and most likely falls.

And once again, this film utilizes footage from all preceding films. Cuz why not? Someone would buy it, and Nick knew this, so why not just make a terrible film and literally laugh at the people handing you money?

Edith practices her Fish Face for the annual
Make A Fish Face, You Fat Bitch contest.

Edith and Gordon get back to business, having killed the cop and I guess easily getting away with it.

We meet Brownie, played by the drunk woman in the first Death Nurse. She is homeless and likes to hunt through dumpsters. She also has a large butcher knife, which she randomly brandishes whenever she feels threatened.

Brownie gets picked up by another social worker and is dropped off at the clinic. Edith goes to take Brownie’s paper bag of goodies, causing Brownie to whip out her large knife and very slowly chase Edith around the couch four fucking times times.

In fact, this scene is so ridiculous that you need to see it for yourself.

The action starts at 4:10. Please don't watch more than you have to. The film causes immediate retardation.



Edith finally stops running - her fat loose skin heaving with each musty exhale - and she smiles, calms the woman, and poisons her. She then takes another nap and again dreams of Criminally Insane, and of random buildings we’ve never seen before, and won't again.

Brownie wakes up in a stupor, obviously not dead, and stabs Gordon with her trusty knife. Edith enters, kills Brownie, and fixes Gordon’s wound.

Say, I have a question: Why on earth did anyone ever feel the passion and the drive to make this fucking thing?

Gordon, still hurt from his Brownie confrontation, lies in bed and looks as lifeless as I feel watching this movie. At several points throughout the film, when Edith addresses a question to him, we’re greeted with repeated footage of him not responding, and turning his face slightly away from the camera.

Then Edith kills another patient, slamming a large cleaver into his neck repeatedly.

You’ll never guess what she does then.

Perhaps run a marathon and then tell me I am allowed to shut off this movie?

Hmm...I bet it's take a nap and dream of the first film again.

Later, an old woman shows up who was a twin sister of one of the characters killed in the last film (same actress, obviously). She screams, or something, and is killed by a tinfoil knife.

Edith and Gordon ta

Alright, you know what? Show’s over, people. I give up. I was doing this for you, but I just can’t continue on with this movie any further. I am literally stopping without finishing that sentence.

I'll have to speculate as to how this movie ends. Maybe Edith kills her brother and is eaten by a bear. Maybe she farts a hole in the ground and falls into Hell. I’ll never know.

It doesn't matter, though, in the big scheme of things, now does it?

To say this picture accurately represents how I felt watching
these films back-to-back would, of course, be exaggerating.
My shirt is more of an auburn.

What I Learned from Death Nurse and Death Nurse 2:

  • Sequels be damned, you can seriously just use the same footage over and over and some asshole will actually release it.
  • Priscilla Alden's vagina should be hidden away forever, unless you need a place to hide Christmas gifts from the children.
  • After having two movies distributed nationally on video, it's still possible to have even less money for your next film.
  • Make your prop knives out of tinfoil. No one's gonna see your movie, anyway.
  • Cast your family to save money.
  • Rehash your old films to save money.
  • Use your family's camcorder to save money.
  • Don't spend any money whatsoever to save money.
  • Priscilla Alden isn't a good actress.
  • Nick Millard isn't a good director.
  • The Death Nurse films are tantamount to rape via clown.
So there we have it: a quadrilogy of terror and suspense two decades in the making. We, the audience, have laughed and cried with Ethel Janowski/Edith Mortley. We've witnessed her at her most vulnerable and relished her final metamorphosis from the antagonizer to the sympathizee.

Or not.

Really they're just shitty movies about a mammoth woman using plastic knives on wooden puppets.

And Nick Millard is still alive and kicking, so maybe one day he'll reward our patience with Crazy Fat Ethel 5, or Death Nurse 3, or Watch A Fat Woman Farmer Kill Farmhands And Then Eat Farm Food Like Bacon For An Hour Part 1 of 7.

You can rest assured that I will be waiting, but you can also rest assured that I'll be buying it used from my local library.

Dec 23, 2012

YOU BETTER WATCH OUT

Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish bad children during the Christmas season, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards nice ones with gifts. Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair. Krampus is represented as a beast-like creature, generally demonic in appearance. The creature has roots in Germanic folklore. Traditionally young men dress up as the Krampus in Austria, southern Bavaria, South Tyrol, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia during the first week of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children with rusty chains and bells.

Dec 22, 2012

CHRISTMAS 5


Ah, Christmas. The time to suffer the obligations of gift-buying, family-seeing, traffic-enduring, and other such unavoidable traditions that go along with said day. And after the turkey or seven fishes or whatever Christmas food staple nestles warmly in your tummy, the inevitable will happen: You will plop on the couch, flip on the tube, and you will have three options: watch 24 hours of A Christmas Story, 24 hours of Scrooged, or 24 hours of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Or…you could try something different. Consider these five alternative films to enjoy during the Merry Yuletide whatever.



GREMLINS

It’s Christmastime in Gremlinstown, and the snow is falling like insane crazy. So much snow falls in this film that it almost feels like it takes place on another planet, and when poor Zach Galligan is unable to start his VW Bug that looks like a gigantic marshmallow, you can almost feel the biting cold nipping at your nose…and every other part of you. But it is Christmas, after all, and one present in particular is going to change his life: Gizmo, the adorable Mogwai who can purr, sing, dance, and spawn monsters out of his back.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A traveling salesman buys a mystical animal from a funny little shop for his son for Christmas. The animal, a Mogwai, is not to be fed after midnight, is not to touch water, and is not to be exposed to bright light. If any of those things happen, all hell will break loose. Well, hell does break loose: Old crippled women are thrown out windows and science teachers are stabbed to death with syringes.

You know! For kids!

Here’s the thing about Joe Dante: While he and his colleagues Spielberg and Lucas became famous for their films that danced in the nether regions between PG and R (it was Temple of Doom that gave the world the PG-13 rating) before moving on to a more distinct age group, Dante never really left. His films have consistently been way too dark for PG/PG-13, yet still lighthearted enough not to be saddled with the R. The 'Burbs, Gremlins, and even his most recent effort The Hole all exist in such an unsellable place (by Hollywood standards) that studios don’t even know what to do with him. In this day and age, films that should be R are neutered down one rating lower. The Die Hard and Alien series come to mind. Because it’s easy to market films with a clear idea of a rating. But Joe Dante consistently blows the lid off that establishment, almost with mischievous glee, happy to remain in that oblivion-like rating of PG-15½.

People die like whoa in Gremlins. And the gremlins themselves are boiled, burned, fried, exploded, and chopped into bits. Chunky gore flies every which way, and you can't help but feel conflicted that you're enjoying a film with so much viscera juxtaposed against the fucking adorable Gizmo.

But this is Dante's playground, after all.

Christmas Lesson: Don’t buy mystical animals from the Chinese.


 

BLACK CHRISTMAS

This is one I appreciate more and more every time I watch it. The first time I saw it, I knew very little about it. I was expecting a cheesy flick about a stupid gimmicky killer riding the coat tails of Michael Myers, a la April Fool's Day or New Year's Evil. I expected heads rolling down steps and candy canes shoved into eyes. I was ready to love it because of the so-bad-it’s-good mentality.

But Bob Clark’s 1976 Canadian thriller (pre-dating Halloween by two years) is actually pretty classy, not terribly violent, and especially eerie. Simple and uneventful though they may be, the opening credits as the camera hovers on the front of the sorority house, and as a very somber choral version of “Silent Night” plays, it’s so effortlessly ominous that it always sticks out in my head. This is one title I make sure to watch every year, and when I slide the DVD into my player and let it rest on the main menu for a tad, that same eerie rendition of “Silent Night” fills my house and gives me goosebumps.

For those not in the know, Black Christmas tells the tale of a sorority house assaulted by perverted and threatening phone calls from an unknown person. Though the first phone call of the film is shocking to us, seems as if they’ve been getting them for some time. Most of the girls, including the incredibly cute Olivia Hussey, thinks it's disturbing, but another – a very young and pre-insane Margot Kidder – acts indignant about the whole thing. Plus she drinks a lot.

College!

My favorite thing about Black Christmas, other than the very confined setting and actual attempt at setting up as many motives as possible, is the ending. Ambiguous endings often rile up audiences, but us horror fiends hardly ever get one. More than anything we get cheap, last-second “twists” that insinuate the problem our protagonists spent the last 90 minutes trying to solve hasn’t actually gone away. And the end of Black Christmas isn’t just ambiguous, but it punches you in the face with how unresolved the story is left.

Take that, ADD-addled modern audiences. Speaking of, see the remake! I think heads explode or something! (I’m just kidding – don’t see the remake.)

Christmas Lesson: If someone calls you on Christmas, tells you it’s Billy, and then calls you a fucking cunt, just tell them you’re Jewish.


 

INSIDE
If I had a nickel for every time an insane women tried to break into my apartment and cut my baby out of me with a pair of scissors…

The French, man. We like to laugh at them and call them frogs and make fun of their fey men, but they do not fuck around when it comes to horror. I have seen an awful lot over the years. I am not the type of hardcore splatter fiend in that I will watch Z-grade gore films where people are disemboweled, but I like to think I have a pretty strong stomach. After all, I came out of Cannibal Holocaust somewhat disturbed but relatively unscathed.

Inside, though…is fucked up. It’s so absurd and gonzo that it transcends violence into cartoon territory before heading back to violence again. You don’t know whether to laugh, scream, or physically hold yourself as you witness the torture bestowed upon poor Sarah by her attacker.

It’s Christmas Eve. Sarah, recently widowed, is at home and very pregnant. There are rioters in the street setting cars on fire and creating all-around havoc (for reasons never made clear, though the country in actuality was besieged by “civil unrest” at that time). Unfortunately this will keep the police rather busy when Sarah begins to call for help…when that mysterious figure makes their appearance and begins to terrorize her…getting worse with each attack.

It builds to something very bloody, very disturbing, and very fucked.

Though I love Inside, I’ve only watched it once. Part of me believes I don’t have the balls to sit through it again. Maybe that will change this Christmas…but I doubt it.

Christmas Lesson: Don’t be pregnant at Christmas.


 

CHILD’S PLAY

As a child, I knew Child’s Play 2 and 3 by heart. It wasn’t soon after when Bride of Chucky came out, and I adopted it into the “watching them over and over” club, which also contained several chapters of Friday the 13th and Savini’s remake of Night of the Living Dead.

So then what to my wandering eyes should appear, a commercial for TNT’s now-defunct "Monstervision" airing the first Child’s Play the approaching Saturday night. Somehow never having seen it, I popped in my tape to add it to the collection and off I went, expecting bad puns, Chucky’s way-too-quick footsteps running all around, and his use of very unorthodox weapons to dispatch his victims.

I can’t say I was prepared for what I saw. And now, as an adult who can appreciate the craft and suspense of the genre over the cheap thrills and animatronics, I really wish I had seen the first film…you know…first. Because while it still is an effective and well-done little movie, the “more is more” approach the later sequels would take have rendered the original a little less surprising.

Child’s Play, again, take its time. You’re well into the second act before Chucky the doll commits his first doll murder, and we’re damn near into the third before he comes to life before our very eyes. Up until then, the movie tries its hand at suggesting that Karen Barclay’s son, Andy, is the one responsible for the murders and mayhem occurring in wintry Chicago. Of course, even though this was not a concept the film ran with long enough to make it a significant plot point, insofar as cluing in the audience but not the characters as to the “real” killer, knowledge of the later sequels in which the doll is very much alive renders this red herring pretty much obsolete. Still, it’s a nice touch, and showed an attempt to do something different. Chucky spends much of the pre-murders portion of the film waving, nodding, and asking if someone wants to play, using his fake Good Guy voice. This is all well and good and only minorly creepy in the sense that Chucky is fucking ugly, but after Andy’s constant claims that Chucky is responsible for all the wrongdoings, his mother tears open the hatch on Chucky’s back to see there are no batteries (OMG run!). It’s very creepy, and made even creepier when the doll’s head spins a 180 in her arms as she threatens to throw him into the roaring fireplace.

Child’s Play might have one ending too many, but it’s a minor classic that, like many iconic films which spawned a franchise, can sometimes be misremembered as being like all the rest.

Christmas Lesson: Don’t buy Christmas presents from the homeless. Seriously, I don’t care how much your kid wants something. Leave it be.


 

INVASION U.S.A.

 

Not horror, I know, but…try telling Chuck Norris he’s not welcome here. Besides, there are many reasons to include Invasion U.S.A. One, above all else: it is violent. Not in the sadistic sense (though the film pulls no punches) but in the sense that it’s constant, and hard-edged. Chuck Norris, while playing the hero, goes very much against type here. He doesn't defeat bad guys with a wink and a smile. Though he is doing the country a remarkable service and fighting back against terrorist oppression, he has, in a sense, become the killer. Like Michael Myers hiding in the shadows, he lunges out of nowhere and offs whoever’s nearby. In Commando, you see Arnold run up to a man to stab or shoot. In Invasion U.S.A., you see the opposition only. And then you see Chuck pop up and dismantle them permanently. It very much turns the table of the action hero and makes him very atypical. In one particular scene, in which a small group of terrorists tucked away in an alley is trying to detonate explosives inside a nearby church, it would seem they are experiencing some kind of technical difficulties...because the suitcase of explosives has somehow gone missing from the church's front steps, even though every single one of them had their eyes trained on that same spot. Chuck appears above them on top of a building.

“Not working, huh?” he asks and drops the explosives he has retrieved down on top of them. With barely restrained maniacal fury, he grits, “Now it will.” (Cue explosion.)

The look in his eye is near sociopathic. In fact, he looks completely out of his mind, as if there is no humanity left in him at all.

Make no mistake, every action star has their one film in which they kill a ridiculous amount of people in a ridiculous manner while truly epitomizing what we love about the bygone action genre, before, of course, Jason Statham and gigantic alien robots came along and changed the genre forever. For Arnold, that movie is Commando. For Van Damme, it’s Hard Target. And for Norris…Invasion U.S.A.

As far as our plot, Richard Lynch leads what appears to be the entire Russian army (and some Cubans!) across America, intent on invading and taking over the entire country on Christmas Eve, when most people will be saddled with food and drink, and completely distracted. I suppose because Russians are communists, and communists hate consumerism, and King Consumerism = Christmas?

No idea, really. But it doesn't matter – not when Lynch is firing a fucking bazooka through an outdoor Christmas tree and blowing up its occupying house...and then another...and another.

All seems to be going quite well, and it would seem taking over America is pretty easy stuff.

Not so fast.

What these Russkies didn’t count on…was Chuck Norris.

Invasion U.S.A. is directed by Joseph Zito, the man who brought us Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, The Prowler, and another Norris film, Missing in Action. Zito brings the unrelenting, slightly grimy edge to Invasion U.S.A. present in his other films. And from what I have read, Invasion U.S.A. has sold more video units for MGM to date than any other of its library titles…second only to Gone with the Wind.

My personal favorite part of this film is when main baddie Lynch suffers nightmares in which Chuck Norris kicks him in the face. He does not fear being killed or tortured by Chuck, mind you...but is terrified of being kicked directly in the face.

It's good for a laugh.

Christmas Lesson: Don't be Russian, anti-Christmas, and near Chuck Norris.




If I may be serious for a moment...

Our country is still recuperating from the devastating shootings that took place in Newtown, CT. No one ever wants to turn on their TV in the morning and see that kind of news story. And, quite obviously, no one in their right mind would ever want to be on the receiving end of that phone call telling them a gunman has opened fire at their child's/children's school. A friend of mine considers the senselessness and sadisticness of the shooting to be tantamount to 9/11. I can't say I disagree. Though we horror fiends may consume movie after movie dripping with bloody violence and slow-motion shootouts, we know that it's all just make-believe. We know that they are actors and stunt men covered in squibs and stage blood. But unfortunately the real stuff doesn't go away when you pop that DVD back into its case and slide it back on the shelf.

As nightmarish and sad as the shooting has been, it really seems to have spurred action to finally re-examine our gun laws in this country. Former member of the House of Representatives and Republican conservative Joe Scarborough has re-evaluated his own previous views on guns and determined they were "no longer relevant," done so in a very classy and stoic editorial. President Obama has begun campaigning to revisit the assault weapons ban he briefly flirted with during his reelection campaign, tasking Vice President Joe Biden to take charge and begin getting the word out. Even the NRA themselves have been respectfully quiet, ceasing activity on Twitter, deactivating their Facebook, and preparing to release an official statement which, at this point, has not yet been made public.

The reason I am bringing this up is because I felt this post – in which several of the films mentioned are praised for their violence and grue – serve as my semi-argument on art vs. reality. As the purveyor of this blog, I feel a slight responsibility to admonish the kind of real-life violence that seems to be more and more consistent within our society, especially our schools – not that I am deluded enough to believe this blog attracts enough readers to ever be deemed controversial and create a firestorm, but because the kind of material celebrated here can often seem insensitive and blasphemous in the wake of such tragedy. I try to maintain as much distance from reality as I can while concocting the posts that I do – because time and time again, it's been proven that sometimes reality is just too depressing in which to exist. But sometimes things cannot be left unsaid. Sometimes they have to be confronted head-on – a reaffirming of humanity, if you will – before we delve back into the land of the dead. So allow me this break to reaffirm my own humanity – to alert you that, though I love watching Chuck Norris kill dozens of men with double-fisted SMGs, I recognize that's not reality. It's entertainment – one that seems to change face with every new tragedy.

In the weeks and months to come, we are going to hear all sorts of theories and explanations for why the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred. People will blame violence in films and video games, as that is the go-to for tragedies such as these. But what causes this kind of violence? Is it really violence in films and video games? Or is it violence that leads to more violence? This article, which details surging gun sales in Newtown in the days following the shooting, especially "the same exact gun the shooter had used" (a quote later removed from the article), would suggest that it's violence which breeds violence. And once these people are finished blaming violence in media, they will blame the shooter's mother, an apparent "doomsday prepper" and gun obsessive. But is this right? Is the image painted of her by the media one which accurately portrays her? In the end, it doesn't really matter. Twenty-six people are dead, twenty of those being children under ten years old. What does matter is if we'll finally learn our fucking lesson.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of the slain, as I'm sure all of yours are, too. It's going to be a long road back for many Newtown residents, but here's hoping they don't have to travel it alone.

The blog will be on auto-pilot for the next week or so as I spend time with my own loved ones.

I wish you all a very safe wintry holiday of your preference.

Dec 21, 2012

ALTERNATE ENDING


Because First Blood went on to create a franchise in which the character of John Rambo's muscles and guns got bigger, it's easy to forget that his very first adventure was not an adventure at all. When we hear the name Rambo, we picture the head-banded Lothario running through jungles with assault rifles or AK-47s shooting holes in any manner of ethnic groups. But First Blood, the first film to feature the character of John Rambo, was not such a film. It was actually a very political morality tale about the horrors of the Vietnam War and how it completely fucked up the minds of many soldiers, either on the battlefield or in the years to follow their arrival home. 

And First Blood once had a very downbeat ending, one that I believe reflected the ending of the novel by David Morrell, upon which the film is based. And, had this original ending been the one used (the new ending having caused Kirk Douglas, the original Col. Trautman, to quit the shoot), we never would have had further adventures with John Rambo.

Dec 19, 2012

FINALLY


 01. The Journal (1:13)
02. The War (1:41)
03. A Fresh Grave (3:45)
04. Searching for Answers (3:30)
05. Seeking Family (2:10)
06. Attack! (0:38)
07. A Bitter Reunion (1:42)
08. The Funeral Pyre (1:31)
09. A Bad Dream (1:00)
10. Collecting Ashes (2:10)
11. Russian Roulette (1:52)
12. Looking Back (1:17)
13. Moving On (1:46)
14. A Fatal Bite (3:03)
15. Seeking Rations (0:49)
16. Edward Meet Issac (1:01)
17. A Tale of Rebels (2:40)
18. Edward and Isaac Bond (1:53)
19. The Last Good Man (1:39)
20. Enter The General (4:26)
21. Emma's Escape (3:32)
22. The Witch (2:22)
23. Defenses (1:49)
24. Looking Forward (3:21)
25. Emma's Immune (1:37)
26. Nightmares (1:03)
27. Eve Tells a Tale (2:15)
28. The Ritual (2:47)
29. I Found One (2:03)
30. Ashes On Waterfall Pt.1 (2:47)
31. Ashes On Waterfall Pt. 2 (3:38)
32. Eve's Death (1:36)
33. Ed's Ass Kicking Death (7:57)
34. Showdown (1:53)
35. Chase (3:46)
36. Reunion-Ending (3:42)

Finally, indeed: the soundtrack to Exit Humanity. Grab it right now from the composers' bandcamp page. Tell them The End of Summer sent you.

Dec 18, 2012

R.I.P. DANNY STEINMANN


His name might not be household by nature, but the mark he left on the horror genre was undeniable.

The man whose name you might not recognize is Danny Steinmann, and he was responsible for the sleaziest, but perhaps the most fun entry of Friday the 13th - that of The New Beginning. (Yes, the one with the copycat killer.)

While the Friday the 13th brand is not one lauded for its contributions to high art, I think it's safe to say that Steinmann's entry was the first to fully realize the sleazeball environment in which those films thrived. It was The New Beginning that eschewed any attempts at psychological fear and went right for the throat. It was the first and last attempt to merge Jason Voorhees with a grindhouse aesthetic - a genre in which Steinmann was more than comfortable working.

It's safe to say that Steinmann's face will not be appearing at the annual "In Memoriam" roll call of the dead that the Oscars like to run every year, all so the rich 'n' famous can dictate via their applause whose corpse is their personal favorite. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, someone once said, and one man's trash is another man's art. While calling Steinmann an artist is probably pushing it, the canvases he left behind are still celebrated today.

Steinmann is the second Friday director to leave us, the first being Jason X's James Isaac. (2012 has not been a good year for Friday fans). 

Let's hope he'll be the last for a very long time.

Dec 15, 2012

SHITTY FLICKS: HARD ROCK ZOMBIES

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.


There’s one thing you need to know before watching Hard Rock Zombies: It doesn’t care what you think, and it doesn’t fuck around. It’s not going to lead you by the hand and slowly explain things to you. It’s not going to care if you can't follow the mile-a-minute, incomprehensible mess called a plot.

It’s just going to be.

It’s going to rock

And it’s going to blow your mind.

HARD ROCK ZOMBIES.

The movie opens wide on a road flowing fast and furiously underneath you. Hard rock jams start to thunder, and a fun-loving kid picks up a hot (in the '80s sense) hitchhiker. The blonde canoodles the driver for a little bit before they pull over. For no reason, the girl immediately begins skinny dipping in a lake as three men (two of them tiny, demon-suited midgets) watch enthusiastically from the shore.

And while another suited man snaps pictures from behind some bushes, the hitchhiking blonde kills the driver and feeds his dismembered body to her tiny, demon-midget friends.

Seriously folks, we’re four minutes in, and we have tits, demon midgets, mutilation, and '80s hair band music.

When the brothers were young, Manny was severely ostracized
by the other children because of his unsightly eye patch.

Suddenly we’re in a sweaty club, jamming hard with the titular band. There’s gyrating and leather, and good times are rolling.

After the performance, the band hits the road in their bus as their nervous wiener manager drives.

During the drive, the band leader, Jessie, lazily plays a song on his guitar. Its weird vocals attract the attention of another band member, and Jessie explains, “I got it from a book. It’s a spell to raise the dead.”

Then they stop and pick up that mysterious blond hitchhiker.

Incantations to Raise the Dead
+ Murderous Blond Hitchhiker
The Best We’re Going to Get for a Plot.

The blonde leads them to her castle, where one of her suited-demon henchman helps the band unload.

“Hey, can I give you a hand?” asks the midget.

And he does…one of those hands recently cut from the movie’s opening title victims.

Everyone laughs, and no one is really concerned.

Before you can say mullet death, we’re right smack in the middle of a dance sequence, with the band linedancing and doing fancy moves on skateboards set to one of the band’s rockin' jams.

Tens of adoring fans stand around to watch them perform random bullshit everywhere in this Podunk town, and if I don’t miss my guess, I think it's Chinatown, based on everyone's high amount of Chinese features.

Honest to God, I really don’t know what the fuck is going on, but I’m hanging on, because there’s a picture of Hitler on the back of the case and I gotta see how that comes into play.

"And THIS ONE's for the boys!"

After the dance number, one of the friendly town locals tells Jessie to “get the fuck out of town, pecker,” and the band is then locked up by the town constable for absolutely no reason.

Oh my God, we just met Hitler and he's fucking his wife as he screams furiously in German!

Holy shit!

Then the midget demons came in the room!

Holy shit!

Hitler is still fucking his wife even though the demon midgets are in the room watching him!

Holy shit!

The band is freed from their jail cell thanks to their blond hitchhiker friend and they set up their instruments on her front lawn to pad even more running time with their bad hair rock. The music is so good that the midget demons, murderous hitchhiker, and even the Hitlers have a seat to watch their performance. The creepy photographer is also there, as well as some bald gentleman who looks a lot like Dr. Cox from "Scrubs."

Hitler really seems to be enjoying the music, and he enjoys it so much that he bends over, plugs a wire into an outlet, and electrocutes the entire band is half-to-death. Luckily they don’t die, which leads me to wonder why that even happened in the first place.

Meanwhile a town meeting takes place which features a room full of people voicing their concerns about the presence of the band, and rock music in general.

“My reader’s digest says musicians cannot play a single note unless they EAT DRUGS first,” says a concerned woman.

“Rock music causes sex,” says another woman.

A concerned man stands up and cautions that some of the town’s kids listen to their rock music as they beat off. (How he knows this remains deliciously creepy.)

What a fun town meeting!

The concert, as voted by the board, is hereby canceled, which ultimately ends up banning all rock 'n roll of any type in town.

Let’s pause for a bit of real trivia, courtesy of IMDB:
Originally, this movie was only meant to be about 20 minutes long and solely used as the feature movie in American Drive-In (1985). At some point during production, the decision was made to invest a little bit more money and come out with two full length feature films instead of just one.
Does it show, ladies and germs? That a movie that would have been pushing it at 20 minutes in length then had an extra eighty minutes fucked into it? I’ll leave that up to you.

Back with the band, Jessie continues to practice fingering, running his hands up and down his smooth wood, but then all of a sudden spies a large spider, which he smashes. He goes back to playing, and wouldn’t you know it, the spider comes back to life!

As does the disembodied hand in the jar behind him!

Could it be the incantation he had read about in his book and transformed into a song?

Or could it be…anything else at all?

(It’s the first one.)

The movie figures it’s been a while since we had some, so we get a bitty more titty, courtesy of the blond hitchhiker. A band member then figures that since this girl is taking it upon herself to shower in her own home, it would be okay for him to just get in the shower and have immediate sex with her.

Well, it works. For a little. Then she stabs him a million times with a handy dagger as that weird photographer shows up conveniently to take even more pictures.

And in another room, Mrs. Hitler turns into a dog and uses her switchblade hand to disembowel a couple more band members.

Jessie, meanwhile, receives a warning from one of the townsman’s daughter, Cassie, that they are planning on raiding the house to kill the band. They are then chased by the bald Dr. Cox-looking guy with a buzz saw until Jessie is nailed to a tree and crucified Jesus style and sawed in the chest.

Take that, rock and/or roll!

After the band’s multifuneral (which we don’t see and is only mentioned), the band manager has dinner with the Hitlers, the blond, and the midgets. Why he remains at the house remains to be seen, but all I know is, this movie has Hitler in it, so it’s automatically fantastic.

 Hitler Fun Facts:
1. Terrible flatulence
2. Vegetarian
3. Tremendous ballroom dancer

Speaking of Hitler, he gets up and rips off his Old Hitler costume to reveal his Young Hitler self underneath, which shocks the band manager who is just now suddenly realizing he has been living with Hitler.

Outside, the forlorn Cassie plays some of the band's music over their graves as a tribute, but the music causes the dead band to reawaken from their earthly resting place to stumble about earth while wearing white face make-up.

Then Hitler flips out, bellows in German, and belts out a few "zieg heils." And because the band manager refuses to work for him, he is tied to a work bench for some death.

Before anything else happens in this god forsaken movie, the band enjoys their first post-death reunion choreography before taking bloody revenge on the people that have wronged them, one by one.

The first to go is the bald man, who has a spike slowly inserted into the side of the neck not visible to the camera. Next is the photographer; he gets his comeuppance by being drowned in a pond, along with the blond hitchhiker. As for the midgets, their tiny heads are clunked together and thrown aside like anyone would a dead midget.

Hitler laments over the loss of his suited-demon midgets and bellows in German fury to the heavens before he is ripped to pieces by the '80s zombie hair band.

That just may be the best sentence ever.

Being that Hitler and all the other adversaries have been killed, and that there is still an hour left to go in this movie, frankly, I’m a little concerned.

A random man walks over to the “dead” body of Mrs. Hitler and rubs her boobs for a bit. Then he gets up, straightens his jacket, and attempts to leave, but oh no! Rubbing the boobs of Mrs. Hitler is what wakes her from the dead and turns her into Doggie Mrs. Hitler!

Who knew!

Hitler then wakes up and rips the man’s head off.

What the fuck—seriously?

This movie should’ve STAYED 20 minutes.

Though Ticketmaster charges an unheard-of $10 Ghoul Smell
fee, Hard Rock Zombies is still the third-best dead guy act in
 town (just after Sergeant Mummy & His Mummies, and
The Rolling Stones).

The dead band sets up for their show despite their deadness, and when a talent agent sits down to see what they’ve got, the dead band plays him a set. The smarmy agent comments on their make-up, saying that the band will have to get someone to “make it more convincing,” which is meant to be a joke, since they’re supposed to really be dead, but it’s actually a valid suggestion, since the make-up really does look like shit.

The recently resurrected townspeople killed by the ghouls begin to wreak havoc on the other living townspeople, all the while the demon midgets eat themselves (with mustard) and bite cows.

If a script for this movie exists, then so do leprechauns.

The townspeople concoct a theory that “ghouls don’t like heads,” which they will say as much as possible throughout the remainder of the film, so they figure their best plan is to hide behind large signs of famous celebrities as they run through town.

The only time this movie is remotely funny is right now, as the marauding zombies instantly tear apart the townspeople hiding behind their celebrity signs, not the least bit hesitant, confused, or stalled by their giant celebrity sign plan.

Meanwhile, the undead band still jams, and now the undead blond hitchhiker dances with them on stage. I guess bygones are bygones. You know, since she basically murdered them all.

It appears that once the band members were finished their rockin’ set, they climbed back into their graves, their mission now over, I guess. Their band manager pleads for them to come back from the dead again in order to save Cassie, for whom the band manager apparently cares a great deal.

“Is that what you want? Ghouls screwing her to death?” he pleads.

Huh? When was that ever a thing?

Anyway, it works, and the band climbs out of the grave to rock out one last time.

"That's what she said!" (Sorry.)

Part of me is tempted to smart-assedly point out that the band, who set up on top of a mountain or some place, are all playing their electric guitars through amps that are clearly not plugged into anything, but then the other part of me remembers that this movie also features Hitler and Hitler’s dogwife who lived with a house of demon midgets whose sole purpose it seems was to defeat rock and roll.

Well, the rock and roll kills all the ghouls, as smoke pours out of their writhing stink flesh. At least this is what I assume happened. No use dwelling on these things, you know.

Then, the midget demon, who has been periodically eating his own body throughout the film, sucks his own face off his decapitated head and eats it, its skull grinning and being sure to let out a healthy belch.

Hi-larious.